Saturday, December 6, 2008

1930s watch

Idled workers occupy factory in Chicago

By RUPA SHENOY, Associated Press Writer Rupa Shenoy, Associated Press Writer – Sat Dec 6, 1:46 pm ET

CHICAGO – Workers laid off from their jobs at a factory have occupied the building and are demanding assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay that they say they are owed.

About 200 employees of Republic Windows and Doors began their sit-in Friday, the last scheduled day of the plant's operation.

Leah Fried, an organizer with the United Electrical Workers, said the Chicago-based vinyl window manufacturer failed to give 60 days' notice required by law before shutting down.

Workers also were angered when company officials didn't show up for a meeting Friday that had been arranged by U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, she said.

During the peaceful takeover, workers have been shoveling snow and cleaning the building, Fried said.

"We're doing something we haven't since the 1930s, so we're trying to make it work," Fried said.

Union officials said another meeting with the company is scheduled for Monday.

Representatives of Republic Windows did not immediately respond Saturday to calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said authorities were aware of the situation and officers were patrolling the area.

Crain's Chicago Business reported that the company's monthly sales had fallen to $2.9 million from $4 million during the past month. In a memo to the union, obtained by the business journal, Republic CEO Rich Gillman said the company had "no choice but to shut our doors."


Deep Thought--when the economy went into recession at the beginning of George W Bush's 1st term, it was Bill Clinton's fault. When the economy went into recession at the end of George W Bush's 2nd term, it was Barack Obama's fault.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday night links

On 1/17/2001 the Onion gave us this classic. Damn, was that prescient.

Today, we get this, every sentence of which is priceless. Reading it makes me as hopeful as the 2001 article made me despair.

On a related note, this WaPo article talking about various Bush decisions that Team Obama is already planning to overturn. The 1st 100 Days are going to be something to behold, it looks like. The article specifcally refers to the federal ban on embryonic stem cell research, the ban on family planning groups from mentioning abortion, and the asinine prevention of California from regulating C02 emissions from cars.

The next four years are going to be rough in some ways, but at least the ship of state is no longer being piloted by Mr. 20% any longer....

And, for the hell of it, here's a fantastic video of Tool ripping it the fuck up in a little bitty club in '92, in front of what sounds like a couple dozen people who are definitely getting their money's worth.

There's a whole bunch of these videos from the same set, and they're all amazing. For being taken on a VHS camcorder, the sound is pretty awesome.


"People were worried about the Bradley effect. Apparently, it was not nearly as strong as the Bush effect."
---Jay Leno

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Do not adjust your TV set. That really was on Fox.

There will be more of these bizarre Palin stories. We know there is footage from the Couric interviews that hasn't seen the light of day yet....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008




I am too fucking hungover to type. But let me just say FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH....I mean, let me just say that I thought McCain's concession speech was possibly the classiest, most dignified thing he did all year. He was truly gracious, and I thank him for that.

And Obama's speech was absolute fucking dynamite. As soon as I get done absorbing the rest of what happened, I'm going to watch that shit on YouTube again, cause that was the damnedest speech I've ever seen.

We've got a D governor of Missouri now (bye bye baby Blunt!), and it seems that every MO ballot measure passed.

In fact, Amendment 1 (English as official language) passed 86-14, Nixon beat Hulshof 58-40, and the Presidential race is currently at McCain 49.4-Obama 49.2. I would like to know more about all those ticket splitters, but I'm sure we'll hear more about it in the next couple weeks.

By the way, we just elected the black guy. Never thought I'd live to see it. HOT DAMN.

Friday, October 31, 2008

riffing off of my last post

The fat lady clears her throat....

Sen. John McCain and the Republican National Committee will unleash a barrage of spending on television advertising that will allow him to keep pace with Sen. Barack Obama's ad blitz during the campaign's final days, but the expenditures will impact McCain's get-out-the-vote efforts, according to Republican strategists.


The vaunted, 72-hour plan that President Bush used to mobilize voters in 2000 and 2004 has been scaled back for McCain. He has spent half as much as Obama on staffing and has opened far fewer field offices. This week, a number of veteran GOP operatives who orchestrate door-to-door efforts to get voters to the polls were told they should not expect to receive plane tickets, rental cars or hotel rooms from the campaign.

