Thursday, September 28, 2006

this is a time for action (there is no time)

(updated with time stamp bump)

I received a nice letter from Sen. Feinstein, nothing yet from Sen. Boxer. The proof of course will be in the pudding of today's Senate debate. Sens Feingold, Kerry, and Dodd have so far spoken out. Hopefully my Senators will stand up.

Do what you can to make your Senators, Dem or GOP, stand up. Call their DC offices now. Ask to speak to as top-level an aide as you can get to, preferably the aide responsible for homeland security issues. In a polite way, demand that they stand up for the Constitution and vote against this bill. Ask nicely if the Democrats plan to filibuster to delay passage for more reasoned negotiation, to take the bill out of the political hopper.

Froomkin, Greenwald and others are right -- this is a defining moment in American history. This is where the Constitutional rubber meets the road.

The bill to legalize torture actually has a chance to pass through Congress before they adjourn over the weekend. The fact that a bill this bad is even being debated is a sorry moment in the nation's history. There are numerous things wrong with the bill, as indicated here.

So what now? Well, it's time for action now, because there is no time. Congress adjourns over the weekend, and in 6 weeks an election will be held to send to Washington the 110th US Congress. We cannot let the 109th Congress pass legislation that will allow the US to become as morally bankrupt as those nations such as Iran and North Korea, those who are regularly demonized by the President.

The Senate is the best bet, as the minority party can hold up legislation via filibuster. What I have done, and what we all must do, is to write our Senators and ask for leadership. The Democrats in Congress are once again scurrying to the corners hoping not to be noticed so that they might not piss off the electorate and thus take over Congress.

Well, guess what? As the Lieberman example shows, people are pissed off and people want opposition to current administration policy.

So here's the letter I've written to my senators,Boxer and Feinstein. Use as much or as little (or nothing) from it as you like, but send a letter. Send one today. We need action and we need leadership.

Dear Senator Boxer -

I write to you very vexed and very concerned. I read story after story about the detainee-torture bill going through Congress right now. The absence of strong Democratic opposition to this prenicious, mendacious, immoral, and most importantly, unconstitutional bill troubles me greatly.

Where are you?

Where is Senator Feinstein? Wher are your colleagues, Senators Reid, Clinton, Obama, Feingold, et al? Where are the people who we look to for leadership, who must stand up and prevent this bill from becoming law?

Where are you? Why are you silent? Why have you abdicated leadership on this most vital of issues? Why are you allowing the Republicans to once again run roughshod over the legislative process, bullying a bad bill through to use only as a political wedge in an election year? Why are you afraid to fight?

Do you not realize that you earn more emnity and disgust by staying silent? Do you not relaize that as your silence on the matter grows louder day by day that you make it harder and harder for people to support you?

Hear me and my fellow concerned citizens now - stand up and fight this bill. And fight the NSA warrantless wiretapping bill. Stand up and fight or know that you will face a fight in your next election. Remember the lesson of Joe Lieberman -- those who do not stand up and listen to the people, those who do not then go and protect the people no longer deserve the support of the people and no longer deserve a position of leadership.

Leadership means taking risks. Stand up and fight now and you will earn more respect than by your current strategy of standing mute.

This bill is antithetical to everything it means to be an American.And I write from a unique position, as a non-citizen but legal resident. I am troubled by the fact that I can be detained on the say so of the President, without due process and any rights of habeas corpus. You represent a state with many people like me. At the moment we may not be able to vote. But we can work on campaigns, and we have citizenship applications on file. We will remain activists and we will become voters, and we will remember who stood up and took the lead and who sat mute and cowered in the corner.

So I ask again -- where are you?



