Wednesday, April 30, 2014
I've never understood the fascination that Gawker has with Rob Ford, the pan-faced oaf who turned his blue-collar appeal into the perfect pitch for the people of Toronto. They made him their mayor and they would probably do it all over again because that's the society they want to live in.
At some point, you have to move on.
No one should care about this man. He is a man-child handed an office rendered irrelevant by the city council structure of Toronto. Laughing at the fat crack head is what's in nowadays? Hey, maybe at first, but now it's just old hat.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I will solve your problem for you:
Every team has a defining moment during the season. For the Los Angeles Clippers, that moment is likely Tuesday night. With the series against their cross-state rival the Golden State Warriors knotted at two games, a loss will be tough to recover from. A win would keep them on track to reach their first NBA finals in team history. The game also marks a defining moment for the Clippers organization—it will be the first time the Clippers play at the Staples Center since their owner, Donald Sterling, was exposed as a racist. Depending on how NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handles his first major crisis, the Sterling scandal could be either the beginning of the end of the Clippers or the final step on their ascendancy to the throne of Los Angeles basketball.
Why save the Clippers? Contracting the National Basketball Association by one team would not be a fatal move; it would eliminate the stain of the controversy, and it would allow the remaining teams in the league to hold a lottery draft for the 12-20 players whose rights (D-league, injured, or otherwise) are held by the Clippers. It would drive Donald Sterling from the league and leave his empire in shambles, effectively demonstrating that anyone who doesn't clean up their act can be removed from the fraternity of owners. And it would make this issue go away--the franchise death penalty has a way of doing that.
Might I humbly suggest putting a professional basketball team in Baltimore, Maryland? Call them the Baltimore Crabs or the Maryland Mayhem. The area already has the Bay Area Shuckers and many people spend the bulk of their vacation time or their free time reminiscing about the Baltimore Pearls. Baltimore would be a heck of a town for pro basketball. All anyone would have to do is build an arena for it to happen. Why the hell not?
UPDATE: Donald Sterling has been banned for life. The NBA has decided to force him to sell the team. I still think they need to help the Lakers franchise and remove the Clippers from the Los Angeles market. Moving the Clippers back to San Diego makes sense, but so does relocating the team to Baltimore.
Forget that nonsense with Cliven Bundy--this is your real case of government overreach:
A widow was given ample notice before her $280,000 house was sold at a tax auction three years ago over $6.30 in unpaid interest, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled.
The decision last week turned down Eileen Battisti's request to reverse the September 2011 sale of her home outside Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania.
"I paid everything, and didn't know about the $6.30," Battisti said. "For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy."
Battisti, who still lives in the house, said Monday that she plans to appeal to Commonwealth Court. That court earlier ordered an evidentiary hearing, which led to last week's ruling.
The city cannot take your house over such a paltry amount, especially if the homeowner agrees to pay the amount or negotiate a fair settlement of the money owed. The proportionality here is so far out of whack that I cannot imagine a situation where this opinion from the judge holds up under an appeal.
Monday, April 28, 2014
I realize that Chris Martin cannot speak plainly, but this is ridiculous:
Martin went on to explain that he didn't want to be afraid of living.
"What changed for me was, I didn't want to go through life being scared of it, being scared of love, being scared of rejection, being scared of failure," he told BBC Radio 1.
"About two years ago I was a mess, really, because I can't enjoy the thing that we are good at, and I can't enjoy the great things around me because I'm burdened by this — I've got to not blame anyone else and make some changes."
The musician, 37, doesn't directly address his marriage, but hints at it in the interview while talking about the new album. (Interestingly, the cover art features a pair of wings that resembles the shape of a broken heart.)
"Up to a certain point in my life, I wasn't completely vulnerable and it caused some problems. If you don't let love in, then you can't really give it back," Martin said. "So what 'Ghost Story' means to me is, like, you've got to open yourself up to love and if you really do, of course it will be painful at times, but then it will be great at some point."
This is a great way to market a new album if you have surgically removed your heart and replaced it with a robot that doesn't care about hurt feelings or hydrostatic pressure or being lonely. But Martin isn't doing himself any favors.
When you cannot say what you mean--she was crazy, I cheated on her, the lack of knob polishing hurt me, I found this one chick who did the things she wouldn't do, she found a guy with old balls who didn't ask her for much--you are fooling yourself. How that dovetails with marketing music is something the accountants are going to have to work on. But don't go out in public on the eve of the release of your new album and say "If you don't let love in, then you can't really give it back" and not give Paul McCartney credit for "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
I guess this proves that Martin can't even get through a deeply personal confession without stealing someone else's idea...
Someone has to save us from Obamacare because it's working:
“Evan knows Obamacare is a mess,” said an ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which blamed the law for lost jobs, dropped coverage and high premiums. An ad from the group Americans for Prosperity, backed by the conservative billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch, denounced Mr. Rahall for supporting the law, saying it was “going to hurt a lot of people.”
Many professionals here dispute such claims. “It’s working, and you can show it’s working,” Dr. Becker said.
He and other health care advocates call West Virginia a national success story in terms of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to more of the working poor. While 24 states have refused to expand Medicaid to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,850 for a family of four, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, decided over Republican objections that the state — with a population older and sicker than the national average — would do so.
Nationwide, more people have signed up for private plans than for Medicaid, but the results are the opposite in West Virginia, where about 15 percent of residents — 270,000 of 1.8 million — lacked insurance when the law took effect. Initial sign-ups for Medicaid, about 115,000 since Oct. 1, are nearly double what actuaries projected, and roughly five times the number of people believed to have bought private plans from the one insurer in West Virginia’s marketplace, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people enrolled in private coverage, fewer than predicted.
When she's not baptizing terrorists, perhaps President Palin can end Obamacare and make it so the American people can be free. It is worth noting (nothing?) that John McCain and Palin won West Virginia by 13 points in 2008. At this rate, West Virginia will vote for a Democrat when Hell's frozen over, thanks to the efforts of Republicans who cannot help but to trash each and every government program that is actually a success.
