Thursday, January 31, 2008

I just sit enraptured by your fluttering eye lids

This one is already making the rounds on the blogs, but I thought I'd put it up anyway 'cuz it's funny:

More funny than Nancy Pelosi's eye lid exercising is the complete lack of the need to blink on the part of Dick Cheney.

Then again, it's common knowledge that snakes don't blink.

But Nancy isn't alone in the blinking department. Word is that George is a pretty mean blinker himself:

Okay, so this sort of goes against my earlier reptilian vision of Bush, but what the heck. Artistic license.

Listen, Do you want to know a secret, Do you promise not to tell, whoa oh ... oh no!

[Meghan O'Sullivan] President Bush's former deputy national security advisor, had been contracted by the [Student Alliance for National Security] to speak Tuesday at the Indiana Memorial Union. O'Sullivan had planned to lead a discussion with students and members of the public about recent gains made in the Iraq war.
What, they couldn't get an expert on the subject!? But seriously folks, it was open to the public, at a public university, mainly paid for by student fees. WTF!?

And either all the members of the resulting press quoted and saw everything wrong, or the organizers and their faculty adviser, (ex-CIA agent Gene Coyle) just plain lied.

Lie number one:
For about half an hour afterward, O'Sullivan, student group members and their faculty adviser, Gene Coyle, stood in the back of the auditorium. Several cell phone calls were seen to be made. Coyle and others were observed speaking to Indiana Daily Student reporter Elvia Malagon. IU student and [Student Alliance for National Security] Adam Newman took the podium to announce there would be a delay because of issues with the IDS and whether the talk could take place 'off the record.'

Around 7 p.m., Coyle took the stage to announce that the talk would not take place. 'Dr. O'Sullivan is taken ill and is in the bathroom in a very poor state,' Coyle said. He also said that O'Sullivan only agreed to come to IU if she could speak off the record.
So, is it only me or does it seem like quite a coincidence that she got 'sick', just as soon as she realized her remarks about how most excellent things are going in Iraq might be made public?

I don't blame her, it makes me sick too.

Lie number two:
Event organizers said this type of request is typical and said they were disappointed in what they called the press' lack of professionalism.
Plainly untrue. There is nothing typical, or even precedented, about a public university using public money holding an event open to the public barring the press from reporting on it.
Malcom A. Glenn, president of Harvard’s student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, said he was not aware these types of presentations went on at the university, but said reporters at his newspaper would not concede to requests for off-the-record presentations.
Larry MacIntyre, IU’s assistant vice president for University Communications, said he’d never heard of something like this happening at a college campus.

In addition, University Chancellor Ken Gros Louis said denying press access to a public event “goes against the grain of what a university is.” He also said that, in his 43-year tenure at IU, he cannot remember a situation like this occurring.
Reporters are citizens too. And in today's world where we have citizen journalists, blogs, camera phones, iPod recorders, where does one draw the line between 'press' and 'public?' I draw the line the same way that judges already have. There isn't one.

Not to mention that whole US Constitution thingie about a free press and free speech.

Lie number three:
[Miles Taylor, director for the Student Alliance for National Security] was also upset that IDS staff members waited until five minutes before the event began to say they wouldn't accept O'Sullivan's request.
Really, 5 minutes!? Then why would ex-CIA agent Coyle say:
SANS’ faculty adviser, Gene Coyle, said via e-mail that he had been trying to find out from the university all day Wednesday about if or when a speech or lecture could be delivered as “off-the-record.”
When I first heard about this event I wondered why don't just plain folks record the audio and video and put it on the web.

After the story broke I wondered why would the IDS reporter even asked for permission? I appreciate that she stood by her guns against the personal and professional attacks she endured then, and even more that have resulted.

But why even ask?

My advice to the reporter: it's easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. You would better have served the public by doing so.

That said; this was a college student on a college newspaper, trying to do her best, trying to report on an important story. And she did it better than almost all of the DC press do covering the White House.

If I was her journalism teacher? I'd give her a 4.0
She faced down an ex-CIA agent, a White House adviser and hostile students that she has to continue to go to school with. Wow, talk about a tough crowd.

And we'd never have known about it if she hadn't reported it.

She gives me hope about the future of the 4th estate.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Out of time, out of gas, and out of here

And none too soon. Froomkin of the Washington Post gives an overview of Bush's STFU speech to the nation and the media's reactions. The shorter version? Nobody is listening anymore:
There it was last night, for all the world to see: A presidency running on empty.

In his final State of the Union address, President Bush had almost nothing to say. Certainly nothing new and significant. Nothing remotely memorable.

It's a safe bet that nothing he said last night will amount to much. Nothing he said will help bring the country together, or undo the damage he has done to American interests abroad. Nothing he said will help him win back the trust or support of the American people, both which he lost a long time ago.

On the traditional State of the Union litany of subjects, his repetition of familiar and sometimes delusional talking points conveyed a clear, though unintended message: That those looking for meaningful progress on the key issues facing our nation and our world today will have to wait for the next president.

(Picture from here.)

Update: Dear God, he's doing it again! Tengrain of Mock, Paper, Scissors has the pic.
crossposted at Rants from the Rookery.

Dancin' Dave has the blow by blow of the SOTU 'speech'.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Libera te tutemet ex infernis ... or ... liberate me ex infernis

The Self Fulfilling Prophecy of Doom:
Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike a Key Option, NATO Told

The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists.
"The risk of further [nuclear] proliferation is imminent and, with it, the danger that nuclear war fighting, albeit limited in scope, might become possible," the authors argued in the 150-page blueprint for urgent reform of western military strategy and structures. "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."
The five commanders argue that the west's values and way of life are under threat, but the west is struggling to summon the will to defend them.
This is the scariest, most insane thing I've ever read.

And not only do these idjits have nukes, they even have bullet points:
The key threats are:

· Political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism.

· The "dark side" of globalisation, meaning international terrorism, organised crime and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

· Climate change and energy security, entailing a contest for resources and potential "environmental" migration on a mass scale.

· The weakening of the nation state as well as of organisations such as the UN, Nato and the EU.
The hypocrisy astounds! George Bush and the GOP also preach 'Political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism.' They've brayed to the world about 'the axis of evil' and called the Iraq invasion a crusade!

