Categories
Business

Nine New Weed Dispensaries At Special March Meeting

New Yorker Cartoon about my parents: "I don't know about you, but I say it's time we started experimenting with drugs."

Block Club Chicago reports:

As many as nine new recreational cannabis dispensaries could clear a crucial regulatory hurdle during a special meeting of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals scheduled for March 6, potentially almost doubling the number of pot shops allowed to operate in the city, according to officials.

The board will consider “cannabis-specific” applications at the first of its kind special meeting. The formal agenda for the meeting has not yet been released.

The following cannabis companies have filed applications with the Zoning Board of Appeals to open new dispensaries, according to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development:

  • Pharmacann, for planned dispensaries at 1001 W. North Ave. and 444 N. LaSalle St. A community meeting was held Feb. 6 to discuss the LaSalle Street proposal, and another is scheduled for Feb. 18 to discuss the North Avenue site plan.
  • Natures Care Company, for a planned dispensary at 810 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 6.
  • Numed Chicago, for a planned dispensary at 935 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
  • PDI Medical, for a planned dispensary at 60 W. Superior St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
  • Green House Group, for a planned dispensary at 612 N. Wells St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 7.
  • MOCA Modern Cannabis, for a planned dispensary at 214-232 W. Ohio St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Jan. 29.

(click here to continue reading Nine New Weed Dispensaries Could Be Cleared To Open At Special March Meeting – Block Club Chicago.)

The sooner the better, it’s already going to be summer before these open.

Parenthetical confession: I haven’t been inside one of the newly legal dispensaries, yet. I’m not enough of a pot-head to stand in line for 2 hours, especially in the winter, and I’ve been to dispensaries in other states, so there isn’t a novelty itch that I need to scratch. I’ll wait until the flower shortage abates, and the weather improves.

Categories
Business politics

Compromised encryption machines gave CIA window into major human rights abuses in South America

Eye see u Willis

The Washington Post reports:

South American military dictatorships combined forces in the late 1970s on a continent-wide crackdown they called Operation Condor against perceived threats to their rule. It was part of a broader wave of violence in which nuns and priests were imprisoned, dissidents were tossed out of airplanes and thousands of victims were “disappeared.”
To coordinate this brutal campaign, Argentina, Chile and other countries established a secret communications network using encryption machines from a Swiss company called Crypto AG.

Crypto was secretly owned by the CIA as part of a decades-long operation with West German intelligence. The U.S. spy agency was, in effect, supplying rigged communications gear to some of South America’s most brutal regimes and, as a result, in unique position to know the extent of their atrocities.

Whether there were opportunities to act, and failures to do so, are among the difficult questions raised by the revelations about the CIA’s involvement in Crypto — dubbed Operation Rubicon by the agency. The program enabled U.S. spy agencies to monitor the communications of dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America over half a century.

(click here to continue reading Compromised encryption machines gave CIA window into major human rights abuses in South America – The Washington Post.)

Revolution of The Innocent

Two brief thoughts: one, why didn’t the US government do more to reign in these abuses? Because they were being conducted by right-wing governments?

Total Information Awareness - Homeland Security Logo 

and two, no wonder China wants to emulate this program with the installation of Huawei networking gear, and also no wonder the US is opposed.

WaPo/AP:

No NATO ally should succumb to the temptation of letting Chinese tech giant Huawei into their next-generation cellular networks, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday at Allied headquarters, turning U.S. opposition to Huawei into a bipartisan effort.
Pelosi said the invasion of privacy that would result from having Huawei integrated into Europe’s 5G communication networks would be “like having the state police, the Chinese state police, right in your pocket.”

She insisted such technology was far too sensitive to turn to over to Chinese interests, even though they can deliver such technology cheaper, thanks to the fact that the company relied on Western know-how to build its systems.

“While some people say that its cheaper to do Huawei — well yeah — it’s a People’s Liberation Army initiative using reversed engineering from Western technology,” Pelosi, the senior Democratic lawmaker, told reporters in Brussels.

