I Vow To Try To Understand This

Maybe I'm missing something. The Drudge Report carries the Headline: "Bush Vows To Save New Orleans". I click the link. Here's what I get:

President Bush says that Hurricane Katrina is "one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history" and that the recovery will take years.

Uh...duh? I guess I need to read between the lines for the whole "vow to save New Orleans" part.

OMG LOOTING!!!!! oh, and some people died

How did the attention turn to looting so quickly? I'm so confused...I'm hearing:

a) 80% of New Orleans is flooded.
b) The mayor wants every single person evacuated.
c) Those evacuating will not be allowed to return for at least a month.

With this information, and assuming businesses have hurricane insurance, why focus on looting? Are teams gonna go in and "rescue" the food from the stores? Looting is going to happen to an abandoned city...that's just reality. Plus, the majority of looters are grabbing fresh water and food, you want to shoot them for that? Yeah looting is a problem, but damn, an entire city was destroyed. I'd be shocked if there wasn't looting. What planet have have you been living on? PEOPLE ARE FUCKING DYING AND HOMELESS!!!

Could You Show A Little Concern, Mr. President?

Look at the picture of New Orleans below. Now look at the pictures above, taken today, of your Commander-In-Chief, and of victims of Katrina (thank you, Americablog). I really didn’t want this to turn into a partisan fight. It seems so juvenile when so many lives have been destroyed, yet I can’t help wondering, amid all the chaos, while an entire nation grieves and prays for those on the Gulf Coast, WHAT IN THE FUCK IS BUSH DOING PLAYING A GUITAR AND WHOOPING IT UP IN SAN DIEGO?!?!?!?!I don’t even know what else to say…

Katrina's Aftermath

Man. When I woke up yesterday, the tone of the news was a muted relief that New Orleans didn’t get hit head on by Katrina, so things could have been worse. Well, with a day to reflect, it’s apparent that things are pretty bad and getting worse, with levees breaking and floodwater rising. The news just keeps getting worse and worse.
Gulfport, Mississippi looks like it was hit by a nuclear bomb. Man, this is awful.

We <3 HMO's

Malcolm Gladwell has an excellent article in the latest New Yorker in which he explains how, contrary to popular belief, the American health care system is much more expensive and inefficient than in industrialized countries which provide universal healthcare. Yet, we have an almost religious-like devotion to it. This sentence sums it up:

A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy – a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they became five cents cheaper – has loyally stuck with a health care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers.

Don't Be A Hypocrite

We Democrats like to brand Republicans who support the war in Iraq but have never served themselves as “chickenhawks.”  But wait a second. I supported the war in Afghanistan, and I never served in the military, so am I chickenhawk, too?  

Words of Mass Distortion

My previous post concerning “IED’s” got me thinking about how we’re using a bunch of gobbledygook to make things sound a little more complicated or dangerous than they are. Someone who cleans your teeth is a dentist, not an oral hygienist. The guy who picks up the trash is the garbage man, not a sanitary engineer.  With this in mind, why do we still use the term “weapon of mass destruction”? People just throw the term around without even thinking of what it means. I would much prefer that people tell me what the fuck they mean. Do you mean a nuclear weapon? Say it. Do you mean chemical weapons? Say it. Do you mean biological weapons? Say it. Because to me, a regular old bomb that kills me is just as bad as a chemical that kills me. I’m dead either way. So why we all blabber on and on about “WMD’s”, don’t forget that tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi’s have been killed by good ole fashioned bombs, rockets, and bullets.


A Sincere Question (For Once)

It seems that the vast majority of deaths and casualties in Iraq have come from IED’s, or “improvised explosive devices”, or to cut through the bullshit, fucking bombs.  How the hell do you fight hidden bombs? What good would more troops do fighting hidden bombs? Am I missing something? I’m not trying to be a smartass; I really am confused as to what’s going on over there. They make it sound like we’re fighting this army of “insurgents”, but all I ever see are bombs blowing up. Educate me, please.


Always Wear Protection

This is fantastic.

Bush gave a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Well one of those veterans felt he needed to protect himself from the bullshit that was headed his way. Thus a new fad is born...The Bullshit Detector!

Katrina and the Waves

This is going to reflect very poorly on me.

Hurricane Katrina was just downgraded to a Category 4 (which is still a monster), and I felt a tinge of sadness. Why do I want this to be a huge catastrophic storm? I don’t want people to die, and I will feel horrible for those who will lose everything, but at the same I want to see Mother Nature at her worst. This is a horrible thing to say. I feel bad saying it. But I  can’t be the only one…can I?


