Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Hey! With 2009 little just hours away I just want to wish everyone reading this a Happy New Year and hope you all have a great 2009.

As for New Years Resolutions and the like, I don't really have any and I'm cautious about the next year. While I hope 2009 is better than 2008, I also hoped for a better 2008 last year and things all went downhill in ways you don't want to know about. Thus, while I'm trying not to be too down about things, I am approaching things with a lot of caution.

Tomorrow is another year (it's always weird to say that). Hope all is well with everyone.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quasi Unexpected Holiday Music Recap

I know this is really cutting things to the bone here, but I realize I need to get this in now or it won't get done. This entry will highlight a few holiday music records: a unique disc released for a small time each year but not normally available. This time there's three that we want to let you in on. One I'm sure you know about but the other two I feel need some attention. Let's start with the most known one first.

Stephen Colbert and Friends - "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All soundtrack" download

This is basically what the title implies. The soundtrack to the Colbert Report host's recent Christmas Special. Musically, this varies from the lounge/standards of Colbert's "Another Christmas Song" to guest appearances by Toby Keith ("Have I Got A Present For You," which is amusing when just audio but funny as shit when watched), Feist ("PLease Be Patient") and several duets (including one with Jon Stewart called "Can I Interest You In Hannukah") as well as a group singalong of (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" (Keith's appearance on this song is something I can honestly say I never thought would happen). While those unfamiliar with Colbert and his work might not get this, Colbert fans will love it. Snarky, tongue in cheek, and funny as hell. Only available on itunes but worth it.

(Comedy Central)

Destructors 666 - "Bah Humbug" CDEP

This band has been making an impression here at TTWN HQ (or whatever passes for it) for a while now, so imagine our surprise when this Christmas EP appeared. As you may have guessed, this is tear down the walls punk rock delivered with lots of aggro guitars and a tongue and cheek approach. Starting with "Just Another Christmas Song" (no, not the one Colbert did) on, this is a more sarcastic take on the season that's sometimes humorous, sometimes confrontational (one song is titled "Merry Christmas & Fuck Off), as well as a cover of Fear's early 80s classic "Fuck Xmas" for good measure. Straight ahead and loud, this is a great CD to listen to for a little relief from the usual drama that unfortunately occure this time of year for many of us. Well worth getting for next Holiday season (I checked the band's website and I don't know if they have it, but you can definitely find it on itunes).


Gentleman Auction House Christmas In Love CDEP

In our holiday music wrapup comes this EP from Gentleman Auction House. A brief collection of originals songs (with one or two exceptions), the band's layered power pop sound fits in this setting as tight hooks and clean harmonies mesh with a blend of synthesizers and guitars for a vibe between the old chestnuts and the more personal tales of love, relationships about to fall apart et al during this time of year What emerges though is a more somber take on the holiday as trying to move on from a breakup et al is the more prominent than any of the forced happiness that the media tries to get us to march lockstep to this time of year. While Holiday traditionalists and those not into poppier stuff might not enjoy it, this is an entertaining little disc that at least puts the season into context.


I hope this helps you in finding some new music for holiday cheer in its own unique way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Does Rick Warren Have A Role In This Too?

Yes, like many people, I was taken aback by President Obama wanting Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration (why are we having clergy at these things anyway, but I digress), creating a possible slap in he face between Warren's support for Prop 8 (which banned gay marriages in CA) and the people in the LGBT community that helped him get in office. While some said that Prop 8 wouldn't cancel those already married, it looks like we spoke too soon. Now they're trying to nullify already existing marriages. While I sincerely hope that Rev. Warren isn't involved with this, why do I have a feeling he wouldn't oppose it

This is problematic for one huge reason: it gives the state the power to decide which marriages are allowed to exist. If this is allowed, then what lies ahead? Would interracial marriages be next? Would the far right try to stop companies from allowing benefits to non married couples? Supporters of Prop 8 and similar foolish bills and laws claims marriage is supported in the Bible. However, while many of these people claim to be social conservatives who want less government intrusion when it comes to personal issues they want the state to play God.

Just frustrating. Hopefully we get our heads on straight and move forward from this step back.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why I'll Miss Moral Orel

I don't normally do posts about things like TV shows but this is a case where I had to make an exception. I just hope I did justice to what I wanted to get across.

This Thursday will mark the last episode of the TV show Moral Orel, thus marking the end of one of the more bizarre shows to appear on US television and, in some ways, one of the more surprising. The story of Orel (hence the title), a deeply religious 12 year old who wants to do good but misinterprets the somewhat skewed messages given by his family (especially his father Clay, who seems more interested in using his belt than actually teaching his son), school, and church and ends up getting in trouble. While the show has one of those people tend to either love or hate, there is a reason I'll miss the show.