And the 'dark side of globalization'!? Of course there is a 'dark side' to globalization! Countries that don't respect human rights or the environment can always make a product cheaper! Not to mention we also sold their governments arms, WMD chemicals and gave them nuke weapons technology. (See Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan.)

And since Bush has 'unsigned' the Kyoto protocol and refused to reduce emissions or even to seriously acknowledge climate change the 'migrate or drown' is forced upon low lying areas in the world due to the greenhouse gasses we refuse to curtail.

And The UN is weak because the US weakened it! We don't even pay our dues. This is like killing your parents and asking mercy from the court because you are an orphan!

To prevail, the generals call for an overhaul of Nato decision-taking methods, a new "directorate" of US, European and Nato leaders to respond rapidly to crises, and an end to EU "obstruction" of and rivalry with Nato. Among the most radical changes demanded are:

· A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

· The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.

· No role in decision-taking on Nato operations for alliance members who are not taking part in the operations.

· The use of force without UN security council authorisation when "immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings".
The Bush Doctrine of preemptive war against folks you just don't like is now supposed to be a NATO strategy ... with the generals in charge ... and nuclear hell is the opening gambit.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

How I wish you were here

While it's been apparent for some time that he really had no chance, John Edwards' campaign pushed the agenda to the Left, and that was important, and valuable. If anyone asked, he was our (Pam's and my) guy, because of his positions on poverty and health care.

Today, he said this:

Now, I've spoken to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. They have both pledged to me and more importantly through me to America, that they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency.

And more importantly, they have pledged to me that as President of the United States they will make ending poverty and economic inequality central to their Presidency. This is the cause of my life and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause.

And I want to say to everyone here, on the way here today, we passed under a bridge that carried the interstate where 100 to 200 homeless Americans sleep every night. And we stopped, we got out, we went in and spoke to them.

You hear that, Hillary and Barack? We're listening, and hoping . . .

And he doesn't need a goddamn teleprompter, like Grandpa John.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Union of the Snake is on the climb

The Snake of the Union gives his State of the Union

To the surprise of nobody, Dubya's final state of the union address held no real surprises. Really just the same crap from a lame duck president trying to cover his incompetent ass by offering "help" for the American people and economy which leaves people wondering where the hell he's been the last 7 years.

Oh, that's right... he was using all that time to screw things up in the first place, thus requiring his "ideas" of how to fix things.

Well, I wouldn't exactly say "fix" unless you consider a temporary band-aid on the economy and more tax cuts for the wealthy a "fix".

Like the "surge" in Iraq, I think it's safe to say that Georgie is doing all he can to try to duct-tape his teetering mess in the hope that he'll have safely shuffled out the door chuckling before it all comes tumbling down upon his successor, who will have to deal with a record deficit and trying to escape the quagmire of Iraq.

Bush's final State of the Union address seems to mainly underscore what, to me, makes him such a failure. He seems to live in a world of his own. He can't be bothered to research information or to accept other people's ideas or thoughts. To him, the concept of "bi-partisanship" means the other side sees things his way. He has a tunnel vision view of the world that refuses to let in anything that he doesn't want to see. And he would rather take the country down with him in flames than to ever admit he made a mistake. If he was supposed to walk into a red room - but accidently walked into a blue one - instead of backing out and finding the red room, he would order his aides to get brushes and rollers and paint the blue room red to avoid having to admit he goofed. Iraq was a blue room he said was red with WMD's and al-Queda. When that didn't pan out, out came the brushes and rollers.

And his speech made it clear - he is going to stick with his vision, his strategy and his decisions on Iraq – no matter what the world, the American voters, the new Democratic Congress, the ’08 presidential contenders or even his fellow Republicans want. King George shares the crown with no one.

Here's a few observations on his address:

He talked about trusting and empowering people. Hard to believe he trusts those he wire taps and restricts civil liberties to.

Him saying he's committed to scientists and trusts their research rings hollow when all he has done is pooh-pooh their findings on global climate change and water down or veto any legislation that would address it should it prove inconvenient to corporate profits.

He still continues to bang the drum on the "No Child Left Behind" act, not wanting to hear how the Feds not funding it as they said they would has caused states to scramble to pay for it by cutting out arts and music and afterschool programs. It's meant big profits to the special interests who put together the testing criteria and supplies.

Bush likes to point out how the surge has slowed down troop deaths and pushed back the "enemy", but he never brings up what happens beyond that. When we stop throwing billions and billions into Iraq, don't the insurgents just come right back? Is the reason he refuses to give a timetable to withdraw because he knows he's screwed that country up so bad that our troops may be a permanent band-aid that can't be pulled off without blood once again rushing out? And he would then have to admit the obvious which is we NEVER should have opened that Pandora'sBox and invaded in the first place.

He says our goal in Iraq is to "remove conditions that inspire hatred" there, which comes across with more than an ounce of irony considering that our invasion and presence there has caused a very large portion of it.

He wants to make his "tax cuts" permanent, regardless of our huge deficit, thinking that it can all be made up by simply cutting out governmental programs. Of course, not surprisingly, those programs are usually the ones that hit the poor and middle class hardest, preferring to leave in place all the corporate welfare for his business cronies.

As George W. Bush prepares to leave office, he obviously is scrambling in the 11th hour to try to leave behind some kind of legacy. Sadly for him (and our nation), despite his spin doctors, his legacy will be that a needless war brought forth by an administration rife with war-profiteers and imperialists has left our country deep in debt and regarded in much of the world as almost as great a threat to peace as the “evil” people we have been fighting for six years.

And it sucks that his "surge" in Iraq and temporary economic "stimulus" proposal will do just what he wants it to do... stall the collapse of his house of cards until he has exited the stage in order to put the blame on the next administration. Sort of like leaving behind a roadside bomb.

As Steve would say - Bastard!

A Celebration Of Funk Brother #1


I would like to take a moment today to reflect on James Jamerson, and offer a minor homage to him on his birthday.

Years ago, I worked with a former Motown artist who brought me to a deeper appreciation of the Hook's role within the Sound of Young America than I had formerly possessed as a crazy young rock-a-roller...Revelations abounded in sound, not least of which was that I owed a great deal of my approach to yet another originator.
As with Jaco, there is electric bass before James, and electric bass after.

