October 31, 2007
October 30, 2007
Bruce Springsteen should be very happy. He has the No. 1 album, a possible Grammy for Best Album of the Year for "Magic," an album full of singles and a sold-out concert tour.The article goes on to say that Clear Channel is sending a message "that at age 58, Springsteen simply is too old to be played on rock stations." Um, I don't think that's why they're not playing this album (especially since it's "OK" to play older Springsteen). This is Clearly a case of Bruce getting "Dixie-Chicked" for daring to question the (bad) direction our country is heading in. One of the new Springsteen songs Clear Channel won't play is "Living in the Future." In live performances, Bruce explains what the song is about:
Alas, there’s a hitch: Radio will not play "Magic." In fact, sources tell me that Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play tracks from "Magic." But it’s OK to play old Springsteen tracks such as "Dancing in the Dark," "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA."
"This is a song called Livin' In the Future. But it's really about what's happening now. Right now. It's kind of about how the things we love about America, cheeseburgers, French fries, the Yankees battlin' Boston, the Bill of Rights, v-twin motorcycle, Tim Russert's haircut, trans-fats and the Jersey Shore... we love those things the way womenfolk love Matt Lauer. But over the past six years we've had to add to the American picture: rendition, illegal wiretapping, voter suppression, no habeus corpus, the neglect of our great city New Orleans and its people, an attack on the Constitution. And the loss of our young best men and women in a tragic war. This is a song about things that shouldn't happen here—happening here."You can watch it here (just don't expect to hear it on commercial radio):
October 29, 2007
Today's tasty trick-slash-treat comes courtesy of my bro Mick and his radio show, It Is To Slack. It's a mashup of Mick's own creation in which he brings new life to Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash by zapping it with R.E.M.'s Crush with Eyeliner and What's the Frequency, Kenneth? (off their Monster album, natch).
Click Michael Frankenstipe to listen to/download the R.E.M.onsterMash.
Bonus Mash: Eugene Harold Mashontz (the man behind Dracula's Greatest Hits), that is -- courtesy of WFMU's Beware of the Blog:
(Click to listen to the entire LP!)
Bonus Bonus: Rhyme Torrents Halloween 2.0, a Nerdcore Hip Hop NSFW compilation of holiday-appropriate trax:
(Click for Download/Torrent links)
Okay, One More Bonus: The best Halloween song EVER, from the lovely and talented Siouxsie & The Banshees:
(Click to listen to/download "Halloween")
October 26, 2007
"The Senate is considering a bill that would grant immunity to any telecom company that assisted in the administration's illegal wiretapping. Chris Dodd promised to put a hold on any such bill, and Joe Biden and Barack Obama pledged to uphold it. We believe that any bill coming before the Senate that includes provisions for so-called 'amnesty' for large companies involved in illegally spying on Americans should be opposed, and have authored a letter to this effect addressed to Majority Leader Reid."Sign the letter.
October 25, 2007
October 24, 2007
"On Saturday, October 27th there will be 11 massive demonstrations for peace throughout the United States. In Boston, Chicago, Jonesborough, Tennessee, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle, people from all walks of life will join together to express their anti-war sentiments and to call for an immediate end to the conflict in Iraq."
"People everywhere want the war to end, but Washington has failed to take decisive action. With each passing month, the Iraq disaster claims the lives of nearly 100 service people and countless Iraqis as it drains 12 billion of our tax-dollars. Our communities are neglected and suffer the consequences.
Join the October 27 National Mobilization to End the Iraq War, initiated by United for Peace and Justice."
For more information, go to oct27.org.
October 17, 2007
October 16, 2007
That's because it was written by Stephen Colbert:
(excerpt) I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:And speaking of Rich, the same edition of the Sunday New York Times also featured one of his best columns ever:
Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.
There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.
(excerpt) It was always the White House’s plan to coax us into a blissful ignorance about the war. Part of this was achieved with the usual Bush-Cheney secretiveness, from the torture memos to the prohibition of photos of military coffins. But the administration also invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.Click the links to read the whole columns. You'll laugh, you'll cry...
Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.
We ignored the contractor scandal to our own peril. Ever since Falluja this auxiliary army has been a leading indicator of every element of the war’s failure: not only our inadequate troop strength but also our alienation of Iraqi hearts and minds and our rampant outsourcing to contractors rife with Bush-Cheney cronies and campaign contributors. Contractors remain a bellwether of the war’s progress today. When Blackwater was briefly suspended after the Nisour Square catastrophe, American diplomats were flatly forbidden from leaving the fortified Green Zone. So much for the surge’s great “success” in bringing security to Baghdad.
