Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Concert Review: The War on Drugs

Bands: Tsui, The Drones, The War on Drugs
Venue: TT The Bears
Date: March 29, 2009

Introduction - Chris - It was a nice little venue with a tiny stage, common for such venues. The show started a bit late, sometime between 9 and 9:30. Unfortunately, I'm assuming since it was a Sunday night, there was a lack of showing with roughly 30 people in attendance.

Act One - Tsui

Glen: Tsui combined elements of folk (thumbs up to the drummer's use of the glockenspiel!) and poppy guitar chords. Their lyrics are touching and meaningful and their performance gentle. They have great potential, especially if they continue to write and record songs at a high level. I don't think they played my favorite track of theirs, "Ms. Is On The Phone," but I'll forgive them for that. They certainly compensated for this during their rather short set.

Chris: Decently catchy songs. Not too much movement from them, in their performance, but maybe that worked.... maybe.

Act Two - The Drones

Glen: The Drones are an incredibly energetic Australian garage-punk band. Garage-punk not really in the same sense as, say, the Black Lips, but in a constant heavy strumming/heavy drumming kind of way. At times, I saw glimpses of Rage Against the Machine, but I'll blame the weak vocals (not the singer's fault; the tech guys didn't have the mic tuned at the best level) for having mistakenly heard Zach De La Rocha. My favorite song was "Minotaur," which was a scary kind of death punk. Other than that, The Drones southern rock influences were very very evident in their set. And Ozzy Osbourne. A little bit of him in there too.

Chris: Good Australian band, almost British sounding. They were humorous, energetic (especially the lead singer), and certainly rocked out. The guitars were pulsing, but the vocals lacked the same merit. Not to say that they were bad, just not as good.

Act Three - The War on Drugs

Glen: The experimental trio from Pennsylvania really got me going. That's right, they didn't get the crowd going...they got me going. That's because they played every song that I was familiar with. I liked how the singer asked the drummer, "Boulders?" but before the drummer could respond he said "Fuck it" and they jumped right into "Arms Like Boulders," a particularly catchy freak folk track. Before that they played "Taking the Farm," an electronic ode to the likes of Animal Collective et al. But by far the best part of their set was their last song, "A Needle in Your Eye." For this song, the singer set aside his guitar and turned on his keyboard. I liked the noisy aspect of the keyboard -- it was loud, but not so loud that the other instruments, bass and drum, weren't able to be heard." On a final note, I was under the impression that the drummer was simply a member of the band's crew because of his stereotypically ordinary crew look (long hair, shitty clothes). He was the man though -- I appreciate his showmanship.

Chris: It was a decent set, very loud, very noisy, but this wall of pandemonium worked very well (my ears are just starting to recover!). Excellent use of keyboards from the singer. The drumming was pile driving and reminded me of Peter Prescott. Unfortunately, they only played for 30 minutes, shorter than their predecessors. I had the feeling that they didn't want to play, mainly because the audience was small and not particularly enthusiastic. So I can't blame them.


Glen: Though I doubt that these bands will rise to the kind of prestige they deserve, I will be following each of them all the more closely because of their very solid performance Sunday night.

Chris: Good show! 7.5/8 out of 10. Disclaimer: I was not familiar with any of the bands to an extent (I heard two WOD songs a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot them).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Black Lips "I'll Be With You" Video

Jared Swilley:
"“I’ll Be With You” is a pretty sappy, but heartfelt song about a dear friend. I wanted the video to reflect the feeling and mood of the song as I feel it. I wanted to kind of recreate old home movies I’ve seen of my family in the 60’s, but make it a little more subversive and somewhat sinister. With playboy’s laying around, and some satanic elements, and Charlie Manson. But still semi-innocent and silly and happy. It was alot of fun to make it. I got my roommate to dress as a clown, and we got to throw cake all over my friends kitchen, making her scream like a maniac, while we laughed like maniacs."

Soros Profiting Off Economic Crisis

A hedge fund manager who predicted the global credit crunch has said the financial crisis has been 'stimulating' and the culmination of his life's work.

George Soros, who predicted the global financial crisis twice before, was one of the few people to anticipate and prepare for the current economic collapse.

Mr Soros said his prediction meant he was better able to brace his Quantum investment fund against the gloabal storm.

But other investors failed to take notice of his prediction and his decision to come out of retirement in 2007 to manage the fund made him $US2.9 billion. - Dailymail.co.uk

What a dick!

UN Adopts Anti-Free Speech Measure

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s top human rights body has approved a proposal by Muslim nations urging the passage of laws protecting religion from criticism.

Members of the Human Rights Council voted 23 in favor of a resolution Thursday to combat "defamation of religion." Eleven nations, mostly from the West, opposed the resolution and 13 countries abstained.

The resolution was proposed by Pakistan. Muslim countries have cited the inflammatory effect of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as an example of unacceptable free speech.

Critics say the resolution, while not binding, will have a chilling effect on free speech and may worsen relations between faiths.

Unacceptable free speech is still free speech and must be protected.

Obama Seeks More Muslims

In a bid to get more Muslim Americans working in the Obama administration, a book with resumes of 45 of the nation's most qualified—Ivy League grads, Fortune 500 executives and public servants, all carefully vetted—has been submitted to the White House.

The effort, driven by community leaders and others, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), was bumped up two weeks ahead of schedule because White House officials heard about the venture, said J. Saleh Williams, program coordinator for the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association who sifted through more than 300 names.

"It was mostly under the radar," Williams said. "We thought it would put [the president] in a precarious position. We didn't know how closely he wanted to appear to be working with the Muslim American community." - Chicago Tribune
Affirmative action applied to religion. Reverse discrimination.

Obama Asks CEO of GM To Resign

The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government's behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.

General Motors issued a vague statement Sunday night that did not officially confirm Wagoner's departure. - Politico
The government intruding on private enterprise. Real nice.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ralph Nader: An American Hero

