Sunday, September 25, 2011

Krazy Kat Caught in an Alley by Kent Chadwick: New Poem Published in Pontoon by Floating Bridge Review




Krazy Kat caught in an alley 

By Kent Chadwick


                        ________
                        ________
                        ___   ___

            Krazy Kat Caught in an alley
                        caterwauling
            night in Garwood
                        New Jersey
            moonlight on the sagging
                        back landings
            drinking men stripped
                        to undershirts
                        ribbed with a
                        working day’s sweat
            the viscosity of bourbon
                        poured into shots
            patterened thump of
                        ball against wall
                        ball against wall
            sound of speed
                        from the street
                        rubber friction
                        gas combustion
            the swamp coolers shake
                        the swamp coolers drip
                        against the heat

“Fireflies don’t come no more.”

            blue auroras stream
                        from each T.V.
                        out window screens

“Turn it down!”
           
            one house shines
                        in new siding
            chain links the brown
                        block’s backyards
                        right angles and shadow
            no sirens tonight
            a kid laughs
            some woman hums
                        the dishes away

“Sit for a week, even this’ll look good.”

“That’s whiskey talking. Throw me a beer, Jake.
It’s all in your head.”


This poem was included in Pontoon, published by Floating Bridge Review (Seattle), Number Four, 2011

All the poems in Pontoon were chosen from manuscripts submitted to the 2011 Floating Bridge Press Poetry Chapbook Award.


Pontoon is available from Floating Bridge Press

Photo: Painter & Poet by Margaret Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Detail of Jimmy Buffs
72"x96" oil on linen 1982--1992
Collection: Kent Chadwick

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Defending the Muse: Michael Stein and Paul Georges

Paul Georges
The Studio
120”x79 1/2” oil on canvas 1965
The Whitney Museum Collection, New York
Courtesy Paul Georges Estate

Michael Stein's new novel "The Rape of the Muse" ponders the worth of art and the place of beauty in our contemporary society. Stein's re-imagining of painter Paul Georges' trial for libel in 1980 updates the events to the 21st century and fleshes out the characters with a post September 11th ennui. When Georges' trial took place in 1980, the Neo-Expressionist boom in art was just beginning. Emotional, brightly colored paintings using the figure as a theme filled galleries in New York and Europe. In that time Paul Georges’ artwork was included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. But still, Georges was an outsider looking in on an art world that often considered narrative painting to be atavistic at best - reactionary at worst.

Paul Georges
The Mugging of the Muse
80”x103” oil on canvas 1972-1974
Courtesy Paul Georges Estate

Michael Stein adeptly weaves elements of Paul Georges' life into the story of his fictive painter - Harris Montrose. Montrose cares deeply about the gift and responsibility of art. This humble esteem for the muse that stokes his creative fire leads to a showdown with an artistic colleague over a limned image. Are we all fair game for artistic interpretation? Is anything really private anymore? Is the language of painting relevant to our time?

Stein brings in a young artist, already marked by the reigning critics as one to watch, who is psychologically blocked from the creative process. This young artist, Rand Taber, becomes Montrose's studio assistant. As if in a scene from Martin Scorsese's segment in the film "New York Stories", Taber learns life lessons from his mentor Montrose. In this sense, Michael Stein seems to hold up the elder painter as a pugnacious model of validity. Harris Montrose paints like his life depends on it. The muse needs to be honored. And if anyone gets in the way they should heed the warnings. The muse shall be avenged.

It is refreshing to read a work in which art is considered deeply as much more than a commodity or a means to privilege. Michael Stein’s “The Rape of the Muse” is gutsy – almost an aesthetic bar fight of a novel. It is heartening to feel Paul Georges’ passion seep into Stein’s writing. Art is not just style. At its best, art considers life and then makes something new. Michael Stein’s “The Rape of the Muse” digs into the life and work of the forceful painter Paul Georges and conjures up a story for our moment.

Highly recommended.


Michael Stein

More at:
Life and Art of Paul Georges
Michael Stein's Website

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Theater of Memory: New Exhibit Opens October 4, 2011 at the Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery

Theater of Memory
Gregg Chadwick
Theater of Memory
48"x48" oil on canvas 2011

Theater of Memory
New Paintings by Gregg Chadwick


Curated by Melissa Pickford

Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery

Opening on October 4, 2011
Runs until November 4, 2011

One could say we all create paintings as we distill meaning from the rush of life. Experiences, moments, thoughts, actions, memories, and dreams mix together and overlap in our minds and hearts bringing patterns and understanding in our everyday life. My paintings in the exhibit, Theater of Memory at the Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery, echo this cognitive-emotional process. My artworks evolve through a series of painting sessions in which colors and images overlap, merge, and flow.