Two Good Questions

In this week's issue of Time, Joe Klien discusses how some military leaders are questioning the Bush Administration's total commitment to the war in Iraq. To illustrate the point, Klein quotes his own mother, “Why aren’t there the war-bond drives we had in World War II? Why aren’t we being asked to collect clothing for the children of Iraq?”

Indeed. Why aren’t being asked to do ANYTHING except blindly support the war?

Madame Wong

I was not always a punk fan. In fact I was rather late to the party, after dabbling in glam metal and death metal, mullet and all. But I do think if you consider yourself a serious music fan, especially a punk music fan, you should know your history and pay your respect to those who paved the way so you can enjoy that New Found Glory record. Or something like that.

With that in mind, Esther Wong, R.I.P.

Wong, who earned the nickname the “godmother of punk,” showcased such popular groups as the Police, X, the Go-Gos, Oingo Boingo, the Motels, the Knack, the Textones and Plane English early in their careers, giving many groups their first major break.


Teaching Evolution In Church

Christopher Hitchens, who I have an extreme love-hate relationship with, makes a fantastic point in his latest Slate article.

Basically, he argues that if public schools are forced to teach “intelligent design” alongside evolution, then churches should be required to allow space for pro-evolution teachings or pamphlets. If they refuse, they lose their tax exempt status.

Maybe we should call their bluff, after all.

Pot, Meet Kettle

As you probably know, recently British police killed an innocent Brazilian citizen who they mistook for a terrorist. It was obviously a huge mistake, one that needs to be investigates, and the family of the slain man should be justly compensated for their loss. Although tragic mistakes such as this are bound to occur, there was, justly, international outrage over the inicident. But one group should keep its outrage to itself: the Brazilian government.

It is no secret that the Brazilian police force often acts as a death squad when it concerns the impoverished “street children” and other groups in Brazil. Human rights groups estimate that in 1999 alone 14,000 people were murdered by these death squads. Street children are a targeted group. Poor, and often homeless, they often resort to petty crime. The police come in and act as judge, jury, and executioner. Other times, these children are simply considered an unsightly nuisance. In 1993, fifty children were sleeping outside a church in Rio DeJaniero when police opened fire, killing eight children.

The Brazilian government has no moral authority to complain about anyone at any time until it cleans up its own act.

Here is alink to an article by Adam Carter detailing the problem: “As far as I am concerned, these are not people, they are lice and I crush lice.”


MP3 Of the Day: Radon - Facial Disobedience

New feature! MP3 of the Day! No it won't be everyday, cuz I''m too lazy. But anyways.....

This is honestly one of my all time favorite songs by one of my all time favorite bands. They're one of the original Gainesville No Idea Records bands and helped to forge a unique Gainesville sound. The Gainesville sound combines punk, rock, and folk/country influences (everyone seems to cite Uncle Tupelo). This tradition is carried on by bands such as Gunmoll and Against Me!

Facial Disobedience has a fantastic sound, lyrics that make absolutely no sense and perfect sense at the same time. The download is free, and like all good music, you need to listen to it a couple of times for everything to fall into place, but once it does, oh man. So dedicate 15 minutes of your life and discover a great band you never even knew existed.

Download here.

It's The Economy, Stupid (Part II)

This is common sense, but something people do not think about enough.

Each month, as gas prices go up, food prices go up, rents and housing costs go up, and health care costs go up, and your paycheck stays the same, the result is that you are getting a pay cut every single month.

Do you feel that the Bush Administration and the Republican controlled Congress are fighting for you to fix this situation?

If not, keep this in mind when it comes time to vote in 2006.

To All The Girls I've Loved Before...

I know you think I didn’t listen to you. It’s not my fault.
“Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse—women’s voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men’s, a report said.

The Daily Mail, quoting findings published in the specialist magazine NeuroImage, said researchers at Sheffield university in northern England discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds.

Men deciphered female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engaged a simpler mechanism, it said.

The Mail quoted researcher Michael Hunter as saying, ‘The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices.

‘This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice.’

The findings may help explain why people suffering hallucinations usually hear male voices, the report added, as the brain may find it much harder to conjure up a false female voice accurately than a false male voice.”

Now does this prove or disprove intelligent design?



Cindy Sheehan

Well, Cindy Sheehan seems to be the big domestic story of the moment, so I guell since I have a blog, I'm supposed to comment on it.