We all know him. Love him or hate him, Ralph Nader has shined for over five decades as one of America’s greatest leaders. Instead of holding public office or becoming CEO of a major corporation, Nader has led his people through mostly the democratic means he strives for on a daily basis.
Ralph Nader was born on February 27, 1934 to Nathra and Rose Nader. Nader proved to be a determined and excelling student, and went on to attend two Ivy League colleges, Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He became a successful attorney, displaying the clear leadership qualities of being able to stand up for what one believes is just as well as defending one’s clients.
Our hero rose to immediate fame and national prominence in 1965 through the highly eye opening, automobile expose, Unsafe at Any Speed. The noteworthy work of muckraking journalism became an instant classic, enlightening ordinary American citizens to politicians in Washington on how the automobile industry, particularly General Motors, were producing unsafe vehicles for the American public.
The fame paved the way for further legislation regarding automobile safety as well as Nader’s own career as a “Consumer Advocate.” This self-proclaimed title has made him the prominent American leader, people recognize him as. He began to form various non-profit organizations supporting consumer protection and other interests of the people. With such prestige, Nader became a major leader in social activism. It is safe to say much of his leadership style has been democratic. However, this is certainly not true of all his organizations. With close inspection of their structures, one can see that Nader exhibits other forms of leadership as well.
By the early 1970s, Ralph Nader had inspired hundreds of young men and women to become activists and increase their participation in the political process. These devout followers of the consumer advocate came to be known as “Nader’s Raiders.” These apprentices fronted dozens of Nader’s non-profit organizations and interest research groups, researching anything to do with governmental, corporate, or congressional corruption, amongst new ways to protect the American consumer at all times.
As a leader, Nader sets himself as a great role model for his employees or co workers, depending on the organization. He is efficient, determined, and respectable; qualities necessary for a strong leader. In terms of specific styles, Nader displays democratic leadership because he makes his best attempts to listen to all of his workers’ opinions. In many ways his organizations are free rein. Nader creates an organization and then leaves the decisions up to the members themselves, where they run mostly everything, while he just oversees their conduct and behavior. His organizations could be seen as self-managed teams in this sense as well; small groups focus on specific issues, with one issue for a specific group. One group will take an environmental issue, while another may focus on health concerns, and yet another on economic policies, and so on. Finally, another leadership style the man demonstrates is one that is quite ironic and even shocking, considering his constant strive for democracy, rather than autocracy or rule of the many, rather than rule of the few. But, there is a reason why the documentary film capturing his life and career is humorously titled, An Unreasonable Man. Nader is a hardliner and must stick with his first and foremost objective: making sure the United States is a safe place for its inhabitants. Therefore, Nader is strict in making sure his workers are creating nothing less than perfect protection for American citizens and consumers. Alas, disagreements on how to deal with certain issues have led to the firing of employees. But, after all he wants to make sure he gets the job done.
Clearly, Ralph Nader’s diverse, but mostly democratic leadership style has been effective and has created a precedent for more and more leaders, businesses, and organizations. Before Nader, there was no such thing as consumer advocacy. Now, there are hundreds of thousands of such workers, most working for Nader himself. Without a doubt, he created this environment and now it is everywhere. Government agencies and businesses are far more careful than they were four or five decades ago. This is a direct result of Nader’s involvement. On a final note, in 1974 Ralph Nader was ranked the 4th most influential person in the country by the U.S. News and World Report; most likely the only person on the list that contributes millions each year to the over four dozen non-profit organizations that he founded.

Rethinking NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has created much controversy and rightfully so. As with all subjects, there are positives and negatives and two sides to every story. After careful research I have determined that I am vehemently against NAFTA and similar trade agreements. In the following pages, I will discuss the background, history, benefits, horror stories, and other information regarding NAFTA. Hopefully, by the end of this paper, you will share the same opinion as me.
It is true that NAFTA has created numerous positive effects for the United States and its NAFTA trading partners, Canada and Mexico. It seems the U.S. has profited the most. The individuals who benefit the most from this agreement are few, mainly the CEOs of major corporations.
NAFTA is a trading alliance between three North American countries: The United States, Canada, and Mexico. It was signed into law on December 8, 1993 and implemented on January 1, 1994 by U.S. President Bill Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas. Politicians were convinced that NAFTA would provide great prosperity for all countries involved, which it has. Promoters of the agreement coaxed politicians into enacting it by telling them it would support free trade, removing all restrictive tariffs. This would “encourage the international flow of goods and capital.” President Clinton, himself had trouble convincing members of Congress to pass the divisive piece of legislation. He claimed that the agreement would truthfully benefit all Americans and this helped the legislation gain the faith of many politicians.
Without a doubt, we can all agree, good or bad, NAFTA has had some severe effects on all three countries. Economists argue that in each country prices have dropped on numerous products. On the other hand, other economists and social critics would fire back that jobs have decreased in all three countries, especially the United States. Since, NAFTA’s conception, thousands of workers have lost their jobs because company’s plants have been shifted overseas. These include manufacturing and assembling industries. This has caused many American interest groups and labor unions to protest NAFTA. In fact, President Barack Obama often met with labor workers, promising in his campaign to reform or even eliminate NAFTA to secure jobs for the working class. I doubt this will occur, but it just goes to show that it is an important and valued opinion here in the United States. Some statistics show rise in U.S. deindustrialization. From 1993 to 2001, there was only a small increase in manufacturing jobs: 476,000. Then from 1994 to 2007, there was a decrease in net manufacturing employment by 3,654,000.
Perhaps, those who have suffered the worst from NAFTA are the impoverished civilians of Mexico, particularly the farmers. Some would argue against that citing Mexico’s poverty rates dropping with increases in income through lower prices for food and other products. However, this is not true for the entire country. There are still many poor citizens, whom have been negatively impacted by NAFTA. As I mentioned before the farmers experience the bottom of the barrel. When food prices were falling they could no longer compete with the cheap imports from U.S. agribusiness, essentially costing them their occupations and ability to grow crops, such as corn. Thus, most of the farmers are forced into migrating to the city to find new jobs.
Canadian companies, much like American and Mexican companies, profit from NAFTA, however they are extremely concerned over several environmental and agricultural issues. Many Canadians are opposed to the provision that if an item is sold just once as a commodity, the government cannot prevent its sale in the future. Mainly, Canadians are concerned with their lakes’ and rivers’ water; they fear obliteration of their ecosystem and water supply.
In conclusion, NAFTA has created both prosperity and controversy for all three countries involved, but in the end it has and still does cause too much harm to too many individuals. It robs the Mexican farmer of his crops, the occasional American worker of his job, and serves as a possible threat to Canada’s ecosystem. Hopefully, now hearing some new facts, you can formulate a more well-informed opinion on this ongoing issue.

Monkey Warfare

I for one, see nothing wrong with what is often called "dirty fighting." Detractors, whom use this and similar terms are implying that fighting is not already a dirty, and sometimes (actually most of the time) a barbaric action. To distinguish from "normal" fighting, tactics include biting, kicking your opponent intensely and squarely in the nads, hitting them with a foreign object (of course non deadly when confronted with non-deadly force, and deadly when confronted with deadly force, as standard self-defense rules teach), amongst several others. The detractors to such styles of fighting apparently feel that this causes a disadvantage. But, what they really mean is "how dare you use tactics to defeat me outside of the usual ways in which I can be victorious?!" Of course, they frown upon biting (of course it is also disgusting) because it HURTS or being kicked right in the pills, because that KILLS (as of course all males find out at some, unfortunate point in their life). Well, getting punched in the face and chest is no walk in the park my friends. There are always disadvantages in fights that go unnoticed (to a certain extent) such as strength, muscles, weight, height, etc. Why don’t we ask a fighter to chop off some of his muscles, so he is equally proportioned with his opponent, but no we don’t approve of that. We do however see kicking the opponent in the balls as “cowardly” and “dirty.” Well, these are simply means of self-defense, just like punching and kicking (which can and should be utilized as well). Means that some of us, weaker (in terms of strength, psychologically we’re like those bad asses in 300) brothers and sisters need to use to meet the opponent’s violence, and successfully inflict enough pain to win, or get out of the situation. And, isn’t that the point anyway, to hurt your foe and win? THERE SHOULD BE NO OTHER CRITERIA. And of course the oppressors’ arguments flesh out to the big world as well: “Look, at those savage Iraqis, protecting their homes with their guns and pipe bombs (I don’t even know if they use these!); we use more rational, aerial bombing, but don’t worry it’s not like there’s innocent kids down there, we checked from miles and miles above…..” Well, now you know that “dirty fighting” is a means of self-defense, which hopefully YOU NEVER HAVE TO USE! Peace. - Prankster Propaganda

