Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Shakes




I don't have the answers, I just have the lyrics:




"The only exercise you ever get is the shakes."

-the Replacements.

Why that popped into my head, I have no idea.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Geese on Wilde Lake




This is for a whole slew of new readers coming to the site from HoCo Blogs. Thank you!

Shot today, and shot with a simple digital camera. Some enhancing done on the mac, nothing special.

Today was the most gorgeous day of the year and I had to shoot something.

The Current Millennium Has Sucked For Music




If Arcade Fire are slated to be the biggest band in the world, then the world has shrunk to the point where you can't even begin to say that what is going on is a "good" thing.

Audiences fracture, technology marches on, but we are still seeing the impact driven by the idea that "free" music was supposed to create more music. It did, but it's nothing you want to hear. Arcade Fire, for all of the hype, are a great "indie" or niche band but the biggest band in the world? Nope. And the same is true of Radiohead. They were never going to be something like The Who or U2 or the Police. But they were supposed to be great and find their audience. What happened?

Ironically enough, the iPod died this week. Apple isn't going to keep making new models. It's time to go back to stereo equipment, consoles, and vinyl. Arcade Fire are smart enough to put their stuff out in that format and enjoying their music will mean big rooms, big sounds, and actual speakers. The ear bud killed music, if you want to get right down to it. Delivering free songs through a cheap piece of plastic reduced the sonic quality of music down to fucking nothing.

In other words, pull that shit down and create music that explodes out of actual speakers and fills the place up with sound.

No Wonder Ask.com Sucks


The Ask.com extension crept into the Google Chrome browser, and I used it to look for The Guardian newspaper.

Instead of going to the newspaper, you're bombarded with ads and sponsored links. Guardian dental shows up as the number one search result? Fine. But I'm used to the idea that there is a hierarchy in search which should lead the user to the most prominent site, and that would be the site of the Guardian newspaper. I suppose you could argue about this, but, to me, sponsored content should not take up as much real estate as you see in the above screenshot.

Ask.com is gone. See ya! No wonder you lost the search engine wars.

Lou Reed Was a Pain in the Ass on Purpose




I was not a fan of Lou Reed, and that stems from the fact that I never fell in love with the whole David Bowie/Iggy Pop/Brian Eno/Lou Reed movement that captivated the kids in the 1970s and then allowed people to spend the 1990s living in the past. It's not hard to appreciate that there was talent and artistry and integrity there--Reed had that in spades and is rightfully lauded as a revolutionary and as an artist with few peers.

While the world was held in thrall of these men, you had Neil Young, Richard Thompson, and Robert Wyatt, to name a few, who were also doing things that were interesting and influential.

But, ultimately, I didn't get into it, probably never will, and I have noted that a lot of people somehow loved Reed without really acknowledging that he was a fogged-up pain in the ass for the majority of his life, often on purpose and in the presence of fanboys who loved him and wanted to record his every difficult rejoinder.

If someone was a pain in the ass, celebrate that in their demise.

London to Beijing by Train




Turkey wants to build an earthquake-safe tunnel under the Bosphorus and connect Europe and Asia with as little fuss as possible. The importance of Turkey in world affairs continues to be a source of conflict, however, and you can lay this at the feet of the man who would be Pharoah:

[...] critics of Prime Minister Erdogan have seen the tunnel as one of his grandiose construction projects for the city where he used to be mayor. 


Detractors of his proposals, including a third airport, a parallel canal, a third bridge over the Bosphorus and a second tunnel, for cars, south of Marmaray, say they illustrate Mr Erdogan's "pharaonic" ambitions. 


Authorities came under fire earlier this year when protesters opposed plans to redevelop a park in Istanbul. Widespread violence between anti-government demonstrators and security forces ensued. 


The rail tunnel will not be fully operational after its official opening on Tuesday, AFP reports. 


"The part that is in service is very limited. All that has been delayed until much later," said Tayfun Kahraman, president of the Istanbul Chamber of Urban Planners. 


"We are wondering why this inauguration is happening so soon."


Russia is in steep decline. Freedom and fundamentalism are struggling inside of Turkey, and I would bet on whichever side is willing to cut some deals and open up this trade route. 





America's contribution to all of this was to create the failed states of Iraq and Afghanistan, destabilize most of Turkey's neighbors, and allow Japan and China to march in and strike deals. Brilliant.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Social Security Is Still Screwing Up?