But unlike Jaco (who forged his eventually unique style upon the influences of earlier masters of the electric instrument such as Bernard Odum and Jerry Jemmott), James blazed a bright trail alone, wedding a fearless improvisational sensibility rooted in the purest Jazz to seamless dance grooves that never stepped on the vocals, but enhanced them beyond measure.

James never truly got his due in his lifetime, like so many of his fellow Funk Brothers...A tragic and all-too-common situation for the innovators of music.
When he died in L.A. in 1983, few inside the music community and even fewer outside it knew that a giant had passed from us.

Fortunately, through the tireless efforts of Allen Slutsky and many others, we can now see past the obvious celebrity into the all-star team that was the Motown session musician roster, and thus many more people every day can learn of this great legacy in music.

Here is an exquisite example of how his basslines worked with the vocals of the Temptations.

Here is a splendidly executed version of one of his most exemplary lines, Darling Dear by the Jackson 5.

And there you are...Happy birthday, James. Couldn't have done it without you.

Crossposted @ darkblack

Monday, January 28, 2008

Give me that old time religion

With all the upheaval and uncertainty in the music world, L.A. remains the center of the recording studio world. And we have here the best suppliers of equipment to the music and recording world. One of them is West L.A. Music. I've only spent personal money there, on a few fun things for me, but I've steered a lot of clients there over the years.

I'm also on their mailing list, and today I got a disturbing email from them:
News from West L.A. Music
We thought you would like to read this very inspiring speech by Gov. Mike Huckabee, on the importance of music and arts education. Please forward this to your friends and business associates who are interested in supporting music and the arts.
Don Griffin, President, West L.A. Music, Inc.

Huckabee - Weapons of Mass Instruction

The 21st century will belong to the creative; they will thrive and prosper, both as individuals and as societies. The creative ones will be the competitive ones. We're all familiar with the cliché of thinking outside the box. I want American children to think so far outside the box that they're not even in the cardboard factory. Creativity built this country, and creativity will sustain her as we transition to a global economy. We need to encourage the young people who will have those Eureka moments that give rise to leaps in science and technology, that create jobs, even entire new industries. We need to identify the ones who will take the rough straw of a bright idea and spin it into gold.

How do you nurture something as elusive as creativity? You can't teach it the way you do state capitals and multiplication tables. You and I know how - by offering art and music to all of our students, all the way through school. So the secret weapons for becoming competitive and creative are art and music, our "weapons of mass instruction." Yet when school budgets are cut, too often it's art and music that end up on the chopping block. They say we can't afford to have them. I say we can't afford not to!
There's more. The email ends with a link to Huckabee's web site.

The 'speech' is a riff on Huckabee's position on education found here. And like a lot of his positions, it sounds good until you really look at it. And one of the telling points is here:
Without school arts programs, their gifts might remain "buried treasure," lost to them and all of us. Others will end up in jobs that may not be arts-related or make them feel especially important. But for them the opportunity to play guitar at church on Sunday . . .
(my emphasis)
Right. At church. On Sunday. Before I criticize, I've played guitar at a church on many Sundays, so I have no beef with that. It's that Huckabee is a Dominionist, as Ellroon has written here before.

Huck Believes the Constitution needs fixing, as The Carpetbagger Report notes:
I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.

What if your God isn't Mike's? Too bad. That that speech isn't enough to send real conservatives running for the door . . . oh wait, many of them have.

He also is a 2nd Amendment absolutist who strangely felt compelled to support Wayne Dumond:
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee aggressively pushed for the early release of a convicted rapist despite being warned by numerous other women that the convict had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. The convict went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.

His tax plan is insane. Even The Economist, hardly a hot-bed of liberal thought, thinks so:
Mr Huckabee's tax plan is as radical as it is ill-thought out. To achieve a populist goal—abolishing income tax—he proposes a federal sales tax. To make up for lost revenue, it would have to be a stiff one, and levied on practically everything. Mr Huckabee says a rate of 23% would suffice, but this is a sleight of hand. Calculated the way sales taxes usually are, the rate would have to be at least 30% and possibly much higher. This would be horribly regressive. Mr Huckabee says he can solve that problem by giving monthly rebate cheques to those who need them. But to track Americans' income month by month would require a bureaucracy nearly as intrusive as the one Mr Huckabee hopes to abolish by repealing the income tax. The plan is a non-starter.

And he lies about his own tax record in Arkansas, according to Fact Check:
The former Arkansas governor is fond of saying – in debates, on his Web site and in that Nov. 18 Fox News interview – that he cut taxes "almost 94 times in my state." (On his site, he rounds up to "nearly 100 times," adding that he saved "the people of Arkansas almost $380 million.")

That turns out to be far from the whole story. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration found that 90 tax cuts were enacted in legislative sessions from 1997 through 2005, while Huckabee was governor, and those cuts reduced tax revenues by $378 million. But Huckabee fails to mention the 21 tax increases that occurred under his watch and that raised revenues by substantially more. The total net tax increase under Huckabee's tenure was an estimated $505.1 million, says the Department of Finance and Administration's Whitney McLaughlin, adding that the figure has been adjusted for inflation.

Huckabee is a nice guy who believes in his own religiosity, and has crackpot ideas about governance. And while I applaud his ideas about the arts, a Huckabee Presidency would do nothing about them. Why? Because Arts have been on the Right-wing hit list since Nixon, and the Reagan admnistration finished off any hint of support for Arts in schools nationwide.

West L.A. Music has run ads for years showing some celebrity musician shopping their store: "Here's West L.A. Salesperson with (insert name here)." I wonder how many of them might be Huckabee supporters. Let's see:

Snoop Dog? Nah.

Tom "Rage Agains The Machine" Morello? Not likely.

Frank "I hate the PMRC" Zappa? Um, nope.

George "My Sweet Lord" Harrison? Probably not.

And gay musicians? Here's Huckabee's take on you:
I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.

In other world, your relationship is the equivalent of bestiality.

Personal beliefs are fine, and I don't criticize anyone's faith. But I do criticize this, taken straight from Huckabee's web site:
My faith is my life - it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them.

That's really great, Mike. Thing is, the Constitution says in Article 6:
[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

And it says in the 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

And Thomas Jefferson, principle architect of the Constitution said:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, [the people, in the 1st Amendment,] declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

Bottom line, this is enough to disqualify you from being considered as a President. Factored in with your Right-wing ideas and agenda, it makes you clearly outside the mainstream of this country.

