Friday, September 29, 2006

On Not Letting The Turkeys Get You Down

Of course the bill passed. That’s the sort of thing that happens when the same party runs all three branches of government. It’s called paying the piper. It’s the postage due from the 2004 elections when enough Americans felt that Bush and the Republicans were in some way deserving of total control of the federal government. Anyone who didn’t see something as radical as this so-called torture bill coming, just wasn’t paying attention.

That said, those of us that oppose this home-grown tyranny, this creeping American fascism, are more in number now than ever before. And sadly, ironically, today we even outnumber the power hungry thugs behind this bill and their minions of media-fed fools.

As the tide turns we can perhaps find some kinda hope in our anger; in our disgust. Because the American left of the up and coming generation has had to grow up very quickly. And as we grow up we also grow out—exponentially. In the process, we’ve discovered among ourselves, a new breed of heroes, a new collection of voices, a new brotherhood that would never have existed had the greed of the sociopaths in power not have gone from a trickle to become a tidal wave.

They’ve made lifelong opponents of the previously ambivalent. And that’s the most encouraging fact of all. Especially today, in the face of what, with any luck, will come to be seen as the final victory of a fading faction.

In the end, our side’s most precious and lasting victory will be all the light bulbs over people’s heads that were turned on during these dark times.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Violence Rules

In a general sense, insanity has ruled this week. The very essence of America is about to be rewritten in the form of a bill charging first through the House and now through Congress. The Commander in Chief sez that this bill will help define his powers and responsibilities regarding detention and torture in federal cases, but bipartisan critics decry it as nothing more than an attempt to legally heap more power on the executive branch (one of the major goals of the NeoConservative movement).

The bill provides a green light to legal black holes for people the government describes (ever so vaguely) as threats. Considering the post 9/11 climate of federal surveillance and harassment of Americans involved in peaceful movements and protests, how long do you think it will be before we see citizens plucked off the streets or from their homes only to vanish into thin air for a few years? This is sickening and so fundamentally against the very essence of what America has stood for since our war of Independence from the English monarchy. These are indeed very dark times.

As if all that political and social angst wasn’t enough, how ‘bout some existential ennui? On my way into work today, an apparently despondent woman ended it all by jumping in front of the train I had just gotten off.

I got off the Brown line and was waiting for the Red when an announcement was made about a medical emergency at the next stop (only a couple hundred feet from the one I was waiting at). I was able to walk up the stairs to the overpass and look down the tracks after a few minutes. Firemen and track workers were busy fishing under the train with long poles. I still wasn’t sure what had happened a this point, but after seeing that it became pretty obvious. Pretty goddamn gnarly.

Anyone care to join me for a drink tonight? I’ll be at Chicago’s Horseshoe Bar digging the sounds of The Outlaw Family Band and trying not to mix my tears and my beers.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Long-Ass Boston Red Sox Post

Well, my beloved Boston Red Sox are out of contention for any postseason play for the second year in a row. This despite having an excellent--albeit an oft broken down--team. And because they're all but done for the year, fans' dreams have turned to the off-season (when not lustily pondering another historic Yankees collapse).

The elephant in that off-season room is, once again, Manny Ramirez. The perennially cranky super-star has begun his annual "I want out of Boston" whining despite being too hurt (cough-cough) to play much over the past month and a half.

Granted, the Ramirez-David Ortiz combo is one of the best one-two lineup punches in all of baseball--the history of baseball, but Manny's lackadaisical attitude toward the city and the team consistently undermines his value. And now another phantom injury has conveniently kept him out of the lineup through the last gasps of a season that was not without its potential. While heroes like Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon fought through their injuries to return to the field despite little hope of the team reaching the postseason, Ramirez gets treated with kid gloves and heaping helpings of adoration for what, in this season and the last, amounts to little more than reverence for his potential.

As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I've gotta say that I'm sick of the merry-go-round. Despite all the analysis about his health and age and his historic skills, when we get down to it, it's about what Manny wants. And he's said what he wants... loudly, clearly. He wants out of Boston. Why not let him go?

Diarist, absolutelax395 had a front page column this Sunday on the Over the Monster sportsblog where he started a lively conversation about what Manny means to the Red Sox--past, present and future. His take is right along the lines of my own.

Well, once again, Manny wants to be traded and this time I am just as pissed as Gordon Edes is about this.

Boston Globe: "While the Red Sox crumbled when Rami­rez went on hiatus -- last night was the 22d game out of 30 Rami­rez has missed since taking himself out of the last game of the Yankee massacre Aug. 21, during which he has been paid $1.918 million (calculated on his base salary of $15 million this season) -- he had the audacity this week, through agent Greg Genske, to reiterate to the Red Sox his desire to be traded this winter."

Manny has not played at all after the Sox took their fall even though so many other players rehabbed and worked so hard to get back to play for the struggling club.