"The desire for parity on television comes at the expense of investment in paid boots on the ground," said one top Republican strategist who has been privy to McCain's plans. "The folks who will oversee the volunteer operation have been told to get out into the field on their own nickel."

It's looking like the weather will hold up, FWIW.


Bonus link: Handy list of poll closing times.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

people keep asking me

why I'm so confident that Barack Obama's going to win.

First, 538 says so, and Nate Silver knows his statistics.

Second, I give you the dramatically intensifying pre-election Republican circular firing squad.


The thought of being both, at this point, pretty much a straight-ticket Democratic voter and simultaneously believing that our guy is going to win the Presidency is unusual. Surreal, even. So I don't post this lightly, or out of a sense of hubris.

But Obama is leading every single Kerry state by double digits. Those states (the West Coast, the Upper Midwest [MN/MI/WI/IL], and New England) = 252 electoral votes. 270 is the magic number. Add to those states IA, NM, and CO, where he is leading comfortably, and he's already at 273.

That's before even considering FL, OH, NC, VA, WV, MO, IN, NV, ND, MT, GA, or AZ (!), some fraction of which will go to Obama. That fraction will equal Obama's mandate. NV and VA are pretty much already in Obama's column; FL, OH, NC, MO, IN are all toss-ups. If Obama can flip any one of ND, MT, GA, and AZ, the rout will be on.

Honestly appraising the aggregated polling data, Obama looks likely to be the first Democrat to crack 50% of the popular vote since LBJ in 1964. He would have a Senate majority of roughly 14-15 seats (give or take) and an imposing House majority somewhere north of 50 seats.

That reminds me, I need to go get some champagne....

P.S. For what it's worth, the Obama folks are definitely not taking anything for granted....

Monday, October 13, 2008

SUSA: Obama 51, McCain 43 in Missouri!

+8. Hot damn! Looks like Obama has made huge gains in the suburbs of KC and St. Louis in the past few weeks.

Starting to look like McCain is

Sunday, October 12, 2008

euphemism alert/thoughts on the RED MENACE

European nations back banks
Euro-zone leaders held an emergency session Sunday. Measures include injections of capital.

Last Updated: October 12, 2008: 4:14 PM ET

PARIS (AP) -- Nations in Europe's single-currency zone agreed Sunday to temporarily guarantee bank refinancing as part of a raft of emergency measures to ease the credit crisis.

The head of the region's central bank welcomed the unity -- but warned there is more work to do.

"The force of unity that we showed today is a fundamental element of confidence," said European Central Bank Chief Jean-Claude Trichet. But, he added: "there are still many things to do," both by governments and central bankers.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the measures -- which range from help with liquidity and injections of capital to new accounting rules for banks -- will be enacted "without delay" in the 15 countries using the euro -- with simultaneous Cabinet meetings being held Monday in Italy, Germany, France and elsewhere.

OK. The term "injection of capital" is being tossed around pretty frequently, and as far as I can tell, all that means is "nationalization". Which of course = socialism. Cue scary music.

Why are the media using a gobbledygook phrase to avoid calling it what it really is (the government taking over a bank)? Beats the hell out of me. I think part of it is that the Reagan-era mantra of "government isn't the solution, government is the problem" has become such a deep-seated part of our political discourse over the last three decades that we don't seem to know how to talk about governmental solutions to problems any more. Every disaster is further proof that the government can't solve problems. And there have been a whole bunch of disasters over the last eight years.

So we have no way of having an effective national discourse about what really smart folks are saying is probably the ony way to address with the problem. Just mentioning the word "socialism" in most corners in America will draw instant hisses and bared teeth. We don't have any words to describe nationalization--state takeover of private business by fiat--because, duh, we're Americans and we believe in the free market, d-duh.I mean, didn't the Cold War prove to everybody that capitalism is superior?

But the American government has always intervened in the markets! We've never been a truly, 100% purely free market, because such a thing implies no regulation at all....clearly ridiculous. Anarchy is worse than any form of government--Madison famously said "if men were angels, they would have no need of government." So it seems to me that the art of statecraft is in guiding the nation on the sliding scale between 100% nationalization of the means of production (communism) and 0% government intervention in markets (pure laissez-faire capitalism).