Sunday, September 24, 2006

maybe it sounds mean but i really don't think so, you asked for the truth and i told you

the much discussed bill clinton interview on fox news sunday is as remarkable as advertised. the interview was supposed to focus equally on the clinton global initiative and whatever else came up. two questions in, chris wallace used the cowardly "some people say" device, this time saying that fox news viewers wanted him to ask about clinton's failure to get bin laden. clinton goes after wallace on every front -- the factual basis of the assertion, as well as the disingenuous way the question was asked, and that it violated the spirit under which the interview was supposed to be conducted.

watch closely clinton's body language -- he leans forward, getting right in wallace's face and space, doing it deliberately to put wallace on the defensive, which happens all too easily. democrats in congress and on the campaign trail should take note of what happens when you confront the bullshit and those who try to shovel it -- they all of a sudden look weak and small. maybe it's too much to hope for, but it would be great if this were fox news's army-mccarthy moment, the "at long last sir, have you left no sense of decency" moment that shows the emperor to be naked.

as always, crooks and liars does a great job hosting the video, and they also have a full transcript posted.

Friday, September 22, 2006

kids don't follow

huh. well. here's something to get my mind of off the torture legislation stinkbomb.

paul westerberg's got a new album, and surprise surpise, it's the soundtrack to the new animated feature open season. crazy. this from the same guy who wrote "gary's got a boner".

you could hear a song or two, including "love you in the fall" on the lost highway records site, but they make you register. bah.

so, go instead to kexp's streaming archive and put in 9/22 5:06pm as the date/time, or to the aol music page for the "love you in the fall".

as ross raihala speculates in the st. paul pioneer press, how freaky would it be to see westerberg nominated or even getting an oscar for this? could happen. the academy likes poppy tunes from animated films.

...and heaven knows i'm miserable now

i am close to feeling physically ill because of the latest news on the "compromise" on the torture legislation going through congress. the details are better explained here, here, here, here and here. good discussion here. more disgusting update here.

suffice to say that lindsay graham, who was so convincing in his earnestness last sunday on meet the press, caved like the smarmy party-hack with the walter mitty backbone that i've generally taken him to be. john mccain, saint john mccain of the straight-talk express, has once again sold his soul to aid in his quest for being the gop establishment candidate heading into the 2008 presidential nominating season. i don't know if i can take it if jon stewart allows mccain on for another love fest. it makes me sad to see stewart suck up to the craven and phony likes of mccain, to be suckered by the bullshit.

and the democrats? where have they been? why are they allowing the gop to play offense on this, backing the dems into the same corner they were in in 2002 wrt the iraq aumf? (.pdf file) where are reid, pelosi, feingold, boxer, clinton, rangle, emmanuel and obama? who will stand up? the times and the post have weighed in against the bill in strongly worded editorials, but will this be enough?

it's citizen action time -- call your representatives in the house and senate and implore them to oppose both this bill and the coming legislation on warrantless nsa wiretapping. make it clear to democratic candidates seeking election that you will not vote for them if they don't stand up, either in chamber as the incumbent or on the campaign trail as the challenger. enough is enough.

(update): here's where the dems are...standing idly by, claiming to wait for the gop implosion. yeah, that tactic worked well in 2002 and 2004. keep at it, guys. one nugget that came out of the 2004 election post-mortem is that voters went with bush because he made it clear whee he stood. even undecideds felt this way. and here, in light of that, we *still* have party leadership who refuse to take the fight to an unpopular president and gop-led congress. ugh.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

once i had my heroes

good lord, my ears will be ringing for a week thanks to mission of burma and 50 foot wave. first of all, i don't know under what rock i've been living, but 50 foot wave are kristin hersh's band. yes, the kristin hersh of throwing muses. who knew? i didn't.

50 foot wave were in some ways a bit like the muses, but louder. i know they played at least one old muses song, if not more. the new songs sounded like kristin hersh songs, but with a heavy dose of old-school angsty post-punk. i've always known she can play a mean guitar (listen to the chord and tempo changes on any muses song), but she was doing it fast and loud too. just as impressive were her full-throated primal punk-rock screams. this from a woman with a 15-year old son. mindblowing.

the burma set was loud. LOUD. LOUD. and energetic. for old guys, they can still bring it and they looked like they were having a blast. roger miller's starting to look a bit like dutch actor jeroen krabbe...odd resemblence.

it was an interesting crowd -- some were clearly MoB fans from way back, before the break-up. some, like me, came of age after the break-up but got to know of them when they still mattered as an arty post-punk band and as a result probably haven't seen them live. and then there were clearly some people who looked like they might not have been born when MoB started back in 1979. it was a crowd in the know, as all the old stuff got good response, not just "revolver". roger's tour diary on pitchfork is a good read.