“So, of course it’s going to be cheaper to put on the market. And if it’s cheaper, then they get the market share and then they (China) bring in their autocracy of lack of privacy.”

(click here to continue reading US House speaker Pelosi warns allies against using Huawei – The Washington Post.) 

Categories
Books politics

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction by David Enrich

Same Sentiment

The Washington Post Book review:

A revelatory book about the rise and fall of the world’s biggest bank might hold some interest to financiers, business school professors and readers of the Economist. But what about one that also has all the elements of a page-turning mystery novel: suspicious suicides, Russian money laundering, securities and tax fraud, price fixing, $100 million bonuses, whistleblowers who are ignored and fired, and a heroin junkie peddling stolen documents to journalists and FBI agents? Add to that a big client with a sketchy financial history who suddenly becomes president of the United States, and you’ve got the makings of a blockbuster.

A new Russian subsidiary laundered tens of billions of rubles into dollars for Russian oligarchs and cronies of President Vladimir Putin. Its London traders helped organize a conspiracy to fix interest rates. Its New York investment bankers were at the front of the pack peddling collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and mortgage-backed securities they knew would go bad. Its bankers conspired with corporate clients to evade economic sanctions against Iran and Syria, and helped giant hedge funds avoid taxes in the United States. Its enormous stash of risky derivatives was carried on its books at prices well above their market value. And its top executives repeatedly lied about all these things to investors, regulators and even their own directors.

The consequences of all this risk-taking, mismanagement and fraud are now clear. Between 2015 and 2017, the bank was forced to record losses of more than $10 billion, and it only barely returned to profitability in 2018. Since 2007, its stock price has fallen 95 percent. And as Enrich reports, the bank’s financial position was so precarious that even longtime corporate customers abandoned it. The International Monetary Fund recently singled out Deutsche Bank as the institution posing the biggest risk to the global banking system.

Trump Stamp

And when Trump was on the verge of defaulting on loans used to buy his failing hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, Deutsche Bank came to the rescue by peddling $484 million in junk bonds to investors — bonds on which Trump defaulted within a year.

Normally, such a default would have been enough to scare away even the most risk-tolerant lenders. But within months, Deutsche Bank’s real estate division was again providing Trump with a $640 million loan needed to build a new Chicago hotel, while its team in Moscow was steering Russian investors to Trump projects in Hawaii and Mexico. The relationship hit a low point in 2009 when Trump announced he had no intention of repaying his loan on the Chicago hotel, claiming that the unfolding financial crisis was an act of God that freed him of his obligation.

When Deutsche Bank sued to get its money back, Trump countersued, preposterously accusing the bank of predatory lending practices. The matter was finally settled with a two-year extension on the loan — and a vow by the bank’s real estate lenders never to do business with Trump again. But two years later, Trump somehow sweet-talked his way into Deutsche’s private banking division, which over the next several years provided him with $350 million in personal loans to cover projects in Chicago, Miami and Washington.

(click here to continue reading Book review of Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction by David Enrich – The Washington Post.)

Sounds interesting. It always seemed odd to me that a bank would continue to lend vast sums of money to such an obvious deadbeat like Trump. Was it all money laundering? Something else? I guess I’ll have to read the book and find out.

Make America Great Again - Deport Trump

Jacket blurb

“Enrich tells the story of how one of the world’s mightiest banks careened off the rails, threatening everything from our financial system to our democracy. Darkly fascinating. A tale that will keep you up at night.” — John Carreyrou, #1 bestselling author of Bad Blood

From New York Times finance editor David Enrich, a searing exposé of the most scandalous bank in the world, revealing its shadowy ties to Donald Trump, Putin’s Russia, and Nazi Germany

On a rainy Sunday in 2014, a senior executive at Deutsche Bank was found hanging in his London apartment. Bill Broeksmit had helped build the 150-year-old financial institution into a global colossus, and his sudden death was a mystery, made more so by the bank’s efforts to deter investigation. Broeksmit, it turned out, was a man who knew too much.