At times, my paintings begin close to home with remembered dreams of family members. In the title painting, Theater of Memory, my much loved late nephew Luke Chadwick appeared unbidden, but at the perfect moment. His faint smile recalled a day many years before, when I began a painting in his Seattle bedroom. As Luke watched me mix my paints on an improvised palette, he exclaimed with the intuitive vision of a child that the color I had mixed would not do. “Don’t fear color”, he said in so many words, as he pointed to a rich ultramarine glistening on my palette.

In honor of Luke and my father, Robert Chadwick, I purchased a tube of genuine lapis lazuli from the London color maker Michael Harding. This true ultramarine, ground into a crystalline powder and mixed with linseed oil on a stone mill, is the color blue found in Renaissance skies. Transparent layers of this lapis mark each of my paintings in this exhibit. Sourced in Afghanistan, lapis lazuli, reflects the historical tides of trade, conquest and conflict that ebb and flow across this region and the globe.

More at:
Gregg Chadwick's Theater of Memory


Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery

980 Fremont Street Monterey, CA 93940-4799

Melissa Pickford, Curator
More info at: mpickford@mpcgallery.com
831 646-3060

Receptions for the artist:
Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011 from 12:30 – 2 pm
&
Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 from 3 – 5 pm

Gallery Hours: Tues-Fri 11am - 4pm or by appointment
Admission: Free
Parking: 4 quarters



Catalog Available:



Please Note:
Also in the gallery under the tandem title Humanitas: Paintings by Cynthia Grilli.

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Memo From David Axelrod: Obama in good position for 2012 with liberal base, electorate

American Dreams (Obama Study)

TO: Sunday Show Producers

FR: David Axelrod, Senior Strategist

Public polling released this week makes clear that Americans strongly agree with the President’s plan to create jobs and provide economic security for the middle class and believe that leaders in both parties should move quickly to pass the American Jobs Act.

Members of the media have focused on the President’s approval ratings as if they existed in a black box. Following the intransigence of the Republicans during the debt debate, the approval rating of the GOP brand dropped to a historic low. The approval rating of Congress dropped to a near historic low. Americans are still dealing with the impact of the financial crisis and recession and the long-term economic trends that have seen wages stagnate for many, and that is manifested in their anger towards Washington. There’s no doubt that Americans are calling on leaders in Washington to take immediate action to address their economic challenges -- exactly what the President is advocating for.

According to a CNN poll released on Wednesday, a plurality of Americans approve of the President’s jobs plan. Two thirds believe we should cut taxes for the middle class and rebuild America’s roads and bridges. Three quarters believe we need to put our teachers and first responders back to work. More Americans trust the President to handle the economy than Congressional Republicans by a margin of 9 points.

Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the President’s support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong. According to the latest NBC-WSJ poll, Democrats approve of his performance by an 81%-14% margin. That’s stronger than President Clinton’s support among Democrats at this point in his term and, according to Gallup, stronger than any Democratic President dating back to Harry Truman through this point in their presidency. 92 percent of African Americans approve. And a PPP poll out this week showed the President winning 67 percent of Hispanics against Romney and 70 percent against Perry, a higher percentage than he captured against Senator McCain in 2008.

The base is mobilized behind the President. 12,000 individuals applied to join the campaign as volunteer summer fellows, more than in 2008. 1,100 students across the country are organizing their campuses in support of the campaign as fellows this fall. We had 552,462 individuals give to the campaign in the second quarter -- more than we had in all of 2007. Of our 552,462 total donors to the 2012 campaign so far, more than 260,000 of them are completely new to the Obama organization and have never given before.

The Republicans have yet to choose a nominee, and therefore, most Americans have yet to learn much about their records or visions for the country. Their candidates are busy courting the Tea Party, signing off on any economic pledge it might demand – no revenue increases under any circumstances, ending Medicare as we know it, draconian cuts that will hamper job creation. And Americans are increasingly rejecting the Tea Party’s agenda and its ideological rigidity – following the debt negotiations, an AP poll found the Tea Party’s approval rating sinking to 28-46. When Americans learn the details of the Republican candidates’ plans, the choice about America’s future will come into clear view.

Despite the Republican candidates just beginning to undergo the media scrutiny that occurs during a presidential campaign, from North Carolina to Nevada, the President remains ahead or in a dead heat with the Republican candidates in the battleground states that will decide the election in 2012. And ultimately it is in those battleground states where voters will choose, 14 months from now, between two candidates, their records, and their visions for the country.