Is it the show's ability to make fun of topics some would consider taboo? There might be some of that. In the shows run Orel's misunderstandings of rules and lessons has led him to raise the dead, get addicted to crack, and unintentionally become a pimp among other things. While I admit sometimes I don't get the direction a certain episode takes, it's been one of those journeys where a stop motion animation show can show us a window on the society at large. But that's not the reason I'll miss Moral Orel.

The real reason I'll miss Moral Orel is simple: the show is probably the most accurate warning shot of what society would be like if the conservative Christian right really controlled everything. The town of Moralton in the show is a place where religion and rules reign supreme and the appearance of piety (in this town the librarian actually burns the books herself) seems more important than what's inside. While the adults in the show appear to be content, they more often than not want to pass the buck (especially when it comes to Orel's quest for advice and help) and then often not realizing their role in what got Orel into trouble in the first place. It's also telling for the show that the character of Stephanie, owner of Moralton's only sex shop, is the one adult that's actually worth a damn, treating Orel with a certain amount of respect and concern, as opposed to the other adults who just brush him off, more concern with their own problems than providing even a remote resemblance of social guidance. With this last season, we learn some of the reasons why the adults around Orel are the way they are and, in a way, how they seem to pass on the mistakes done to them onto the next generation (especially Orel), taking the show on a darker turn, but one that actually added a context to the show other than the feel you're watching an episode of Davy and Goliath gone horribly worng.

In the last couple decades, there's been a lot of talk about a culture war. Social conservatives like to believe that if we can erase the upheaval the social movements of the 1960s helped to create, then things would be more peaceful and orderly, creating a world that's safer and better, especially with the church taking a major role in everyone's life. While this seems like a nice theory, the reality of this society would most likely be exactly like Moralton.

Here's hoping (and to doing what we can) to ensure society never gets to that point. R.I.P. Moral Orel - you will be missed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Can't Believe It!!!!!

It doesn't take a genius or an expert on U.S. policy to realize that the various people in the Bush administration have largely thumbed their noses at the law and the Constitution with regularly over the past eight years to face no consequences for their actions. Thus, I think many people (including myself) have gotten used to (though extremely fucking angry about) the fact that Dubya, Cheney and company will screw this country over and get away with no punishment. Imagine my shock when I learned a day or so ago that vice president Dick The Dick Cheney and former attorney general Alberto "Double Lie Gonzo" Gonzalez have been indicted by a grand jury in Texas.

The state charges relate to Cheney and Gonzalez' connection to a company running a privately run prison and allegations of prisoner abuse. While a very small thing compared to the war related atrocities the Bush administration has tainted our country with for most of the last eight years, I think many people are trying to pick their jaws up off the floor over the idea that Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez were charged with anything at all. How will this case pan out? I have no idea. Odds are Dick the Dick and Double Lie Gonzo will find a way to weasel out of this, but I hope they don't. It would be nice to see a karmic payback of sorts with these two having to take responsibility for something bad they were connected with.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He's Only Got Two Months To Fuck Up The World

On November 4, 2008 the American people voted in record numbers that led to the election of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th President. While Obama's election certainly makes history with him being both the first African American (a term more literal given his father was from Kenya and his mother was from Kansas, making him also the first biracial) president of this land it sometimes can be hard to keep in mind that he's now the President-elect and his term doesn't actually begin until January 20, 2009. Thus, it's easy to forget that for a couple months we still have George W. Bush to deal with. And he's gonna leave his mark long after he's gone back to Texas (and yes, Texans, you have to take him back).

Whether it's bypassing privacy laws in regards to homeland security or relaxing environmental regulations to allow uranium mining near the Colorado River, Bush seems hellbent on carving his legacy in stone and having them take effect before Obama's inauguration (before 60 days and he could stop them from going into effect). The Bush administration also appears to push socialized banking further with a bailout on top of the $700 billion bailout Congress and Bush proposed a couple of months ago. Add to this the environmental gutting laws Dubya passed during his first term (remember the Healthy Forests Initiative, for example) going into full effect in the next couple of years, and we have a situation where one leaders foolish legacy may have plans to take his successors down with him. Some sources I've come across report Bush and company plan an orgy of deregulation to go into effect before leaving office. There's also the possibility of the banks helping to gut the treasury even more before January 20th. Currently it's too early to tell whether he plans to pushing a neocon social agenda into law under our noses (and using the lame duck lack of interest) before his term ends, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Why is he doing this? I have no idea. Reportedly, his approval rating is now lower than Nixon. He has to has some idea that these actions will make him less popular with the American people. Is this some weirdass plan to help bring forth the Rapture so hm and his fellow conservative so-called christians will go to heaven and laugh at those left behind? I'm not being flippant here - I really want to know why he wants to fuck up this damn bad. Usually the final days in office are basically not newsworthy, except for those last minute pardons (who wants to bet that Duke Cunningham and Ted Stevens both get pardoned by old Shrub). Dubya wants to use the lack of interest to push the country further into the shit.