The government just can't do anything right, can it?

I mean, isn't that what we keep hearing, day in and day out? We keep hearing how Obamacare is a nightmare (it isn't) and that no one is being helped by the new laws (patently untrue) and that our darned government is incompetent and we might as well stop trying to help people (whatever).

Even after 73 years of delivering benefits, the Social Security Administration is having a tough time figuring out how much and when to pay people, including Veterans. Not only are they dealing with the Veteran's Administration, they're dealing with Social Security as well. There are bugs in it and there are problems figuring out who gets what. Social Security has overpaid on benefits by over a billion dollars in some estimates, and figuring out who is entitled to what requires a great deal of tweaking and improving the system.

Why are people freaking out over the ACA website? Because it is the newest red-headed stepchild?

If you hate government, good for you. Enjoy your retirement benefits and your medical coverage. I'm sure it will be a sickening nightmare for you, especially the part where you have to fill out papers and prove you're not ripping off the government. Have a nice day!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Floating Plastic Gyre




I can specifically remember being told that we, as humans, needed to stop throwing shit into the oceans. That was in the 1970s, and it was not that long after a thing called Earth Day.

Apparently, we haven't been paying attention.

Someone, somewhere, needs to invent something that can go out in the ocean, suck up all of the plastic, and then turn it into magical ocean-renewing pixie dust. We need to turn loose a vast army of ships to go and clean up this mess and I can almost guarantee you, someone somewhere is smirking about how it's not really a problem and that Obama sucks! that's why.

Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Keep Hating The Proclaimers




These guys again? What?

The Proclaimers were annoying, and there's nothing I can do about that. But you can't hate a couple of guys who go around raising money for a Veteran's charity, can you?

Nope.

That Kind of Asking Price




Guided by Voices is not a happy camp right now.

They have fired their drummer, Kevin Fennell, and Fennell has attempted to auction off his drums for $55,000. This is not a case where Neil Peart has decided to hold a fire sale (Peart could sell his drums for literally any asking price and there are fans who would buy them, sight unseen, for vast sums). This is the drummer for a working band that is doing what it has done for a long time--they play, they record, and they have a fan base. It's respectable, and it's not a joke or anything. It is what it is, to use a phrase.

Here are some of the other details:

Now, the auction's Facebook page -- which no longer exists -- has shared an email correspondence between Fennell and Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard. In the exchange, posted by Pitchfork, Fennell claims he resigned from the band, while Pollard maintains he was fired. 


"You have made a fool of yourself by your asking price," Pollard wrote. "Most people would like to know who the fuck you think you are and who you think Guided By Voices is that you can warrant that kind of asking price for your fucking drums." 


Pollard also took Fennell to task on using the band's name in the auction, saying that he had "to ask permission to to use the name Guided By Voices as I own it."


Pollard goes on to insult his former drummer's abilities and he maintains that the ownership of the band's name extends to preventing someone from saying that they used to be in Guided by Voices. Which is fine, but how do you keep someone from trying to make a living or a profit from something they actually did? Fennell should be allowed to say "these are the drums I played when I was in Guided by Voices" and what would you pay to own them?

The fact that he asked too much is irrelevant. I don't know how you stop a guy from trying to making a living when he's not lying about anything. Pollard does have a case if he actually paid for Fennell's drums in some way. Were they acquired through a deal to purchase gear in bulk? Did they get a discount on the drums when they bought gear from a dealer?

That might change things. My guess is that Fennell brought his drums to the band, or bought the set he's selling from tour proceeds or something along those lines out of his own funds and now he wants to get rid of them. Stopping him from doing that isn't as easy as it sounds.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Leaving it All in the Ditch














So, this is done. I'm slowly ramping up more stories and more pieces for the Kindle store. This one is a short story piece that ended up being acceptable enough to publish. It will be on a free promotion starting next Tuesday. If you are a Kindle owner, you can get it free.


Did Bush Say He Was Sorry When the Government Fucked Up?




Politico sent out someone to slut-shame the Obama Administration and deliver a Puritan tsk tsk today for not bursting into tears in front of a half of a room full of nutty Congressmen, and my takeaway from this was to laugh and ask a childish question?

How many times did Bush say he was sorry when everything got fucked sideways?

How did Donald Rumsfeld respond when asked by men in uniform in a combat zone about the vehicles they were using while fighting the Iraqi insurgency? Rumsfeld said "you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want." And men and women died because of that.