And you're not a very good bass player, either.

We say yes, but you say no.

Bush signed the OPEN Government Act which made the FOIA stronger, but now he's trying to ignore the law and shift things to the Justice Department. Does that mean he has more loyal Bushies there?:
In August, the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government reported that “current government handling of FOIA requests is deteriorating” and that the Justice Department was “consistently granted the lowest percentage of [FOIA] appeals of any agency.”

On New Years Eve, facing “congressional pushback against the Bush administration’s movement to greater secrecy,” President Bush signed the OPEN Government Act, toughening the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The legislation — unanimously passed by the House and Senate — would push agencies to respond more quickly to records requests.

But now, the White House is doing everything it can to neuter the law. Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) said yesterday that Bush’s FY2009 “funds for the Office of Government Information Services authorized under the newly enacted OPEN Government Act will be shifted to the Department of Justice” from the National Archives. Congress Daily reports:

“But by shifting the funding to the Justice Department, OMB would effectively eliminate the office, because it appears no similar operation would be created there,” according to an aide to Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT). […]

National Archives officials are relatively independent of political pressure, the staffer explained, “but DOJ is different.” Government transparency advocates consider the department hostile to efforts to improve FOIA responsiveness, in part because it represents agencies sued by FOIA requesters.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a cosponsor of the OPEN Government legislation said he “does agree with Senator Leahy and would oppose that effort” of the adminstration.

Okay, the first thing the new Democratic president needs to do is fire everyone in the Department of Justice who was hired on after January of 2001, or has had close connection to the Bush administration during these eight long years. The Department of Justice should protect the law not the president's ass. It's about freedom of information not secrecy. It's about justice not cover.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beware The Savage Jaw

Only Rubberheads Throw Fascists

'Get your handy abridged New American Edition of Duckspeak, at fine thoughtcrime prevention kiosks everywhere...A bottle of Victory Gin for only two credits more...Curfew at 13 o'clock, citizen, move on...'

As I reflect upon this unfolding bonfire of another's vanity, it becomes plainer to see just what exact function Jonah Goldberg is attempting to perform with the intellectually vapid theories and wilful misrepresentations of fact that he puts forth in his latest yeasty screed.

For many observers, one aspect of the time's ongoing cultural warfare is in the literary sphere.
One might think that with the dwindling supply of actual 'readers' in North America, this expression would not be as critical to the process of forced societal alteration as it is, but published books still have a certain cachet and can add weight to opinion by dint of their mere presence, irrespective of the lucidity of their contents.

Over the last few decades, as the monolithic drive of the Right pushed the middle ground of 'acceptable' public discourse further toward their end of the table, certain authors have emerged from the shadowy fringes proffering increasing degrees of outrageous commentary, useful as fuel for self-righteous fires stoked by guileless types bereft of critical thinking skills.

In some cases (e.g., Regnery), these published manipulations of fact are supported financially by the deep pockets of those who see nothing inherently wrong with monied oligarchies placing their highly polished boot on the neck of the masses - this, in fact being the desired goal.

Within this frame some writers toil as propaganda spearpoints, a la Ann Coulter, injecting vile philosophical constructs into the public discourse merely so that others will commence to discuss and propagate them on a broader scale.

In accord with this, some such as the subject of this post operate as justifiers...Supporting the occluded and self delusional world views of those who ascribe all manner of heinousity to anything Left of St. Ronald the Contra-ry and permitting them to give full vent to all sorts of ill-informed thought and deed while feeling super-duper peachy-keen about it all.

History is replete with such ink-stained little helpers, buffing the toenails of their masters for position and profit, and in Goldberg we have at last found the ideal synthesized hybrid for such a task in the Modern Age of high speed dumb...

One part Alex Keaton, one part Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, with a delicate sprinkle of Lord Haw-Haw boiled in the pan and ready to serve.

Would you like a wafer thin mint?


You're such a dirty louse go get outa my house

St. John deStraightTalk continues to be reviled by the True Conservatives™, and it really cracks me up. It's not enough that he plants his puckered lips on GWBush's ass cheeks everytime he speaks. No, he doesn't hold true doctrinaire movement conservative views.

Here's what the odious National Review says (complete with cites from Right-wing think tanks and business sources):
There’s a reason some of John McCain's conservative supporters avoid discussing his record. They want to talk about his personal story, his position on the surge, his supposed electability. But whenever the rest of his career comes up, the knee-jerk reply is to characterize the inquiries as attacks.

The McCain domestic record is a disaster. To say he fought spending, most particularly earmarks, is to nibble around the edges and miss the heart of the matter. For starters, consider:

  • McCain-Feingold — the most brazen frontal assault on political speech since Buckley v. Valeo.
  • McCain-Kennedy — the most far-reaching amnesty program in American history.
  • McCain-Lieberman — the most onerous and intrusive attack on American industry — through reporting, regulating, and taxing authority of greenhouse gases — in American history.
  • McCain-Kennedy-Edwards — the biggest boon to the trial bar since the tobacco settlement, under the rubric of a patients’ bill of rights.
  • McCain-Reimportation of Drugs — a significant blow to pharmaceutical research and development, not to mention consumer safety (hey Rudy, pay attention, see link)
Sheer bloody poetry. Oh wait, that's what The Times of London called "Tie Your Mother Down". In this case, it's sheer wankery. Here's the translation, for those who don't speak Republican:
  • Political contributions are free speech. If you're a millionaire contributer. If you're an average Joe, shut up.
  • If they're here, and working, figure out a way to let them stay and keep working, so they can, you knot, keep contributing to Social Security, even if they never collect.
  • Oil and energy companies should be free to pollute, and taxpayers should pay for the clean-up. Because Exxon's profits are more important than you.
  • Patients have no rights, because the nice Insurance Companies say so.
  • We need to pay more for prescriptions than any other country on the planet, because the nice Pharmaceutical Companies say so.
McCain has abandoned his "Maverick" position and swallowed the baited hook the GOP threw out. He has embraces virtually everything the general public finds hateful about GWBush's Party, and yet, the party grown-ups despise him.

It must be hard to be you at this point, John. You won in South Carolina, but only because you were running against the 7 Dwarves of the Right-wing: Grumpy, Cranky, and Spotty. Not much to rejoice when you beat such moral and ethical cripples.

