Tuesday, May 08, 2012

How much can a Gen X'er take in one week???

First Adam "MCA" Yauch dies and now I learn that Maurice Sendak has died? Man! What's a brother born in the 70s to do???

First a tribute to MCA. So long, brother, thanks for the grooves. The lyrics to Shake Your Rump!

Now I rock a house party at the drop of a hat
I beat a biter down with an aluminum bat
a lot of people they be Jonesin' just to hear me rock the mic
they'll be staring at the radio
staying up all night
so like a pimp I'm pimpin'
I got a boat to eat shrimp in
Nothing wrong with my leg just B-boy limpin'
Got arrested at the Mardi Gras for jumping on a float
My man MCA's got a beard like a billy goat
oowah oowah is my disco call
MCA hu-huh I'm gettin' rope y'all
Routines I bust rhymes I write
And I'll be busting routines and rhymes all night
Like eating burgers or chicken or you'll be picking your nose
I'm on time homie that's how it goes
You heard my style I think you missed the point
it's the joint

Mike D Yeah? with your bad self running things
What's up with your bad breath onion rings
Well I'm Mike D and I'm back from the dead
Chillin' at the beaches down at Club Med
Make another record 'cause the people they want more of this
Suckers they be saying they can take out Adam Horovitz
Hurricane you got clout
Other DJ's he'll take your head out
A puppet on a string I'm paid to sing or rhyme
Or do my thing I'm
In a lava lamp inside my brain hotel
I might be peakin' or freakin' but I rock well
The Patty Duke the wrench and then I bust the tango
Got more rhymes than Jamaica got Mango Kangols
I got the peg leg at the end of my stump
Shake your rump

Full Clout y'all
Full Clout y'all
And when the mic is in my mouth I turn it out y'all
Full Clout

Never been dumped 'cause I'm the most mackinest
Never been jumped 'cause I'm known the most packinest
Yeah we've got beef chief
We're knocking out teeth chief
And if you don't believe us you should question your belief Keith
Like Sam the butcher bringing Alice the meat
Like Fred Flintstone driving around with bald feet
Should I have another sip no skip it
In the back of the ride and bust with the whippet
Rope a dope dookies all around the neck
Whoo ha got them all in check
Running from the law the press and the parents
Is your name Michael Diamond?
No mine's Clarence
From downtown Manhattan the village
My style is wild and you know that it still is
Disco bag schlepping and you're doing the bump
Shake your rump

Mr. Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are and (especially) In The Night Kitchen were game changers for me! I used to sit and look at the pictures. I still want a bread dough airplane!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Armchair Quarterbacks

I just saw a debate online about a friend whose wife was laid off by the local school district. Someone posted a comment saying that this is the natural consequence of reckless spending. He ended his comment with this quote: "This is not a tax thing; rather, it is a priority thing." – I usually have a visceral response to people who slag government in a thoughtless manner.

My response? What then do we cut? K‑12 education? Higher education? Indigent health care? Mental health? Affordable housing? Workforce development? Juvenile justice programs? Jail diversion programs? Law enforcement? Jails? Services for seniors? Community development? Economic development? Transportation infrastructure? Parks and open space? Environmental regulation? Watershed protection?

I get annoyed with those who think government spends too lavishly. Everyone spends too lavishly, government is probably a lesser offender. We have challenges to address in government, but to dump blame on government is lazy. Where do we cut? We want a lot of things; why don't we want to pay for them? It’s time to put the credit cards away, have a really conversation about the future, and pony up. The education funding cuts debate is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

The commenter touted the virtues and grounded perspective of the private sector. I am also shocked to learn that folks in the private sector know that “you can only spend money once.” Really? Isn't that kind of how we got into this mess?

Total government spending (fed, state and local) is 38% of GDP, but let's zero in on the easy target. Discretionary spending at the Federal level is 1/3 of the total budget (the rest is entitlements like Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, debt service, and other mandatory programs). The federal budget for FY2010 was $3.456 trillion. Discretionary spending (once you remove the $690 billion in defense spending and we all know that is off the table) is $660 billion (that is 19% of the total budget. GDP IN 2010 was circa $14.6 trillion. The discretionary federal budget is 4.5% of GDP. That is the lowest level in a generation. In a quick scan of the Congressional Budget Office website, they say the discretionary spending was 8.7% of GDP in 2010. It was 12.6% in 1962. I would imagine that they cut the numbers differently. The point remains, though, because they go on to say that discretionary outlays will continue to decline (to 6.7% by 2020).

Where is said fat to which government critics refer? How much less can we spend on our people, on our society, and still remain globally competitive. That was, afterall, what Obama’s State of the Union was ALL ABOUT! At some point we actually need to pay people to educate our children or we’re screwed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Food, obesity, and preventable death in America!

This is such an amazing speech. I have been a fan of his cooking for a long time and am gratified to learn that he is also a man of great conscience and compassion.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A new emphasis on the role of local government

"Britain's big gamble puts the citizens at the wheel."

This piece, run recently in the Financial Times looks at a Conservative Party proposal to decentralize programs and focus more on local governments to handle things that used to be the purview of national governments. It is refreshing to see this type of effort discussed in a context that places not only the authority for implementation in local hands, but also the authority for generating revenue.

A similar effort is under way in Washington state: “Gregoire's encouraging push toward a new localism”

Overall, is this a good thing? You tell me.

Memories of the Sequoia

Bright green and sun
Encountering a clearing
An un-passable marsh
Remember the fallen giant?
A natural bridge.
Wide and straight.
Reaching the other side,
The pulled up roots,
Like Medusa's hair.
Bright green and sun.
Oh, the sun.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

File this under: "Tell Me Something I Don't Know, Mofo!"

Here is an article from the DC Streetsblog that says that roads don't pay for themselves. That seems painfully obvious. Even the future development afforded by the new road doesn't pay for it. This is like a dog chasing it's tail scenario. You never do catch that tail.