Time is of the essence for George W. Bush. He's only got 69 days to fuck up the world, so he has to sink to new lows. The rest of us will have to clean up his goddamn mess after he leaves office. Here's hoping he doesn't go for totally batshit crazy in the last couple days.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

You Can Stop Blaming Nader Now

As I type this it is four and a half days since the election of now President elect Barack Obama in an election with reportedly one of the highest percentages of people voting than any election in recent history (if not all U.S. history). With a margin that some will even consider a mandate if not a landslide, it is time for the Democrats to finally end one of their sillier recent traditions.

I'm talking about the blaming of Ralph Nader and the Green Party for Al Gore losing the 2000 election (in fact, the election was stolen). Since this unfortunate event (and the eight years of hell we've faced as a result), it has become a habit for the Democrats to claim if Nader hadn't ran then Gore would've won in 2000 (even though Gore not even winning his home state could be a sign of things otherwise). Some have even gone so far as to sue to keep Green party candidates off the ballot in elections since then (does this seem a little anti-American to you?). Absent from this is the fact that one, Gore largely cost himself an election he might've won if he'd fought harder. Two, Bush and his cronies did everything they could to steal the election (and may have even stolen the one in 2004 as well). While the specifics can be considered conjecture, this election should put that to rest.

With Obama set to enter the White House in January and the Democrats holding the majority of seats in both the House and the Senate (though at this writing it's uncertain whether they have a filibuster proof majority), it appears on the surface that times are changing. Hopefully, the Democrats will step up to the plate and act like it.

So is they shouldn't blame Nader anymore, what next? One suggestion: stop acting like you're the only game in town for anyone not into the GOP. A lot of votes this election came from independent voters; this should be kept in mind when decisions are made. Also, maybe instead of trying to keep third party candidates from running for office, how about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine both sides allowed to die during the later Reagan years and allow all the candidates time to get their messages heard (we can discuss the need for instant runoff voting on another post). Granted these are small things to consider within the big picture, but the days of everyone blindly following a two party system may be numbered and it's time the Democrats deal with it rather than blaming a messenger (which, in best case scenarios, Nader was) that the electoral process is flawed.

Will the Democrats stop blaming Nader for 2000? Probably not, but I would like to think that the current victories can help write a new chapter rather than continue the same damn mistakes. Regardless, it's up to each of us to watch politicians like a hawk and make sure we actually get some well needed change.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History Has Been Made - What Next?

I originally posted this over on the blog on my MySpace page but decided to put it here as well for those who either don't have a myspace page or anyone who comes across this post.

We have just witnessed a historic election. Like many people in this country I was surprised by the outcome. Relieved as hell, but still surprised. America has at least taken a baby step towards eliminating institutionalized racism by its election of Barack Obama tonight for President. The polls looked like it would happen, but after two stolen elections, many people were both keeping their fingers crossed and not getting their hopes up. Now there's some quasi breathing room.

However, with all the talk of change and hope, there's still a lot of work to be done regardless of who you voted for. Despite Obama's hope for putting division behind us it's safe to say America will be just as divided a country in January 2009 as it is now - if not more so.

As for what changes need to happen, I came across this interview with Jello Biafra that says it in many ways better than I could (especially important is the two part answer to question 9, whether you supported Obama, Nader, McKinney, or even McCain please pay attention to this).

Yes tonight's election result was a small step in trying to alter the clusterfuck of the past eight years (and god only knows what Dubya will screw up before he finally heads back to Tejas), but while people can get a small nap now, the work is extremely far from over.

