Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cause you can have from me some advice, Pay the price

Here are some folks who think the death of Saddam is a really big deal:
Jules Crittenden: "I've filled my shot brass and raised it. Don't be shy about raising a glass yourself. The world is a better place rid of this filthy murderer."

: "But in the grand scheme of things, this is a huge step forward. When the history of the war is written, this will be one of the pages. And this will remain so despite the best attempts to minimize it, by lefties both inside and outside Big Media."

Jeff Goldstein: "Today, let those who weep for Hussein’s death—and more pointedly, those who pine for the halcyon days of his “containment” (a contingent that, sadly, consists of many of our own foreign policy realists, who, like colicky, mewling anachronisms have sprung newly birthed from the intellectual womb of Henry Kissinger or Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford or George HW Bush)—take a good look at themselves."

A commentor at Gateway Pundit: "Saddam's Death was justice. Justice is sometimes expensive."

Hold on a freakin' minute, pal. By expensive, do you mean that Saddam's death cost you something? I seriously doubt it. I truly honestly know it didn't cost you anything. Not one goddamn thing!

How do I know?

Because if you were truly human, you would find this cost too high:

You didn't give one shit about the people of Dujail, for whose killing he was convicted.

You didn't give one shit about the people of Halabja, for whose killing we sold him nerve gas.

Nope, you didn't even give one shit about Saddam Hussein until GWBush, led by the testicles by Wolfowitz, Frum, Cheney, et al, decided that he was Public Enemy #1.

So unless one of those pictures above, of American dead, is a loved one of yours, I suggest you shut the fuck up. You have no right to claim that "justice is sometimes expensive" unless you're willing to pay the price.

One final question: How much are you willing to pay for Saddam's death? 1 child? 1 brother? 1 father? 1 sister?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Sadly, only one rightwinger has any real perspective on this:
No, there is nothing funny about killing this brute, a man who has shown no remorse nor the slightest flicker of regret at the trail of dead bodies he has left in the wake of a life spent torturing and murdering anyone who opposed him. The fact that the world knew of this brutality and did nothing about it – including the US government who marginally assisted the beast in his war of conquest against Iran – only goes to show that anyone who believes in the efficacy of the UN is only kidding themselves. Tyrants like Saddam will exist as long as the governments of the world carry on business as usual with the despots while trying to block the screams of their victims from conscious thought.

Marginally assisted? Dude, it was more than marginal, it was material assistance.

Sadly, illogically, he uses this moment to condemn the UN, which might have worked to contain Saddam if only the US wasn't so interested in being the world's cowboy sherriff. Still, it almost makes sense.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

Or said another way, "Ding dong, the witch is dead". Not that it matters one bit.

And what was he convicted of? The WMDs? The "rape rooms"? The thousands killed at Halabja in 1988 using nerve gas we sold him?


He was convicted of the reprisal deaths of 150 innocent people in the town of Dujail in 1982.

Never heard of it? No one in the US had heard of it either, until the trial started. Yet long after that horrific incident, we praised him, and sold him nerve gas and other munitions.

Clearly Dujail was horrible. Imagine losing 150 people close to you, especially living in a hamlet of only 10,000. Yet on a world-wide scale, it's a small number, small enough that the US clearly didn't give one crap about it until they needed to stage a mock trial for Saddam.

And what of the 13,000 dead in Halabja?

Sorry kids, no closure for you. Your deaths didn't provide the political juice needed for the death sentence.

And even though his trial for that atrocity has already started, and will continue in his, ahem, absence, it will be nothing more that farce, political theatre. But then, so has this whole 'war'.

Thanks, Joe, thanks John. This one's for you.

Damn vampires.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The good news about music is that there are so many ways to do it right. The tightly-wound ferocious funk of James Brown, the jackhammer quickies of The Ramones, the feedback drenched explorations of Sonic Youth, the neo-Zepplin homage of White Stripes.

It's all good at different times.

Yet sometimes you want to soar, to other worlds, not to dance so much as to fly, to places never seen, yet imagined. How to do this?

One of my favorite ways: Close to the Edge, in 2 parts:

Take the time to travel and enjoy.

Poor boy, you're bound to die

From CNN:
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is expected to be executed "this weekend," Bush administration officials told CNN on Thursday.

Hussein will be transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody within the next day, one official said.

More than one administration source confirmed the impending transfer.

But Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room," cautioned that the timing of the execution is up to the Iraqi government.