Of course, I empathize with her. She lost her son in a war she didn't believe in. And now she wants to talk to the President and ask him questions like "What is the 'noble cause' justiifying why we are in Iraq?", and "If the cause is so noble, have you asked your daughters to enlist?"

You know the answers he's gonna give, so why ask the question? We're there to "sow freedom", "fight terrorism there so we don't have to here", yada yada yada. You know it's BS, I know its BS, but a large percentage of the country eats that shit up like candy.

And, like Jon Stewart said, we don't send the Bush twins because we actually want to WIN this thing, as fucked up as its become.

Now, on principle, the President should absolutely NOT meet with people who ask to meet him, not even mother of slain Marines. There would be a line from D.C. to Baltimore. But politically, the President should have met with her. He could have turned it into a positive PR thing, and it would have been in the news for a day or so. Now, the media frenzy is out of control, and Bush has himself to blame.

Now, one way I hope the left is different from the right is that we are more honest and less susceptible to towing the party line. So, in all honesty, Ciny Sheehan does seem rather arrogant. I hear her on a radio interview refer to herself as "well spoken" "courageous" and "intelligent". She may be all of these things, but such self promotion just rubs me the wrong way. And her demands to talk to the President are misguided. If she just would call this a protest, which in reality it has become, I'd be so much more supportive. These are minor complaints though, since her saga has morphed into a true anti-war demonstration that is actually gaining some traction with the public. Their message is confused - "Bring the troops home!" "Send more troops!" (perhaps they mean "Send more troops so we can win this thing and then bring the troops home", but that's hard to fit on a sign) - but no more confused than the Administration's war plans.

The reaction to her has been insane. The right wing has truly sunk to new lows. They are publicizing her divorce, called her a traitor, tried to speak for her dead son, and just tonight, G. Gordon Liddy called her "anti-semitic". She's just a grieving mom who wants some answers to why her son had to die. Is that so hard to understand?

And Rush Limbaugh, I simply do not know how he sleeps with himself at night. He actually said that Cindy Sheehan was just making this all up.

The avalanche of hate from the right makes me think that the mom from Vacaville has hit a definite nerve.

Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio?

Listening to FM radio in my car last night, Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” came on. Sick of that song, the stationed was changed to another, which spent a minute patting itself on the back for bieng the REAL alternative in Sacramento. The station to go to when you want a REAL alternative. They made it clear that there was no doubt they were the REAL alternative. Others claimed to be alternative, but they were trying to fool you, for this station was the only one in the Greater Sacramento area cool and hip enough to be called "alternative".

And then they played “Beverly Hills” by Weezer.

Taliban Part II?

Great. Militants are now killing barbers in Iraq for violating their take on Islamic law regarding hair. You see where this is headed, right? We invade a country to “install” democracy (an idiotic concept to begin with), and it ends up a fundamentalist religious state. Way to think things through, America!


D.I.Y. on the State Level

There's a very encouraging trend going down. Since the Bush administration seems to be dropping the ball by ignoring or lying about almost everything single thing like little children, individual states are stepping up and acting like adults.

There have been many numerous examples of late.

Since the U.S. refuses to aknowledge that global warming exists and therefore refuses to do any about it, many states, led by California, have begun tightening restrictions on emissions and greenhouse gases on their own.

Many states, again led by California, have begun to fund programs for stem cell research that the Federal Government is trying to restrict.

Trusting doctors over politicians, many states have passed medical marijuana laws, although the Supreme Court recently ruled that the issue is a Federal one and not for the states to decide. Still, it’s an example of states trying to fill in the gap that Washington refuses to address.

Euthenasia? See previous paragraph on marijuana.

If republicans are constantly going to feed us the “states rights” argument, Democrats may as well take them up on it, since it’s apparent Washington could give two fucks about your health, happiness, and the future of the planet.


What I Would Say To The Martians

There’s a hilarious piece entitled “What I Would Say to the Martians” by Jack Handey in a recent New Yorker.

If you don’t get his humor, me and you won’t get along.

We Will Not Falter, Unless We're On Vacation

President Bush is about to set two records:

1) Longest vacation by a president (5 weeks) in 30 years.

2) Most total vacation days by a president. 319 days…so far, there’s still 3 years to go.

Makes you feel proud, doesn't it?

Quit whining!

I have to ask my brothers on the left to quit crying and bitching over EVERYTHING. That's the Republicans job. What’s going on with the Left? I really think we’re overstepping on a lot of different issues.