Some people may disagree with me and that's their right to do so. Now go argue amongst yourselves, I have to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Voting Is Not Enough

As I type this the U.S. is one week away from the 2008 Presidential election. Seven days left until voters theoretically (remember the electoral college really chooses that office, unfortunately) decide who will lead the country for the next four or so years. Unlike the last two elections there appear to be some more than surface level differences between the two major party candidates. However, the three third party candidates (Bob Barr (L), Ralph Nader (I), and Cynthia McKinney (Green)) are still considered obscure, not allowed into the debates or to get their platforms heard by the voters. Between that, voter suppression efforts by the GOP, and the increasing polarization of this country, its getting more difficult to get your voice heard much less come to a consensus on its future.

I admit I have a problem with the concept of how voting is done in this country. I also admit that I vote whenever I possibly can (though the more anarchist leanings in me feels bad about doing it). Before I get any angry responses, let me say first that I have absolutely no issue with as many people voting in an election as possible. In fact I think more people should vote (though I respect people's right not to). However, too often in America democracy has been reduced to casting a vote once every two to four years and then doing nothing while other people make decisions regarding the forces that control our lives. That is a problem.

Because of this fact, too often it seems that politicians take advantage of inactivity and push through things that counter how a democracy should go. The last eight years are an obvious day-glo example of this (especially Dubya's overuse of signing statements when signing bills into law). Whether it's getting our country into unpopular (and unnecessary) wars, slowly cutting off a woman's right to reproductive freedom and reproductive justice, or the seemingly slow creep towards martial law via mandatory minimum sentences and the like, it seems America tends to lose its way regardless of who gets into office.

Now I understand that most Americans are extremely busy. Between having to work (often multiple) jobs, trying to keep their families alive, and just make ends meet it can be hard to keep up on what's going on around you. In that context it's easy to see how people can fall into this cycle. But under this cycle nothing seems to change. If we are to survive than things must change in how things work out.

Voting alone is not enough. We all have to do what we can to hold the politicians' asses to the fire and make sure things change course. This means everything from writing (or e-mailing) Congresspeople to making what vigils and demonstrations you can make and everything else along the way. It's not always pretty and it's definitely not glamorous but those things have to be done. I'm aware that it can seem like an uphill struggle at times and keeping up with current events can seem daunting. It still has to be done if we are to become as a culture what we were taught America should be - or to become something better than that.

About a year ago I saw Noam Chomsky on CSPAN and he was asked about whether protests and raising awareness of issues to force change worked or not. His response was surprising when he said, "It's the only thing that ever has." He went on to explain that change can happen though it sometimes doesn't happen as fast as we'd like. While ti may seem like running into a brick wall at times, Chomsky makes a valid point: it's up to us to bring change about.

It's easy to think that if we just elect the right person then things will automatically change and the problems of previous administrations will go away. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Thus, it's up to me and you to make the world a better place. We can't do it all alone but for better or worse we're the only people who can do it.

I know some people reading this may disagree with what I say and where I'm coming from on politics and issues. That's okay - they have to right to do that. Just like we have the right to disagree with the shambles they've made of our world slowly over the previous decades and at warp speed over the past eight years.

We alone can work to make things right. We're the only ones who can do it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Long Time Update.

Hey! Hope your weekend is going well. It's been a while since I posted on the blog so there are a few things that I've been needing to post here.

First some quasi good news. In mid September St. Paul,MN police dropped charges against Democracy Now journalists arrested covering protests of the RNC convention. Unfortunately it's uncertain whether there wil be an investigation and there have been some reports that in both Denver and St. Paul the cities asked for insurance coverage in order to hold the conventions. GIven all the hoopla about the upcoming election, this has gained little coverage.

Elsewhere, crowd response at the McCain/Palin rallies have taken a very scary, ugly, and even racist turn as we near the election. At a time when conservatives have harped about how racism doesn't exist when it suits them, this tells a different story. Between this and the use of Obama's middle name, desperation is setting in for the GOP.

Also, if John McCain claims former Weather Underground leader BIll Ayres is all washed up and he doesn't care about him, why does he keep bringing Ayres up?

That's it for now. Stay tuned for another post in the hopefully very near future.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Only 22 Days 'Til The Election!!

Yes it's only 22 days until the election. I know it seems like the campaigns have gone on forever but it's only been finalized for a little over a month. For most people the choice is between Obama and McCain (despite there being five candidates for president if one factors in Bob Barr (L), Ralph Nader (I), and Cynthia McKinney (Green)). The debate is Wednesday and if the performance of the last two is any indication, McCain's in for a rough ride. As for Obama, aside from the fact he should be thanking the memory of Shirley Chisholm's 1972 campaign on a daily basis, seems to be in the lead. However, given the GOP theft of the last two Presidential elections, I have to say anything is possible - and that's truly a scary thought.