On one extreme is abolition of private property, and on the other is plutocracy (which is pretty much where we're at now).

In fact, you may have been quickly laughed out of the room for suggesting such a thing, but maybe it's possible that the disintegration of global Reaganist economic policy is analogous (imperfectly) to the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 80s/early 90s. Their economic philosophy had ceased bearing any relationship to reality, and it eventually caught up to them. While I don't think the US is going to break into dozens of different mini-republics any time soon, we've definitely been knocked down several pegs in the global King-of-the-Hill game, for what ultimately is the same reason: our economic philosophy ceased bearing any relationship to reality, and it eventually caught up to us.

George "Fucking" Bush (who has done nothing more useful than screaming REMAIN CALM!!!!! ALL IS WELL!!!!! like Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House throughout this debacle) ran the national debt from $5T to $10T. He managed to do that by giving huge tax breaks to rich folks*, and by playing political games with the budgetary process to keep the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq from counting in the official budget. And then, there's this....

Although not included in the figures reported by the government, the U.S. government has moved to more explicitly support the soundness of obligations of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, starting in July via the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, and the September 7, 2008 Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) conservatorship of both government sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The on- or off-balance sheet obligations of those two independent GSEs is just over $5 trillion.[27] The government accounts for these corporations as if they are unconnected to its balance sheet. The U.S. Treasury contracted at the inception of the conservatorship to receive US$ 1 billion dollars in senior preferred shares, and a warrant for 79.9% of the common shares from each GSE, as a fee to fund, as needed, up to US$ 100 billion total for each GSE (in exchange for more senior preferred stock), in order to maintain solvency and adequate capital ratios at the GSEs, thereby supporting all senior (normal) liabilities, subordinated indebtedness, and guarantees of the two firms. Some observers see this as an effective nationalization of the companies that ultimately places taxpayers at risk for all their liabilities[28] The net exposure to taxpayers is difficult to determine at the time of the takeover and depends on several factors, such as declines in housing prices and losses on mortgage assets in the future.[29] Over 98 percent of Fannie's loans were paying timely during 2008.[30] Both Fannie and Freddie had positive net worth as of the date of the takeover, meaning the value of their assets exceeded their liabilities.[31][32] The Congressional Budget Office has recommended incorporating the assets and liabilities of the two companies into the federal budget due to the degree of government control over the entities.[33] The 5-year credit default swap spread for U.S. treasuries had risen to 18 basis points per annum as of 9 September 2008 as a result of market perception regarding the increased debt load of the government.[33]

Ugh. Just thinking about this shit makes me want to reach for the vodka Budweiser.

And then, on top of that, we have the collapse of the housing bubble, which triggered the problems with banks, which is liable to trigger problems in the ~$60T credit default swap market. (60 trillion. That is not a typo. Do not adjust your TV set.)

So perhaps there's a parallel here to the way the USSR fell apart; the US, by contrast, is in much better shape and is not headed for anything like the total political meltdown of the Soviets. But there's a similarity in the blind adherence to ideology and browbeating or ignoring Ph.D.s that knew better, the stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality until the roof comes caving in, and the self-inflicted nature of many of the wounds. (And there's also the parallel endless occupations of Afghanistan..........)

So I guess, in light of all that, which is surely rattling around in a great many national reporters' brains, if not in so many words, maybe it's no surprise that we can't talk very well about moving somewhat to the left on the economic intervention/freedom scale.

Again, as far as I can tell, when a bank is insolvent, the government has to step in and clean up after them. That means the bank doesn't get to keep operating as a private business, which is what Treasury Secretary Paulson wanted in the original bailout package. But....I think we're finally beginning to see Paulson change his mind and start mulling over bank takeovers, which is what Europe is already doing. (Note that the linked Seattle Times article manages to use both the "inject capital" euphemism and the phrase "partial nationalization".)

Will it work? No idea. Maybe. I hope so. I don't think we have any other realistic options.

