Author Archive | ralph

Fats Domino Has A Really Awesome Couch

As reported:

Fats Domino was an important influence on the music of the 1960s and 1970s and acknowledged as such by some of the top artists of that era. Paul McCartney reportedly wrote The Beatles song “Lady Madonna” in an emulation of Domino’s style, combining it with a nod to Humphrey Lyttelton’s 1956 hit “Bad Penny Blues,” a record Joe Meek engineered Domino did manage to return to the “Hot 100″ charts one final time in 1968—with his own recording of “Lady Madonna”… Domino lived in a mansion in a predominantly working-class Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, where he was a familiar sight in his bright pink Cadillac automobile. He makes yearly appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and other local events. Domino was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. Domino’s last tour was a three week European Tour in 1995. In 1998, President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts.

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You Are Still Being Lied To: Howard Zinn’s “Columbus and Western Civilization”

The following is an excerpt of “Columbus and Western Civilization” written by Howard Zinn that appears in the Disinformation anthology You Are Still Being Lied To edited by Russ Kick.

Author’s Note: In the year 1992, the celebration of Columbus Day was different from previous ones in two ways. First, this was the quincentennial, 500 years after Columbus’ landing in this hemisphere. Second, it was a celebration challenged all over the country by people—many of them native Americans but also others—who had “discovered” a Columbus not worth celebrating, and who were rethinking the traditional glorification of “Western civilization.” I gave this talk at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in October 1991. It was published the following year by the Open Magazine Pamphlet Series with the title “Christopher Columbus & the Myth of Human Progress.”

George Orwell, who was a very wise man, wrote: “Who controls the past controls the future. And who controls the present controls the past.” In other words, those who dominate our society are in a position to write our histories. And if they can do that, they can decide our futures. That is why the telling of the Columbus story is important.

Let me make a confession. I knew very little about Columbus until about twelve years ago, when I began writing my book A People’s History of the United States. I had a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University—that is, I had the proper training of a historian, and what I knew about Columbus was pretty much what I had learned in elementary school.

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How Microsoft and Yahoo Are Selling Politicians Access to You

Writes Lois Beckett on ProPublica:

Microsoft and Yahoo are selling political campaigns the ability to target voters online with tailored ads using names, Zip codes and other registration information that users provide when they sign up for free email and other services.

The Web giants provide users no notification that their information is being used for political targeting.

In one sense, campaigns are doing a more sophisticated version of what they’ve always done through the post office 2014 sending political fliers to selected households. But the Internet allows for more subtle targeting. It relies not on email but on advertisements that surfers may not realize have been customized for them.

Campaigns use voters records to assemble lists of people they’re trying to reach 2014 for instance, “registered Republicans that have made a donation,” Yahoo’s director of sales Andy Cotten told ProPublica. Microsoft and Yahoo help campaigns find these people online and then send them tailored ads.… Read the rest

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A Meet With The Elite At the “University For A Night”

Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela in 1993.

Having just finished producing an investigative TV series on “Who Rules America?”, inspired, in part, by the argument that sociologist C. Wright Mills made 50 years ago about how a small group of the rich and powerful run things, I was wondering how I would feel spending a night with the 1 percent of the 1 percent

An Indonesian friend had invited me to join her at an annual event called “University for a Night” sponsored by an NGO named Synergos created twenty five years ago by Peggy Dulaney, the daughter of David Rockefeller, the now 97-year-old patriarch of what was once the richest and most powerful family in America.

This event concludes with dinner discussions that bring participants together with invited faculty — experts from around the world — for an exchange of ideas on specific topics. The organizers say they want “to provide opportunities for networking, brainstorming and inspiration.”

Rockefeller Sr., one-time head of the Chase Bank was there, in a wheel chair now, beaming as an award in his name for bridging and leadership was presented to former President Bill Clinton, who runs a foundation of his own, as well as a “global initiative.”

Clinton was also effusive in praising Peggy and her dad for the good works they do as philanthropists and problem solvers.… Read the rest

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Peter Thiel Will Pay You $100,000 To Drop Out Of College (If You Have An Idea He Likes)

Considering student loan debt is now a trillion-dollar industry, maybe this PayPal co-founder is on to something. Via 60 Minutes:

One of the wealthiest, best-educated American entrepreneurs, Peter Thiel, isn’t convinced college is worth the cost. With only half of recent U.S. college graduates in full-time jobs, and student loans now at $1 trillion, Thiel has come up with his own small-scale solution: pay a couple dozen of the nation’s most promising students $100,000 to walk away from college and pursue their passions. Morley Safer takes a look at Thiel’s critique of college.

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Ralph Nader: President Obama, Where Are Your Lawyers? (Re: ‘Kill List’ Meetings)

Ralph Nader

Photo: Ragesoss (CC)

It’s been widely reported that President Obama’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, attended the Obama adminstration’s “kill list” meetings. Imagine if the names in this recent news report instead were President George W. Bush and Karl Rove … Ralph Nader writes on Nader.org:

The rule of law is rapidly breaking down at the top levels of our government. As officers of the court, we have sworn to “support the Constitution,” which clearly implies an affirmative commitment on our part.

Take the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The conservative American Bar Association sent three white papers to President Bush describing his continual unconstitutional policies. Then and now civil liberties groups and a few law professors, such as the stalwart David Cole of Georgetown University and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, have distinguished themselves in calling out both presidents for such violations and the necessity for enforcing the rule of law.

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(Anonymous) Engineer Proposes A Full-Scale “USS Enterprise” That Can Be Built For $1 Trillion

OV-101Well, live long and prosper, then. As far as I know, there is only one space-faring vessel (yet) with the designation Enterprise. As James Holloway writes on GizMag:

An anonymous electrical and systems engineer going only by the moniker BTE-Dan has posted surprisingly detailed plans for a full-scale, functioning Starship Enterprise that he claims could be built in 20 years. Though it may be tempting to scoff at such lofty ambition, the Build the Enterprise website (up all of one week) includes specifications, costs, mission plan and funding strategies, all suggesting that a serious amount of thought has gone into creating a real world counterpart to the icon spaceship of the TV and movie series, Star Trek.

The project appears to be born of Dan’s frustration with humankind’s present spacefaring efforts. Dan more or less dismisses the International Space Station for its lack of gravity and cramped quarters, describing its toilet facilities as “comical and primitive,” and musing how the money may have been better spent.

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There’s More Water On Europa (Jupiter’s moon) Than On Earth

EuropaALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.

Well after reading this story, enthusiasts will probably want to ignore the Monlith creators’ advice. As Robert T. Gonzalez writes on io9.com:

Remember that image from a few weeks back that showed Earth with all its water gathered up in a sphere beside it? Well here’s that image again, only this time, it also features Jupiter’s moon Europa, along with all of its water. Notice anything interesting?

Based on data acquired by NASA’s Galileo satellite, astronomers think the global oceans sloshing around beneath Europa’s icy exterior are likely 2 to 3 times more voluminous than the oceans here on Earth. Not 2 to 3 times more proportionally, 2 to 3 times more in total volume.

Yeah. That “little” moon is packing quite the supply of H2O—and with it, scientists think, a significant chance of harboring life…

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