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Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Weekend Economists Note a Time to Mourn, January 31-February 2, 2014

The whole world lost another giant, another lion, another leader by birth. Nelson Mandela left us December 5th. Pete Seeger departed January 27th. This is Pete's commemorative thread:

Who was Pete Seeger? He was a man of many parts. Let some of his acquaintance show us:

From Dorkzilla of DU, posted earlier this week:

Tue Jan 28, 2014, 06:07 PM

dorkzilla (1,525 posts)

My Pete Seeger story...
MANY years ago--30 now that I think of it, I was 18 at the time--I was on my way up to Albany for the weekend to visit some pals who were attending SUNY Albany; I had to work full time to support myself and wasn't lucky enough to attend college at that time, so trips to visit girlfriends at University was as close as I got. The train stopped in Beacon, a tall, older man with a gig bag and a smile got on. He sat next to me and I looked up from my book and said "Wow! Pete Seeger!". He chuckled and said "yes, young lady, I'm afraid so!" and I told him I was absolutely delighted to meet him. He looked at me quizzically and said "you're far too young to know who I am…how is it that you knew me? Were your parents hippies?" he asked with a laugh, and i said "Noooo, it wasn't my parents!" "Don't tell me, it was your grandparents?!" he asked me with a note of disappointment in his voice. "Nope!" I responded at last, "I used to watch you on Sesame Street!!" He laughed so hard that he got turned beet red in the face.

As luck would have it, the book I had in my hand was "Walden" and we spent the trip talking about the environment and philosophy, and it was one of the most wonderful train trips of my life. He was kind, open-minded and big-hearted.

When we were parting company he said "well, I'm sure happy that Channel 13 did such a splendid job with your education".

RIP Mr. Seeger. You had a big influence on my young mind, and you'll leave a big hole in my middle aged heart.

From Star Member Recursion (31,817 posts)

I have a Pete Seeger story, too

Last edited Wed Jan 29, 2014, 03:39 AM - Edit history (1)
I was a high school student in 1991, sitting outside of the Emory University main auditorium, practicing my banjo ahead of a performance as the opener for the opener for the opener for ... etc. the Indigo Girls. An old dude came up and listened, and started humming along. (It was an old-time-style song I had written, "Bury Me at Sea". He listened, and hummed, and tut-tutted occasionally. Finally he looked down at me and said, "you're doing it wrong".


"You aren't playing the whole song. You're playing each bar. Can I?" he reached out.

I was worried (this was just some random old dude to me), but I figured what the hell, and I reluctantly handed it to him, and he played it pitch perfect, clawhammer-style (I had been playing bluegrass-style, with fingerpicks; he just translated it). "Did you write this?" he asked.


"Not bad. But you aren't playing what you wrote. Do you know the whole song in your head?"

"Yeah, I do."

"Then why are you afraid of it? Stop being afraid, and start playing. Play through the measures; don't be afraid of them. Heck, hold your left hand longer than you need to. It's your song." Then he looked straight through me. "Whatever music you make, it was what you meant to make, you got it, kid? Don't be afraid. If it's your music, you can play it. Now go out there."

He handed the banjo back to me and walked off. Some roadie who had been running in explained to me whom I had just talked to (I knew my dad liked him, and my dad generally had good taste in music, so I was suitably impressed). In the inevitable anticlimax of life, I still had two hours before I went on, but Pete's words, and his particular voice, still stay with me whenever I perform. It's your music. Don't be afraid of it.

Don't be afraid of it.
Pete surely wasn't. He marched politely into that Congressional Star Chamber, August 18th, 1955, and told Joe McCarthy, in the most innocuous language possible, to go *******...


...MR. SEEGER: I have already told you, sir, that I believe my associations, whatever they are, are my own private affairs...

Read the whole thing at the link. It's instructive, and who knows when we will need to know it?

Everybody encountered Pete in a different time, or a different context, and yet his heroism always shown through, clear and bright as Venus rising this morning. May his star shine forever. He is forever, America singing.

Obama is too pre-Occupied (pun intended)

with the ASSUMED Executive Privileges of Droning and Spying on Everyone in the World....

Weekend Economists Examine (E)sc(h)atology January 24-26, 2014

WEE are What?

...Karl Quilter spent much of his life carefully and painstakingly sculpting out of clay the mold for what would eventually be cast into the golden angel perched atop The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temples. All but an estimated 10 or so Angel Moroni sculptures on temples worldwide are Quilter’s work, said his daughter, Elizabeth Quilter Finlinson...


This beautiful grieving angel, draped over the grave of Emelyn Story, was the last work of her husband, the American sculptor, William W. Story, created in 1895 in her memory in the same year of her death.

Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with what are believed to be the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the "end of the world" or "end time".

The word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος/ἐσχάτη/ἔσχατον, eschatos/eschatē/eschaton meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", first used in English around 1550. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "The department of theological science concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell’."

In the context of mysticism, the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine. In many religions it is taught as an existing future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.

