Monday, June 30, 2008

Led Zeppelin, Black Dog

by Hector Diego


These guys broke the mold.

The Greatest of All Time At Saying Nothing

by Jay Allbritton
John Yoo and David Addington's visit to the House Judiciary Committee set a new standard in the art of stacking shit. These two guys killed three hours of testimony like a masterful veteran quarterback going down on one knee at the end of a lopsided NFL game. No matter what they were asked, they provided zero content.

Here's just one sample from John Yoo, who was asked if there's anything the president can not order done to a detainee.



None of that "I don't recall" business from Yoo.

Hey Bulldog

by Hector Diego


Sunday, June 29, 2008

California Surf Dog Competition

by Hector Diego


From Imperial Beach, San Diego County, California.

Mugabe Wins Walrus Reagan-Bush Award

by Hector Diego


Robert Mugabe now takes his place in history with the greats. The Walrus Speaks salutes Mugabe...because we're afraid not to.

Yardbirds, For Your Love

by Hector Diego


Any blog that takes you from the Yardbirds to Bobby Goldboro is committed to musical variety. I don't post Britney Spears or Ashley Simpson because I have never been able to listen to any of their songs all the way through.

But we do have ying-yang variety--that is, variety up the wazoo.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bobby Goldboro, Honey

by Hector Diego


If you don't like sappy tear jerkers, skip this song. Goldboro charted 22 times, but this is the one most people would remember.

Bee Gees, I Started A Joke

by Hector Diego


Donovan, Wear Your Love Like Heaven

by Hector Diego


Transkids Need Compassion

by Hector Diego


Last night I saw a program about transgendered children, and what I learned has provoked this post. Quite often people are not compassionate in their thinking and behavior toward the transgendered--what to speak of empathetic--but we must ask ourselves if we or our children were transgendered, how would we want to be treated? God is always watching us, and as the Beatles said in their parting words to us, "The love you take is equal to the love you make."

Here's something I got from www.transkids.us, a website devoted to issues important to biological males who view themselves as female. One young child interviewed in last night's program began to weep when asked by journalist Barbara Walters if she experienced harassment. At that point, both my wife and I could not help a tear or two of our own for this kid. Her face had crumpled like a child who has just learned a parent had died...

"Conventionally speaking, a transsexual is simply someone who physically changes their sex. Although transsexuality is frequently described, both by psychologists and transsexuals themselves, as a single psychological condition, it has often been observed that there are two entirely unrelated conditions which lead biological males to seek sex reassignment."


"It would be absurd to think that it simply occurs to someone out of thin air that they are not what they appear to be, but that is exactly the way transsexuality is often described, as if people with gender dysphoria just know they are not their physical sex is not the correct one or it doesn't match who they really are. But such a belief is clearly not justified by its own self evidence; normally such a belief would be self evidently incorrect. Assuming that the people making that sort of claim are not psychotic, they must have other reasons for wanting to change sex and other evidence for holding the conviction that they would be better living as the opposite gender."

Read more.


On This One EUROPE IS CRACKED

by Hector Diego

Europeans insult marijuana with tobacco.

Please, please, folks in Liverpool, Amsterdam, Berlin, etc. please leave a comment to this post and explain to me the European practice of mixing marijuana with tobacco. In America the only people who do that are chumps or adolescents having their first go at being an adult--why in hell would anyone want to ruin their ganja with Sir Walter Raleigh's idiotic innovation--didn't John Lennon sing to the entire world that Raleigh "was such a stupid get"? I have heard of Americans doing this in America too, but I'm 52, and I've never actually seen it. Or smelled it.

Hell, I laughed at Europeans for this retrograde practice back when I was thirteen, and 39 years later, today I'm reading about it again. Now, I'm an easy-going person, and if someone wants to flirt with cancer while their getting high, go right on. We all do stupid things.

But why in the Netherlands, a country that is enlightened enough to have quasi-legal marijuana smoking bars, do we find no option to the insane practice of mixing marijuana with tobacco? Is it that not enough people would buy it without the tobacco? Because that is the only possible reason that the bars don't supply it--no business would deny customers something they wanted especially if it was legal.

What all of this means--correct me if I am wrong, Europeans--is that almost everyone who smokes marijuana across the pond mixes it with tobacco. It's either that or you are a non-smoker. You're telling me that if I took the fabled trip to Amsterdam for the very reason that probably half of all Americans go there, I would have to go back to that stupid habit I had years ago, just to get high?

All of this came to light in the world press this morning because new laws in Amsterdam prohibit smoking in bars, of anything. One suspects this is a ruse by the recent conservative regime there to wipe out the marijuana bars--when they close down now (allegedly due to business falling off) new licenses are not being issued. Rather clever, those devious conservatives. May they r-t in h--l.

