Thursday, June 29, 2006

Let's spend the night together, Now I need you more than ever

Brad Friedman at BradBlog has become a one man wrecking crew regarding voting machines and the lack of verifiable ballots. He is staging town hall meetings and writing incessantly to get the idea out there that election fraud is very possible.

Tonight he's going to be on CNN with Lou Dobbs:
Blogged from San Diego…

…But about to rush back to Los Angeles to get to the CNN building for an interview with the Lou Dobbs folks. If I can get there in time!

I should be on tonight's Lou Dobbs Tonight tonight at 6pm ET (3pm PT) and perhaps tomorrow night's show as well. Or so I'm told.

Had hoped to catch up a bit here about the Busby/Bilbray events last night and Tuesday, but it looks like that's going to have to wait again in order for me to race back up north to get to the interview on time…yeesh…

Will also be on Mike Malloy's national Air America program tonight as Guest Hosted by Laura Flanders. We were last on air with Laura when she came down to Crawford, TX to simulcast with us on The BRAD SHOW from Camp Casey last summer.

Here's what skippy had to say about Brad:
the bradblog, who has been doing a yeoman's work of spreading the word about the potential dangers of e-voting, will be appearing on lou dobbs on cnn tonight to talk about voting accountability.

the bradblog has just wound up his series (ok, two) of townhall meetings on the subject here in socal. skippy attended the first one in los angeles, and we assume last night's rally and meeting in san diego was a rousing success, if the la gathering was any indication.

we'll be watching, bradblog!

Brad's doing work that doesn't get enough credit, so our hat is tipped to him. That is, if we wore hats. Well, we do sometimes. Angels baseball caps.

It was just my imagination, once again

From the ever amusing (you know, amusing, like watching the "strange" neighbor boy pick his nose and eat it) Patterico, we get what simply is The. Funniest. Line. Of. The. Week.:
Andrew Sullivan speaks for many misguided lefties . . .

(Emphasis mine, because, well, it's obvious).

Uh, not so much.

And he still hates the NYTimes and the LATimes for printing the story about the secret world-wide financial processing company and the surveillance thereof, but thinks the WSJ (R-Fund) is tres cool, and I don't mean the guy from Greenday.

Here's his response to my comment today:
[I am getting impatient with people who don’t read the blog regularly coming in here and making snarky hit-and-run comments like this. I have explained in a post from the past week why the WSJ is different. Read that post. There is a distinction, and I won’t explain it again and again because I already explained it. — P]

I am not worthy.

And his permanent link titles are way too long. But I guess that's so he can sound out all the words.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Life would be a ding-a-derry, If I only had a brain

Rick Moran from RightWingNuthouse, pictured here, is always good for a few laughs. After roundly criticizing anyone who wants to, you know, cut-and-run from the GWOT as currently practiced in Iraq, he now is on board with the current GOP plan to, you know, cut-and-run:
How else can you explain their laughable contention that their immoral, milquetoast resolutions on Iraq have been vindicated by news that the Pentagon plans on drawing down our forces in Iraq 5% by September (conditions on the ground permitting) with another 15% by the end of 2007 being able to come home (again, conditions permitting).

I see, it's the timing. So we can't have a timetable, unless it's OUR timetable. Makes sense to me. As I said previously,
It's about power, greed, power, money, and power. That's all they want, that's all they care about. Timetables, deadlines, whatever. It's all rhetoric, and whenever something starts to resonate with the public, the Repubs will claim to have invented it.

Does this mean I'm as clairvoyant as TBogg was re: Rushbo? Hardly. In that area, he stands alone.

And Rick again erects (that word makes me think of Limbaugh again) the patented Right-Wing-Straw-Man-Of-The-Year:
And, the so-called Levin alternative resolution was even murkier on the subject, although the floor speeches made by Democrats gave the game away before they even voted. Universally (and this is the mercifully short version) they believe the War is a failure, George Bush is incompetent, and it’s time to leave so that we can blame him for the defeat in time to get enough Democrats elected in November in order to take control of Congress.

An immoral, cynical ploy‚‘tis true. But then, when it comes to our national security, never let it be said that anyone cut in front of the Democrats when it came time to surrender.

Because as we all know, Iraq was responsible for every attack that ever happened or ever might happen against the US of A. So we have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Limbaugh: I'm gonna give you my love,

Rush Limbaugh, pictured after being detained at Palm Beach International airport for possession of prescription drugs.

Of course, lefties like Duncan are spinning this as something naughty.

And tbogg, whose real name is Nostradamus, suggests that he "saw it coming," a phrase previously heard spoken late at night by Daryn Kagen.


Update: From commentor (and poster) Xan at Correntewire, where I cross-posted this piece:
"Megadildoes, Rush."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hot fun in the summer time

The latest meeting of the super secret Greater Los Angeles Blogger's Society was held today at the palatial lakeside estate of Kevin (& Marion) Drum. In attendance were:
special guest of honor Susie Madrak (& friend, sorry, I forgot her name),
Bob Harris,
Elton & Mrs. Beard,
Armed Liberal & Mrs. Liberal,
Mark Kleiman,
Arianna Huffington,
Rebecca Schoenkopf (OC Weekly)

and yours truly along with Pam (Mrs. Audio). The stars of Friday Cat Blogging, Inkblot & Jasmine, remained hidden, but their presence was mystically felt by all.

After the Invocation, followed by prayers to Markos and the reading of today's Kossian instructions, the fun began.

Seriously, it was a great time, and we got to hear Susie offer some really great ideas on media and communications for the Left blogtopia (y!sctw).

Thanks to the Drums for opening up their home, thanks to all who came and made it interesting, and for all those who were supposed to come, you missed a great time. And according to Pam, the best hamburger she's had in a long time!

Update: Forgot Rebecca. Sorry!

Kerry to Repubs: Leave at your own chosen speed

From John Kerry:

"The Republican attack dogs have some explaining to do and our troops deserve answers. Last week Republicans on Capitol Hill blanketed the airwaves attacking proposals for deadlines and timetables in Iraq.

But as Republicans attacked with rhetoric rather than attack the Iraq quagmire itself, the new Iraqi government was considering timetables for most American combat troops to leave, and our top military commander in Iraq was outlining plans to do exactly that. The same general who told Congress last fall that the large American troop presence delays the Iraqis standing up for themselves has now put forward a plan for us to stand down, and Administration officials leaked it to the nation's newspapers.

These plans look an awful lot like what the Republicans spent the last week attacking. Will the partisan attack dogs now turn their venom and disinformation campaign on General Casey? What will the Republican Congress say to Prime Minister Maliki? Will they label them the 'cut and run' military and the 'cut and jog' Iraqi government? Enough is enough.

I'm proud that Democrats insisted on a real Iraq debate last week, and this weekend’s news reminds us again that we were right. It's time to redeploy. It's time for realistic timetables rather than open-ended commitments. In fact, deadlines help get the job done in Iraq while Republican slogans are only designed to get the job done in November here at home.

No more slogans, no more hollow partisan attacks, no more questioning the patriotism of those who speak out. We owe our troops a policy, not a partisan slogan."

Bastards. BASTARDS!

Folks, please listen: The right-wing politicians don't give one damn about troops, or the economy, or...wait for it...flag-burning. Nope, it's all smoke and mirrors.