Well. So much good has been accomplished in Iraq.

I'd like to hear from the warbloggers now, you know, folks like:

(image courtesy Sailor from Vidiotspeak. Thanks, Dude!)

Little Green Footballs


Andrew Hitchens

Charles Krauthammer

William Krystal

Jeff Goldstein

Please explain to me, cause, you know, I'm a liberal, and therefore slow, just how much better off Iraq is now that we've not only caught Saddam, but arranged for his killing.

I'm waiting for an answer...

3000 dead American soldiers are waiting for an answer...

Yeah, that's what I thought.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'll buy you a Ford Mustang

More about kindly old Gerald Ford, the bestest non-elected President ever:

To accompany the pardon, Ford announced he was giving the former president ultimate control over all his White House papers and tapes. And the new President asked Congress to fork over $800,000 to Nixon for transitional expenses. While outraged lawmakers were powerless to override a presidential pardon, they immediately blocked the Ford-Nixon tape accord, and slashed Ford's request for the transition funds to $200,000.

While the pardon and the sweetness of the deal shocked most Americans, former President Nixon was not the least bit surprised. He had not only anticipated the move that would free him from possible prosecution; he had played a major hand in arranging it. From what is now known of the secret maneuvering that went on behind the walls of the crumbling Nixon White House, it is perfectly clear that the idea of a pardon originated with Nixon, not Ford, and was broached to Ford even before Nixon stepped down.

The Watergate investigation picked up an excruciating intensity for President Nixon during the summer of 1974, and, as more and more Watergaters were indicted or convicted (in the end, 40 Nixon Administration officials were either indicted or jailed for Watergate crimes), the mastermind of the cover-up feared his own prosecution. And for good reason.

Behind the scenes, Watergate grand jury foreman Vladimir Pregelj had written to Nixon asking for his testimony. Nixon's chief defense lawyer, James St. Clair, had quickly said no, that Nixon would only answer written questions or sit down alone with the special prosecutor — offers that were rejected by the grand jury. (Years later, in 1982, ABC News would reveal that all 19 Watergate grand jurors had voted in a straw vote to name Nixon a co-conspirator, but that Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski wouldn't go along with them. The jurors settled on secretly naming Nixon an "unindicted co-conspirator.")

There was no telling what the grand jury might do once Nixon departed the safety of the Oval Office, and there was evidence that Nixon was aware of precisely what the grand jury was doing, because he was being clandestinely clued in on its activities. On a Watergate tape not released until 1997, he is overheard saying he regularly received cover-up information and advice from the Justice Department's top Watergate investigator, Henry Petersen. Nixon said he heavily relied on this inside intelligence, declaring, ''I didn't make a move without Henry Petersen from the time of April 15th (1973). I talked to him all the way through.'' Nixon's revelation came in a June 5, 1973 conversation with his Watergate lawyer, Fred Buzhardt.

On the very day Nixon resigned, a confidential memo to Leon Jaworski from two of his top prosecutors suggested just how close Nixon came to being indicted and prosecuted: "In our view there is clear evidence that Richard Nixon participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by concealing the identity" of those responsible for the scandal. The memo contained five arguments for, and five against, indicting Nixon. The No. 1 reason for an indictment was: "The principle of equal justice under the law requires that every person, no matter what his past position or office, answer to the criminal justice system for his past offenses." The top reason against indictment seemed far less compelling: that Nixon's resignation was punishment enough.

Eager to avoid the risk of winding up in a federal penitentiary (even though he had once self-pityingly told Alexander Haig: "Some of the best writing is done from prison"), Nixon dispatched Haig to Vice President Ford's office on Aug. 1st — the eve of the release of "the smoking gun" tape — to raise the prospect of a pardon with Ford. The President realized the tape's contents would spark a revolt among congressional Republicans and doom his chances of survival. Despite repeated assertions that "I'm not a quitter," he knew a quick exit was in order. Nixon also knew a pardon would allow him get to keep his fat congressional, vice presidential and presidential pensions. He would also gain taxpayer money for an office and staff — and be provided with Secret Service protection — for the rest of his life. To stay and fight would be to face the certainty of congressional impeachment, conviction, and expulsion without any golden parachute or perks.

