January 17, 2009 archive

What’s Going On At SoapBlox? Good News!

What’s Going On At SoapBlox

by: pacified

Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 19:43:16 PM MST

To all customers, bloggers, and the world.

It’s been an amazing week.  I thought I’d give you a status update on what exactly is going on.

First off: SoapBlox is no longer a one-man operation!

A System Administration group has been created, with over half-a-dozen people working on the new hardware/security concerns of SoapBlox Network, Inc.  A new server has been created which is going to be the model for a new server paradigm.  This server should be up and ready to hosts sites within the week.

When the server is ready, we will begin the process of moving sites on to this server, freeing up existing hardware where to be basically reformatted and reinstalled from scratch.

Eventually every SoapBlox site existing now will be moved.  During this move we will also be upgrading you to a NEW version of SoapBlox.  This new version as a lot of cool features that you can read about at a link provided below.  Also, new code has been added since our security incident early to help prevent future compromises and make the software more secure.

Another group of people have been established to serve as the Customer Service/Bug Monitoring portion of the SoapBlox Network, Inc. team.  We will be creating a portal for all customers to use to report issues and have the handled in a timely manner.  We will be establishing business hours where our Customer Service will be on-call to deal with issues that arrive.

Along with this, a 24/7/365 Sys Admin will be on call to deal with any up-time issues on our end of things.

All of this will be up and running within the next couple weeks.

We’ve also established an Accounting position to manage the billing and payment side of the operation.

So as you can see, SoapBlox now has more than little old me around handling this stuff, which is a huge change in just the past week.  A lot of lessons have been learned by me, and even though it was a little scary there for a while, SoapBlox is now a stronger platform and company because of the generous out-pouring of so many individuals.

It is completely understandable that many of you could have your confidence shaken in SoapBlox.  I offer this message of things currently happening to help foster a better relationship between us and sense of security as we move forward.  This has always been a labor of love, and as when dealing with love, sometimes the drama and irrationality creep into things.  I hope you will forgive me as SoapBlox takes the next step.  I thank you for your business and your continued support now and in the future.

Thank you,

Paul Preston


SoapBlox Network, Inc.

Link to new features in SoapBlox

International Criminal Court – second of an unending series

Since Bob Fertik’s question got totally ignored then we can try another approach with the same potential result. Ask Obama to join the ICC. Let the world do what our fearful leaders won’t.

I just found this after hunting around change.gov a little bit. Added my $0.02 comment there.

United States joining the International Criminal Court

With all due respect President Obama,

If you are unwilling to prosecute the Bush Administration for war crimes in order to hold accountability and restore our moral standing in the world, then will you please have the United States join the International Criminal Court ?  This will ensure that you are sincere in being held accountable, ensure future administrations will not be able to repeat war crimes without being held accountable, and will restore our moral standing in the world.

1 Comment  ยป  Posted by Barbara D. on 1/16/2009 7:14 PM


Add Your Comment


1/16/2009 7:18 PM

I fully and enthusiastically support this proposition. Please join the ICC. If you don’t have the simple decency to pursue the war crimes of the previous administration then let the American people have the freedom to ask the International Court for intervention.

Maybe Buhdy and Bob can get something going again along this path. We can’t stop. We can’t allow our voices to be silenced and ignored. Keep posting. Keep pushing. They may ignore ripples and small waves. They cannot ignore a tsunami. We need to be the tsunami.


A Love Supreme, Love Supreme, Love Supreme

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles


John Coltrane (1926-1967)

Last night I found myself on a Continental 757 heading again for Newark, city of my birth, one of those tough places, a gritty, rusty place I return to repeatedly.

To my amazement, one of the audio selections available on the flight was John Coltrane’s seminal 1964 recording “A Love Supreme.”  This album is one of Coltrane’s greatest works, and it is repeatedly listed as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.  Why was I amazed?  True, it was the 48th album of the 50 available.  It should have been first.  True, it was the 2002, redigitalized version (I am such a snob).  It should have been the original vinyl.  But forget all of that, there it was.  I hadn’t listened to it from beginning to end without interruption in more than 30 years.  So yesterday I listened again to “A Love Supreme.”  What a delight.