October 15, 2007
By now I'm sure most of you have heard about Radiohead and their novel way of "releasing" their new album, In Rainbows. Just in case you didn't, here's the quick version: On October 1st, the band announced that In Rainbows would become available on October 10th in a downloadable, DRM-free format for a price of people's own choosing. There would be no advance copies so everyone (you, me, journalists, djs, etc.) would be hearing it for the first time at the same time.
People paid various amounts (all in English pounds), from 0 to 20. I paid £2 (about $4 plus a credit card service fee which they don't tell you about up front) figuring I'll probably end up buying a physical version when it's finally released but I might as well throw the band a little love seeing how much they've made me happy (or miserable, depending on your point of view) over the last decade and a half (my how time flies). You too can play along and pay what you want (although I warn you, the site is a bit wonky; try reloading the page after you've entered the site):
Some saw this move by the band as a major challenge to the record industry. In fact, the band's lead singer, Thom Yorke said after their contract with EMI/Capitol expired, "I like the people at our record company, but the time is at hand when you have to ask why anyone needs one. And, yes, it probably would give us some perverse pleasure to say 'Fuck you' to this decaying business model." At the very least, the band has found a very cool way of saying there are ways to both make people happy and make a helluva lot of money (apparently the band netted a cool £4.8 million!).
Of course, not everyone is happy. Many fans/cranks have complained about the low quality of the digital download (160 kilobits per second, half the rate of previous Radiohead mp3 releases). But no one held a gun to their heads and told them to pay for these downloads -- the band clearly let people know they could pay nada, zip, zero. Besides, good music is good music. When I was a kid, I first heard a lot of music on either a crappy A.M. mono radio or on a crappy mono record player (I actually had a "Talking Teddy" record player with a single speaker inside a teddy bear's stomach). I still loved the music, whether it was The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five or The Shirelles (such was my early childhood). So to these foolish sound geeks I have to say grow up and get over it.
Because ultimately the point is In Rainbows IS good music. Is it a masterpiece? Is it their best album? No and no. They've probably already done that. But the band continues to make challenging and often beautiful music. So, today I'm going to share with you Faust Arp, possibly the most beautiful song, soundwise, the band has ever recorded (lyrically, I'm not so sure). To listen/download, click the "album" cover below:
Part two of our special "death to the record industry (?)" edition of mp3 monday comes courtesy of Ray Davies of The Kinks and the Times Online. Ray has chosen, ala Prince to give away his new album, Working Mans Café, when you buy the Sunday Times on October 21st. To promote this giveaway, Times Online is offering a free download of a track from the new album called Vietnam Cowboys.
Unfortunately, many of us do not live in merry old England so ixnay on the free iscday. And, unfortunately, Times Online wants you to register with their site in order to get the download. However, because you are all my friends, I gave up my soul (well, personal information) and registered for all of you so you could enjoy Ray's new song. Not his finest hour (for Kinks novices, may I suggest The Kink Kronikles), but good to hear Ray's still got some life in him. Click the man to listen/download:
And finally, I came across this item today which probably does mean that it's curtains for the music industry:
CD sales are falling. Vinyl sales are rising but not for a mass market. So the music industry has come up with a new format in the fight against dwindling revenues.This has to be about as dumb as it gets. I cannot imagine the free publicity Fightstar is getting will even come close to help offset the costs of manufacturing these "divinyl" discs that no one except for collectors are going to want.
Rock band Fightstar is releasing its next single on a disc that is vinyl on one side and a CD on the other. Its record company Gut admits the vinyl-disc is a gimmick but hopes it will capture fans' imagination.
"It can only work as a gimmick because we don't actually know how many fans have record players," says Gut's chairman, Guy Holmes.
I sure hope the savior of the music industry has some better ideas...
Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band last night in Ontario for "State Trooper" and Arcade's "Keep the Car Running":
I love how the posters misspelled Bruce's last name. And I apologize for the crappy sound, the crappy video and the posters' expletive-laden enthusiasm (but, really, who can blame them?). Hope a soundboard tape of this surfaces somewhere.
