Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Music Review

Malone Malone for the Holidays EP

In the most recent print issue of TTWN we reviewed the final Malone EP, The Tropic of Malone, thus bringing to a close the history of one of Columbia's more interesting bands. However ther ewas one chapter that was still uncovered and we realized it was time to bring it to light. With that in mind let's exam Malone's late 2009 release Malone for the Holidays.

The three song EP starts off with "Christmastime This Year," a high energy uptempo raveup that takes from both the British Invasion of the 1960s and from 80s "college rock" to create a catchy, rockin' song for the occasion. "Do It For The Kids" is a more introspective number that takes on a midtempo, almost ballad-like nature and a more somber tone filled by guitar anpeggio jangle and a simmering vibe that fits the feel of the song more. Then there's "Christmas on the Moon" which draws from roots rock as much as indie and delivers a partly chaotic, somewhat twangy with rough guitar power chords and a vibe that borders on charging the barricades. It's high energy aural attack brings this to a uplifting, if somewhat humorous, conclusion.

This limited edition release was burned onto CD-R just before a December 2009 show in Columbia. Why didn't we cover it then? We would've if we'd known about it. Instead I found out about the EP at the band's farewell show back in May and realized it was javascript:void(0)best to wait until the Holiday season to look at this EP.

Malone for the Holidays is a breezy, melodic disc that shows the band just having fun with a few songs. Definitely will rock your holiday season.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I’m Not Crying Over Juan Williams Getting Canned

On October 20, 2010 Juan Williams was fired from his commentator job at National Public Radio after making remarks that said he got nervous when he got nervous when he was on a plane with Muslims on the Fox News program The O’Reilly Factor. Almost immediately conservatives claimed that Williams was a victim of “political correctness” and that his free speech rights were violated. Sarah Palin even asked that Congress defund NPR in the aftermath. Others noted that Williams had gotten complaints regarding doing double duty at both NPR (who have had issues with some of Williams’ statements over the years) and Fox as well as pointing out that sometimes jobs have certain codes of conduct that you can get fired for violating; standards which Williams may have violated by saying what he did on O’Reilly,

Personally, I lean towards the latter on what caused this but I don’t really think that’s the reason. If Palin and Gleen Beck weren’t getting conservatives’ tighty whities in a wad over NPR with all this it wouldn’t be news. So why aren’t I worried? My theory on this is really quite simple.


I’m sure I’m not the first person to bring this up online. Hell, there’s probably already dozens of posts saying this elsewhere. So why add mine? Well here’s my perspective.

First, the mainstream media seemed to fail to report that Williams was working at both Fox News and NPR. It has been spun as if the man lost his only job over what was a perceived freedom of speech issue. However, he was also a commentator for Fox News, which has been practically making Islamophobia a program in and of itself.

Also, note how quickly the media noticed his new contract with Fox News. Less than 24 hours after NPR let him go it was reported that Williams signed a three year $2 million dollar contact with the network. Newscorp CEO (Fox’s parent company) Rupert Murdock immediately painted Williams as someone who has been attacked for using his First Amendment Rights, thus sending off the campaign to defund NPR in almost lapdog attack fashion.

Then there’s the people shouting the most to defund NPR. What TV news network does both Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck work for? Yup, Fox News. While in any other situation this might kinda sorta be seen as a conflict of interest, the mainstream media now paints it out of said context and people think its a legitimate concern.

With that in mind, can I be a bit out of line to think that maybe either someone at FOX if not Williams himself posited this plan to get him away from NPR before his contract was up? In addition, if Williams was already working for Fox News, why do they point out his contract now? Was it up for renewal? Did his bosses at his new main home ask him to make a choice? The answer right now is uncertain.

What is clear is that Williams lost a job for saying something redonkulous and then got a multimillion dollar boost at his other job. Most people wish they could screw up like that.

As I post this it’s been a week since all this happened. If it wasn’t for all the neocons experiencing tainthurt and wanting to defund NRP over it, this would’ve faded in the news cycle after about 48 hours. Even if you discount the other things I mentioned as coincidence, that alone makes you wonder about it.