Recommended Reading

Incendiary Material:
1)The Catcher in the Rye By: J.D. Salinger

2)Our Band Could Be Your Life BY: Michael Azzerad

3)A People's History of the United States By: Howard Zinn

4)Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas By: Hunter S. Thompson

5)Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution By: Kevin Booth With Michale Bertin

6)Heavier Than Heaven By: Charles R. Cross

7)Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media By: Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

8)From Yale To Jail By: David Delinger

9)1984 By: George Orwell

10)Fight Club By: Chuck Palahniuk

11)Of Mice and Men By: John Steinbeck

12)The Perks of Being a Wallflower By: Stephen Chbosky

13)Failed States By: Noam Chomsky

14)Crashing the Party By: Ralph Nader

15)Dark Alliance By: Gary Webb

16)Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It By: Judge James P. Gray

17)To Kill A Mockingbird By: Harper Lee

18)Lord of the Flies By: William Golding

19)The Motorcycle Diaries By: Che Guevara

20)Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs By: Chuck Klostermen

21)A Clockwork Orange By: Anthony Burgess

22)Macbeth By: William Shakespeare

23)Steal This Book By: Abbie Hoffman

24)Anarchism and other Essays By: Emma Goldman

25)I Am the Messenger By: Markus Zusak

26)Girl, Interrupted By: Susana Kaysen

27)The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family

28)Black Panthers Speak

29)The Outsiders By: S.E. Hinton

30)The Shining By: Stephen King

31)A Raisin in the Sun By: Lorraine Hansberry

32)The Chocolate War By: Robert Cormier

33)Charlie and the Chocolate Factory By: Roald Dahl

34)Inherit the Wind By: Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee

35)Steven Spielberg By: Susan Goldman Rubin

36)On the Road By: Jack Kerouac

37)Naked Lunch By: William S. Burroughs

38)Get in the Van By: Henry Rollins

39)American Hardcore: A Tribal History By: Stephen Blush

40)Here, There and Everywhere: The 100 Best Beatles Songs By: Stephen Spignesi and Michael Lewis

41)Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop By: Jan Greenburg and Sandra Jordan

42)Fast Times At Ridgemont High By: Cameron Crowe

43)The Simpsons and Philosophy

44)Holes By: Louis Sachar

45)My Father's Scar By: Michael Cart

46)Monster By: Walter Dean Myers

47)Black Boy By: Richard Wright

48)The Great Gatsby By: F. Scott Fitzgerald

49)A Separate Peace By: John Knowles

50)Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead By: Tom Stoppard

51)The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told to Alex Healey

52)Kingdom of Fear By: Hunter S. Thompson

53)Flashbacks By: Timothy Leary

54)Lies My Teacher Told Me By: James W. Loewen

More incendiary material to come...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Conspiracy So Montrous...People Don't Believe It Exists"

Political March Madness


Here: http://www.npr.org/news/graphics/2009/mar/bracket2012/

And Vote For...

Spying On Your Computer?

TORONTO — A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded. In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.

The researchers, who are based at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto, had been asked by the office of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader whom China regularly denounces, to examine its computers for signs of malicious software, or malware. Their sleuthing opened a window into a broader operation that, in less than two years, has infiltrated at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York. - New York Times
The media loves to make us scared.

30%: Gov't Should Limit Celebrity Pay

While a great deal of public anger is focused at corporate executives these days, Johnny Depp and the Boys of Summer don’t fare much better. Thirty percent (30%) of Americans believe the government should make it illegal to pay movie stars and athletes more than $1 million per year.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 59% oppose government pay limits for film stars and jocks.

There is a more support—but not much more--for capping the pay of corporate executives. Thirty-six percent (36%) say the federal government should make it illegal to pay any executive more than $1 million a year. The majority (54%), however, disagree. - Rasmussen Reports

Limiting economic freedom. Ahhhh!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tierney Votes "Yes" On H.R 1617

Department of Homeland Security Component Privacy Officer Act of 2009 - Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate a full-time privacy official for each of the following Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components: (1) the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); (2) the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS); (3) Customs and Border Protection (CBP); (4) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); (5) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); (6) the Coast Guard; (7) the Directorate of Science and Technology; (8) the Office of Intelligence and Analysis; and (9) the Directorate for National Protection and Programs. Grants each component's privacy official primary responsibility for implementing the privacy policy for DHS established by DHS's privacy officer.
Increasing the size of the bureaucracy = not good. Our Representative John F. Tierney was among the 412 people in the Congress who voted "Yes." Dr. Ron "No" Paul lived up to his name and Constitutional values via his vote.

Audit The Fed

Why not? As I saw one commenter write...the Federal Reserve System is not above the law.

China's Global Currency Proposal

BEIJING – China is calling for a new global currency to replace the dominant dollar, showing a growing assertiveness on revamping the world economy ahead of next week's London summit on the financial crisis.

The surprise proposal by Beijing's central bank governor reflects unease about its vast holdings of U.S. government bonds and adds to Chinese pressure to overhaul a global financial system dominated by the dollar and Western governments. Both the United States and the European Union brushed off the idea.

The world economic crisis shows the "inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system," Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said in an essay released Monday by the bank. He recommended creating a currency made up a basket of global currencies and controlled by the International Monetary Fund and said it would help "to achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability." - Yahoo! News

Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, "said the U.S. is "open" to a headline-grabbing proposal by the governor of the China's central bank, which was widely reported as being a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar, but which Geithner described as more modest and "evolutionary." Source: Politico

CD Review: Art Brut vs. Satan

Art Brut
Release: 2009

Comments: Only slightly a fan of Art Brut, I decided to give this album a try. Overall, the album falls under the genre of British pop-punk. Every song basically has me thinking the same exact thing every time: yeah you can play guitar really well and you talk instead of sing. But...so what? Nothing contained within this album blows me away. Seriously. Every song sounds the same, save for a few minute variations in speed. I was a little surprised to find out that Frank Black of Pixies produced this lackluster release. For starters, I can't make any parallels between the music of Black and Art Brut. The best track on Art Brut vs. Satan is "The Replacements." I'd expect no less, honestly. I came to a conclusion about Art Brut though. The singer, Eddie Argos, annoys the shit out of me. I can't stand him 'cept for maybe for a track or two tops.