This thing called Affordable Care Act cannot be allowed to succeed. This represents a massive shift in public policy that won't be undone, ever, because it will eliminate the conservative argument against carrying out complex reforms that help the American people. Sarah Palin is the only person dumb enough to win the Presidency and then convince people to stop Obamacare. When she wins in 2016, all your futures will belong to her and so will your healthcare exchange card.
Son of a bitch! Who saw this coming? Not me.
One of the last things I cling to is the idea that Paul Simon, who is all of five feet and three inches tall, is a peaceful, loving man who wouldn't hurt a fly. He's an artist and a believer in the arts, not a violent, raging bitch-slapping powderkeg.
I just don't want to live in a world where Paul Simon starts spinning around a room full of knick-knacks, kicking and punching and screaming until his glands explode and start raining that crazy sweat all over everything nice.
Did he hit his first wife? Did he hit Carrie Fisher when he was married to her? What the goddamned hell is in the water in New Canaan? Steroids and Angel Dust?
Good God Almighty. The world is turned upside down.
Michael Grimm, New York Congressman, indicted on 20 federal criminal charges | WJLA.com
Bear in mind, Michael Grimm threatened a reporter earlier this year with physical violence and was once an FBI agent. In other words, he's your typical politician of the week. The law is an inconvenience to these people.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
This is what you get when you liberalize gun laws without giving the police the ability to determine who is, and who is not, obeying the spirit of the law and behaving in an ethical and safe manner:
WARNING--video goes into auto play after the jump:
Jackassery, plain and simple. And for the Sheriff to say this:
Forsythe Sheriff Duane Piper said that he didn’t believe the parents and children were in any danger but, even though the man was within his rights to carry the gun, he found the gun carriers conduct inappropriate.
“We support the constitutional right to bear arms. We will not tolerate bad behavior,” said the sheriff.
What a pant load. Terrorizing people isn't bad behavior? Creating a panic where there was none isn't a reason to remove the man from the premises?
There is no reason why a person--man or woman--should demonstrate in public with their gun in a crowded place. There is no ethical reason why this man should have flaunted the gun on his person in a public gathering place in that manner. He was terrorizing those people. Given the social situation and the presence of children--at a sporting event--he was creating a public panic and a nuisance. That is plainly evident because a lot of people freaked out and called the police.
Now, I get that there are rights. What about the rights of the people who don't want to be terrorized by some idiot and his gun?
You can legally carry a gun in public--I get that. But you do not have the right to terrorize anyone.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Kudos to Sean Hannity. When faced with the economic ruin that an onslaught of boycotts and withdrawn advertising would render to the dying Fox News machine, he folded up like a trailer park in a tornado and ran for the hills.
His inability to reconcile with the racism and the need to always decry the government is yet another reason why the people who actually profit from spreading fear and racism throughout American society have to find more subtle messengers and people who are more savvy than Hannity.
The Replacements have finally decided that there's nothing they can do about playing in the Twin Cities.
The legendary Minneapolis rock band has announced that it will perform its first headlining concert in 20 years at St. Paul’s Midway Stadium on Sept. 13. The concert, which promises special guests, will be the Replacements' first headlining show since staging a free concert at Grant Park in Chicago on July 4, 1991.
Will the show even happen? Probably.
Will it be loud, fast, raucous and disappoint the poseurs? Sure.
But if it happens, it happens, and I hope they make a ton of money and can go live happy lives. I didn't think they would do it--the baggage is too much.
They owe nothing to nobody and the fans in Minnesota, God they're the worst. They bitch and complain and don't support anyone who's from there. I won't go, and I wouldn't mind seeing them somewhere else. But if they don't play a certain obscure song, it will be a betrayal, you know, and they're not the same without Chris Mars or some stupid shit like that.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The glib libertarianism of James Poulos is on display today:
So far, so good. But then Hacker and Pierson go off the rails: “another Frenchman with a panoramic vista—and far more precise evidence—wants us to think anew about the progress of equality and democracy. Though an heir to Tocqueville’s tradition of analytic history, Thomas Piketty has a message that could not be more different: Unless we act, inequality will grow much worse, eventually making a mockery of our democratic institutions.”
The apparent ignorance behind this thesis is so extreme that it causes Hacker and Pierson to see Piketty as the real genius—while even an undergraduate level of engagement withDemocracy in America would reveal, in virtually every chapter, that Piketty is not only wrong but glibly and perilously so.
Poulos is out of his depth, but you already knew that. Praise for Piketty's work is being heard far and wide.
Of course, there's no proof that Piketty is wrong, just snide bullshit operating as rhetoric. It reads better when you can ignore every single indicator that we are entering a new Gilded Age and come up with a jarring bit of Slate-inspired contrarianism. Or something like that. It's as if Poulos hasn't been told that corporations are people and that a billionaire can buy anyone or anything he wants, especially the United States Senate or the governor of Wisconsin.
Poulos, you see, is operating under the impression that it is 1994 and not 2014. We are in the midst of a new Gilded Age, and it's worse than the last one because, well, there is no organized labor movement anymore and political corruption is seen as a character building exercise in getting away with it rather than the shameful, money-grubbing excess it used to be.
You can follow the link and see the other four reasons yourself. I think the fifth one is good enough. What you are paid is indicative of what you own; the ever-increasing gap between now and the time of Alexis de Tocqueville is readily apparent--the equality of early America, where men owned their land because the government gave it to them for improvement has been replaced by a world of renters and urban dwellers. It's one thing to have a nation of yeomen farmers who are building the agricultural infrastructure of early America; it's another to have apartment blocks full of people paying Too Damn High of rent.
This is why I think the comparison to what Piketty is saying to de Tocqueville is not relevant. The transition of America from an agricultural power to a manufacturing power and now to a debt-repackaging power took place while the upper and bottom rungs of society struggled for control over who controlled the government and how it was wielded. Ronald Reagan was the verdict on this struggle, and the American labor movement was destroyed and the power of the CEO was established as a national birthright for the lucky few. A hundred years ago, you could mock the rich and powerful openly and with great gusto (see Finley Peter Dunne, et al). Now, you have inflamed butthurt feelings whenever someone makes a rich man sad by writing down what he actually said in public on purpose.