It's about power, greed, power, money, and power. That's all they want, that's all they care about. Timetables, deadlines, whatever. It's all rhetoric, and whenever something starts to resonate with the public, the Repubs will claim to have invented it.

And somehow, millions of voters still believe them.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On the hill we viewed the silence of the valley

Our friend Jane's Mom passed away today, from this plane of existence to the next. Where exactly is that? We are promised answers, yet most ring false. That there are things, and places, and existences beyond our knowledge seems certain. Yet no one really knows what waits for us.

My Brother-in-law's dad, Edward Mansell, who passed last Saturday, is being eulogized tomorrow. He will find the same peace that Jane's mom will find.

I believe in god. Not the God of the Old Testament, who seems angry and capricious. More like the God of the New Testament, who counseled love, caring, and compassion. I think we are too young to really understand god. Nevermind that the human race has been growing and evolving for thousands of years. We can barely get along, even those "Christians" who claim to believe faithfully seem to fight and fuss over trivial matters.

Love those who matter in your life.

Hate no one.

Care for family and friends as if they really matter to you, for they do.

Treat others with the dignity, care, and respect, and value that you feel you deserve too.

Recognize that others may not follow the same dogma you do, and don't worry about it.

"Thou art God" was a phrase used by author Robert Heinlein. Mostly I think his works are libertarian/utopian messes, with a fair dose of hedonism and conceit. Yet this phrase might be spot on.

For if Thou art God, and Thou art my equal, then I am God, as are we all.

As it was in the beginning, ever shall be, world without end.

Soon, oh soon the light,
Pass within and soothe this endless night
And wait here for you,
Our reason to be here.

Soon, oh soon the time,
All we move to gain will reach and calm;
Our heart is open,
Our reason to be here.

Long ago, set into rhyme.
Soon, oh soon the light,
Ours to shape for all time,
Ours the right;
The sun will lead us,
Our reason to be here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I was lookin' for some action, but all I found was cigarettes and alcohol...

I just found this amusing. Imagine, Adolf was straight edge.

(Translation: Our leader Adolf Hitler drinks no alcohol and doesn't smoke.)

E-evil Woman, E-evil Woman, E-evil Woman, Evil Woman

I hate to give her any more publicity, much as I hate to give Janjaweed mauraders any free publicity. But this need to be aired, like sheets from a $20 per hour motel: You'll be shocked, shocked to find that Ann Coulter Didn't Suggest Fragging Murtha (according to NewsMax):
The latest media furor over Ann Coulter - best-selling author of the No. 1 best-selling book "Godless: The Church of Liberalism" - centers on reports that she suggested "fragging" Rep. John Murtha. Those reports are blatantly untrue, but that hasn't stopped such Coulter critics as Editor & Publisher magazine from spreading the falsehood under the headline "Latest Ann Coulter Outrage: 'On 'Fragging' John Murtha."

In an e-mail interview by John Hawkins at the Right Wing News Web site, Coulter was asked to give her opinion of certain people, among them anti-war Congressman Murtha, D-Pa. In a style familiar to journalists who have quizzed her via e-mail, Coulter responded with her characteristic single brief line: "The reason soldiers invented 'fragging.'"

That's it. That's all she wrote.

She did not suggest that Murtha, long out of the military service, should be killed by a grenade because his men considered him deserving of death -- which is what fragging means -- she was describing him as the kind of leader soldiers have good reason to distrust.

There's more, but it's really too stupid to read. Let's parse this statement.
Murtha is "The reason soldiers invented 'fragging.'"

In other words, Murtha, as a military officer, is an example of the kind of officer for whom "fragging" became an instrument of killing said officer. I see, yes, that's much clearer.

Let's try a few variations:

Martin Luther King is the reason Southerners invented lynching.

Ronald Reagan is the reason demented former Manson cultists invented assassination attempts.

3000 New Yorkers are the reason Al Qaeda invented flying planes into buildings.

Jesus was the reason Romans invented crucifixion.

No, she didn't advocate killing Murtha. Not at all. Nor did she advocate Timothy McVeigh blowing up the NYTimes. Nope. Not poor l'il misunderestimated Ann.

I'll close with this: She's the reason the citizens of Salem invented trial by immersion and burning at the stake.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright.

Oh for the love of all that rocks! Powertool Scott Johnson has a sensitive side, where he enjoys pop/rock by a liberal:
It was of course the team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney -- as singers, songwriters, and instinctive harmonists -- that was the organic entity that made the Beatles. We celebrate Paul McCartney's birthday; today he turns 64. It is a birthday that resonates with his own work, though somewhat ironically. All of 16 at the time he wrote "When I'm 64," McCartney envisioned himself asking his prospective wife: "Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64?" The woman who seems to have been the love of his life herself died eight years ago at age 56, long before McCartney's sixty-fourth birthday.

Bring to mind any one of his tough, beautiful, moving songs -- "Things We Said Today," "We Can Work It Out," "What You're Doing," "I'm Looking Through You," "Here, There and Everwhere," "Penny Lane," "Blackbird," your own personal favorite. Recall the closing words of his throwaway rocker off the "White Album" -- "I'm glad it's your birthday/Happy birthday to you."

Lurvely, Scott.

Too bad McCartney despises everything you stand for. Paul, who has such links on his site as:
Every 30 minutes, of everyday, someone finds a landmine by accident and either loses their life, or suffers horrific injuries.

Over 90% are innocent civilians. One third are children.

Nelson Mandela Foundation
Thank you for taking the time to sign our Dog & Cat Fur Petition to EU Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou urging him to implement a ban on the trade of dog and cat fur from Asia to Europe.

Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

Meanwhile, here's how you feel about peace, love and understanding:
The governor contends with a solidly Democratic legislature that is enchanted with such clever public policy ideas (look for the union label) as punishing Wal-Mart for allegedly insufficient health care spending on its employees.

Coleen Rowley is the DFL (Democratic)-endorsed candidate for Congress in Minnesota's Second District, running against incumbent Republican (and our friend) John Kline. Rowley was the counsel for the FBI Minneapolis field office when the Minneapolis office arrested Zacarias Moussaoui in August 2001. Rowley's candidacy is based entirely on the recognition she earned as a whistleblower chastising FBI headquarters, among other things, for preventing local agents from seeking a criminal search warrant to examine Mouussaoui's laptop and for failing to seek a FISA warrant even though probable cause for a FISA warrant was clear, in Rowley's opinion.

As John Murtha's call to bug out in Iraq has become the voice of the Democratic Party, it is all the more important to understand what he's saying. Jeff Goldstein sends out the "Help wanted" call for translation of Murtha's remarks on Meet the Press yesterday. Eric Pfeiffer responds to the call in today's Washington Times: "Murtha claims support for Iraq pullout plan." The Wall Street Journal also lends a hand: "Iraq and Congress: The Murtha withdrawal policy is a counsel of defeat." At FrontPage, Peter Collier and David Horowitz reunite to help out: "The party of retreat and defat."

The party of defat? WTF? Spellcheck, dude.

Oh, and this:
Joel Mowbray has kindly sent us this exclusive dispatch from the biennial meeting of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly meeting in Birmingham, Alabama:

The leftist/Palestinian political push for divestment from Israel--in other words, to institute the campaign waged against apartheid South Africa in the 1980's--is on the verge of being dealt a severe body blow.

I'm sure Mandela will be pleased at this one.

