"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunday funnies
I recently discovered Todd Butler through Spider Robinson's podcast.  He's a terrific guitar player and songwriter -- and funny as hell. Check out his other stuff here, I recommend the tune "Conrad" from the album "Idle Canadian" but I can't seem to find it anywhere on line to link to.  I'll post it when I figure out how. In the mean time, he's Todd doing "Bushed"

Friday, March 21, 2008

A little music for the weekend
 Dear metalhead guitar wankers, 
Suck on this:

the horrible interview is by Toni Tennille (as  in the Captain and ...)

In order:
Earl Scruggs Banjo
Glen Duncan Fiddle
Randy Scruggs Acoustic Guitar
Steve Martin Banjo
Vince Gill Telecaster
Marty Stewart Mandolin
Gary Scruggs Harmonica
Albert Lee Red Fender Strat Back To Earl
Schaffer on Piano (Who cares)
Jerry Douglas Dobro Slide
And Harry Stinson on Drums in back.

Steve Martin wrote this, the other banjo players are Tony Trischka and Bela Fleck

Grisman and Garcia

"It's funny, 'cause it's true

It isn't what he says, it's what he means.
Proof once again that Jon Stewart is the best pundit on television. It really is a shame that the pundit class on US television remains so out of touch with reality that it cannot see the forest for the trees. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hillary's glass house
But both Democrats are basically the same or so I thought until the last few weeks. I've never had much of a soft spot for Hillary Clinton, she always struck me as being a bit too interested in what was going to advance her career and how things looked rather than how they actually were -- her votes to support military action in Iraq being the obvious example. That said, I still thought she was a smart, capable politician's politician who would do a decent job as president, would do a lot to squelch the rampant sexism that exists in U.S. politics, and would inspire a generation or two of women to succeed and not accept glass ceilings and second-class status.
Having watched her campaign, I'm less keen on her and think she is more likely to be America's Margaret Thatcher. Undoubtedly she would be more than will to go to war to show that "just because she a woman it doesn't mean she isn't tough" much the way George Bush the first invaded Panama to prove he wasn't a wimp.
 "But," I told myself, "at least she wouldn't  be a stooge for the bible thumping bunch"
Well, not to get all conspiracy-theorist on you dear readers, but I was wrong about that too.
She hasn't said much about Obama's former ministers' remarks damning America for its treatment of blacks or McCain's pandering to the worst of the Christian Taliban.  And now I know why.

In which I admit to being evil

In comments, longtime lurker/first time commenter HT accuses me of evil for tempting him/her into clicking the "pro-life" wingnut link. I admit it, I am evil. I DO work in the media after all. 

You will click the links, you will leave comments. Oh yes, you will.

And speaking of barking mad wingnuts...

Meet "Pro-life" a candidate for Governor in Idaho this year, and likely for any public office you care to name for the next 20 years.  I guess you just call him "Pro" for short,  though I expect most people refer to him as "that weird guy, you know, the one who's all 'abortion this' and 'abortion that' and 'abortionists hid my car keys' -- you know, that guy who's crazier than a shithouse rat, the one that keep running for office"
Maybe I should move to the U.S. become a citizen and run for office after changing my name to "Kick George W. Bush in 'Nads"? Waddya think?


Go watch the speech or read the transcript.

This is a speech that kids will be learning in grade school in twenty years. It may not be "I have a dream" but it is, as they say, close enough for government work.

Anyone who thinks the "Wright controversy" is an actual issue is an idiot to begin with, but Obama has taken this perceived problem and turned it into an opportunity. He is possibly the most eloquent speaker in U.S. politics since Kennedy, including Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Those in the democratic camp who are still splitting hairs and concern trolling about whether Obama is too black or not black enough or not experienced enough need to take a long look at the forest instead of the trees. Those on the Republican side who are still flinging poop and trying to sell the "he's a secret muslim whose crazy radical black preacher hates white people" line of bullshit have just been shown, in a very public way, to be idiots of the first water and quite simply on the wrong side of history.

The Rude Pundit pretty much sums it up. While Sadly, No turns over the rock that is "Free Republic"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I can be as jingoistic as the next guy...

But this is funny.

BTW  the song is by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, not the Arrogant Worms. 

Getting things done to for Canadians, eventually

Only weeks after former Prime Minister Paul Martin went to visit, a deal may be in the works to get a suicidal Canadian woman out of a Mexican jail where she has been held for two years without trial. Responding to hundreds of angry letters and emails Steverino has finally pushed the Timbit trough aside and picked up the phone. There, see Steverino, it wasn't that hard, was it? As an expatriate, I'm glad to see "Canada's New Conservative Government" (tm) is so quick to leap to the defence of citizen jailed in foreign countries without trial on questionable charges.

Monday, March 17, 2008

another one bites the dust
First they came for Tucker Carlson, now John Gibson -- when will it be O'Rielly's turn?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Storytime --In the neighborhood

We are neighbors.

I don't like you and you don't like me, in fact I punched you in the nose a month ago because your dog ripped open my garbage.
Now I'm convinced you've bought a gun and are going to kill me. You deny it, but I don't trust you. I threaten to beat you up if you don't turn over the gun. You claim you don't have one.

"Prove it" I say, "Let me search your house."
You grumble, and when I spend a long time searching your teenage daughter's underwear drawer, you get pissed off. I keep searching.
"I don't have a gun, I haven't kept guns in years" you holler.
"That's it!" I yell. "I'm not searching any more. I know you've got guns, you shot that moose back in '77 when we went hunting together."