Was Juan Williams getting canned from NPR actually planned by Williams? I don’t know. However, much weirder things have happened in the American workplace (remember John Ashcroft losing the 2000 Senate election to the late Roger Carnahan only to end up Dubya’s first attorney general).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reconsider Columbus Day

Hey! I know it's been a while wince I last posted but there have been a lot of things on my mind lately and I needed to get them sorted out. I have a few things to post here but given that Columbus Day is upon us, I thought I'd let this video from Reconsider Columbus Day state the case since it says it better than I ever could.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dreams, Rodeo Clown Asshats, and Further Divisions

Today marks the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Long considered one of the benchmarks of the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s, King's vision of an America where racism wasn't woven into the system itself and character mattered more than skin color has become taught in schools and part of our history with a message that shouldn't be messed with.

Which brings us to today. Right wing pundit and self described "rodeo clown" Glenn Beck is holding his "Restore Honor" march and rally at the same location. Claiming to be a benefit to raise money for a charity for the families of soldiers, Beck's real motive has come through in the publicizing of the event.

First, he claims that black people don't own Dr. Martin Luther King. Never mind that nobody said they did just as nobody gets upset if a white person claims MLK as one of their personal heroes, Beck is using this as a smear to claim that those people in the civil rights movement who continue to work on liberal causes have stolen King's legacy. IN fact, Glenn Beck says this event will "recalim Dr. King's legacy." To say that is a form of arrogance that's a combination of scary, ignorant, and plain out fucking stupid.

I know some people might say, "Dr. King talked about content of character. So does Beck and the conservatives. So why do you attack Glenn Beck?" Well, once you know the facts it's quite easy to debunk Glenn Beck's fucking bullshit on this issue.

First up goes into religion. Within the past year or so Glenn Beck has spent a lot of time attacking churches that preach "social justice." Beck's claim is that social justice is code for communism and Nazism. How does that compare with Dr. King? Dr. King devoted and gave his life for social justice. In King's later years he spoke out against poverty, attended rallies for striking workers, and even spoke out against the war in Vietnam. The media response was King being attacked as "having diminished his usefulness to his movement" and as a perceived communist just as the right wing in this country do today thanks to people like Beck, Sarah Palin and the like.

Then there's the political angle. There have been some people in the past couple of decades who like to say that if Dr. Martin Lither King Jr. were alive today he'd be a conservative. While we'll never know if that's true given that King was assassinated in 1968, a look at the last years of his life indicate otherwise. King, in fact, had moved beyond his earlier views to the point of considering the Vietnam War "an enemy of poor people" and supporting a "guaranteed annual income" and that the movement itself must "restructure the the whole of American society."

It's possible for people's views to change over time. However, judging from what we see here if Dr. King were alive today he'd be attacked by the same people who today are trying to "reclaim" him. Some even say King would've ended up on Beck's black board. Media Matters even shows how he'd fit on there.

So what is Beck and his ilk doing? Basically, on one level he's dropping trou and taking a giant runny shit on everything Dr. King stood for and then claiming he's honoring our troops in the process. However, it goes deeper than that.

Beck and company may not know history but I do think they're aware of how Dr. King's legacy has been frozen in 1963. BY often overlooking King's work on labor issues and against the Vietnam war in the last few years of his life, King had been co-opted and turned into a harmless figure in the eyes of the American mainstream. Because of this, it's easy for conservatives to claim that King would be one of them. Knowing that most people are too busy to fully research current issues and that American History is often so poorly taught (by design, in my opinion) that it keeps people from learning what really went down, it's easy for those wanting to distort the facts to twist things to their will.

That is what Beck and his ilk have symbolically done to Dr. King today. Their cherry picking of facts have created a situation where people are being misled about an American hero who was far more radical than the schools have taught them. Thus, any claims that they will reclaim King's legacy ring as hollow as the tears Glenn cries at any given moment on TV (thanks to his friend Vapo rub).

Does Glenn Beck and his scary band of neocon liars have a right to say what they want? Of course. However, their attempt to claim Dr. King as one of their own is not only insensitive but dishonest to the nth degree.

When all is said and done it's just another layer of bullshit that those wanting to know real history have to dive through to find out what things are really like.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Stuff on G-20

This past weekend marked the kickoff of the G20 conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Like many people I knew little of what was going on since it kicked off around a weekend (why do I get a feeling they were hoping it would be a news dump item?), and right after the Social Forum in Detroit.