Lyrics/Meaning: 7.8 out of 10
Rhythm/Pace: 7.0 out of 10
Musicianship: 7.5 out of 10
Quality Songs: 6.0 out of 10

Final Grade: 7.1 - Éverage

CD Review: The Hazards of Love (Decemberists)

The Decemberists
Release: 2009

Comments: I start listening to this disc and hear nothing but a little noise -- a mixture between a microscopic earthquake (that might be a stretch...okay it is) and one of those pitch recordings unable to be heard by most of the adult population. But the noise is "Prelude," the first track and it's cool. That ends, though, and "The Hazards of Love 1" plays. It's a bit more epic than any other Decemberists track I've heard. A heavy-metal-esque electric guitar enters midway through "A Bower Scene," certainly raising my eyebrow. I dig the fast-pace flair of the song in general not just that weird heavy guitar. The next two songs are kind of meh. "The Queen's Approach" clocking in at 29 seconds is pointless. "Isn't It A Lovely Night?" is too country for my liking. It's chill, but not much more. "The Wanting Comes In Waves..." is good! It's a change-up from the mediocrity of the last few tracks. Reminds me of Cold War Kids and Radiohead. The "Interlude" is very nice as well. "The Queen's Rebuke" sucks. They are trying too hard to sound heavy/different. It worked a little in "A Bower Scene," but they tried way too hard here. "The Hazards of Love 3" is annoying. Not so sure why they put "The Wanting Comes In Waves" twice, but it's cool the second time (song #16). "The Hazards of Love 4" contrasts "The Hazards of Love 3" in that the former is actually good. A very impressionable finish to an album that will take a few more listens to get used to.

Lyrics/Meaning: 9 out of 10
Rhythm/Pace: 6.5 out of 10
Musicianship: 8.7 out of 10
Quality Songs: 7.5 out of 10

Final Grade:
7.9 - Above Éverage

CD Review: Wavves

Band: Wavves
Release: 2008

CD Review:
Noise. Pop? Not really. People will always try to call something pop if it sounds catchy in the slightest way. I'm guilty of it. When you mix a lot of feedback with just general scratchy instrumentation, the product is usually just your run of the mill "noise." The thing about Wavves -- also witnessed on their 2009 release Wavvves - is that the singer has a little Dean Allen Spunt going on. In other words, his voice reaches above the lo-fi crazy sounds. Albeit you probably won't be able to understand much, but its still important to take note of this because it's not that difficult to simply pick up a guitar and a drum kit and start jamming mindless chords while all the settings on the amp are turned up. You'd be surprised to find some hi-fi tracks on this album. "Vermin" might have you thinking "what the hell is this?" It sounds like Weirdo Rippers trying to be like Nouns. I give Wavves a bunch of credit for the attempt, but admittedly they do go a little overboard at times. I give my high praise to the last track, "Teenage Super Party," which had me optimistic in terms of what Wavves is capable of. And as evidenced in Wavvves, they are capable of quite a lot.

Grade: 8.4 out of 10

New Mexico Repeals Death Penalty

(CNN) -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed a bill Wednesday repealing the death penalty in his state, his office confirmed.

"Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime," Richardson said in a statement Wednesday.

He noted that more than 130 death row inmates have been exonerated in the past 10 years, including four in New Mexico.

"Faced with the reality that our system for imposing the death penalty can never be perfect, my conscience compels me to replace the death penalty with a solution that keeps society safe," he said.

Good job, Billy.

Bill To Help Newspaper Companies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.
Do we really need to rescue everything?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Song of the Day (3/24/09)

Handsome Furs "I'm Confused" from Sarah Marcus on Vimeo.

MCAS Schedule

Long Composition
11:21 D
12:13 A
1:11 E
Language & Literature
11:21 D
12:13 F
1:11 A
Language & Literature
9:56 B
10:54 D
12:13 C
1:11 F

Chavez: Obama's "Ignorant"

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday called President Barack Obama "ignorant," saying he has a lot to learn about Latin America.

The Venezuelan leader said he had been ready to name a new ambassador in Washington when Obama took office, but put that on hold after the new U.S. president accused him of "exporting terrorism" and being an obstacle to progress in the region.

"At least one could say, 'poor ignorant person,"' Chavez said on his weekly television and radio program, adding that Obama "should read a little bit so that he learns about ... the reality of Latin America."

Chavez's relations with Washington grew increasingly strained under former President George W. Bush. The Venezuelan president expelled the U.S. ambassador and withdrew his envoy from Washington in September. Top diplomats have yet to be restored at either embassy. - FoxNews

You know what Hugo? You're right, bud.

Funny Commentary on OSHA

...What I do want to call OSHA’s attention to, however, is the fact that it might not be necessary for people who work at the very tops of houses and office buildings to wear a piece of protective equipment designed to protect the human head from falling objects. Since it relatively rare for objects to fall out of the clear blue sky, rendering us poor roofers unconscious, it might be wise for OSHA to allow us to do our work unencumbered with these bulky, horribly uncomfortable and often dangerous pieces of equipment.

(As an aside, I might mention that I was recently asked by one of my colleagues why the U.S. government was foolish enough to insist that roofers wear hard hats. Such an absurd and paternalistic law, he explained, would be openly mocked and flaunted in his native country. Before I had a chance to answer, one of his fellow countrymen sardonically responded that we needed to be protected from getting whacked in the head by los pájaros. In retrospect, I imagine that this is probably the best answer that can be given to the question, although it would probably take a bird the size of an eagle or a crane to do any significant damage to the human head).

I am sure that OSHA has the best of intentions in insisting that we wear protective headwear with nothing but the heavens above us. I’m sure the thinking runs something like this: "It’s better to be safe than sorry... - Lewrockwell.com

That's just a snippet. Read the whole thing here.

Picture of the Day (3/24/09)

Jeffrey Miron on Drugs

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Over the past two years, drug violence in Mexico has become a fixture of the daily news. Some of this violence pits drug cartels against one another; some involves confrontations between law enforcement and traffickers.

Recent estimates suggest thousands have lost their lives in this "war on drugs."

The U.S. and Mexican responses to this violence have been predictable: more troops and police, greater border controls and expanded enforcement of every kind. Escalation is the wrong response, however; drug prohibition is the cause of the violence.

Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground. This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead. - CNN.com/Jeffrey Miron
If you all recall, Miron spoke with former É big man, Ben Tan, about the war on drugs a few months back. It's pretty cool to see something like this on the front page of CNN.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flood Threat Rises Along Red River

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Officials here and in Minnesota pleaded for volunteers to help with sandbagging after a storm on Sunday increased the threat of flooding in an area already expected to be swamped by a record river crest.

The National Weather Service said the Red River, which is on the border between North Dakota and Minnesota, was about 3 feet above its flood stage of 18 feet in Fargo on Sunday. The river was expected to crest between 39 feet and 41 feet in the Fargo-Moorhead area by Friday, a day earlier and a foot higher than projected.

City officials originally planned to fill more than 1 million sandbags, but now they believe they need nearly 1.9 million bags.

