Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold

Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold
click pic to reminisce

Giants Tix, April 2014  

Posted by howard in nyc


I'm using them.  Until the end of the month.

About time I get to use these tix.  It has been a few years since I had a nice long California trip.  This time a little biz, a little pleasure, a lot of Giants baseball.

Same story as prior years.  I will put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when i am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value varies between $37 and $87. Price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Here are the April dates.  I'll try to keep the site updated. Tix for May will be posted soon (but I'm gonna get to use a bunch of those too.)

shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog.

Fri, 4/25
Sun, 4/27
Indians  face $58
Indians  face $58

Mon, 4/28
Padres  face $377:15p 
Tue, 4/29Padres face $377:15p
Wed, 4/30Padres face $377:15p 

How Long? Not Long!  

Posted by howard in nyc


I haven't posted for months, because events are just the same ol' same ol'. Waiting for the end of the House of Cards Economy (not a knock on Netflix, which is dead if the net neutrality case stands).  Most that I might record here is just repetition.  And the failure of the nation to respond rationally to the Edward Snowden disclosures of how our privacy is utterly stolen and gone leaves me nearly speechless.

Let me wallow in the past today.  I posted this on the sportsfrog:

MLK Day 2014--How Long? Not Long!

Postby Howard » 20 Jan 2014 15:44 

"…because no lie can live forever"

What the heck, let me say something good about a black man in a position of power.

The deep love and hope I hold for my country is deeply rooted in the revolution of civil rights and freedom that unfolded before my young eyes across the late 50s and the entirety of the 60s. The rapidity of change, from a segregated, two-tiered society that featured regular lynchings and drastically different economic and employment opportunities based solely on skin color, to statutory declaration and broad enforcement of equality before the law and before the power of government, shaped my little mind as well as the direction of our country.

Our nation did not establish perfect equality of opportunity in a fifteen year period. But damn if we didn't make phenomenal progress toward that ideal, over a time period no more than a mere blink of an eye on the scale of history. And we continued to make phenomenal progress for at least another two decades.

Our nation did not erase racism in the hearts and minds of the people overnight, or over the six decades since Ms. Parks refused. But damn if we didn't erase such a vast amount of that irrational hatred that the thought of a lynching in Mississippi going unrecognized, much less unpunished is ludicrous. That a man with brown skin has been elected president by the power of the vote of millions of white American citizens.

What I have seen my nation achieve over the course of the first half of my lifetime is nothing less than a miracle of human action. As far as I know, unparalleled in recorded history (and I welcome correction to this conclusion, please.)

We are not a racially equal society. We do not have fairness and colorblind opportunity (economic and otherwise.) But we are so much closer to those ideals than we are to the status of black and brown Americans in 1950.

I am troubled not by the failure to make more progress, much less by the failure to achieve a colorblind society. While I am cheered by and grateful for the freedoms I enjoy daily in this society, so different than the society of the recent past, I am troubled by my sense that we have ceased to progress, and that we are moving in the wrong direction, regarding not only race, but regarding other measures of fairness, equality and opportunity.

However, few things in nature or in human history move in a straight line. I was spoiled because the 'arc of the moral universe' appeared to move in a steep, straight line during my youth. Sections of that curve were quite straight, if observed from a vantage not too close and not too far. Probably an illusion, magnified by my temporal bias.

Great forces of masses of people interact with individuals, great and small, to create historical changes. Segregated America was bound to change, based on the forces embodied in the masses, black and white, forces build up over decades if not over centuries. But the time, place and expression of those forces were shaped by individuals, some whose names are famous, some whose names are unknown.

No individual shaped and directed those mass forces with more import than Dr. King. Pretty damn skillfully too; the positive effectiveness of his acts are undeniable. Perfect he was not, as a strategist, as a tactician, as a human being, he made plenty of mistakes. Hell, even as an orator he erred (but not very often). But that is just nitpicking; his record and his legacy as the leader of the movement toward civil rights for all Americans establishes him as one of the most important historic individuals of 20th Century America. No non-president and few presidents were more important individuals in shaping our recent history.

I always liked this speech.

Full text and audio, about 30 minutes (click):

Text only (click):

Video of end of speech (with money quote):

Video of first five minutes(click).

Why So Syria?  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,



The confused foreign policy of this administration would be comical, were so much not at stake.  The USA's top diplomat makes a careless offhand remark, at the end of a press conference rife with multiple errors spoken by our Secretary of State (detailed here).