In Dark Towers, award-winning journalist David Enrich reveals the truth about Deutsche Bank and its epic path of devastation. Tracing the bank’s history back to its propping up of a default-prone American developer in the 1880s, helping the Nazis build Auschwitz, and wooing Eastern Bloc authoritarians, he shows how in the 1990s, via a succession of hard-charging executives, Deutsche made a fateful decision to pursue Wall Street riches, often at the expense of ethics and the law.

Soon, the bank was manipulating markets, violating international sanctions to aid terrorist regimes, scamming investors, defrauding regulators, and laundering money for Russian oligarchs. Ever desperate for an American foothold, Deutsche also started doing business with a self-promoting real estate magnate nearly every other bank in the world deemed too dangerous to touch: Donald Trump. Over the next twenty years, Deutsche executives loaned billions to Trump, the Kushner family, and an array of scandal-tarred clients, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Dark Towers is the never-before-told saga of how Deutsche Bank became the global face of financial recklessness and criminality—the corporate equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction. It is also the story of a man who was consumed by fear of what he’d seen at the bank—and his son’s obsessive search for the secrets he kept.

(click here to continue reading Amazon.com: Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction (9780062878816): David Enrich: Books.)

Contemporaneous Memos

Categories
environment

Along the Great Lakes, It’s Time to Prepare for Extremes

Some Things Last Longer Than You Think They Will

More discussion of the Great Lakes and climate change from The New York Times:

Last year the five lakes that together hold 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet broke 10 high-water records, and more are expected to fall this year. The inundation follows a 15-year span from 1999 to 2014 when the so-called upper lakes of Superior, Michigan and Huron experienced the longest period of low water in recorded history.

The lakes have always been tempestuous neighbors, but today they appear to be entering a new era of volatility that is testing the region as never before. The simple explanation is that the last five years have been the wettest in history in the Great Lakes watershed, which encompasses parts of eight states and two Canadian provinces. But some scientists believe a more complicated dynamic is at work: a warming climate that will continue to cause extreme fluctuations in weather and water levels, threatening havoc for lakeside homeowners, towns and cities, tourism and shipping.

All of this has many lakefront property owners reconsidering their relationship with the lakes they love. Should people living in areas prone to flooding and shoreline erosion pack up and leave? Or should they stay, and at what cost to themselves and taxpayers? How much are communities willing to spend to protect against storms and rising waters?

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Along the Great Lakes, It’s Time to Prepare for Extremes – The New York Times.)

The Midwest might have been complacent about climate change, but less and less as the facts become more obvious.

As an aside, the Great Lakes are just one area on the planet with coasts, what about all the rest? Are we going to start factoring in cost to keep beaches livable? Or?

House - Sarah FitzSimons

Categories
government

Trump to Send Special Troops To Democratically Controlled Cities

Document Me 

The New York Times reports:

The Trump administration is deploying highly trained officers to boost arrests of unauthorized immigrants in cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, the latest move in a battle against localities that adopt “sanctuary” policies to protect them from deportation.

Members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol Tactical Unit will be among the officers deployed to cities to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. They will also be sent to San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, New Jersey, CBP spokesman Lawrence Payne said in a statement.

(click here to continue reading U.S. Border Patrol to Send ‘Tactical Unit’ Officers to ‘Sanctuary Cities’ – The New York Times.)

This is troublesome. Highly trained how, exactly? Are they “war gaming” for what happens when Trump loses in November?

Categories
politics

New Hampshire 2020 Primary

Retreat Was Out Of Hope

Briefly, I’ve never understood the reasoning behind dropping out after not coming in first or second in New Hampshire and/or Iowa. Why not wait a few more weeks and see what happens in the next round of primary states, especially the Super Tuesday round?