It is time for Manny to go.

He goes on to write about likely options for trades and their potential ramifications (continued by readers in the comments section). He's dead on in suggesting that the Angels are the likeliest targets of a trade. Their prospects are above average and they've expressed and interest in adding a big name this offseason. But if I were to swap places with lil' Theo Epstein and have to come up with a plan, I'd be looking elsewhere.

I'd bend over backwards to work a deal with the Orioles... for a few reasons. (This is where I really geek out, be warned.) Shortstop and near-legend, Miguel Tejada wants out of Baltimore. Great. The Red Sox are likely to lose shortstop Alex Gonzalez to free-agency if they don't pony up... but frankly, I don't think he's worth the money. Even better. Now, seeing as Manny and Miguel's salaries are similar, a straight-up trade has gotta be possible.

I know, I know. Tejada would be a defensive downgrade from Gonzalez. But that bat would go a long way towards softening the loss of ManRam, as Jim Rome likes to call him. Additionally, Tejada's younger and far less prone to Manny-type dramas. Really, it's a win-win situation for both Baltimore (who need to retain some kinda big name) and Boston.

But what about the hole in left field?

Well, take a look at who's coming up for free-agency this winter. Carlos Lee is outta Texas. This year has been an off one for him, but after this exposure to American League pitching, it's a safe bet he'll snap back into form next year. That's my number one. But who's next? There's Alfonso Soriano who's definitely out of DC this winter. He's an excellent bat and has become a decent fielder. Plus there's the added "up yrs" to the Yankees, who would love to get him back. Aging vet Louis Gonzalez is another name being floated, but there really doesn't seem to be much gas left in his tank. Other options include (yawn) Aramis Ramirez, (gulp) Barry Bonds, and (ouch!) Cliff Floyd.

While a trade for Tejada would keep our power intact, a trade with the Angels would likely bring desperately needed pitching and some decent prospects. But whatever option does present itself, really, the only choice Red Sox management should be facing is the choice of where to send Manny Ramirez.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Slope Just Got Slippery-er

Been a busy, busy week here. So, I'll leave my sentiments on the ongoing tourture-bill debate in the hands of someone named Tristero over on Digsbysblog. Considering the sham that is the "rebel Republican oposition" to Bush on American use of tortue, he writes:

So tell me, my fellow Americans: How does it feel knowing that your government will pass laws permitting the violation of the Geneva Conventions against torture?

How does it feel knowing the taxes you pay from money you earned are going towards the salary of legally sanctioned torturers?

How does it feel knowing that the only political party with an organization large enough to stand in opposition to the American fascists in charge of this country's legislature and executive were actually boasting that they were not going to get involved in one of the most important moral debates of our time?

And how does it feel to have George W. Bush, that paragon of moral probity, mental stability, and well-informed intelligence, granted the legal right to determine what is and isn't torture?

I'll tell you how I feel. I am outraged and ashamed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance - Weekend Edition

After a full day of football yesterday, I was left in TV coma-land doing the ol’ flip-flip-flip through the overpriced wasteland that is American cable TV. I wound up watching a good stretch of a documentary on slain 1990’s rapper/activist Tupac Shakur on MTV. Later, in the wee hours, I fought the sandman while catching most of a doc on the clusterfuck that was the federal raid on David Koresh’s eschatological Jesus cult near Waco, Texas in 1993. While both programs were well made and interesting in their own right, my main interest centered on how little I know about either subject.

See, it was the 90’s and I was off to my remote little Florida college town. That insular world of punk rock, skateboarding, studying and the fairly constant use of the word ‘party’ as a verb, made it easy to ignore anything under the Current Events banner—well, anything that didn’t pop up on our activist friends’ radars, anyway. The internet for most of this time was limited to the tech-geek-laden IRC and our spendin’ cash went to books and booze not the cable company (or electric company for that matter; which made for some pretty miserable un-air conditioned Florida summers… but that’s a different story entirely).

Watching those shows on TV last night I was struck with how little I know about either. I mean, had something like Waco happened today… hell, whiny, obsessive bloggers like myself would be pissing our pants and stomping our feet within an hour of the initial report. And Tupac’s legacy was something, as an admitted music vampire, that I should have known at least a little bit about. But most modern hip-hop was simply off my radar for years.

It’s like I (and I’m sure plenty of others of the era) lived in this weird little bubble where my reality was entirely what I needed it to be. Information (both vital and trivial) from the world at large just didn’t always make it in. My more pressing concerns—after getting enough hours (but not too many) at work and endless stream of papers and exams—were blissfully self-centered. Buying records going to shows, chasing girls, scoring particular chemicals and on and on.

