Archive for the 'Other Artists' Category

21
Dec
09

stay in your home!!!

I thought I would share this bit of transcript from Bill Moyers’ piece with Steve Meacham, a community organizer in Boston who is helping people who have been foreclosed on stay in their houses. Remember that many people who are going through foreclosure purchased houses at the peak of the bubble, and signed loans that the lenders knew weren’t safe. Also recall that many of these houses are now worth a helluva lot less than they were when people bought them.

It’s an inspiring piece that shows what some good folks are doing in the face of this absurd madness. You can watch it here:    Bill Moyer’s Journal

STEVE MEACHAM: One of the unheralded things about this crisis right now is that there’s an awful lot of owners who come to us who cannot afford their home at the inflated value, at the adjustable rate mortgage price. But they have plenty of income to afford their home at the real value at a 30-year fixed. And so why not just give them the property back at that amount? If they’re foreclosed on, the best the bank that can do is sell the property at the real value. By definition, that is the absolute best.

If Deutsche Bank forecloses on Joe Schmoe, the best they can do is to sell that property at real value. So if Joe Schmoe can afford the property at real value, why not sell it back to him? But the only reason the banks aren’t doing that is because of what they call moral hazard. They say basically that homeowners should be punished because they signed these loan documents.

These are the same guys who have run our entire economy into the ground and who have been rewarded with billions in taxpayer bailouts and have used billions of that money to give bonuses to the very executives that drove their companies and the whole economy into the ground. And they are citing moral hazard as the reason why they can’t resell that property to the existing homeowners at the real value. That is disgusting and hypocritical and in the extreme.

****

Kind of makes you wonder whether the banks really give a shit about moral hazard or whether this is just a plan to further erode the middle class. It’s just mind numbing to me how this whole financial crisis has panned out, and still the culprits are making off with billions. I guess it will keep on going until there is a movement that demands a stop to it.

As far as I can tell, Obama’s presidency hasn’t done squat to change the culture of Wall Street or Washington. Not that I believed it would, particularly after I saw all the Wall Street and Washington homies he put on his cabinet, but a lot of folks put a lot of faith in him. He sure sold himself as a charismatic and effective leader, but I haven’t seen anything but the contrary from him. It’s a sad state when the best we can say — and I hear many people say it — at least he’s not Bush.

As usual, it’s business as usual.

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27
Sep
09

Afghanistan

There are a million reasons to stay the fuck out of Afghanistan, not that any of our “leaders” will entertain any of them. Hell, we can’t even trust that the reasons we are there have anything to do with what the politicians say. Smoke and mirrors if you ask me; not to mention a lot of useless death. But then, why build a shit pile of bombs if you don’t have a theater to explode them on. Yeah, it’s a cynical view, but it’s probably got a heavier dose of truth in it than you’ll get from any politician.

At any rate, I watched an interview between Lynn Sherr and Rory Stewart on the Bill Moyers Journal, and I have to say that this Stewart dude is one inspiring character. This is a guy who walked the entire length of Afghanistan alone, at the onset of the war while the Taliban was roaming around and Afghanistan had no government. And he did this because he knew that in order to get a sense for what the country was really about, he would have to hang out with the people in the small remote villages where most Afghans live. Talk about cahones!

What he has to say about Afghanistan and the advice he would give our leaders if only they would listen is well worth checking out. Besides that, he shares with us what I consider to be the political analogy of the year. They are talking about Mr. Stewart’s visit with Hillary Clinton, who sought his advice on Afghanistan. I’ll quote it for you:

LYNN SHERR: And again, their reaction? They listen politely, you say?

RORY STEWART: They listen politely, but in the end, of course, basically the policy decision is made. What they would like is little advice on some small bit. I mean, the analogy that one of my colleagues used recently is this: it’s as though they come to you and they say, “We’re planning to drive our car off a cliff. Do we wear a seatbelt or not?” And we say, “Don’t drive your car off the cliff.” And they say, “No, no, no. That decision’s already made. The question is should we wear our seatbelts?” And you say, “Why by all means wear a seatbelt.” And they say, “Okay, we consulted with policy expert, Rory Stewart,” et cetera.

Sometimes you wonder why we try.

Watch the interview here.

Cheers,

AN ~

27
Sep
09

back in black

Well, September has faded into true autumn – the leaves turning, the nights nippy, the rain gentle, like a blanket against the skin. I have been away for almost the entirety of the month. My apologies to those who have come to expect something new every day or two. I moved at the end of August and have been out of the writing loop ever since. I am back now with renewed intent to keep this site fresh for the foreseeable future.

First up: my love for Lewis Black. There’s scarcely a better way to express your anger vicariously and humorously than to watch this guy go. His commentary on the rampaging anger in the U.S. these days is just hysterical; I mean, any guy whose first question to Serena Williams’ on court outburst of profanity is: “Am I the only one turned on by that?” gets my vote. That his second and third questions are: “Excuse me – is she single? Does she have a sister? (She does! Time for me to give a shit about tennis again.”) Well, let’s just say the man knows how to put things into perspective.

In response to the talking heads’ hyperbolic commentary of this newfound anger in America, Mr. Black welcomes us to this phenomenon quite appropriately:

“Hey America. Welcome to the dark side. What took you so long?”

I was in stitches from start to finish. I hope you are too.

Click here for The Daily Show. It’s the middle section.

Cheers,

AN ~

12
Aug
09

check out the work of chris jordan

“This one is called “Toothpicks”. We have 100 million trees in the United States that are cut every year for mail order catalogues. Each toothpick in this image is one tree cut just to make mail order catalogues in one month. Eight million toothpicks.”  — chris jordan

I just watched an interview on Bill Moyer’s Journal with photographer, artist/activist Chris Jordan. He creates images, mostly in Photoshop, that help put into scale just how much Americans consume on a daily, hourly and even minute by minute basis. Not only is the information he is trying to share with us mind-boggling, it serves as a kind of reality check/wake up call as to just what consumerism might boil down to. And it’s cool.

“Our minds are just not wired to be able to really comprehend and make meaning of and feel numbers that are that huge. And if the only way we’re getting all of this information about these profoundly important phenomenon that are going on in our society is through statistics, then we aren’t going to feel what we need to feel in order to make the radical changes we need to make. This one is called “Plastic Bottles” and it depicts two million plastic bottles – the number that we use in the United States every five minutes. This is the equivalent of eight entire football fields and that’s five minutes worth of plastic bottles.” –Chris Jordan

I think his work is beautiful, stunning and enlightening all in one, and I highly encourage you to check out this brief interview.

Cheers,

AN ~