I’ve never been on a campaign, so maybe this is naive, but dropping out before any meaningful votes vast seems dumb. Your team and you have spent gazillions of hours so far, why not see what chance you have nationally before quitting?

I assume part of this is fundraising drying up, but in the 21st C.E. system, that shouldn’t be such a big deal.

And I’m not talking about peripheral candidates who never got any traction, for whatever reason, candidates like Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, and that tier. No I’m talking about Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and maybe even Julián Castro. Why drop out before March 3?

Alabama primary
American Samoa caucuses
Arkansas primary
California primary
Colorado primary
Maine primary
Massachusetts primary
Minnesota primary
North Carolina primary
Oklahoma primary
Tennessee primary
Texas primary
Utah primary
Vermont primary
Virginia primary

Yet another reason that Iowa and New Hampshire should not automatically first, as we discussed recently

Categories
government

Trump’s Budget Is a $292 Billion Attack on Poor Americans

Trump is a typical Republican with traditional 21st C.E. Republican goals, part the 346,212,518th…

Free Soap, circa 1996

Mother Jones reports:

Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget calls for steep cuts to welfare programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the biggest cash assistance program.

The proposal calls for slashing SNAP funding by $182 billion over the next 10 years, a sharp reduction from the $58 billion the government spent on SNAP in 2019. Partly, those savings would come from significantly tightening eligibility requirements for SNAP. Currently, able-bodied SNAP recipients between the ages of 18 and 49 can receive food stamps for three months at a time and must prove that they are working at least 20 hours a week. The Trump budget calls for extending the work requirement rule to people up to the age of 65.

Initially, states with high unemployment rates were allowed to apply for waivers that would exempt recipients from the three-month limit. But beginning April 1, a new federal rule makes acquiring those waivers much more difficult. The rule is expected to remove 700,000 people from the food stamp rolls.

Other welfare programs don’t fare much better in Trump’s budget proposal. It would cut $15 billion from TANF over the next decade. The cash assistance program currently grants $16.5 billion annually, a level advocates say is insufficient to meet the needs of poor families because it has not increased since 1996.

The total cuts to welfare programs for the next decade come out to $292 billion. While the budget slashes countless programs that help the poor, it would increase military spending.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Budget Is a $292 Billion Attack on Poor Americans – Mother Jones.)

Shouldn't That Be a Right Turn?

Yeah, a wealthy country like ours would rather purchase new aircraft carriers for an unknown enemy rather than let kids have enough to eat. If Trump and his cult have there way, that is. Luckily 2018 happened, and the Democrats can reign in some of this cruelty, if they want to. There are some corporate Democrats who are wishy-washy about the so-called entitlements, and would also prefer the military budget increase. 

Categories
Photography

Bleak Midwinter Archive Dive

I find it harder to take new photographs in the bleak mid-winter months, so instead dig through my massive archives of unprocessed photos. I randomly click around in my Lightroom catalog, find a time that has lots of photos that I never really looked at, and often find some interesting images to work on. 

For instance, these are all from 20121

Ever Since The Day Began

Ever Since The Day Began – Downtown Chicago with a bit of snow.

As Is Usually Required

As Is Usually Required – Fulton Market somewhere. A study of light and brick.

I Almost Remember Now

I Almost Remember Now – alley, Elmhurst. I have no idea what that thing is, maybe for coal?

Nothing Was More

Nothing Was More – Blue Line, CTA tracks, and interstate traffic, Irving Park, Chicago 

As Close To Yesterday

As Close To Yesterday  – West Loop CTA tracks at dusk

Footnotes:
  1. click to embiggen, of course []
Categories
Music Personal

Mix Tape Assorted 57 – Vicious Junkie Slip in Bessemer

An item from my past…

Mix Tape Assorted 57 - Vicious Junkie Slip in Bessemer

Starting somewhere around the age of 16, I started making numbered mix tapes. I’d make a few a year, first for playing in my car, then later for playing during my Magnolia Cafe South shifts. This was before I switched to CDs, so these were composed by placing the needle on a track I liked. I wish I had all these cassettes still, with the songs on them listed as well. I bet I would recognize the playlist order if I heard one of them now, I played them so many times.

