February 22, 2007

I heard there was a secret chord that David played
and it pleased the lord
but you don’t really care for music do ya



Valery Milovic, Love: The Only Engine Of Survival, 2000

This is the first in a series of paintings inspired by the music/poetry of artist, Leonard Cohen. The title of this painting came from Cohen's song, The Future.

* Matt Taibbi. excerpt:

"While America obsessed about Brittany's shaved head, Bush offered a budget that offers $32.7 billion in tax cuts to the Wal-Mart family alone, while cutting $28 billion from Medicaid.

Now, after she shaved her head in a bizarre episode that culminates a months-long saga of controversial behavior, it's the question being asked by her fans, her foes and the general public: What was she thinking?"-- Bald and Broken: Inside Britney's Shaved Head, Sheila Marikar, ABC.com, Feb. 19


"What was she thinking? How about nothing? How about who gives a shit? How's that for an answer, Sheila Marikar of ABC news, you pinhead?

"I'm not one of those curmudgeons who freaks out every time that Bradgelina moves the war off the front page of the Post, or Katie Couric decides to usher in a whole new era of network news with photos of the imbecile demon-spawn of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I understand that we live in a demand-based economy and that there is far more demand for brainless celebrity bullshit than there is, say, for the fine print of the Health and Human Services budget.

"But that was before this week. I awoke this morning in New York City to find Britney Spears plastered all over the cover of two gigantic daily newspapers, simply because she cut her hair off over the weekend. To me, this crosses a line. My definition of a news story involves something happening. If nothing happens, then you can't have 'news,' because nothing has changed since the day before. Britney Spears was an idiot last Thursday, an idiot on Friday, and an idiot on both Saturday and Sunday. She was, shockingly, also an idiot on Monday. It will be news when she stops being an idiot, and we'll know when that happens, because she'll have shot herself for the good of the planet. Britney Spears cutting her hair off is the least-worthy front page news story in the history of humanity.
...
"On the same day that Britney was shaving her head, a guy I know who works in the office of Senator Bernie Sanders sent me an email. He was trying very hard to get news organizations interested in some research his office had done about George Bush's proposed 2008 budget, which was unveiled two weeks ago and received relatively little press, mainly because of the controversy over the Iraq war resolution. All the same, the Bush budget is an amazing document. It would be hard to imagine a document that more clearly articulates the priorities of our current political elite.

"Not only does it make many of Bush's tax cuts permanent, but it envisions a complete repeal of the Estate Tax, which mainly affects only those who are in the top two-tenths of the top one percent of the richest people in this country. The proposed savings from the cuts over the next decade are about $442 billion, or just slightly less than the amount of the annual defense budget (minus Iraq war expenses). But what's interesting about these cuts are how Bush plans to pay for them.

"Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

"The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

"Or how about this: if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation -- some of the world's evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D'Ivoire -- if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in tax breaks. That's more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.
...
"Here's the thing about the system of news coverage we have today. If the Walton family, or Lee Raymond, or the heirs to the Mars fortune actually needed the news media to work better than it does now, believe me, it would work better. But they have no such need, because the system is working just fine for them as is. The people it's failing are the rest of us, and most of the rest of us, apparently, would rather sniff Anna Nicole Smith's corpse or watch Britney Spears hump a fire hydrant than find out what our tax dollars are actually paying for.

"Shit, when you think about it that way, why not steal from us? People that dumb don't deserve to have money." Read the whole article.

* David Axelrod on Phil Spector (from 2005):

Interviewer: So, your production and arranging style wasn't a response to that of, say, Phil Spector?

Axelrod: I nevr paid a lot of attention to him anyway. I wasn't aware of him. What did I care what Phil spector was doing? I didn't listen to his records. And I never went for that 'Wall of Sound' thing. Spector just booked the studio. It was Jack Nitzsche who did the arrangements. He was a weird dude, but I liked him a lot.

Interviewer: So you're saying that the arranger should have gotten credit for developing the Wall of Sound?

Axelrod: I always thought the engineer at Gold Star [Studios] should have gotten about half the credit for that. He had a studio that would hold fourteen people, and in walks Spector with twenty people. You have to give credit to the engineer to make it possible to hear anything. And still have room to record the singers. He probably called Spector a fucking idiot.

Interviewer: We can't print that, can we?

Axelrod: Why not? Is he paying your salary? Fuck him...

* "That's one reason why it's pretty worthless, I can't totally buy it, if you think about it, it's things like the Phil Spector records. On one level they were rebellion, on another level they were keeping the teenager in his place." -- Lester Bangs

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