Yeah, the Obamacare website isn't great. It is a Federal contracting and Information Technology problem someone has to solve. But, to sit there and harrumph and demand a sorry (which won't be accepted by grumpy wingnuts anyway) for something that doesn't even begin to compare to lying us into a war, letting an American city drown, exploding the Federal debt, torturing people on foreign soil, and tanking the world economy.

I mean, goddamn, son. Perspective much?

We Should Spy on Everyone All the Time




There is something to note about these statements:

One genre I tire of quickly involves variations on "of course that happens you naive fool!" The latest is that of course we spy on world leaders! 


One reason not to do so is that, you know, there is no way to expect to keep the billion secrets we have given the hundreds of thousands of people who have access to them. If your surveillance state is that big, and it involves an unholy alliance of government agencies with cowboy contractors with little oversight (they outsourced the effing granting of security clearances), there is no chance of keeping such things secret. Snowdens everywhere. 


And what are the good reasons to spy on our closest allies in effective peacetime? None, other than blackmail or as part of a broader program of commercial espionage.

Atrios is right about the naivete that surrounds common espionage practices. I think that there are still way too many people who just don't understand that eavesdropping on your enemies, friends, and sometime-adversaries is a pervasive and normal practice. It is the currency of back-channel diplomatic communications. The French want to know what we think of what Chancellor Merkel is saying to members of her party and her opposition as well as to the bureaucrats and the bankers. In many cases, simply having the same take that they are having is essential for everyone's sanity.

Our allies would be privately shocked if we weren't watching them--they would accuse us of not caring about our security and stability and question our dedication to the functioning statecraft necessary for protecting ourselves. We know that industrial espionage is pervasive and routine; we tolerate a great deal of it.

There are not Snowdens everywhere, and that's an outgrowth of this need to be someone rather than do something. The contractor system broke down and allowed a known practitioner of bullshit theories and wild political ideas to hold a clearance well above his pay grade. The real question is what will be done to fix it. The next leak will get around that, security will be refined, and we will ultimately see improvements. Everything has to be tested.

The real justification for spying on Frau Merkel is this--we need to know that she is in charge of her coalition, her country, and her sanity. We may not care what she's saying but we do care whether or not she is delusional, ineffective, out of touch, and stable. America's ally in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is batshit crazy. We can manage that, but we have to watch everybody else in case they start seeing ghosts and begin telling the bankers to print money.

You Are Paying For This


Every individual who receives a Federal benefit puts strain on the system. It's no where near as broken as people claim to be--it's actually very efficient and relatively free of fraud and misuse. But taxpayers should not have to subsidize anyone who works 40 hours a week and plays by the rules. The people who work at McDonald's and do the right thing are being encouraged to sign up for food stamps. Which is a common sense thing because we wouldn't want anyone working in the restaurant industry to starve to death so that their employer can reap obscene profits.

A 40 hour a week job should pay a living wage, period. End of story.

Bonnie Prince Charles


No one is clamoring for the Queen of England to die off so that her son can rule England into his rapidly-approaching dotage. Americans certainly don't care--they want more Kate Middleton! And she isn't even a royal by blood. The royal family of England, these Hanoveran Windsors, will be fundamentally changed for a century or more when Queen Elizabeth II passes away. Charles, William and George will rule England for the next 80 years or so, and it is very likely that the eldest child of George will be a boy as well. After Victoria and Elizabeth II, we are finally done with old women ruling the Commonwealth.

Prince Charles is royal by blood and he will rule, albeit briefly, and he will do so without any real affection. He is superstitious, a man of the 11th Century when it comes to science and technology, and he has muddled about in public affairs with all of the sophistication of someone paying for a seance.

Now is the time for all good men to consider cutting off the Windsors so that the British public can enter modern times. Why does anyone want or need a monarchy?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

National Security Wonk




If you truly care about national security, why would you read the bitchy, immature Twitter stream of someone who wants to bring a Gawker-level of sophistication to something no one cares about?

I have a feeling it was read by people looking for mention of their names. Absolutely no one in this country cares about national security outside of the very small community that works on these issues. This is inside baseball stuff as if it were written by one of the three or four guys who edits the gossip page on the back of the Inside Baseball magazine (if one actually existed).