(h/t freakgirl & stereogum)
Warning: This video will make you angry. It also should make you cry:
Because of our dogs (long story), my wife and I interact with our local firefighters almost everyday. "Our" firehouse alone lost 10 men on 9/11 (Firefighter David G. Arce, Firefighter Gerard Baptiste, Firefighter Brian E. Bilcher, Firefighter Michael Boyle, Firefighter Robert E. Evans, Firefighter Robert King, Jr., Firefighter Keithroy M. Maynard, Lieutenant Kevin J. Pfeifer, Firefighter John P. Tierney and Firefighter Jeffrey P. Walz). It sickens me to think that these men could still be alive if it weren't for the arrogance of America's so-called Mayor. This asshole spent more time trying to rid the city of squeegee men and ferrets then he did trying to protect the lives of firefighters and the citizens of New York.
(Video courtesy of therealrudy.org. Click the link to sign a petition for an investigation into Rudy's failure to provide adequate radios to New York City's firefighters.)
October 12, 2007
The Rude Pundit takes a break from the usual rudeness with the best take I've seen so far on President Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize:
"Now that Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize (along with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the clearest difference between the former vice president and the current president is placed into even starker relief. In essence, Gore has elevated the world as a whole above the United States as a single entity within it. George W. Bush has placed the United States above the world. And Gore's non-electoral ascension, concomitant as it has been with Bush's descent into the miasma of low poll numbers and a destroyed party and disgrace in the world, reveals just how untenable the Bush position is: a nation can no longer succeed in this world unless its ultimate goal is to be part of the world.Thank you, oh Rude one...
Or, to put it another way, Gore won. Again. When the books are written, in the long-term histories of this and other countries, Al Gore will be cherished and George Bush will be crushed like so much real manure on a fake ranch. Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize does in Bush's seeming obsession with his legacy. And that's due in no small part to the smallness of Bush's thinking compared to the expansiveness of Gore's.
The Bush administration's foreign policy can perhaps be described as interventionist isolationism. In other words, sure, sure, the United States'll invade other countries and create open trade and other actions, but the ultimate goals of those efforts are not to improve the world or the lot of other people. If that's a by-product of the action, then, sure, hell, at least that provides cover for what is, at root, self-interest and greed and the bald assertion of power to the end of propagating further self-interest and greed. Yeah, yeah, every nation's foreign policy has a degree of self-interest. It has to. But for the United States under the Bush regime, it is the primary, if not the sole, consideration, no matter what lies they tell about planting seeds of democracy or some such nonsense.
Back in 2000, because we didn't riot in the streets and shut down the country in the wake of the presidential election debacle, the nation essentially abandoned Al Gore. And while Al Gore didn't totally abandon the nation, he turned his focus to the effort to demonstrate that real leadership need not emanate from the false mandate of a corrupted electoral process. In his crusade for action on climate change, Gore not only remade himself, but he remade the way in which people think about the world at large. Here was not just a cause confined to a specific continent (like African hunger) or a fight against a tyrant like Hitler to catalyze large portions of the population. Here was a way of thinking of the Earth as a whole, a way of seeing the interdependence of each country, of each population, and Gore has shifted a generation's view of itself as part of something larger.
The great failure of the United States to lead on this issue, to be the place where we create solutions that benefit the globe, keep economies humming, and raise humanity up in a way that might, truly, do more for peace than all the pre-emptive wars ever, rests squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush and his administration.
It's the difference between a man who traveled and studied the world by choice in his life and a man who has to be dragged to different countries like a particularly incontinent dog is dragged out to the sidewalk on a snowy day.
Gore's not gonna run. Give that up. To go from speaking out about melting icecaps to being asked what he thinks about, say, a flag-burning amendment would be a degradation of what he's worked for the last six years. And had that statewide recount in Florida happened and Gore had become president, Republicans would have simply worked night and day trying to destroy him, and his causes would have been washed away in a tide of worthless investigations of Buddhist monk phone calls and worse. And let's not even get into how Republicans would have exploded in berserk, ape-like rage over 9/11 if it had happened under a Gore presidency.
It's not that we're not worthy or that he's too good for us or any of that hyperbolic nonsense. We got the president we deserved, twice, and we realized too late that we didn't get the president we needed. As with so many things, our own temptation to that latent American selfishness has done us in."
October 11, 2007
The dream of Ann Coulter:
(Click because it has to be seen to be believed)
Video "courtesy" of MediaMatters.
