Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh Really now??

Republican vice presidential candidate Caribou Barbie Palin on Thursday said Democratic nominee Barack Obama would be incapable of meeting U.S. national security challenges. Palin, whose selection as Republican John McCain's running mate prompted criticism of her scant national security experience, spoke after meeting a group of retired military commanders and the former leaders of the CIA and the Homeland Security Department.

Shut UP! Palin...Shut UP!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Going Down

Didn't think we'd see this anytime soon:

But here we are, gas is below $2 in some parts of KC. Is it coincidence that it is only days away from the election and it looks bleak for big oil's buddies???

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kansas City Symphony: Berlioz Te Deum

Many of us music lovers in Kansas City reacted quite positively to the announcement this past spring that the eminent choral master Charles Bruffy would be assuming the role as Director of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus.

The chorus just never measured up to its potential; sloppy entrances, mediocre diction, frequent pitch issues.... all the tiger traps of the world of choral performance on full display. With the orchestra reaching new heights, the chorus was capable of dragging it down. Thus it went with the bland Duruflè Requiem, a chorally sloppy Mozart Requiem and the vocally nightmarish Verdi Requiem of last year, a great orchestral performance ruined by the bland soloists and the confused choir.

Bruffy is, of course, well known nationally and internationally for his work with the Kansas City Chorale, Phoenix Bach Choir and his recordings which have won many awards including a Grammy. If any one could light a fire under the talented but always under-rehearsed sounding Chorus, it would be Bruffy.

I would love to say he worked miracles at last night's concert with the Symphony in the featured work, Berlioz's magnificent and demanding Te Deum. He got close, but work is still to be done. Music Director Michael Stern led the combined forces in the performances.

Immediately I noted the new confidence in the voices. Entrances were clearer and on pitch, they projected better than normal (the theatre's barely adequate acoustics also contribute to the ability to project)and they just seemed to be more comfortable in their art. That in and of itself is a great start.

Berlioz's revolution-inspired and militaristic Te Deum is one of the glories of the choral/orchestral repertoire. Grand, bombastic, contrapuntal, colorful and occasionally lyrical, the work demands a grand choir, orchestra and organ. Unfortunately, the Lyric Theatre has no organ so a well performed but barely adequate electronic organ had to suffice. A few dozen more singers and more strings could have made a better visceral impact. Purists and the highly pretentious would dismiss it as too small scaled. Pooh on them...overall, ignoring the limitations noted, this was a grand and well done performance of this not often heard piece. Tenor Phillipe Castagner's brief solo was well turned and a welcome lyrical interlude.

The evening's theme of spirituality and heavenly praise began with the ethereal Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin. A nicely arched and nuanced performance, marred a bit by some intonation deficit in the uppermost string registers. Stern progressed from that piece attacca into Alan J Kernis' "Musica celestis" for strings alone. The two pieces did fit together well in key, mood and color. At least an agitated and well performed center section kept the piece from totally descending into another bland "pretty piece", all lovely sound and no form or substance.

One of the surprises of the evening was the charming, yet dramatic and energetic performance of the Symphony No. 84, sometimes known as the "In Nomine Domini". Stern and the Symphony are turning into a fine Haydn orchestra, bringing out the wit, personality and symphonic gravitas of these works. Haydn symphonies sound deceptively simple, yet that simplicity is achieved only through sound rhythm, snappy tempi and attention to myriad of detail. I hope to hear much more Haydn from them in the future.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Coupl'a Things IX

1) The most logical and reasonable assessment of the ACORN voter registration controversy I have read. Mr. Abouhalkah is frequently all over the map regarding his views on things and I find myself frequently disagreeing with him. But he is spot on, with this. ACORN is not a threat to democracy, it is ensuring that not just the rich and privileged get to vote.

Acorn vs McCain: They Both Lost

2) Is there really a deep recession going on? I have no doubt there will be, as the last time the Republicans got involved as long as they have, we had a great depression. But for now... I am not so sure. I went to a restaurant last night with Greg and Sue. Place was packed. I am trying to get some contractors to do some work at the building, they say they are too busy or the job is too small for them to do right now. Construction must be good. The grocery store is packed, even though the prices rise and rise.

It may be coming, my Grandmother predicted in 1972 it was coming, and she was rarely wrong. But for now, all seems well... or we have our heads in the sand.

3)Damn it turn the heat up outside. I am not ready for the cold.