Now look closely at this statement by the owner of one of these marijuana bars. From Yahoo News:

"I've taken the cigarette machines out, I'm putting Coltsfoot [an herbal cough suppressant] on the tables, I've bought extra vaporizers, the staff is watching out — what more can I do?" he said.

Stunned, I had to read it several times before I could accept the truth. By this dude's explanation of what he is doing to comply with the new law, it is obvious that very few want to smoke just plain ganja, unless it is vaporized. What, there are no heroin addicts and alcoholics in Europe who also smoke marijuana? Are you telling me that people who are addicted to truly harmful substances such as junk and booze cannot smoke marijuana without cutting it with Raleigh's idiotic legacy? Is straight marijuana too strong for real drug addicts?

Perhaps you can buy straight marijuana in these places and take it home. Europeans?

But if this is true, why not sell it that way in bars?

As a person who agrees that on most things, America is way behind Europe--and I mean way, way behind, thanks to pre-Reagan era Reaganesque consciousness, Reagan era Reaganesque consciousness, and, well you get the picture--I have to say that Europe is completely retarded on this issue. Even America, crass and under-sophisticated as it is, is not so dumb.

Back to Yahoo News:

German tourist Lars Schmit lamented the possible end of an era. Without coffee shops, he said, "a little bit of Amsterdam will die."

So true, Herr Schmit. But with the new law, ironically, many more will live. Because they will not die of lung cancer from tobacco in their Mary Jane.

The Walrus Speaks does not endorse the use of any intoxication, legal or illegal. I'm Hector Diego and I approve of this message.

Yellow Submarine

by Hector Diego


Anonymous punk cover.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Who, You Better You Bet

by Hector Diego


1982.

Steve Miller, Abracadabra

by Hector Diego


The term classic rock annoys me, but Steve Miller is indeed classic. He once opened for the Dead, and kicked ass from pillar to post.

I was very impressed with this guy live.

ZZ Top, Sharp Dressed Man

by Hector Diego

Billy Idol, Scream

by Hector Diego


Pretenders, Middle Of The Road

by Hector Diego


In the middle of the 1980's there was still some great rock and roll.

Liz Phair, Take A Look

by Hector Diego


Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

by Hector Diego


You think I give a damn about a Grammy?

Ying-Yang Twins, Tongue Bath

by Hector Diego


The use of a slight dissonance and the bass line is mildly interesting. I have no issue with the crude lyrics.

I'm just wondering why such thin musical premises are tolerated by the youngsters of today. I am willing to grant that this stuff is an artistic genre as valid as any other.

But where's the MUSIC?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blackbird

by Hector Diego


1968.

Elton John, Your Song

by Hector Diego



Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1959-1997) Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Wonderful World

by Hector Diego


They say that "Iz" was a big man, and not just physically.

The Humane Society Needs Your Help

by Hector Diego

See here. The Humane Society is not PETA, they do not obstruct businesses or ruin people's legitimate livelihood. I ask you, is physically abusing a sick animal legitimate, just to squeeze the last fraction of a penny on the dollar?

If you think these demonic activities are not legitimate, if you think that animals have even the slightest right to avoid extreme pain before they are killed for food--and most decent people do, even if they are not a vegetarian or vegan --go here.

The abuse is systemic. It is a reflection of how we treat the earth, other humans, and all life.

Applying Into A Black Hole

by Jay Allbritton
They don't hire Democrats over at the Justice Department.

From the wire:
"Individuals at the department were rejecting any of our candidates who could be construed as left-wing or who were perceived, based on their appearances and resumes and so forth, as being more liberal," Kevin Ohlson, deputy director of the department's executive office of immigration review, complained to Justice investigators.
This makes me insane. These are public service jobs. I personally have no doubt that this was going on across the board. There damn sure better be investigations into the hiring practices of every organ of this government.

Beatles, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

by Hector Diego



Look here, for those of you who bought the "Let It Be" single 39 years ago, and never bothered to play the B side, here it is.

It's John and Paul goofing off. They had taken a break from their late Beatles career animosity and the result is delightful.

This kind of knocking around is common now (Eminem) but no rock band did it and got away with it in those days. No one was interested.

It's rather amusing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grateful Dead, Althea

by Hector Diego


This one is for my wife. She says it is the ultimate feminist Dead song. Let's hear it for the Gratefuls.



