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"Seeds of Change". Creator:Drew Paonessa
I Hear America Singing      

by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
     singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
     at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
     the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
     robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.


Bonnie Raitt: Thank God for Occupy

The whole idea of the election year being an auction instead of an election is just so abhorrent to me. Thank God for Occupy and thank God for “The Daily Show,” Colbert and the rising up that’s going on around the world. I salute all the people who are finally pissed off enough to get out in the street.

[ ... ]

Is “Used to Rule the World,” the opener on “Slipstream,” meant to comment on Occupy?

I liked the song before the Occupy movement was happening. Randall Bramblett wrote the song, and he’s been doing it for years. It’s not just about America; it’s about how everybody gets a reckoning in their lives. When you’re in your 20s, you think you’ve got it made, but by the time you’re in your 40s or 50s, you realize there was more to it than you thought. But also, we just have to take a look at the hubris and arrogance that makes us think we’re the quote-unquote First World, that we have a right to go on a rampage and have more than what we need and ignore the rest of the world. That’s broad strokes. I don’t mean to be so reductionist, and certainly the song has resonance on a lot of different levels. A lot of political music to me can be rather pedantic and corny, and when it’s done right — like Bruce Springsteen or Jackson Browne or great satire from Randy Newman, there’s nothing better.

OWS Updates for the Week of April 4

The #AmericanSpring is here, so ‘Take a Chance’ with us. Below you will find a Great Meeting, Kiss-in against Corporate Greed, Eviction Theater and many other chances to assemble, learn and celebrate.

[ ... ]

[ Editor's note: Selected events below.  More here ]

Spring Training: Weekly Wall Street Marches
Friday, April 6th, 2:00pm
Liberty Square
Every Friday at 2PM, Occupy Wall Street will converge in the streets once again and launch the first in a series of spring training marches from Liberty Square to Wall Street in preparation for May Day [ ... ]

OWS Open Space
Friday April 6, 2012, 6pm to 10pm
Unity Hall, 235 West 23rd Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue [ ... ]

NYC Kiss-in Against Student Debt and Corporate Greed
Saturday, April 7th, 10am-12pm
Union Square
If the banks can make out like bandits, so can we. [ ... ]

Train the Trainers, Educate the Educators, Facilitate the Facilitators w/Jason Ahmadi
Sunday April 8th, 5pm-8pm
220 E 23rd St. 7th Floor
This Easter Sunday, member sof Direct Action will be hosting a workshop to share skills in giving what is known in the activist scene as Non-Violent Direct Action trainings. [ ... ]

Eviction Theatre
Every evening we are at Union Square Park, 1130pm - 1230am
Union Square Join the NYC Community as they bear witness to a nightly mini-raid eviction that begins at the stroke of midnight. Witness comedic feats of strength as NYPD & The Occupy Movement say goodnight to one another in a theatrical setting. [ ... ]

Spring Awakening 2012: Occupy NYC People's Assembly: April 14, 2012
Join Occupy Wall Street on #A14 to kick off exciting spring and summer events. On April 14th, New York City will converge on Central Park to unite with organizations and activists to create a transformative, citywide, mass movement.

** A Day Without the 99%: May Day 2012
The 1% needs us to continue reaping their profits, but WE DON'T NEED THE 1%. This May Day, Occupy Wall Street, in coalition with numerous other organizations and occupations, calls for a Day Without The 99%: No Work, No School, No Shopping, No Housework, No Compliance. Let's take the streets, reclaim our communities, and support each other. NOT the 1%. On May 1st, let us stand together to reclaim our jobs, our communities, our lives. Withdraw your consent and strike! [ ... ]

The foreclosure fraud sell out settlement paved the way for the banks to start the engines of the big foreclosure machine again even though the underlying problem is not fixed.  Nice deal, huh? And the banks paid a pittance in fines - their investors will foot the bill and they got a slippery deal on credits toward those fines too. The mortgage mod program is a real stinker. They can even keep illegally foreclosing too, as long as they don't do too much of it. All kinds of good stuff in that thing... for the banks.    It is historic. Truly.  
Americans brace for next foreclosure wave

"We are right back where we were two years ago. I would put money on 2012 being a bigger year for foreclosures than 2010," said Mark Seifert, executive director of Empowering & Strengthening Ohio's People (ESOP), a counseling group with 10 offices in Ohio.

"Last year was an anomaly, and not in a good way," he said.

In 2011, the "robo-signing" scandal, in which foreclosure documents were signed without properly reviewing individual cases, prompted banks to hold back on new foreclosures pending a settlement.

Five major banks eventually struck that settlement with 49 U.S. states in February. Signs are growing the pace of foreclosures is picking up again, something housing experts predict will again weigh on home prices before any sustained recovery can occur.

Across America, public-sector job cuts take a heavy toll

The per-capita employment rate in public education, by far the largest sector of government hiring, is at the lowest level since 1999. And the rate of public employment outside of education has fallen to the 1986 level, said Nicholas Johnson, vice president for state fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank.

When the recession hit, Johnson said 33 states raised tax rates, but that wasn't enough to make up for the decline in property, sales and income tax revenues, which still haven't fully recovered. Johnson said the recession caused 41 states to raise state-college tuition and lay off university staff; 30 cut funding for local school districts; 25 cut funding for seniors and people with disabilities; and 30 states cut the availability of health care services.