4) Last weekend I went to St Louis to hear the St Louis Symphony as I reported. What I didn't mention was that getting there was a mess. I rented a car from Hertz as the agency is just a short distance from me, a 10 min bus ride. But Sat AM there was a marathon race and an Obama rally right after in the same area. Roads blocked, busses not running or re-routed. Took me an hour to get there and the office was closed. Lucky the agent realized what was going on and he stayed to see if I would come. I was so happy, he even upgraded my car so I had a brand new Town Car for the trip. Thankfully no glowing Korean built machine this time!

Customer service is not all lost.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Across The Miles

So, on the other side of the Bering Strait:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kansas City Symphony: Müller-Schott Elgar Cello Cto

This past weekend provided a cornucopia of great music making on both sides of the state. I usually hear the Kansas City Symphony on Saturday but since I was heading to St Louis to hear Skrowaczewski, I switched the Kansas City Symphony tickets to Friday. I certainly did not want to miss one of the rising stars of the cello world, Daniel Müller-Schott, perform the great Elgar Cello Concerto. Music Director Michael Stern was on the podium.

The program, all early 20th century pieces, had a common thread of wistful nostalgia for times never to be seen again. "Souvenirs", Barber's witty yet affectionate look back at a 1914 dance hall reverberating with tangos, schottisches and waltzes, opened the program. A charming and light hearted performance delighted the audience, most of whom I am sure were not familiar with this ballet score, which begs to be danced and performed more often.

Müller-Schott clearly relished the meaty, nostalgic and ultimately tragic Elgar Cello Concerto. Elgar's last major work from 1920 (he died 14 years later), was deeply influenced by Elgar's crumbling world. WW1 had ravaged Europe, the pomp and circumstance of Edwardian England was forever changed as monarchies adopted to a new more egalitarian world order, his wife was ill and dying, new musical forms had rendered his music passè. Disillusionment, angst, depression permeates this expressive yet strangely satisfying work. Müller-Schott dug into the stark opening chords, reveled in the intricate passage work yet sung the many exposed, stark melodic lines with appropriate pathos and a resonating voice. Stern and the orchestra provided a rich and appropriately brooding accompaniment with an excellent balance with the cello, important in the questionable acoustics of the Lyric Theatre.

Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, for a long time the only piece by Britten I could say I liked, received a stately and shattering performance. The more frenetic second movement (Dies Irae) could have used a bit more irony and power behind the strange, detached series of chords and yawps that end the movement; the last movement (Requiem Aeternam) glided to a deeply felt close that either bewildered the audience perhaps not familiar with the piece or, perhaps more to the point, left them deep in reflection.

Concluding the thought provoking program was Ravel's wickedly sardonic "La Valse". The work opened as if emerging from a fog, Stern and the orchestra expertly realizing the spooky, misty music. The crazed waltz spun almost out of control until crashing upon itself. I am sure many in the audience reveled in the sounds; the braying brass, fluttering flutes and soaring strings, oblivious to Ravel's program of a past world spinning itself out before collapsing in ruin.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

St Louis Symphony: Skrowaczewski conducts Bruckner 8th

"Why isn't the name Stanislaw Skrowaczewski at the top of the list of greatest conductors, except for nuts like us" I wondered out loud to Steve who I had met at the end of the concert.

"Well, he is not flashy and no one can pronounce let alone spell his name", Steve replied with a chuckle.

There is a lot of truth in that. An audience of only 750 was on hand at magnificent Powell Symphony Hall in St Louis to hear one of the great conductors perform one of his signature works, the mighty Bruckner Symphony #8 with the St Louis Symphony.

Skrowaczewski is, in my opinion, the pre-eminent Bruckner conductor of my time. At 85, he led an energetic, detailed, superbly shaped performance of this magnificent work from memory. The 9 horns (4 on Wagner Tubas), quadruple brass, triple woodwinds, 2 harps, full strings and percussion filled the gilded hall with deep organ like sounds (the beginning of the incredible slow movement for example), proud clarion calls (the beginning of the Finale), sweet glitter from the harps (making the slow movement as close to heavenly music making as possible) and delicate figures from the woodwinds, often buried in murky recordings. Never slacking but never rushed either, he brought out the soaring architecture of this demanding symphony, making it seem almost easy. Fully in command, Skrowaczewski only need look or wave a finger at a section to coax the most incredible sounds from the orchestra.