Mr. Joseph will have no trouble bringing his junior high material with him when he tries to live on what the media will pay for his services. Is there a book deal yet? Does he have a monetized blog with plenty of liability-free content? Has Buzzfeed given him an offer?

This is what happens when you encourage people who want to be someone rather than do something.

Get Everything in Writing




The number of top 40 hits from annoying alt/indie/whatever band Sugar Ray would fill one side of a vinyl album; the problem is, who would want Sugar Ray on vinyl? Or at all?

Could anyone in America pick Murphy Karges or Stan Frazier out of a lineup? The "bitter" campaign to destroy their personal and professional reputations should rest squarely on whether or not anybody beyond their own families even knows who the hell they are and why they were famous 15 years ago.

Situations like this remind me of how bands start--nobody writes anything down and it all just sort of evolves and then, one day, the guy who is the most famous walks away with everything while everyone else sucks eggs and begs for someone to listen to their complaints. If you didn't get it in writing, it's gone. And whatever you do get will end up in the hands of the lawyers.

The alternative to all of this is to make music and learn from your mistakes. Did your old indie band succeed a little and make a little money? Good, now keep making music and stay relevant. Your audience might shrink but your sense of self-worth should not be tied to the asshole who rips you off. Half the time, that asshole is ripping you off because he's broke and has run out of ideas. Don't be that guy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Glenn Taylor is the Dumbass of the Year




That's Glenn Taylor, rocking the grey t-shirt and he might just be the dumbass of the year.

Taylor and his dumb, stunt-filming buddies have been ejected from the Boy Scouts and are facing possible legal ramifications for destroying a natural feature in a state park. Now, come to find out, he's a deadbeat trying to catch some disability money raining down on his goofy head:

The attention has led to revelations that Taylor filed a personal-injury lawsuit in September, claiming he had suffered "serious, permanent and debilitating injuries" from a 4-year-old car crash. 


"Someone with a bad back who's disabled, who can't enjoy life, to me, doesn't step up and push a rock that big off the base," the defendant in Taylor's lawsuit, Alan MacDonald, told Salt Lake City television station KTVX. 


Taylor's lawyer did not return calls for comment. But when CNN affiliate KUTV noted that Taylor didn't look particularly debilitated in the video, he replied, "You didn't see how hard I pushed." 


CNN Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos said when someone has a pending disability lawsuit, "You'd think they'd avoid the camera like the plague. 


"But instead, they think no one will ever see it or repercussions will ever come of it," Cevallos said.


A breathless nation, shocked by the sheer dumbassery evident in the video, can't wait to find out.

You Will Wait Forever




Shane Meadows knows exactly what he's talking about--he hasn't the faintest idea when the Stone Roses will put out new music. Nobody else does either.

There really is no point in putting out a new album or releasing new songs because, well, the market isn't exactly welcoming of music made by men in their 40s or 50s that would be based on things they did in their 20s. It had to be a shock when they went to Coachella and were largely ignored. The American market is all but indifferent to the idea of the Stone Roses and yet, these big American music companies keep throwing millions at them. Take the money and run.

What they should do is this--release their new stuff or experimental tracks as vinyl only, UK only as they see fit. Ignore the marketplace and put out things that they, and only they, care about.

I mean, why put something out if it's going to be stolen anyway?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Natural Jackasses




I am of two minds on this example of this sterling example of wanton public jackassery. Basically, some clowns went into a place called Goblin Valley and altered the physical landscape in a significant enough way to make people mad. The "boy scout" leaders in question here toppled a boulder and bragged about it on social media. Common sense abandoned them. They made the lame excuse of doing something to protect the public.

Utah authorities did not see it that way. County and state prosecutors are considering criminal charges, Eugene Swalberg, a spokesman for the Utah state parks, told the Deseret News newspaper. 


“This is not behavior that is appreciated or should exist in state parks,” he said. “This has been formed for literally millions of years, and it’s supposed to last for a long time. It doesn’t need individuals doing the work of Mother Nature.”


How long should a perched boulder stay perched and can a lawyer successfully claim that the shelf life of this boulder expired several million years ago? And was this incident significant enough to warrant criminal charges?





Humans alter and change the environment every day. This is the natural course of events. We have created state and federal parks so that we can preserve our environment, and I think that is what will come into play here. They're going to fry these jackasses solely because they were stupid enough to post a video on the Internet. You'll note that this comes up quite often and that the number of stupid videos posted on the Internet does not seem to be in decline.