At a COuncil of Candaians event last Friday, Naomi Klein offered up some vital info on the G20 and the negative things about it not often reported.

rabbletv on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

In the past weekend, nearly 600 protestors were arrested at the G20 as Toronto was reportedly turned into a fortress to keep the delegates away from the people.

Also here's some food for thought regarding sexism amongst the G20 protestors. I do wonder how many of the people smashing shit are actually "anarchists" or undercover law enforcement posing as anarchists (before anyone thinks I'm being paranoid,
it has happened in the past

Regardless of ones views I have a feeling that in the weeks to come we're going to hear a lot of stories about police overreaction, abuse, and the like. Thus, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds and whether anything actually gets accomplished that helps anyone at the forum.

P.S.: Regarding police possibly posing as "anarchist" protestors, looks like there may be some proof already of it going down at the G20. Sometimes things like this make you go hmmmmm.......

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Platform, Recriminalization, Irony and Texas

Yes a lot has gone on in the last couple months but just when I was wondering on what to put in, things took a turn for the ridiculous in Texas. Yes, the new platform for the Texas Republican Party wants to make performing same sex marriages a felony.

Never mind that Texas doesn't allow same sex marriages anyway, if the Texas GOP had their way preforming them would be a felony. It would also mandate jail time for straight people who abet a same sex marriage. All of this for something that can't be performed there now.

Between this and their stance to recriminalize sodomy, it seems the conservatives are more hellbent than ever in taking the culture war into full bully mode. Other stances on the platform is forcing women who want abortions to have sonograms beforehand and a measure to change birthright citizenship to include only those people born in this country to a citizen.

Granted many people will see this platform as throwing meat to their base. Several of the measures here would require changing the Constitution (the 14th amendment has been interpreted to mean if you're born in the U.S. you're a citizen) and Supreme Court precedent (in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled state anti sodomy laws unconstitutional) to force the country to be just like the far right in Texas want it to be. When you consider that, in order to achieve these goals (which also include banning oral sex, anal sex, and strip clubs), Federal law would have to be changed to suit these people's desires, then it should be scary regardless of where you live.

So what are the chances of this happening at the moment? While I can't be certain, I don't think it's likely. If the more extreme measures of this were made law, a court would most likely block it or it would be ruled unconstitutional. It does show just how the fangs of these people are coming out. They don't simply want to abide by the constitution but to make us all play by their interpretation of it.

Am I the only person who finds it ironic that the party that wants less government interference wants a large interventionist government when it comes to a woman's body or what people do in their private lives?

I have a feeling I'll be looking into this more in the print issue.

Checking Back In

I know it's been a while since I posted last. The past month or two has been hectic in way too many ways between a death in the family (and all the dealing with grief that comes with it), the 100th Issue Show, and a short term job that kept me busier than expected near the end. As such I hadn't been posting on here as much as I used to.

I'm trying to change that and get more on the ball in the near future. However, things might occasionally slip through the cracks. For now, its time to get back to this.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Political Art Exhibit in Oly (for Any Readers in WA State or Thereabouts)

Hey! I know this has been going on for a couple weeks now but just wanted to let anyone reading this in the Olympia, WA area know that The Black Dot Museum: Political Artists From Vancouver is happening at Northern; The Olympia All Ages Project until May 28. Co curated by the radical underground rock duo Mecca Normal it features art from Jean Smith, David Lester, Gord HIll, and Brian Roche.

Wish I could be there to see it. Just wanted to let you know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A few days and Counting

Just wanted to let you know that the show for the 100th issue of TTWN is happening this Thursday. We finally got one of the two flyers for it (produced by Scott Walus of Pat Boone's Farm). Check it out.

Monday, April 19, 2010

100th Issue Show Update - New Date and Lineup

As you know we at TTWN have been planning a special show to commemorate reaching our 100th issue. While the original plan was for Saturday May 1, we have been forced by circumstances we have no control of to change the date. In addition, there has been a change in the bill as Bruiser and Non Serviam have had to drop out for various reasons.

The new date for the show is Thursday May 13, 2010 at Mojo's.


That's all the info we have for now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roeder Convicted of Murder

On Friday January 29, 2010 Scott Roeder was convicted in a Wichita, KS courtroom of first degree murder for the May 31, 2009 killing of Dr. George Tiller. While the more radical side of the pro forced childbirth movement hoped to make this trial a referendum on abortion (Tiller was one of the few doctors who would perform late term abortion when medically necessary) it ended up only taking 37 minutes for a jury to reach a verdict.

