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1  the Arts / Music / The Dixie Chicks (Two of Them) Back with a May Release on: May 13, 2010, 11:42:01 am
The Dixie Chicks (Two of Them) Back with a May Release of Their New CD "Court Yard Hounds." Remember When They Were Among the Few Celebrities with the Courage to Stand Up to the Bush Regime?
By the Dixie Chicks (Sisters Emilie Robison and Martie Maguire)'s Review (excerpt)
"This album is one of the Best albums I have bought in recent years. It is an amazing display of music. "Gracefully" is a key track!! I hope you enjoy!"

"Five ENJOYABLE Stars! Martie Maguire and Emily Robison come off their hiatus as two-thirds of The Dixie Chicks to form a new band, The Court Yard Hounds: a distinctive name for an equally distinctive duo producing their own brand of music. Stepping out on the stage on their own after a turbulent past few years that included a very successful 10 years run as the Chicks, the firestorm from the Natalie Maines' statement in Europe, the subsequent C&W radio boycott, the high of the 4 Grammy wins for Taking the Long Way that was a form of victory, and the huge sales that followed (it went to the top and was in's top 20 for months, and is still in the top 900 with an astounding 1100+ reviews). After taking time off and feeling the need to perform, the Court Yard Hounds were born and have conjured up a blend of country, folk, rock, and a little blues with a mixture of toe-tapping backbeats that is exceptionally well-done and enjoyable as they blend their voices in ear-pleasing harmonies both as a duo and with Jakob Dylan. Also the final track, "It Didn't Make a Sound" was the pre-CD single teaser which includes a video.

The 'best of the best' starts with "It Didn't Make a Sound" with a great blend of Emily's and Martie's voices underpinned by a rocking beat, banjo, guitars, bass, and a great-sounding honky-tonk piano. The beautiful, somber "Skyline" shows the high quality songwriting that is heard thoughout this CD: in this case, beautiful singing in solo and duo, set off by a loping guitar, a lonesome fiddle, organ, and distinctive drum figurations, (and it went straight to my iPod). The complexity of "Delight (Something New Under The Sun). "Ain't No Sun" starts with pure stark beauty that kicks into a rocking 'hammer down' section with scorching guitar and 'rock bottom' bass lines. "I Miss You" is good, solid county music with a singing guitar background. "Then Again" is pure, hip, country soul. And "See You In The Spring" is a marvelous performance with guest Jakob Dylan. This CD shows the singing/songwriting prowess of the Court Yard Hounds as a separate group and a subset of The Dixie Chicks that expands the soundscape of the group: it may serve as a wakeup call to Natalie Maines that it's time to get back into the studio and join the party the Court Yard Hounds have started. Highly Recommended. Five WONDERFUL Stars."


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2  Literature / Book Reviews / Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris on: May 13, 2010, 11:41:04 am
Just Released Bestseller: Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris [Hardcover], An Unorthodox Narrative About the People Who Have Inhabited The City of Lights
By Graham Robb's Review (excerpt)
"The secrets of the City of Light, revealed in the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten—by the author of the acclaimed The Discovery of France. This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction, of the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten.

A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter. A well-dressed woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map—there were no reliable ones at the time—Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine.

Baudelaire, the photographer Marville, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Bohème, Proust, Adolf Hitler touring the occupied capital in the company of his generals, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt in Notre Dame)—these and many more are Robb’s cast of characters, and the settings range from the quarries and catacombs beneath the streets to the grand monuments to the appalling suburbs ringing the city today. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel. 16 pages of illustrations."

[Robb] has proved himself to be one of the more unusual and appealing historians currently striding the planet. In a better world his books would be best sellers everywhere....His book — argumentative, gallant, parked athwart oncoming historical traffic, as if on a dare — is as Parisian and as bracing as a freshly mixed Pernod and water. (Dwight Garner - The New York Times )

Ingenious...Marvelously entertaining, boundlessly energetic and original...This book is the sort of triumph that we have no right to expect to come from anyone in the steady way that Robb's masterly books come from him. (Philip Hensher - Daily Telegraph )

A superior historical guidebook for the unhurried traveler, and altogether a book to savor. (The Independent )