First, we’re going waaaaay out of our way to discredit Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. Yes, the guy is conservative. Why the hell do you think Bush appointed him? Okay, he argued against Roe V. Wade. He also did pro-bono work for a gay rights group. Everything points to him being a pretty damn good legal mind, so just appoint him and hope he strays to the left like so many “conservative” appointees have done in the past. Then we can worry about winning the presidency so we can appoint who WE want.

Second, Americablog, which I love, has started to focus on some pretty minute things. They posted a video of Jean Schmidt, a Republican who ran (and won) for Congress in Ohio, claiming she was acting psychotic. I watched the video. Yeah, she’s a walking, talking, Repulican talking point, but she wasn’t acting crazy. Let’s not start just making shit up and freaking out over every single little thing. That’s the Right’s job.

I don't like the path we're heading down....

American Punk Rock Weekend

Two weekends ago I went to two shows in two nights, which is a feat for my old ass.

First, on Friday night I saw the Circle Jerks. I was rather taken aback by the $20 ticket price, but it’s the Circle Jerks, so whatever. Red Tape and Time Again opened. Red Tape sounded like they might be good on record, but live I couldn’t really get into it live. With a name like Red Tape, I expected a leaner punk sound, not a metallic sound. Time Again, well, they just plain sucked. Cliché’s left and right. Apparantly they are from Hollywood, based on the hundred times the singer mentioned it. They were just really, really bad. But the Circle Jerks were really good. Keith Morris is 49 years old, Greg Hetson is bald, and they still kick out the jams better than most punk bands half their age. Some of the banter ran a little long, but Keith admitted he needed a chance to catch his breath. I hear ya, Keith.

Saturday night was the Accused at Balazo 18 in San Francisco. All around great show. The tiny place was filled with dirty “punx”. Normally, that’s a bad thing. But for some reason, in SF I don’t question their authenticity like I normally would. Maybe it’s because I’m quite sure that 75% of the audience were members of other Bay Area bands. The opening band was Municipal Waste, who simply crushed. They play an old school crossover thrash/hardcore style of punk. Stage diving with a boogie board and using said boogie board as a “shield of death” were new some new twists. Anyways, they are HIGHLY recommended. The Accused, of course, were fan-fucking-tastic. As soon as they started, things just went off. A couch was flying. Couch cushions were flying. More boogie board action. Just an insane show. They just released a new album. I was prepared to be disappointed, but it rips. You can pick it up at splatterrock.com.
I guess the lesson to be learned from Punk Rock Weekend is that bands stand the test of time and retain a fan base for a reason. The quality of the songs is obviously important, but so is the quality of the live show. This is why I will see the Circle Jerks when Keith is 70, but I will avoid Time Again at all costs.

Side note: Between sets at the Accused show, guess what was being played? Yep, Time Again. What the fuck?

It's been a while....

...since I posted anything. So here are some quicks hits of my thoughts on recent events:

1. First Ricky Martin, now Jessica Simpson? Jessica Simpson went to Iraq to perform for the troops. It was filmed by ABC, but When shown on TV, it made everything in Iraq look like it was going fantastic. That’s pissed Daisy Duke off, because she was there, and says things were awful. She wants to know where the “real” footage went. Good for you, Jessica. Doubt you'll get an answer, but I appreciate your speaking out.

2. Speaking of Jessica Simpson, she is absolutely a marketing genius and smarter than 99% of U.S. citizens. She says some dumb things to live up to the dumb blonde stereotype; the public believes it, and commercials, movies, and a whole lot of money follow. Yeah, she’s pretty stupid, huh? You want REALLY stupid? Look in the mirror.

3. President Bush appoints John Bolton as ambassador to the UN without the approval of Congress. With all of the controversy surrounding Bolton, and my feeling that he’s somehow involved in the Rovegate scandal, this is simply a slap in the face to the American public. Bush acts like he won the election with 95% of the vote. Asshole.
By the way, he said that this post was too important to be vacant during a time of war. He said this just before he took off to his ranch in Texas for the 50th time in 5 years. Hypocritical asshole.

4. CAFTA passed. The left is freaking out, the right is celebrating. All I want to know is why I never hear the words “wage floor” and "minimum environmental safeguards" mentioned? If there were certain wage and environmental standards participating countries had to meet, the system would be fairer, and there would be true competition. Low wages and lack of environmental laws should not be allowed to be a competitive advantage.