I could go on... but you get the picture. Every movement surpassed the previous one in intensity and beauty. The lady next to me thought I was nuts as I beamed, cried, sighed, conducted passages and rolled my eyes heavenward as the all too short 80 minutes flew by as if a second in time. Skrowaczewski was rewarded with a sincere and prolonged ovation from not only the audience but the orchestra as well.

The 500 mile, 8 hour round trip (similar, Steve quipped, to the story of Bach walking 200 miles to hear Buxtehude)was worth every penny, hassle and lost minute of sleep to hear music making this fine and this incredible.

Those empty seats missed a rare opportunity to hear some magnificent music making. Their loss.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

It is the coolest morning of the fall; the winds have shifted from the north. Since my ancient windows at the Palace have not been sealed to keep the cold at bay, the outside air sneaks its way in from time to time. At about 4AM I awoke, looked over to see Her Majesty snoring away on the nest she had made in the extra pillows and immediately wondered who was making coffee. It persisted, my caffeine sensors going into overdrive. HM decided it was time for us to get up and for her to have her morning breakfast. After attending to her needs and receiving my customary "thank you" bark from a chowing down pug, I went out to get the newspapers for the ungrateful jerks who inhabit the Towers.

The 4:30AM air was crisp, chilly, the breeze steady but light. The remnants of a full moon was in the west, the sun still far out in the Atlantic, not reaching us in the great flyover as of yet. The air was thick, however, with the aroma of fresh ground coffee. The mystery had been solved, I had experienced one of the joys of living where I do.

Kansas City is home to one of the smaller and older Folger's Coffee plants. Smack in the middle of downtown continuously roasting coffee for 100 years. Quite an accomplishment for any factory these days. Many operations built 50, 60, even 90 years later sit idle and decaying all over the country.

When the roasters are going, downtown is fragrant with the heady and intoxicating aroma of fresh roast coffee. Locals find it comforting, visitors find it fascinating, especially since most downtowns reek of too many people and diesel busses. But this AM, the aroma had traveled. The north winds had gifted us with the scent of the night shift's labor. A nice warm batch of coffee beans was being processed to be shipped all over the world, supplying us caffeine addicts with our daily fix.

As the morning broke and the world awoke, the aroma dissipated; the coffee had been canned and bagged. The aroma now trapped in its sealed container, awaiting its release, its user reveling in the rush of a newly opened can. But I got it first, free and clear on a cool AM. Thank you Folgers, long may you roast!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ronald Responds

I got this, surely canned (or maybe wrapped is more appropriate), response from Mc Donald's corporate office. Skirts the issue doesn't it. Remember, the company sent this email as printed in the American Family Association website:

In an e-mail to McDonald's franchised owners the company said, "It is our policy to not be involved in political and social issues. McDonald's remains neutral on same sex marriage or any 'homosexual agenda' as defined by the American Family Association."

Somebody ain't being truthful.....

Hello Donald:

Thank you for contacting McDonald's. We appreciate this opportunity to share some information with you.

As we've said all along, McDonald's stands by and supports our people. Diversity and inclusion are integral components of our brand and our heritage.

We continue to have strong employee networks throughout our company and will continue to align our brand with individuals and organizations that share our belief in supporting our people and the communities we serve.

Regarding Richard Ellis, he made a personal decision to step down from the Board of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce after he accepted a new position earlier this year with McDonald's Restaurants of Canada, Limited.

At McDonald's, we continue to value and respect everyone.

Thank you for sharing your personal point of view on this topic with us.

McDonald's Customer Response Center

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Matthew Shepard October 1998

In the early morning hours of October 12, 1998 Matthew Shepard died.

Beaten, tied to a fence and left exposed to die in a remote field outside Laramie, Wyoming, Shepard's murder by two homophobic, remorseless thugs, galvanized the country. Then President Clinton even called the family to express his condolences. When Lawrence King was killed in a recent incident the current President was silent, as he has been for his entire illegal regime.

Sadly, the progress of making sexual orientation a hate crime has been stymied by an unsympathetic, even hostile regime. The gay community itself, whatever that is, still seems to be concerned over the latest over priced fashion trend than voting or working for a more just society. If the black community was as nonchalant about rights as the gay community, slavery would still be legal.

There have been some positive steps but they have been tempered by a larger number of negative steps. Neither candidate for president can speak out for full rights for sexual minorities. A whole generation of kids are being reared in right wing mega churches, most if not all preaching that being gay is a sin. Maybe my basic pessimism is coming through, but I see little to cheer about.

I wish I would have had my act together. If I did, I would have gotten a tattered green and yellow ribbon out of my storage. I got it ten years ago at a Matthew Shepard rally here in KC. The weekend after he was found beaten, our church choir did not sing, silent in our protest. We all wore our ribbons.

The ribbon is with my Christmas decorations. Every year, my bright lit tree is darkened a bit by this tiny piece of cloth... remembering Matthew who saw no more bright Christmases.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Reason to avoid Micky D's

Mc Donald's caved in to the ultra right wing, religious bigot American Family Association this week and canceled their support and membership in the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. AFA gloats that it won a great victory for families.... I guess that means keeping gays out of Micky D's.

Here is a letter I wrote to Mc Donald's. If you have a conscience, boycott them. Better for your health anyway!

"Now that you no longer wish to support my community, I see no reason to spend my money to support your business. I am angry and dismayed at your complete caving in to the anti-gay AFA.

This statement quoted here is quite disappointing since you obviously agreed to use language written by this hate filled organization:

"It is our policy to not be involved in political and social issues. McDonald's remains neutral on same-sex marriage or any 'homosexual agenda' as defined by the American Family Association."

The only "homosexual agenda" of which I am aware is to end ignorant bigotry againsty sexual minorities. I guess McDonald's supports bigotry.

I was a regular breakfast customer at the Mc Donalds at 3741 Broadway in Kansas City, MO. Not anymore, you made it clear you do not want us there."

Sorry Ronald....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Book Sarah Palin Hates


The Book Sarah Palin Wanted Banned

She and Sen Mc Same-as-Bush would be a disaster. THINK! America, grow up and elect a president not bent on Karl Rove attacks, ignorance and fear mongering.

And God bless and THANKS! to Rev. Howard Bess for standing up to this idiocy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How John Mc Cain Really Feels about his fellow Vets

From Shaun:

John McCain Snubs Mentally Ill Vietnam Veteran In Home State Of Arizona

Two years ago, presidential nominee John McCain started receiving pleas for help from Mike Hunter, a mentally ill Vietnam vet whose prison sentence was over but didn’t have the competency or the outside help of family and friends to facilitate his release from Tucson prison.

In 2007, Mike Hunter received a response from John McCain acknowledging his office was investigating the matter, requesting more information and pledging to do whatever he could for Mike Hunter. Mike Hunter showed me the letter. Mike was unusually cheerful that day and sure that John McCain, his fellow Vietnam veteran and a former prisoner of war, would cut through the red tape to facilitate his release.

Mike Hunter waited patiently but no help from John McCain ever arrived. Mike Hunter has now been in prison for almost 2½ years past his release date of April 12 2006. Here is the link to Mike Hunter’s information at the Arizona Department of Corrections showing his release eligibility:

Mike Hunter suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder (as a consequence of his military service in Vietnam) and schizophrenia. John McCain’s status as prisoner of war made news headlines, whereas the public is oblivious to the plight of Mike Hunter. With no family or resources to help facilitate his release, Mike Hunter epitomises the throwaway person trapped in the prison system. He risked his life in Vietnam out of love for America, and was honourably discharged. Back in America, he got in an altercation with his father-in-law who died. Up against the vast resources of the State of Arizona and railroaded by a promotion-hungry prosecutor, Mike didn’t stand a chance in court. He was convicted of 1st Degree Murder and served twenty years for this crime in a prison system notorious for neglecting the needs of the mentally ill.

Staff at the Arizona Department of Corrections who were supposed to have prepared and processed Mike Hunter’s release package have failed to do so every year since 2006, showing not only their incompetence but also a complete disregard for Mike Hunter’s right to freedom.

Mike Hunter has paid his debt back to society, and it’s time for someone in society who cares more about the plight of Vietnam vets than John McCain apparently does to help him obtain the freedom that should have been his on April 12 2006.

Shame on you, John McCain.

If you are in a position to help Mike Hunter then please email me at the address below. If you know a person or organization that may be able to help Mike Hunter then please forward the link to this blog entry to them. There must be someone out there who can help correct this injustice.


Shaun P. Attwood

Monday, October 06, 2008


Ok everyone, leave OJ Simpson alone...ok? He is a man of his word and did what he said he would do. After 13 years, he helped bring the "REAL" killer of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman to justice. Yes, it finally happened. The real killer was finally locked Nevada.

And for us
Triskaidekaphobics, we are reveling in the conviction after 13 hours of deliberations, for a crime committed on September 13th, 13 years to the day after his acquittal for murder.