More at:
David Nakamura: Washington Post

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

James Turrell: Present Tense - Opens on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery in Santa Monica

James Turrell at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

In 1966, James Turrell began experimenting with light at Santa Monica's Mendota Hotel, which he used as his visual laboratory. Turrell covered the windows, leaving slits that allowed prescribed amounts of light from the street outside to shine through the openings. After these experiments Turrell expanded his work, using halogen projectors to beam light across darkened rooms. From a distance the projected shapes appeared solid, but as viewers moved closer the numinous forms vanished revealing nothing more than light cast against flat walls.

Two of these Cross-­‐Corner Projections, Carn White (1967) and Phantom Blue (1968), will be included in James Turrell: Present Tense. which opens tomorrow - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery in Santa Monica.

James Turrell: Present Tense is part of Pacific Standard Time, which documents the Los Angeles art scene from 1945-1980. Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months until April 2011.

More at:
Pacific Standard Time Website
Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Birth of the L.A. Art World: Pacific Standard Time 1945-1980

Ed Ruscha
Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas
64.5" x 121.75" oil on canvas 1963
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
© Ed Ruscha

Opening this month in Southern California are a series of art exhibitions, Pacific Standard Time, documenting the Los Angeles art scene from 1945-1980. Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months until April 2011.


In a Teaser for Pacific Standard Time, Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers Takes Artist Ed Ruscha for a Ride

The Getty Museum's comphrehensive exhibit of the period, Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970, opens on October 1, 2011.

More at:
Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970

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You Can't Blow Out a Fire: The Life and Death of Steve Biko


Peter Gabriel and Youssou N'Dour Perform Gabriel's Song Biko at Friends United Against Malaria - Genève, Switzerland on 08/10/2005.

Today, September 12, 2011, on the anniversary of Steve Biko's death at the hands of the South African security police, I reflect on the impact Mr. Biko had on South Africa and the world. I stand with Artists for a New South Africa and proclaim, "Biko lives on!"

On September 12,1977 Steve Biko died in in police custody in South Africa.
The leader of the black consciousness movement in South Africa, Steve Biko, was 30 years old.

Mr Biko had been in custody since August 18, 1977. He was the 20th person to die in custody during an 18 month stretch in 1976-1977. Steve Biko left a wife and two children.

Steve Biko's Biography

Steve Biko was born in South Africa in 1946.

He became active in the anti-apartheid movement in 1960s when he was studying medicine at the University of Natal.

Steve Biko organized the South African Students'Organistion in 1968 and was elected its first president the following year.

Expelled from his medical studies, Biko began working full-time for the Black Community Programmes organization. Biko also started writing under the pen-name Frank Talk for the South African Students'Organistion newsletter.

By 1973 his work had come to the attention of the repressive South African government. In an attempt to curtail his activism, Biko was placed under a form of house arrest restricting him to his birthplace - King William's Town .

Even under these restraints and the pressure from the South African government, Biko continued his work with the Black Community Programmes.

Steve Biko also helped create the Zimele Trust Fund in 1975, which helped political prisoners and their families, and the Ginsberg Educational Trust, to assist black students.

Steve Biko was arrested by the apartheid government on August 18, 1977. He died in police custody on September 12, 1977.

Steve Biko's memory lives on as a beacon to all those who fearlessly face down injustice across the globe. Steve Biko will never be forgotten.



Biko, written by Peter Gabriel, This version is from the 1994 Manu Dibango Album WAKAFRIKA: featuring Alex Brown, Peter Gabriel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Geoffrey Oryema and Sinead O'Connor

Biko
by Peter Gabriel

September '77
Port Elizabeth weather fine
It was business as usual
In police room 619
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
-The man is dead

When I try and sleep at night
I can only dream in red
The outside world is black and white
With only one colour dead
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
-The man is dead

You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
-The man is dead

And the eyes of the world are
watching now
watching now

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2011

Engine Company
Gregg Chadwick
Engine Company
48"x36" oil on canvas 2011

In Memory
September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2011


Paul Simon performs 'The Sounds of Silence' at Ground Zero for the 9/11 Anniversary

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finding Beauty in Our Art & Lives: Upcoming Workshop With Gregg Chadwick & Phil Cousineau at Esalen in Big Sur (Weekend of September 30-October 2, 2011)

Beauty and Sadness ( 美しさと哀しみと)
Gregg Chadwick
Beauty and Sadness ( 美しさと哀しみと)

Often cocooned in our metal boxes as we speed through our days, modern life can seem barren and uncreative. How do we find joy in our lives? Where is that creative spark found?