Knobheads and UFOs




This is actually a thing.

Shaun Ryder is going to take a camera crew and go talk about UFOs. I hope they use his music.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Write Another Book, Johnny




John Lydon is getting an award, and it is well deserved. I think it is well past the time to think of him as a modern polymath and an artist who dabbles in multiple formats.

Lydon's recorded legacy is secure; in the realm of music, he cannot be touched. He has made music without having any of the advantages that others possess. He has made decades of music in spite of himself. But it is in the literature of memoirs that he is at the top of the game.

The book Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs is the most significant music memoir of the last century. It is the gold standard by which all other memoirs or biographies or autobiographies should be measured. I would definitely read a follow-up, one covering the point where the original drops off.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are They Pixies Without Kim Deal?




To me, Kim Deal is an indispensable part of the sound of Pixies. When I heard her sing backup live, I was instantly hooked because she has so much presence and charisma. Her bass playing isn't even the half of it. For her to stand there and do what she does is the essence of rock and roll. She is not merely a chick who sings and plays bass. She just fucking rocks. Period. End of story.

We Have Plenty of Nuts




Noted:

“The last thing you want at a rally critical of the president is for some nut to be waving a confederate flag. Embracing the confederacy is bad history and bad politics.”

How about a nut who stands in front of the White House without a care in the world?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Belly King Covers and Promotional Material


















Was this the album that broke the band?

Belly's King album was a beautifully packaged slow-fading shout out to the end of something that Tanya Donnelly started in order to get out there on her own for the second time or so. The Breeders had come and gone and she had a major hit (in my mind) with Feed the Tree, which is another gorgeously packaged EP.

They did the Star album and it was perfect. They did King and I really liked it and I wish they had done more. The marketplace didn't agree with me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making great music and singing great songs. That's what Belly were guilty of, and the grunge kids took a pass.

Ian McCulloch Holy Ghosts Cover







I have to confess that this package got past me; normally, I would know a bit more about these things, but there it is. Ian McCulloch has put out a live album and a solo album of works; normally, you might see the album of originals released with a bonus live album; I believe Sugar did this with an album of B-sides and I remember there was a Cracker album that followed this format as well.

McCulloch has put out the live work on the front side and put his new album on the back. I would call this a bold statement, and something original. The cover and the packaging follow the best impulses of the artwork that go with a Bunnymen-related project. Can't wait to get this.

You Don't Mess With the Alamo Drafthouse


When did Madonna decide to start looking like Lucille Ball? And why is anyone surprised that the latest Indie film cannot be counted on to tear people away from their selfish need to text about themselves?

This is a ban that will stand the test of time. Madonna isn't going to go back to your theater chain, sir.

Andy Rourke Leaves Manchester For New York City




This is an excellent read:

The Penguin affair reminded me of a lovely afternoon I spent in the East Village with his former band mate Andy Rourke, the talent behind (partially) bass-driven Smiths classics “This Charming Man,” “Pretty Girls Make Graves,” “Barbarism Begins at Home,” and “You’ve Got Everything Now.” Morrissey and Rourke haven’t spoken in decades; he has since dismissively referred to The Smiths’ rhythm section as mere session musicians. When we chatted in 2011, Rourke dryly noted that his songwriting credits with Morrissey resulted in no royalties. 


During a long, meandering conversation lubricated by much beer and wine, Rourke discussed Morrissey’s famous avariciousness (“If anyone asks for a pay raise, they get fired”), his move to New York, and the just-emerging Anthony Weiner scandal (“He looks like a douchebag”). Unlike Morrissey and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Rourke—who since the Smiths breakup has played with Sinead O'Connor, Killing Joke, and members of the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays—lives an ascetic life, though not by choice. When I met him, he had just moved into Manhattan from the part-hipster, part-terrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick.


If you need to read about how difficult Morrissey can be, have at it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A World Without Mistresses


In case you were planning on renting an apartment in Beijing, remember to look for a building that is not full of country girls who are living as mistresses. It's not that you won't enjoy your neighbors--it's that you are going to pay too much in rent.

How is this a uniquely Chinese phenomenon? Couldn't it be said that this problem once plagued New York City or is the scale of mistress keeping much too high in China for this to be a universal problem?

Out Come the Long Knives


Their silence has ended. Moderate or "sane" Republicans everywhere have had enough of this Tea Party Bullshit. I believe the correct response is, 'boo hoo.'