More reasons to avoid 13.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Kansas City Symphony: Giancarlo Guerrero conducts Mozart, Liszt and Tchaikovsky

Costa Rican conductor Giancarlo Guerrero has certainly made a splash in the music world these last few years. Recently appointed as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, Guerrero has conducted many of the world's great ensembles and took the Eugene, Oregon Symphony to new heights. In this, his second appearance with the Kansas City Symphony, Guerrero infused a rather standard fare program with his boundless energy and technique.

Mozart's "Paris" Symphony # 31 opened the program. Despite Guerrero's energy, the opening Allegro assai dragged a bit in parts. Fine detailed lines and the usual fine job from the KCS winds helped to propel the movement, but I just felt a touch of disconnect between the podium and the orchestra. The slow Andantino had a nice gentle flow, and the finale (Mozart dispensed with the minuet in this 3 movement symphony, a custom in Paris at that time) gained the energy that was lacking in the opening. The many contrapuntal lines in the strings were well delineated, making for a satisfying conclusion.

German pianist Marcus Groh, who has made quite a name for himself as a Liszt interpreter, joined the orchestra for a flashy and bravura performance of Liszt's Piano Concerto # 1. To their credit Groh and Guerrero spotlighted the few subtle and lyrical passages in this work, better known for its flashing runs, jingling trills and banging chords. Groh impressed from the very beginning, wringing every ounce of drama from this admittedly showy and demanding concerto. The orchestra excelled in its supportive role, letting the piano rule but providing its own share of drama when called upon. One disappointment, a somewhat hesitant and timid triangle solo. Instead of challenging and commenting on the piano, it faded too much into the fabric.

The last half consisted of Tchikovksky's familiar Symphony # 5. As with the Mozart, I felt that the faster movements were slow to jell into a satisfying performance, but once the conductor and orchestra communicated, the music was allowed to sing. There were some fine moments; the wonderfully organ-like sounds from the low strings at the beginning of the andante second movement, a nuanced and satisfying first movement and some wonderful work by the orchestra's winds. The horn solo in the andante was sadly marred by some poor intonation that seemed to carry through to the end of the work. Although the last movement was slow to ignite, the famous barnstorming coda brought out the energy of the orchestra and conductor, so much so that at times I was enjoying Guerrero's ballet more than the music. A good performance and a fine concert.

As I watched and listened to Guerrero, I could not help but compare him to the current sensation Gustavo Dudamel. Both younger latino conductors with a decidedly energetic presence on the podium, Gurrero seems to concentrate a bit more on the mainstream repertoire and is a lot less flashy than his rival. It will be interesting to see these two grow and infuse their boundless energy and decidely latin world view on the world's stages.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sensory divestment.

This is a post from my prison pen pal friend Shannon, in Tucson, AZ. Shannon's life story is rife with tales of mental illness, abuse, incarceration, abandonment and disease. As is so sadly and inexcusable in the world's richest country (getting to be poorer for sure), instead of treatment and assistance, Shannon gets locked up. I have been pleased to watch his progress as a writer and a blogger, a link to his blog is in my links section to the right. This passage was especially moving and telling.

Sensory divestment.

Pixie's comment to my August 16, 2008 entry, about guys inside not having smelled a grill in over 20 years, reminds me of the secondary punishment that incarceration leads to.

The sounds of birds chirping, water moving over rocks in a stream, soft relaxed voices, conversations without expletives, the crackling of burning wood, and most of all...Silence. Even in the middle of the night you won't find silence. Guys snoring, guards keys jingling, doors clanking, walkie-talkies squawking, etc.

Olfactory. BBQ grills, food cooking, perfumes, clean hair and skin of the opposite sex, campfires, flowers, and so many other scents many in society take for granted. *A little known fact I've noticed: Most guys locked up will smell their mail from female loved ones. I have with many letters from Pixie and Katrina. Often it's just an unconscious thing. The indescribable smells inside prisons and jails aren't found anywhere else together like this. It is like nothing I've experienced elsewhere.

Visual. The sight of wilderness, wildlife, human beings in casual clothes, genuine smiles, little kids playing, pets, and even automobiles driving down a highway. Mainly, prisoners see brown (guards), orange (prisoners), white (kitchen/medical staff) and grey (maintenance workers). Walls, buildings, etc., are grey or off-white. In ADOC, prisoners rarely see trees, plants, etc., and when we do, it is sparse and short-lived.