I don’t have a working cassette player at the moment, which means I only know 3 songs that are for sure on this particular mixtape: I always made the title out of various songs on the mix.

Lou Reed’s Vicious
The Clash – Junkie Slip
Yo La Tengo – Lost In Bessemer

Also, based on the Yo La Tengo, this tape was probably made in 1990-91 (when I bought New Wave Hot Dogs).

So there was probably a Bob Dylan song, a Rolling Stones song, Velvet Underground and/or Lou Reed, for sure a song from either Peter Tosh or Bob Marley, probably a couple of Chicago blues tracks, probably a couple Afro-Pop songs, like by Fela Kuti or similar. Those David Byrne Brazilian compilations, Charlie Parker, acoustic Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix, R.E.M., Syd Barrett, James Brown, Smiths, The Clash, Meat Puppets, Neil Young, Camper Van Beethoven, Elvis Costello, Joy Division, Pogues, Parliament/Funkadelic, Neville Brothers, obscure folk songs, local Austin musicians like Timbuk 3, Glass Eye, Poi Dog Pondering, The Horsies and others got some attention, i.e. not much different from my tastes today, just less depth as I didn’t know as much about music history.

Usually the last song on either side was an instrumental, so that it could flip to play the other side without being cut off mid-sentence. At home I listened to a lot of heavier stuff – punk rock, heavy bebop and so on, I didn’t put these on the mixes as often someone would complain1 and then I’d lose my control of the music flow. Maybe once in a while, I’d slip in a bit of something like the Butthole Surfers, or Public Enemy, but it was a risk.

I don’t recall if this particular one had any sound collages of snippets of several songs, but I recall creating some of those before I knew much about mixing. All done by hand with a turntable and a cassette deck, and inebriant of choice. I did sometimes check out vinyl records from the public library, and added a song or two even if I didn’t love it just to have something new.

Some mix tapes were thematic, some were just collections of songs I liked. I think I got up to #71 or #72 before I started making CD versions, and then just playlists on an iPod/iPhone. 

The Replacements - Tim

Footnotes:
  1. staff or customers []
Categories
Film

2020 Oscars

9 great movies

A mid-range Oscar night, not as bad as some, not as good as others. Martin Scorsese got blanked, again. Happy that Parasite won big, even though I haven’t yet seen the film, because the director/writer, Bong Joon-ho, looked so joyful. I bet that was a good drinking party afterwords. It might still be going on actually! 

The Nation:

Parasite, the astonishing Korean film about the yawning gap between rich and poor in one of the most advanced economies in the world, made history Sunday night by sweeping the top Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best International Feature. Bong Joon-ho, its innovative director, also took the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (with Han Jin-won).

“I’m very ready to drink tonight, until the next morning,” Bong declared in true Korean fashion after accepting his first award of the night for his screenplay. South Koreans are exuberant consumers of alcohol, a habit that makes for raucous social interactions but also reflects the anxieties and stress of a country divided by class and split along national lines.

But on this occasion, Bong’s desire to crack open a beer—or, more likely, a bottle of soju—was a cry of unmistakable joy. “We never write to represent our country, but this is very personal to South Korea,” he said while accepting his award for best screenplay.

The awards capped a remarkable night for Bong, who is now the leading light of the century-old Korean film industry. And it was a triumph for the incredible cast of actors—led by the beloved Song Kang-ho—who transformed Bong’s story of class conflict in high-tech South Korea into a remarkable window into the human condition in the 21st century.

 

(click here to continue reading The ‘Parasite’ Oscar Sweep Is a Triumph for South Korean Culture | The Nation.)