Look, he wasn't a truly horrible man like GWBush. Well, actually, I think the folks in East Timor might disagree:

Two newly declassified documents from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, released to the National Security Archive, shed light on the Ford administration’s relationship with President Suharto of Indonesia during 1975. Of special importance is the record of Ford’s and Kissinger’s meeting with Suharto in early December 1975. The document shows that Suharto began the invasion knowing that he had the full approval of the White House. Both of these documents had been released in heavily excised form some years ago, but with Suharto now out of power, and following the collapse of Indonesian control over East Timor, the situation has changed enough that both documents have been released in their entirety.

The invaluable Amy Goodman has more:
Former President Gerald Ford died last night at the age of 93. We begin our coverage of Ford’s time in office with a look at his support for the Indonesian invasion of East Timor that killed one-third of the Timorese population. We’re joined by Brad Simpson of the National Security Archives and journalist Alan Nairn. [rush transcript included]

Sleep well, Grandpa Ford.

Update: From the always brilliant DarkBlack:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Do it in the name of Heaven, you can justify it in the end

Gerald Ford died. So sad. Kindly old Grandpa, yadda yadda yadda. He was the unifier:
"My fellow Americans," Ford said, "our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule."

Sure, whatever.

He was actually a Republican über-Macher behind the scenes. For example, he was this guy:
A key edit in the Warren Report may have helped. The report's first draft said: "A bullet had entered his [President Kennedy's] back at a point slightly below the shoulder to the right of the spine." Had that stood, the trajectory would have made it impossible for the bullet that struck Kennedy to come out his neck, and then somehow critically wound Connally.

Newly released documents show, however, that Warren Commission member Congressman Gerald Ford pressed the panel to change its description of the wound and place it higher in Kennedy's body. Ford wanted the wording changed to: "A bullet had entered the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine." The panel's final version was: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine."

This crucial change only came to light in 1997, when the Assassination Record Review Board released handwritten notes made by Ford that had been kept by J. Lee Rankin, the Warren Commission's chief counsel. Ford's change is even at odds with his own declaration in the Oct. 2, 1964 issue of Life: "I personally believe that one of these three shots missed entirely – but which of the three may never be known. I believe that another bullet struck the president in the back and emerged from his throat (and went on to strike Connally.)"

When the alteration was brought to Ford's attention in 1997, he said it "had nothing to do with (thwarting) a conspiracy theory" and was made "only in an attempt to be more precise." Assassination researcher Robert Morningstar, however, called the change "the most significant lie in the whole Warren Commission report." He pointed out that if the bullet had hit Kennedy in the back, it could not have gone on to strike Connally the way the commission said it did. Morningstar contended that the effect of Ford's editing suggested that a bullet hit the president in the neck – "raising the wound two or three inches. Without that alteration, they could never have hoodwinked the public as to the true number of assassins."

Ford's alteration supports the single-bullet theory by making a specific point that the bullet entered Kennedy's body ''at the back of his neck'' rather than in his uppermost back, as the commission staff originally wrote.

M'kay. He's also this guy:

Gerald Ford was so close to Hoover that he served as the FBI director's informant while he was on the Warren Commission. This is confirmed by an internal FBI memo of Dec. 12, 1963. Written to Hoover by his deputy Cartha DeLoach, it says: "Ford indicated he would keep me thoroughly advised as to the activities of the commission. He stated that would have to be done on a confidential basis; however, he thought it had to be done." The Washington Post disclosed the memo in 1991. Newsweek had earlier described Ford as "the CIA's best friend in Congress."

Hoover biographer Curt Gentry concurs that Ford was Hoover's informant on the commission. In fact, in his 1991 book J. Edgar Hoover, Gentry notes that the Hoover-Ford connection went back a number of years. Discussing the FBI's "favored politicians," the author said such people "were warned who their opponents would be, what background they had, and what skeletons might be hidden in their closets. In some cases, they were even elected with the FBI's help. Impressed with a young congressional hopeful in Michigan, the bureau in 1946 arranged support for Gerald Ford, who then expressed his thanks in his maiden speech in the House by asking for a pay raise for J. Edgar Hoover."

And this guy:

Gerald Ford, former President and last surviving member of the Warren Commission, has demonstrated his strategy again: Disguise your crimes by attacking the attacker. I am increasingly flabbergasted about what is possible in America. Why is the world and the History Channel swallowing his attack on the documentary "The guilty men"? For those who missed this headline news, it is the last episode of "The men who killed Kennedy" series, aired last November and originally scheduled for re-runs over the next nine years, which makes a case for Lyndon Johnson as a main conspirator in JFK's murder. Ford's coordinated protest with former Johnson cronies like Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti and Johnson's widow, has now even resulted in complete cancellation of all three new episodes, including those which were not attacked, like "The Love Affair" with Judyth Vary Baker, who makes a credible case for having been Lee Harvey Oswald's girlfriend, exonerating him from the Government's THEORY that he was the lone assassin. To my knowledge, this is an unprecedented form of censorship in the United States.

And this guy:
Citing his experience on the Warren Commission, which investigated the 1963 Kennedy assassination, former President Gerald Ford said Monday he opposes the appointment of an independent commission to investigate whether President Bush had enough advance knowledge of terrorist threats to be able to prevent the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

And at long last, this guy (note: some speculation, some verified truth):
Whether Nixon was directly involved in planning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy does not have to be settled here. What is important is that Nixon was directly involved in covering up the truth about who did kill Kennedy. Evidence from the Nixon-Haldeman tapes of June 1972 indicated that Nixon knew the truth about the assassination when he suggested Gerald Ford be part of the Warren Commission.[12]
A close personal friendship had developed between Ford and Nixon during their days together in the Congress, when both were strong, ultra-conservative, "red, white and blue", anti-Communist, "religious" members who thought and talked alike.
When Nixon realized that John Kennedy had been killed almost under his nose in Dallas by some of his Bay of Pigs friends, the PCG convinced him he had to do everything in his power to cover it up and to bide his time until his powerful military and intelligence friends could place him in the White House. It took one more murder by the PCG (Robert Kennedy) to get him there, and still another attempted murder to keep him there (George Wallace).
Control over the investigations of these murders was essential for Nixon and the PCG. In order to guide a presidential commission away from the truth, the closed small circle of people in the PCG who knew what had happened to John Kennedy had to be enlarged. Allen Dulles was no problem. He knew the cause was an intelligence/military one from the day it happened. Earl Warren was a different matter. He had to be fooled and later talked into remaining silent "for the good of the country."

A ringleader inside the Warren Commission was crucial. It had to be someone the PCG and Nixon could trust, one who had an honest and trustworthy appearance. Nixon called on Gerry Ford, and he convinced LBJ that Ford should be on the Commission.[13]
Nixon told Ford at some point prior to January, 1964 who killed JFK and why. He convinced Ford that every effort should be made to make sure Oswald was found to be the lone assassin. Ford did an excellent job. He not only steered the Commission away from the facts[14] whenever a key witness was interviewed or an embarrassing situation developed, but he also nailed Oswald's coffin shut personally by publishing his own book on Oswald.[15] This, coming from the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, served to firmly plant in the American mind the idea that there was no conspiracy, that Oswald was the lone assassin, and that the Warren Commission had done a good job.
From the day Ford's book was published, Nixon and Ford became totally beholden to each other. They also both became totally beholden to the members of the PCG who were at or near the top of things and who were part of the small knowledgeable circle. Other members of the PCG's inner circle included J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Helms.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In the desert you can remember your name

Some right-wingers have their panties in a bunch because the new democratic Party star Barack Obama has an inconvenient (to them, anyway) middle name: Hussein.

I guess we're supposed to be shocked, shocked! that he shares part of a name with Saddam Hussein.

How silly is this? Well the Corner doesn't find it amusing:
Of course, all this might generate a little more sympathy had not some Democrats in recent months become so fond of the name "George Felix Allen, Jr." During the campaign, winning Senate candidate James Webb routinely referred to his opponent as George Felix Allen, Jr. (just search for the name at Although it wasn't even correct — Allen, whose father's middle name was Herbert, wasn't a junior — the use of Allen's full name was clearly a campaign strategy, first, to diminish Allen, and then, after news of Allen's Jewish ancestry emerged, to make an oblique reference to that.

Pardon me if I don't exactly get it. To me, the most common cultural reference for 'Felix' is this guy, not exactly a figure of evil:

Besides, lot's of popular Republican figures share names of evil people:

"John" McCain "John" Wayne Gacey

"Mitt" Romney Gott "mit" uns (Nazi slogan)

"Ed" Gillespie "Ed" Gein

"Gary" Bauer "Gary" Ridgeway

"David" Dreier "David" Berkowitz

Silly? Yes.

No less silly than the idiots at Fox and The Corner for trying to make this into a "thing".

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'm Christmassing with you

As I work in the recording studio world, I am exposed to the latest and greatest talents around (according to the record companies, anyway).

While I am pretty cynical about artists recording songs that have become signature tunes for other artists, I relax those standards when it comes to Christmas music. Go for it, knock yourself out, have at it. Well, with certain exceptions. As Pam often tells me, traditional interpretations of Christmas music are often the best.

Here's a great example: Karen Carpenter, with one of the greatest voices of the later 20th century, singing a reverent arrangement of "Merry Christmas, Darling":

Update from my brother:
I will make a small correction since I am anal this way. This isn't just any arrangement but the original since Richard wrote the tune and orchestration for this and she was at that point the only vocalist to recorded this song. The lyrics are from Frank Pooler who was their choir director at CSULB.

James Brown RIP: Jump back, Jack, see you later, alligator

(Fantastic graphic from DarkBlack)

From the AP:
James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73.

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.

James at times danced perilously close to self-parody, but when he was at the height of his powers, there was no tighter, hotter, funk & soul on this planet.

I've been lucky to have worked with some of the pioneers of modern R&B, funk & blues: Little Richard, Solomon Burke, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, B.B. King, Bobby Womack, Billy Preston, and others. But sadly I never worked with James.

From his Wikipedia:
Brown's recordings influenced musicians across the industry, most notably Sly and his Family Stone, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and soul shouters like Edwin Starr , Temptations David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards, and a then-prepubescent Michael Jackson, who took Brown's shouts and dancing into the pop mainstream as the lead singer of Motown's The Jackson 5. Those same tracks would later be resurrected by countless hip-hop musicians from the 1970s on; in fact, James Brown remains the world's most sampled recording artist, and "Funky Drummer" is itself the most sampled individual piece of music.


While to some non-R&B lovers his music might seem primitive, this was far from true. He ran a tight ship as a band leader, and his arrangements were far more clever than most of the contemporary R&B bands. In fact, while we can trace the tradition of the black band leader through Louis Jordan, Cab Callaway and others back to Louis Armstrong and other jazz pioneers, Brown's band was filled with extremely talented jazz players and musical sophisticates.

For proof, see this little clip of James and The Famous Flames doing "Night Train" (credited to Duke Ellington/Johhny Hodges/Jimmy Forrest):

When he did his famous Cape Thing in "Please, Please, Please" he created one of several signature 'moves' that would help define his performances as art of a sort. This particular piece of theatre indirectly predicted Elvis's sweaty scarves, and more recently has been either parodied or paid tribute by Paul Schaffer on David Letterman's The Late Show.

Here he is just back in October doing the Cape Thing:

And here he is doing it "back in the day" at the TAMI show in 1964:

Saturday, December 23, 2006

For ever and ever, forever and ever

Here's some pre-Christmas music goodness from The Roches. In case anyone wasn't sure, Handel rocks:

(Embedding disallowed by YouTube. Clicking on the picture takes you to YouTube)

Or see the video at The Roches web site.

And the 2 best alternative Christmas albums ever? In my authoritative opinion:

The Roches: We Three Kings

Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked for the Holidays

Of course, YMMV. But I'm right, I'm just saying...

Angels we have heard on high

From the AP today:
President Bush on Saturday told troops who are spending Christmas far from their families that "the coming year will bring change" - but no reduction in support for their service and sacrifice.

Alrightie then. How about this prayer:
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells;

help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead;

help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain;

help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;

help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief;

help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

How's that prayer work for you, George? You miserable bastard.

Every day in every way, it's getting better and better

[/snark & political outrage]

Presenting Isabella Carolina Zumaya (my beautiful virtual granddaughter) :

Born 12.22.2006, 11:36 AM, to Randy & Michaelle Zumaya, who couldn't be prouder!

[resume snark & political outrage]

Friday, December 22, 2006

Song sung blue, everybody knows one

Even the Right gets it right once in a while. From the often annoying Rick Moran:
It’s bad enough when some B-List blogger and wacko talking head like Debbie Schussel runs off at the mouth about the danger of electing Muslims. That kind of idiocy can be partly ascribed to Ms. Schussel’s desire to move up the blogging ladder, bashing Muslims being a quick way to fame and fortune when plumbing the extreme depths of the conservative sphere for audience and links.

But when a Congressman of the United States sends a letter to his constituents that raises the false specter of some kind of Muslim invasion of Congress while simultaneously warning that “traditional” values would be threatened by Muslim immigration, it forces me once again to take up the Cudgel of Righteousness (already bloodied from yesterday’s pummeling of Schussel) and give Representative Virgil Goode, Jr. a few well deserved whacks upside the head:

Go, read if you dare.

Rick almost resists the temptation to add a straw man argument that the left is idiotic because . . . "look! Over there! I saw something shiny!" or some other manufactured bit of nonsense.

But alas, he fails:
Of course, such incidents help Ellison enormously. They allow him to appear the reasonable, bemused, aggrieved party while anyone who has a passing familiarity with the devastating series of articles published by the Powerline boys knows that “reasonable” is not the way to describe many of the new Congressman’s views.

Having to rely on the PowerTools set for analysis is like asking Bob Cratchit's Tiny Tim to do some heavy lifting. It requires a skill set missing from their bodies and minds:
Moreover, Ellison's long commitment to and advocacy of the Nation of Islam is reflected in the various aliases he used over a period of ten years: Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad. The Star Tribune has not only failed to connect these aliases to Ellison's involvement with the Nation of Islam, it has erroneously reported that Ellison used these aliases during his student days at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Holy crap! Stop the presses! A Black Muslim adopts the surname of the group's founder when he is in college! I'm shocked, shocked! Of course, almost every Catholic kid born in the US has to have a middle name of a saint. So that form of religious idolatry is OK.

Still, even with the gratuitous left bashing, it's nice to see him criticize a couple of the idiots that prowl around his side of the bloggersphere.

Oh, and Rick, one thing: Her name is Schlussel. Debbie Schlussel. Too bad you're late for this:

Update: Somehow I failed to read this part of Rick's schizophrenic piece:
The left has spent the last 40 years degrading our culture, denigrating our heroes, altering our history, deriding the simplicity and patriotism of the most common of folk among us, and in the end, trying to tear down 200 years of tradition and decency that our ancestors fought to pass down to the rest of us.

Whether this is their intent or not is a moot point. Their actions are having this affect. Whether it is the “no holds barred, anything goes” cesspool of a culture they have created via Hollywood or, in the name of “civil rights,” erecting a structure of separateness and discrimination via “affirmative action,” the left has done its best to destroy what many Americans cherish and believe in.

Dammit, that pisses me off. I'm not going to waste the energy to respond to what is clearly rubbish. I just don't understand how a guy who can be so outraged by Goode's & Schlussel's idiocy can still fall under the spell of the "Left is Evil" nerve gas being pumped out by the Right-wing radio talking heads and self-serving politicians, like the aforementioneed Goode.

Look, the only culture I'm interested in 'degrading' is the culture of racism, that you guys didn't want to do anything about in the late '50s to early '60s.

Or the culture of big business given a free pass to pay no taxes and hire illegal aliens to lower wages and raise dividends.

Or the culture of government trying to tell me who I can sleep with and in what positions.

Or the culture of the Religious Right telling me that my gay friends are going to Hell.


Ain't gonna think, think war no more

All Things Considered ran a story tonight about the 3rd Infantry Division deploying to Iraq for the third time. Here's a a quote (best I can remember) from the wife of a 17 year veteran of both Desert Storm and the current Desert F**kup:
"We hope and pray that they come home safe, but we know there will be casualties."

I realized something, that in wishing that one's own relative comes home safe, and knowing that some would die, one is actually hoping someone else's family member dies instead.

Sick? No, perfectly normal in such a sad, screwed-up situation.

Don't get me wrong. No one sane (other than dirty f**kin' hippie utopians) believes society can exist without a military. So this sad wish to have the other guy die is a morbid necessity of using military force. Under some conditions, the whole thing would be tragically heroic.

But not this time. Not in Bush's, McCain's, Cheney's war. Nope, pure tragedy is all.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Music, Part 4

"Winter Wonderland" Brian Setzer Orchestra

Jewel "Hark! The Herald Angel Sing"

Twisted Sister - "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"

Elvis "Blue Christmas"

Some people call me the space cowboy

I get so tired of Right-Wing crap like this, in which the writer criticizes another bat-shit crazy Righty, but has to add the inevitable Straw Man:

Iraq needs a Pinochet” is the name of a column written by one of the supposed leading lights of the conservative movement, Jonah Goldberg. The sub-head is even better: The general was no saint, but he’s a better model to follow than Castro.

Saying that Pinochet was “no saint” is something akin to to saying that Genghis Khan had an anger management problem. There are more than 3,000 families in Chile whose loved ones were “disappeared” (a Pinochet gift of nomenclature to the English language) who might take issue with Goldberg’s milquetoast denunciation of truly one of the more brutal dictators of the late 20th century.

(That's this Jonah.)

On the plus side, Goldberg only writes columns for the LA Times once a week. Otherwise, we’d be forced to endure this kind of sophistry far more often. And yeah, Pinochet made the trains run on time and infant mortality went down, and his “free market” reforms (short hand in Latin America for enabling crony capitalism and other kleptocrats) created some trickle down wealth – after he left. And while I understand the realpolitik reasons for the US supporting this thug, I think to wish his kind of rule on anyone – especially an ally – is the height of idiocy.

First of all, to even think that a secular anything will emerge from the current chaos in Iraq is loony.

Yeah. Sounds about right. Until you read this:
Goldberg has now confirmed every nasty thing that the Glenn Greenwalds, Dave Neiwerts, and Jane Hamshers have been saying about the right being in love with authoritarianism and dictators. For that, he should be criticized roundly by all sides of the political spectrum. But let’s also keep in mind that the left’s love affair with the lickspittle Castro has been one of the most astonishingly stupid and ignorant manifestations of moral blindness in the post World War II world.

Yep. Got me. I confess. When I became lefty blogger, I was required to sign a Castro Loyalty oath, and have it tattooed on my inner thigh.

For the record, no one other than the last 3 Communists left alive in some dimly-lit bar in Berkeley believe that Fidel is a good guy, because, like you said, the trains run on time, infant mortality is low, and, you know, Viva La Revolucion.

You know, Rick, you'd actually make sense if you stopped trying to put out the fire in your shoes. With your own urine.


Christmas Music, Part 3

"Jingle Bell Rock": K. D. Lang on Peewee's Playhouse

Judy Garland "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas":

LeAnn Rimes "O Holy Night"

Sarah McLachlan "O Little Town Of Bethlehem"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Music, Part 2

The Darkness:

Jane Krakowski: "The Lights of Long Ago" (Kelsey Grammer's 'A Christmas Carol'

John Lennon's "And So This Is Christmas" with wartime images. I dare you to watch:

"Little Drummer Boy"-Bing Crosby/David Bowie:

Sinead O'Connor "Silent Night":

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Music, Part 1

Here's some Christmas music fun links:

The Ramones:

U2, U3, watever it takes:

Bing Crosby: "White Christmas"

Johnny Cash:

Band Aid:

Time has come today, young hearts can go their way

TBogg, you bastard. How dare take apart Time's witless Person of the Year choice by writing the funniest line of the decade:
Congratulations Time: asked to pick you favorite color you chose 'clear'.

Damn. Can't improve on that.

But in case no one noticed, that's YouTube's player window sitting above a Mac keyboard, looking a lot like my iMac 17" I'm blogging on currently.

Could the YouTube guys have been persons of the year? I dunno, let's ask George "Macaca" Allen, and a few other folks. Could the folks from Apple? Nah, Macs are only for dirty hippies, and besides, Steve Job's is wealthy, so that doesn't count.

How about GWBush? This will certainly go down as an historical year for the Worst President Ever. Or Muqtada al-Sadr? He comes out smelling like a rose in his part of the world.

Ya know, as I reflect, maybe we are the Persons of the Year. Why?

Because we voted the Republican bastards out of office.

Dear Time Magazine:

Thanks. You got it right, for all the wrong reasons.



Heathcliff, it's me, Kathy

Often imitated, never equaled. Hate her, love her, she's one-of-a-kind. She's Kate Bush:

Knowing that you lied, straight-faced, while I cried

I made this graph myself:
Too bad I didn't make up the numbers.

It's the American deaths in Iraq, month by month, from March 2003 through December 2006.

The data came from here:

Casualty Notes Monthly Summaries
Month US
US Army Evacuations from Iraq
In Action
March 2003 65 0 202 930 3212 5846
April 2003 73 0 340
TOTAL 138 0 542
May 37 0 54
June 30 0 147
July 47 0 226
August 35 0 181
September 30 0 247
October 43 0 413
November 82 0 337
December 40 0 261
January 2004 47 0 188
February 19 0 150
March 52 0 323 49 206 367
April 135 12 1214 203 355 262
May 80 8 757 106 348 146
June 42 2 589 141 138 389
July 54 7 552 71 157 337
August 66 5 895 139 74 379
September 81 3 706 122 84 391
October 63 5 647 100 94 457
November 137 3 1427 149 96 323
December 72 1 540 477 379 1474
January 2005 107 1 496 85 129 324
February 58 4 409 77 100 280
March 36 0 364 74 104 342
April 52 0 590 90 113 302
May 79 3 385 85 119 306
June 77 0 501 110 98 359
July 54 1 473 73 117 315
August 84 1 451 81 99 273
September 48 6 490 122 118 258
October 96 0 608 Not currently released
November 83 5 518
December 66 1 304
January 2006 61 4 521
February 53 3 300
March 30 3 475
April 74 7 481
May 69 2 422
June 59 2 512
July 42 9 574
August 65 5 503
September 69 7 776
October 98 10 870
November 63 13 502
December 44 10
Subtotal 2,897 58 21,921 2,913 5,876 11,959
TOTAL 2,955 20,748 as of 01 Oct 05

Yet these idiots still prattle on about victory:


Smile and grin at the change all around

"Meet the new boss,
same as the old boss"

From Faux News we have this:

Bush Vows to Keep U.S. Troops in Iraq to Support Iraqi PM Al-Maliki

AMMAN, Jordan — President Bush said Thursday the United States will speed a turnover of security responsibility to Iraqi forces but assured Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Washington is not looking for a "graceful exit" from a war well into its fourth violent year.

That's this al-Maliki:

Iraq's prime minister reached out to Sunni Arabs at a national reconciliation conference on Saturday, urging Saddam Hussein-era officers to join the new army and a review of the ban against members of the former dictator's ruling party.

That's these Ba'ath Party guys:

With these Ba'ath membership documents:

I wonder how that makes these guys feel:

Meanwhile, we know how these soldiers feel:
For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are serving. Those involved plan to petition Congress to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

After appearing only seven weeks ago on the Internet, the Appeal for Redress, brainchild of 29-year-old Navy seaman Jonathan Hutto, has already been signed by nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, including dozens of officers--most of whom are on active duty. Not since 1969, when some 1,300 active-duty military personnel signed an open letter in the New York Times opposing the war in Vietnam, has there been such a dramatic barometer of rising military dissent.

I think we should listen to what they say, and stop listening to these guys:


Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm gonna give you every inch of my love

What do Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, The Clovers, The Drifters, Ray Charles, Led Zepplin, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Cream, Sonny & Cher, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane & Peter Gabriel all have in common? Besides being some of the most important American & International musical artists ever?

Atlantic Records, that's what.

If I told you that a slight, unassuming Turkish immigrant would be one of the giants of American rock'n'roll, you probably say "Huh?"

Ahmet Ertegun passed away today. How incredibly sad for American music. I met him and worked with him several times at Capitol Studios, and he was a gentleman.

From wikipedia, because it's true:
Ahmet Ertegün, producer Tom Dowd, Herb Abramson and others created Atlantic Records in the late 1940s as an independent record company that became, with the added partnership of Jerry Wexler, a jazz and pop empire in the 1960s. Their first success came in rhythm and blues (R&B), with such artists as Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, The Clovers, The Drifters, and Ray Charles. Regarding Charles, Ahmet Ertegün is quoted as saying "First time I saw Ray I told him, 'You are the fucking end, you know.'"

During the 1960s, Ahmet heard Led Zeppelin's demo and knew they would be a smash hit after hearing the first few songs. He quickly signed them. He also convinced Crosby, Stills and Nash to allow Neil Young to join them on one of their tours, thereby founding Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Ahmet also used his considerable personal skills in negotiations with major stars, such as when The Rolling Stones were shopping for a record company to distribute their independent Rolling Stones Records label. Ertegun personally conducted the negotiations with Mick Jagger, successfully completing the deal between The Stones and Atlantic, when other labels had actually offered the band more money.

Who else was signed to Atlantic?

And many, many more.

Here's a great picture of Ahmet, at the Cream reunion concert:

Here's a list of Atlantic artists. Yes, there's some filler and crap. But if any modern, youth oriented label had a tenth of that discography, they'd be billionaires. Instead we are force fed Ashley Simpson.


But thanks forever, Ahmet. The universe sings more sweetly because of you.

Update: Yes, Led Zepplin, Cream and others aren't American. Still...