Monthly Archives: March 2009

Fire On The Mountain 30 March 2009

I like looking at this.

This is from Nigerian singer Aṣa’s (Yoruban for “Hawk”) 2007 self titled recording.

Speaking of “Fire On The Mountain”…

Detroit, What’s Happening? What Color Is Yo’ Money Today? © PRN

Chrysler looks like it’s ready to take a bath and well…

****************************start swipe************************************

nytimes.com
The Steady Optimist Who Oversaw G.M.’s Decline
By MICHELINE MAYNARD

DETROIT — In recent years, despite many challenges to his leadership of General Motors, Rick Wagoner had managed to keep a firm grip on his job, like hands wrapped tight around a steering wheel.

During his tenure as chief executive, beginning in 2000, the company’s stock has fallen from $70 a share to less than $4 now, and its market share has fallen roughly 10 percentage points.

There have been many challenges to his authority, most notably from the investor Kirk Kerkorian in 2006 and from angry members of Congress during hearings last fall. Throughout the attacks, he had managed to retain the unwavering support of his board.

For a time, it seemed he might become the rare chief executive who gets another chance, this time to try to fix many of the problems that occurred on his watch.

But he appears to have met his match in President Obama, whose calls for sacrifices from all sides apparently included a call for Mr. Wagoner to step down.

In a statement early Monday, Mr. Wagoner said he had been urged to “step aside” by administration officials, “and so I have.” He thanked G.M. employees for their support. “G.M. is a great company with a storied history.” Mr. Wagoner said. “Ignore the doubters because I know it is also a company with a great future.”

The United Automobile Workers union had no comment on Mr. Wagoner’s departure. But Michigan’s governor, Jennifer M. Granholm, echoed an fledgling sense in Detroit that Mr. Wagoner may be viewed as an auto industry martyr. Speaking on MSNBC, Gov. Granholm said Mr. Wagoner was a “sacrficial lamb.”

During his nine years in charge, Mr. Wagoner never appeared to waver from his determination that G.M. would reclaim its spot as the unrivaled leader of the auto industry, despite steadily falling sales.

Through three major restructuring plans enacted on his watch — eliminating dozens of plants, tens of thousands of jobs and jettisoning hundreds of dealers — Mr. Wagoner maintained a stolid confidence in himself and the company’s strength. Only recently did he acknowledge the need to significantly pare the company’s brand and model lineup, to better match the company’s bloated infrastructure with the shrinking market.

Only at the second round of Congressional hearings last fall did Mr. Wagoner start agreeing that the company had made mistakes, and that its problems were not all attributable to outside forces like the weakening economy and tightening credit markets.

Mr. Wagoner joined G.M.’s financial operations in 1977 out of Harvard Business School, and, like generations of executives before him, worked nowhere else during his career.

Mr. Wagoner vaulted into Detroit’s consciousness in 1992 upon another resignation during a financial crisis — that of Robert C. Stempel, the chief executive at G.M. at the time.

Then only 38, Mr. Wagoner became G.M.’s chief financial officer. Two years later, he was named president of its North American operations.

His mentor, the chief executive John F. Smith Jr., named Mr. Wagoner president of G.M. in 1998, and he succeeded Mr. Smith in the top job in 2000.

Like Mr. Smith, Mr. Wagoner aggressively expanded G.M.’s operations outside the United States. The company now sells 65 percent of its vehicles overseas, thanks to Mr. Wagoner’s push into markets like China, Russia and Latin America.

However, G.M.’s sales slump at home led to it losing its longtime title last year as the world’s largest auto company, replaced by Toyota.

“It’s a pretty unceremonious ending,” said John Casesa, an industry analyst and managing partner of the Casesa Shapiro Group. “G.M. lost its way in the ‘70s, but the company didn’t know it until 20 years late. The hole was much deeper than he realized when he became C.E.O.”

And, Mr. Casesa said, Mr. Wagoner’s finance background might have been a poor fit: “The most successful auto companies are run by people who came out of the revenue-generating functions — manufacturing, design, marketing — making cars and selling cars.” Mr. Wagoner, the analyst said, “skipped the whole apprenticeship that most auto C.E.O.’s experience.”