Go Johnny go...whatever.

Here's Queen doing "Tie Your Mother Down" (damn, I miss Freddie):

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher

The Cloverfield Monster revealed...
ESTERO, Fla. - Rudy Giuliani's make-or-break state appears to be breaking him. Two new polls released yesterday show the GOP primary hopeful's support plummeting among Florida voters, despite concentrating his campaign here with a whirlwind of campaign stops, a heap of advertising and position shifts in support of state causes. A Miami Herald poll of 800 Republican voters showed Giuliani's one-time lead of 33 percent had plummeted to 15 percent. The survey conducted Jan. 20-21 had him tied for third place with Mike Huckabee. John McCain leads with 25 percent, followed by Mitt Romney, with 22 percent.
One pollster called the results "devastating.""A funny thing happened on the way to Rudy's victory lap," said Kellyanne Conway of The Polling Company in Washington. "The more time he's spent in Florida the worse he's done."

Well, that's never a good sign... the more people see and hear from a candidate and the more they know about him, the LESS they want him. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!!! Stick a fork in Mr. 9-11... he's done. I'm sure he'll be following Mr. "Da-DUMMM!!!" Law and Order out the door soon.

[graphic by Dancin' Dave]

Happy blogiversary to VidiotSpeak!

Buyer's Remorse

I want to congratulate my pals, (and myself, of course;-), at VidiotSpeak on our second blogiversary** in blogtopia*!

p.s. I'm long on work and short on time, so if my SteveAudio friends have any ideas for a graphic to celebrate this milestone I'd welcome it. (hint, hint)

* Yes, we know skippy coined that phrase!

** Yes, we know Jeralyn Merrit of TalkLeft coined that phrase!

'Cause I can play this here guitar, Pt. 20

Lots of people have heard this guy's name, mostly in connection with electric guitar pickups often referred to as "Charlie Christian" pickups. And while most educated guitarists know something about Charlie landing a job with Benny Goodman's band in 1939, many musicians don't quite get it, especially in historical context. And then factor in the erroneous belief that rock'n'roll really only started in the '50s and before that electric guitar players were country bumpkins and uneducated blues players, and suddenly, a whole thread of musical history is lost.

Watch this short bio piece, and listen, and you'll likely see what Charlie was all about, almost 70 years ago:

And here's another showcasing Charlie's groundbreaking jazz style, with definite indications of rock to come later:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

This is really late, and should have been covered before, but I think it's important to know that Martin Luther King's son supports John Edwards (note: PDF file):
January 20, 2008

The Honorable John E. Edwards
410 Market Street

Suite 400

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father's legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don't have lobbyists in Washington and they don't get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

I'm pretty sure that counts for something.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Only 935?

(Graphic by Dancin' Dave)

Ohhhh, this is just counting the lies about Iraq, not about all the other stuff.

WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.


The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.
The question we should really be asking is .... just exactly when did this administration ever tell the truth?
crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime

I know I'm a little late to this dance, but my good friends at CorrenteWire had a little fundraiser:
Final results: $138 total recurring monthly contributions (new and previous Patrons combined) and $120 in one-time contributions.

Mighty Corrente Thanks to all for sharing your hard-earned dollars. Especially with the looming recession it means a lot.

We didn’t reach the goal but there is enough to keep the hamsters going at full speed for another couple of months.

To make up the difference we are looking into advertising and maybe another Pr0n-based pledge drive since that one worked out so well last time.

While the drive is technically over, they still would love some help. Lambert, the Maitre d' over there, was the first Big-time Blogger™ to add me to their blogroll, and he was the first to extend front-page privileges to me. For that, I'll always be grateful.

Also, not known to many, he doesn't use Blogger, or WordPress, or Movable Type, or any of the mainstream blog-writing tools. Instead, like a real mensch, he codes the whole thing using Drupal, and that means he doesn't just sit down and use pre-built tools, but built the whole thing, brick by brick, by hand. It's really a rich place, with great writers, including Leah & MJS here in L.A., and the truly lovely and talented ChiDy.

Great job, Lambert, Applause all around.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chain, Chain, Cheney, Chain that Fool

Bump & UPDATE II: As of 5:00 pm EST Rep. Wexler has collected over 213,929 signatures from citizens in addition to 9 members of the House Judiciary Committee agree that impeachment hearings should be held for Dick Cheney.

If you haven't signed up yet, sign up now.

Bump & UPDATE: As of 1:00 pm EST Rep. Wexler has collected over 123,832 signatures!
Sign up now!

US Rep Robert Wexler got motivated when the news outlets refused to run his, (and fellow Members of the House Judiciary Committee, Luis Gutierrez and Tammy Baldwin's), Op-Ed listing the reasons why and calling for impeachment hearings for Dick Cheney, so he decided to go to the people.
Call for Cheney impeachment hearings

The charges are too serious to ignore. There is credible evidence that the Vice President abused the power of his office, and not only brought us into an unneccesary war but violated the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens. It is the constitutional duty of Congress to hold impeachment hearings.
I agree, and so do a lot of other people. Wexler launched his impeachment Web site last Friday and as of Monday afternoon, almost 80,000 people had signed an online petition to support the hearings.Update: Since about 3:00 pm EST the count is now 89,000.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Shouldve realised you know what I know

You Knew I Was a Snake When You Met Me

I have major issues with lies and liars - All the way from so-called 'little white lies' up to egregious canards, the whole gamut of prevarication sickens me.

There are myriad reasons for this: As a parent, I endeavor to raise my children as I was be factual and take the narrower high road in order to develop and enhance one's character, avoiding the cheap allure of a convenient fib told out of shame.

As a person who lives by my word and wishes to be deemed worthy of respect among the circles of society which I travel in, the surest route to a perception of facetious dilettantism on my part would be deliberately self-serving misstatements of fact which any thinking person could easily check and disprove at the expense of my reputation.

And as someone who greatly values honesty in my relationships there is nothing more worthless than deceit, whether offhandedly casual or a more studied maliciousness.
My first marriage lies in a mouldering grave over such calumny.

Now, I have known that open candor and factual discourse on the issues has not been a reliable companion of the Bush administration for quite some time, and thus I cannot profess to be too shocked by the latest revelations regarding their batting average with the truth, but I must say I am impressed with their consistent attempts at mendacity.