Exposing Scientology

News Channel 3 sent former Scientology marketing director and Portland resident Jeff Hawkins to KATU-TV, the local ABC television station, where he revealed what happened during his years inside Scientology's world headquarters in Hemet, called "IntBase."

His account of what goes on behind these fences is one of religious punishment and imprisonment.

"Within that Hemet compound, they work 100 hour weeks, seven days a week. They have no breaks. They have no vacations of any kind. They work around the clock. They have no private time. They're paid around 40 cents an hour and they're subjected to all kinds of punishments and abuse. If they do things that are wrong or if they don't toe the line, they have to run around the buildings, sometimes for miles in their street shoes, they get thrown in the lake out there which is pretty cold this time of year. And, if they refuse to come around and toe the line and be good members, they can go to these rehabilitation camps that they have in Los Angeles and in Clearwater which are virtual prisons and people have been there for years. They don't go outside. They don't see anybody. They are paid maybe 10 cents an hour for hard manual labor. They make furniture for the churches." - KESQ.com

Fifteen Fold Increase In Monetary Base

The fed is planning moves that would more than double its balance-sheet assets by September to $4.5 trillion from $1.9 trillion. Whether expressing approval or concern over the fed’s intentions, most commentators fail to understand the real magnitude of the projected expansion of the US monetary base because they don’t take into account the amount of dollars circulating abroad.

At least 70 percent of all US currency is held outside the country, and this means the US monetary base is considerably smaller than the fed’s overall balance sheet. Take, for example, the true US domestic money supply at the beginning of September 2008, before the fed started its quantitative easing. From the Federal Reserve’s website, we know that currency in circulation was 833 Billion. This translates as 583 Billion dollars circulating abroad (70 percent), and 250 Billion dollars circulating domestically (30 percent). Since the bank reserve balances held with Federal Reserve Banks were 12 billion, that gives us a 262 Billion domestic monetary base as of September 2008. Now compare that to the projected US domestic monetary base for September 2009 which is 3,818 billion (4,500 billion – 583 billion (dollars circulating abroad) – 99 billion (other fed liabilities not part of the money supply)). The fed’s planned balance sheet expansion results in a 15-fold increase in the base money supply.

262 Billion = US monetary base as of September 2008 (minus dollars held abroad)
3,818 Billion = projected US monetary base in September 2009 (minus dollars held abroad)

3,818 Billion / 262 Billion = 15-Fold Increase
in US monetary base - Market Skeptics
End the Fed!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

CD Review: Grace/Wastelands

Pete Doherty
Release Date: March 24, 2009

1. Arcady - Grade: 9.4
2. Last of the English Roses - Grade: 9.8
3. 1939 Returning - Grade: 8.6
4. A Little Death Around the Eyes - Grade: 9.3
5. Salomè - Grade: 9.7
6. I Am the Rain - Grade: 9.0
7. Sweet By and By - Grade: 8.5
8. Palace of Bone - Grade: 8.3
9. Sheepskin Treasury - Grade: 9.2
10. Broken Love Story - Grade: 9.8
11. New Love Grows On Trees - Grade: 9.3
12. Lady Don't Fall Backwards - Grade: 9.2

Grade: 9.2 out of 10 - Éxcellent!

CD Review: Wavvves

Wavves bring a lot to the table -- experimental punk, noise punk, surf punk -- which distinguishes them from 95% of today's rock bands. The comparison is nearly striking, save for a few effects and less catchier riffs. They sound like a No Age cover band, if only No Age had songs such as "To the Dregs" and "Gun in the Sun." It's hard to listen to this album and not think of my favorite LA punk duo, but I did indeed manage to holistically look at Wavves. Wavvves has a spacey feel that is eclectic and innovative. "Goth Girls" is particularly otherwordly. Among the more down-to-earth, less lo-fi tracks is "No Hope Kids." Check out "Weed Demon" as well. And the other nine tracks that I failed to mention. The average listener might be a little turned off by the share musical craziness (aka distortion and feedback) that this album has to offer. Your noise aficionado, though, might consider this a candidate for top 5 albums of the year. I'm more on the latter's side.

8.9 out of 10 - HighlÉ Recommended

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CD Review: Living Thing (PB+J)

Comments: With across the board **** to ***** (out of *****) ratings and grades above 8.0 (out of 10), Writer's Block -- the third studio album by Swedish indie-pop sensations Peter Bjorn and John -- is considered the band's magnum opus. Only a truly all-around amazing album could top it. Living Thing offers more varied sound and matches up no question to its predecessor (Seaside Rock, the band's mixed-reviewed 2008 instrumental release, doesn't count). "The Feeling" is a mellow electro-pop, drum-and-clap offering that contains some elements of a Capella. "It Don't Move Me" sounds like Tears for Fear meets the Arctic Monkeys. The synth works well with Peter Moren's never-fail vocals. "Just the Past" has a steady drum and hints of Afropop, making it draw an instant comparison to anything that Vampire Weekend has ever produced. The song finishes with a nice little repetitive "na-la-la-na-la-la-la-na..." chorus. "Nothing to Worry About" has been the most hyped track pre-release. It deserves praise simply for the kid-chanting chorus and it's lyrical comparison to "Amsterdam," coincidentally the fourth track off of Writer's Block (compare "put a little money in this type of thing" to "put a little money into traveling"). "Losing My Mind" is kind of random considering its pure post-punk revival in the vein of Interpol and Editors, as opposed to the more indie-pop prior four tracks. I can definitely see this as a potentially astonishing live song to perform. The title track "Living Thing" is impressive and is more symptomatic of PB+J's prior work, yet also very experimental and even a tidbit Animal Collective-y. "I Want You" is great! Put on headphones for the full effect. The guitar is particularly catchy, the vocals entrancing, and the feedback bass line just fitting (for lack of a better word). Best track on the album? I would argue so. "Hey, shut the fuck up boy, you are starting to piss me off. Take your hands off of that girl, you've already had enough." Yup, those are the opening lines of "Lay It Down." Innovative, huh? Snap your fingers and sing along to the aforementioned lines. You'll have fun. I tried it and I certainly did. I'm going to go ahead and say the next song "Stay This Way" is like a really good Jens Lekman tune. It's a story, some snapping, and a slow guitar riff. It makes Peter Moren happy. It makes him not want to go back or move on. A little disco goes down in "Blue Period Picasso," but don't let that label get to you. It's just a part of Moren's beating heart. Seriously, though, sometimes I wonder how the hell this band comes up with its lyrics and general song structure. It's beauty. You'll know what I am talking about. "4 out of 5," is it a reference to the first sentence of this review? Doubt that, but it could be a little foresight of what Rolling Stone would give this album. I like the '60s feel to this song. "Last Night" is the perfect speed for an album closer. A fast song just wouldn't make sense. I kind of expected a crazy experimental build-up towards the end, but you can't always get what you want. And that's perfectly fine. Looking at this album as a whole, I can't find too many faults. There are no "Objects of My Affection" or "Young Folks," but there are many tracks that have the same kind of awesomeness factor -- a reason why PB+J is a mainstay in my Top 10 favorite bands of all-time.