History is often divided into "ages" (Gk. aeons), which are time periods each with certain commonalities. One age comes to an end and a new age, where different realities are present, begins. When such transitions from one age to another are the subject of eschatological discussion, the phrase, "end of the world", is replaced by "end of the age", "end of an era", or "end of life as we know it". Much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the "end of time" but rather with the end of a certain period of time, the end of life as it is now, and the beginning of a new period of time. It is usually a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living, thinking, or being. This crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment, or the reaching of a new level of consciousness.

Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involve the violent disruption or destruction of the world; whereas Christian and Jewish eschatologies view the end times as the consummation or perfection of God's creation of the world. For example, according to ancient Hebrew belief, life takes a linear (and not cyclical) path; the world began with God and is constantly headed toward God’s final goal for creation, which is the world to come.

Eschatologies vary as to their degree of optimism or pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. "heaven and hell"...

Not to be confused with Scatology....


To spare you the need to Google it:


In medicine and biology, scatology or coprology is the study of feces.

Scatological studies allow one to determine a wide range of biological information about a creature, including its diet (and thus where it has been), healthiness, and diseases such as tapeworms. The word derives from the Greek σκώρ (genitive σκατός, modern σκατό, pl. σκατά meaning "feces".


We'll explore on both sides of this pair....for what else is Economics, but a combination of the two?

This astonishing sculpture forms part of Barcelona’s Poblenou Cemetery. The Kiss of Death (El Petó de la Mort in Catalan and El beso de la muerte in Spanish) dates back to 1930. A winged skeleton bestows a kiss on the forehead of a handsome young man: is it ecstasy on his face or resignation? Little wonder the sculpture elicits strong and varying responses from whoever gazes upon it....


I hope so, for all our sakes

but it won't happen by itself. Exactly how to effect change?

Well, I am doing it on the condo board---because there's no personal gains to be made from serving as a community volunteer, almost nobody runs. Well, that's not entirely true....there were a few individuals who thought there were ways to personally gain from ordering the operations of the association to their liking, not towards fairness and effectiveness. And there were others that felt they could fill a seat, get whatever glory there was, and not do anything....

I personally drove them out of office. With a lot of help from other board members and staff that were fed up with the corruption, dysfunction, and waste. It was a personal vendetta on my part, because I didn't have a lot of time to massage egos. As most women learn in life, there's no percentage in that, anyway.

Last night the board had one of its most productive, effective meetings ever. It took a long time to get to this point. I'm not saying that previous boards didn't do big things, but they did them half-assed and in really bad and ugly, destructive ways. This board did it with purpose and unity, fully-informed, thoughtful, trying to do it right so we don't have to do it over.

Lots of what we did last night was fixing previous boards' mistakes.

A condo board is perhaps the purest form of democracy there is, if the community is oriented that way.

Each unit of government just has to do the same thing, scaling it up for the size of each successive unit of government.

This would involve a couple thousand people PER STATE (even the smallest states). Plus the voters.


In these days of police militarism, NSA blackmail collections and rampant shredding of the Constitution, we need a little help...

Brazilian hacker creates Twitter-like app shielded from NSA gaze


Blackphone: A smartphone designed to stop spying eyes


When can police search your car?


Police firing GPS tracking 'bullets' at cars during chases


Weekend Economists MLK Remembrance January 20, 2014

Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did by HamdenRice


...I remember that many years ago, when I was a smart ass home from first year of college, I was standing in the kitchen arguing with my father. My head was full of newly discovered political ideologies and black nationalism, and I had just read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, probably for the second time.

A bit of context. My father was from a background, which if we were talking about Europe or Latin America, we would call, "peasant" origin, although he had risen solidly into the working-middle class. He was from rural Virginia and his parents had been tobacco farmers. I spent two weeks or so every summer on the farm of my grandmother and step grandfather. They had no running water, no gas, a wood burning stove, no bathtubs or toilets but an outhouse, pot belly stoves for heat in the winter, a giant wood pile, a smoke house where hams and bacon hung, chickens, pigs, semi wild housecats that lived outdoors, no tractor or car, but an old plow horse and plows and other horse drawn implements, and electricity only after I was about 8 years old. The area did not have high schools for blacks and my father went as far as the seventh grade in a one room schoolhouse. All four of his grandparents, whom he had known as a child, had been born slaves. It was mainly because of World War II and urbanization that my father left that life.

They lived in a valley or hollow or "holler" in which all the landowners and tenants were black. In the morning if you wanted to talk to cousin Taft, you would walk down to behind the outhouse and yell across the valley, "Heeeyyyy Taaaaft," and you could see him far, far in the distance, come out of his cabin and yell back.

On the one hand, this was a pleasant situation because they lived in isolation from white people. On the other hand, they did have to leave the valley to go to town where all the rigid rules of Jim Crow applied. By the time I was little, my people had been in this country for six generations (going back, according to oral rendering of our genealogy, to Africa Jones and Mama Suki), much more under slavery than under freedom, and all of it under some form of racial terrorism, which had inculcated many humiliating behavior patterns.