I told Althea I was feeling lost
Lacking in some direction
Althea told me upon scrutiny
My back might need protection

I told Althea that treachery
Was tearing me limb from limb
Althea told me: now cool down boy -
Settle back, easy, Jim

You may be Saturday's child all grown
Moving with a pinch of grace
You may be a clown in the burying ground
Or just another pretty face
You may be the fate of Ophelia
Sleeping, and perchance to dream -
Honest to the point of recklessness
Self centered to the extreme

Ain't nobody messin' with you but you
Your friends are getting most concerned -
Loose with the truth
Maybe it's your fire
But baby...don't get burned
When the smoke has cleared, she said,
That's what she said to me:
You're gonna want a bed to lay your head
And a little sympathy

There are things you can replace
And others you cannot
The time has come to weigh those things
This space is getting hot -
You know this space is getting hot

I told Althea
I'm a roving sign -
That I was born to be a bachelor -
Althea told me: OK, that's fine -
So now I'm out trying to catch her

Can't talk to me without talking to you
We're guilty of the same old thing
Talking a lot about less and less
And forgetting the love we bring

Rilo Kiley, Keep It Together

by Hector Diego


Jenny Lewis is from L.A, not N.Y, and she is only half Jewish. It is doubtful that she knows any Yiddish beyond a phrase or two. But you might doubt this when you hear "Keep It Together". I'm not even sure it's Jenny.

Station Agent?

Let's Have the Election Today!

by Jay Allbritton
With a little over four months remaining before the general election a narrative of Obama landslide is setting in. It's not so much in the media, as it is in the streets.

The random people I talk to are way more interested in what the Obama Administration will be like than they are in the horse race with John McCain. No one even talks about John McCain. they don't hate McCain like they did Bush, but to them, he's utterly invisible. This is happening in North Central Florida. Sure, I live in a college town, but I'm not college-age and neither are my friends and acquaintances, nor and the random people I overhear on the bus talking about the new boss. "When Obama wins," is the beginning of an aweful lot of sentences I hear these days.

Now the polls are starting to back it up.

Here's the latest snapshot from Electoral-Vote.Com:

A new national poll puts Obama up by 12%. When Nader and Barr are factored in, Obama's lead goes up to 15%. That's the same spread in a Newsweek poll that came out earlier this week.

The biggest problem for Obama supporters right now is time. The election is not today. It's in a little over four months. Presidential politics is a tightrope. Ask George Allan how fast a YouTube clip can send a politician to work for a think tank or a board of directors somewhere.

Complacence is also a danger. If Obama's campaign gets cocky--and they maybe a bit too cocky already--then they may wind up being the next Dukakis. Dukakis went from having a 17-point lead following the Democratic National Conventional to making the electoral map look like this a few weeks later when the election was held:

I'm not comparing Obama to the Duke, because there's no basis for that. But there was no basis to think that Dukakis would implode when he did. The point is, I wish today was November 4.

The Ultimate Hippie Song, Get Together

by Hector Diego



Everyone knows that the hippies blew their big chance to bring down the Establishment. All that peace and love crap ruined the moment...

Right?

Obama's Sister Reveals Family Religion

by Hector Diego

Maya Soetoro-Ng

"Maya Soetoro-Ng [Barack Obama's sister], when asked if her mother was an atheist, said, "I wouldn't have called her an atheist. She was an agnostic. She basically gave us all the good books — the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads and the Buddhist scripture, the Tao Te Ching — and wanted us to recognise that everyone has something beautiful to contribute. Jesus, she felt, was a wonderful example. But she felt that a lot of Christians behaved in un-Christian ways."

So Obama grew up with more than one Good Book? James Dobson thinks that's a shame, but I think it's one more reason Obama is going to be the next President of the United States.

I think it's very un-Christian of Dobson to claim that the Bible is the only Good Book. I can't imagine Christ saying that, even 2,000 years ago--for was he a wise man, or was he not? If one answers that Christ was not merely a wise man, he was the Son of God, I say, exactly. The Son of God must by definition be a wise man, and no wise man could endorse the cracked views of James Dobson.

Beatles Revolution #5-A, A State Of Mind

by Hector Diego


"Adults were shocked by their long hair." My wife--born in 1965--said, "What long hair?"

That the Beatles' not-very-long-at-all hair was considered long says more about America than the Beatles. If we want to understand the perpetual red state retrogression in America, the Beatles' effect on this sort of consciousness frames the discussion nicely.

Before the Beatles there were only four hair styles allowed for American men--the butch (almost shaved down to the skull), the crew (a wee bit longer), the flattop (a crew cut straight across on top), and the regular (think Beaver's Dad, Ward Cleaver). Actually, Elvis' 'do, a variation on the regular, was considered scandalous by many a red stater (it's a state of mind, not necessarily geographical). By January 1964, when most people first heard the Beatles on American radio, the dominant style was the regular. What does that say about a society that would call the dominant hair style "regular"?

What it says is that the vision of Thomas Jefferson--that America needed a non-violent revolution every 20 years--never penetrated red state consciousness. In other words, red staters are conformists. When this is understood, we can see that red state consciousness and the kind of conformity we have seen in certain Communist countries have far more in common than blue state consciousness with either one of them. Unfortunately, only people used to doing more than their share of thinking can see this. They must do more than their share because the overall ratio of thinking to thinkers is abysmally low. This includes blue staters simply along for the ride. However, I am glad they are riding on the better train.