Scott, like any music you want. Just understand that the guy you appear to appreciate represents everything you hate:
It's A Tug Of War
What With One Thing And Another
It's A Tug Of War
We Expected More
But With One Thing And Another
We Were Trying To Outdo Each Other
In A Tug Of War

Help Them To Learn (Help Them To Learn)
Songs Of Joy Instead Of Burn, Baby, Burn(Burn, Baby Burn)
Let Us Show Them How To Play The Pipes Of Peace
Play The Pipes Of Peace

Win Or Lose, Sink Or Swim
One Thing Is Certain We'll Never Give In
Side By Side, Hand In Hand
We All Stand Together

All the lonely people, where do they all come from ?
All the lonely people, where do they all belong ?

You say you will love me
If I have to go.
You'll be thinking of me,
Somehow I will know.
Someday when I'm lonely,
Wishing you weren't so far away,
Then I will remember
The things we said today.

And this:
And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder.

Sorry, Scott. You can't have Paul. You don't get Paul. Paul doesn't sing to you.

Go away, idiot.

Call me - Pennsylvania 6-5000

Diana Irey is running against Jack Murtha for the PA-12:

Do you know this man?

For years, many of us throughout Pennsylvania trusted John Murtha. We knew him and he looked out for our interests and our values. But that John Murtha is missing today.

After 32 years in Washington, John Murtha has become part of the problem. To name just a few examples:

John Murtha – Wrong on Health Care. John Murtha has voted to actually make your health care more expensive. He even voted against tax-free health savings accounts.

John Murtha – Wrong on National Defense. John Murtha actually voted to cut spending on our national security by $76 billion. Then, he voted in favor of instituting the draft! And, perhaps most stunning of all, John Murtha spoke out against the brave men and women who are defending our freedom by calling for an immediate withdrawl of our troops from Iraq.

Damn Murtha! Speaking out against the troops by, you know, wanting to stop them from getting killed. Never mind that is not what he advocated for. How do you know a Republican is lying? Yeah. Idiot.

From her bio:
Diana has held a number of positions helping to steer the Washington County area toward increased economic growth. She served on the board of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; co-chaired its Committee to Develop the Former Alcoa building into a regional renaissance tower, served on the boards of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance and Pittsburgh Regional Alliance executive board and co-chaired their business attraction committee.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance, eh? Here's what they do:

Fight EPA clean air rules

Advocate for developers and land grabbers

File suits against the EPA (note: look who the judge on the case was)

Join phony "Air Quality Partnerships" with steel & other industries

There's more, much more. She's a pro growth & industry tool.

Monday, June 19, 2006

John Kerry: "he's fighting for the USA"

As I mentioned here, a few of us Los Angeles based bloggers got to meet with John Kerry a few weeks ago:
Folks, I take back everything I ever said about him post 11/04. He completely understands what happened, how he was defeated, and how his legitimacy is still being questioned by the Swift Boat Bastards from hell. In fact, in direct response to my pointed comment about his current response to them, he looked me right in the eye and outlined exactly what his counterattacks had been, many of which I had forgotten. And then, rather than getting defensive, he simply said "I should have fought back harder." Word.

I received an email from his Press Secretary today, in which she said:
Just so you know what to expect this week in terms of Iraq debate -- John Kerry has been calling for a clear deadline for withdrawal and will not take the heat off the Iraqi leaders to do their job and stand up for their own country. There will be a real debate on withdrawal this week. Kerry continues working in partnership with Senator Feingold and others on amendment plans and a meaningful vote this week.

We'll see. Sounds great, but these bastards play for keeps.

The race is on and it looks like heartaches

Mom keeps me posted on the rantings of certain members of the family, you know, the "special" ones. She sent me this one tonight:

Cute. It's a game called "Border Patrol." You get to blast what are meant to represent illegals coming over the border. Reminds me of that wonderful Christian game making the news recently. You know, the one where you get to:
join the Christians and kill nonbelievers, or join the demonic forces and smite Christians, in "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," a video game due this fall as part of the wildly popular "Left Behind" franchise.

"Eternal Forces" is the latest effort by Tyndale House Publishers to profit from the "Left Behind" novels, a fictional series about the apocalypse that its authors claim has won converts to Christianity.

But "Eternal Forces" may be the franchise's most controversial product. The game purports to teach Christian values while allowing players to kill in the name of either Christianity or the Antichrist.

Bastards. Here's more from Kos about Rick Warren, the Mr. Clean of Saddlebck Church down in Orange County being involved with this game:

imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life.

But that's not important right now. The point is, by backtracking from the URL of the game Mom sent, we see it comes from Ring any bells?

It's the White Aryan Resistance, Tom Metzger's band of lunatics. Here's wikipedia on Metzger:

Thomas L. Metzger (born April 9, 1938) is the leader of the white supremacists group White Aryan Resistance.

Metzger grew up in Indiana. In 1961, he moved to Southern California to work in the electronics industry. For a short time, Metzger was a member of the John Birch Society. During the 1970s, Metzger joined the "Knights of the Ku Klux Klan" which was led by David Duke. Metzger became the Grand Dragon for the State of California. Metzger was also a minister in the Christian Identity movement.

During the summer of 1979, Metzger organized a patrol to capture illegal Mexican immigrants south of Fallbrook, California. Metzger's Klan organization also had a security force which was involved in confrontations with anti-Klan protesters.

Metzger's branch of the Klan split with Duke's organization in 1980 to form the "California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan."

In 1980, Metzger won the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives with over 40,000 votes in a San Diego-area district. Metzger had changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat earlier in the year. The Democrats disavowed Metzger's candidacy, instead endorsing incumbent four-term Republican Clair Burgener. Metzger lost by over 200,000 votes in November to a several-term incumbent in a heavily Republican district.

San Diego, eh? My man t (I call him t) lives down there, among those crazies. Sorry dude.

Here's some thoughts from WAR:
EXCERPTS from "Paleoconservative Thoughts To Ponder":

28) Since the fifties, minorities and feminists have been struggling to unseat white males and dismantle their culture; and they've executed the rout virtually unopposed, displaying the most frenzied and extensive example of bloodless cultural conquest in history.

88) Compare the views of better-educated and far more moral Americans of, say, the fifties with today's dumb-as-a-post, television-trained, live-for-a-good-time, deviant-sex-is-my-right, kill-wombed-babies-on-a-whim Americans. Think how forthright and honest fifties whites were to admit that they wouldn't want a black president, wouldn't live next to a black man, wouldn't want a relative to marry a black man, and wouldn't hide their well-founded prejudices not having been subjected to Hollywood's emotion-building, mind-altering, drive-the-nation-leftward, surrender-good-civilization-to-minorities propaganda machine.

Sound like anyone else we know? I can think of several other voices that seem to always join in this choir macabre. But but no matter how reasonable they sound, all one has to do is look at their jokes to see what they really believe (warning: nasty stuff ahead):
What is misfortune? A bus full of Jews falling of a cliff right into the sea. What is a disaster? If they can swim.

Whats the difference between a jew and a pizza?
The pizza doesnt scream when you put it in an oven!

I like black people . . .
. . I used to have some black friends 'till my dad sold them!