i'm always a bit leery of seeing bands like this...those gone for a while, have reemerged and playing live again -- will there be anything in the tank? is there still inspiration to draw upon? the leeriness comes from having seen a few 60s bands on reuinion tours (don't ask why, it just happened), especially when it was one guy with hired sidekicks. always felt forced and by-the-numbers, seemed as canned as a vegas revue.

then a number of years ago i saw a buzzcocks show in NYC (albeit with the smiths rhythm section). still, they were amazing, and i felt then like a part of my musical upbringing had been properly put to rest, that i'd seen a "heritage" band, a band i had to see, who came back and did it right. same with MoB last night. no disappointment at all -- i can say that i've seen one of the more influential american bands of the punk/post-punk era playing at a high level, full of inspiration, no matter that it was 23 years after they more or less broke up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

avast ye scoundrels!

today be international talk like pirate day! so grab ye some grog and a scabbard and plunder and pillage! then tonight find ye a wench or a matey and haul some keel together. every pirate needs some booty!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

take me out tonight where there's music and there's people who are young and alive

a big tip of the hat to leah for the idea to go see the california shakespeare theater. on friday, a clear, crisp and cool evening, we saw the last preview of as you like it in the beautiful bruns ampitheater. susannah schulman was radiant and energetic as rosalind. the calshakes experience is a great way to experience can bring your own food and to eat beforehand in the picnic area or in your seat in the theatre. we had a nice bottle of pinot noir, some hummus, havarti, a baguette and chocolate. and you've gotta love that the company has dan bakkedahl on their advisory council.

this weekend also will feature two soccer games, that is if whatever the hell is going on in my right groin allows me to move well enough (it did today in the first game, hopefully no issues on sunday). this despite a knee that's repsonding positively (so far) to twice doing 1 mile on a treadmill at a 10min:30sec/mile pace. after you've celebrated enough 29th b-days, unexplainable shit happens.

upcoming? well, new music from the hold steady, with a show in october at gamh. the long winters will be at dunord a few days before the hold steady show. and also? mission of burma. no shit, they're still around and touring. 9/20 at gamh.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

please, please, please, let me get what i want (or: ok, comuter, pt ii)

the macbook pro (15", 2gig processor, upgrade to 1g ram) seems to be where i'm headed. leaving the dark side of windoze and heading to the light.

(update) -- ordered. plus i get a 4gb ipod for $20 after rebate. so now i'm 'doze at work and cross-platform at home. but then i've always been a multi-cultural, pan-ecumenical, non-sectarian kinda guy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce..wooooo!!

it was a long two weeks without the daily show. but if the time off helped them recharge the batteries enough to bring this kind of funny (from the 9/12 show) then the wait was worth it (link loads large (9 minute) .wmv file, the little richard thing comes at about the 4:15 mark):

thanks to the amazing blog crooks and liars for the video. john amato does great work.

o.k., computer

bah. my home computer (desktop mutt system built by a friend, in which i've replaced sound & video cards and added a 2nd hd over the years) seems to be kaput. the os hard drive failed (but it was about 8 years old) and now i can't get the cd-rom to boot the windows cd. something motherboard related.

so on days i don't drag my work laptop home i'm now sans connectivity, which feels so weird.

more importantly, however, i need to think about the next step.

new machine? most definitely. laptop or desktop? laptop almost certainly, and i'll get an external hard-drive thing to plug my 200GB drive with all my files (photos, writing, mp3, data from research projects, email) and maybe use that as a back-up drive.

now the question...mac or pc? i like the idea of a macbook (because, yes, i want to be just like the guy in the mac vs pc commercials with john hodgman)

i've already had a couple of folks sing the praises of mac, but i've heard good things about the toshiba satellite laptop pc.

bah. like i need this annoyance in my life right now. well, ever.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

just beat it (please)

so at about 12:15 i'm crossing dolores street at 19th, at the entrance to the park. in one of the spots between the crosswalk is a grey hummer, and the guy in the truck is blasting michael jackson's "dirty diana".

an hour or so later, after getting some mangoes, key limes, a very cool vintage jacket and a brown tie at idol vintage, a morning roll from tartine, and getting my chocolate graham fix at bi-rite, i walk by the intersection again to get home.

dude is still there...and the song selection has moved to "beat it".