Kerry says, a war can be avoided if Assad gives up his chemical weapons by the end of the week.  Assad says, OK, fine.  Hummanma hummanma wait, I didn't really mean it.

Jeebus, where to start?

Well, we've seen two dictators in the same region agree to give up their chemical weapons under US and international pressure.  Saadam, and Kaadafy.  How'd that work out?  They got their asses regime changed anyway.  I'd put my money on three for three.

While we're at it, are we gonna ask Israel to give up their chemical weapons too?  Are we gonna give up ours?

While I am confident the USA has an arsenal of poison gas which our leaders have no intention of relinquishing, I really don't care about that.  Because it is a matter of physical fact that napalm, Agent Orange, depleted uranium and white phosphorus are chemical weapons.  And a matter of historic fact is that the USA has used these chemicals to kill people.  Recently too; not way back in the ancient history of Vietnam.  All these were used in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Yet our leaders, with straight faces, profess to punish someone else for using chemical weapons to kill.  The punishment?  We are gonna Kill Syrians to show Syria that Killing Syrians is wrong.

I can't decide which is worse, that millions of Americans agree, or that millions of Americans would agree were this a GOP president doing the same thing, or that millions of Americans cannot be bothered to pay attention.  I'll go with 'C', just barely.

The fake morality of the whole spectacle is just the worst.  The fairy tale that we are so Morally Outraged by the murderous Assad regime that the policemen of the world must murder, and/or change regime.  Even a child can see this warmongering of the past two decades, continuing through this day and hour, has nothing to do with morality.

There are the many many instances of truly outrageous mass murder which passes unpunished.  There are many, many people and groups that benefit greatly from warfare in particular places, usually where there happens to be oil and gas.  Moral outrage is a convenient excuse, nothing more.

This war is probably gonna happen, regardless of Obama's stumbling and Kerry's bumbling.  Regardless of all the lies, contradictions and misstatements shoveled in our general direction over the past three weeks.  Regardless of the blatant illogic of doubling down on our financial support of the same muslim extremists who are our sworn enemy of the past twenty years (the first World Trade Center bombing), by being their Air Force.   

Too many people want this war.  They don't give a fuck about morality, popular opinion, or anything other than power, money, and getting what they want.  A much larger number of too many people don't care enough to stand up and stop them.  It might be delayed a few weeks or months; maybe we'll get lucky again.

World War III, Delayed For Now  

Posted by howard in nyc


The absolute madness of pouring gasoline and Tomahawk missiles onto the flames of the proxy civil warfare in Syria has been put on hold.  The price, further loss of credibility in the honor and logic of the foreign policies of both our nation and our current puppet in a nice suit, a huge bargain.  I don't even mind the Obama apologists, sycophants and fan bois praising his restraint, morality or strategic/political insight; you go on! Yeah, genius! I won't even bring up the self-contradictory empty rhetoric of the past weeks or the abundant evidence of Obama's feckless incompetence hidden behind generally good, sometimes exceptional public relations.  Oops, I just did; just ignore that lapse in manners as most of reality is ignored these days.

I'll take a few days/weeks/even months of delay in adding overt American military involvement in a battlefield already crowded with Hezballah brigades, Iranian advisers, Al Qaada gangs, Russian weapons and occasional Israeli air strikes.  Our contributions to date of weapons, cash, CIA operatives and various special forces troops are plenty, for the time being.

But now, we are going to be required, as good little sheep, to follow the deliberations and political machinations of our wise representatives in Congress to decide this huge moral issue, regarding entry into yet another war.

Nope.  Not me.  Not the Kid.  No fucking way will I watch a minute of this latest charade for our entertainment and mental enslavement.

 I literally could not possibly care less how the US Senate and the so-called House of Representatives votes on this matter.  Because what they do has zero connection to any objective reality, regarding war, peace or democracy in our country.

The 535 voting members of the US Congress have been for a number of years, and continue to be, completely bought and paid for.  With a few exceptions, numbering maybe in the low double digits, they do not represent the people of their districts and states.

They represent, and they do the bidding of the people that pay them.  They do as they are told by the very small number of parties that provide the financing of their campaigns.  Those same small number of parties lobby those voting members, which is a polite way of saying 'tell them how to vote and what to do'.

This applies for the momentous decision whether to start WW3 this month, or set it aside for the future.