I'm sorry, I won't print any more. These are by far the tamest ones. Most would embarrass Archie Bunker, and all really piss me off. These people are really evil, and not too smart. Someone should school them on what exactly Aryan means:
Aryan is an English language word derived from the Indian Vedic Sanskrit and Iranian Avestan terms ari-, arya-, ārya-, and/or the extended form aryāna-. The Sanskrit and Old Persian languages both pronounced the word as arya- and aryan. Beyond its use as the ethnic self-designation of the Proto-Indo-Iranians, the meaning "noble/spiritual" has been attached to it in Sanskrit and Persian. In linguistics, it is sometimes still used in reference to the Indo-Iranian language family, but it is primarily restricted to the compound Indo-Aryan, the Indic subgroup of the Indo-Iranian branch.

. . .

Because of ethnolinguistic arguments about connections between peoples and cultural values, "Aryan" peoples were often considered to be distinct from Semitic peoples. By the end of the nineteenth century this usage was so common that "Aryan" was often used as a synonym for "gentile", and this popular usage persisted even after academic authors had ceased to use the term in any other meaning than "Indo-Iranian". Among White supremacists the term still sometimes functions as a synonym for non-Jewish "white person."

The Aryan race was a term used in the early 20th century by European racial theorists who believed strongly in the division of humanity into biologically distinct races with differing characteristics. Such writers took the view that the Proto-Indo-Europeans constituted a specific race that had expanded across Europe, Iran and India. This meaning was, and still is, common in theories of racial superiority which were embraced by Nazi Germany. This usage tends to merge the Avestan/Sanskrit meaning of "noble" or "elevated" with the idea of distinctive ancestral ethnicity marked by language distribution. In this interpretation, the Aryan Race is both the highest representative of mankind and the purest descendent of the Proto-Indo-European population.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

I don't want your freedom, I don't need to play around

Bush: Iraq Must Know It Won't Be Abandoned

President Bush, reminding listeners of his surprise trip to Baghdad, said Saturday it was important for the Iraqi people to know after three years of war that "America will not abandon them after we have come this far."

Bush spoke in his weekly radio address as Republicans and Democrats jockeyed for political position on the war with an eye toward the November elections. Following the lead of the Senate, the House on Friday rejected a timetable for pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq after a ferociously partisan debate.

GOP leaders in both the House and Senate sought to put lawmakers on record about the war and tried to draw attention to deep Democratic divisions on the issue.

With a U.S. death toll of 2,500 and a price tag of $320 billion, Iraq weighs heavily on Bush. Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq has dipped to 33 percent, a new low, and his overall job approval rating was 35 percent in a new AP-Ipsos Poll.

10 Workers at Baghdad Bakery Kidnapped

Gunmen seized 10 workers from a bakery Sunday in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, while police found the bodies of 11 other people shot elsewhere in Iraq.

The gunmen arrived in two cars, broke into the bakery in the northern suburb of Kazimiyah and abducted the 10 workers, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said. The kidnappings came a day after a mortar shell hit a well-known market in same neighborhood, killing four people and wounding 13.

It was one of a series of attacks that killed more than two dozen people Saturday despite heightened security, dealing a blow to the Iraqi government's pledge to bring peace to the capital.

On Sunday, police found the bullet-riddled bodies of 10 men who apparently had been tortured in several areas of Baghdad, said Lt. Thaer Mahmoud.

The body of a man in his 20s was found in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, health authorities said. He had been shot in the head, and his body showed signs of torture.

A mortar shell hit the al-Sadiq University for Islamic Studies on Palestine Street, one of the capital's main thoroughfares, wounding five students and a teacher, police Lt. Ahmed Qasim said.

Right. Here's George:

The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear -- and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The dream police, theyre coming to arrest me, oh no.

I rarely hang out at Conservatarian blogs. Too often my head feels like it's going to explode. But today a course of discovery led me to Tacitus, where from time to time I find rational ideas:
While the media was focused on the story of Goldstein's, er... Zarqawi's latest death, there was another story that got very little play. This was from the most important "central front" of this global war -- the home front. I'm talking about a recent case where secret evidence was used to charge people with crimes the jury didn't think they committed, yet they were still convicted and sentenced to terms the judge felt were unjustified. As someone on Dkos so eloquently put it:
"Going after people based upon 'what they are thinking'
should set off alarm bells in any thinking person's head."
You read that right. The department of pre-crime is handing out warrants to the thought police, and they're forcing courts to hand out life sentences.

Holy Philip K. Dick, Batman!

Read on:
Most people, haven't followed the "Virginia Jihad" case, sometimes referred to as "the paintball gang" case. You probably think it was about a group of American Muslims who were training for terrorist activities against the United States. A less compelling tale emerges if you look at the actual convictions. To begin with, no one was charged with anything representing a threat to the United States. That didn't keep some of them from getting sentenced to life in prison without parole.

None of the convictions handed down were for planning an act of terrorism. Prosecutors presented no evidence that any of the 11 convicted men had planned U.S. attacks. At best they were convicted for being pro-terrorist. That may seem like a fine point to some, but I will let a supporter of this trial and its verdict demonstrate the real threat this represents -- to all of us right here in the USA:

"We're arresting people for talking about things, thinking about things, training for things," said Andrew McBride, a former federal prosecutor in Alexandria. "I think you will see more of it as the government moves from a traditional criminal law model of post-event reaction to pre-event interdiction.
When you consider this in the context of the NSA's data mining program, it is clear we are looking at a department of pre-crime dedicated to convicting suspects of thought crimes. As one anonymous source told the Washington Post:
"They were walking around the national capital area with training in small arms, infantry tactics, any number of skills that could be used to mount a strike," the official said. "It has to be unacceptable to wait until there is a threat of actual direct violence to take action."
On the face of it, that sounds ominous. No one suggests waiting until the Mall is littered with bodies, but the key point that gets glossed over here is the doctrine of pre-emption has come home to roost. They are not going to even wait until there is a threat. That is a far cry from what happened in Canada recently. Those guys tried to buy three tons of ammonium nitrate. The magnitude of this shift becomes obvious when you consider the description of these guys used to justify their prosecution describes virtually anyone who has ever had military training, or hunting experience.

It is true six guys plead guilty to conspiracy charges. Some would point to that as clear evidence that they were terrorists. Others might point to that as evidence that they didn't want to roll the dice in the Rocket Docket or risk being reclassified as enemy combatants with no rights at all. That's a problem when secret evidence is used to make decisions about people who are convicted because they were considered potential threats. Consider the most recent conviction:

Ali Asad Chandia, was convicted on three counts of providing material support to Lashkar [a Pakistani group fighting India over Kashmir] or conspiring to do so and acquitted on a fourth. He faces up to 45 years in prison. Prosecutors said Chandia trained at a Lashkar camp in Pakistan and worked with others to help the group acquire equipment with possible military applications.

A juror, Robert Stosch, said yesterday that most panel members did not believe Chandia attended the camp but convicted him primarily because he had helped another defendant ship 50,000 paintballs for use by Lashkar.

But Stosch added that he thought the case "shouldn't have been brought at all. It was very insignificant." And he said the whole investigation was "way too minor, regardless of whether they convicted 11 people."

I am all for going after terrorists and criminals. However, something is terribly wrong when the jury convicting you doesn't believe you did the crime you are being charged with committing.
There's more.

Outside it's America. Holy crap.