They never tell the truth if they can help it...A veritable forest of mendacious mirrors, created for the most base reasons and adhered to brazenly and insouciantly with the whole world watching.

Unfortunately for a well-worn excuse, I don't accept the premise that society needs to be protected from the common truth by its leaders.
Too often and too easily, this excuse is used by advocates of the status quo to cover up unpleasant realities and maintain power and a series of fictions at a greater civilization's expense.

And thus, if there is one lesson I can impart to my American friends and to the world at large, one small bit of wisdom to share without an assignation of scorn or belittlement, it is this:

Liars always lie.
Don't believe them.
Never trust them.
And truth is the best disinfectant for the virus they harbor.

Monday, January 21, 2008

We want to live in a better place, We want to make a better human race, Stop all the fighting

Dear Hillary:

We, like you, have solid progressive beliefs. We, too, watched in horror as the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™ tried its best to devour Bill. We sympathized with what you had to go through then.

We supported you when you championed health care reform at the beginning of Bill's first term, and like you, were disappointed when the Republicans beat it down. So we are your base, we believe in you and the other Democratic Presidential candidates, and we will work hard to maks sure one of you gets elected to the Presidency this Nov.

But we have a question. Here is our question:

The one who came out on top of last night's Democratic debate was John Edwards:

He looked and talked like a grown-up, while you tried to score cheap shots against Obama with just crap allegations. Look, no one is above stretching the truth a little bit, and no one is without some baggage in their past. And your truth-stretching and baggage make it hard to seriously criticize Obama for some of his truth-stretching and baggage.

So don't please. Just talk about your plans and proposals, and honestly underscore and describe your differences from the other candidates. But last night's performance was pretty annoying, and I really hope you stop the bickering.

Best regards,

Stephen Anderson

King for a Day

I grew up in a small town in the mid-west during the days of the civil rights movement. While I was mainly surrounded by folks who thought Reverend King was 'uppity', a communist and a troublemaker, I was lucky enough to have chosen my parents wisely.

They were white and middle class when I was born, but they didn't start off that way. And they didn't fall for the trap of blaming 'the coloreds' for their problems in society like a lot of the politicians in that day wanted them to. (Anyone else see a parallel to blaming 'illegal immigrants' today for the problems in society?)

I remember the days of 'separate but equal', of 'Whites Only' schools, water fountains, bathrooms and restaurants.

And I also remember that Dr. King was not only not revered by the majority of our country, he was reviled. He was constantly investigated and slandered/libeled by America's government and press.

And his crime was preaching hope, peace, and non-violence.

Just as his message started to resonate with white America he then had the temerity to equate the civil rights struggle in the US with the Vietnam war.

So a lot of whites who were shocked by the lynchings, the dogs, the waterhoses, the Jim Crow repression of their fellow citizens, turned away from Dr. King's message of preaching hope, peace, and non-violence.

They were wrong to turn away. Dr. King was always consistent in his message, preaching hope, peace, and non-violence.

Dr. King saw that our government lied us into the Vietnam war and it was fought by a draft of poor blacks and poor whites against poor brown people. Even some of Dr. King's fellow civil rights leaders didn't see the consistency in Dr. King's message of preaching hope, peace, and non-violence.

Some would argue that we've come a long way from those days. And in a lot of ways I agree. Heck, we've come such a long way that fewer houses of worship, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish, were defiled last year in America than in 1965.

We've come such a long way that we rarely lynch or drag our fellow humans to death in America. And we've come such a long way that we seldom kill black, brown or gay people in America just for being black, brown or gay in America.

We've come such a long way that even today, literally today, our fellow Americans march in Jena, Louisiana to protest MLK Day and shout ni**er.

We've come such a long way that GOP presidential candidates still court the vote of white supremacists.

Oh yes, we've come such a long way.

But Dr. King's legacy isn't about the snark and bitterness I've just espoused, it's about hope, peace, and non-violence. So I'll leave you with just an excerpt of just a few of the words he spoke about hope, peace, and non-violence (but please read the whole thing):
A Time to Break Silence
By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.

SteveAudio: I was going to do an MLK post, but there's no point, you said it all. Thanks!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

No One Here Gets Out Alive

The Soft Charade


Oliver Stone has set his sights on his next directing project, "Bush," a film focusing on the life and presidency of George W. Bush, and attached Josh Brolin to play the title role.
"It's a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin," Stone told Daily Variety. "But if 'Nixon' was a symphony, this is more like a chamber piece, and not as dark in tone. People have turned my political ideas into a cliche, but that is superficial. I'm a dramatist who is interested in people, and I have empathy for Bush as a human being, much the same as I did for Castro, Nixon, Jim Morrison, Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great."

You know, this 'sympathetic film portrait' sort of business might be a bit more believable if we all hadn't been forced to perform as suffering extras in Bush's personal home movie for the last 7 years and change.

By golly, the old suspension of reality just ain't what it useta be...and why, pray tell?

Because Bush is the American nightmare made manifest and writ large on the face of the nation...Imperialist designs on permanent power, haughty ignorance flaunted freely, inflated senses of personal entitlement, schismatic religious delusions, massive blind spots easily exploited by crafty courtiers, overweening greed, rampant partisan political zealotry, and pathologies of untreated addictions bubbling under the very model of a sociopathic class warrior all slaughterhouse juicy and marbled with fatty corruption...Not exactly fertile ground for a Jimmy Stewart or Denzil Washington 'everyman' treatment, or a flawed tragic hero a la Montgomery Clift or Russell Crowe, I'm inclined to say.

Of course, if one was angling to shoot a big budget Leni Riefenstahl-style hagiography, well the time is ripe, sir...With less than a year left on the ticker and no guarantee of safety or shelter for anyone, the viewing public needs an usher to help find their assigned seats in this theater of the absurd, don't they?

Is everybody in?


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Coward is a Hero

This is a bit different from our standard fare but when I read about it I just felt compelled to share. It's also nice to have a break from all the government crimes and politics (is that redundant?) we normally cover.

Here is an absolutely amazing feat of skill and professionalism:
Inquiry Finds Power Failure in London Jumbo Jet Crash

Both engines on the British Airways jumbo jet that crash-landed just short of a runway at London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday failed to respond to a demand for more power during the final few moments of the flight, British investigators said Friday.
Part of the main landing gear was torn off and another part was jammed up into the wing; the airplane plowed on its belly across open grass before slowing to a halt when it hit the tarmac. The 136 passengers and 16 crew members exited through emergency slides.