Also enjoyed Brad Pitt’s dig at the show-trial in the Trump Impeachment saga…

Variety:

During his speech, Pitt also got political, calling out the Trump impeachment trial for blocking the testimony of former national security adviser John Bolton.

“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” he said on stage. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it — in the end, the adults do the right thing.”

 

(click here to continue reading Brad Pitt Wins Oscar, Calls Out Trump Impeachment Trial – Variety.)

Don’t understand why Eminem performed a song that was a hit like 20 years ago, but  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

USA Today:

The rapper, 47, surprised by turning up at the awards show at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre on Sunday to perform his track “Lose Yourself” – earning a slew of reactions from celebs in the audience and fans watching at home.

The 2002 track was featured in the film “8 Mile” and won an Oscar for best original song the following year. Eminem skipped the awards show and missed out on performing it at the time.

On Twitter, he partially quoted the lyrics of the song following the head-turning performance that left some fans wondering why he was on the Oscars stage.

“Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity… Thanks for having me @TheAcademy. Sorry it took me 18 years to get here,” he tweeted with a video clip of Barbra Streisand presenting the award years ago.

 

(click here to continue reading Oscars 2020: Eminem ‘Lose Yourself’ performance shocks, confuses.)

Categories
Music Suggestions

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations Album Review

Lindsay Zoladz, Pitchfork:

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit Buffy Sainte-Marie’s cosmic, groundbreaking 1969 album, an ecstatic invocation of pain, pleasure, and divinity.

Illuminations is a potent artifact from those early days when the synthesizer conjured audible awe and limitless possibility. (Even Giorgio Moroder’s first Moog-driven hit, “Son of My Father,” was not released until 1972.) Illuminations would have been a tough sell in 1969 regardless, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that Sainte-Marie learned another factor in its commercial failure: Because of her activism with the recently formed American Indian Movement (AIM) and her outspoken Vietnam-era pacifism, the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations had both led campaigns to blacklist her music from American radio stations and record stores. “Buffy thought that the decline of her record sales was just part of legitimate changes in American public taste,” her biographer Blair Stonechild wrote in 2012’s Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way. But years after the release of Illuminations, when an American radio DJ was interviewing Sainte-Marie, he shocked her by apologizing for abiding by a government mandate to stop spinning her tunes. She recalled, “He had a letter on White House stationery commending him for suppressing this music, which deserved to be suppressed.”

As the years went by, Illuminations developed something of a cult following; in 1998, the experimental music magazine The Wire put it on a list of “100 Records That Set the World on Fire When Nobody Was Listening.” (“If Dylan going electric in 1965 would have turned folk purists into baying hyenas,” they wrote, “Buffy Sainte-Marie going electronic would have turned them into kill-hungry wolves.”) But, like Sainte-Marie herself, the bewitching, utterly transporting Illuminations has still not gotten a fraction of its due. It is a record overripe for reevaluation—for reasons not limited to but certainly including pissing off the ghost of Richard Nixon.

In the early years of her life, Sainte-Marie experienced much to work in spite of, much to travel beyond. She was born on a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan, though she’s not sure when, or under what circumstances she ended up in an adoption agency. She knows, at least, that she was born sometime in the early 1940s, and that the traumatic practice of ripping indigenous babies from their homes would continue to be common practice in Canada for decades; the phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “Sixties Scoop.” She was adopted by a white family in Wakefield, Massachusetts and given the name Beverley Sainte-Marie.

Buffy had a creative and encouraging mother, but through the Sainte-Marie family she also came in contact with several male relatives, including her adoptive brother, who inflicted upon her years of sexual and emotional abuse.

The Buchla, which would become Sainte-Marie’s instrument, was another beast entirely.

“It wasn’t even as though there was an electric keyboard, it was too early,” she recalled. “We just called it a matrix, a bunch of possibilities you could connect in various ways to modify sound waves.” Subotnik and Don Buchla, who developed the Buchla 100 together in the mid-1960s, were less interested in futurizing recognizable instruments like the piano than they were giving people a blank slate to create new forms. “My basic thought was to be creative with this new instrument,” Subotnik said in a 2017 interview, “to show people how, without black and white keyboards, you could create a new kind of music.” Sainte-Marie—an artist who’d always seen beyond simple binaries—was enamored of this strange new machine.