Poulos is dead wrong if he thinks that American democracy somehow has a remedy for all of this--it does not. It has not prevented this development and now, thanks to the ability of the wealthy to use money as speech, it is now much less likely that politicians will bite the hand that feeds them and cut off the main source of their power, which is not the votes of the populace but the money that allows them to manipulate voters into believing they are living in an actual democracy.
Income inequality is the disaster on the horizon. When the wealthy have everything, society falls into revolution and "distributes" the wealth. Tocqueville, knowing the causes of the French Revolution, would more clearly see this issue and the dangers of concentrating wealth in the hands of a small elite empowered with the permission of the law to buy their power without fear of legal consequences.
Every time the subject of Led Zeppelin's fifth or sixth "reunion" comes up, Robert Plant says that he doesn't want to do it. Then, you hear some complaints from Jimmy Page. I'm sure that John Paul Jones has something to say and someone probably writes it down. Oh well.
The band reformed and played an awful set in 1985 at Live Aid. Plant and Page got together in the 1990s and recorded an album and went on a tour. Led Zeppelin reformed to play Ahmet Ertegun's tribute concert in 2007. They got together and played live at the O2 Arena. I'm sure there were other "reunions" and whatnot but that's what I can remember.
At some point, you have to conclude that they have reformed and played live and done their bit. They may be leaving a billion dollars on the table, but they are in a position to do so because Plant, at least, doesn't care what's on the table anymore. He knows that every time he says something, someone will go crazy.
In other words, Robert Plant is trolling everyone, and having a laugh at the expense of people who weren't there for the previous reunions. He may have it in the back of his mind to clear 2017 and play 20 shows. Who knows?
It's done. If it happens, it happens. So what?
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
If you make an innovative, game-changing scientific advancement in anything, always remember one thing:
In addition to its potential uses in electronics, graphene might have applications in water treatment, oil spill clean-up and even in the production of thinner condoms.
It's all about whether or not your product can be commercialized for widespread use by people who just haven't found a condom thin enough for their own personal comfort.
What a shame:
Paul Weller has said that he won't be taking part in Record Store Day in the future after seeing his 2014 release sold online at vastly inflated prices.
Weller put out a one-off 7-inch, 'Flame Out', for this year's Record Store Day, which took place on Saturday (April 19). As with a majority of other releases this year, copies of the record appeared on eBay later that same day while other fans complained of the release being sold out as soon as record shops opened their doors.
Addressing the issue on his official website, Weller attacks the "touts" selling the limited edition Record Store Day releases and states that the online sale of records "goes against the whole philosophy" behind the annual event.
"I agree with all of you who have sent messages expressing your anger and disappointment at the exploitation of these "limited editions" by touts," Weller writes. "Apart from making the record, the rest has very little to do with me but I am disheartened by the whole thing and unfortunately I won't be taking part in Record Store Day again."
These are the same people who are selling Kate Bush tickets online at vastly inflated prices as well. It is the responsibility of the sellers--the actual record stores being helped by the releases put out by artists like Paul Weller--to limit sales and make certain that they are not sold off before the shop opens. The very people who need actual sales to actual fans on a regular basis are undercutting that reality through their own greed and stupidity. And we know how it goes--the records are sold beforehand and posted so as to maximize profits and the people who actually go into the actual record store are left empty handed.
How hard is it to not ruin something good?
Monday, April 21, 2014
one of the men who ran the Disney Channel is accused of being a sexual abuser of underaged individuals and there is no panic in the land?
I guess we're finally going to try out this whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing. In years past, if anyone associated with the Disney empire was accused of such a crime, it would have sent out shock waves.
No, sorry. Got that wrong. If Michael Jackson was accused, shock waves. Disney? Ho hum.
I guess we're finally going to try out this whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing. In years past, if anyone associated with the Disney empire was accused of such a crime, it would have sent out shock waves.
No, sorry. Got that wrong. If Michael Jackson was accused, shock waves. Disney? Ho hum.
You gotta love America's most thoughtful bro, the great douchebag known far and wide as Sean Parker:
Having donated almost exclusively to Democrats up to this point, Parker made a trip to Washington in December for the purpose of meeting quietly with Republican officeholders and strategists around town. He plans to donate to both sides starting this year, associates say, for the first time committing big sums to aid Republicans he views as credible deal-makers in a bitterly divided Congress.
There are specific issues Parker cares about, including immigration reform and investments in urban development and medical research. Like many in the tech world, he shares a set of liberal social values and, one Parker friend said, cares less about his personal tax rate than in making sure government operates efficiently.
At least for now, the Silicon Valley billionaire is primarily interested in fixing what he views as a broken political process, promoting voter engagement and supporting politicians who work across the aisle — all goals far easier to state than to accomplish.
If Parker really cared about immigration reform and actually investing government money in medical research or in making lives better for poor people, he'd have given all of his money to the Democratic Party by now. These are all things that the Republican Party opposes as a matter of doing business on a daily basis.
Congress is not "bitterly divided." Congress is divided along party lines, and one party wants to govern while the other party, the Republican Party, wants to watch the whole thing burn to the ground. Who shut down the government? The Republicans. Who won't pass a jobs bill? Republicans. Who refuses to lift a finger to do anything about the environment, about global warming, about equal rights for women, about health care, about reproductive rights for women, about jobs, about the poor, about hungry kids, about relief for homeowners, about veteran's health care, and about a hundred a fifty other major, major issues? The Republicans.
Sean Parker is just a douchebag with money, and he has to sling it in order to make people kiss his ass. He's not trying to "fix" anything. He smells a Republican mid-term victory and he wants access to power for whatever stupid idea he has decided to push in the months ahead. If he was a thinking person, he'd never give a dime to a Republican, ever.