These days the cut of your hair has nothing at all to do with social and political consciousness. I live in America's Deep South and I'm outnumbered by long-haired men addicted to 19th century thinking. Ironically, some of these guys like the Beatles' music.

They play snippets of the Beatles on our local conservative talk radio. If Lennon had been buried in a grave instead of cremated, he might be rolling over in it.

It will be a long time before America weans itself from red state consciousness. When you are addicted to the big tit of convention, invention scares the crap out of you.

But nothing can stop the Beatles Revolution, which transcends hair styles and even music.

The Beatles Revolution is a state of mind.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hector Diego On George Carlin

by Hector Diego


I am conflicted over the legacy of George Carlin. As a teen I liked his stuff, but as I grew older his scatological humor left me cold. I appreciate many of his irreverent comments, and I agree that war is far more obscene than any human body, with or without clothes (I'm not quite sure about mine, though).

However, Carlin's humor directed against religion was frequently either uninformed, malformed, or simply malevolent. He liked to list a variety of grievances directed at religion--a pile of "false claims." But how did Carlin know? What did he know that I don't?

He said, "Religion brings in millions in taxes, and they always need a little more." But he doesn't define "religion." And who are "they"?

What about the poor Muslim in Central Asia, who, at this very moment, is worshiping his God in peace--or would be if some so-called religious bastard wasn't misrepresenting him, oppressing him, or even killing him, all in the name of bullshit religion, be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever. There is certainly plenty of bullshit religion in this world foisted upon the rest of us by religious bastards, always has been.

But Carlin doesn't specify religious bastardy. He simply paints all religion and all religious people with the same cynical brush. I wonder what his relationship with his father was like.

Someone might want to point out to Hector Diego--hey dude, this is just humor, roll with it. But it isn't just humor, it's a reflection of Carlin's real beliefs and his purpose in performing it.

Carlin was certainly entitled to his beliefs, but his take on religion is simplistic in the extreme.

I never killed anyone, or made a bunch of money from religion. I do know some people who do bad things and think they can get away with it simply because they are religious. In fact, I know too many people who do this, for comfort.

But doesn't this say more about the people who do the bad things and, in illusion, justify it with their religion, than it does about religion per se?

After all, isn't religion something that individuals practice, and shouldn't each individual be measured by his actions, not his beliefs--in America, anyway.

I recall that when I was a teaching assistant for Islam Professor Richard Foltz, the good Professor set me and the whole class straight on the issue of good and bad religion. This was the first class meeting after the 911 attacks, and I, thinking that I could facilitate an objective discussion, asked him what might be taken within Islamic doctrine to justify the attacks.

Dr. Foltz replied that the issue was not religion per se, the issue was religious people, or simply, people. It was people who flew the planes into the World Trade Center, it was people that put them up to it, and it was people who provoked these Muslims in the first place.

It was not Islam and Christianity at war, it was people at war using their religion to justify their actions. It's too bad Carlin wasn't in that classroom, he might have learned something.

Carlin's anti-religion humor is divisive and non-productive. He did have the right to say what he did--which, we must admit, is more than certain religionists would grant the Danish press--and I have the right to point out that on religion, Carlin is fullashit. I think even Bin Laden would agree with me about Carlin.

The irony here is that Carlin is disingenious in his religious humor, and humor is supposed to be either about truth, or something so absurd that it is funny. Carlin on religion is neither--he's a propagandist provoking intelligent people to hang out in the lower regions of their minds.

Now, I'm not saying that Carlin's closing line in this video--Joe bless you--is not funny.

But I have a feeling I'm going to hear from the Station Agent about all of this.

Email Exchange Between Good Faith Reason And Bad Faith Drug War Paranoia

by Hector Diego

Justice Scalia's Italian gesture says it all.

Well, maybe the anti-drug people are not quite paranoid in the strict sense of the word, because their suspicion that relaxing drug laws or even decriminalizing non-violent behavior of adults in the privacy of their own home really would confirm the meaning of the language of America's Founding Fathers--and they simply cannot have that.

Men like Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin believed in the sacredness of civil rights. The other day on the Charlie Rose show I witnessed American Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia claim that he was a strict, traditionalist interpreter of the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He says that only what is written in these documents should be the standard for American legal policy, not subject to the whim of judges, politicians, or even the American people.

"A formalist, Scalia is considered the Court's leading proponent of textualism and originalism (he is careful to distinguish his philosophy of original meaning from original intent). These schools of jurisprudence emphasize careful adherence to their understandings of the text of both the Constitution of the United States and federal statutes as that text would have been understood to mean when adopted. Scalia will typically use dictionaries contemporaneous with the text's adoption to discern its meaning."

Scalia is not a complete weenie, because he dissented against the use of heat sensing imaging by law enforcement to ascertain the use of grow lamps to grow marijuana, as a flagrant violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. But what kind of dictionary from the 18th century tells him that men like Washington, who grew hemp for profit and who knows what else, would interpret the Bill of Rights to mean it is fine to make a plant that can grow with no assistance at the side of the road, illegal?