Update: Wintermute, blogger & attorney, adds this:

Suppose you're willing to live in a total surveillance society -- and make me live in one too -- to minimize your fear. Then you need to read this report by defense experts on methods of virtually unstoppable attacks:

It may sound like science fiction, but the prospect that suicide bombers and hijackers could be made redundant by flying robots is a real one, according to experts.

. . .

Go read the whole report. Then we'll trace a particularly evil and cowardly meme coming out of the mouths of a few U.S. Senators. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said on December 20, 2005: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead." As Reason Online Hit & Run reports:

Good stuff from a smart lawyer.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I can't turn you loose, If I do I'm gonna lose my life

Update: For everyone coming here from Crooks & Liars, thanks. This post, however, is less about Otis Redding, and more about Curtis Salgado.

While researching for a blog post I was going to write, I came across this:
Curtis Salgado, the singer and bluesman who was the visual inspiration for John Belushi's Blues Brothers act, has liver cancer and has suspended concerts.

Salgado, who grew up here and lives in Portland, was diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago. The 52-year-old performer expects to begin radiation treatment in May and eventually hopes to have a liver transplant, said longtime manager Shane Tappendorf.

"We're just staying optimistic," Tappendorf said. "As we take each treatment, we'll know more."

Salgado was singing and playing harmonica for blues guitarist Robert Cray in 1977 when he met Belushi at the Eugene Hotel. Belushi was in town to film "Animal House."

In a 2005 article in Guitar Player magazine, Cray recalled the time.

"Curtis wore prescription Ray-Ban sunglasses, and he had a little growth of hair under his bottom lip," Cray said. "Right then, Belushi got the idea to start the Blues Brothers, basing his character on Curtis."

Salgado, who has been working in Nashville on new material for his fourth album, expects to be back on tour by early June, Tappendorf said.

"I am fortunate to be under the care of an incredible team of doctors and nurses, and I'm inspired by the courageous people who have faced this fight before me," Salgado said in a prepared statement.

Salgado was known until the late 1980s for partying hearty, but Tappendorf said Salgado has stayed away from drugs and alcohol for 17 years and is now known in the Portland area for speaking engagements to children on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

On one level the Blues Brothers are pure unadulterated fun, but on another, they're what I refer to as "White People Trying Desperately To Be Funky." For folks who heard Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose" for the first time from John & Dan, that's fine. But the original is just funky as hell:

I really don't mean that as a criticism, as Dan & John were really into the music. Dan, especially, as he still has his House Of Blues radio show.

But as often is the case, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, hopefully folks will flatter Mr. Salgado with some love. Here's his web site:
Here's the latest press release from his site:

P.S. The research I was doing involved finding a picture of Belushi as Bluto in a toga, which I was going to use to lampoon Victor Davis Hanson taking sides with Socrates in his latest work of flatulence here. In which VDH believes in Law & Order. Not Law & Order with Jill Henessey wearing short skirts, but with actual, you know, law, and order. But maybe with Sam Waterston looking really butch in his leather motorcycle jacket. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Well you're the real tough cookie with the long history

As I watched the train wreck that was The Larry King Show tonight, with David Horowitz defending Ann Coulter, I was struck by something he, and Coulter said. They make the point that the Left "parades" the 9/11 widows, and Cindy Sheehan, and amputee vet Max Cleland, and that they (the right) can't attack them because they lost loved ones/limbs/whatever.

Well NO FREAKING KIDDING! Because they actually have suffered from evil attacks, and stupid political decisions

The Radical Right is so empty of purpose and logic, so bereft of ideals, that they in fact can not attack even poor widows, and Max Cleland, weak and challenged though they are, without seeming cruel and heartless.

The Jersey Girls, Cleland, and Sheehan have viewpoints that can be disagreed with. They criticised GWBush for the disasterous invasion in Iraq. But never before has the Radical Right whined that a victim was off-limits.

Imagine, it was only a few years ago that Cleland was being attacked by Coulter:
In February 2004, "vitriolic right-wing ideologue" Ann Coulter wrote that Cleland should not be referred to as a war hero, as he had lost his limbs in a routine non-combat misssion. Regardless of the exact circumstances of the explosion, or its non-relation to the prior battles for which the stars were given, it is worth noting that Cleland was awarded a Silver Star "for gallantry in action" at the battle of Khe Sanh.

I don't get it, Ann. You had the balls to attack Cleland then, but you can't go after the Jersey Girls now? What's the matter, can't handle people with, you know, normal arms and legs?

Hell, Lee Atwater and Karl Rove have more guts than you. Rove took on a viet Nam war hero:
During the 2000 presidential race, tactics that resembled Atwater's began to surface when Arizona Senator John McCain's campaign entered the crucial Southern state of South Carolina. Though no credible evidence has been uncovered, the "whisper campaign" that damaged McCain's chances in that state is often attributed to Karl Rove, a longtime friend (and student of Atwater's techniques in political "dirty tricks"), later named Senior Political Advisor to George W. Bush. The effect was also felt during the 2004 presidential race between incumbent George W. Bush and Democratic party challenger John Kerry. The Swift Boat Veterans launched a counter-campaign against Kerry which was believed to have been organized by Rove. Additionally, the sudden appearance of a memo purportedly offering evidence that Bush had shirked his duty during his service in the Texas Air National Guard seemed to exhibit the same tactics used by Atwater.

So Ann, go away. Leave us alone. You have no real guts. You're a pussy who is afraid of some poor widows from New Jersey. You who have a law degree and a great job, who enjoy pissing down the backs of people who actually have suffered as a result of political decisions by fearless leader, are so afraid of confrontation that you say the the 9/11 widows are off limits.

Yet you attack them. Why? Because they threaten your world, the gestalt that governs you. They seek to change the dialog, to point out that this war is about the wrong ideas.

Ann, you deserve pity. If you had any real courage, you would debate the Jersey girls face to face, instead of brow-beating hapless Matt Lauer by shouting over him.

But no. You're afraid of real women. And amputee men. And dead veteran's mothers. Because they, unlike you, are complete human beings.

At least Atwater had a death bed conversion:
Shortly before his death from a brain tumor he said he had converted to Catholicism and, in an act of repentance, issued a number of public and written apologies to individuals whom he had attacked during his political career, including Dukakis. In a letter to Tom Turnipseed dated June 28, 1990, he stated, "It is very important to me that I let you know that out of everything that has happened in my career, one of the low points remains the so called 'jumper cable' episode," adding, "my illness has taught me something about the nature of humanity, love, brotherhood and relationships that I never understood, and probably never would have. So, from that standpoint, there is some truth and good in everything." [3]

What's it going to take for you, Ann?

Monday, June 12, 2006

His orders come from far away no more

My favorite new Republican whipping boy is Rick Moran at the aptly named RightWingNuthouse. I took him on re: Coulter-thing here last week when he said:
We may violently disagree with their politics.

Dude, I don't violently disagree with anyone's politics, except the KKK, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or similar groups. I strongly oppose damn near everything the Republicans stand for, but violent? That's creepy.
Can you imagine some liberal commentator making similar remarks about Debra Burlingame, sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame, III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed at the Pentagon and who is fighting to keep the 9/11 Memorial from being hijacked by the anti-American left?

Just who exactly is this anti-American left? I don't remember being invited to this club. Name me one person on the left who hates America. Straw man, arise! And of course no liberal commentator would make the comments he suggests. Why? Because no one on the legitimate left hates anyone. We just want them the hell out of office!