Which means the FREE MARKET UBER ALLES crowd is just going to have to get over this. The more they bitch and moan about "socialism," as if they have any idea what they're talking about, just makes them sound more and more disconnected from the world the rest of us are living in.

* Remember the Clinton surplus? Bush claimed we needed tax cuts because we were running a surplus. By 2004, when he'd managed to blow thru the surplus and get us back into good ol' Republican deficit spending, he claimed we clearly needed more tax cuts, because we were running a deficit. YEEEEEEEEAARRRRGHHHH

EDIT: Devilstower muses on very similar territory here. He's better at articulating this stuff.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

pix from the show

Sorry this took so long....

loading up....

By the time I got there, Jeff had been working for hours already....

Jeff up on the ladder....

Those are cool looking....

"Beauty Fades"....

cue the Jaws theme....

the space....

The full set. I didn't pick these up until the day before the event....

Jeff surprised me with a very nice print of the four CD covers joined together....

all set up....



L-R: Kevin, my guitar player; Bryan, my roommate; Chris, my neighbor; and Sara, Jeff's wife....

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the plot thickens

OK, so I've been procrastinating on putting up pictures of the event. I had a bunch uploaded to a hosting web site, but couldn't get blogger to load them; I think I have to lower the resolution of the images. Which sucks cause I was going to slap 20 or 30 pix up here.

Anyway, so I hear the news has gotten pretty dramatic lately (Sep 08 has been genuinely nuts, hasn't it? I'm glad it's over).

To recap, here's September in a nutshell:

  • McCain picks Dan Quayle somebody named Sarah Palin to be VP

  • They have a debate which was basically a draw....

  • ....which is remarkable cause it was unremarkable when Sen. Black Guy proved he could hold his own in a debate with Senator POW

  • McCain blurted out that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong"

  • Then a bunch of banks exploded....

  • ....which made the whole economy explode....

  • ....which made McCain declare that the economy was in so much danger he had to suspend his campaign (which he didn't) to work on a bailout bill....

  • ....which promptly failed in the House....

  • ....causing a huge drop in the stock market.

And then today the Dow made up most of that. I dunno about anybody else but I plain don't understand why anybody would ever fuck with the stock market.

Q: What's the difference between a casino and the stock market?
A: The casino is regulated! (rimshot)

* * * * *

And then Biden and Palin are going to debate on Thursday. The entire world (especially Tina Fey) is waiting with breathless anticipation to see what pearls of wisdom and nuggets of reg'lar folksy charm she'll bring to the debate.

Biden is facing a major Florida State vs. Div III One-Stoplight Tech dilemma....there's no upside at all in winning, but if you lose, oh brother....

* * * * * the real reason I wanted to post was because I saw this article on Kit Bond being linked to the firing of Todd Graves.

If you remember, there has been no shortage of controversy over the firings of several US Attorneys. It is undisputed that the President has the authority to fire US Attorneys, but which Attorneys got fired apparently was due to political influence. This is one of several different Bush-era scandals that will be an indelible part of the man's lasting legacy; and like many of those, this one hasn't had anything like a full accounting of just what the hell happened. This week however, lost in the hubbub over the presidential campaign and the Wall St. Circus there was a report from the DOJ Inspector General's office, and it apparently is quite a doozy.

Graves was the last U.S. attorney to be counted among those fired through the work of Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Alberto Gonzales and Michael Battle, director of the Executive Office of the United States Attorney. His case differed from the others in many ways -- he was fired in January 2006, almost 11 months earlier than the other removed attorneys, and the circumstances around his dismissal were unclear.

But according to the report, Graves' removal was a result of multiple calls and emails from Bonds' legal counsel Jack Bartling, to members of White House Counsel -- who "kicked over" the complaints to the Justice Department.

Bond's problems with Graves' began in late fall of 2004. Bond's office had been having problems with another Missouri Congressman -- Rep. Sam Graves (R), U.S. Attorney Graves' brother. Between October and December 2004, a staffer from Bond's office reportedly called former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves to ask for his help in convincing his brother to fire his chief of staff. When Graves refused to intervene, the staffer told him "they could no longer protect [his] job," and hung up, according to the report.