Several passengers told British news organizations that they had been unaware of the emergency until it was over. “It was a very quiet, normal flight. I didn’t have the feeling we had crashed until we left the plane,” said Jerome Ensinck, a passenger. “When you look at the plane you realize it could have been way, way worse,” he said in a television interview.
Now aside from the fact that the headline is probably wrong, (I read the initial report and it seems to say that the engines didn't respond with more power, not that they failed completely, and the plane didn't crash, it had a forced landing, (Forced landing is defined as the inability to continue flight due to the consequences of damage, uncontrolled fire or thrust loss where imminent landing is obvious but aircraft controllability is not necessarily lost.)

Obviously this dedicated crew did everything right. On final approach, at 600 feet and 2 miles from the airport, (about 45 seconds from a normal landing), with co-pilot John Coward at the controls, they reacted immediately to the emergency and brought the plane in safely. The only serious injury was a broken leg, and while I can't find the cause in subsequent reports I'm willing to bet that it was during evacuation.

Here's part of the Captain's statement:
Captain Paul Burkill explained that it was actually First Officer Coward "who was the handling pilot on the final approach, and did the most remarkable job."

"As Captain of the aircraft I am proud to say that every member of my team played their part expertly yesterday, displaying the highest standards of skill and professionalism," Burkill said. "Flying is about teamwork, and we had an outstanding team on board yesterday."

Burkill also singled out cabin service director Sharron Eaton-Mercer: "It was typical of her selflessness that she took time to check that we on the flight deck were all right before going down the chute herself."
Video and full statement here.

Having had 2 engine outs in an experimental aircraft where I was the pilot and only SOB, (Soul On Board ... or sunnavabitch, because I did the building and the maintenance;-), I can tell you it's somewhat disconcerting to not have the throttle respond and realize there is no way you're going to make it to an airport. And that was in a plane that landed at less than 60 mph while flying over fairly flat land and green fields. I can't imagine doing it at 170 mph with 151 passengers ... over London.

Kudos to the crew. Big, BIG, kudos to the crew!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Following Dick Cheney's lead

GTA: Vice President

The EPA declares executive privilege and refuses to explain why it said no for the first time in 32 years to California's greenhouse gas regulations:

Invoking executive privilege, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to provide lawmakers Friday with a full explanation of why it rejected California's greenhouse gas regulations.

The EPA informed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that many of the documents she had requested contained internal deliberations or attorney-client communications that would not be shared with Congress.

"EPA is concerned about the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting," EPA Associate Administrator Christopher Bliley wrote.

More than a week after a deadline set by Boxer, the agency gave the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which she chairs, a box of papers with large portions of the relevant documents deleted, Boxer said. The documents omitted key details, including a presentation that, according to Senate aides, predicted EPA would lose a lawsuit if it was taken to court for denying California's waiver.

The refusal to provide a full explanation is the latest twist in a congressional investigation into why the EPA denied California permission to impose what would have been the country's toughest greenhouse gas standards on cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Via Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars, Think Progress points out that Vice President Dick Cheney met with automakers before the EPA denied California's waver. Gee... doesn't this sound familiar?

Anything to keep us guzzling that 100 dollar a barrel crude, huh, Dick?
(crossposted at Rants from the Rookery)

We're the kids in America, everybody live for the music-go-round

Like many today, I have both a Facebook page, as well as a MySpace page. Facebook is more interesting to me as a method of social networking, but MySpace is pretty cool, and as you probably know, very popular with upcoming bands and musical artists. In fact, I wrote a couple of posts here in November about an artist who got her career going, not with a record company but with MySpace and some good luck.

Here's my first post about Ingrid Michaelson:
You know the song from the Old Navy commercial? You know the one I mean, that you can't get out of your head? It's Ingrid Michaelson singing "The Way I Am".

Here's a live version, stripped to one acoustic guitar and backup singer, and Ingrid. And it's even more stunning than the album version. It proves music doesn't need a big busy production to be wonderful:

This talented woman has no record deal, yet she's had her music played on Gray's Anatomy, has played live on several TV shows, and is currently touring the US. Here's her website and her MySpace page.

We're witnessing the new paradigm for music marketing. Take heed, kids.

So today I got a request to add a friend at MySpace. I checked, it was a young singer/songwriter named Kate Voegele. I thought perhaps she'd seen on my profile that I work in L.A. recording studios, know many producers & engineers. I checked out her actual web site, and her MySpace, listened to some music, and thought she was pretty good.

But then at another site, during an interview, she mentioned the way her record company had contacted and signed her to a deal. And to my surprise and disappointment, that record company was MySpace Records.

I don't hold that against Kate, she's just a talented kid who sought, and got a record deal. But for MySpace to send me an "add friend" request that is actually advertisement, and to not make that clear, is cheating. And it's pretty corporate-record-label cynical.


Here's a mini-documentary about Ingrid Michaelson, that's really nice:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Things Have Been Tough Without The Dum Dum Boys

The Holey Polyp Guild

The recent tempest over Glenn Beck's post-hemorrhoid surgery remarks regarding the parentage and moral stance of Franklin Roosevelt is merely one thorn on the rose of invective that this dreamily Grandpa-slapping pundit has to offer his viewers.

Why, he even writes columns. Let's have a peek inside this powerful mind of our times, shall we?

After some heartwarming anecdotes, one involving locking three live pigs inside an abandoned foreclosed house (in an apt metaphor for his own thought processes), we get to the real raison d'etre for the column - Democrat bashing and Republican talking points. Color me surprised.

'Now, I'm not a former first lady, but I am a thinker, so let me ask the obvious question: Exactly how does helping a low-income family stay warm stimulate the economy? Are they going to suddenly run out and buy an exotic vacation where they'll spend their days brainstorming ways to employ hundreds of people?'

Let me walk you through this, thinker Glenn. It's not such a difficult concept to grasp if you really, really try.

You see, there is this thing called 'working poor' - People and families, some of them working two jobs and increasingly longer hours in the Nu-Perfect America, but never quite making it to the winner's circle past the economic finish line.
Now, as fuel costs (for one) increase due to the myriad reasons that such things do, the percentage of income that these folks have available to save or spend on their other needs (food, shelter, retirement...trifles, really) decreases, and this impacts their ability to contribute to the economy in a subjectively meaningful way.