We will be treated to the farcical concept that the will of the American people will be expressed by this Congressional vote.  An old joke that stopped being funny around the time the Patriot Act was passed.  That was annoying each time the Patriot Act was renewed.  That became downright offensive when the TARP bailout of Wall Street, initially rejected by Representatives who were actually representing, was pushed through via bribes, promises, and reminders of who was really in charge of this country.  The unfunny joke is merely a fairy tale that millions still believe.  That the will and desire of the actual people of this country matters a wit, in matters of war and wealth.

American involvement in war in Syria will be decided by the bankers, by the MIC, by the oil and gas conglomerates, by the rest of the big business community, by AIPAC/Israel, by the usual suspects.  Congress will not make the decision.  Congress will be told how to vote, or their vote will be negated.  All it takes is a new 'terrorist attack', or a sinking of an American warship, or closure of a key canal/strait through which oil flows, or even Obama deciding, 'fuck Congress; Ima gunna attack anyways' and making up some bullshit cover story based on 'intelligence' (now that term never ceases to crack me up, so there is that).

The vote up or down in Congress is already determined.  Or it isn't.  It doesn't matter how they vote.  Because if they vote 'yes' and those in control want 'no', it will be NO.  Or vice-versa; if Congress says 'no', they'll just fake an attack on Americans or change some other variable, and it will be on like Major Kong.  What Congress does over the next two weeks makes zero difference; I will not be pretending otherwise.

If what the Congress decided actually counted, they'd make it illegal.

Giants Tix, August 2013  

Posted by howard in nyc


Sorry updates have been tardy.  Just give me a call or email if you want my seats.

Same story as prior years.  I will put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when i am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value varies between $37 and $80. Price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Here are the dates for August. 

shoot me an email anytime, or comment on the blog.

 SOLDMon, 8/5    Brewers   7:15pSOLD 
SOLDTue, 8/6    Brewers   7:15pSOLD 
SOLDWed, 8/7    Brewers    7:15pSOLD
SOLDThu, 8/8    Brewers    12:45pSOLD

SOLDFri, 8/9    Orioles    7:15pSOLD

SOLD   Sat, 8/10    Orioles    1:05p SOLD
SOLDSun, 8/11    Orioles    1:05pSOLD

SOLD Mon, 8/19    Red Sox   7:15pm SOLD
SOLD Tue, 8/20    Red Sox    7:15pm SOLD
SOLD Wed, 8/21    Red Sox  12:45pm
Thu, 8/22    Pirates    7:15p
Fri, 8/23    Pirates    7:15p

SOLD  Sat, 8/24    Pirates    6:05p  SOLD
 Sun, 8/25    Pirates    1:05p

Enough is Enough  

Posted by howard in nyc


The funny thing about the proverbial last straw of hay that breaks the camel's back.  Knowing when and which is difficult to impossible, even when one knows not much more can be added to the load, without disaster as a result.

I'm talking 'bout me, not the economy.  Specifically, me and the nine wise old white people in black robes (yeah, I said it, Clarence; I grant you honorary whiteness, which I hope will please you and satisfy your long-standing desires.  Sonia, sorry, I don't mean to be rude to you; I was just making a cheap Justice Thomas joke; you still brown.)  I've had enough of the Supreme Court of the United States.

I easily could've reached this point after Bush v. Gore 2000 (instead I yielded to the obvious logic that 5 is greater than 4, hence dubya won the election).  The blow to private property rights that was Kelo v. City of New London 2005 could have easily been my last straw, being such a big fan of government protection of private property rights.  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010 was the relative breaking point for many other progressive-minded citizens, although for far too many folks this served as a bullshit rationale to vote to re-elect the Nobel winning war monger.  We need slightly less horrible Supreme Court justices, so in two or three decades we can get some small return of some of our constitutionally guaranteed rights!  Not even the hilarity of a free market GOP appointed chief justice casting the deciding vote upholding Obamacare, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius 2012 (they didn't even give it a cool, easily remembered name).

No, I continued to pay attention to the joke that the Supreme Court has become.  I continued to behave as if what these esteemed nine people thought and ruled was based on some logic or rationality, other than keep the power flowing to the clowns in the center, keep the wealth flowing from the many to the few.

Until now.  Shelby County v. Holder 2013.  That will be enough, thank you.  You kind folks repealed two aspects of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, despite their continued effectiveness all these decades, despite their recent renewals by votes in Congress.  While you folks are fine and dandy with increasing Federal power over so many other areas of our lives, you gut federal power where it is utilized, successfully (easily demonstrable to anyone who can count), to let people vote.