Mr. Wagoner presided over some of the biggest losses in G.M. history. In 2002, the company had predicted that it would earn $10 a share by the middle of the decade.

Instead, G.M. lost $30.9 billion in 2008, when its per-share loss translated to more than $50 a share. G.M. stock, an economic bellwether that sold above $35 only three years ago, closed Friday at $3.62; it has fallen as low as $1.27 in the last year.

In 1994, when he took charge of G.M.’s North American operations, the company made up 33.2 percent of auto sales in the United States.

Last month, G.M. represented only 18.8 percent of American car and truck sales, according to statistics from Motor Intelligence, which tracks industry data.

Under pressure to stop G.M.’s sliding market share, Mr. Wagoner hired Robert A. Lutz, a longtime auto industry executive, in 2002. Mr. Lutz reorganized G.M.’s product development operations, and introduced a number of new vehicles, including sporty models like the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.

Both Mr. Lutz, who had previously announced his plans to retire by year’s end, and Mr. Wagoner have championed the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric car that G.M. plans to introduce in late 2010.

Mr. Wagoner has said that one of the moves he regretted most was G.M’s decision to kill the EV-1, an electric car that it leased to customers in the late 1990s. Although the vehicle was not profitable, it helped G.M.’s image with environmentalists, which in 2006 Mr. Wagoner conceded he had understood too late.

Only six months ago, Mr. Wagoner stood in front of hundreds of G.M. employees in the atrium of the company’s Detroit headquarters, celebrating the automaker’s 100th anniversary.

Dressed in a gray suit and a yellow, blue and white striped tie, Mr. Wagoner said: “So, what’s our assignment for today and tomorrow? Above all, it’s to demonstrate to the world that we are more than a 100-year-old company. We’re a company that’s ready to lead for 100 years to come.”

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Smokin’ That Huckabee 21 March 09

Make Room For Zionism Y'all

Yo’, I’d like to put any and all of the Jewish readers in the audience under the spotlight for a moment.

I passed on copying & pasting A LOT of fucked up bullschitt related to Israel’s most recent bully-ass tactics in Gaza (this past winter). 

You know.

We know.

But now…I need you guys to huddle up and figure out why the Israeli governments bullschitt don’t make a lick of goddamn sense. For all the marzipan pride rattling around in your heads and hearts, I’d like to stare down the most pig-headed of you into a puddle of hominy.                                                   

Stop making me sick with all of this selective reasoning and piss drivel. Your homeland is on some Suge Knight/Gangsta Rap manifest destiny.                        The influence it has on my own homeland (hey, stars & stripes) is very “spoiled gay uncle”.

Rahm Emmanuel…you can be a closet Zionist in your closet, but don’t come to the dinner table in your funky brown shirt and stormtropper boots, okay player?

*(start swipe)*

Durban II: Politicizing Racism

By Ramzy Baroud

13 March, 2009
Countercurrents.org

Many countries are set to participate in the Conference against Racism, scheduled to be held in Geneva, April 20-25. But the highly touted international meet is already marred with disagreement after Israel, the United States and other countries decided not to participate. Although the abstention of four or more countries is immaterial to the proceedings, the US decision in particular was meant to render the conference ‘controversial’, at best.

The US government’s provoking stance is not new, but a repetition of another fiasco which took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

Israeli and US representatives stormed out in protest of the “anti-Israeli” and the “anti-Semitic” sentiments that supposedly pervaded the World Conference against Racism (WCAR), held in Durban in 2001. The decision was an ominous sign, for the Bush Administration was yet to be tested on foreign policy in any definite terms, as the conference concluded on September 8, three days before the 911 terrorist attacks.

The US justified its denunciation of the international forum, then on the very same, unsubstantiated grounds cited by Israel, that the forum was transformed to a stage for anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

But was “the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance” indeed transformed into a stage for racism and bigotry, as Israel’s friends, lead amongst them the Bush Administration, charged?

What indeed took place at the conference was democracy in its best manifestations, where no country could defy international consensus with the use of a veto power, or could flex its economic muscles to bend the will of the international community. The result was, of course, disturbing from the view point of those who refuse to treat all United Nations member states with equity and impartiality. An African demand for a separate apology from every country that benefited from slavery, to every African nation that suffered from slavery was considered excessive, and eventually discounted.