When it suited the power structure of the Republican Party, they were more than eager to allow the Tea Party bombthrowers to become a populist revolt against That Negro in the White House and they encouraged the fire that is consuming them. They were silent for years--years at a time--when the dysfunction of the shutdown, obstructionist Congress was evident for all to see.

The end result of all of this are hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work--millions, when you get right down to it. Lives have been altered forever and workers have abandoned being productive. These same county chairmen and stalwart Republicans allowed a seminal movement with little popular support to gain control of the Congress and block things like jobs bills and infrastructure improvements and proper oversight.

They cheered the wars that created several million Veterans who are now going without benefits because, well, the government they hate is the one they can't stop trying to get elected to for life. It goes on and on--science funding, Head Start programs, taking care of the aged, the sick and disabled. We are seeing what a heartless, merciless society would look like if these same "moderates" were allowed to keep letting the Tea Party nullify the idea of a modern America.

CBGB is a Big, Wet Fart of a Movie




The one thing you cannot do is make a movie about something and turn it into a joke. The punk scene in New York City has garnered a lot of critical acclaim and attention, but, really. Compared to London and Los Angeles, how can you really call it punk? It may have been the starting place, but no one finished there.

As far as the subject matter goes, James Wolcott has an account of this era that works a lot better. No one could possibly afford to move to New York City and write for a living in this modern era; you would have to be a banker to even try something like that. And you certainly couldn't be a musician, either.

Truckers Ride For the Constitution, No One Shows Up



It all ends with a pfft! when these anti-government types try to shut things down.

Out of the thousands and thousands of independent truckers out there (because a trucker driving someone else's rig probably wouldn't want to go off half-cocked and start acting like a Liberty Patriot Times A Million with the boss' assets), I'm surprised that there were 30 that even dared to show up.

Our President benefits from having some of the weakest enemies ever.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Time For a Third Party




I wish I had a better image of former Presidential candidate John Anderson. He was the Republican who originally tried to bring a degree of sanity to the party but the insanity swamped his boat and he was left with his pension and whatever else he had. In the fevered imagination of Erick Erickson, there are the beginnings of a third party movement that would do Anderson proud:

I’m being told by several sources that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are plotting to give up trying to either defund or delay Obamacare. 


This comes at the same time the Obama administration admits it will be months before their Obamacare website will be fixed and Kathleen Sebelius is saying if people want out of the mandate they can pay a fine. 


Nonetheless, Cantor, Boehner, and with them Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn are expected to cave in and fully fund, unimpeded, Obamacare. 


[...] 


In doing so, they will sow the seeds of a real third party movement that will fully divide the Republican Party.


It is already divided. The Tea Party is the third political party in America, and it is an abject failure. Conservatives already command the agenda and the debate in this country; the next time you see someone being mean to a Republican, count how long it takes for the media to roll over and yell "both sides are to blame!" and then concede that the Daddy Party is in charge of things that matter.

If there is a split that widens the gulf between the Tea Party and the Republican Party, we will see a third party presence in the 2016 election. We will see talk of secession and nullification. The crazies will march and the thunder on the right will confuse our media elites so much that I don't think it would be possible for a Democrat to lose in 2016 even if they were incompetent or John Kerry or both.

This will all end in screaming, and it will either turn out like Ross Perot or like John Anderson; and who gets hurt will be the people who will have been enjoying their health care.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Paul Kaplan Plan




This is an admirable piece of political satire. Click on the image if you cannot read it; it is worthy of your time.

Tip O'Neill is Still Dead




Chris Matthews cannot stop trying to bring back Tip O'Neill so that he can have a relevant discussion about American politics. Here, he makes a fatal mistake:

It is often said that Reagan and O’Neill got things done because, at the end of the day, they could meet and get them done. The truth is a bit less fanciful. All that cordial time together “after 6” and all those friendly St. Patrick’s Days managed to keep open the lines between two tough men. As Kirk O’Donnell, chief counsel to the speaker, advised: “Always be able to talk.” 


That’s where the legislators came in. Before agreement was possible, a hard proposal had to be on the table. For that full credit goes to Bob Dole, the unsung hero of this city. 


The question in October 2013 is who will be today’s Dole and Rosty? I’m watching the chairmen and members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees. They are the folks with the experience and staff to know where the deals lie.