Taste. The sweetness of a fresh strawberry, the sourness of a fresh lemon, the flavor of a steak, or even that subtle taste of a lover's skin. In prison, the food has 3 levels: palatable, bad, and inedible. Taste has been repetitively assaulted for so long that most of us refer to flavors as colors now. Red (Fruit Punch), Pink (Lemonade), Brown (Tea), Red Death (okay, I'm not sure what that is). We don't even get gum or breath mints. I'd kill for some cinnamon breath strips.

Touch. Not only of a sexual nature, but in addition to...the feel of softness, warmth, coolness of linen and blankets. A soft shirt. The feel of a soft hand in your own. A hug. A kiss. Something so simple as a hand on your arm. Physical contact. I truly believe that many guys locked up roughhouse, shake hands, pat backs, etc., in camaraderie, subconsciously do so more than normal for intimate contact with another human. It's a guy thing. One that I've never gotten used to or appreciated. I am not a touchy person with guys or many women. I have personal space issues.

Yes, sensory divestment is an unavoidable punishment that goes with incarceration. Unintended for the most part, but no less a punishment.

Friday, October 03, 2008

What I am Listening to Today

Albany Records has recently released an important recording, documenting the often uneven but always fascinating Symphonies of Roy Harris.

Harris has to me always been an "also ran" among American Composers. Never quite reaching the level of competency and popularity of Copland or even Diamond, Schuman, Rochberg or Persichetti. Yet, perhaps out of curiosity and frequently enjoying the restless energy of his works, I always welcome a new recording of his Symphonies.

The Albany, under the direction of Ian Hobson and his Polish group Sinfonia Varsovia, features works by Douglas Moore, (Symphony # 2), Cecil Effinger (Symphony # 1) Morton Gould (Cowboy Rhapsody) and the Roy Harris Symphony # 11.

Harris' 11th was a New York Philharmonic Centennial commission and was first performed in February 1968 by the NYP, conducted by the composer. Like so much of his work, it is intense, brassy, dense, rugged and craggy. Unlike his best work, the Symphony # 3 for example, it is also a bit repetitious, awfully strident, lacking in organic development and meanders for its 20 minute duration. The opening, featuring an amplified piano is striking, but the repetitious use of the figure soon wears upon the listener.

I have not listened to the other works yet, with the exception of the amusing Gould Rhapsody that opens the recording.

I was taken by surprise by this release and wonder if it is a harbinger of more Harris by this group. Marin Alsop and Bournemouth is slowly recording a Harris cycle for Naxos as well. Will be interesting to finally hear the Symphonies # 10, 12 and 13 which were critically panned and have likely not played again. And, it is about time for a new Symphony # 1 (Symphony 1933) recording!

Albany Troy 1042 Released September 2008. I think most of these are first recordings. HB has it as does CDUniverse

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Say What Presidente?

Oh give me a break! Demonstrations and signs declaring "No Dictatorship" are part of the landscape of much of Nicaragua. The Venezuela oil deal was supposed to give poor Nicaraguans access to less expensive fuel... not happened. Ortega is more hated, per capita than Bush. Even his own friends and colleagues desert him. Yet the now state controlled or at least state intimidated media announce this package of lies and distortions:

After Transparency International ranked Nicaragua as the fifth most corrupt country in Latin America, Nicaragua's Comptroller General Luis Angel Montenegro announced that not one public official has been punished for corruption during the first 18 months of President Daniel Ortega's term.

Montenegro said the lack of sanctions against public officials for corruption reflects an improvement in the way Sandinista government employees conduct themselves compared with past governments. In the first year of ex-President Arnoldo Aleman's government, the comptroller sanctioned more than 150 public officials, Montenegro pointed out.

“This is a government without corruption,” he told state-run TV channel Multinoticias.

Transparency International's 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, released Sept. 23, paints a different picture. The survey, which indicates the degree of public sector corruption as perceived by business people and country analysts on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean), gave Nicaragua a score of 2.5 – the worst corruption ranking in Central America. Nicaragua placed 134 out of 180 countries, tied with Pakistan and Ukraine. In Latin America, only Haiti, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay outranked Nicaragua for perceived corruption.

The Ortega administration has been under fire from opposition at home and observers abroad for opaque management of some $520 million in Venezuelan aid.

So, I guess this can be a lesson for the mayor and police of Kansas City.. don't arrest anyone and claim crime is non existent.