Friday, September 08, 2006

some days are sulky, some days have a grin

the grin...
for various reasons pretty much all good, i haven't gotten much sleep this week. tuesday night's reason had to do with the brian jonestown massacre show at the independent. i hadn't seen them live yet, just on screen in dig!, the fun but apparently disavowed by bjm founder anton newcombe documentary about bjm and the dandy warhols (**). newcombe's reasonable objections aside it did nothing to make me not want to see them play. the non-musical highlight from the show had to be when an audience heckler asked "where's hollywood?", referring to ex-bjm matt hollywood. anton's response was to tell the guy to take the 5 south, or maybe catch a bus. it was two joel gion shows in 8 days for me, as his other band the dilletantes played at the syd barret tribute.

sunday two weeks ago was also all about the grin, as paul kelly played along with the waifs at great american. paul came on wearing a blue shirt with white polka dots, very festive. looked in good spirits. as the set went on he informed us that it was his last night on tour.

the set-list, as far as my foggy memory goes included midnight rain, they thought i was asleep, every fucking city, when i first met your ma, down to my soul...josh from the waifs joined for how to make gravy and vicky then joined the two of them for to her door.

i'd never seen the waifs nor even heard any music (odd for me, to not know of a band this good) and I was quite impressed. the women have fantastic versatile voices and vicky's harmonica playing was awesome, the band are amazing musicians, the songs are very good. I love "discovering" new bands...even ones that can play two almost sold-out nights in san francisco and have been around for years. the highlights of their set for me were the song about salmon fishing on the southwest coast of australia, and the finale, a great version of paul's from little things big things grow.

also worth ginning about is new music from the hold steady, heard already on kexp. i went on a buying spree a couple of weeks ago, gettin a mix of newish and oldish including the long winters, thom yorke, calexico, band of horses, the raconteurs (yeah, yeah, the last three have been out for a while...i was on vacation and busy) and a couple of others. and i still don't have all that i want. so sue me, i'm greedy.

the sulky...
my desk-top hard-drive containing my windoze os seems to have finally fried. thankfully i long ago bought another drive for files. though now i have to decide if i should finally ditch the desk-top and get a laptop. would probably be easier than to keep repairing that machine.

why do you fail me once again, muni? seriously, of the last 5 or so times i've taken the muni j line, there've been 2 power outages and one capricious shutdown for no apparent reason. i'm not going to turn this into the j-line version of the n judah chrnicles, but suffice it to say that it may be that i do the rest of the j-line's riders a big favor if i were to avoid it. i'm carrying some bad j-church mojo lately. moreover, it kept me from from getting a quick and needed power nap before heading out tonight to see old crow medicine show at slims. that i'm seeing them belongs in the grin side of the ledger. i'll just need a second and third wind to get thru the night.

** speaking of warhol, the upcoming two-part american masters (pbs series) film devoted to his life is on my must-see list.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"when you coming home, dad?" "i don't know when, but we'll get together then...

I don't know him personally, but my heartfelt condolences go to Josh Marshall, founder of the political blog Talking Points Memo, on the sudden loss of his dad a couple of weeks ago. Josh's moving tribute to his dad made me think a bit more about my relationship with my dad, as Josh and I share the experience of having a step-father raise us from a very young age and of thinking of him as "Dad" despite that a biological father is alive and well (and in my case living still in Denmark). This is not at all a slight to my biological father, but when I think of or speak the word "dad", I am referring to my step-father, the man who raised me. My father, the man in Denmark who gave me life, is a good guy who remarried and raised a great daughter and had a good career in the Danish government.

But it's my dad who I thought about upon reading Josh's post. My dad unblinkingly took in his new wife's 5-year old son, and without pause raised me as if I were his own. He had a son from a previous marriage and he and my mom produced two more boys. I'm a hard-headed and opinionated person, and so is my dad. We butted heads when I was younger and there were times I silently cursed him. All the while he would say "someday, you'll see I was right". And as time went by, he generally was. He's influenced me in many ways, mostly good, some not as good.