The recording has four parts: “Acknowledgement” (which contains the famous Love Supreme, Love Supreme mantra), “Resolution”, “Pursuance”, and “Psalm.”   The recording (can we still call it an album or make believe it’s classical and call it a suite?) is the culmination in many ways of what Coltrane began in Giant Steps and Chasing the Trane.  It’s modal.  It’s free.  It’s totally inventive.  It’s astonishing.  “Psalm,” the final part, the part I love most, is what Coltrane calls a “musical narration” of the devotional poem he included in the liner notes. In other words, Coltrane “plays” the words of the poem, but does not actually speak them.  In this you can hear the sounds of devotional sermons of African-American preachers, Jewish and Muslim chanting, African singing, sounds of the street, the hum of Newark or Philadelphia, the voices from Coltrane’s heart. Coltrane’s solo ends with him playing the words “Elation. Elegance. Exaltation. All from God. Thank you God. Amen.”  I say, “Amen, Amen, Amen.”

What a striking, incredible performance.  How can it be that 44 years after it was recorded, “A Love Supreme” remains so fresh, alive, exciting, expressive, deep?

A Love Supreme was recorded one December evening in Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Pianist McCoy Tyner remembers the unusual, almost magical atmosphere surrounding the session. “Rudy that day dimmed the lights in his studio. I’d never seen him do that and it sort of set an atmosphere. There was just something very, very special about that particular session.”

Drummer Elvin Jones says Coltrane “never wrote out any music for us. When he played we more or less had to imagine, or feel, how to interpret the song. And it got to the point where I felt I was almost part of his mind, almost telepathic in a way.”

The quartet, which also included bassist Jimmy Garrison, needed little more than the seed of a melodic idea when it hit the studio. Tyner adds: “We had been playing some of that music and we didn’t know what it was going to be until we got into the studio. And then it all came together.”

Coltrane constructed the suite’s main theme around a simple four-note pattern – based on the words “a love supreme.”


The playing of the quartet on this recording is unbelievably wonderful.  From the very first sound of a gong on “Acknowledgement”, through the initial four notes Garrison plays on bass, through incredible drum solos by Elvin Jones (how can he do all of that?), through McCoy Tyner’s unbelievably complex piano dexterity, to Coltrane’s final, mind altering solo, the quartet at once plays together and individually, and it stretches the music out beyond anything rote, beyond the anticipated, beyond the possible, into the ionosphere.  Remember please that this is music from the era when jazz players were justifiably revered for their genius. The skilled playing, the inventiveness of the improvisation, the faith of the players in each other, their mutual support of the themes culminates in my head shaking slowly, side to side, bliss, joy, ecstacy, nirvana, Om ah Hum.

As I fly toward Newark, my birthplace, with this quartet in my ears, I remember the Newark of the ’60’s.  The riot.  The killing.  The incessant crimes.  The discrimination, poverty, unemployment, oppression, racism.  The Projects.  The desperation. I can hear all of that in this music, welling up, speaking out, clenching its fist, and then opening it again in transcendence.  And I wonder, “What would Coltrane have made of Obama?”

Real News: Pepe Escobar: Where Is The Special Prosecutor?

We’ve had a pretty good run the past few days getting the demand for a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute Bush war crimes into the media, but here is a little gem close to my own heart that was posted at The Real News today by one of my favorite journalists, a man who practice real journalism.

Here is Pepe Esobar asking: “Where Is The Special Prosecutor?”, and saying “in the end a prosecutor – special or otherwise – may not be that hard to find”.

The most popular question on President-elect Obama’s own Web site, change.gov, is whether he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Bush administration practices such as torture and illegal wiretapping.

Americans seem to be more concerned with this issue than with the state of the economy.

Pepe Escobar examines how both Obama and Vice-President- elect Joe Biden have given evasive answers at best compared to how both outgoing President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have been on the record strongly defending their practices.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has proposed – an investigating committee.

But in the end a prosecutor – special or otherwise – may not be that hard to find.

Bringing Bush and Cheney to justice

Real News: January 16, 2009 – 8 minutes 8 seconds

Pepe Escobar: Where is the special prosecutor?

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They knew exactly what they were doing

I like David Michael Green’s writing.  I’m not well acquainted with a wide range of his views, but typically when I read his work on Common Dreams, I enjoy it immensely.  His post this week is a post-mortem on the Bush years and it gets at an important point that we ignore at our peril.