Obviously Justice Scalia never had any doobage in his entire life--or if he did, he feels guilty about it even though he did not inhale--and that is OK but beside the point. My point is that he has a bad faith understanding of the English language in the 18th century or at any other time. A Supreme Court of good faith would understand that the current, stupid drug laws are quite unconstitutional, and would not be understood or ratified by the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin.

It is because of intelligence gone wrong in the person of Antonin Scalia and the other justices who vote similarly that draconian states like Florida persist in their unreasonable (but not paranoid, as we noted) drug policies.

Concerned citizens must speak up, for when they do, the American system is not so broken that the will of the people cannot be heard and accommodated. There's probably a little bit of Slim Shady in all of us--so we should all stand up.

Here's an exchange I had recently with a deputy of Governor Charlie Crist of Florida. In many ways Crist is not a flaming conservative and takes a more nuanced view of policy than his Republican fellows--but on the drug issue he's retarded.


Dear Mr. Davis:

In regard to your points about the commercial trafficking of house grown marijuana, I can only say yes, but an amateur may not be able to grow a marijuana plant worth even $50, what to speak of $3000, and may have 25 of them--what then?

Your statement mentions a "processed indoor cannabis plant" that the DEA claims is worth $3000. But the law just provides for the illegality of cannabis plants, not "processed cannabis plants".

Please correct me if I am wrong. If I am not, The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act could certainly apply to a terminally ill person whose deficient botanical skills requires them to grow 25 plants just to get the benefit of a single plant. After all, their bad botanical skills do not qualify them to purchase the stuff legally, so they do what they can.

Is this not correct? Are there exceptions in this bill for the terminally ill grower with a brown thumb?

I suspect not, but I am eagerly awaiting your reply. If there is an exception, Governor Crist will get credit for signing a bill that is only partially bad.

Sometimes the punishment is worse than the crime, for an entire society. We must ask ourselves why a higher percentage of our population is in prison than any other country in the world.

Could draconian and ill conceived drug laws have anything to do with that?

Respectfully, Hector Diego.

On Mon Jun 23 16:59:46 EDT 2008, Governor Charlie Crist wrote:

Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist. The Governor appreciates your sharing your opinions about House Bill 173/Senate Bill 390, The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act filed by Representative Thompson and Senator Oelrich. The Governor wants to know how people feel about the many issues we face and asked that I respond on his behalf.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has stated the national average street value of a processed indoor Cannabis plant (which yields approximately one pound of marijuana) is approximately $3,000. Florida has found that the street value of 25 plants could range from $50,000 to $125,000 depending on the area and local market. Such a street value would seem to be a reasonable basis for the presumption that there is an "intent to sell." This Act adds to existing law prohibiting the cultivation of Cannabis plants for "personal use" by lowering the
threshold for the definition of trafficking in marijuana. As you may know, the Governor signed House Bill 173 into law on June 17, 2008 and the bill will become effective July 1, 2008.

Thank you again for sharing your views with the Governor. The Governor believes having access to government is among the most important rights Floridians and Americans possess, no matter which side of an issue they are on. For information about the Governor's initiatives, please view his web site at www.flgov.com.

Sincerely,

Warren Davis
Office of Citizen Services
Executive Office of the Governor

In conclusion, it is lamentable that Governor Charlie Crist and Executive Officer Warren Davis are interested in preserving the First Amendment right to question their policies, but are not interested in preserving the "original meaning" of Jefferson, who penned the famous words in the Declaration of Independence pertaining to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

It is likely that they are happier taking the liberty to have an alcoholic drink, than smoking marijuana. And really now, doesn't that explain America's current drug laws?

Lightning Round--Refocusing Priorities, Carlin, FISA Fight in a Parallel Universe, Enron Loophole, More

by Jay Allbritton
Monkey Muck: While the press and right wing try to tear our candidate apart based on campaign finance, Dr. Monkey reminds us of the big picture. 4 more dead soldiers today.

Les Enragés.Org: SadButTrue reiterates George Carlin's legacy. In the comments The Unruly Mob gives Carlin a fabulous unruly send off. Other Carlin tributes: Frogette, Jonathan Schwarz, Doug, and Bats.

Blue Gal: BG assuages some of the fears about Barack Obama. Like, "Can we still call it the White House, nyuk, nyuk!~"

Driftglass: Drifty drifts into a better parallel universe where Senators Clinton and Obama unite to filibuster FISA, complete with a brilliant West Wing reference. Back here in this reality, I am begging Harry Reid to kill this damn FISA compromise by putting it in his pocket and never bringing it to a vote. I would almost forgive him for being a terrible Majority Leader if he did. Almost.