But the main “controversial” issue that led to the US representative’s departure from the conference was the criticism by many countries of Israel’s racism against the Palestinians. A majority of countries called for reinstituting UN General Assembly resolution 3379 which in 1975 equated Zionism with racism.

The conference, then, was not meant to only address the issue of Palestine and Israel. However, the strong American resistance to any criticism of the racially motivated practices of the Israeli state – the extreme violence, the land theft, the Wall, the settlements, the protracted military occupation, etc – pushed the issue to center stage.

The Palestinian struggle is not meant to overshadow the struggles of oppressed nations around the world, but it rather compliments the calls for rights, freedom and liberation that continue to echo around the globe. However, the fact that the illegal and violent mass oppression of Palestinians, as practiced openly by the Israeli state continue unabated – and is rather defended and justified by the United States and other European powers – highlights the historical legacy championed by former colonial powers throughout the so-called third world for so many years.

There are hardly many international forums that are held and governed by principals of equality and fairness amongst nations. The World Conference against Racism is one of very few, indeed. It was not a surprise, therefore, to witness the international solidarity with the Palestinian and world-wide repulsion of the racist and Apartheid policies carried out daily by Israel.

But the mere censure of Israel’s unfair, undemocratic and racist policies – let alone taking any action to bring them to a halt – is mechanically considered anti-Semitic from an Israeli standpoint and US administrations.

The US conditioned its participation of the April conference in Geneva (Durban II) by removing any specific censure of Israel, and ensuring that Israel is not ‘singled out’ for criticism. Although US sensibilities constantly expect, but demand the singling out of any country, leader or group it deems rouge, war criminal, or terrorist, Israel is treated based on different standards. “A bad document became worse, and the US decided not to participate in the conference”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported in reference to the draft documents being finalized before the conference.

The original “bad” document apparently dubs Israel “an occupying state that carries out racist policies”, a description which is consistent with international law, UN resolutions and the views of leading world human rights defenders – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Dugard, the former UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk,the current UN’s envoy, among many others.

The ‘bad document’ might have ‘became worse’ with new references to the Gaza bloodbath, which killed and wounded nearly 7,000 Palestinians in 22-days.

From an American – and unfortunately, Canadian and Italian, so far – viewpoint, such inhumane practices don’t warrant a pause or mere words of condemnation. The same, of course, doesn’t apply to Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba and other ‘unfriendly’ nations. The US decision must be particularity disheartening to African nations who saw in the advent of Barack Obama some vindication. The US first black president, however, saw it fit to boycott a conference that intended to discuss the issue of slavery and repatriation, to once again prove that race alone is hardly sufficient in explaining US internal and external policies.

A day after rebuffing the conference, US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton arrived on her first visit to the Middle East, where she admonished Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah – for largely posing threats to Israel – and praised the Jewish state and its ‘moderate’ allies.

She remarked in a joint statement with Israeli president Shimon Peres, on March 3: “It is important that the United States always underscore our unshakeable, durable, fundamental relationship and support for the State of Israel. I will be going from here to Yad VaShem to pay respects to the lost souls, to remember those who the Holocaust took, to lay a wreath, and to say a prayer.”

(Editors Note: Never forget what propaganda looks or sounds like – http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1067508.html)

Needless to say, Mrs. Clinton refused to visit Gaza, where 1.5 million people are trapped in one large concentration camp, denied access to food, medicine, political and human rights.

—————————————————————————————–

President Obama, please don’t let Israel’s bully tactics be the schitt stain in your drawers.

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Re-Divining The Lames 19 March 09

Get Crunk My WeoplesFool…say whut?

As the paradigm shifts, y’all looking at me like “What’chu Talkin’ Bout Willis?!”, and I’m stuttering and stammering…tryin’ to told y’all brickhead motherfuckers that that toilet was full and no more schitt was gonna go into it without a fight. And y’all keep fighting to put more schitt on top of schitt, making a big schitty mess.

Chill lames.

Everything you had faith in turned out to be bootywack.

I have faith in this struggle, fool. The destination is more important than anticipating another thousand rounds of  choreographed Janet Jackson head fakes, Thriller neck twitches, and crack-tastic booty popping.