If people in these circumstances don't have to worry about themselves or their children freezing in the dark when they come home at night, perhaps...Just perhaps there might be a personal incentive to work harder on prevailing over their situation, rather than succumb to those fertile grounds for a welfare state, depression and inertia.

The inability to see this as an 'economic stimulus' issue and couching it as an 'energy issue only' is a convenient oversimplification that neglects to take into account the dependence of the North American economy on energy.
No 'go', no 'grow', no 'd'oh'.

Will some abuse this to the point of dependency? You bet...Just like some corporations become addicted to their strenuously lobbied financial largesses provided by the state through bailouts and tax rebates, it can happen.
Is that a reason not to grant it? Of course not, for much the same reasons that we may reject accepting the premise that if we were to cut off or sharply reduce such regular 'corporate welfare' it would immediately be injurious to the state, and thus all its inhabitants.
If people should not beseech the state for assistance, neither should corporations.

Some of this also falls under a topic that Republicans often struggle with - Giving a shit about their fellow humans in less fortunate straits than themselves.
The 'I've got mine' attitude, so brazenly worn as a symbol of success and self-reliance but really signifying nothing more than unenlightened selfishness, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to personal growth in the West.
How can you truly profit if your brothers and sisters go without?

Now, let's get down to the shilling floor:
' about we put some lasting trust back into the system by slashing government spending and finally sending the signal to businesses that taxes won't be going through the roof next year?

After all, no business owner -- including small-business owners like me -- are going to start expanding if they believe that our tax rates are about to skyrocket. That's why we've got to take away that uncertainty, cut corporate tax rates -- which are the second-highest in the developed world -- and watch as American businesses once again bail us out by creating thousands of jobs that pump billions of tax dollars back into Washington.'

Quickly dispensing with this blatant touting for his corporate masters, so hard on aging knees, the facts are this: economies, even the most successful ones, cannot continually expand without some sort of eventual contraction.
Since the last seven years in America have seen massive tax cuts paired with disinvestment in infrastructure brought on by hard budgetary choices at the state level, never mind such artificial expansion - In order to keep even meagerly solvent at current levels, a heightened degree of reinvestment in the supporting fabric of the nation is inevitable.
The good news? This is a recoupable expense that creates eventual economic opportunity and growth. Funny how investing in your infrastructure works to make things better, hmm?

Unfortunately, those timorous souls who dithered and dallied, fretting over the perfect golden opportunity to expand after over half a decade of spoon-fed tax cuts (as opposed to their compatriots who took their tax savings offshore to invest in foreign economies) will just have to wait until the next boom cycle to get off the fencepost. Hard luck - No guts, no glory.

The fact is, Glenn, whether you and your rich friends like this or not...There's a certain degree of maintenance that has to occur in a capitalist democracy.
It's not all just 'take' - In order to maintain the flow of income, you have to give back a little.
Think of it as greens fees...The difference between playing on a PGA-class course and a schmeggy pitch-and-put is correlative to how much you put into its maintenance.

Unless you like digging your balls out of deep holes, that is.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh baby, I'll take you down

Update below!
Caption contest time!

My humble offerings:
Even the Russian judges gave this a 10.0!
I can't wait to see the dismount.
Is that a bottlenose or are you just happy to see me?

The Comments!
Although dolphins are one of the smartest animals on earth, they too are not immune to pro wrestling.
Mike Henderson | Homepage | 01.17.08 - 6:43 am | #
******** a press release issued afterwards, the U.S. Navy insisted they were Iranian dolphins swimming in a taunting manner in their ship's path and the sailors distinctly heard one of them say before they fired upon them "I am coming at will explode in a few minutes".
Dancin' Dave | 01.16.08 - 9:42 pm | #

Dammit, Myra! I told you to hang on to the bed!
SteveAudio | Homepage | 01.16.08 - 9:24 pm | #
'We have lift off!"

"Is that a herring you are hiding?"
Bustednuckles | Homepage | 01.16.08 - 1:01 pm | #

'Frank, I told you not to order the chili diablo!'
The Sailor | 01.16.08 - 12:01 am | #
'Pfizer wishes you Happy Holidays'

darkblack | Homepage | 01.15.08 - 11:00 pm

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Get around round round I get around

In this episode I get around blogtopia*:

In the "nice work if you can get it" category ThinkProgress reports
Former Attorney General: Ashcroft’s No-Bid Contract Was ‘As Wrong As It Can Be’

Last fall, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie awarded his former boss, John Ashcroft, a lucrative no-bid contract to “monitor a large corporation willing to settle criminal charges out of court.” Ashcroft’s consulting company is set “to receive payments of $28 million to $52 million” in the deal, one of the biggest payouts ever reported for a federal monitor.
Crooks & Liars reminds us that the GOP is hard on rhetoric but soft on terrorists
Former Republican Congressman indicted in terrorist fund-raising conspiracy!
The best/worst part? It wasn't even his money, it was from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

And we would be Fairly Unbalanced if we didn't mention our friend from across the Ailes aisle Jon Swift. Somehow his piece "Jonah Goldberg's Shining (Liberal Fascism with LOLCats)" was eliminated and then restored by Google. We feel his pain, (well, not like we feel our pain, but you get the idea.)

And of course I Miss Fafablog, Spot, and their Rentlord catches something I think we all miss(ed):
FEC enters election season without quorum

As the U.S. 2008 primaries begin, the Federal Election Commission has effectively shut down, without enough members for a quorum.

the FEC, with four vacancies, is unable to take any action, including suing or issuing binding opinions or regulations, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

That is also likely to delay the implementation of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Law, which requires more information from lobbyists who arrange bundled campaign contributions. Bush signed the bill last September
And last but never least, we direct you to the bLAWg of our favorite, (probably because he's the only one that actually responds to our emails,) Justice of the California Court of Appeal, (apparently in CA you only get one appeal), Justice Bedsworth and his Criminal Waste of Space. Sheesh, how can I not include Beds, who writes things like this regarding The Queen of Mean
She was worth something like five billion dollars. Five billion. That's the number five followed by a parade of zeroes and commas and floats and marching bands.
And tha, tha, tha, that's all folks!

*y, wksctp!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak