Monday, December 28, 2009

James Howard Kunstler's 2010 predictions

James Kunstler, author of the Long Emergency, presents his forecast for the coming year. Essential reading in my opinion.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Music for 2009

Hard times makes fertile ground for songwriters. Here are some of my favorites for the year.

Ryan Bingham's Roadhouse Sun. Ryan also received a golden globe nomination for best song, The Weary Kind, sound track from the movie Crazy Heart.

Quite a year for a man that couldn't draw 40 people to Gruene Hall less than three years ago.

Dustin Welch's Whiskey Priest.

Matt King's Rube.

Steve Earle's Townes.

Sean McConnell hasn't released a full album, but his EP the Walk Around provides a taste of tremendous talent.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Slaid Cleaves' Everything you love will be taken away.

And Charlie Robison gets an honorable mention for his divorce album Beautiful Day.

I must also second Sean Paul Kelly's nod to the Avett Brothers I and love and you.

While I haven't heard the whole CD, the title track from Lyle Lovett's Natural Forces is getting air play and I like it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lonestar music magazine

posted their online issue for Oct. Nov. and Dec.

I contributed a review of Matt King's Rube and came out in support of Kinky Friedman for governor. Kinky has since withdrawn from the governor's race and is now running for agriculture secretary.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Censored Stories of 2009

Project Censored

I'm not sure all of these qualify as censored, but some received minimal coverage. I saw most, but I look for news in unconventional places. Have to if I want the whole story.

Of particular interest to me is the article about about debt repudiation in Ecuador.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Death, Taxes and Mr. Market

Mr. Market seems a BMFer. Heads I win, tails you die.

Automatic earth

Live show of the year, male and female vocalist of the year

Last night Leah and I attended the best live music show I saw this year. Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland and three members from their respective bands put on a spectacle you had to see and hear live to comprehend. I have no words that suffice.

So the first three music awards for the year, (kind of neat, being the only judge):

Best live show: Guy Forsyth and Carolyn Wonderland's Christmas show at Sam's Burger Joint in San Antonio.

Best male vocalist: Guy Forsyth

Best female vocalist: Carolyn Wonderland.

I'd try to come up with someone to compare these two to, but it would be a step down. So, why bother?

Not the same, but a taste anyway:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Matt King comes to town

Matt King is putting on a show at Billy's Ice House in New Braunfels tonight. It's a toys for tots show; a donated toy gains admittance.

Matt is not well known in Texas. Yet. But he soon will be if I don't miss my guess.

ps. Someone captured a piece of the show on a cell phone and posted it at Youtube. Wish there was more. Ronny Trash spiced up this song a bit.

For those that appreciate art (and some of you who think you don't)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jesse Ventura on 9-11

Posted without comment. First of four parts. See the rest at youtube.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Roger Ebert reviews CoLLapse


I don't think I've ever heard him give a stronger recommendation on a documentary film. Yet, goddamned theaters around the land are NOT showing this film. Not one fucking theater in the whole fucking state of Texas.

The film was the highest rated film at the Toronto Film Festival. I can watch the goddamned Road. Some bull shit fantasy 2012 film. Goddamned fat ass Michael fucking Moore selling Socialism as the answer to all our ills. But not this film.

Why are we in Afghanistan?

Mike Ruppert, a number of years ago:

Part 1

Part 2


Ed Vulliamy stopped by our Gonzales County ranch for a couple of days near the end of a six month stay on the border. Somehow I missed this report when it came out. While some regurgitate the words of others, Ed came, asked, saw and listened.

Here is his last report from the border, concerning the Zetas:

Ed is also writing a book on this subject called Amexia.

Obama accepts Nobel peace prize

for being a good speaker. I heard someone refer to George W as an iron fist. Obama is the same iron fist, covered with a silk glove.

My favortie socialist commentator

I don't share Joe Bageant's hope that democratic socialism somehow rises up to save the day, or even that it could were it tried somewhere. But Joe does a good job of presenting the fallacies of our current political policies and heroes.

If you ask me for a solution to America's ills, I don't have one: nothing formed by the hand of man will work. We are the last empire, the feet made of iron and clay and we are soon to be broken to pieces.

Read Joe. You'll laugh and you may cry, if you have a heart.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


to ease troubled minds.

I've already missed two of Adam Carroll's Tuesday night gigs at Gruene Hall slated for December. For those unaware, Adam is one of Texas' best song writers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Protect and serve...

Nice to know that Missouri is working hard to protect us from terrorists selling hazardous material.

Cops arrest a family for selling raw milk.

Fucking cocksuckers.

An excerpt:

Yes, both the Missouri Dept. of Health and the state Attorney General (Chris Koster) have decided that prosecuting a farm family for illegally "trafficking" raw milk should be at the top of their list of priorities. The family being targeted by state officials is the Bechard family, of Armand and Teddi Bechard, and their children Joseph, Hananiah, Kazia and Katie.

The name of the cow offering the milk is reportedly "Misty."

As the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader paper reports, "Two undercover investigators with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department allegedly caught two of the couple's daughters on two occasions selling a gallon of milk each from a Springfield parking lot. Charges followed in municipal court."

In case you're not yet sure what you're reading here, note carefully that these daughters were not caught selling crack, meth or crank. They weren't dealing second-hand pharmaceuticals to yuppie school kids. They weren't selling e.coli-contaminated hamburger meat, cancer-causing diet sodas (made with aspartame) or canned soups laced with MSG. They weren't even selling broiler chickens contaminated with salmonella -- just as you can find in every grocery store in America. Nope, they were selling raw milk. You know, the bovine mother's milk, unpasteurized, unprocessed, non-homogenized and wholly pure, natural and innocent. The stuff America was raised on. The stuff your parents fed you when you were a kid, if your family was lucky enough to have a cow.

In Missouri today, selling such a natural product is now apparently a criminal act. What's next? A ban on farm-fresh eggs because the Dept. of Health doesn't control their quality? The outlawing of raw broccoli because broccoli contains natural anti-cancer medicine?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sins of my father

The December 2nd edition of the Washington Post featured a story on a documentary film called the sins of my father. The film tells the story of Sebastian Escobar, the son of Pablo Escobar, the former head of the infamous Medellin, Colombia cocaine cartel. The movie has not been released but there is a trailer at the link. As usual, the true story will not serve the interests of those trying to politicize the drug trade as a matter of left vs. right, good vs evil. The world is a bit more complicated than that.

Inheritance taxes and the family farm

Sean Paul Kelly recently posted a piece in opposition to a bill locking in inheritance taxes at 45% with an exemption for the first $3.5 million. The post seemed to draw nothing but praise.

I don't agree, but I needed to think about the matter a bit before posting.

Consider the implications on the farm where I now live and work, should the new inheritance tax scheme come into effect (55% above $1 million exemption). My dad bought this place for somewhere around $700,000 about ten years ago. If he were to leave this land to me, the current value is somewhere around $3 million.

It shouldn't be worth this much and it isn't based on its ability to produce income. But it is due to its recreational value and perhaps as investment property. Despite that fact, the government will tax me according to present market value.

The land maintains 150 cows at best, year in and year out. The average calf fetches $500. So we have a gross income of $75,000 from cattle sales if we do not replace old cows. Old cows have to be replaced. So we keep some heifers each year and sell a few old cows that fetch less than their calves would be worth. Let's say $350. Despite our best efforts, a few cows die each year and not all cows have a calf.

Fields must be sprayed for weeds and fertilized. We harvest, store and feed hay to cows in the winter, incurring labor and machinery costs. In a dry year, we also have to irrigate land with additional energy (and equipment) costs. If we owe money to the bank, interest must be paid.

We must maintain fences and structures.

We raise a few cash crops--feed grains--but profits on these have been minimal at best.

I also sell some excess hay at a meager profit, after investing a serious amount of hard labor under sometimes oppressive conditions.

When all is said and done, this land I am told is worth $3 million pays me a salary of $30,000 a year. At best. And that is it.

So, if I get an exemption of $1 million and owe 55% on the balance, I will owe $1.1 million dollars in inheritance taxes should my dad decide to leave this place to me. Takes a while at $30,000 a year gross to save a million bucks.

My dad has never worked a day on this land. I have. While he did bankroll me, I have been responsible for and cared for this land from day one. I have sweat equity invested here.

Most small family farmers are in a similar position. They own property their sons and daughters cannot afford to keep if this new tax law comes into effect.

So what will happen in most cases like mine?

Sons and daughters will be forced to sell the family farm to pay taxes and mortgage payments to a bank in many cases.

The money the government collects will not be used to fund social programs. It will be used to fight wars. To bail out Wall Street bankers. Who will use the money to buy my farm so I can pay my tax bill. And of course, to write themselves yearly bonus checks.

And then the land is placed into corporate owned megafarms, immune to things like inheritance taxes.

You aren't giving heirs to wealth anything. Their parents are. You're saying the government has a right to what they earned.

Believe it or not, some of us actually earn our inheritance.

Be careful what you wish for. Some day you might get it.

A million bucks ain't what it used to be.

PS. I'd add that the sons and daughters of most farmers are worse off than I am. Most of them are handed a debt at the bank in addition to a tax bill and count themselves lucky to get away from the farm debt free.

For what it's worth, my dad also earned the money he used to buy this farm and he already paid taxes on that income at least once.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A deadly liar and manipulator

Wow. I came across an article that nails Obama more effectively than I have with much less cussing. Good stuff sir, whoever you are. Read it at this link.

Unemployment--a sliver of hope

At this guy's blog, I learned that the real unemployment rate for the US is now 22%. However, at the end of his piece, he was kind enough to let us know that it could be worse.

From the article:

A sliver of good news, according to John Williams, is that during the Great Depression the SGS Alternate measure of unemployment would likely be near 34%. Let’s hope our elected “representatives” don’t aim for those lofty unemployment levels.

I feel better already.

Excuse the profanity

Sometimes I cuss a bit too much. Maybe more than a bit.

Perhaps I shouldn't cuss the king. You know, bush and barack are decent civil folks...

Yeah, right.

When leaders smile and sign papers sending troops and munitions to foreign lands, innocent people die. Starve. Get kicked out of homes, terrorized. They shiver in the cold, roast in the heat.

The idea that we're making America safer by fighting wars around the planet is lunacy. Mark my words. Someday we will reap what we have sown.

Our leaders ask for our trust, all the while grinning like possums eating shit and lying through their teeth.

barack obama--you own these wars now. You've had a year to do the right thing and you chose not to.

You own this depression as well, despite the fact that it took over twenty years to create the mess, because you let the people that caused it off the hook, not only let them off the hook, you stole money from the American people so they could keep wealth acquired through fraudlent criminal activity.

Political power is like Frodo's ring. The only one worthy to bear the ring is the man bent on destroying it, and even he is not immune to the ring's seductive power.

barack sought and embraced the power of the ring. And he has become its tool. And bush slinks around like Gollum lamenting the loss...

Oh my precious. Where are you my precious...