What is needed on a national level is adopting the Instant Runoff Voting (advocated by the Green party and used in several other countries) which would allow for people to vote the first choice as well as several others for each post. Yes the vote counts would take longer, but I think more people might go to the polls if they knew they could vote their conscience. As for those in the two sides of the one party system current in charge, you'd still benefit since your candidates would be many of the third party candidates' second or third choice. Sadly, November 4th won't have this so people will still be fretting over who they vote for.

So what's ahead? In the past I'd have an idea from looking at the polls. However, things have been so topsy turvy the last couple of election cycles that it can't be known until November 5th - if then. Here's hoping the change is for the better.


NOTE; I normally don't use the blog to do CD reviews. However, given the timeliness of this release, I felt it would be good to make an exception.

TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS - Rapid Response download EP

Many people in this country were shocked an appalled by the police response to protestors during the Republican convention in St. Paul back in August, especially the arrest and attacks by police on journalists. Upon learning of what was going down, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists decided to respond - producing this EP in the process. The first two songs are original tracks written for this release kicking off with the rousing rocker "Paranoia's Never Enough" detailing the police repression in St. Paul. "Mourning in America," the other original song, addresses the ugly specter of racism as an election issue. Rounding this off is a cover of Cocksparrer's "I Got your Number" and a version of Amebix' "Nobody's Driving" performed solo with Ted's own take on the HC/proto grind anthem.

Recorded and released quickly, the sound quality is a little rough. However, it is fitting given the circumstances around us that this download isn't the most slickly produced (it's more punk if it isn't). Only available from T&G, thew proceeds benefit tow organizations worthy of support: Food Not Bombs and Democracy Now.

Get it at touchandgo

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Debate Update

Okay, it's been about a week since the first debate. McCain did show up, but seemed more interested in pushing his agenda than offering any solutions. Obama was able to counter but did on occasion appear to not be as tough as he should've been. While each side claimed they won, the polls (in some effect driven by the economy) seemed to favor Obama. Since they were the only candidates one can only guess whether the results would've been the same if Nader, McKinney, and/or Barr were allowed into the debate (which I would've loved to have seen by the way).

The VP Debate with Biden and Palin is tomorrow night. While on the surface things seem like an easy outcome to predict, this election cycle has shown that nothing should be assumed. THus hot things will turn out is anybody's guess.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Debates Are Here....Or Are They

As most American readers of this know tomorrow (as I type this I still have a half hour) marks the first Presidential debate of the 2008 election. As usual they unforunately won't be open to all the candidates (it doesn't help that the Debate Commission is a business of sorts) but only in theory to Sen. John McCain (R) and Sen. Barack Obama (D).

Normally I wouldn't say in theory on this. However, things have gone topsy turvy as Sen. McCain allegedly suspended his campaign (yet allowed campaign ads to air during this time) to supposedly get the financial bailout package through, even cancelling on David Letterman at the last minute to supposedly fly to Washington (in reality he accepted an interview with CBS News taped at the same time Letterman does and stayed in NYC to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative the next day). He also called for the first debate to be postponed, to the dismay of many people.

So the question is will the debates happen? The Commission says they will but as I type this it's anyone's guess, especially since the bailout talks almost went somewhere until conservatives started speaking against it. Also, what happens if Obama shows up at Oxford, MS but McCain doesn't? Do they cancel? Does Obama get the whole time period to himself? These are things to ponder.

Personally I think if McCain doesn't show up, have the debates and maybe invite the other candidates to indulge in what McCain passes on (yes, this includes Ralph Nader - who wouldn't be a thorn in the Democrats' side if the Dems would quit trying to stop Independent and Green Party candidate and fought more against the GOP). I know it won't happen but it would be an interesting debate.

At this point, we're in a country where the economy seems to be going the way of the buffalo or the condor. Jobs are vanishing and most Americans are struggling just to maintain an existence which is precariously close to being above their means. We'll have to wait until Friday night (i.e.: Friday September 26, 2008) to see what goes down with the debates, but things are scary and to quote the British band AOS3 "Scary Times are Never Dull."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Random Notes, Housesitting, Etc.

Hey! Hope all is going well. Not much going on here for the most part. Spent the last couple weeks basically housesitting and looking for a paying job. Apparently the unemployment rate here in old MO is at the highest in 16 years. And they say the economy is going well.