[ ... ]

In 2010, the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington studied this teacher "churn" caused by "last in, first out" layoff policies at the 15 largest school districts in California. They found that for teachers with up to two years' experience, high-poverty schools would lose 30 percent more teachers than wealthier schools, while schools with the most minorities would lose "a staggering 60 percent more teachers than would the schools with the fewest minority students."

Finance expert says speculators are behind high oil and gasoline prices

WASHINGTON — Financial speculators are gambling on oil the same way they gambled on the housing market a few years ago — a frightening prospect for the fragile economy, a Democratic congressional committee was told Wednesday.

"It is similar to the gambling Wall Street did on whether or not people would pay their subprime (below-market rate) mortgages in the mortgage meltdown," said Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former federal regulator of financial markets. "Now they are betting on the upward direction of the price of oil."

[ ... ]

Today's routine $4-and-higher prices for a gallon of gasoline have nothing to do with conventional supply-and-demand forces, Greenberger said. He formerly directed regulation of market trading in futures contracts and derivatives for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

"It is excessive speculation, which is a fancy word for saying that gamblers wearing Wall Street suits have taken these markets over," he said.

A decade later, military tribunal show trials, which means they can use hearsay evidence acquired by using torture.
US to try five 9/11 suspects at Guantanamo

The US has announced charges against Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on its territory, along with four other alleged plotters, vowing to seek the death penalty in the military trial.

The five suspects will face charges of terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war and other counts.

[ ... ]

The trial, which could be months away, will be held at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the US government has set up special military commissions to try terrorism suspects

This One Time, We All Got Bandanas: Bruuuuuuuuce Returns to D.C.
Another highlight was “American Skin (41 Shots),” a song he wrote after Amadou Diallo, an unarmed Guinean immigrant, was shot and killed on the steps of his apartment building by four New York City police officers in plainclothes in 1999. All four were tried and acquitted. Then-NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani condemned The Boss for performing the song, and the NYPD revoked Springsteen’s police escort out of Madison Square Garden on at least one occasion, but as with "Born in the U.S.A.," the song is easily misread if you only pay attention to the chorus. It’s come out of mothballs at recent concerts as a comment on the killing of Trayvon Martin, though Springsteen did not mention Martin’s name from the stage last night.
It's amazing how left leaning TV and radio has such a hard time staying in business while right-wing stuff thrives.
Exclusive: Low ratings could end cable deal for Gore's Current TV

According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Inc's carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operator's systems are triggered.

If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.

Taking people with him on his way down?
Murdoch's media empire strikes back

The Sunday Times mounted a old-fashioned sting operation in which reporters posing as international financiers were promised exclusive access to Prime Minister David Cameron in exchange for donations of 250,000 pounds ($400,000) a year.

The article led to the immediate resignation of a senior fundraiser from the ruling Conservative party, forced Cameron to disclose details of people who dined at his private apartment, and sparked a discussion about party funding.

Days earlier, the Sun tabloid hijacked the national debate about the country's 2012 budget by seizing on an obscure tax the government planned to impose on hot pies, seen as a staple of a working-class diet, and offering a free pie to every reader.

A week later, Cameron, his finance minister and the opposition leader were still vying with one another to be seen as the most avid pie-eater, tucking into pasties, pies and sausage rolls at every photo opportunity.

Now remember, the cost of air conditioning housing for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan cost a billion dollars more than the entire NASA budget.
NASA budget might have less space for planetary science

President Barack Obama's $17.7 billion budget request for NASA for the 2013 fiscal year includes a $300 million cut to planetary science, the very work JPL specializes in.

[ ... ]
"We're making intriguing progress in identifying the building blocks of life in other places," Schiff said in an interview. "To walk back from that and leave those questions unanswered means that we step back from potentially game-changing revelations about the origins of life in the universe, about our place in the cosmos. It's hard to put a price tag on that."

orly? Then why didn't you do it a long time ago?  Amazing that so many claimed that doing this would be such a problem.  A travesty.
Impact of ending military's 'don't ask, don't tell' law 'negligible'

It's perhaps most noteworthy because of the source: No branch of the armed services was more skeptical about repealing the policy on gays in the military than the Marines.

After several months, the impact, according to the military, was summed up by Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby: "Impact?" he said. "Negligible, if that."

Across the military, retention is high. Recruitment is at 100 percent of goals. Military officials say they're unaware of any discipline issues relating to gays serving openly.

Union Square: Now The Very Model Of A Modern Major Police State

Union Square park has historically served as a rallying point for political movements in America—on the first Labor Day celebration in 1882, for instance, some 10,000 workers amassed there. These days you need a permit for more than 200 people to get together anywhere in NYC, and since the early morning of March 21st, the NYPD has been closing Union Square around midnight, ostensibly for cleaning (and to comply with Parks Department curfew). Early this morning, even the sidewalk on the southern edge of the park was closed by cops, who carried out a weary pas de deux with a handful Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, in what has become a dreary nightly ritual of oppression.

Charges Dropped Against Manhattan Councilman In OWS Sweep

Charges have been dropped against a Manhattan councilman arrested during the eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was among dozens of people arrested in the early morning hours of November 15 when police cleared the park in Lower Manhattan. The lawmaker claims he was physically attacked by several police officers with night sticks.

[ ... ]

His attorney claims the officer never existed.

"I think this was driven by false police statements. I think Councilmember Rodriguez is fortunate enough that his case is scrutinized carefully enough that such fabrications come to light," said attorney Andrew Stoll.

Originally posted to Team DFH on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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