Jacques from across the road and his boyfriend Hans and Ivan who lives over on the corner have come over now and are telling me to calm down, that they don't think you have guns and they don't think you'd use them if you did.

"Fuck you guys! That goddamned Biff LaDen kid broke into my house last week and stole my TV and kicked my dog. And he's the same age as your son who left the bag of flaming dog doo on my porch the week before. They're in cahoots. They're probably smoking crack in your basement right now!" I yell.

Jacques tells me to calm down, points out that the whole neighborhood hates the LaDen kid and that even his own parents disowned him and moved away, after I keyed their car and ran over their cat. He suggests letting the cops handle it if I really think you've got a gun. Stupid Frenchman, the cops won't do anything. They're useless.

"I hate the LaDen kid as much as anyone," you say "he kept calling my daughter, my son used to hang out with him, but I told him if I saw him even talking to that little psycho he'd be grounded for life."

"LIAR!" I'm screaming angry now. "I know you've got guns, you can't fool me! Just because I didn't find them doesn't mean you don't have them! I'll get you before you get me!"

That night, I burn your house to the ground.

That guy Tony up the street even gave me a gallon of gas, the suck-up. You die in the fire along with your youngest two kids. Your wife is badly burned, but you used to beat her so she should be glad you're gone. I gave her and your daughter a job in my topless bar. I park my truck in their front yard while they live in a rusty old roach-ridden trailer I rent to them that's parked in what used to be your backyard.

Someone throws eggs at my truck every once in a while, but its not like he's willing to confront me, the coward. I think its probably one of your other sons or nephews. I heard they were talking to that LaDen kid. Stupid punks--they don't scare me. I never did find the guns, but they must be here somewhere. Maybe they were buried in the yard, maybe not. I guess it doesn't really matter. The whole thing is so five years ago.

You know who bugs me these days? That Persian guy, Ahmawhatshisname, the guy who lived behind you that you used to argue with over the fence back when we were friends. Yeah, he pisses me off. I bet he's got a gun.

(with apologies to Terry Jones for stealing his metaphor, it's not plagarism, it's an hommage)

Five years
There will be plenty of articles like this one this week. I hope to see some mass media mea culpas about the role of the press, especially in the United States, in beating the war drums on the neo-cons behalf, but I don't really expect to see any of them admit they were wrong about anything ever. The whole public argument for going to war was specious from the start. No one can prove a negative. You can't prove Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction beyond all doubt, even if you X-ray every inch of it. To people who are convinced something is so, will not be dissuaded it is not so, they will just invent ways the evidence supports their theory.

While he tries to salvage some shred of superiority in the last few paragraphs, this admission by Joe Klein that he was "Stupid, stupid, stupid" to think the Iraq was was a good idea is a fairly abject apology, all thing considered. Who's next ? I'm looking at you Christopher Hitchens

Places to see before I die #943
My standard answer when I am asked why I came to Japan is that "I came for the waters" when they look confused, I add "I was misinformed" -- so it won't surprise you to know that of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, if there is a place I need to have a drink in some day, it's this one. After all, everyone comes to Rick's.

Georgie get your gun

"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."
"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.

Thanks to all cocaine he did in his younger days, Dubya is blissfully unaware of his personal wartime service, bravely flying fighter jets over the Gulf of Mexico to protect Texas from the Viet Cong, at least when he wasn't too hungover to fly and could be bothered showing up.
And thank God he isn't a reader or consumer of popular culture over the last fifty years or he might have learned from books like Red Badge of Courage, All Quiet on the Western Front, Catch-22 or movies such as Apocalypse Now, Paths of Glory or Platoon that war is not romantic or glorious.

Luckily, Dubya hasn't talked to his own father or any other veteran about the difference between romance and stark terror, between glory and slaughter. Maybe his daddy could tell him about the romance of crashing your fighter plane into the ocean, or maybe John McCain could talk about the glorious times he had in the Hanoi Hilton. And those were fighter pilots, not the guys on the front lines where things explode and shoot back while you are struggling along in the rain and the mud and heat and cold on crappy food and sleeping in shifts in a hole in the ground and shitting in ziploc bags, if you're lucky.

Lucky, because if George and other morons in charge didn't think war and battle was romantic, glorious and the highest pursuit of manly men, we might have fewer wars. Whatever would the military-industrial complex do? How could governments justify spending billions on bullets and bombs and aircraft carriers and nuclear-tipped cruisemissiles while their people went without medical care and schools or in some cases even adequate food? Where would we be if it weren't for pointless conflict and needless bloodshed?

What would we do? Talk to each other? Settle disputes amicably in the United Nations? Share resources? Compromise? Perish the thought!

I'll grant him that being on the front line in a war is probably exciting. I'm lucky enough never to have had the experience, but I'd bet there is nothing like having people shooting at you and IEDs and car bombs going off to really get the heart rate up and the adrenaline flowing. Some people get so excited, they have a hard time calming down, even years later.

I'm sure just about any of the men and women on the front lines in Afghanistan and Greater Clusterfucktopia Iraq would be delighted to switch places with you. In fairness, I suppose we should point out that Bush said what he said about going to Afghanistan, proving that while he's stupid, even he isn't crazy enough to think there is anything good about going to the meatgrinder on the Tigris.

Sadly, No sums it up. If you have a strong stomach, Canadian Cynic has a romantic, exciting photo of the results of George's boundless appetite for adventure, but be warned, its pretty damned romantic -- lets just say that one soldier who won't be holding hands with his sweetheart anytime soon. I bet he'd have loved it if GI George had traded places with him a while back. 

And people in the United States voted this crapulous dimwit into office repeatedly?