Pensito Review: How could we help drop oil prices by 25 to 50 percent overnight? Close the Enron Loophole.

Pandagon: Karl Rove has an interesting characterization of Barack Obama. By the way something, Pandagonians, the new site looks phenomenal.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rilo Kiley Live, Austin Texas 2003, Pull Me In Tighter

by Hector Diego


Look not unto your neighbor, save yourself first you silly fool.

McCain Consistent On Iran, Armageddon

by Hector Diego

Russert grilling John "Armageddon" McCain.

TIM RUSSERT: So we could have two wars at once?

SEN. McCAIN: I think we could have Armageddon.
April 2 2006, on Meet The Press.

It looks like the dude is not going to go out of his way to make sure Armageddon doesn't happen, because here is acknowledging the possibility of a global meltdown, but still insists--in fact, two years later still insists--that America should engage with Iran militarily.

I'm far more concerned with McCain's consistencies than his inconsistencies, aren't you?

Vanda Shiva Discusses Global Environment

by Hector Diego


Do you believe that a huge, monster corporation should be allowed to have a patent on herbs, trees, and even water? Well, Monsanto does.

Vandana Shiva is one of the most prominent environmentalists in the world today. Please hear what she has to say about bio-safety, sustainability, the plans of big money interests to rip off the earth and the rest of human society, and other important issues.

Come Together

by Hector Diego


John sang shoot me , and everybody told him not to sing that, so they edited out me and kept shoot. I would have rather they got rid of shoot and kept me.

We are now nearing the end of our Beatles Number 1's countdown.

From their 1969 album Abbey Road.

The Swiftboating of Immanuel Kant

by Jay Allbritton
Harsh attack ad from the Nietzsche Campaign. He may as well have just said, "No we Kant!"

Joni Mitchell, Woodstock

by Hector Diego


Joni Mitchell, for those who don't know, is the composer of "Woodstock". Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young did a fine job, but you must hear Joni if you haven't.

Rilo Kiley Tour Ends, Are They Breakin' Up?

by Jay Allbritton
The Rilo Kiley tour is now a thing of the past. Too bad we missed out on it here in Florida but we did get to see it last year. But, is this curtains for RK? No one's talking, but Jenny Lewis did send out what could be a hint or perhaps some playful misinformation when she closed the band's final performance (review here) of the tour with the words, "It's been nice knowing ya."

The last album was a cut below their standard, and if they come back I think it will only be because they want to drop one last brilliant album before the final curtain falls.

For now, enjoy "Better Son/Daughter" from Austin, Texas.

NPR's On The Media Visits China

by Jay Allbritton
NPR's brilliant On the Media program dedicated this week's program to media in China. Brooke Gladstone delves deep into Chinese culture and takes a close look at "the new China".
There is real investigative reporting in China, it’s just not done under a free press flag. Instead, practitioners mind an unstated set of rules, keeping themselves safe by employing tactics like using excessive jargon and exploiting government rivalries. It's an evolving dance requiring ingenuity, subtlety, courage and a willingness to be fired every day.
Anyone interested in peering below the superficial clichés that define the relationship between the China and the West should take a listen.

Goodbye, George Carlin

by Jay Allbritton
The great George Carlin has died at the age of 71. Carlin went far beyond simply redefining stand-up comedy in the sixties and seventies--he changed our culture profoundly. He empowered those who suspected that perhaps, just perhaps, they too had a voice that could speak up about the absurdities of our existence. That's the beauty of stand up comedy at it's finest. It's a pure message coming straight from the comic to the masses. George brought it like no other.



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Neocons Spinning the Past and the Future

by Jay Allbritton
The Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times writer that broke the NSA wiretapping story, James Risen recently wrote about the Neocon's campaign to rewrite the history of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Rumsfeld recently announced that he is writing his memoirs, while Feith's account, "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism," came out this spring.

In a series of lengthy interviews over several weeks, Feith explicitly stated that his objective in writing his book was to start the process of altering the accepted history of the Iraq war, to adjust the Rumsfeld team's place in history. He wants to change the narrative - before it is too late.

Feith sees his book as nothing less than the opening salvo in what he and many of his allies hope will be a major and prolonged campaign by Bush administration hawks to develop a new school of revisionist history of the early 21st century, in which they will be heroes, rather than the villains. They see this fight for historical dominance as the last battle of the war in Iraq.

How far this devolves into the "stabbed in the back" school of history remains to be seen. But the outlines are already clear.