Anybody else see footage of the RNC and the protests and think things have gone way out of whack. With the police arresting journalists covering the protests ranging from an AP photographer to several people from Democracy Now and four people from a college newspaper in Kentucky one wonders if anyone in power seems to be aware of freedom of the press anymore. Then there's the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate who has enough baggage to scare any sane person between now and November 4th (If anyone's interested let me know and I'll put up a post regarding what I think is ironic about the song they chose to use after her speech).

I hope people in this country are aware of how things have gone so far down the tubes over the past 20 years (and at double warp speed in the past eight), but I also know the dangers of underestimating how Americans can be misled so damn easily. Maybe my worries are unwarranted. I hope they are but we could be in for a scary ass ride.

A lot of you have probably already seen these posts and clips but for those unaware of what went down in the past week check out this post on pre-emptive raids. As more information comes out regarding these things it will be interesting to see public reaction to this in retrospect.

So where does that leave us now? I really don't know. The polarization in this country is arguably almost as bad as it was during the apex of the Vietnam War (and I have a sinking feeling it will get worse before it gets better). I wish I had an answer to this but hindsight is always 20-20 and things tend to be murkiest when you're going through it.

Sorry for the downer theme of this post. I needed to vent and get things off my chest. I think everyone wants things to be better but it's not hard to get cynical when the gap between those in power and the rest of up seems to be growing towards the size of a damn ocean.

What's next? Who knows? Maybe I'll have a lighter post sometime soon but everything's up in the air at the moment.

If you disagree with me that's fine now go argue amongst yourselves. I have to take care of things.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

LInks to Read on RNC Police Harrassment

In case you haven't come across these already. The following are a couple of place to find out how police reaction to activists during the RNC. One Two

Monday, September 1, 2008

And People Wonder Why Activists And Aware People Don't Trust Cops

The Republican National Convention is going down in St. Paul, MN this week. IN this midst of John McCain trying to have his cake and shit on women's reproductive freedom and reproductive justice with choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate comes news of the police conducting preemptive raids against activists.

It's time like this that make me wonder if those in the government and the police realize that they don't help themselves when they pull this shit.

Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC Protest

One of the more interesting things regarding the Democratic National Convention was this protest by Iraq Veterans Against the War. Between 3,000 (media estimates) and 10,000 (IVAW estimate) marched on the Pepsi center to ask Presidenital candidate Obama to endorse their goals. Along the way the march had a standoff with Denver Police.

Is it just me or is there something ironic about a standoff between police and war veterans?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Things Never Change

As you know the Democratic National Convention is going down this week in Denver. While calls for change are being made inside the convention area amongst them (and to the TV audience), police pepper sprayed and arrested 91 demonstrators.

According to one observer in the video report (mentioned in the transcript, but you can see it in the video)it is clear that he is walking in front of police who have no badges or ways to identify them. Not shocking if you know what's up but still disturbing and not good for the future of the country. Sad

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And They Say Big Brother Doesn't Exist

In the last few years we have lived in very scary times for the Constitution and our rights. On Thursday July 17, 2008 the ACLU revealed that Maryland State Police Had Spied On Anti War and Anti Death Penalty Groups. Thus once again revealing how out of touch those in power are when it comes to issues such as fear, safety, and dissent (to name a few things).

I know it shouldn't surprise me that those who want a different future than the ones offered up by the current administration (and its corporate masters) are more likely to have their rights violated in the name of security than the government would try to track down actual terrorists, but it still angers me. Somehow the lessons we, as a nation, should have learned from COINTELPRO and the Church Committee hearings of 1975 seem to have been forgotten as we seem to line dance towards potential fascism. Yes, we live in a somewhat dangerous age in the seven or so years since the 9/11 tragedy. However, we seem to forget that when we give up our liberties and allow things like this to happen then the people we're supposed to be scared shitless of have won.

I really hope steps are taken to put the brakes on this bullshit. Still, it does prove the English dub/punk/rock band AOS3 right when they said "Scary Times Are Never Dull."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Summer Blockbuster _ Return of The Caveocrats

Remember back in January when Congress actually showed a rare instance of having a spine and refused to pass a bill on warrantless wiretapping that allowed immunity (retroactive and otherwise) for telecom companies. WHile the Democrats tried to compromise the GOP decided to let the bill die rather than hold the phone companies accountable. At the time the question was would the Democrats hold firm on this or would they eventually do what they're too damn often known for doing these past however many years - cave and give Dubya and the right what they want. We now have our answer.

Yesterday Congress voted on a "compromise bill" that allowed for the telecoms to receive "retroactive immunity." Bush is pleased and signed this into law. A handful of Democrats, including Sen. Russ Feingold (D, WI) who called this a "black mark not only on the Democrats, but on the Congress, and really the history of our country."