(click here to continue reading Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations Album Review | Pitchfork.)

I don’t know much about Buffy Sainte-Marie, but I’ve owned this LP for a while, and it is quite intriguing. Give it a spin! Piss off the rotting corpse of Richard Nixon!

Buffy Sainte Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie.PNG

Thom Jurek, Allmusic:

In the year 2000, the Wire magazine picked this spaced out gem from Native American folksinger and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie as one the “100 Albums That Set the World on Fire.” Released in 1969, and now on CD, as of 2001, it was reissued as an import on 180 gram vinyl with its original glorious artwork and package. Interestingly enough, it’s a record Sainte-Marie doesn’t even list on her discography on her website. It doesn’t matter whether she cares for it or not, of course, because Illuminations is as prophetic a record as the first album by Can or the psychedelic work of John Martin on Solid Air. For starters, all of the sounds with the exception of a lead guitar on one track and a rhythm section employed on three of the last four selections are completely synthesized from the voice and guitar of Sainte-Marie herself.

This is poetry as musical tapestry and music as mythopoetic sonic landscape; the weirdness on this disc is over-exaggerated in comparison to its poetic beauty. It’s gothic in temperament, for that time anyway, but it speaks to issues and affairs of the heart that are only now beginning to be addressed with any sort of constancy — check out the opener “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” or the syncopated blues wail in “Suffer the Children” or the arpeggiated synthesized lyrics of “The Vampire.” When the guitars begin their wail and drone on “The Angel,” the whole record lifts off into such a heavenly space that Hans Joachim Rodelius must have heard it back in the day, because he uses those chords, in the same order and dynamic sense, so often in his own music. Some may be put off by Sainte-Marie’s dramatic delivery, but that’s their loss; this music comes from the heart — and even space has a heart, you know. One listen to the depth of love expressed on “The Angel” should level even the crustiest cynic in his chair. Combine this with the shriek, moan, and pure-lust wail of “With You, Honey” and “He’s a Keeper of the Fire” — you can hear where Tim Buckley conceived (read: stole) the entirety of Greetings From LA from, and Diamanda Galas figured out how to move across octaves so quickly. The disc closes with the gothic folk classic “Poppies,” the most tripped out, operatic, druggily beautiful medieval ballad ever psychedelically sung.

(click here to continue reading Illuminations – Buffy Sainte-Marie | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic.)

Categories
politics religion

The Family: inside the sinister sect that has infected western democracy

If you haven’t watched the 5 episodes of The Family on Netflix – based on Jeff Sharlet’s book of the same name, you should. Fascinating, and a bit creepy. Jesus has no place in the corridors of power, per my reading of the Christian Bible, but these dudes think otherwise.

The Guardian:

The series profiles an American evangelical Christian organisation, sometimes dubbed “the Family” but more often known as the Fellowship – which presumably was felt to lack the connotations of death cults and organised crime that make for a juicy documentary title. For decades, the Fellowship was overseen by the mysterious Doug Coe: a series of amusingly Zelig-esque photographs of him lurking smoothly behind US presidents and foreign leaders confirms Coe (who did Netflix’s lawyers a favour by dying in 2017) as the most powerful guy you never heard of.

It is made clear to Sharlet that the gang he has joined is all about power, based on a Bible reading that sees Jesus – and, in the Fellowship’s reading of its favourite scripture story, murderous home-wrecker David – as a sort of original alpha male, lending legitimacy to men who believe they have been chosen to be in charge. The faith and devotion are perfunctory, a means to an end, an excuse.

