Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Virtuoso in a Subway, playing for free

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:
the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?

TRUE --- Snopes.com --- http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/bell.asp

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jefferon's prediction, 1802

this pretty much says it all

'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'

Thomas Jefferson 1802

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The history of the Machine, Puck Cartoon

Puck, one of the greatest political cartoonist of all time sums up Boss Croker in tNew York, credited by some as the origin of the concept of machine politics -
from Wikipedia - we have the current debate on "the Machine" and its meaning

A political machine (or simply machine) is a disciplined political organization in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters (usually campaign workers), who receive rewards for their efforts. Although these elements are common to most political parties and organizations, they are essential to political machines, which rely on hierarchy and rewards for political power. Machines sometimes have a political boss, often rely on patronage, the spoils system, "behind-the-scenes" control, and longstanding political ties within the structure of a representative democracy. Machines typically are organized on a permanent basis instead of for a single election or event. The term may have a pejorative sense referring to corrupt political machines.[1]

Although the term "political machine" dates back to the 19th century in the United States, where such organizations have existed in some municipalities and states since the 18th century, similar machines have been described in Latin America, where the system has been called (under the name clientelism or political clientelism), especially in rural areas, and also in some African states and other emerging democracies, like postcommunist Eastern European countries. Japan's Liberal Democratic Party is often cited as another political machine, maintaining power in suburban and rural areas through its control of farm bureaus and road construction agencies.[2] In Japan, the word jiban (literally "base" or "foundation") is the word used for political machine,[3] In the ancient Roman Republic, a similar patronage system existed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What would honest Abe say?

How are we doing?
I wonder what he would think if he were here with us today?

Now set forever in Marble, in the Rotunda of the US Capital, you can almost see Abe coming back to life

Hand-tinted photograph © by Bennett Hall

Health Care or Health Care Insurance?

People need HEALTH CARE

People do NOT need HEALTH CARE INSURANCE ( except as mandated by the City of SF, state of MASS and soon Planet Obama)

If you watch the messaging of the Pols, what I so often hear sounds like they are all working for the INSURANCE industry - that it is all about protecting their system of distributing the dollars by pooled risk management, to enable MD's to spend millions saving one child.

As is oft pointed out -this system is failing.

SO - what if you eliminate the paperwork, the adjusters, the brokers, the executives, the bean counters- and merely focus on HEALTH CARE - and send the others home to join the unemployed?

this would reduce the cost of HC by 30% and make doctors happy once again, as they could SURPRISE be doctors, and heal the sick vs the 3:1 Staff to MD ratio now common.

Add to this mix - a change in qualifying that allows millions to spent on exotic diseases. Maybe, if your number does come up - it could be OK to let go of life so that others can live - as unfair as this may sound - but the MD's Oath of doing everything to "Save a life", or as you hear that cadence of "We lost the patient", forgets completely that death is an inseparable part of the life journey.

And, those 8 octuplets on the public dime......PLEEEEZE, I should not get started on that one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Roses for the Gatekeeper

In the cold wind, the dead roses were for the unmovable that guarded the temple of the state, the guardian of the forces that govern and control, and determine who lives and who dies in the name of freedom or democracy or whatever is the Politics of the day

Hand-tinted photograph by Bennett Hall © 1976 • Washington D.C., The Pentagon

Portrait of a Famous Lady

Here is the spirit, the one who knows...but I think She wonders whether we have lost the plot. Does the small coat worn by a child no longer fit the growing man as Jefferson foresaw - this writer thinks so  

Time to try something new She says. Please listen to her

Hand-tinted black and white photography © by Bennett Hall

Ex-Cops take responsibility for their crime in uniform, a RARE moment

I remember when I first read this story, the shock and sadness that came over me was overwhelming - the horror of such a woman to leave the Earth under these circumstances, shot by police in her home, given how she had made it through 92 years to reach this point - how could this happen - yet it seems that this kind of thing happens every day.  

That said, in this rare case, the officers are asking for forgiveness.  It seems also that they truly mean it, they feel the victim's pain, they know what they did, and are taking responsibility, rather than partnering with other officers to make up stories to cover up the crimes committed under the Oath of their failed use of authority. 

Could this be a beacon of hope, wherein, members of our law enforcement choose a path of honor, and own up to their mistakes when they make them? Perhaps they [law enforcement] may tread lighter on the no-knock SWAT attacks, maybe they will use Google a little more, verify their facts first, so maybe they will not feel compelled to break into a Mayor's house in Maryland and kill his two beloved dogs?

these two plead guilty  - they know what they did, and they could not live it.
Good on them. 

February 23rd, 2009
Awaiting sentencing, ex-cops apologize for deadly drug raid

From CNN, http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/2009/02/23/awaiting-sentencing-ex-cops-apologize-for-deadly-drug-raid/
Posted: 06:56 PM ET
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — A disgraced former police officer tearfully apologized Monday for killing an elderly Atlanta woman during a botched drug raid, while another told a judge that he prays daily for his victim.

“I used to think I was a good person,” ex-cop Greg Junnier said before breaking down on the witness stand during sentencing proceedings in a federal courtroom, CNN affiliate WXIA reported.

Junnier and two other ex-officers, Arthur Tesler and Jason Smith, face prison in the November 2006 raid that left 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston dead in a hail of gunfire. Investigators later determined the raid was based on falsified paperwork stating that illegal drugs were present in the home. The killing prompted a major overhaul of the Atlanta police drug unit.

“I pray daily for Ms. Johnston. I also pray other officers in Atlanta will have the moral fortitude I didn’t have,” Smith testified, according to WXIA.

Smith, Junnier and Tesler pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights resulting in death. Smith and Junnier also pleaded guilty to state charges of voluntary manslaughter and making false statements, and Smith admitted to planting bags of marijuana in Johnston’s house after her death.

Sentencing was expected to last two days.