Feith argues that the Pentagon team's historical standing has been victimized by its unilateral disarmament in the leak and access wars of the Bush administration, even as their foes at the State Dept. and the Central Intelligence Agency whispered to the press about the evil men at the Pentagon. Rumsfeld so hated leaks and leakers, Feith says, that the Pentagon team allowed themselves to be Swiftboated by the forces under Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and CIA Director George Tenet.
Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan has his eyes on another neocon who's making some very interesting assertions about what could be, as Sullivan calls it, "The Mother of all October Surprises." On Fox News today, William Kristol speculated that Bush would attack Iran if he though that Obama might win thge election. Kristol coats this assertion in dung by claiming that Bush would do it because he would doubt Obama's ability to do the right thing and bomb Iran. Sullivan, and a lot of others, think that Bush would hit Iran as a means of perking up McCain's waning White House hopes by sinking us back into the fear narrative of the 2004 campaign.

A fascinating little moment on Fox News Sunday today. Bill Kristol airs the idea that if Obama looks as if he will win the election, Bush or Israel may be more likely to attack Iran before next January. Bush could say: Obama made me do it! Kristol also raises the prospect of Saudi Arabia and Egypt going nuclear in response to an Obama presidency. I think we'll see many more of these dire warnings if Obama looks like the next president - and he's increasingly the favorite. But why do I find the hysteria not so effective this time around? Maybe it's because the period in which we could have stopped Iran's nuclear ambition is now behind us.

But could it happen? Could Bush bomb Iran before the next election and create a sense of international crisis that could cause voters to swing back to McCain? From everything we know and Bush and Cheney, the answer, surely, is yes. His failed policies have left only one option to prevent Iran's going nuclear: war. And Bush must be chafing to see how his legacy could be dramatically changed if Obama wins. We could be facing the mother of all October surprises.

I'm with Sullivan in one sense--the Bush Administration have a history of attacking countries for political reasons. The Iraq Invasion was supposed to be the lynch pin in turning Bush into "A War President" and did, in some respects, make Bush un-assailable in 2004.
I feel you, Sullivan, but that act won't play in 2008. Americans loathe Bush because he sank the country into an economic quagmire by pissing away our resources on Iraq. Under this simple narrative, there's no chance the American people will buy into another Republican foreign policy adventure anywhere in the world, much less the next country over, one that's spelled differently by only one letter. We might be crazy be we ain't dumb.

Beatles Revolution #4

by Hector Diego

Ann Wilson, Isolation

by Hector Diego


A wonderful interpretation of a Lennon classic.

George Harrison, It Don't Come Easy

by Hector Diego


No, it does not come easy--the Beatles should know.

It sounds like Harrison took the instrumental tracks for this song, deleted Ringo's vocal, and added his own, plus a few of his friends.

Across The Universe

by Hector Diego


I don't know much about science, but I find "science-lite" programs, of the kind shown on PBS, to be very interesting. The companion star in this black hole binary star system (is that the proper term?) is being drawn into the black hole by its gravity--so dense that even light cannot escape it. The part of the companion closest to the black hole is the part that goes in first, and is stretched by the gravitational pull, so it becomes a line.

As for this song, everything in our world will change. I think Lennon just liked the image.

But it exists nowhere in this material world.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stones, Time Is On My Side

by Hector Diego


Damn Right He Opted Out

by Jay Allbritton
As you may have heard, Barack Obama opted out of public financing for the general election. The McCain campaign is attacking him viciously over it, as they should, because this is politics. The last seven and half years should have made that all pretty clear. Politics is vicious and the cost of losing is too high to risk massive advantages over promises made with people who never meant to uphold their end.

McCain's camp, however, decided long ago that they would circumvent the spirit of campaign finance reform by accepting big money donations through the RNC, which Obama can't match without lobbyists.

From The Boston Globe:
McCain is not without a financial savior: the Republican National Committee. The Arizona senator, as the presumed GOP nominee, now controls it. And, while McCain can raise only $2,300 per donor for the November election, the national party can raise $28,500 per donor - a limit set by the campaign finance reform that McCain championed.

By the end of April, he and the RNC had $62 million in the bank - $10 million more than Obama and the Democratic National Committee.

"Our fund-raising is increasing," McCain said in Stockton, Calif., where he held his third fund-raiser in a 24-hour period last week at the home of developer Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers.

For a $2,300 donation to McCain, donors received a lapel pin. But the invitation made clear McCain wanted couples to arrive with checks for as much as $86,200. At other fund-raisers, couples have been encouraged to give $140,000 or more.
Throw in the endless loot being funneled by GOP interests to 527s and Barack Obama will need every cent dropped on his campaign by his donors. Opting into the system would have crippled his campaign.

UPDATE: Today, MoveOn.Org shut down its 527 at Obama's behest.

Church Of The Good Shepard Senior Choir, The Battle Hymn Of The Republic

by Hector Diego

This is the scene from the film Glory where they went
down standing up.

Military leaders know that they cannot predict which soldiers will show courage and who will shrink from danger, until tested. Lincoln was reluctant to hang deserters for he admitted that running away from a battle was quite a natural thing to do. By this logic, great courage has something to do with the supernatural. So God help us every day.

This rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic takes a stirring piece and drains it of any possible joy, portraying the reality of war in very somber tones. The Senior Choir of the Church of the Good Shepard has made serious music even more serious. It's a masterful arrangement that provokes reflection on the horrors of war and the finality of death, and builds to a crescendo that dignifies the glory of sacrifice--the only thing about war that deserves our admiration.

Beatles, Baby It's You

by Hector Diego


This is almost the same as the officially released version, but if you listen very closely, you will hear a different take. I'm not sure why they used another one, this one's great.

You're Going To Lose That Girl

by Hector Diego


The only thing I don't like about Beatles footage is the constant cigarette smoking. Cigarettes killed George Harrison and I hate them.

Michelle

by Hector Diego


Michelle Obama's America

by Hector Diego


When Michelle Obama said that for the first time in her life she was proud of America, I understand, totally. She found America in her own way. All Americans have searched for her at one time or another.

What's wrong with that?

Oz, The Lennon Revolution

by Hector Diego

Do you believe in the doctrines of Lennon, comrade?

Here's an English language group from Russia, Oz, dedicated to the vision of John Lennon.

When the guy sings, "I was the walrus, but now I'm John", I take it like the old advertisement for the wisdom of Malcolm X--an African American guy stands up wearing a cap with an X on it and says, "I'm Malcolm X." Then a white girl stands up claiming to be Malcolm X, then a host of other people of all sorts with X on their caps, all claiming to be Malcolm X.

You got that right. We are all John Lennon.

Now let's live up to it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Paperback Writer

by Hector Diego


1966.

The Drill Shill--Crist Was Against It, Jeb Begged Brother Not to Drill

by Jay Allbritton
Bronzed Florida Governor Charlie H. Crist's zeal to fall all over himself to secure the VP slot on the Republican ticket has a better chance of making him a one-term governor than it does of making him Vice President. In service to McCain, Crist just flip-flopped on one of the issues Floridians will not tolerate--offshore drilling. That issue was such a big deal in this state that when he was governor Jeb Bush begged his brother not to open up Florida for drilling.

The myth that demand is up and supply is down is a double myth being perpetuated by the loudest megaphone in history--the ad driven media. In the last few days the non ad driven media has pushed back as best it can against this great lie. We are screaming at the top of our lungs that the oil industry has massive amounts of capped wells and unused drilling contracts just sitting there while they gauge you daily.

Tyrannical Attitudes Hurt National Security

by Jay Allbritton
This is a bit dated, but last week John McCain referred to the Supreme Court's decision to allow detainees a right to request a hearing one of the worst decisions in history.

Paleo-Conservative George Will asks, really?
Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect? With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

(more)
Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia says that we might lose a city because of this ruling. I read his ludicrous dissent in full. It didn't mention that investigative journalism conducted by McClatchy Newspapers uncovered that individuals that were wrongly detained in the Bush administration's post-9/11 panic to look like they were securing our nation once released actually became militants.

Using Scalia's logic, one could say that our unjust process that led to the creation of new militants could one day cost us a city. Why is this activist Supreme Court Justice working against national security?

Obama--"Let's Talk About 9/11"

by Jay Allbritton
Obama shot back on the 9/11-ism of the GOP (h/t Carpetbagger Report):
The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.

The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors — the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we’d be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.

Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership — the people who murdered 3000 Americans — have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That’s the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

James Taylor, Fire And Rain

by Hector Diego


This song gives me the chills. Come on Jesus, please look down upon us.

1970.

CSNY Live, Marrakesh Express, Blackbird

by Hector Diego

Lara Logan Talks About Iraq on TDS

by Jay Allbritton
Iraq correspondent Lara Logan visited The Daily Show last night and talked about spending the last five years there. I know John McCain says you can't take Barack Obama seriously on the subject of Iraq because he hasn't been there in a while, but when is McCain going to speak to the actual issues Logan brings up in this interview?

When Mark Dice Met Michael Reagan

by Jay Allbritton
The radio slap fight between Michael Reagan and Mark Dice would be hilariously funny if the two of them didn't represent the destructive sentiments of actual people. It's right up there with The Three Stooges meet the Monsters.

Dice, who's like a Phil Hendrie character come to life, represents an interesting amalgam of political lunacy. He manages to combine the zealous conspiracy theory rhetoric of Alex Jones with the sexual backwardness of the Christian Right. Watch as he utterly confuses Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian in this clip from The Young Turks.


Dice popped up again last week when Michael Reagan, who recently moved to the right of Michael Savage, went on the air and called for Dice's murder because Dice was telling the troops not to fight for the people who were responsible for 9/11.

A Ron Paul supporter brings us the meeting of the minds that transpired when Dice went on Reagan's show. It didn't go very well. Dice didn't play along with Reagan's apology and referenced Reagan's appeal to murder Islamic babies. Wait, murder Islamic babies? Wow.

Archive

Antique walrus print courtesy of FineRarePrints.Com