Grade: 9.4 out of 10 - Éxcellent

Volunteer Corps H.R 1388

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a plan to set up a new "volunteer corps" and consider whether "a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people" should be developed.

The legislation also refers to "uniforms" that would be worn by the "volunteers" and the "need" for a "public service academy, a 4-year institution" to "focus on training" future "public sector leaders." The training, apparently, would occur at "campuses."

The vote yesterday came on H.R. 1388, which reauthorizes through 2014 the National and Community Service Act of 1990 and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, acts that originally, among other programs, funded the AmeriCorps and the National Senior Service Corps. - WorldNetDaily
Guess who voted in favor of this fascist bill? Our own John F. Tierney.

Bill To Tax Bonuses "An Outrage"

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) yet again went against the grain in Congress when he stood up in the House and argued against a proposal that would tax 90 percent of AIG executive bonuses, saying that it was a "disgrace," a "distraction" and an "outrage" that undermined the Constitution.

"I rise in opposition to this rule and the bill because of the problem -- because of the lack of need for this and the disgrace that this has brought upon us," Paul said. "Yesterday, for instance, the Federal Reserve met and they came out and they announced that they would create new money to the tune of $1.25 trillion."

Paul, a dark horse Republican candidate for president in 2008 who still enjoys considerable popularity with a base of hardcore supporters, noted that the value of the dollar went down significantly after that announcement by the Fed. - Rawstory.com

Our Must-Win War (Not)

Later this month, the Obama administration will unveil a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. This comes as most important indicators in Afghanistan are pointing in the wrong direction. President Obama's decision last month to deploy an additional 17,000 U.S. troops was an important step in the right direction, but a comprehensive overhaul of our war plan is needed, and quickly.

As the administration finalizes its policy review, we are troubled by calls in some quarters for the president to adopt a "minimalist" approach toward Afghanistan. Supporters of this course caution that the American people are tired of war and that an ambitious, long-term commitment to Afghanistan may be politically unfeasible. They warn that Afghanistan has always been a "graveyard of empires" and has never been governable. Instead, they suggest, we can protect our vital national interests in Afghanistan even while lowering our objectives and accepting more "realistic" goals there -- for instance, by scaling back our long-term commitment to helping the Afghan people build a better future in favor of a short-term focus on fighting terrorists. - The Washington Post

We are just making matters worse. Don't we understand yet...

Obama Guarantees Better Days Ahead

LOS ANGELES – Buoyed by adoring crowds far from Washington's political wars, President Barack Obama guaranteed Americans on Thursday that the nation's economy will recover, though he asked them for patience.

Obama looked every bit the campaigner as he sometimes mocked his GOP critics, and sometimes asked people to forgive his shortcomings. In general, his demeanor and message were more upbeat than in recent days when public fury over executive bonuses dominated Congress.

"We will come out on the other side stronger and a more prosperous nation," he said, acknowledging the nation's economic crisis. "That I can guarantee you. I can't tell you how long it will take, what obstacles we'll face along the way, but I promise you this: There will be brighter days ahead." - Yahoo! News

Okay, but you have nothing to do with the economy. It's the Congress, stupid!

Harvard AIDS-Prev. Director: "Pope's Correct"

March 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has said that the evidence confirms that the Pope is correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS. "The pope is correct," Green told National Review Online Wednesday, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."

"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."
Pope Benedict knows what's up.

Animal Rights Protests

The move will surprise many, as the chef's television show investigating pig welfare standards urged people to buy British rather than cheaper pork produced abroad under poorer conditions.

But Peta argued: "The answer to saving pigs is not to buy British pork, it's to go vegetarian."

Mr Oliver's spokesman said the chef was a "big supporter" of animal welfare, while his London restaurant Fifteen served pork products from "the happiest pigs you can get".

"They do seem to be protesting against somebody who is trying to help the situation," he said.

"It's a slightly odd place for them to be protesting but nonetheless they are welcome to do that. My main concern was that they would get cold." - Telegraph.co.uk

PETA is a threat to individual freedom.

Song of the Day (3/19/09)

Vampire Weekend - White Sky

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marriage Redefined Per Webster's

World Net Daily - One of the nation's most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term "marriage" should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition.

"I was shocked to see that Merriam-Webster changed their definition of the word 'marriage,' a word which has referred exclusively to a contract between a man and a woman for centuries. It has now added same sex," YouTube user Eric B. noted to WND.

"The 1992 Webster's Dictionary does not mention same sex at all," he wrote.

1992 (Left) and 2009 (Right)

Volcano Erupts in Tonga

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (March 18) - An undersea volcano erupted off the coast of Tonga shooting clouds of smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet into the sky above the South Pacific ocean, officials said Wednesday.

Spectacular columns spewed out of the sea about 6 miles from the southwest coast off the main island of Tongatapu — an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered, said Tonga's geological service head, Keleti Mafi.

"It's a very significant eruption, on quite a large scale," he told The Associated Press. - AP
Puck naw...

Treasury Demanded Loophole

The Treasury Department demanded that Sen. Chris Dodd insert exemptions into the stimulus bill that allowed bailout recipients to receive bonuses, the Connecticut Democrat said on Wednesday.

According to Dodd, officials at Treasury expressed concern that if the government were to prohibit payouts, it risked being sued by companies like AIG, which had contracts stipulating that bonuses were to be paid.

At the urging of Treasury officials, Dodd modified a clause he had previously inserted into the stimulus that prohibited bonuses from being issued by bailed-out companies. An exemption was added to allow bonuses that applied to in-place contracts. - The Huffington Post

Wall Street's in Washington!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tax The Rich

Why The GOP Can't Win W/ Minorities

Today conservatism is stigmatized in our culture as an antiminority political philosophy. In certain quarters, conservatism is simply racism by another name. And minorities who openly identify themselves as conservatives are still novelties, fish out of water.

Yet there is now the feeling that without an appeal to minorities, conservatism is at risk of marginalization. The recent election revealed a Republican Party -- largely white, male and Southern -- seemingly on its way to becoming a "regional" party. Still, an appeal targeted just at minorities -- reeking as it surely would of identity politics -- is anathema to most conservatives. Can't it be assumed, they would argue, that support of classic principles -- individual freedom and equality under the law -- constitutes support of minorities? And, given the fact that blacks and Hispanics often poll more conservatively than whites on most social issues, shouldn't there be an easy simpatico between these minorities and political conservatism? - Wall Street Journal

Read on...

Justice Thomas Lays It Down

LEXINGTON, Va. – Americans today are self-indulgent and don't make the sacrifices that their parents and grandparents did, and the nation's leaders don't ask people to act for the higher good, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Monday at a Virginia college in a rare public speech.

"Our country and our principles are more important than our individual wants," Thomas told close to 400 people who greeted him with a standing ovation at Washington and Lee University, a Shenandoah Valley liberal arts school.