Graham Robb's new book is so richly pleasurable that you feel it might emit a warm glow if you left it in a dark room. Essentially it is a collection of true stories, culled from Robb's insatiable historical reading and lit by his imagination. He has the passion of a naturalist displaying a wall of rare butterflies or a cabinet of exotic corals, but his specimens are all human and walked the streets of Paris at some point between the French revolution and now...[A] generous and humane book. (John Carey - The Times [London] )


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3  Media & Film / Documentary / The Yes Men Fix the World on: May 13, 2010, 11:40:13 am
Special Price, New Release: "The Yes Men Fix the World" DVD: The Ultimate Anti-Big Corporate Culture Jammers Who Know How to Comically Mess Up the Masters of the Universe.
By the Yes Men's Review (excerpt)
Winners of a recent BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award, The Yes Men Reveal the Predatory Reality of Global Corporations Through Ingenious Mind-Boggling humor.

"The Yes Men Fix the World is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks.

Armed with little more than cheap thrift-store suits, the Yes Men squeeze raucous comedy out of all the ways that corporate greed is destroying the planet."

Part performance art, part political activism, the feats that the Yes Men pull off in their second DVD release, The Yes Men Fix the World, are meant to humorously enlighten their audience about corporate greed and stupidity. While their skits take pontificating from a soapbox to a whole new level, duo Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno have a self-deprecating, analytical side that makes their approach slightly less threatening and didactic than that of Michael Moore, the director-activist they bear comparison with. As in Moore's documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, the Yes Men here also critique what they call the "free-market cult" of businessmen who value the dollar over human life. In their documentary-style film, they chronicle the challenges, successes, and failures of impersonating high-level executives to mockingly infiltrate conservative systems.

The film opens with the Yes Men posing as DOW representatives appearing on the BBC to falsely announce that DOW will pay millions in retributions to comfort Indian civilians following an industrial disaster in Bhopal. Next, they sneak into a petroleum-industry conference as Exxon reps introducing candles made of rendered human flesh as alternative fuel sources. To save wealthy future hurricane victims, they fake a meeting in post-Katrina New Orleans to model ridiculous balloon suits for emergency victims and then pose as HUD members announcing that homeless evicted citizens are welcome back into their boarded-up homes. Humor ensues when businessmen accept their proposals de facto, with no questions or sense of the absurd. For each performance, the Yes Men prep, research, and build elaborate presentations, and best, they ready themselves for press that comes after they're exposed as fakes. Their practice is moralistic and controversial, but they feel it is effective for exposing corruption to enact real change. While the film does focus on the Yes Men and their performances, they have ample documentary footage interviewing citizens reacting to their activism. For the most part, rather than taking offense, people understand and band together, illustrating how the Yes Men's desire to work for the common good is rewarded with real human connection."


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The Yes Men are Underappreciated for Their Ingenious Exposure of the Absurdity and Danger of Big Corporations Through Humor.

They are the brilliant live action satirists of the global corporate world who expose the destructive globalized corporate forces for what they are.

Their courage, poise and humor is remarkable.
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4  Media & Film / Documentary / Opposing Prop 8 Gay Marriage Equality with Massive Dollars on: May 13, 2010, 11:39:21 am
Opposing Prop 8 Gay Marriage Equality with Massive Dollars: "The Mormon Proposition" Pre-Release Discount (Will be Sent On Around July 12th) BuzzFlash Calls This an Eye-Opener Into the Roll of the Mormon Church in the Defeat of Prop 8. A Searing Indictment with Damning Video Footage and Documents.
Narrated by Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award Screenwriter of "Milk"'s Review
"All of us are unaware that in 2008, the GLBT citizens of the United States were denied about 200 civil rights that their married friends could have. The Mormon Church's national Organization for Marriage is responsible for the coordination, the finance and the leadership of the attempt to stop marriage equality for all Americans and they have fought this war secretly. When an investigation was launched by the California Fair Political Practices Commission it was discovered that the Mormons were responsible for the defeat of the proposition. In fact the Mormons have deterred every piece of legislation dealing with GLBT issues.

In the film this becomes public record. Thomas S. Monson, Mormon prophet (small "p" intentional) issued the call to Mormons everywhere in coded language and commanded them to do whatever necessary to make sure that California's Proposition 8 passed. In a matter of days the Mormons gave thirty million dollars to the state of California so they could buy votes. Now the Mormons joined together with evangelical Christians and the fight became even bigger. When the bill passed the Mormons took the credit but when the backlash from the GLBT community came, the Mormons complained that they were victims of persecution.