In another stellar example of even-handed thuggery, he says this:
We still don’t know what happened at Haditha. And it is very clear that the truth of the matter is proving more elusive than the anti-war left will admit. To do so would ruin their campaign to delegitimize our troop’s efforts in Iraq as well as build support for withdrawing our military before the job is done.

Rick, I'll take that. I'll gladly be the anti-war left since you are so clearly the pro-war right. And to expose the straw man again, the effort I want to delegitimize is that of GWBush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al, not the poor grunts on the ground who are treading water as fast as they can in an effort not to drown in the morass into which they were sent.

However the Haditha incident shakes out, the blame goes straight to the top. GWBush & co. And their ideological supporters.

That means you, Rick.

Wipe your hands. The blood is messy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

al-Zarqawi: Political ends, as sad remains, will die.

Jeff Goldstein works with the only audience that would find him actually funny-a dead guy:

protein wisdom: “I don’t know about you, but I think Gerry Rafferty is one of the most underrated rock/pop voices of our generation...”


protein wisdom: “Baker Street’? ‘Right Down the Line’? That’s some sophisticated pop sound, man.”


protein wisdom: “And in fact, ‘Baker Street’ may be responsible for bringing the sax back into pop music. Although I guess some people would point you to Springsteen—who for the record is completely derivative of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown band.”


protein wisdom: “Of course, not many people know that, because JC didn’t achieve any measure of fame until much later on. With the Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack.”

Now he's a faux music critic. Gerry Rafferty? He was what bad Top 40 radio in the late '70s thought was 'serious' music. Of course we see how well that worked out.

More deep thoughts:
protein wisdom: “For instance, a question I bet a lot of my readers would be interested in hearing your answer to is, why did you target Iraqi civilians if what you were trying to do was win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population?”


protein wisdom: “I mean, was it to try to foment a civil war?—which, if that happens, will likely happen thanks to years of brutal Sunni-Ba’athist oppression of the majority Shia and not because al Qaeda fooled anyone into thinking their attacks were anything other than pure barbarism. Or was there something else involved? Some other grand strategy?”


protein wisdom: “-- Like, I dunno, maybe the real target of your attacks was the Western media, which has shown itself to be easily manipulated toward anti-war sentiment by ‘insurgent’ brutality. Something along those lines.”


What's really sad is this, from Jeff's BFF, Rick Moran at the not-at-all ironically named RightWingNutHouse:
Jeff Goldstein has an interview with the now dead terrorist that had me laughing so hard I almost emptied my bladder.

One word, dude: Depends.

Note: Ralph Wiggum graphic stolen from Atrios. So sue me.

Well Be Bop A Lula she's my baby

When I joined the first rock band I played with, things were, well, a bit different. To start with, it was '63, and the music business was much simpler. And musicians were in many ways more open, as well as naive.

Although certain songs were always associated with specific artists, it had been common practice for some time for artists to freely record songs by other artists, especially if the song had been a hit. While that still occurs today, it was much more common "back in the day." Even the first 2 Beatles albums were largely 'cover' tunes, many of which were common in bands' repertoires. Often, competing versions of the same song were on the chart at or near the same time with some clearly awkward juxtapositions. Witness Chubby Checker singing "The Twist" shortly after Hank Ballard & The Midnighters recorded it. Or in probably the most egregious example, Pat Boone having a hit with Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally".

Gene Vincent was an early 'rockabilly' star, long before that word even was coined. He will always be associated with the song "Be-Bop-A-Lula", and his career, and life, sadly were not as long as they might have been. Many people to this day do not know that he had a badly injured leg and often wore a metal brace which was hidden in most publicity shots. During my years working at Capitol Studios, I daily walked by a picture in the hall of him posing with his band in Studio B, one leg hidden behind one of the other players.

Here's Gene Vincent performing Long Tall Sally in Brussels, 1963. His crutches can be seen while he walks out onto the stage:

For the techie geeks among you, one of the amps onstage is a Vox AC30. While starting to become common in Europe at the time, they were unheard of in the US, leading me to speculate that it was "hired" for the show. Also, the lead guitarist and bassist appear to be playing Burns guitars, for which the same caveat applies. Burns pickups are the heart of the sound of Brian May's "Red Special".

Here's a site that has hundreds of pics of Vincent:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

And the public gets what the public wants

My friend Brad Friedman at Brad Blog is all over this issue:
We do, however, have copious and documented evidence to suggest there is no reason in the world to have any faith that Bilbray won the race.

The fact that the thin margin between the two at this hour (with "100% of the votes counted", according to the CA Sec. of State's website) is a mere 4,732 votes -- in a race where 125,882 votes were reportedly cast in a county with more than 355,000 voters registered -- is not even the largest question. Neither is the so-far unclear question of how the race will be affected by the 68,500 absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted in San Diego County according to the SD Registrar of Voters website at this hour.

The biggest concern about the race, by far, is that San Diego County uses two types of Diebold voting systems -- optical-scan and touch-screen -- both of which have not only proven to be disastrously unreliable in San Diego County and California in the past, but have also been demonstrated over the last six months to feature dozens of exceedingly well-documented and remarkable security vulnerabilities, making them extremely accessible to tampering. Especially if anyone has unsupervised physical access for more than a minute or two with them.

The voting machines used in Tuesday's election were sent home with volunteer poll workers the night before the election, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office today. As well, The BRAD BLOG has received reports that in some cases, poll workers may have had the machines alone at their houses, unsupervised, for a week or even two prior to Tuesday's election....

Last February, California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, himself, commissioned and released an independent security analysis [PDF] regarding just one aspect of both types of Diebold voting machines used in yesterday's San Diego race, after the memory cards used in those machines were found to have been extremely vulnerable to tampering. A mock election in Leon County, Florida last December revealed that tampering with the memory cards enabled the results of a mock election, run by Election Supervisor Ion Sancho, to be completely reversed.

They took the machines home?


These are machines based on generic Windows boxes, with all the security features of he average teen gamer's PC. (Of course, they would be better off using Macs.)

To allow them to be taken home, however, is frightening. In a criminal case, regarding evidence, chain of custody is paramount. Imagine blood samples from a murder scene being taken home in a CSI technician or detective's car. Oh, wait, that's not a good example.

But really, these are your secret ballots. Lives were lost to gain suffrage. At the beginning of this country only "landed gentry" could vote. Today, all citizens enjoy the power of the ballot.

Unless, of course, the polling place worker's kid needed to look at some internet porn. If traces of his web activity can be erased from mom's prying eyes, so can your vote.

Get pissed, people!

Dreamboat Annie my little ship of dreams

I am sick and tired of this shit!

tbogg mentions Rick Moran, who, (ahem) is slightly off-put by Ann-thing Coulter's latest spew:
She has descended into a black hole of necessity from which there is no escape; where she is forced to please her rabid base of red meat conservatives usually by going beyond the bounds of decency and proper public discourse in order to make a point that could have been made without resorting to the kind of hurtful, hateful, personal attacks that have become a hallmark of her war with liberals.

Make no mistake. Ann Coulter is a brutish lout, a conservative ogre who should be denied a public platform to spout what any conservative with an ounce of integrity and intellectual honesty should be able to see as unacceptable. To descend to the level of your opponents in order to criticize them is not an excuse. And for such a gifted wordsmith, Coulter does not have the excuse of ignorance.

