Sunday, December 26, 2004

Do I have to come right out and say it

Thomas Sowell, a very doctrinaire conservative economist and pundit, calls Dan Rather the virtual equivalent of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist during WWII.

In a delicious bit of irony, Sowell seems not to be aware of the propaganda spouted by the current administration to bolster its case for Iraqi adventure, but instead decides that anyone who questions Der Bushenfuhrer is not to be believed. Rising to a high level of sophistry, he proclaims:
...the fact that discrepancies in the documents he relied on have convinced experts and many others that they were forgeries. Why was what George W. Bush did or didn't do 30 years earlier "news" in 2004?
The fact that virtually everyone, with the notable exception of Mr. Rather, now regards those documents as fake -- instead of simply "not authenticated" -- makes Dan Rather the clear winner of the Joseph Goebbels award for 2004
Well, you idiot, it's because the Swift Boat Vets For Slime, aided by Karl Rove, made 30 year old actions by Presidential candidates very relevant to today's politics! Additionally, the dishonest use of "experts and many others" makes me just want to scream!

First, re: the memos, it's not true. No one has proven with any objectivity or finality that the documents are either forged or not. A University of Utah forensic study has been allegedly debunked by the Right Wing Echo Chamber (RWEC) here, and here, but the jury is still out. The author of the study, Professor David Hailey, returns fire here, courtesy of one of the debunkers.
David Neiwert, of Orcinus, a truly respected writer on the left, adds this to the rebuttal of the rebuttal. A fairly balanced report of the whole font story is found here at wikipedia. Bottom line is, the contents of the memo have NOT been refuted successfully anywhere. But did you see that in the SCLM anywhere? Nah, didn't think so.

Second, I request today that henceforth, all legitimate writers please refrain from using the unqualified "others," "some", and "everyone." Those words offer a cheap way to inject one's own bias into a discussion, and have zero journalistic merit. "Some, including xxx," "everyone, as evidenced by..." or "XXX, and others, have said that..." are marginally acceptable, but without any qualifier, those are useless words in editorial writing, IMNSHO. Such sophomoric journalism just makes me crazy.

Sowell continues:
It is not necessary to believe that Rather knowingly used phony documents. It seems more likely that the political opportunity was too juicy to resist just because some document experts pointed out some problems with the typing and other details. It is the purpose that is decisive, so that even honest people are eligible for this award. We have to be inclusive.
Yes we do, Tom. That's why you now recieve our first weekly Right is Wrong award, for making your own rebuttal so effortless. Yes, your purpose is decisive, to smear anyone anywhere who dares critique Fearless Leader. And by ignoring the dissembling on the Right about Kerry's records, Bush's clear avoidance of duty, and the agenda of the right in general, you prove once again that process trumps reality, and fiction beats fact.

The juiciest bit of irony comes at the end of the piece. Howell finishes self righteously with:
Perhaps there could be a lifetime achievement Goebbels award for those who entered journalism for political reasons, rather than to convey information and let the audience decide. But there would be too many claimants and the award would therefore lose its exclusive quality.
You, sir, are hereby nominated for that award.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The day the music died

I've heard and seen NOTHING on mainstream media (MSM) about this item from BBC News:

Romania is demanding that the United States hand over a US marine who left the country after being involved in a car crash that killed a top rock star. Police say a breath test suggests the marine had been drinking when his car hit a taxi carrying Teo Peter, 50, bass player with Romanian group Compact.

The US ambassador expressed regret but said the US authorities would first conduct their own investigation.

Romanians have reacted with shock and grief to the veteran rocker's death.

The marine, who has not been named, worked as a guard at the US embassy in Bucharest.

Police say he was driving a car that failed to stop at a junction in the capital. He hit a taxi, killed Peter and injuring the taxi driver.

Romania's foreign ministry has expressed "consternation" that the marine left the country immediately after the incident.

It sent an official protest to the US embassy, asking for the man to be brought back and to have his diplomatic immunity lifted.

I googled "teo peter" and the first 38 hits were from news sources outside the US. Nothing in the major news.

This is just another example of how we treat, and how much attention we pay to issues of other countries. With actions like this, we cement our position as the world's bully, with all that entails. And, like most bullies, we can dish it out but we can't take it. I can virtually guarantee that if this happened in the US things would go a bit differently.