Oh, and he's a douchebag. Did I cover that?
What a farce:
Gansler said, "You know, I'm running against somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything. You know his ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq, and that's all fine and good but this is a real job."
The entire statement has already been posted on YouTube. Brown's campaign people recorded Gansler and posted it online.
Vote Vets, a large veterans group that has already endorsed Brown for governor, is demanding an apology from Gansler.
In response, Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of Vote Vets Political Action Committee, said, "Doug Gansler needs to stop smearing those of us who served in Iraq as not having had a 'real job.' It's a horrible insult to all those men and women who put their lives on the line, and especially those who died, in service to this country. Additionally, Mr. Gansler, if he chooses to attack an Iraq War Veteran, ought to at least admit that the person he is attacking has been serving as Maryland's Lieutenant Governor. This kind of slime ball politics is what turns people off to our democratic process, so Mr. Gansler is doing no favors for Maryland or our democratic electoral system by playing in the gutter like this."
Doug Gansler is allowed to say horrible things about veterans--veterans saw awful things about other veterans all the time. There's no law against that. Stop pretending that there aren't people who disparage veterans for laughs every day. Jon Soltz is a hardened Democratic partisan and he is virtually the only person who actively advocates on behalf of democrats, so, more power to him. For every Soltz there are a dozen Republican-backed outfits.
As soon as you take off the uniform, there are people who will despise you, no matter what. And if you're a Democrat, forget it. To many vets, a Democrat who served is not a patriot and is one rung below convicted sex offender in our society.
The problem is, Doug Gansler is running for a chance to be governor of Maryland. Hells no, baby. Gansler is a walking, talking bag of entitlements and privileges, and I don't think he represents anything other than his own craven ambitions. This is a man who has a tin ear for politics and doesn't care who knows he's going to settle scores when he gets more power. He can't handle the power that he has right now, let alone executive power.
Gansler is a real estate lawyer who went to Yale. Of course he knows what a "real job" is. He should be considered an expert on who in this society ranks well below him. His entire life has been about sorting others into classes and categories below his station. If that's what you want in a governor, go vote for him.
A bummer for people who want to see live music outdoors in Ireland...
Ireland's Oxegen festival has been cancelled.
The event was due to take place in County Kildare this year, though no act or dates had been announced prior to the cancelation.
A short statement published on the festival's website today (April 21) confirms that the even has been cancelled with a lack of headline acts and financial issues both to blame.
The statement issued by organisers MCD reads: "It is with regret that MCD announce that Oxegen will not take place this year due to lack of suitable headline acts which combined with the financial demands by local agencies make it no longer viable to stage the Festival in its current form."
Oxegen has been held at Punchestown Racecourse every year since 2004 but took a year off in 2012.
If the money and the funding and the business plan aren't there, then you can't hold a festival. I'd be curious to see how this shakes out across Europe this summer.
Holy cow. What's going on here?
To everyone’s surprise, however, a few of these seeds did sprout into saplings, at least one of which grew to a height of around thirteen feet in just four years—another surprise, say the botanists. “It is difficult for us to judge why this has happened, but one reason the tree has grown so fast may be related to space rays,” Kaori Tomita-Yokotani, a scientist at the University of Tsukuba, told the South China Morning Post. The tree was starting to sound like the arboreal version of the Fantastic Four, who acquired their own amazing powers during a ride aboard a rocket ship. Some suggested that the tree’s premature blossoming, as well as the fact that its flowers have only five petals each (the parent tree’s flowers typically have thirty), had similarly sci-fi explanations.
Keep those space rays away from lizards, I guess. I don't understand how such a mutation could happen and not cause people to panic, but there you have it.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
I have always hated claw machines, and so I'm glad to see someone finally took a little revenge upon the damned thing.
Claw machines are those ridiculous boxes that hold worthless prizes; you maneuver a claw into place and it drops and "retrieves" what you've settled upon. The only problem is, the claw is useless and it takes a lot of luck to actually win. As the kids say, the hells with that.
These things are a ripoff. They should be banned. End of story.
The demise of the sport of golf reminds me of the way horse racing and boxing have gone from being national sports in this country to being niche activities that hardly garner any interest at all--inevitable and overdue.
Our suburbs are full of golf courses no one wants to deal with. What comes next will be an effort to turn these large swaths of land into usable space. Parks? Hardly. No money in that. Luxury homes? That sounds far more likely to me. Whole communities have to be redesigned, not the least of which are the ones built for people who want to live on golf courses. Think of how mad they're going to be and then realize that they're essentially going to die off in the next twenty years.
Change is coming. I think that an entrepreneur with some grasp of planning, function and design should be able to make a killing converting golf courses into useable space. Maybe using set asides and following some best practices will allow for conversion to render what used to be a golf course with water hazards into a functional space that is safe for families will work. I think we need more dog parks and more outdoor recreation but definitely no new golf courses.
How'd you like to be in that business? Those are the folks who need to lead the way on converting old golf courses.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
This is the new Gilded Age. For a handful of human beings, their existence is vastly different than the rest of humanity. They live in a fantasy world of extreme wealth and a poverty of accountability. Our elites are now so completely and utterly incompetent and bloated with cash that there is no way to reverse the path we're on, not without some sort of violent cataclysm or a really, really good series of Congressional hearings.
I kid. We're doomed. Start a blog, roll in the grass, eat something fattening, pet your dog. You'll be broke in a year like all the rest of us. Enjoy forever.
There's just one problem with the candidacy of Bez for the English parliament.
The only people who are really going to vote for him are exactly as he is--someone who has never voted before. Why would you run for parliament thinking that the people who have never voted will suddenly start voting for you?
It makes no sense, but the NME has to publish something.
The best pun I could come up with is any way you slice it, the guy's crazy:
Wu-Tang Clan have denied any affiliation with the rapper who recently cut off his own penis.