Anyway that's background. I think we were kind of typical as African Americans in the pre Civil Rights era went.

So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X's message. My father got really angry at me. It wasn't that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn't accomplished anything as Dr. King had.

I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his "I have a dream speech."

Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, "he marched." I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn't that he "marched" or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, "Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south."

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don't know what my father was talking about.

But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.

He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.

I'm guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing "The Help," may not understand what this was all about. But living in the south (and in parts of the mid west and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.

It wasn't that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn't sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.

You really must disabuse yourself of this idea. Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement decided to use to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth's.

It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment...

The diary goes on....and having seen what berserk (mostly white, mostly men) Americans have done to the possibly gay, the possibly Muslim, the Occupiers, all without provocation of any kind, how can we doubt it?

Our very own President is out droning the Yemeni, the Pakistanis, anyone he wants to--why? What is this, testosterone poisoning, or just another version of King of the Hill? Or is BHO a tool of the berserk white men? A cat's paw, if you will.

More like a damn fool or a tool. Somehow, I really doubt that MLK would approve.

And one thing is certain, I don't want this nation to tolerate such behavior, at home or abroad.

Tremendous, indeed

Something to give Occupation a lift and a new lease on life

House Intelligence Chairman Implies Snowden Had Help From Russians

Source: NPR

Rep. Mike Rogers made some strong allegations against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.

Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, implied that Snowden received helped from Russia's security service both to steal the highly classified documents and then to travel to Russia, where he received temporary asylum.

NBC News reports:

'He was stealing information that had to do with how we operate overseas to collect information to keep Americans safe.... And some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities' — a fact which Rogers said 'raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left. How he was ready to go, he had a go bag, if you will.'

"Rogers added that he believes 'there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB (Russian security service) agent in Moscow. I don't think that's a coincidence....I don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.'"

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/01/19/263947736/house-intelligence-chairman-implies-snowden-had-help-from-russians?ft=1&f=1001

Mike Rogers is talking through his hat...I sincerely doubt that HIS technical capabilities extend beyond two finger typing. And his mommy helps him pack, no doubt. I cannot imagine how a Republican can make such a ridiculous statement, except for that anti-science tendency, not to mention the anti-intellect and anti-Constitutional tendencies.

I think he is owed a serious libel tort.

Worse yet, Diane Feinstein is doing it, too. Shame! Shame!

On Edit:

A 1985 graduate of Adrian College, Mike was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the University of Michigan, then served as an FBI special agent before being elected to the Michigan Senate in 1995. Mike has served Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District in Congress since 2001.

Weekend Economists on a 3 Hour (I mean, DAY) Tour January 17-20, 2014

Yup! Market's closed on Monday. I'll be here all Weekend, don't forget to tip your wait staff...

Russell Johnson, The Professor on Gilligan's Island, Dead at 89

Sadly, another castaway has left the island for good.

Russell Johnson, best known for playing the brainy Professor on Gilligan's Island, has died, E! News confirms. He was 89 and the last surviving male star from the classic 1960s sitcom—which famously listed all of its characters in the more well-known version of its iconic opening theme song.

We're told that the actor died of natural causes Thursday at 5:21 a.m. at his home with wife Constance and daughter Kim by his side.

"He was a gentleman, very kind," Johnson's agent, Mike Eisenstadt, tells E! "He was very smart and very respectful. He was a nice, normal guy."

Johnson retired from acting in the 1990s but still made Gilligan's Island-related appearances in more recent years.

The Pennsylvania-born actor worked regularly in TV and films for more than 40 years, appearing on the likes of The Twilight Zone, Lassie, The Lone Ranger and The Jeffersons. He was also on the big screen in the cult sci-fi classic It Came From Outer Space and in a number of Westerns, including The Stand at Apache River and Tumbleweed.

But he will always be remembered as the coconut-radio-building Professor, the single-and-unconcerned heartthrob of the bunch, alongside Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise and Dawn Wells on Gilligan's Island.

"I've had people in the ensuing years say to me, 'If they did Gilligan's Island toda,y you'd all be living in the same tent.' It's true. That innocence was kept and it worked," Johnson said in a 2004 interview for the Archive of American Television, discussing the standards the sitcom maintained in a time when Wells' Mary Ann wore plenty of crop tops but never actually showed her belly button and there was a constant conversation going over how much cleavage Louise's Ginger should actually flaunt...

Married three times, Johnson is survived by his wife, actress Constance Dane, stepson Courtney Dane and daughter Kim from his second marriage. His son, David, died of AIDS in 1994, inspiring Johnson's activism as a fund-raiser for AIDS research.



I have a possible scheme

As I live in a condo community, we can establish a community net, get one optic fiber super feed to connect it, which gives each homeowner access and privacy and really reduced costs in one.

It's on my ever expanding list for my community, which is simultaneously an experiment in small business, and representative democracy.

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