Most people have completely failed to perceive the magnitude of the Bush crime, because they see it as limited to ‘merely’ dumb policies, poorly implemented, by incompetent stewards of government. Would that that were so. We’d be so much better off as a country and as a world had it been only that…

This president – and indeed the entire movement of regressive politics these last three decades (which I refer to as Reaganism-Bushism) – can only be properly understood as class warfare. Its purpose was never to make America a better place. Indeed, if we define America as a country belonging to its 300 million inhabitants, then the purpose was actually precisely the opposite. The mission of this ideology was in fact to diminish if not impoverish the vast bulk of these citizens, so that the already massively wealthy among them could instead become obscenely wealthy.

Where you or I might have looked at the middle of the twentieth century and seen the moment when America finally did justice to its national promise by introducing a measure of serious economic equality for the first time, and thus vastly expanding the middle class, the plutocrats behind Reaganism-Bushism saw a filthy aberration to the natural order of master and slave that had long existed in human history. They therefore set about to overturn that aberration and return to ‘better times’ through a process of class warfare. That meant that labor unions had to go, along with workplace protections, good wages, decent benefits, government protections, and a far-too-moderate average CEO to lowest-paid worker salary ratio on the order of fifty-to-one, replaced instead by something closer to five-hundred-to-one.

And, where Washington was concerned, that meant that government was to become a vehicle to serve not the 300 million, but rather the 300 families at the top, who already owned the most but craved ever, ever more…

It’s not that there weren’t unqualified, inept bureaucrats put into positions for which they were woefully unprepared, I’m sure that there were.  But, I would also bet when there was money to be made, when the important decisions came down, they were deftly handled by expert bagmen, who took their cut and siphoned the rest off to the designated cronies.

Friday Night at 8: Backalley Blogging

“Shake a Hand,” made famous by Faye Adams (not allowed to embed),  here sung by LaVerne Baker and Jackie Wilson, courtesy of YouTuber sandfordway)

Sometimes while prowling back alleys you find things that don’t bear the light of day, brass ritual cymbal turns out to be a trashcan cover, exotic seafood dinner is really rotten fish guts.

Yet perhaps there’s some truth to these lies.

Here in NYC the sun has gone down.  That’s the time to prowl.

There is a revolution of the seasons, winter turns to spring, spring to summer.  There are revolutions in the course of humankind, kings and queens are replaced by other kings and queens.

And then there is a revolution in consciousness.  No, not evolution, revolution.  First you gotta get the bad stuff out, clean the muddied well, then you can go to the evolution part!

Pony Ride Party

by ninjapoodles

Riders on the Storm – Doors

Just a Ride – Jem

Ticket to Ride – Beatles

Companies get bailout billions, hide billions in tax havens


The Goverment Accountability Office (GAO) released a report (pdf) on Friday detailing how the biggest U.S. companies are using offshore tax havens to avoid being responsible corporate citizens. The GAO summary explains:

Many U.S. corporations operate globally and have foreign subsidiaries… In some cases they may be used to reduce taxes…

Eighty-three of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. corporations in terms of 2007 revenue reported having subsidiaries in jurisdictions listed as tax havens or financial privacy jurisdictions. Sixty-three of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. federal contractors…

Not only that, but many of these corporations have received billions in federal bailout money and Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Carl Levin (D-MI) estimate this corporate tax exploit shifts $100 billion tax responsibility to other taxpayers in the form of loss tax revenue.  

Labor’s ‘Medicare for All’ Advocates Test Strength

Original article, by Mischa Gaus, via labornotes.org:

Labor activists from 31 states gathered in St. Louis last weekend, solidifying their strategies to push “Medicare for all”-and to oppose the half-hearted health care plans circulating in Washington.

Friday Philosophy: Not a pretty girl

She arose silently from her bed and walked to the bathroom.  She stopped to stare at herself in the mirror.

Sh was old.  Sometimes she wondered how that had happen, but she had been aware that she was not aging all that gracefully for quite a few years.  Daily stress can do that to a person.

So can 44 years of being on testosterone.

Now, even 17 years later, the effects of that were still there in the face that looked back..  Nothing was going to undo that…except maybe thousands of dollars of facial reconstruction.  That was money she would never have.  So she made do with the rationalization that she hadn’t wanted to stop recognizing herself anyway.

And nothing was going to change the fact that she was 6’4″ tall.

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