The Family’s focus on the Fellowship hides what is really a portrait of the whole “Christian” right wing in the US – as well as the type of (white) man who has thoroughly infected western postwar politics. A stale whiff of viciously inadequate masculinity hangs over the whole show, from the young Fellows’ awkwardly enforced celibacy to the episode that sets out how Fellowship missionaries have been sent to less developed countries that might be vulnerable to campaigns against gay rights. As an LGBT activist in Romania puts it: “They have a purpose in their life now. To hate you.”

(click here to continue reading The Family: inside the sinister sect that has infected western democracy | Television & radio | The Guardian.)

As an aside, I knew that Hillary and Bill Clinton were at the least allies of Doug Coe’s group, one of the reasons I’ve never supported them. I did not know until I started browsing the Wikipedia entry on The Fellowship (aka The Family) that Senator Amy Klobuchar was the chairperson of The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast in 2010. Ewww. No wonder I don’t support her for president

National Prayer Breakfast keynote and chairs
National Prayer Breakfast.PNG

Categories
politics

Democratic Debate in New Hampshire

Well, I watched as much of the debate last night as my liver could tolerate. No candidate changed my mind, I have the same rough ranking of all the Democrats on the stage, if my state’s primary were tomorrow, I know who I’d chose. If my preferred candidate is not still in the race by the time that happens, I have backups.

Any of them are better than The Dotard.

Categories
Business

Pot Store Near Addiction Center vs Alcohol Sale Near Addiction Center

Wishbone

Ally Marotti of the Chicago Tribune reports:

A marijuana company wants to open a dispensary in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood that would be near trendy restaurants and boutiques. It also would be on the same block as an addiction treatment center.
“This will trigger patients to relapse,” said Dan Lustig, a psychologist who is president and CEO of Haymarket Center.

NuMed wants to open its dispensary on the second floor of 935 W. Randolph St., above Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. Haymarket Center is at 932 W. Washington Blvd. If NuMed’s dispensary opens as planned, the entrance will be on North Sangamon Street, on the same block as entrances to Haymarket.

(click here to continue reading Pot store near addiction center ‘cannot possibly be a good idea’ – Chicago Tribune.)

I struggle to understand this logic. Is a cannabis store more likely to be a trouble to the neighborhood than an establishment that sells alcohol? Because also within a block of the Haymarket Center are several restaurants that serve wine, whiskey, beer and so forth. There is even a proposed Jerry Garcia themed jazz club to open in the former location of Wishbone, less than half a block away on the same street. People are not allowed to consume cannabis on location, but they can drink until the room spins. Is Dan Lustig also trying to turn this area of the West Loop into an alcohol free zone? If not, why not?

In my experience, alcohol is more of a trigger for addicts than cannabis. Granted I am not the CEO of a treatment center with a vested interest to get my name in the newspaper, but come on. 

 Grateful Dead

BlockClubChicago:

After rent hikes forced beloved West Loop restaurant Wishbone to relocate from its longtime home, the space could soon be turned into a lively jazz venue paying homage to Jerry Garcia, the late guitarist of the Grateful Dead.

Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro has been in talks to bring a Jerry Garcia-themed jazz venue to the vacant restaurant space at 1001 W. Washington Blvd., according to multiple sources familiar with the project.

The West Loop venue will be themed around Garcia, who died in 1995 at age 53, and will be a seated, traditional jazz club, a source said. The venue will also feature an accompanying restaurant.

 

(click here to continue reading Jerry Garcia-Themed Jazz Venue Could Come To West Loop’s Old Wishbone Thanks To Brooklyn Bowl Owner – Block Club Chicago.)

Categories
Personal

Photograph Titles Continued

Sometimes my system of “mad libbing” my poems1 into photo titles works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe then I should reshuffle somehow, and rename images with the better name. Nobody would even notice but me.

As Close To Yesterday

Self Balance

Reckless To The Point Of Being Honest

Honest To The Point of Imbalance

Footnotes:

  1. and let’s be honest, borrowing other people’s lines too []