For better or worse I'm a product of his upbringing. Because of him I like to cook, I'm a die-hard Phillies fan (the sound of a baseball game on the radio is the essential sound of summer to me) and I'm literate in current events thanks to dinner table discussions where you'd best come prepared. There was always a newspaper in the house and the news on tv. I grew up watching him read voraciously. I could go on, but I assume that you get the point. He didn't give me physical life, but he's had a hand in making me the man that I am.

Josh wrote that due to his mother's untimely death and his dad's health problems, the call that came heralding his dad's death was not unexpected, that it hung over him "like a bird flying over me as I made my way in life". That was yet another part of the story that resonated deeply with me - about 10 months ago I got a call from my very upset mom. My dad had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The good news was that it was caught early and through aggressive treatment he has essentially been cured without losing his bladder or any other organs, or without having to have arduous chemotherapy. That it was bladder cancer was especially troubling as that's what killed his dad. But that was 20-some years ago and it wasn't detected until way too late. Still, my dad is 71 and has some other health issues and having had a cancer scare (and it runs in the family) he's susceptible to more. Though I hope he lives a good long time, I know that a sudden call may come one day, and now I live 3,000 miles away on the opposite coast (also like Josh).

So not to get all maudlin and lose my snarky cred, go read Josh's post about his dad. Think about what your pops means to you. Like mothers and daughters have a unique relationships, so do sons and dads. So sons, think a bit about the man who raised you. If it's been a while since you had a chance to tell him what he means to you, do it. Today.

Monday, September 04, 2006

scenes from a holiday weekend

i loves me my three-day weekends...this one was memorable for lots of relaxing, lots of good photo ops...from candids in the park on saturday morning... a sunny day in oakland at the art & soul festival

dogs played a big part during the weekend...

...and the san francisco mime troupe was on hand for some entertainment...

...meaning a chance for more candids

every picture tells a story

via crooks and liars i found the bagnewsnotes, a terrific media content analysis blog run by michael shaw. in the blog shaw dissects and analyzes photos from news outlets, public relations arms of industry, government and otehr organzations, as well as photography books and other places where photos are the main medium for the message. he's got a good ability to get underneath the intended message being conveyed by the image and to explain the underlying messages that are present, intentional and not.

(quick word to shaw...dump the use of "dr." in the bio...i have a ph.d. also and unless i'm in a setting that's germane to my field i don't use it as a credential. you're a clinical psych ph.d., not a media studies ph.d. if you run a clinical psych blog, then fine, call yourself dr.,

Sunday, September 03, 2006

get off the stage, pt II (both of you)

atrios has it right...between santroum and casey, no matter who gets the senate seat from pennsylvania, the state ends up with an idiot for senate representation.

in the debate this morning on meet the press, i hear ricky conflate (or confuse?) iraq and iran multiple times, switching rationales and falling back on tired and discredited arguments. casey was all over the place, showing himself to be rather thin on ideas. his tactic of turning to santorum to address him directly was certainly designed to be unnerving, but casey overused and oversold it to the point where ricky had him figured out, like a batter onto a pitcher who's tipping his pitches.

particularly galling were casey's answers on social security -- given the chance to nail santorum on the private accounts policy that santorum openly favors, casey talks about growth being the way out of the crisis. he could have also blown wide open tim russert's shoddy phrasing of the question and half-assed attempt to move the discussion to the flawed premise of how private accounts will grow rather than shrink the social security problem.

also, as a few other bloggers have pointed out, santorum was pretty smarmy to bring up casey's dead father during the plan b segment.

and i know it's their job to play uncritical cheerleader, but the dscc press release is laughable even by the rose-colored glasses standard. santorum did, however, provide the casey campaign with a great soundbite that should be the center of the campiagn from here on out -- santorum calling bush a "terrific president". just replay that clip in commercials from now until election day.

all in all just a putrid hour. i can't believe casey's the best that the pennsylvania dems could come up with. i mean, i hope he wins...a dem controlled senate is vital to holding the bushies accountable for the corruption, lies and incompetence...but casey has got lots of work ahead of him to grow into his job.