Yeah, I'm through with y'all.  I should've been long ago, as the rule of law is a joke at so many other levels of the system.  When Jon Corzine is two years later charged with a civil violation for his theft of $1 billion, but a physician who's secretary writes down the wrong four-digit diagnostic code, accidentally overcharging Medicare $12 is threatened with a criminal fraud charge and fucking prison, I persisted in actually reading, paying attention to, and actually caring about Supreme Court decisions.  No más.  You nine are just another bunch of clowns in the show; as relevant to reality or history as was the Tawney court that rendered Dred Scott v. Sandford 1857, which was in turn rendered null and void a brief four years later.  Or the abject joke that was Plessy v. Ferguson 1896--calling something equal somehow didn't magically make them equal--imagine that!

You folks go into that same dustbin, reserved for honored jurists who served entrenched elite interests, until rolled over by history and reality.  Not 'will be' tossed into that dustbin; I'm putting you there right now.  Cause I's hads enoughs; and enoughs is too muchs!

Stop, Look and Listen  

Posted by howard in nyc


People just don't listen.  This simple fact I have had a difficult time accepting, hence I need to be slapped in the face over and over before the fact sinks in.

Yesterday was the most recent slap.  I met a dude in the locker room at the gym (get your minds out of the gutter--anyway, it's consenting adults, dammit!) We engaged in a friendly, amicable politial argument about the direction of the nation, and our objections to the president's five-year reign.

As anyone who knows me or reads this mess of a blog is well aware, I think Barry has been a terrible president.  So did this fellow.  However, his stated reasons for disliking Obama (socializing the whole country, giving away too much to the poor) were very different than mine (ruinous monetary and fiscal policy that favors banks and wall street at the expense of the rest of us, a health care fiasco that enriches pharma and insurance companies at the expense of the rest of us, expanding senseless war and growing security state).

He seemed bemused by our different opinions, and commented (twice) on the beauty of the free exchange of vastly different opinions.  He closed our conversation (or attempted to do so) by saying, "It is good that we disagree; I think Obama is a bad president, while you think he is a great president."

I was momentarily speechless.  I had described my opinion of Obama as a terrible president, as clearly and as vigorously as I typically do; I had clearly stated that what struck me about our argument was our agreement on the conclusion, but our very different reasons for reaching our shared conclusion.  There was no language barrier.

Only a listening barrier.  At some point in our conversation, I have to presume, my new friend had decided 1) this dude disagrees with me; 2) no reason to listen any further to his actual words.

He looked as if he was listening; he responded with the non-verbal and verbal cues typical of someone engaged in a conversational back-and-forth that typically includes listening to one's counterparty.

But had he actually heard and even minimally processed even a fraction of my (voluminous) diatribe, concluding my opinion was that Obama is a great president would've been impossible.

But, a few minutes later, it sunk in just a bit deeper; People just do not listen.

Smart, intelligent, thinking people.  They routinely suspend processing what they see, what they hear, what they read, even what they know to be true.  They do not look, they do not listen, they do not think, because it is so much easier and so much more emotionally satisfying.

Because Amerians have been conditioned to do so, to suspend listening and other higher cognitive processes, in favor of feelings and emotions. Conditioned by literal millions of television ads, entreaties from authority figures their entire lives in school, at work, in encounters with burearcracies and commercial entities engaged in selling and 'customer service'.

Americans are out of practice, this listening and thinking thing.  Just as surely as we are out of practice for this exercise thing.  This eating healthy food thing.

We were taught when crossing a street, we must Stop, Look and Listen.  Somewhere back there, we also were taught to watch, listen and learn.  Think, too.  But, as I get slapped over and over, I need to learn (and accept), there ain't a whole lot of listening going on around here.

I continue to judge the world (and Obama) based on what I see, not what I feel, believe or emote.  Yeah, kinda lonely, this method.  Kinda concerting, too.  Cause I see a lot of bad, weird stuff.  Buildings falling down.  NSA monitoring millions of Americans making billions of phone calls.  Scandals involving the IRS, listening to and intimidating reporters, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, bankers in the cabinet, Holder committing serial perjury.  More and more media emphasis on Justin, Amanda, Paris Jackson, PEDs in baseball and other trivial bullshit.

Things are slowly, yet inexorably falling apart.  I see it; I hear the important sounds they make.  Yeah, it is frustrating because nearly everyone else don't look, don't listen, or don't think enough to be bothered.  I'm getting used to it.