There’s a particular happiness in all that which I sincerely miss these days. But at the same time, there’s no way I would want to live in that kinda bubble again. That kinda one-way relationship with the world, it’s occurred to me, is how so many of the Bush faithful relate to their world today. That communication cutoff… that isolation of empathy… that apathy towards anything outside of that bubble…

My own disconnect was partially a product of the times (watch the news or buy a paper if you want your current events), and partially a product of my age (“there’s a time and a place for everything and it’s called college.”). It’s interesting to me, and probably only to me, to realize the sorts of things I missed. Things like Waco and Tupac. I could go on to try and make some belabored political point outta this but, naaa. This post has become long enough.

But speaking of disconnect and that little college town: my Gators came up big all weekend in the sports world. We eeeked one out over Tennessee in college ball and ex-Gator Rex Grossman dropped several bombs on the Lions in Chicago’s killer NFL home opener. Additionally, ex-Gator rookie, Chad Jackson, scored his first NFL touchdown for the New England Patriots. Not a bad weekend for this particular distraction.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

IRC Follies is apparently some kinda techie hangout humor site. I haven't spent much time poking around there, but I did find a collection of their favorite IRC conversation ha-ha's. (Internet Relay Chat is a text based chat and file swap forum that's apparently still around after nearly 15 years in existence.)

It's awfully goddamn funny. If you can deal with geek humor you'll find it even funnier.'s Top 100 Quotes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Eye vs. Eye

I've read a little bit about the documentary film Loose Change and its controversial attempts to shed light on the myriad of inconsistencies surrounding the attacks of 9/11 (aka the conspiracy theories). I've been meaning to see the film which is available to view for free on the internet--but haven't yet.

I've also been interested in a recent book that's been published by the editors of Heart Publications' Popular Mechanics magazine, Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts . They apparently take to debunking a cross-section of 9/11 alternative theories with a (surprise, surprise) scientific approach. I caught one the authors/editors on a Fox news segment recently. I felt that he, much like Fox News in general, was more interested in heaping condescending smugness down on the guy (name forgotten)representing the opposing viewpoint.

The Democracy Now! radio program recently hosted a debate between the two men behind the film and the two editors behind the book. Needless to say, it was tense.

For the same reasons I've wanted to both watch the film and read the book, I was drawn to the debate. While it wasn't necessarily disappointing, it wasn't particularly enlightening. But one glaring, shining fact hit me loud and clear; much like the spot on Fox, the Popular Mechanics debunking squad came armed with little more than condescending namecalling and smug poo-pooing sprinkled with the occasional rational rebuttal. While they may have thumped a handful of dents into the arguments of the "conspiracy theorists" (whom are likened to holocaust deniers at one particularly slimy point), they never manage to knock a hole a single one.

I've said it before and I'll repeat myself: While I don't necessarily believe any of the alternate 9/11 theories, it's become my position to give full shift to each and every one--from the wackiest to the more benign. I take this position because the only thing I'm damn sure of, the only thing that makes any sense at all, is that somewhere at some juncture the American public is being lied to; It's because, to paraphrase Michael Ruppert, we're given answers that don't answer and explanations that don't explain; It's because there's so much kept so hidden, that I reserve the right to call bullshit and to assert the possibility of even the wildest of 9/11 conspiracy claims.

As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most potent weapons we've got against those that would have us hooked on their official party line.

Read the transcript of the debate: EXCLUSIVE...9/11 Debate: Loose Change Filmmakers vs. Popular Mechanics Editors of "Debunking 9/11 Myths"

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11/2001 - 9/11/2006

The following is a post I sent to an e-group of mine on the morning of September 12, 2001:

Damn, I've been beside myself for the last 30+ hours now. (and seeing as i ate mexican last night, it's not the best place to be).

This is just so massive a thing (in every corner of every aspect) that the best anyone can do is attempt scattershot commentary or accounts. It's just maddeningly massive in scope. As they keep saying in the news, i too get the feeling that for a number or reasons, nothing will ever be the same.

This is all really testing the bounds of my pacifism. There are some very ugly doors being opened in the wake of this, which i suppose is the surest sign of victory for the 'enemy'. Despite my befiefs [sic], i too feel that vibe, that populist tendency to want to burn and bomb afghanastan [sic] to the roots to find the fuckers responsible... This is a very scary time. Not just due to the acts themselves and what they reveal about airline security et. al., but the opertunity [sic]this state (of mind, of near-martial law) affords the jingoists, the militarists, the trigger-fingered, the racists, the whole massive, world-wide rush to judgement [sic] and thus punishment. The US public (understandably) seems to have given their blessings to the feds and this leaves us in some real pretty shit. As it stands, we have the backing and the sympathy of almost the entire world. One or a series of ill-advised or emotionally provoked retaliatory attacks can easily swing that balance. And as we learned from the archduke's assassination in the WWI pregame warmup, all it takes is a simple, little shifft in world-public opinion and we might just find ourselves in the crook of a full-scale, world war.