I address a generation that took the fun out of titties, and put a stink on film and music (recognized only as worthless celebrity) that’ll take 200 years to wash out of those art forms.

You’re cute alright,baby.  And you don’t realize you’re cuteness is a cell that keeps you from realizing your real beauty.

So what have you done with that time?

Do you realize it’s slipping through your fingers?

Or are you so smokey, so desirable, so on point that you’re just tuned in to your montage?

“Slow-mo, go youtube the promo, get in the know…sign up for Twitter,bro.      You got the balls to wear your heart on your facebook walls?                                But you can’t do the jitterbug, let alone cut a rug…                                                        Life is a dance, you’re here for the drugs                                                                 Who you gonna lean on when you pull my plug?                                                        What you gonna say, when you can’t get in?                                                                When you’re all alone where are your lame ass friends?  ”

You’ve got this spring to make a man/woman out of yourself.

Find a mirror without looking for your reflection everywhere.

Find someone in that mirror and figure out what’s really going on.

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Pussy Caught The Giggles 3 March 09

Got The Giggles

Got The Giggles

 

U.S. to yield marijuana jurisdiction to states

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, February 27, 2009

(02-26) 20:00 PST San Francisco —

 

U.S. Attorney General Eric "I Ain't no Punk" Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric "I Ain't no Punk" Holder

 

 

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama – who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana – will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.

Obama ends raids at medical marijuana dispensaries:

Great move

Shows he’s soft on drugs

Now let states legalize pot entirely

Asked at a Washington news conference Wednesday about Drug Enforcement Administration raids in California since Obama took office last month, Holder said the administration has changed its policy.

“What the president said during the campaign, you’ll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we’ll be doing here in law enforcement,” he said. “What he said during the campaign is now American policy.”

Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group, said the statement is encouraging.

“I think it definitely signals that Obama is moving in a new direction, that it means what he said on the campaign trail that marijuana should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue,” he said.

Piper said Obama has also indicated he will drop the federal government’s long-standing opposition to health officials’ needle-exchange programs for drug users.

During one campaign appearance, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He told an interviewer in March that it was “entirely appropriate” for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana “with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors.”

After the federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided a marijuana dispensary at South Lake Tahoe on Jan. 22, two days after Obama’s inauguration, and four others in the Los Angeles area on Feb. 2, White House spokesman Nick Schapiro responded to advocacy groups’ protests by noting that Obama had not yet appointed his drug policy team.

“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws” and expects his appointees to follow that policy, Schapiro said.

The federal government has fought state medicinal pot laws since Californians voted in 1996 to repeal criminal penalties for medical use of marijuana.

President Bill Clinton’s administration won a Supreme Court case, originating in Oakland, that allowed federal authorities to shut down nonprofit organizations that supplied medical marijuana to their members. Clinton’s Justice Department was thwarted by federal courts in an attempt to punish California doctors who recommended marijuana to their patients.

President George W. Bush’s administration went further, raiding medical marijuana growers and clinics, prosecuting suppliers under federal drug laws after winning another Supreme Court case and pressuring commercial property owners to evict marijuana dispensaries by threatening legal action.

The Bush administration also blocked a University of Massachusetts researcher’s attempt to grow marijuana for studies of its medical properties. Piper, of the Drug Policy Alliance, said he hopes Obama will reverse that position.

“If you removed the obstacles to research,” he said, “in 10 to 15 years, marijuana will be available in pharmacies.”

 

E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@sfchronicle.com.

 

The Many Conotations Of Kool-Aid

OH YEEEAAAH-pass that homie

And furthermore…

 

Friends Don't Mooch or Bogart!!!

Friends Don't Mooch or Bogart!!!

Everybody must get stoned

By Katharine Mieszkowski

March 3, 2009 

A new plan to legalize marijuana in California would create a $1 billion tokin’ tax and thousands of green jobs. Now that’s a stimulus plan!

Can Californians help dig themselves out of their historic fiscal crisis by getting high? Tom Ammiano thinks so, and he isn’t smoking a thing.

On Feb. 23, the California State Assembly member introduced legislation that would regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana, and then tax it. By legalizing pot, the San Francisco lawmaker argues, the state could reap huge new revenues. Currently pot is California’s biggest cash crop, with annual sales reaching $14 billion. Vegetables, the state’s second hottest agricultural product, take in a mere $5.7 billion. And California’s famous grapes? A piddling $2.6 billion.