Yeah. Well, problem is, he doesn't really mean it. He is either too gutless to align himself with her raving, or just embarrased by her bad publicity.

Here's why:
We may violently disagree with their politics.

Dude, I don't violently disagree with anyone's politics, except the KKK, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or similar groups. I strongly oppose damn near everything the Republicans stand for, but violent? That's creepy.
Can you imagine some liberal commentator making similar remarks about Debra Burlingame, sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame, III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed at the Pentagon and who is fighting to keep the 9/11 Memorial from being hijacked by the anti-American left?

Just who exactly is this anti-American left? I don't remember being invited to this club. Name me one person on the left who hates America. Straw man, arise! And of course no liberal commentator would make the comments he suggests. Why? Because no one on the legitimate left hates anyone. We just want them the hell out of office!

And this:
But my commenter SSheil put it nicely:

I think this post (and several others relating to the same topic) is illustrative of what I see is generally the largest difference between blogs on the right and left. As with Rick’s blog, most blogs on the right are not shy of taking our leaders, writers and speakers who represent the Right to task when they individually or collectively “step on their d*cks.”

When was the last time you saw one of Ted Kennedy’s incoherent rants brought to task by Kos kids or readers over at DU? Or Pelosi? Or Dean? Or Durbin?
Where are you looking? Clearly not Kos, where Dem pols are raked over the coals every day. Clearly not Atrios, FireDogLake, or any other popular left leaning blogs. They all proudly criticise the "leaders" of the Democratic party.

On the other hand, Limbaugh, Hewitt, AssRocket, PowerTools, the usual idiots, never loose their lips from dear leader's sphincter long enough to criticise. It's party line all the time.

Rick, you own Coulter. She says what you are too emasculated to say, she gives voice to what your base believes. If someone criticises GWBush, they have to be reviled, marginalised, shunned. Dissent is not allowed. And rather than open dialog, you resort to the kind of insults that sometimes even you find unattractive.

But make no mistake about it. Ann Coulter is the face of the Radical Right. Here's my evidence, from some of your commentors:
I think that Coulter has a point. Just as Sheehan has reveled in her son’s death, so have some of these women. Many are affiliated with Code Pink and other outrageous groups. Burlingame on the other hand, doesn’t self identify by any group affiliations and misuse her status as a widow to promote these groups’ causes. Burlingame speaks for herself on her own beliefs not with the groupthink espoused by Sheehan and the other moonbats.

I don’t think you’re quite getting her tact, wit and methodology.

The left typically have plenty of personal anger. Never seen any in Coulter. Seen her angry and incensed about things while simultaneously quite lacking in the internal ugly anger that is so often vomited at her by those that hate her. And you got to love her response: a chuckle.

Rick – you are putting too many words into what she says – you are not being reasonable. If the widow happens to enjoy a new car bought by the compensation due her husband, would it be wrong to make a factual statement that she actually enjoys driving a new car without accusing the speaker or the widow of insensitivity? Is the speaker saying that she does not grieve her husband? Is the speaker saying that she caused the death of her husband to gain a car? Stop seeing monsters in the clouds. This is the kind of narrow rationality the language-obsessed meaning-challenged cultural leftists use to make argument, IMO

So what is Coulter is the dragon-woman and the flamethrower. For heavan’s sake there is a multitude of whackier ones on the left. As dumb as the left thinks we are, I mean we know the diff when Ann is rolling in the frags grenades for effect. And frankly, in spite of her take no prisoners style, she’s often not that far off mark. And it’s delightful to see the lefties pulling out their hair out and about to absolutely go into hysteria when she run’s a few magazines of rhetorical tracers into their sensitive litlle ego’s. They can dish it out, but can’t take it. I note she hasn’t been invited back on to Maher’s show after tap dancing on his head and the his atheist-left audience.

I am usually fairly moderate except when we speak about some of these moonbats and the MSM. Their aim is always the same. Destroy the country and in particular attack the WH and military. This group is no different. They did NOT conduct themselves as widows. So you say how does a widow conduct themselves? That we can not attack back because of their statis?

That is precisely Coulter’s point. They put an old man that that served in the military out as their mouthpiece. He says on TV that our guys “killed in cold blood”. How do you ignore that fool? They send a CIA husband out to call the President a liar but you can NOT answer the lies because he can hide behind CIA. They sent these Jersey Black Widows and they sat on my TV almost everyday…...forever…..trashing the WH. They appeared as TV stars of our foreign policy. We have to sit with our mouths shut BECAUSE they are WIDOWS. Another example was their own grieving mom that was supposed to have the “absolute moral authority” to speak for all of us. This is what you wrote (Rick) about Sheehan on 9/16/05.

This is your Party. This is YOU! Whine and waffle all you want, it doesn't matter. These Radical Right true believers support Coulter, and GWBush, and Rumsfeld, and, well, the list goes on.

Rick, I'm sure you think yourself a decent fellow, but when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.

Cross-posted at Huffington Post.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

That's the way God planned, that's the way God wants it to be

From Billy Preston's web site:
The great singer-songwriter and performer Billy Preston, the real "Fifth Beatle" has died after a long illness as a result of malignant hypertension that resulted in kidney failure and other complications. As a result of a medical insult he'd been in a deep coma since last November 21st, but was still struggling to recover. He died at Shea Scottsdale Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona where he'd lived for the last couple of years.

Watch this video of Billy talking about music as God:

As I told John Amato earlier today, Billy was in Capitol Studios several times while I worked there in the late '90s. He was always, gracious, friendly, and funny. He also came into Larrabee once while I worked there, to play on the Jet record.

I remember one time at Capitol he was warming up on the B3 in Studio A, while next door in Studio B the seasoned studio musicians playing on a TV scoring date were taking a break.

Hearing Billy, they all came running to see who was playing so freakin' amazingly. Even the session keyboard player stood smiling and groovin'. Billy was that good. Just blew everyone away.

Lots of people make music, fewer are really about music. Billy was one of those. The last time I saw him he was loving life, loving playing music, and happy to be there. I was happy he was there too.

Thanks, Billy.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Whos gonna steal the show, you know, baby its the guitar man.

More music. I just gots to have me more music. Ahem.

It's tragically hip in some circles to diss
Bach. After all, he worked for a living as a composer, got paid to write his little ditties. I mean, he really never busked on street corners or paid to play at the Whiskey in hopes the A&R guy from A&M might stop by. So how could he have any real cred? Well, for starters, the dude could compose. In among all the contrapuntal frenzies were such show-stoppers as "Air on a G String" and "Sheep May Safely Graze." And he takes some heat for recycling. As one example, the same melody shows up as: What is so special about this melody, that ol' Johann Sebastian Bach used it no less than 3 times? I will try to explain. Last year a Music Meme was passing through the Bloggersphere. One of the topics was "Favorite Instrumentals." Here's what I wrote at the time:
Top 5 Instrumentals

1. Cliffs of Dover, Eric Johnson
A rollicking romp on the strings, soaring ever higher, to an impossibly beautiful conclusion.
2. Partita for solo violin No. 3., E major, Prelude, J. S. Bach
A rollicking romp on the strings, soaring ever higher, to an impossibly beautiful conclusion.
3. Miserlou, Dick Dale
Made recently famous by Pulp Fiction. Listen to how tough and assertive it sounds, and imagine how that played in '61. Damn scary guitar playing.
4. In The Mood, Glenn Miller
This was a transition from mannered swing music to R 'n' B of the '50s. It's really all rock 'n' roll.