Reed Cowan had been collecting secret recordings, documents and footage so that he could expose the Mormons. Reed's film looks at the lives of the GLBT citizens affected by this. We meet the couple Barrick-Jones. Barrick's ancestor was Joseph Smith's right hand man, Frederick Williams and we se that Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones are feeling the same kind of discrimination that was felt by Mormons because of polygamy. Even more shocking is that the Mormons went so far as to use shock therapy and lobotomies among its own population when discovering that a Mormon was gay. There have been hundreds of suicides from gay members because of these inequalities.
Rarely has a film been so controversial before it opened but news leaked out and GLAAD and HRC had to act.

We learn also about the gay homeless kids of Utah and that most of the homeless there are gay. The film calls everyone to action and we are witness to one of the most shameful elections in the history of this country. If the Mormons succeed here, there is no reason why other religions cannot do the same.

The film is an indictment of the Church of Latter Day Saints and its secrecy."
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5  Literature / Book Reviews / The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America's Decline on: May 13, 2010, 11:37:44 am
New Release Special. Hailed by Robert Reich and Others More Concerned About Main Street Than Wall Street: "The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America's Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era" [Hardcover]
By Clyde Prestowitz's Review (excerpt)
“Nobody is a more astute critic than Clyde Prestowitz of the illusions that dominate America's approach to trade, manufacturing, finance, and national security. If our leaders would read The Betrayal of American Prosperity and act on its insights, the U.S. could regain its status as the world's pre-eminent economic power.”—Robert Kuttner, Co-Editor, The American Prospect; author, A Presidency in Peril.

“The United States is losing ground in the global economy because of a stubborn allegiance to the failed rhetoric of free trade — in the face of the harsh reality of eroding market share, disappearing jobs, stagnant wages, and a lost technological edge. Clyde Prestowitz provides incisive analysis of the policies and policymakers that brought us to the brink of global economic collapse — and then provides a viable roadmap for a coherent national economic strategy to rebuild our economy and our productive base. The Betrayal of American Prosperity is essential reading for workers, activists and policymakers who want to restore the American Dream.” —Richard L. Trumka, President AFL-CIO

“It is easy to think that the Great Recession was simply caused by an over-heated housing market and Wall Street greed. However, The Betrayal of American Prosperity puts the crisis in proper historical context by showing how our devotion to economic ideology over economic reality for the past 30 years has been bad for America, and its citizens. Our leaders need to learn the lessons Clyde Prestowitz outlines and the way forward he proposes if we are going to truly strengthen the American economy.” —Dan DiMicco, Chairman & CEO, Nucor Corporation

"A vivid history of American development and trade policy, a fierce indictment of corporate short-termism and slothful public policy, as abetted by too many economists over the years. And, a powerful case for rebuilding America's industrial position to meet the energy and climate challenges we now face."—James K. Galbraith, author, The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too

“With great insight and clarity, Clyde Prestowitz explains, step by step, how our politicians and business leaders betrayed America at the altar of free trade and unfettered markets. Here's a clear-eyed guide to what went wrong, what needs fixing, and how America can reclaim its place in the global economy.” — Robert B. Reich, professor of public policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor


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"But it doesn’t have to be that way. As Prestowitz shows in a masterful account of how we’ve come to this fateful juncture, we have inflicted our economic decline on ourselves—we abandoned the extraordinary approach to growth that drove the country’s remarkable rise to superpower status from the early days of the republic up through World War II. For most of our history, we supported our home industries, protected our market against unfair trade, made the world’s finest products—leading the way in technological innovation—and we were strong savers. But in the post-WWII era, we reversed course as our leadership embraced a set of simplistically attractive but disastrously false ideas—that consumption rather than production should drive our economy; that free trade is always a win-win; that all globalization is good; that the market is always right and government regulation or intervention in the economy always causes more harm than good; and that it didn’t matter that our factories were fleeing overseas because we were moving to the "higher ground" of services. In a devastating account, Prestowitz shows just how flawed this orthodoxy is and how it has gutted the American economy. The 2008 financial crisis was only its most blatant and recent consequence."
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