Alcohol and insanity are the two things that come to mind. This group is still just as blitzed as they were thirty years ago. And there are no "Doles" or "Rostys" because there are simply no moderate Republicans in charge of anything and the Democrats have no power in the House of Representatives. Does Matthews think that Mitch 'filibuster' McConnell is the equivalent of Bob Dole? That Dave Camp, who is all but unknown in this country, is concerned with anything other than a repeal of Obamacare? These are the tail-chasing fools who are running things. You're going to have to wait for good government.

In the days of Reagan and O'Neill, there were a lot of drunks, but the drunks weren't as crazy as they are now. Everyone hates each other's guts for fucking ever now and no amount of backslapping will protect a Republican from a Tea Party primary meltdown.

Janet Yellen Needs to Focus on Jobs


This may elicit a deservedly snide 'duh,' but Janet Yellen has to focus on employment issues and see what the Federal Reserve can do to alleviate the stress that joblessness is placing on the economy. I don't know if this had anything to do with picking her over Larry Summers and whether or not she can actually do something about jobs.

It would be enormously helpful if the American people would stop electing Republican Tea Party extremists.Republican obstructionists are supporting efforts to keep people out of work. They really are rooting for America to fail, and they are doing so with deeds not just words.

This President is, apparently, not entitled to a cabinet of people of his own choosing. The Atlantic believes that Yellen will have a tough time getting confirmed. There isn't anyone out there who would sail through the Senate, up to and including whoever was chosen by the Tea Party. Yeah, there's a Ron Paul joke in there, but it is too sad to contemplate.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Balls, Bats and Fun Everywhere


The purists will hate this:
A rash of playground injuries has prompted one Long Island, N.Y. school to ban balls and require teacher supervision for games like tag. 
"Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected," Dr. Kathleen Maloney, superintendent of Port Washington Schools, told CBS New York. 
The ban at Weber Middle School in Port Washington, N.Y. will apply to footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls or any other equipment that might harm a child or school friends. Students will be allowed to play with softer Nerf balls. 
Rough games of tag or cartwheels will require supervision from a coach, according to the report.
No one ever cared if we got hurt playing sports during recess when I was an incompetent child athlete. We had bats, balls, footballs, basketballs, and all that good stuff to choose from. I do remember that we were not allowed to play full tackle football, which is more of a nod to laundry and keeping clothes from being ruined than it was about being concerned for our well-being.

This is about liability and insurance rates, plain and simple. You can find fault with the school district all you want, but good luck applying that same rustic common sense when someone breaks a bone and ends up sitting there in front of the judge when the lawsuit is heard in a claims court.

Ratings For Sexy Videos Won't Work






In theory, we would have a perfect ratings system that would keep children from ever seeing anything they are not "supposed" to see. But, that's the problem. We know that they will see things that are inappropriate, and handing those incidents becomes an opportunity to be a parent. You must explain and answer questions when a child is exposed to something. It might be a pain in the ass to talk to your kid, but oh well. You birthed it, you own it, in other words. And no ratings system is ever going to be enough.

The kids already know what's going on. They're going to find a way around a ratings system and they're going to watch and listen to things that are dangerous and exciting. You have to regulate that as best you can but you also have to understand that they are just like you were, and you were a little deviant and daring back in the day, too.

It's sad to see Annie Lennox complaining about sexy, disturbing and dark videos when she has a library full of them that people still watch.

We are all Annie Lennox/Dave Stewart/Eurythmics around here, and the funny thing is, I was never a fan. Ever.

Don't Pretend to Care About Veterans After Shutting Down the Government




In case you missed it, the same people who are now scrambling to restore the death benefits for fallen soldiers are still holding fast to the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to slash the food stamps that deployed soldiers use to feed their families.

They can shut down the government and screw everyone but when some aspect of that becomes too politically charged, these "leaders" will do whatever it takes to turn the headlines around. The families of Veterans are overwhelmingly in the lower economic brackets of our society and these are the people that the Republican Party are punishing in order to balance their phony austerity budgets. When have we, as a society, ever been this schizophrenic? You love Veterans? Really? Then why are you hurting them like this? Why did you insist on sequestration, which further threatened Veterans benefits?

Republican family values demonstrate that it's perfectly okay to hate and hurt the poor. But when they're Veterans, it's a strategic imperative to make the media see that they are willing to pay out the benefits for the dead while cutting what little their families get to buy food.