Shortly after, in February 2005, Bartling began placing calls to the White House Counsel's office about Graves, pushing for a replacement. By the fall of 2005, the complaints had been passed to the Justice Department. In December, Bartling reached out again to Michael Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, who had interviewed Bartling when he had been applying for a position in that department.

In a call shortly before Graves' firing, Bartling asked Elston to, "'keep his ear to the ground' to ensure that the Senator's role in requesting White House action on
Graves was not being disseminated within the Department," and make sure that Bonds name was never linked to Graves' ouster, the report states.

I don't think there's any appropriate response to this except what the fuck?!?

What's bizarre is that Bond is relatively moderate issues-wise compared to most of his Republican colleagues, and Sam Graves is definitely a conservative. Makes you wonder just what the hell it was that caused a problem between Bond's staff and Sam Graves' staff. (I downloaded the PDF of the IG's report to see if there's more information in there, but it's ~400 pages long, so I haven't exactly dove right in....)

If this gets any attention at all, it'll be blockbuster news in Missouri. Thought it was too interesting not to share, especially since the entire economy is being sucked into a huge black hole and nobody's paying attention to anything else.

Friday, August 29, 2008

that's Pat frigging Buchanan

I am so looking forward to the debates....

Monday, August 18, 2008

re: South Ossetia

The mighty billmon's latest essay. As usual, it's both illuminating and depressing.

There is more insight there in just one paragraph than in 24 hours of CNN.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

as promised....


#2 corrosion dub 4.24
#40-41 tectonic/l'etat c'est moi 4.46
#59-60 city on a hill/manifest destiny 4.37
#67 abandoned malls 4.30

You may have noticed that some of these are very quiet. Don't hesitate to adjust your volume level; you will hear additional detail.

Friday, August 8, 2008

coming attractions

You'll notice a new link on the roll to your right. Jeff is an asskicking photographer and there are plenty of strange/beautiful things to look at on his site. Jeff and I are collaborating on an upcoming show called CORROSION, which will premiere @ 1617 Main St., KCMO (2nd floor, above Nara), Friday September 5th, 6 pm.

I attended one of Jeff's shows a while back at a loft at 18th & Troost. A friend of his contributed some very interesting ambient music as a backdrop, which I thought complemented his artwork very well. That gave me an idea: why not try to create a single piece of music that would not repeat at all during the entire time the gallery was open? I bounced the idea off of Jeff, who loved it. We started talking about this in fall of 07 sometime, so this has been in the works for a long time. It's evolved considerably since then; the amount of stuff we've decided not to do is pretty huge....

The audio and images will have some themes in common (in particular processes of decay and urban blight), but the material in each will be independent. However, due to an effect called pareidolia, since the work is very abstract, each and every viewer/listener will interpret what they experience uniquely. If you are looking at the picture of the semi-destroyed pianos while the music is chaotic and percussive, you will make sense of it one way; if you are looking at the same picture while the music is tranquil and drony, you will understand it in another way.

The very abstract/experimental nature of both the music and photography will encourage this effect, and hopefully the extreme length and open form of the music will make it impossible for anyone to experience the same combination of music and art. Also, the speakers being scattered around the room means that the "sound" of the room will fluctuate unpredictably depending on where you are in the room and how many other people there are, whether they're talking, etc. Since there will be no one "correct" way of experiencing the show, one is left only with their five senses as guide.

I am getting very close to completing the work; running time is going to be just slightly over four hours (looks like it'll be about 4:03, but I'm not quite done yet....), which has presented some interesting technical challenges in creating, storing, manipulating, and compiling the whole thing. Most of it is texture and drones; one sound drifts into another, usually without clearly delineated boundaries (although there are several abrupt transitions and surprises scattered throughout).

You can view what Jeff will be displaying in the "glassworks" gallery on his page. I'll have some mp3 previews up shortly (once I can figure out what the hell to excerpt!).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"If you have a well-maintained car.....


A few thoughts....