Join Gregg Chadwick and Phil Cousineau as we explore the nature of beauty in our art and being.
Coming up at Esalen during the weekend of September 30 through October 2nd 2011, we will venture into the realms of artistic creation and personal discovery with exercises in visual art and discussions around the mythic importance of beauty. I hope you can join us at Esalen as we use the arts to get back to life.

For info and reservations:
Who Stole the Arms of the Venus de Milo? The Myth of Beauty from Aphrodite to Ansel Adams
Feel free to email me directly with questions or ideas at speedoflife@mac.com .

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Seeing Through the Eyes of the Mona Lisa: Group Photo Exhibit Opening Saturday, September 10, 2011 at Arena 1 Gallery in Santa Monica, California

Symphonie des Lichts  (Symphony of Light)
Symphonie des Lichts (Symphony of Light)
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Seeing Through the Eyes of the Mona Lisa
ARENA 1 Gallery

Curated by Yossi Govrin & Krista Augius

Exhibition: Sept. 10 – Oct. 1, 2011
Opening Reception with Baroque Music: Sept. 10, 6-9 p.m.

The camera is ubiquitous in contemporary life. Nearly everyone is a
photographer, most often recording the personal and mundane
but occasionally capturing news-breaking images of world historical
importance. With digital cameras, we have become instant gratification
consumers of our own portraits. What are we looking at, and what are
we seeing?

Photographers include Sabine Pearlman, Gregg Chadwick, Doni Silver Simons, Kathy Peck Leeds, Yossi Govrin, David Leeds, Krista Augius, & more...

Saturday, Sept 10 6-9pm
Exhibition: Sept 10 - Oct 1, 2011
3026 Airport Ave,Santa Monica,CA90405

More info at: 310/397-7456

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

President Obama Challenges Congress ,"Pass This Jobs Bill!"


The American Jobs Act
President Obama's Speech on Jobs

September 8, 2011
Full Text

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.
This past week, reporters have been asking “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”
But the millions of Americans who are watching right now: they don’t care about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by – giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.


These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share – where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in awhile. If you did the right thing, you could make it in America.

But for decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the deck too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington hasn’t always put their interests first.
The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.
Those of us here tonight can’t solve all of our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.

I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.


The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.

Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin.


And you know that while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t. So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you.

Pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or raise workers’ wages. Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.

It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan. You should pass it right away.

Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America. Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world.

This is inexcusable. Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?


There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now.

The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across this country. It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures. It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects across the country. And to make sure the money is properly spent and for good purposes, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere. We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible. And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy.

This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat. The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization. It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike. You should pass it right away.

Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong.

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans. We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.

Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and dignity of a summer job next year. And their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.


Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and Republicans in this Chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again – right away.

Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen hundred dollar tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket. This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year. If we allow that tax cut to expire – if we refuse to act – middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We cannot let that happen. I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away.

This is the American Jobs Act. It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed. It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief for small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle-class. And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: the American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for.

And here’s how:
The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan – a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.
This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts; by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. What’s more, the spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small business and middle-class families get back on their feet right away.

Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it.

I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary – an outrage he has asked us to fix. We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share. And I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that, if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.

I’ll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs here in America.

So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both.

This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.

The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future – an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build, out-educate, and out-innovate every other country on Earth.
This task, of making America more competitive for the long haul, is a job for all of us. For government and for private companies. For states and for local communities – and for every American citizen. All of us will have to up our game. All of us will have to change the way we do business.

My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own. For example, if you’re a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we’re going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do now. We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly-growing start-up companies from raising capital and going public. And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with Federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4% -- a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices.

Other steps will require Congressional action. Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea – while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.”

And on all of our efforts to strengthen competitiveness, we need to look for ways to work side-by-side with America’s businesses. That’s why I’ve brought together a Jobs Council of leaders from different industries who are developing a wide range of new ideas to help companies grow and create jobs.

Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training. Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges. And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America. If we provide the right incentives and support – and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules – we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that are sold all over the world. That’s how America can be number one again. That’s how America will be number one again.

Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.

Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I will continue to work with Congress to get rid of it. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. We should have no more regulation than the health, safety, and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that common sense test.

But what we can’t do – what I won’t do – is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe that’s a race we can win.

In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own – that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America.

Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world.

Alexander Gardner's Cracked Glass - (Abraham Lincoln 1865)

But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future – a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.

Ask yourselves – where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance?

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result?
No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.

Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities.

I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan – or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.


But know this: the next election is fourteen months away. And the people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them – they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months. Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.

I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It shouldn’t be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it – to be persistent – to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.

Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we’ll have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country. I also ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation, and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.

President Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made – therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.”

These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

No Banker Left Behind: A Taste of Ry Cooder's New Album



Video for Ry Cooder's powerful new song No Banker Left Behind

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