If passed, the Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act would give California control of pot in a manner similar to alcohol, while prohibiting its purchase to citizens under age 21. The state’s tax collectors estimate the measure would bring in about $1.3 billion in new revenues a year.

Ammiano, a former schoolteacher and stand-up comedian, has been one of the most famous activists and politicians in San Francisco for decades. In the late ’70s, he jump-started the movement against the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gay teachers in California (he appeared as himself in the film “Milk”), served on the San Francisco Board of Education, and later was president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Salon recently spoke to him about why he thinks making pot legit would have California smiling.

Why legalize marijuana in California now?

There’s gold in them thar hills! We have one of the worst budget situations we’ve ever had, and it’s a $14 billion industry that’s not going away. Everybody knows this and nobody has wanted to go after it. I, frankly, think the time has come.

Even if California did regulate and tax selling marijuana, wouldn’t it still be illegal at the federal level?

Federal law preempts a lot of things we’ve done in California, anyway — domestic partners, gay marriage, the medical use of marijuana. Certainly the Obama administration has been telegraphing they’d like to revisit the failed war on drugs. New Attorney General Eric Holder just issued an edict: No more raids on medical marijuana dispensers. And, man, if that doesn’t reinforce what I have been saying, I don’t know what does. Of course, everyone likes to be in the position of saying, “See, I told you I was right.”

In many ways, it’s common sense. You have drug cartels growing marijuana in our national parks. It’s no more the hippie-dippy guy or woman in Humboldt. This is organized crime with no morality and no value of human life. Look at the money you would save in law enforcement by regulating marijuana, decriminalizing it and putting those resources into serious crimes. The black market and the street sales would decline. Pumping $1 billion into our economy is going to provide a lot of green jobs. No pun intended. Obama seems to be a bright-enough guy to realize that.

How would your legislation affect the people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses related to marijuana?

That would be another cost savings. If it’s decriminalized, the source dries up, and you stop the flow of people into prison.

How do you imagine marijuana being sold? Would it be in bars and restaurants and corner stores?

All of that is to be determined. We don’t want it to be for anyone under 21. You still can’t drive under the influence of it. But the broader thing for me is getting it decriminalized, through the law, and then coming up with the regulations.

Do you think legalizing it endorses its use?

It’s use is there anyway. People do it everywhere. It’s better if you have a situation, like with booze, when you regulate it. If you’re smoking the legal product, you’re an adult, and it’s not full of pesticides, additives or other crap. The environment would benefit because a lot of these rogue plantations pollute the water source and deplete the soil. The growers pull up and walk away without any kind of remediation. You have to admit to reality here. I think everyone has been on this big denial trip.

Don’t you think you’re going to see resistance because of the idea that pot is a gateway drug that leads to other illicit drugs?

A lot of those issues came up around medical marijuana, and most of them were put to rest. But there are always going to be people who believe that no matter how many statistics you give them.

Would legalizing pot create new smokers?

I have no idea. But I know there are a lot of statistics around marijuana usage, and a lot of the reefer madness fears are not substantiated.

Do you really expect this bill to pass? Or do you want to spark a debate and get a conversation going?

Getting the conversation going is definitely part of it. But getting it passed is my goal. I do have support from a lot of colleagues, who say: “Oh my God, I think this is great, but I don’t think I can vote for it.” So it’s going to be my job, even in conservative areas, to say: “Vote for it. This is something that will help your community. You may be a Republican, you may be conservative, but your health clinic just closed, your husband just go laid off.” These are the kind of bread-and-butter issues that are going to be very seductive to people.

Have you smoked pot?

I certainly experimented. But I’m more of a martini guy.

What do you say to the Bill O’Reilly types who will protest that “San Francisco values” will infect the whole state and even the country?

We’re a city that has done a lot of progressive things that have been beneficial on a social justice level, and the world did not end. So we have nothing to be defensive about. In fact, other countries laugh at us for our drug laws. Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and most of Europe have very liberalized drug laws in and around harm reduction.

God knows what Bill O’Reilly does. I’d hate to see his pharmacy bill.

Ain’t That A Bitch?

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