October 10, 2007
October 09, 2007
In case you missed the Boss interview on 60 Minutes this past Sunday:
(Click to watch)
"I guess I would say that what I do is I try to chart the distance between American ideals and American reality. That's how my music is laid out. It's like we've reached a point where it seems that we're so intent on protecting ourselves that we're willing to destroy the best parts of ourselves to do so," Springsteen says.It was great that 60 Minutes gave Bruce this forum. Unfortunately, they chose a tool who is way too in love with his own "journalistic" style for the job:
Asked what he means, Springsteen tells (reporter Scott) Pelley, "Well, I think that we've seen things happen over the past six years that I don't think anybody ever thought they'd ever see in the United States. When people think of the American identity, they don't think of torture. They don't think of illegal wiretapping. They don't think of voter suppression. They don't think of no habeas corpus. No right to a lawyer … you know. Those are things that are anti-American."
"You know, I think this record is going to be seen as anti-war. And you know there are people watching this interview who are going to say to themselves, 'Bruce Springsteen is no patriot,'" Pelley remarks.
"Well, that's just the language of the day, you know? The modus operandi for anybody who doesn't like somebody, you know, criticizing where we've been or where we're goin'," Springsteen says. "It's unpatriotic at any given moment to sit back and let things pass that are damaging to some place that you love so dearly. And that has given me so much. And that I believe in, I still feel and see us as a beacon of hope and possibility."
The guy should be on The Daily Show...
October 06, 2007
October 05, 2007
October 04, 2007
From today's New York Times:
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.Gosh, aren't you proud of our country?
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
(Engraving "courtesy" of Tortures of an inquisition.)
From the new Wired/PBS show Wired Science, hosted by Chris Hardwick of Hard 'n' Phirm "fame."
If only my high school science classes had been like this, I wouldn't have become such a science lame-o.
UPDATE: I guess if I really wanted to stop being a science lame-o, I could start "attending" Berkeley's YouTube lectures (Integrative Biology & Physics 10 - Physics for Future Presidents) but I've discovered (for me at least) that large lecture halls are even harder to take on a computer screen than they were in real life (I attended a school with 44,999 other students):
I think I'm gonna stick with the funny Wired guys even though this is a very cool thing for Berkeley to do.
October 03, 2007
"Ha ha. One of you childrens aren't gettin' any coverage."
I guess I was wrong:
President Bush vetoed the children’s health insurance bill today, as he had promised to do, setting the stage for more negotiations between the White House and Congress.
Mr. Bush wielded his pen with no fanfare just before leaving for a visit to Lancaster, Pa. The veto was only the fourth of Mr. Bush’s presidency.
Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said, “Today the president showed the nation his true priorities: $700 billion for a war in Iraq, but no health care for low-income kids.”
Perhaps. But this is brilliant:
"The message is what I love, and I do think that if everyone in New York was killed, it would bring the country together."
Country Music Stars Challenge Al-Qaeda With Patriotic New Song "Bomb New York"
Get an mp3 of the song here.
Update: The feelings expressed in this parody may be closer to reality than I thought. Boy do we live in a messed up country...
Someone truly needs to go medieval on drug addict Rush Limbaugh:
On the October 2 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh denounced a recent ad by VoteVets.org that featured Iraq war veteran Brian McGough, calling the ad "a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said, then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media in a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into." Limbaugh went on to say that "[w]hoever pumped [McGough] full of these lies about what I said ... has betrayed him." Limbaugh denounced the ad despite admitting "I haven't watched the ad."Here it is:
You know there's no way Rush would ever have the guts to talk to this real human being and genuine soldier face to face. He'll just continue to hide behind his Cuban cigars and big microphone.
Man, Freud would've had a field day with this little prick...
Update: Help get Rush dumped from Armed Forces Radio.
October 02, 2007
(Make sure you watch until the end: Jon gets in a classic line about Wolf Blitzer.)
October 01, 2007
Today's tasty musical morsel is ridiculously fresh: It was literally recorded last night at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza (yes, that is the venue's actual name).
In a deliciously perverse way to promote her latest album, Lucinda Williams has been performing five albums from her back catalog in their entirety over five consecutive nights, first in L.A. and now in New York City. Last night, my wife and I saw Lu perform what for us is her best album, Essence. She and her band were in terrific form and it was a treat to hear her talk about where the songs came from and/or what influenced them.
The song that truly blew me away last night was Bus to Baton Rouge, a song about returning to her family home in Louisiana and reliving the "dark family secrets that we don't want to talk about." During the course of the song, she explained just what some of those secrets are. To say the least, it was a powerful baring of the soul.
To listen/download, click the pic of Lucinda. To buy this entire concert and any of the other 9 shows, go to Lu's store.