Here in Boston today, the city is nearly shut down if only because everyone is locked into tv coverage (the fuckers picked today to turn off my goddamned cable too). There is heavy police movement and presence as i drive around the much-less-than-normally crowded streets. As the New York attacks were based out of Boston (at least partially) the FBI is also a major presence here. In fact there was just a massive raid on a hotel here netting 3 suspects and a bunch of evidence. Or so we're told. Apparently, there is also a raid or two in Florida, which shouldn't surprise anyone on this list, because, hey, it's Florida.

For me one of the worst aspects of all this is the loss of the Police and Firefighters who all responded to the first crash. Watching the (very newly promoted) NY fire chief on tv last night you could read the utter dejection and despair in his eyes. And indeed he said "I don't know how we [as in the fire dept., but by association everyone] are ever gonna recover from this."


I also hope that nobody on the list had relatives, friends or associates in the affected areas.
and all you new yorkers, DC'ers and others, start taking photos or sound recordings or interviews...

Get out there and get YOUR point of view...
FUCK the news networks, FUCK the gov't info agencies...
They serve their purpose, but what the hell are these newsgroups for (or the whole internet for that matter) if not that?

Off the soap box,


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Heavy-Handed Quote of the Day

I’ve really been trying to get things a little lighter on here. At least a little. You gotta believe me. Alas… we’ve all got our own particular perversions. And apparently I’m inclined to run everyone’s attention span and patience into the ground with mine.

Nevertheless, folks from the four corners of the Earth have begun to converge on Chicago for the outrageously rockin’ Touch and Go Records 25th anniversary party. It promises to be, at the very least, mildly legendary… though, personally, I’m predicting full-blown insanity.

And with that, I’ll leave you with yet another product of my own perversion, a quote by Michael Ruppert of the From the Wilderness website and author of the book I’ve recently begun, “Crossing The Rubicon”:

“The interchangeability of the terms ‘corporation’ and ‘fascism’ has long been established by traditionally progressive critics who document the amazingly large scale of American corporate welfare and the impact of corporate lobbyists on public policy. This represents an institutionalized and ongoing attack on democracy, where the benefits of national wealth are privatized while the costs are socialized; the public pays for its own victimization through waste, fraud, and abuse; and the government sells to the highest bidder its capacity to protect the general population.”
For those about to rock, I salute, and welcome, you.

*UPDATE: An interesting coincidence to my Ruppert quote from Yahoo News today: False Flag Operations: Declassified Military Documents Show How US Government Planned Terrorist Attacks Against its Own Citizens

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh, The Depths To Which You'll Sink

As Joementum spirals downward, new allegations come out about Lieberman's White House connection. The "conservative" magazine, Insight, reveals a Rove-led effort to funnel millions of dollars through "major Republican donors" into Joe's doomed bid to secure the Democratic primary nomination.

Aint that a tad odd? The fellas at the very pinnacle of Republican power finding clandestine ways to get millions to a Democrat??? Something stinks to high hell here. And no one can figure out exactly what. At least one thing's obvious. Joe Lieberman is one dirty rat and oughta be treated as such by every Democrat in the nation whether he wins the mid-terms or not. What he's doing to his constituency, his party and his nation is inexcusable.

From the article:
A senior GOP source said the money was part of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove's strategy to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate in November. The source said Mr. Rove, together with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, directed leading pro-Bush contributors to donate millions of dollars to Mr. Lieberman's campaign for re-election in Connecticut in an attempt that he would be a "Republican-leaning" senator.

[...]The source said that under Mr. Rove's direction, the GOP has abandoned its Senate candidate in Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger, who has dropped to about five percent in the polls. Mr. Schlesinger has failed to win the support of any national Republican and has virtually no contact with the White House.

[...]The source said that under Mr. Rove's plan, Mr. Lieberman would vote with the GOP on national security issues and help provide the party with a 50-50 split on major legislation. The deciding vote would then be cast by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Read the entire nauseating article: GOP secretly channeled millions to Lieberman.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Case Study In Propaganda

President Bush made yet another daffy speech. This week it was to veterans in Salt Lake City that he touted the progress in Iraq, the promising economy, and a few more fictions-du-jour. As it happens, the mayor of SLC, Rocky Anderson, led a protest against Bush and the war. Pretty amazing considering the conservative nature of Utah. He was subsequently interviewed by both Fox News’ afternoon program and MSNBC’s Keith Olberman.

Watch the two Youtube clips of these interviews. Notice a little difference between the two? It’s been done to death, but this juxtaposition provides a simple take on the caustic mix of propaganda and inanity that passes for journalism over at Fox News.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Late Night Rock Out

*This is in no way a total rip off of the Crooks and Liars' "Late Nite Music Club." Really.

Since I'm once again ga-ga over The Jam--more their later stuff now--here's a great video. I wanna see some serious air guitar from you slobs.