Whether this is a compromise or a capitulation has been debated in Congress and by the pundits. However, one thing can be taken into account - some Democrats may have voted for this because they want the power to do what the Bush administration has done; not everyone but I'm sure there are some who lust for power on that face of our one party system.

One thing i do wonder is if Obama gets elected, how quickly will the Republicans all of a sudden gets concerned about the Constitution and the right to privacy? Not for any real reasons but simply 'cause they only want that power themselves. Some readers may think it won't happen but if and when it does it will make for an ironic, and stomach turning, twist.

Now if the Democrats would realize that, election year or not, caving to the right wing of our country doesn't help them - not even a little bit.

Friday, April 4, 2008

40 Years Ago Today

Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, TN. Let's have a brief moment of silence.

Okay, now let's talk about the state of things since King was murdered. As we view much of the news today there will inevitably be at least one story on this topic. Usually commenting briefly on his civil rights activism and try to paint how far we've come without having to really say anything (something the corporate owned media likes to do). However, while things have progressed somewhat (institutionalized segregation is largely a thing of the past for example) there's still a long way to go and some people trying to turn back the clock. IN an election year the fact that the Kasas GOP was caught with a caging list of voters they're going to challenge is one example (such lists are usually used to target African American voters) shows that we still have a long way to go.

As for remembering Dr. King himself, the mainstream media always seems to want to keep him frozen in 1963 with the I Have A Dream speech. While it's a great speech to hear, they tend to forget that when King took on the Vietnam War much of the same media went out of their way to attack him, claiming he was no longer relevant to his cause (look up the criticism King got to Beyond Vietnam for examples). So, on the 40th anniversary of this tragic day, let's keep what Dr. King fought for in our thoughts and try to make this world a little better than it is now. I have a strange feeling that's how he'd really like to be remembered.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Never Has A Name Been More Fitting

On Wednesday March 19, Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed by ABC News to try and spin the 5th anniversary of the current war in IRaq. When the interviewer brought up that polls show 2/3 of the country felt the war in IRaq wasn't worth it, Cheney's response was "So!" Then when asked if he cared what the American people think he said it was important "not to be blown off course by polls."

Now we know that the Bush administration has always treated public opinion as an afterthought to manipulate at best and something to deride when things don't go their way, but this takes the procerbial cake.

All I can say is this is a moment where someone fully deserves the name Dick.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Slightly Delayed Report of 1,000 Strong For Peace

In Columbia, MO a few days ago (Sunday March 16, 2008) Columbia Peace Coalition held their 1,000 Strong For Peace event protesting and remembering the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq (which is exactly that date on the day I type this). The organizers were hoping to get at least 1,000 people to appear and express their opposition to the war. The actual total was around 1,100 (as the event started 1,009 has signed up beforehand while others had showed up without registering to appear). After a rally/vigil at Courthouse Square, the crowd marched to Peace Park where several musicians appeared to perform for participants. It was a suprising event that should've had more people, even with the organizers expectations surpassed.

I'll try to get some pictures up on the web site soon on the rally. It's great that so many manage to voice their opposition to an insane war on this date but here's hoping some more of them appear as regualrly as they can at the weekly vigils or rush hour demonstrations.

Winter Soldier 2008

Last weekend something unexpected happened. Veterans and active duty soldiers who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan spoke of their experiences at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD. Dubbed Winter Soldier (modeled after the Vietnam Veterans Against the War event of the same name in 1971), the event meant to bring about awareness of what most Americans havent' heard about "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and the horrors that they faced while serving there.

If you didn't know this happened, don't be surprised. The mainstream media pretty much ignored the meeting or its intended purpose. Caught up in the election news, a bad economy, and the fallout from the Elliot Spitzer sex scandal, many Americans seem more willing to tune out the news and focus on their own lives. The pundits would rather focus on supposed "experts" rather than the words of many of the people who saw the reality of this war. With the exception of Democracy Now and some web sites, the American media pretty much pretended it never happened.

It's sad really. When the current war started, the government told us we had all that weneeded to know about how it happened. However, when we need to know the truth, those forces who are supposed to clue us in are caught not doing their job.

If you're interested in learning more about the latest Winter Soldier, Democracy Now has some great coverage of the event. (The main page right now has links to th elast several days of stories as well as audio of the programs.)

Some readers may disagree with me on why this is important. That's your perogative, but at least find out more about it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Issue 87 Reviews Up

Just wanted to let you guys know that the record reviews for the new issue are now up on the website. To get to the page to access the reviews click here.