Roeder's attorneys tried to allow the jury to convict Roeder of voluntary manslaughter. While the judge allowed it to be entertained, in the end the jury was barred from considering it.

The main question now lies with the sentencing - whether his life sentence (automatic from what I understand) will be 25 years or 50 years before he's eligible for parole (yes, you read that right - this dickweed will be eligible for parole). Prosecution's pushing for a hard 50 (which means Roeder would be over 100 years old before he could receive parole).

I know some people would want the death penalty instated here. However, even supporters of capital punishment should oppose it in this instance for one reason - it would definitely make Roeder a martyr in the eyes of some extremists in the pro forced childbirth movement - a man who sacrificed himself to allegedly save the present and future unborn. While some of these people will view him as a martyr as it stands now, killing this asshole would simply enshrine him to near sainthood in the eyes of some misguided souls in said movement (not everyone but enough people to make it a problem).

Another issue on the martyr trial is a lesser known fact in the Roeder case: he was also convicted of aggravated assault.

Don't be surprised if you didn't know that. Hell, I only learned about it a couple days ago. When Roeder murdered Dr. Tiller he didn't just wait to be arrested, he pointed a gun at two church ushers and tried to make a getaway. That doesn't help the "misguided self defense" trope Roeder and his attorney tried to make at the trial. Obviously the murder charge is the most important but given the guy's past this puts some things into perspective.

As expected Roeder is appealing the conviction saying the jury wasn't allowed to fully ponder the manslaughter defense (supposed based on the belief that Roeder had an "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances exited that justified using deadly force."

So while justice has been served in the eyes of all but those who may be considered extremists in the pro forced childbirth movement (at least publicly) we'll most likely hear more about this case in the future. That's the unfortunate part.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

SOTU Address in Context...

Via Democracy Now.

We've all seen President Obama's State of the Union address and know basically what it says. This clip puts things into context.

R.I.P. Howard Zinn

We just learned that people's historian Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States among other books, died of a heart attack yesterday at 87. Our condolences to his family and friends.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trust Women

Okay, the theme for Blog for Choice Day is Trust Women, a slogan based on a button Dr. Tiller used to wear before he was murdered. The question: what does that mean?

In a truly just world this would be a non issue. In this context it simply means that women, as individuals and in general, know what's best for themselves and their particular situation when they make decisions regarding their own bodies. Whether that means looking at their lives and deciding that an abortion is the best thing to do at the moment or choosing to have a baby, it's still up to the individual woman to look at her life and make that choice.

Seems simple enough, right? It should be relatively obvious that the individual should make the decision over what happens to their bodies, especially in situations like an unwanted pregnancy. However, as we all know, we don’t live in a truly just world.

Over the past decade a number of bills have been proposed in various state legislatures aimed at covertly limiting access to abortion. From requiring pregnant women to view ultrasounds of the fetus to waiting periods to counseling sessions to laws requiring parental and/or spousal notification/consent, these bills (some even passed into law in some states) are aimed at making a medical procedure that’s legal more difficult to get, especially for poor women or women who have to travel long distances to get an abortion. While some people claim these measures are to protect the unborn, supporters of these measures also tend to state that they want the women to know what an abortion is before they have the procedure.

Apparently, these legislators and their pro forced birth supporters are under the impression that a woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy is unaware that she’s getting an abortion. One of the talking points some in the anti choice/pro forced birth movement like to state regarding abortion is that women get it for selfish reasons such as to not miss a trip to Europe or to fit in a prom dress. Along with the various proposed bills, statements like these have one purpose: to imply that women act on impulse and are incapable of knowing what’s best for them when it comes to medical procedures and their own bodies. This approach not only manages to insult the intelligence and logic of each individual but manages to be the most glaring and obvious sign that they believe women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions.

The truth is there is no one reason why a woman would have an abortion or choose not to have one. The reasons are as varied as each individual and take in factors ranging from current circumstances to past abuse to the simple realization that one may not be ready to be a parent at this time. While the anti choice/pro forced birth movement would like to hypothesize women as one monolithic group, it doesn’t work that way with human beings.