He quoted President Kennedy's famous, "Ask not what your country can do for you" speech, but said Americans today are more likely to say, "Ask not what you can do for yourselves or your country but what your country can do for you." - Yahoo! News

I second Thomas here.

Evolution Acceptance Chart

Source: Gallup Poll

As you can see, America ranks 33rd with a 39% acceptance rating. I wouldn't buy too much into it since they polled only 1,484 people living here.

Ammo Demand Increasing During Tough Times

- Around Wichita, the supply of ammunition -- particularly for handguns -- is not keeping pace with a strong demand. The demand is emptying shelves at the big discount stores, owners of local shooting ranges and gun merchants say. **

Despite the slumping overall economy, two Wichita indoor-shooting ranges and a Goddard gun and hunting supply store say they are doing a robust business.

Business is good, they say, because of a mix of political and economic factors.

On the political front, they say, gun owners and enthusiasts appear to be buying more guns and ammo out of concern that President Obama's administration will push for more gun control. - Kansas.com

No more gun war!

Laser Gun Mosquito Killer

LONDON, England -- Scientists in the U.S. are developing a laser gun that could kill millions of mosquitoes in minutes.

The laser, which has been dubbed a "weapon of mosquito destruction" fires at mosquitoes once it detects the audio frequency created by the beating of its wings.

The laser beam then destroys the mosquito, burning it on the spot.

Developed by some of the astrophysicists involved in what was known as the "Star Wars" anti-missile programs during the Cold War, the project is meant to prevent the spread of malaria. - CNN

Great development.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hidden Gems (Music)

Every so often, I look at my play list and realize that I have a lot of random songs that I don't normally listen to. These hidden are definitely worth a second look:

I'm From Barcelona - Tree House (Pop)
The Secret Machines - Road Leads Where It Leads (Space Rock)
Akron/Family - Sorrow Boy (Experimental Folk)
Beirut - Postcards From Italy (World Music)
Atlantics - Bombora (Instrumental)
Caribou - Final Warning (Electronica)
Drifters - Under The Boardwalk (Oldies)

Ron Paul Owns Baldwin on the Drug Issue

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Guess What Year...

This photograph is from...

Credit: PDNPhoto

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Iran Declared A Space and Nuclear Power

TEHRAN, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that pressure from Western powers trying to keep Iran in economic isolation have in fact spurred the country to become a space and nuclear power.

"Had you not been bad-tempered and blocked the way, the Iranian nation would not have been present in space, and would not have become a nuclear power," Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying at the inauguration ceremony of a natural gas deposit in the Bushehr province.

Iran put its first communications satellite, Omid (Hope), into a near-Earth orbit on February 2. The research satellite was carried into orbit by a home-made launch vehicle, Safir (Messenger). Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad Soleimani earlier said that the country's scientists were working on the creation of four new satellites to be placed into near-Earth orbit. - Rian.ru

Not to sympathize with him, but it is America's hegemony that has contributed to Iran's (and many other nation's) build up.

An Auto Pizza Machine

ROVERETO, Italy — Is Europe bringing back the automat? Claudio Torghele hopes so.

Over the last decade, Mr. Torghele, 56, an entrepreneur in this northern Italian city who first made money selling pasta in California, has developed a vending machine that cooks pizza. The machine does not just slip a frozen pizza into a microwave. It actually whips up flour, water, tomato sauce and fresh ingredients to produce a piping hot pizza in about three minutes.

The machine, which Mr. Torghele calls Let’s Pizza, is only the spearhead of a trend. Restaurants reminiscent of the old Horn & Hardart chain in the United States, which are fully automatic, are also showing up around the Continent.

Unlike the old automats (the last Horn & Hardart closed in 1991), which were staffed with workers who refilled the machines with creamed spinach and baked beans as fast as customers pulled them out, these restaurants consist entirely of vending machines. - New York Times
This is great. Bring it to Wakefield High!

Wake County Judge Rules...

A judge in Wake County said three Raleigh children need to switch from home school to public school. Judge Ned Mangum is presiding over divorce proceeding of the children's parents, Thomas and Venessa Mills.

Venessa Mills was in the fourth year of home schooling her children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old. They have tested two years above their grade levels, she said.

"We have math, reading; we have grammar, science, music,” Venessa Mills said.

Her lessons also have a religious slant, which the judge said was the root of the problem. - WRAL.com

Individual over society? No.

Name This Song


Can you name that song? I bet you can.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Song of the Day (3/12/09)

No Age - Every Artist Needs A Tragedy

Social Security = Ponzi Scheme

...Much as in the original Ponzi scheme, Social Security also paid huge returns to its first investors who, whether intentionally or not, led Americans to believe the plan worked marvelously, thereby engendering the support of an exceedingly grateful nation.

For instance, the first American to ever receive a check from this new national savings plan was Ernest Ackerman, a streetcar motorman from Cleveland, Ohio who retired exactly one day after the program went into effect. For the five cents that was deducted from Mr. Ackerman's check the sole day he was a 'participant', he received a lump—sum payment of 17 cents. This was a 240% return, which annualizes out to 87,600%. Nice investing, Ernie.

Then, in 1939, a series of changes were made to this new retirement system that included moving up the start of monthly payments by two years. As a result, the first monthly Social Security check went out on January 31, 1940 to Ida May Fuller, a retired legal secretary from Ludlow, Vermont. - American Thinker

Abolish Social Security. People need to learn how to save and budget their money properly. We don't need a ponzi scheme to do that.

Madoff Wanted To Deliver "At Any Cost"

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bernard Madoff, who cultivated a worldwide mystique as he churned out amazingly steady returns for his investors year after year, finally admitted it was all a lie, saying he had felt compelled to deliver "at any cost."

If his thousands of customers were expecting deep insight into why he did it, they were disappointed.

The silver-haired money manager, wearing his signature gray suit and showing little emotion, offered an apology and an explanation of sorts in a 10-minute courtroom monologue. While saying he was "actually grateful" for the chance to speak, he did not dwell on the motive behind his crime spree.

Madoff said he wanted to keep investors seeking good returns happy and that, once he started, he could not stop.

What a little crook.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Obama Deception

This is the trailer for the latest Alex Jones flick. It tickles my fancy. It will be on Prison Planet.Com on Sunday, March 15.

No Age/Jay Reatard Rivals

What do you get when you add a scoop of Black Lips, half-a-cup of Jay Reatard, and a tablespoon of No Age? You get Cheap Time. Check out some live footage:

Moon Base Needs Good Location

If, as planned, the United States eventually establishes a lunar base in 2020, one of the most tempting patches of moonscape is Shackleton Crater at the south pole.

There may be water ice for drinking or converting to rocket fuel, the nearly constant sunlight at the rim is ideal for solar power, and the temperature is relatively bearable.

But perhaps the most compelling reason is something far more primal: surviving the lunar night, which lasts 14 Earth days and can hit temperatures so cold that oxygen turns to liquid. - Christian Science Monitor

Space research is pointless. There, I said it!

Fail of the Day

Band Spotlight: King Khan and the Shrines

History: Formed by King Khan in 1999 after the break-up of his band The Spaceshits.

Years Active: 1999 to Present

Label: Vice Records

King Khan, Till Timm, Dream Jeans, Rahn Streeter, John Boy Adonis, Simon Says, Ben Ra, Long Fred Roller, Fredovitch

Genre: Independent Psychedelic Garage Soul

Musical Style: A throwback to early '70s soul/psychedelic acts like Jimi Hendrix and Parliament, King Khan and the Shrines play a ska that combines 2-tone with garage punk.

Best Album: What Is?! (2007)

Top Songs:
"Welfare Bread"
"Burnin' Inside"

You Might Like King Khan if you like Black Lips and Jay Reatard

Burger King Coming Soon

If you drive to Irving Gas Station circa 2012, you may be delighted to see a Burger King across from it. Plans for a Burger King have been approved by the town of Wakefield. You know how long it took for Dunkin' Donuts and Irving to be built/open so yeah don't expect BK anytime in the near near future.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Radiohead and R&G

Call it a coincidence or call me crazy, but I've found some connections between Radiohead's works and the text in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Page 38
- There! ... and we'll soon be home and dry...and high and dry...

Page 41
- Some kings tend to be amnesiac, others I suppose -- the opposite, whatever that is...
- What did you have in mind?... A short, blunt human pyramid...?

- On Amnesiac, Radiohead has two songs: "Dollars and Cents" and "Spinning Plates." Rosencrantz and Guildernstern discuss spinning coins together.

More Peeps Hatin' On Barry

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk

Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”

Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up check points on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.

Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.

Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office. - Ron Paul (R) - House of Representatives

You go Ron!

Bill on Flag Burning

For the AP Government students out there. Yet, another Supreme Court case referenced in Hicks' Comedy. He is, of course, referring to Johnson v. Texas. Enjoy!

Concert Review: Black Lips (Middle East)

Mean Creek, Gentleman Jesse and His Men, Black Lips
Venue: Middle East Downstairs
Date: March 7, 2009

Act One - Mean Creek

I really liked them. I dug the hip attitude and appearance meshed with a somewhat sociopolitical commentary on our frail society..... or something like that. I think they had a great sound; the heaviness was just about right for what they were doing. They were fairly energetic and it definitely showed in their performance. And of course there was the cute female guitarist.

Glen: I second Chris in that Aurore Ounjian, the vocalist/guitarist/harmonica player, is very cute. Mean Creek played heavy power pop that was catchy and was almost a throw-back to '80s and '90s alternative rock/shoegaze. "Not to Dream" particularly stuck out as a great song with a hopeful message. Chris Keene, vocalist/guitarist, and Aurore called for America to dream about a society where money is burnt and freedom is free. Mean Creek reminded me of Faces on Film, another passionate local folksy band. They were very good and it will be interesting to see how they emerge in the coming months.

Act Two - Gentleman Jesse and His Men

Gentleman were okay. The volume was a bit unnecessarily high. Some bands can have the volume that loud, like the Black Lips, but for them it just didn't sound right, in my opinion. Just noise that hurt my ears, not to sound like an old bitch. Overall, they were pretty good and I could see 70s rock elements underneath the wall of noise.

Glen: Heavy stuff. My hearing was shot about 30 seconds into their 10 song set. These Atlanta natives combined elements of punk, pop, and lo-fi with sweet guitar solos and choruses. They kind of remind me of a heavier Click Five. I can't see why they aren't bigger. I'm usually not a huge fan of their strand of garage rock, but it's irresistably fetching. Check out "All I Need Tonight Is You."

Act Three - BLACK LIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Black Lips put on the best show I've ever seen. Very extraordinary, wild, and unpredictable. Of course, they garnered the most audience response and rightfully so. As soon as they stormed into "Sea of Blasphemy," the crowd went into a frenzy, never remaining still or apart till the end. They played a fairly diverse set with songs from 4 of their 5 studio albums. In my opinion, the best performances were "Dirty Hands" (by far, the whole crowd was most united for this number, rocking back and forth and singing the chorus, def. a highlight of not just this show, but all shows in my somewhat brief concert going career), "Buried Alive," "Fairy Stories," "Bad Kids," "Starting Over," you know what they were all amazing.... I tried avoiding that, but I couldn't. The band was more energetic and enthusiastic then most other bands I've seen, specifically singer/guitarist Jared Swilley, who often hopped into the crowd and shredded on his guitar. Excellent use of feedback, I must say. He was just a pro in stage antics. Overall, my favorite show by miles. I can't wait to seem them again, whenever that is.

Obsessed with the Black Lips for well over two months, I was, for lack of a better word, pumped to see them. Chatting it up with guitarist Cole Alexander before the show was quite a treat. Cole talked to us about what kind of venues the Black Lips are capable of playing in, their lack of ability to play certain songs, and finally their snorting coke and partying with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich in England. When Alexander and his crew took the stage, the crowd erupted in shouts of "ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh" -- similar to the Mexican crowd on the opening track off their spectacular live album Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo. Then, in a blink of an eye, Jared Swilley picked up his guitar, and so did Cole and Ian St. Pe. Joe Bradley readied himself behind the drumset and the group opened with "Sea of Blasphemy." The crowd erupted in a moshpit that involved lots of contact and screaming. The contact and the screaming never relented. Between songs, Jared kept remarking how he couldn't hear the audience for shit (they were screaming out requests). Also between songs involved the tossing of multiple beers. Swilley dropped a pass and joked, "I didn't play football in high school." St. Pe, who a little later caught a beer pass, said "I played football in high school." St. Pe was playing guitar in front of me the whole time. He was clearly inebriated but was still able to strum amazingly. He handed me one of the beers he caught and gave me a high five. Good man. The band was absolutely full of energy and lived up to their "one of rock's best live acts" reputation. There was no mooning, making out, or pissing on the audience -- and there didn't need to be...crowd surfing and spitting sufficed. The Black Lips played a hodge podge of great tracks ranging from oldies "Bad Kids," "Buried Alive," "Dirty Hands," "Cold Hands," a 10 minute epic of "Hippie Hippie Hoorah," "Not a Problem," "Stranger," "Katrina," to songs off their 2009 release 200 Million Thousand like "Drugs," "Short Fuse," "Starting Over," and "Take My Heart." The last song came, at least for me, unexpectedly. I was having the most fun I've ever had and thus began "Juvenile." Jared let the front row play with his guitar a little before full out diving into us. He was hanging onto the condensation-dripping wall while being pushed around. Beers were being spilled everywhere and everyone was going absolutely nuts. The security guards were getting so pissed that they cut the plug to the mics and started dismantling the band's equipment. The crowds' calls, "Encore! Encore!" were repudiated as the lights turned on and the background music played. I would have loved one more, but I can't complain. If they were going to do an encore...the security were just assholes. It took almost 2 days for my inner-ear buzzing to stop, but it was well worth it and I'd relive the concert again in a heartbeat. Black Lips, if you read this...Boston loves you! Come back this summer...please!