1. He's clearly dead right, and I don't see how anybody can argue otherwise with a straight face.

2. When was the last time you remember a Democratic presidential candidate actually using the word "lie"?

3. Somewhere Jimmy Carter is putting on a sweater and having a pretty good laugh.

4. McCain cannot be excited about facing Obama in the debates.

5. I'm confused as to what the point of the tire gauge stunt was in the first Republicans genuinely think that "conserving gas is for dirty fucking hippies" is a winning message this year? They've gotten some good polling on the proposals for increased offshore drilling. Which means absolutely fuck-all in terms of what is sound policy, but I guess they feel it gives them license to throw feces at the people who correctly point out that drilling isn't going to do a damn thing to fix the problem.

The problem, of course, is that the economy depends on a finite resource which will gradually become more and more expensive due to the highly esoteric and obscure laws of supply and demand. And here I was thinking that the people who lift up the free market as a panacea for everything would be familiar with supply and demand....

Even if increased American drilling could improve the situation right this minute (which it can't), it would still only provide a temporary solution. Eventually, the economy must be weaned off of oil. It is nowhere written that an oil-based economy must be permanent.

(Anyway, this post is for Sara who was giving me shit about not updating the blog since the end of March a jillion years ago.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pre-Edison recordings discovered


Apparently a Frenchman figured out how to record sound well before Edison did. But it took 150 years and lasers to actually play back the sound. Edison's place in history is safe because his system could play audio as well as record. Still, it's hard for me not to find something called a "phonautogram" cool.

If I read the article correctly, they had to take the paper (yes, paper) and scan it optically, and then reconstruct the waveforms for playback. The gadget was hand-cranked, so the playback rate would have been erratic and would have to be corrected for. That sounds like it was really the hard/time-consuming part....historians have been carefully scanning really old documents of various sorts for a while now, but converting those images to sound (while accounting for the wobbly speed of the machine, and any other idiosyncracies it had) is new.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 Years

US deaths: ~4,000
US wounded: ~29,000
Iraqi deaths: unknown (minimum six figures)
Total cost to American taxpayers: $474B (and rising)

Dear George, Dick, Tony, Colin, and all the rest: hang your fucking heads today, you red-handed criminals.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Samplitude 10

arrived yesterday. I am one happy geek.

Just because I can, here's a picture of the gigantic flag hanging on the only wall in the house big enough to hold it:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Fat Tuesday

WV Republicans actually have a convention (not a caucus or election). Today McCain threw his support to Huckabee to prevent Romney from claiming the delegates. That alone will make Limbaugh apoplectic tomorrow.

Here's what's going to send him into orbit: so did Ron Paul!

Paul and McCain teamed up to hand WV to Huckabee in order to screw Romney. Yowza.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

for what it's worth....

In Missouri, Obama has been endorsed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Clinton has been endorsed by Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (former mayor of KC--they named 47th St. after him, is all you need to know).

This means that Obama has been endorsed by the state's highest profile white female Democrat and Clinton has been endorsed by the state's highest profile black male Democrat.

MO: the ultimate border state.


While I'm at it....

HRC will probably win MO, but as of maybe a few days ago, it's looking like (if we can believe the polling) Super Fat Tuesday will be indecisive....this has become a delegate race (for the first time in decades) and we will probably have meaningful conventions on both sides. I was convinced that either Obama or HRC would be pulling away by now, but it just hasn't happened.

I have no idea when this thing will end. If either Obama or Clinton can score some sort of surprise GOTV coup on 2/5 and knock the other out, then the nomination will be decided. But it's looking likely that we'll have to keep going, into the post-Super Duper Tuesday primary season. And the stakes get higher....

Personally, I was hoping we could have had this figured out by now....especially since McCain is very close to being the presumptive nominee on the other side.


I'm surprised Edwards dropped out so soon. He could have plausibly had ~10% of delegates at the convention, which if Obama and Clinton were nearly at parity (45-45), could have made him the kingmaker. For whatever reason, he decided to end the campaign. Perhaps this will make the brokered convention less likely.

Here's hoping....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Some good news for once: Matt Blunt took everybody by surprise today by announcing he wasn't going to run for re-election this November.

And there was much rejoicing....

MO Republicans seem to be caught off-guard; Blunt re-election campaign ads were already on the air (!), possible replacement candidates had to get back to reporters about whether they were running or not. Suddenly the shadow of a multi-candidate free-for-all is looming over the Republican primary.