The War Turns Five (Time to Get Ready for Kindergarten)

As you all know, the war in Iraq is nearing the fifth anniversary since it officially started (I'm still trying to figure out how all the no fly zone bombings meant we still weren't at war with them between 1991 and March 2003). It doesn't take a genius to realize what has gone down since then and how little the reality there resembles what the first term of Dubya's administration tried to sell us.

In the next week or so there are probably going to be vigils and rallies regarding this. Those in the Columbia and MId MO are may want to check this out.

Check your local area to see what's going on if you want to speak out against the past five years of bullshit.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Peace Sign

According to Democracy Now, today marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Sign. Created as a semaphore of the letters for Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, it has become both revered and demonized depending on ones religious or political point of view. Still, it's ecome something pretty much instantly recognizable to most people in the world. So, happy birthday !

Sunday, February 3, 2008

TTWN Website Updates

Hey! Hope all is well. Just wanted to let you know that we've just updated the TTWn website. In honor of Valnetine's Day we're reptined "Love Is Fucked" our article from the theme issue on that pesudo holiday. We've also included my current commentary on that article as well.

Hope you like them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Assume This Phone Is Tapped - Politics Law and the Like

I think you probably guess what this post is about.

Currently, Congress is at loggerheads with the Bush administration over the warrantless wiretapping law. Mainly, Democrats having a rare show of spine and not wanting retroactive immunity granted to telecom companies. AS a result Senate Republicans (who are trying to get a new bill passed with that immunity) and the current adminitration find themselves in a weird place. The HOuse has approved an extension for 15 days. Senate Democrats are asking to extend the current law, the Protect America act, for another 18 months. Dubya, on the other hand, has said he'd veto any law that didn't include immunity for the telecom companies.

So we find Republicans in the mode of willing the let the law expire rather than not have immunity for phone companies. The current law ends in two days. What will happen is hard to say?

Will the Democrats cave and give in to Dubya -like they have on almost everything else the past seven goddamn years? I wouldn't be surprised in the least if this went down. I hope there are some actual signs of opposition to Dubya and comapny - but I'm not expecting it. For now all we literally can do is wait and see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roe Turns 35. What Next?

As I type this it's January 22, 2008. 35 years ago today the Supreme Court made Roe v. Wade the law of the land, ruling that state laws against abortion were unconstitutional. Since that fateful day, a procedure that should be a decision between a woman, her doctor, and her conscience has become a polarizing political issue that appears to become more of a chasm with each passing year.

Since Roe, abortion access has been slowly taken out from under the American people. The recently released study by the Alaqn Guttmacher Institute found that 87% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. In addition, parental consent and, in some places, spousal consent, laws have made what should be a personal decision one that can be placed in the hands of other people to make (and, by the way - if anyone reading this calls themselves "pro life", this can also mean forcing abortion on someone).

Right now a number of state legislatures are seeing bills emerge that, if passed into law, would basically outlaw a woman's right to reproductive freedom. Waiting periods and forcing a woman who made this decision to undergo alleged "Counseling" adds to this by taking one view in mind - a naive (at best) and extremely sexist belief that a woman is too vulnerable tomake decisions regarding her own body.

Today a lot of bloggers are taking part in Blog For Choice Day. WHile I support the basic premise of it, I do have one reservation about the theme (this year - the importance of voting pro choice). I agree that voting for pro choice candidates on this issue is necessary and important. However, I do have one concern - mainly the worry that some politicians (many in this case being mainstream Democrats but some Republicans who haven't completely jumped the shark into the dark side [once the GOP elite find out, they'll likely be escorted out]) may be pro choice now but may be more than willing to throw a woman's right to choose under a bus if it means getting a few extra votes. I hope I'm totally wrong and off base on this, but I've learned to be a bit skeptical over the years on anything regarding politics. Should one who wants to vote choose a pro choice candidate? Yes. However, let's remember that we must be on guard against anyone in office who says what we want to hear solely for the vote only to do the opposite thing when elected (this includes other issues such as the war, economy, health care, etc as much as this issue).

We're living in scary times right now. Hopefully, we don't head too far back into the dark ages. That said, my best recommendation can be to watch our backs and keep the pressure on for anyone in office to make sure they do the best they can for all of us - not just their own interests.

Whoa! This turned out to be a little longer than expected. I guess I had a lot on my mind regarding this issue. If you disagree with me, fine - that's your right. But I will not allow you to force your vision of what life is down my throat.

That's it for now. Feel free to disagree amongst yourselves. I have other things to do.