That’s where trust comes into the picture. Since we can’t live other people’s lives, we have to understand that it’s up to them to decide what to do in a given situation. Abortion isn’t an issue that just pops into a woman’s mind at the spur of the moment. It’s something that a woman has thought about and discussed. As for things like the consent laws mentioned earlier, most women facing an unplanned pregnancy discuss the issue with their families before making a decision and the women that don’t bring it up to them usually have a legitimate reason not to discuss her choice. To demand the consent of a third party into what should be a personal decision between a woman and her doctor annihilates the issue of trust and turns the status of a woman from human being with agency over her life to nothing more than someone’s property. That is the issue.

Trust requires that we view human beings as individuals who can make their own decisions and deserve accurate information in order to do so. Too often, especially when it comes to issues in the reproductive freedom and reproductive justice movement, the powers that be along with certain people practicing a rigid interpretation of their chosen religion have chosen to mislead and condescend to both men and women interested in this issue rather than do the right thing and realize that individuals can and should make their own decisions regarding these issues whether it’s exercising their right to get an abortion or choosing to give birth in a manner that they don’t feel dehumanized by to even making sure that people have access to contraception and emergency contraception without unnecessary delays or other people using their values to deny someone the right to exercise the decisions they made and wish to stand by in their own lives. Only when a woman can make a choice on these matters in a climate free of intimidation or fear of reprisals and/or violence can a society be said to truly trust women.

It seems so simple when you think about it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Earthquakes, Prisons and Haiti

Democracy Now reports that the tragic earthquake has had the strange effect of freeing the prisoners at Haiti's National Penitentiary in Port au Prince. While some people would see this as something to fear there's an irony - many were not charged with any crime. Watch the clip.

Amidst all the questions the arise from a tragedy like this ranging from the bottlenecks in getting aid to whether there's a possible occupation to the stories of people still being pulled out alive from teh wreckage stories like this don't get as much recognition as one would think.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Couldn't Say This Better Myself - Taxes and Health Care Version

I saw this video post over at Pandagon and had to post it here. The Center for Reproductive Rights put out a video on the Hyde Amendment (which since 1976 has banned Federal funds for apying for abortions) and asked a number of people what they don't want their tax dollars going for. A definite worth watching clip.

So simple a concept. Almost jealous I didn't think about this approach.

And They Wonder Why People Think Both Parties Are the Same

In the WTF category, reportedly the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is urging Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan (yes, the guy behind the insidious anti choice amendment in the health care reform bill) to run for re-election out of fear a republican could win his seat.

You know the Democrats have always been kinda wishy washy over the past few decades (thanks a lot for that, Democratic Leadership Council), but at least they used to know where to stand on the reproductive freedom issue. Now, it seems my concern that they'd gladly throw that right under the bus and sell women out for a few extra votes was more right than I ever thought. Sickening on way too damn many levels.

via Feministing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not Under The Bus

Via Feministing.

Just found out today was the WOmen's Media Center Not Under the Bus Day of Action to demand women's rights be protected under the current proposed health care bills currently being reconciled in Congress.

For more information on what can be done see this take action page.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scary Times Are Never Dull - 2010 Edition

Came across this scary article from Democracy Now covering a documentary on the rise of the white power movement these days. Scary times.

I wish I could say that these fucking idiots surprise me, but they don't - sadly. Wish these assholes would get a clue and realize the real enemies in terms of class and economic reasons share their skin pigmentation. Sickening!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Re: How to Commemorate the 100th Issue

As you most likely have figured out by now, The Trouble With Normal is just around the corner from putting out the 100th issue of this fanzine. As such we felt it was appropriate to plan something special to celebrate this occasion that nobody thought would happen (I never even considered it myself when we began work on issue one back in 1992). Now we have got the clearance to spill the beans and let you know what’s up…So, before we forget, we’re proud to formally announce


The show is scheduled at be held on Saturday May 1, 2010 at Mojo's in Columbia, MO.

Currently slated to play the show at this point in time are the following:
Big Medicine
Pat Boone's Farm
Jerusalem and the Starbaskets
Non Serviam
More TBA

We're currently approaching some out of town bands we want to have play. Since we're still in the extremely tentative stages we will announce these bands when we know if they can play the show or not (remember its still four months away as I type this).

Hope this helps. Feel free to come and enjoy this event. We'll let you know more about the show as we get more info and the date nears.