Imagine a drunken Romanian embassy guard smacking into and killing Bruce Springsteen. I suspect the guard would be hauled off to the nearest jail, and the National Guard would have to be called out to protect him-wait, I forgot, the National Guard is kinda busy right now. But that's another topic. And Romania would be screaming about "diplomatic immunity" in the world press. And we in the US would smugly sit back and say that Romania had no right to press us in this, after all we're the US, dammit. We're the greatest country on earth!

Well, we used to be. But with the dollar falling against the Euro everyday, and China and Japan holding most of our national debt, we're not such a tower of strength anymore. The rest of the civilized world thinks we have become reactionary 18th century warlords. With our zeal for building wealth for those who already have it, our disdain for our own poor, our lack of finesse in world affairs, we are not so much a world power as the last vestiges of a failed experiment in self governance. They are moving past us.

In a recent book, it was pointed out that standards of living judged by wages, paid vacation, health care, and infant mortality are higher in all other first-world countries. We're 29th in infant mortality. CEO wages are rising exponentially while at the same time worker's wages and benefits are falling. In short, we're doing just about everything wrong, and not much right.

And yet the battle this election was about "values." We care more about gay marriage than about education for our kids. We care more about abortion than the deaths of children from malnutrition. We care more about Scott Peterson than we do about 1,294 American soldiers killed in Iraq. And we certainly don't care about an idiot American who should be punished by the country he offended by killing one of their beloved artists.

What in the hell is wrong with this picture?

Jingle bell rocks

Working in the music business, I get a chance to collect some fun, different Christmas albums, and yes, Hanukkah albums too. I have the obligatory Beach Boys, Phil Spector's "A Christmas Gift For You," Elvis, etc. Also Louis Armstrong, Boy's Choir of Harlem, John Fahey, many many more.

But the real joy is finding some stuff outside the mainstream. I have several compilations from when I worked at Capitol Studios featuring such diverse artists as Kate Bush, Cliff Richard, Shawn Colvin, The Ramones, James Brown, Bobby Darin, well, the list goes on and on.

Until now, my absolute fave was The Roche's "We Three Kings." With humor and joy, their voices soar as only they can. They are a spine tingling delight as they take on the usual songs, plus originals.

But I've found something new: The Barenaked Ladies' "Barenaked For The Holidays." What a thrill! They do everything from very respectful versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" with Sarah McLaughlin, followed by a very witty ode to Elves who want to unionize, "Elf's Lament" with lyrics spun at the speed of their popular "One Week."

We have roller rink organ stylings, straight ahead rock'n'roll, even a version of Deck The Halls ("Deck The Stills") sung entirely with the lyrics "Crosby Stills Nash & Young". These guys are so charmingly out of their minds, it's a joy to hear. They even throw in a straight reading of "Do They Know It's Christmas," far and away a better Christmas charity song that MJ's treacly "We Are The World." I mean come on Mike, it's supposed to be a charity song about starving people in Africa, and the title includes the plural pronoun 'we'?

The ladies men also include "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah," and "I Have A Little Dreidl" for Jewish folks. And it's all topped off by a very earnest "Auld Lang Syne" that is so solid and rootsy, it almost makes you want to thrust your cigarette lighter into the air and wave.

This is the funniest, most creative ChrismaHanuKwanza album I have heard in years, and I highly recommend it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

UCLA Class Make Up Session-Sat., 12.11.04

We have scheduled a double session to make up the classes we missed because of holidays. Here are details as of right now:

Saturday, 12.11.2004
12.00 PM to 7:00 PM
Ocean Way Studios
6050 W. Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Here's a MapQuest link: Ocean Way Studios

We'll work from 12 to 3, take a lunch break, then work from 4 to 7 PM. We'' look at the facility, talk about tape machine alignment, DAW setup, console issues, lots of other stuff. We'll have fun.

We'll meet for the last class session, which will include a final test next Thursday, 12.16.04 at Occidental College as usual. See you then!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

UCLA Studio Maintenance Tuesday, 12.07

We're on for tonight, 7:00 PM. See previous post for directions.

Street parking for tonight, please. It's a safe area, lots of street space available.

See you all then!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

UCLA Fixer to Mixer Field Trip-12.07.04

We're meeting at Matthews/Griffith Music Tuesday night, 7:00 P.M.

Here's their contact info page:

Here's their main web page:

Here's the address:

1104 Hollywood Way
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 556-3300

Here's a MapQuest link to a map: MapQuest

Please check again here Monday night or Tuesday morning for final confirmation.

Thanks, everyone.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fixer to mixer 12/02/04

Class tonight at the same old place, Occidental college, 7:00 PM.

See you all there.