Obviously the immediate question is: what changed? Blunt's tenure has been's possible a really big scandal is going to break in the next few days, or something.

Whatever....the sound you hear is champagne being popped at Nixon for Guv 08 HQ....

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Romney won Michigan and stays alive, Clinton wins NV but apparently Obama takes more NV delegates (?!), Mike Bloomberg is talking to Perotistas, Giuliani uses images of the Towers falling....

And then there's Ron Paul, the Little Engine That Could.

This has been goddamn entertaining, if nothing else.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the frustrating art of sampling

OK. So you're not likely to have to read much at all about somebody like Tom Cruise on this blog. And rest assured, this post isn't really about Tom.

I came across this earlier and it's driving me crazy. No, it's not the rambling pseudo-religious cant, the insane jargon, the zeal, the free-association, or the general nuttiness of the whole thing. Nope. That's what makes it perfect for recasting it in a new context to make a point about how dopey Scientology is.

No, the thing that's bugging the shit out of me is that there's music running throughout the whole thing, and TC speaks slowly and just above a whisper for most of it. Aargh. Cutting out the music isn't impossible but it would damage the intelligibility er, audibility of the speech. The side effects would be too severe to make it useful.

At first I thought the video was just a standard-issue ET interview or something, but at the end it becomes obvious that it's some kind of propaganda flick put together by the Scientologists themselves. (The end of the video is one of those things that has to be experienced rather than described FWIW. If you can't sit through the whole thing skip to the last 30 seconds or so.)

The electronic stuff that I've been working on recently is going to have some of these kinds of speakers (gibberish from people who really convinced by it) and this would have been perfect, except for what sounds suspiciously like the Mission Impossible theme going in the background for all eight minutes.

Anyway, this is typical....a lot of times something that is perfect for sampling (whether it's a beat or a bassline or anything else) has some other additional component that's too difficult to pare away from the original while still keeping the sound of the original intact. Very aggravating sometimes. Nearly anything is technically possible in digital audio, but that doesn't mean that everything is actually doable.

P.S. There's a building being rented by the Scientologists just down the street from me, @ 39th & Main, above an H&R Block storefront. One time there were protesters holding signs outside on the sidewalk. I honked. =D

Friday, January 4, 2008

Things I'm Pretty Sure I Think I Kinda Know (Maybe) After Iowa (But Don't Quote Me)

  • Ron Paul's gonna run third party. Write it down. Can you say "Ross Perot"? Jeez, even the initials are the same....

  • Somebody who was against the Iraq War from the beginning has now won a Presidential primary. That's almost as cool as the fact that a black man is now (for the moment) really the frontrunner for the nomination. Whether he gets elected or not, America's ready (in more senses than one)....

  • The Republicans might very well have a brokered convention. The possibility has been raised before, but it might really happen after all. I dunno about you but when I say I'm ROFLMAO I'm almost not kidding for once....

  • Mike Huckabee's a crazy motherfucker, but he might just pull it off. I still think Romney will whoop him plenty on 2/5, but I guess stranger things have happened. For the time being though, he's in the driver's seat.

  • Obama is the ABH (Anybody But Hillary) candidate. Edwards needed IA pretty bad. It's not over but he must win in SC later this month to have a prayer.

  • The Republicans might have a brokered convention. Did I mention that already? I might have because it's fucking hilarious it is a wildly entertaining possibility.

  • Pakistan might be THE foreign policy issue-of-the-moment over the summer. Iraq/Afghanistan will still be important, of course (how could they not?) but those are Old News and Pakistan (for better or worse) is New News.

  • Wait til The Fat Lady sings this year....this will be quite a wild ride. Expect Bush and his OVPuppeteers to try something sneaky over the summer to put Hillary and Obama in some sort of totally unnecessary double-bind, like they did to Kerry in 04 ("I voted for it before I voted against it" etc).

  • Speaking of The Thief-in-Chief, his last minute pardons are going to be an incredible list of the early 21st Century's worst con men, common criminals, corporate raiders, neoconservatives, backstabbers, fixers, military-industrial complexers, and all-around shitheads. I'm not looking forward to it, myself. But that's not really on-topic tonight, I guess....