Andre Johnson, otherwise known as Christ Bearer, is a member of the hip hop group Northstar. In the early hours of yesterday (April 16) morning he cut off his penis and then jumped from a second floor balcony in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. He was found in a critical state on the pavement and was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center hospital. The rapper was said to be affiliated with Wu-Tang Clan as his group was discovered by RZA in 1998 and in 2004 released 'Bobby Digital Presents Northstar', which was produced by RZA under an alias.
I think it would be safe to say that this young man was crazy when he cut off his own penis and tried to jump to his death from the second floor. And, I think that if you're Wu-Tang Clan, you automatically have to distance yourself from such a person, unless, of course, you think he could have gotten away with it.
The rap game is hard on a person. Christ Bearer was probably facing eviction from his crib and he was likely having to find a good lawyer to get himself paid because royalties being what they are, you just can't live on what they pay a rapper nowadays.
The going price is $550 million dollars:
That's insane money. Insane.
Is there a bigger bubble than that of the valuation of a fringe professional sports franchise? We're not talking the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys. We're talking about the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks are about as a valuable as a Kia Dealership, if that. And if you tell me a Kia dealership is worth a half of a billion dollars, then I'll concede the point. Holy crap.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Pearl Drums is asking the question, not me. What would you do with this pile of drums?
Well, for starters, I'd rearrange it. I'd remove the superfluous hi-hats and floor toms and I'd probably add some effects and some trigger pads. I would probably separate this into another set and go from there.
I mean, do you really need this much? Or is this just a trick question?
We will probably never learn the truth, but here goes:
A passenger describes women screaming in the darkness. A father learns his child is trapped. A son, fearing death, tells his mother he loves her.
Investigators haven't said what caused a South Korean ferry boat carrying hundreds of passengers to capsize on Wednesday. But as rescuers searched frigid waters for nearly 300 missing people, text messages surfaced describing the harrowing moments after the ferry started to roll.
CNN affiliate YTN reported on several messages, purportedly from passengers aboard the sinking vessel to their loved ones. CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of the messages or when they were sent. It's also unclear what happened to the people who sent them.
The messages, widely reported in South Korean media, paint a chaotic picture of the situation aboard the ferry as hundreds of passengers waited for help and some reached out to loved ones.
It could be a number of things that "hit" the ship, but my guess is that there is a North Korean mini-sub or perhaps an infiltration ship--something that sits just below the water line--at the bottom of the sea nearby. The aggressiveness of the North Korean navy and their infiltration craft is legendary. If they have, indeed, killed three hundred South Koreans in a single stroke, the repercussions are going to be felt on both sides. If that's what happened, and South Korea does nothing, it will anger the elements of that government who know the truth.
The North Koreans simply do not care. Three hundred people drop dead from starvation or meet their doom on a regular basis. Life means nothing to them.
This was buried in a story about legal settlements and Hollywood:
In October 2011, the estate of Rick Nelson sued Capitol Records for allegedly underreporting royalties. Among the allegations was the claim that the record label was in possession of up to $250 million in "unmatched income," money that Capitol claimed it couldn't link to any particular artist. The heirs of the author of songs including "Travelin' Man" and "Poor Little Fool" have now reached a deal. Neville Johnson, the attorney for the plaintiff, said the issue was "amicably resolved." [emphasis, mine]
A quarter of a billion dollars is in the hands of one record company, and they don't have any idea how they made that money or which artist(s) made it for them? And so they cannot pay it out?
If that's not evidence of fraud, corruption, and outright theft, then what the hell is? Jeebus.
The Nelson estate was paid off, so go away now while we rake in the bucks and stiff the people who don't have lawyers to come after us. Is that basically how Capitol Records still operates? Good for them. Nice work if you can get it.
Lorde has said she was looking through a National Geographic magazine and saw a photo of the baseball star smiling and signing autographs for fans.
“He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals,’” Lorde told VH1. “It was just that word. It’s really cool.”
Who knew? And does George Brett have on more makeup than she does?
These are both exceptionally well-done covers for bootleg concerts. The quality is professional grade, albeit somewhat heavy on blurry graphics.
I used to wonder what would happen to the bootleg industry when Pearl Jam made all of their shows available to fans, effectively killing off any attempt to profit from the sale of their shows. R.E.M. has always been a "bootleg friendly" band. The early ones that I used to buy in Minneapolis were usually of a high audio quality.
That makes me wonder about these shows. Were they shot with cheap equipment? The smartphone didn't really exist in 2005 so you are probably getting a show recorded with a handheld camera using digital tape and not much of a microphone. Awful.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
If you're like me, and I know that I probably am, you'll do a double take when you look at this poster.
ZZ Top playing a concert in Maryland? No big deal.
Which Beck is opening up, however?
Beck, as in Beck Hansen, the slacker with the great career, or the inimitable Jeff Beck? Because the poster kinda messed with me and I thought, why would they put ZZ Top with Beck?
Oh, Jeff Beck. Got it.
No idea who Gary Clark Jr. is but someday I will.
Articles like this one can lead to a number of generalizations and stereotypes, not the least of which could divert you into a racist corner that it would be impossible to get out of. If you're any kind of a blogger who hates attention, like me, there are so many ways this post could go wrong.
Chinese tourists really aren't any different from any other group. They do like to go up to young boys or girls with curly blonde hair and touch it--this I have seen with my own eyes. Your various other groups might ask permission to pat a head or take a picture, and that may be the case with some tourists from China.
My guess is that the new "ugly American abroad" will one day be "the Chinese farmer with a passport" and a whole host of cliches will be born.
How would you feel if the government did nothing to stop someone who has a history of being violent and how would you feel if the person who died at their hands was someone you loved?
The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified numerous violent extremists over the years, and many of them are just as widely known as Frazier Glenn Cross:
A therapist who worked with visually impaired children. A doctor who did everything he could to help his patients. And the doctor's grandson, a teen auditioning for a singing competition that could win him a scholarship.
Love defined their lives, friends and family said -- lives that were cut short outside two Jewish centers near Kansas City on Sunday by a gunman long accused of spewing hate.
"That idiot absolutely knocked a family to its knees for no reason," said Will Corporon, whose father and nephew were gunned down in the parking lot outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. "My dad should be seeing patients today at his work. ... There is no reason. No reason for this. And it's just a tragedy."
The suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, faces charges of premeditated first-degree murder after he allegedly opened fire at two Jewish centers. Organizations that track hate groups describe Cross, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, as a long-time white supremacist. Investigators say they plan to pursue federal hate crime charges against him.
I mean, if the evidence is there, how could we, as a society, ignore it?
Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones in the shootings that left three dead at a Jewish community center and retirement home in Overland Park, Kansas. We feel a special connection to them because we know the killer well.
His name is Frazier Glenn Miller, and he once plotted to assassinate my colleague Morris Dees.
Miller was the leader of a notorious neo-Nazi organization in the 1980s that was stockpiling weapons and training for a race war. His blueprint was a book called The Turner Diaries, a racist manifesto that also inspired the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 men, women, and children.
After Miller was convicted on criminal contempt charges ina case we brought, he went underground, declared “war” on the government, and offered a white supremacist bounty on Morris’ head. Luckily for us, he was caught and went to prison.
Unfortunately, for the people of Overland Park, he was sentenced to only three years.
We’ve been contacted by the authorities and are sharing everything we know about Miller. But the sad truth is that there are other Millers out there – people with hate in their hearts who are willing to kill innocent people in the name of their race.
We ignore it because the gun lobby, and right wing extremists, are able to exist in the mainstream. One of the main detractors of SPLC is conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, and she criticizes them because they have rightly identified the violent, extremist streak that runs through the conservative movement and the Tea Party.Of course, our government identified them as well and the conservative freakout was felt far and wide.
There are violent elements on the left as well. They use terrorism just like the right does. But the two sides are not equals, not by a long shot. There is no "both sides do it" argument because the violent extremists on the left usually end up in prison or ostracized. On the right, they're embraced and defended.
Miller has existed on the fringes but he has been allowed to spread his views on the Vanguard News Network. This man may not have any vocal defenders right now, but he has more than a few sympathetic individuals who are operating in plain sight. The SPLC is often attacked as a left leaning advocacy group, and that's fine. They're willing to put on the big boy pants and fight these animals by exposing their views and actions to the world.
The next time a conservative pundit attacks them, they are simply making common cause with the likes of Miller. This is the tribe they run in and this is the belief structure they support, fringe extremist or not.
There's really only one Stone Roses single that has nothing to do with the band's history as a guitar group, and that's Begging You, which attempted to bring House Music to the world via a Led Zeppelin inspired album that was more dead on arrival than any other sophomore album you could name.
It's a shame--Second Coming was a great record. It just wasn't a great second album from the Roses.
Most of the mixes of Begging You I have never heard. The cover, though, is well done.
Monday, April 14, 2014
First it happened to the Stone Roses, and now it has happened to the Replacements.
Coachella. What a fucking debacle.
If you're in a great band, or if you were in a great band, and if you go away for a while and try to come back, don't play Coachella. The kids, they just don't know and they just don't care. They're not there for anything called music. They're there for VIP treatment and to be seen by others.
The Replacements are just too far gone and too far removed from music to do what they're doing at a place like Coachella. They should do the smaller festivals and hope the people come out in droves, which they goddamned should for this band. Coachella does not bring the people who appreciate them. It brings the staggering indifference of a generation addicted to sarcasm and personal space.
Oh, and this bullshit is why they're trying to put off playing in Minneapolis:
God, what a world. A great, great band gets back together and nobody throws anything but bullshit and indifference at them.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
I still have all of my compact discs, but I no longer put them on shelves and display them. I keep them in Rubbermaid containers in the basement.
For a while there, I was digitizing them, but that project turned into an internal debate. Do I digitize everything (I pretty much did) or do I save myself the trouble and skip the few clunkers and promo CDs that I own?
At some point, I will display them and go back to buying them. I am waiting for the absolute bottom to drop out and then I'll go out and buy more than I'll ever need and covet them and then wonder why I am tired of carrying containers around and buying shelves and not being able to find the time to properly alphabetize them.
Whoa, now you tell me:
The FBI is investigating Herbalife Ltd., the nutrition and weight loss company that hedge fund manager William Ackman has called a pyramid scheme, sources familiar with the investigation said Friday.
The news, first reported by the Financial Times, sent the company's stock price down nearly 14 percent.
My first exposure to Herbalife came 25 years ago. We had relatives who used it and sold it. At one point, they suggested it as a replacement for actual cancer fighting medications.
Yes, as a replacement.
In any event, Herbalife is no different than Amway or whatever crap you get roped into selling. It's always been a Ponzi scheme. If it wasn't a Ponzi scheme, it wouldn't have distributors and sellers and people GODDAMNED DESPERATE to get you to buy it so they can climb one rung higher and breathe a little easier before the whole thing crashes down around them.
It's basically just repackaged edible bullshit. That's all. At this rate, it'll be 2089 before the FBI figures out that Scientology is a cult.
There's a company in Toronto you don't want to work for.
It's something called askfortask.com and it recently experimented with using a nap room to help their overworked employees cope with being exhausted at work. When they discovered that their exhausted employees were actually, um, exhausted, they call the idea a failure.
News flash--tired people are tired because they're either overworked or don't have any life skills. Which one would you choose if you knew that this company was working people 70 hours a week? And why are we still having a debate over the wisdom of treating people like human beings and respecting their work-life balance? If you treat the people who work for you like cattle, they're going to sabotage your company and leave. Fast.
Run, don't walk away from these Canadians.
I will never understand the appeal of Nirvana, and that's probably a good thing.
What people don't understand is that they were much beloved when they came out--they sold a ton of CDs (vinyl was pretty much gone by 1992) and they were played relentlessly. They tapped into the aggression left by the death of hair metal. When a metal band says that their career ended because of Nirvana, they're lying. Their career ended because, by 1990, nobody gave a shit about their music anymore because it was corporatized and given a glossy video sheen. Nirvana didn't end anyone's career--the power ballad did.
By the summer of 1993, people turned on Nirvana. They hated the overexposure of the band and laughed at how many times Kurt was caught being on drugs. There was little, if any, love for their follow-up album, In Utero, and that's why you have snippets like this that are conveniently forgotten:
The band had hoped to reach a market of intelligent iconoclasts, people who distrust bands that are too popular because if so, they must be too easy to take. "When the album first started getting heavy play, I think we were mostly concerned with losing those college kids," Mr. Cobain said of "Nevermind." "For some reason, that didn't happen to us."
Looking back, he now thinks "Nevermind" sounds too "clean." "Ugh," he said. "I'll never do that again. It already paid off, so why try to duplicate that? And just trying to sell that many records again, there's no point in it."
In other words, Nirvana was a band trying to drive the fans away. Had Cobain lived, the band wouldn't have seen anything other than diminished sales and difficult albums. Hardly the grist for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that stands for everything Cobain hated.
It's interesting to see Michael Stipe induct them into the Hall of Fame, by the way. When did R.E.M. lose the same plot and end up irrelevant?
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
So, a freshman Congressman from the middle of damned nowhere is caught making out with a staffer. He's caught dead to rights. This is as cut and dried as it gets--he's got his pair of you-know-whats in a serious vise because of the fact that he campaigned as a family man with ethics that are better than yours.
You would think that a gentleman from Louisiana would apologize and take the blame himself, correct? No, you would be wrong. This is America, circa 2014. The victim in this case is the man with all of the power who can fire people and call in law enforcement. The victim in all of this will simply not tolerate being mocked by the little people.
Not only did Vance McAllister (R-d-bag) fire the staffer, he is now asking the FBI to investigate how it came to be that he has no morals or ethics whatsoever. He wants the FBI to get to the bottom of what happened to his dignity and his chivalry because these things are not in evidence anymore.
If that's not douchebaggery, what is? Holy hell, son. Weren't those your lips on that woman's face?
Now that there's really no point in writing about music, Rolling Stone inadvertently confirms this for me by putting Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the cover.
And it's a great cover. Don't get me wrong. But how can you pretend to be a music publication when your cover stories are her, Blake Griffin, and two artists from forty or more years ago? I guess they had to concede to putting something about Ed Sheeran on there, but who cares?
Music is just fucking dead, man. Dead and dying fast.
Before the day is out, Matt Grossmann's bullshit will be eviscerated eight ways to Sunday. Here's what I carved out of his delusional piece:
Conservatives in Congress are the prime suspects in Washington’s dysfunction. Veteran congressional watchdogs Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann called the previous session the “worst Congress ever,” and they did not hold back in assigning blame: “The Republicans are the problem,” they said. After a fruitless government shutdown last fall, even House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at conservative groups and passed bills over the opposition of his caucus.
In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.
Ornstein and Mann have simply identified the tactic of obstructionism; this is how Republicans drive the agenda. They obstruct when they cannot simply destroy something, like the labor movement or the regulatory agencies of the American government.
The idea that U.S. policy has "gone the liberals' way" is laughable. The agenda that runs American politics is almost entirely a conservative one; liberal ideas are often non-starters.There are--as of yesterday--efforts underway by an anything-but-liberal President who wants to undertake the radical idea of closing gender pay gaps, something that would have been accomplished decades ago if liberals controlled the agenda. We are watching the destruction of voting rights in this country and conservatives are driving this agenda. We have a bloated defense budget and cannot establish a foreign policy initiative in this country without hearing John McCain scream for more war. There are no jobs bills alive anywhere and, hence, there is no initiative within the Federal government that has a chance of passing that would do anything to put people back to work. The oligarchs are in charge, and they are not liberals.
Obamacare? A liberal idea pushed by liberals on a conservative country? Oh my God--give me a break. We need single payer insurance for anyone to be convinced that the "liberals" have won this debate. We're lucky to have anything, period.
What few policies end up being delivered by the government are watered-down to the point where they almost inevitably betray the liberal agenda. I mean, there is no coherent energy policy, a liberal idea and agenda item if there ever was one. There is no way a progressive with a desire to protect the environment or the American worker is ever going to be elected to national office. And what? Go out and try to deliver jobless benefits, and stimulate business hiring in order to deal with our crippling unemployment?
The conservatives have successfully driven abortion providers into hiding in this country if they're even available at all. Despite things like actual democracy and voting--elections, Supreme Court decisions, constitutional amendments--the conservative agenda is one that subjects Americans to relentless attack. They hide behind bringing freedom because going out and actively saying, "we're here to force things into your vagina" only play in certain rural areas.They don't care about privacy, and what little they do pretend to care about will vanish as soon as a Republican wins the White House.
Grossmann wants you to think the liberal agenda is one of handouts. It is not. The liberal agenda evens the playing field for working people. Ask your local oligarch how that's working out for him.
Out of touch and out of ideas:
I almost felt a little sorry for her Tuesday as I watched her performance on Jansing & Co. on MSNBC, hurtling herself into enemy territory, burdened with the task of defending her party’s record and posture on women. Kirsten, I’ve been there. All of us who’ve done television have—those moments when you know you’ve got nothing, so you keep talking and talking, saying nothing, larding your sentences down with “you know”s and “uh”s, wondering if the viewers can see your face turning red, praying that any second now you’ll hear the host say, “Sorry, we’re out of time.”
It's not even news anymore--the Republican Party is held in thrall of the idea that there are still enough old white men to vote them into power. And, in many places, this is true--the Republicans are probably going to sweep the mid-terms and do quite well in the South once again. They won't do it with the votes of women or minorities or young people. Those folks stay home during the mid-terms, and that's why Democrats are always vulnerable. So, yes, the Republicans are going to win some elections this fall and they'll continue to expand their gerrymandered power base.
But that's not because it is a party with ideas or the ability to govern--far from it. No one is voting for these Republicans to do anything except say no to things they tribalistically hate. There's no reason to vote for them because they have no ideas. The only votes they're going to get are the ones from people who hate the ideas that this President espouses, even if they're Republican ideas and favor the wealthy and the privileged.
You'd think that, by now, this President would have the support of at least half of the Republican Party. They're doing quite well on Wall Street and the country is reducing the debt. You'd think that they would welcome Hillary Clinton with open arms. She won't do anything to jeopardize the enormous wealth generated by being a courtier to corporate power.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
It would be difficult to imagine that any other family in American politics would be so quick to stoop so low:
Liz Cheney has been fiercely defending her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney (R), over reports on the Senate's investigation into CIA torture under the Bush-Cheney administration.
On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Dick Cheney "set a tone and an attitude for the CIA" and that he was "proud" of his involvement in CIA's decision to use enhanced interrogation techniques.
On Tuesday morning, Liz Cheney hit back at Pelosi for her comments.
"Frankly, Mrs. Pelosi is somebody who was briefed on the program," Cheney said on "Fox and Friends," according to Mediaite. "She forgot she was briefed on the program, later had to admit it. And I have to say that when I heard those comments yesterday, I was reminded of something that Margaret Thatcher once said about one of her political opponents. Mrs. Pelosi’s problems is that her spine doesn’t seem to reach her brain."
The Cheney family is entirely without dignity. All kidding aside about Liz Cheney's ridiculous attempt to carpet-bag her way into a Senate seat in her father's home state, there is something unseemly about using a daughter with no accomplishments of her own to smear a leading member of the opposing political party. It smacks of desperation and a lack of knowing who is, and who is not, relevant.
Rand Paul has eviscerated the Cheney legacy in recent days but, because he actually has a future, the Cheneys are holding back on attacking him as fully and completely. They will attack him, of course, but they are calculating the damage done to Pelosi with their expert Machiavellian system of settling scores. Give it a little while, and these voracious, howling rejects from days of glory past will come out of the woodwork looking for a carcass of their own.
Monday, April 7, 2014
The damage that bullshit does to our society is evident all around us. Witness the decision by Chili's to cancel a fundraiser for Autism because the people they partnered with persist in spreading bullshit far and wide:
In recent decades the decision of whether or not parents should vaccinate their children has become controversial because some have linked vaccinations to autism. Many opponents of vaccinations base their beliefs on a 1998 study that was declared fraudulent by a leading British medical journal.
The NAA says the link between autism and vaccination mentioned on its site is based on "parent reports."
"Though published mainstream science fails to acknowledge a causal link to any of these specific exposures, it's important that parental accounts be carefully considered," says the NAA on its website.
It is not controversial. It's anti-intellectualism that ignores basic science and plays into the idea that people are "elite and special" and "care more than other parents" when they withhold vaccines from their kids. There really and truly are people who, by virtue of the fact that they make a little more money than everyone else, think that their own participation in the gene pool is an accident and that they have been bred to be superior than the lower class people who end up going to the same schools their special and talented and wonderful kids go to.
They shop at Whole Foods and pay more for the same groceries that come from the same distribution centers in California and Florida that everyone else's groceries come from. They form their own self-deluding block of know-nothings who do not understand the basic history of science and medicine. They're dumbasses and they don't realize the danger they're putting everyone else in by believing their own lies.
The NAA site also mentions that unvaccinated children have been diagnosed with autism.
Which also means nothing because, you know, science and whatnot. If people actually cared about kids and stopped trying to make themselves appear to be smarter and more concerned than the imaginary people they compete with on a daily basis, you wouldn't have a resurgence of measles and whooping cough. You'd have properly vaccinated children living free and clear of the ravages of childhood diseases.
I certainly don't miss, nor do I care, about the legacy of Kurt Cobain.
What was he? A guy who got lucky and made a good album and a half of music that a lot of people bought when you could still buy music? The guy who killed hair metal?
He overshadowed Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains; he was not really replaced so much as he was discarded in favor of bands like Green Day. If you want to be technical about it, the legacy of Billie Joe Armstrong is much, much stronger in terms of playing for years at a high level and releasing tremendously successful albums. Nirvana has one really good album. Green Day have more than five. WTF?
I just cannot venerate or tolerate those who kill themselves. I don't worship Ian Curtis, I still think Michael Hutchence was a victim of autoerotic asphyxiation, and I don't know why so many talented people just give up and let the gift of this life slide away. Cobain could have controlled his own art and his own legacy in the way that Radiohead controlled it--they formed a collective that cooperated in defeating the efforts of their fans to hold them to one kind of guitar music.
The previous generation had a slew of drug casualty heroes and suicides, which are almost entirely the same thing. This generation had Cobain. And he wasn't even that good, so there's that. If the dude from Hootie and the Goddamn Blowfish had been thinking of his future, he would have killed himself, too. Everyone would be calling him a genius based on one good album as well. After all, he lives in that select group of artists that have sold 15 million or more albums; Nirvana isn't even close to that. You have Backstreet Boys albums that have sold more. Double WTF.
We are cursed with what happened to the music industry in the 1990s. Good God, did it suck. And it drowns us today with mediocrity and bullshit.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Speculation about the "mystery" headliner for Glastonbury is running at a fever pitch exactly no where in this country. Oh well, I'll take a stab.
Commenters think Prince or Metallica--nope. Neither are big enough anymore. Kate Bush is big enough but I would think that the Glastonbury stage would be too daunting.
Queen are in North America, and playing on June 28. My guess is that Fleetwood Mac will tune up for their tour of North America, which doesn't start until September.
So, yes. It's either Fleetwood Mac or
Friday, April 4, 2014
The cover for the Tim Burgess album Oh No I Love You features an attempt to spell out the title and use shapes and images in a creative way.
It's an effective cover in that it spells out what's going on--it's a solo album, and this is what a solo album is supposed to look like. It's a great example of minimalism using creative typography.