5. Walk, Don't Run, The Ventures
Pre surf guitar, post jazz, proved that intense doesn't have to equate to loud. This song swings really hard, but keeps the lid on the volume pressure cooker. Rocks with subtleties, not volume. But it's fun to play loud, too.

Honorable mention:

Peter Gunn Theme, Henry Mancini

My friend Al Schmitt recorded this, along with all Mancini's work. Bob Bain, later of The Tonight Show, played lead guitar.

Parkening Plays Bach
, Christopher Parkening

Andres Segovia wrote the entire book on classical guitar, esp. re: Bach transcriptions of violin, cello, keyboard, and choral pieces. Parkening took it to a new level with this album. Technically daunting ( I made it through Prelude in C, Well Tempered Klavier, but that's about it), and breathtakingly beautiful, it emphasises not only Bach's contrapuntal art but also the melodies. Ah, the melodies...

Embryonic Journey, Jefferson Airplane (Korma Kaukonen solo)

Starting to get the ideal that I play guitar? Not as well as Jorma. Just a quick slice of lovely fingerstyle guitar playing, with a wonderful melody and flawless tone. Anybody really into fingerstyle would do well to study this man's work.

Steppin' Out, Cream: "Live Cream, Vol. 2

Back in the day, when Eric Clapton was young and hungry, he helped define the vocabulary of rock guitar playing. This 14 minute exercise shows the dexterity and depth of this guy's fingers. He never plays the same lick twice, and, while it would be foolish to compare him to Charlie Parker, the similarity is that both played with passion, skill, and new ideas in their day. Contrast this to the later work done by Mr. Clapton, pop star and much calmer persona. The young Eric really had something to say.

For additional homework, and to learn more about guitar music, look up: Clarence White, Doc Watson, & Lenny Breau. Especially Lenny Breau.

So yes, the Bach piece really does it for me. It's a fantastic melody, folded inside an intense rhythm and chord structure. And it doesn't start off softly. Instead it immediately jump out, grabs your ears, and pulls you along for the short breathtaking ride. It's a little bit like a great roller coaster, if they could figure out how to start at 60 MPH rather than have to build up to that speed. In this way, music demonstrates that this intangible art can supercede the laws of physics, which is one of its great appeals to us mortals.

Which of the three settings is best? Is Chateau Lafite better than Petrus? Come on, that's a silly question. The violin version is the most exciting, because of the nature and scope of the instrument. And the limited ability to hint at chords makes the musical tension exquisite. As with all solo violin work, the listener must interpolate the chords at which the instrument only hints. And the variety of bow attacks and dynamics gives the piece drama unavailable elsewhere.

Here's a great version of the solo violin version:

The lute setting is the most restrained and introspective, again, due to the delicate nature of the instrument. (For guitarists who have never played a lute, the instrument is surprising. It looks large and physically intimidating, yet the voice it produces is so subtle, so soft, that it forces the player into a competely different, smaller, more intimate mind-space.)

And the Cantata (vocal) version is pretty over the top, especially if one favors solo instrumentals. But it still rocks, pretty hard.

Now the guitar version, of any of the 3 actual Bach arrangements, gives yet takes away. Yes, there is the ability to chord, also present in the lute. And there is greater dynamic range and tonal palette than the lute, although not as diverse as the violin. So it perhaps is the richest variation of the Bach melody.

As I have mentioned before, Christopher Parkening has taken classical guitar, especially Bach transcriptions, to a completely new level. I made my way through his Parkening Plays Bach slowly, mastering only the Prelude #1 in C, for the Well Tempered Clavier.

Here's Chris playing the choral version, with only a slight harpsichord accompaniment.

This rocks. Enjoy. And compare/contrast to the violin version above.

As an added attraction, here's Li Jie performing Bach's Prelude to the Solo cello Suite in G Maj:

Don't know much about her, except that she plays with a maturity and soul that's unexpected in someone who seems so young.

Friday, June 02, 2006

John Kerry: Johnny, show me that you care, really care for me

Several bloggers here in Los Angeles had a chance to hear a speech by Sen. John Kerry (D-He Really Won) today, and then sit down with him for a private chat afterward.
(That's Pam & me, bottom right corner)

Folks, I take back everything I ever said about him post 11/04. He completely understands what happened, how he was defeated, and how his legitimacy is still being questioned by the Swift Boat Bastards from hell. In fact, in direct response to my pointed comment about his current response to them, he looked me right in the eye and outlined exactly what his counterattacks had been, many of which I had forgotten. And then, rather than getting defensive, he simply said "I should have fought back harder." Word.

Pam & I were Kerry supporters in '04. Frankly, we would have supported Charlie the Chimp (don't ask) against GWBush, so that's no real praise. Kerry clearly was intelligent, but on the campaign trail, even at open town hall meetings, any question got a predictable answer: the question about Iraq gets answer 14B. But today was off the record, and as a result, unscripted.

Kerry did a better job of answering the blogger questions than he did the questions from the audience after his speech. He was impassioned, engaged, and not afraid of criticism. When asked why other Dem pols seem to be cowardly, he said that other members of the Dem caucus still didn't get it. And when asked about the ennui that seems to affect the Democratic party, his response was a challenge: we need to win elections. Then we can do work, with a majority in at least one house.

We both came away feeling that this guy really gets it, that he has the 'rock star' vibe that only Al Gore & the Clintons have today. He said he felt like he was in the unique position, having been to the 'mountain top', to make some waves, both in Washington DC and in the Democratic Party, by helping articulate a message as well as helping to support other national and local Democratic races.

Had I heard those words on TV, I might have said "Whatever." Hearing them to my face, I believed. This is a really smart guy, who has a real grip on international politics and issues, and who doesn't seem to rely on flacks and flunkys for data. He is in command of facts, figures, and statistics. Not because he reads them, but because he cares about them.

Dante Atkins has a really thorough piece up
, as do Pamela Leavey and the Hollywood Liberal, who were also at the meeting today.

08 is a long way away, and Kerry says he's focused on 11/06, as we all should be. But Pam and I talked about how America would be today if he had actually won in '04. And clearly we would have been much better off.

And he plays guitar.

Update: added pic from The Democratic Daily (Thanks, Pamela.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mr. Bass Man, you've got that certain somethin'

As I have posted here before, sheer technical virtuosity with nothing to say musically is a pretty empty exercise. That's why, as a guitar player, I don't care for Steve Vai, for example, or some of the other "shredders" out there. Sure, there's technique galore, but fer gawdsakes, just play me a melody that makes me cry.

Virtuosity in the presence of musical taste, however, is another thing entirely. As I have posted here before, Django Reinhardt, Segovia, and lots of other string benders display a talent combining both technical skills and musical soul.

In terms of bass players, in the "modern era," certainly Jaco Pastorius is a worthy talent. And in the rock arena, Chris Squire, who never learned to play on 1 & 3, is fun to listen to. And Jack Bruce, late of Cream, opened doors that many bass players still haven't walked through.

Victor Wooten, of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, (wikipedia entry here) stands ready to assume the mantle of Bass God of the 21st Century. What, you don't believe me? Just watch, listen to him play Amazing Grace, and believe: