November 25, 2008

Fresh for 1986, suckers!

Oh, so close! I was about ready to post that long-threatened Flannery O'Connor essay, but decided to pull it back for overhaul . . . needed to spend quality time with Death Certificate and Food and Liquor. In the meantime, enjoy this audio post. This is Matt Whitaker, Tony Woollard, and I practicing at the Stull House, most likely in 1986. This has yet to see the light of day on any Belgian Waffles! CDs or cassettes. Enjoy . . . Dead C's got nothing on us.

m b t.mp3

November 24, 2008

In Rotation: Sun City Girls

Cobbled together a couple comp CDs that I play all the time. This is NOT a greatest hits (e.g., nothing from Horsecock Phepner, since I have it on vinyl long player & no way to transfer it right now), but it (they) will make your blood rise & your head explode. If you care what CDs these songs come from, feel free to drop me a line through the site & I'll let you know.

Sun City Girls pt. 1

Sangkala Suite
The Vinegar Stroke
Nyne De Gris Sang
Dark Chinese Sour
Animistic Trafficking
Dukun Olympic Theater
Journey to the Center of Your Mind
Carl the Barber
Garden's Green with Broken Chests
Drifters of the Grand Trunk
Lord Brown of Due South
Opium Den
Bustin' Up MAGOK
Lord White of the North
My Friend RAIN

Sun City Girls pt. 2

Anvils Keep Fallin'
Chameleon 2000
Blue Mambo
Bamboo Gazebo Arousal
Brahmaputra Plutonium
Balcony Sampoerna
The Night Fears Black Lajoon
Bangalore Porch Lights
Wide World of Animals
Where's My Fuckin' Jesus?
I Saw a Cigarette Breathing So I Smoked It
Tarmac 23
Tripoli Winds/Palm Desert Aerial
Garuda's Playhouse
Roast the Pig
Dark Eyes
Drippin' On Stupa
A Man Without a Harmonica

Well, there you have it.

November 18, 2008


Lots of trash being talked about the BIG 3, and I don't disagree with most of it. A few caveats:

  1. We talk about the Japanese companies like they never put out crap. Seriously, you ever see a circa 70's Datsun? Closest analogue would be a Yugo. Not that they haven't got their acts together, mind you.
  2. And now we're talking about "making the car companies take their medicine" without a bailout? Whatever the argument there pro or con, if the Japanese government had done that to the Japanese auto giants back in the day, then they wouldn't be in the position they are in now.
  3. Japanese do small cars the best. Period. But, on every other level, American cars are in the same class. J D Power has Cadillac and Mercury right up there with Toyota. The last Consumer Reports I saw has American cars being more reliable than much-revered Germans BMW & Mercedes. The product the Americans are putting out now is competitive. Not better, but competitive. And sure, they put out some crap in the 70's & 80's, but nobody's perfect (see #1. above). I think that we may even look at this time as a golden era of design for Chrysler. It's time to get over the "American cars suck" thing.
  4. The Big 3 are addicted to the energy pigs, but if you don't think the Japanese were moving there, you've never seen a Honda Ridgeline (beastly as a damn Hummer!) or a Toyota Tundra.
  5. And speaking of the gas hogs, these were the biggest part of the market in the US. Do you want to be the CEO trying to tell the board of directors why you were trying to foist small cars on an unreceptive public? Maybe you could get away with it, if you had the government backing development of efficient but unpopular cars . . . once again, there are reasons the Japanese could develop their markets: first, the domestic market (for obvious reasons) fostered the development of small cars. Second, there was support from the government, and implicit understanding from the boards all the way down that the future was in these initially unpopular small cars. The Japanese did not have the same kind of pushback that Americans get from their instant gratification "free market", where minute-to-minute results matter, and every tick down the stock price takes endangers someone's job.
That said, if one penny of public money goes into the BIG 3, then it better be with the understanding that it is time to turn the page. It's going to hurt (Ford has Explorer and F-150 lines here in Lousville), but it has to be done. Now seems to be the best time: all auto sales are going to hell, so they may as well put all that dead capital outlay into projects which may pay off in the future, instead of clinging desperately to the past.

* * * * *

Oh, those bastards! I hate insider trading. All those white-collar Capones need to be locked up. And now, Mark Cuban is accused? Well, string him up, I say!

Not so fast. This is an odd little case. Cuban isn't exactly innocent, but this isn't the case of another rich guy scamming the public. There are pretty good accounts about exactly what is going on (mostly on the True Hoop blog at ESPN), but it seems to go something like this:

Cuban invested in a search engine start up called, in spite of being suspicious of some of the people associated with the IPO. Not long after he bought in, he owned approximately a 6 % stake in the company. At a certain point, the company decided it was going to offer more stock to further capitalize their venture, and thought it wise to call Cuban to ask him if he wanted to buy more stock. Cuban was understandably pissed off, since a new stock issue would devalue his holdings (and the holdings of everyone else that bought in before the second stock offer). The company CFO informed Cuban that he was receiving confidential information, to which Cuban reportedly replied "Well, now I'm screwed. I can't sell." He then promptly did sell his entire stake in the company BEFORE THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW STOCK OFFERING WAS MADE PUBLIC. That, friends, is a no-no (in most people's opinions).

Now, that's theoretically a bad thing, since the person buying the stock from Cuban had no access to the information Cuban knew (though there are those who argue that Cuban did not assume a "fiduciary obligation of confidentiality", which means he wasn't bound by insider trading laws). But it's also clear that Cuban made the move out of anger rather than a desire to rip someone off or even cover his own ass. Most reports say that he made about $750,000 by dumping his stock early. That sum is nothing to Mark Cuban. He dumped that stock out of spite, not for any kind of financial gain.

On top of everything else, there is a lot of evidence that Cuban was getting extra attention for backing the movie Loose Change, a documentary critical of George W. Bush. At very least, there were some improper threats from people associated with the investigation based on Cuban's political affiliations (perceived affiliations: actually, Cuban usually votes Republican).

Right now, this is a civil case. Chances are it won't go any further (remember, the Martha Stewart criminal case came up not because she did insider trading, but because she lied about it to prosecutors). Cuban could (and probably should) just write a check and make it go away. But he won't. He'll probably spend down to his last dime to fight back against the SEC. That's just the kind of guy he is. More power to him, I say.

Meanwhile, given what has been going on all this time, this has the appearance of Barney Fife cracking down on speeders while every bank in Mayberry is being looted.

November 16, 2008

"That's the way I like it, baby, I don't wanna live forever!"

"And don't forget THE JOKER!!"

The case can be made (a case strong as the smell emanating from under Lemmy's leathers) that Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" is one of the greatest rock songs of all time. And when I say greatest, I don't mean top 500, or top 100. I mean top 10, maybe top 5. How many songs are as crazy? How many songs are as desperate? How many songs have that single-minded drive directly into the void at the core of culture, a drive that threatens to explode everything that we consider normal? Not many.

Everything here is obvious, just as rock -n- roll should be . . . and yet, it's not without its elegance. The ace of spades, of course, is the death card, and form follows function here on the rails to hell. As with any great song, there is a hook you remember, a hook big enough to be the expressway to your skull. It has an absolute single-mindedness, every element focused directly into the heart of the void. And, more than any song I can think of, it still sounds fresh in spite of having been at the top of my rotation for 25 + years.

And yet, it isn't even Motorhead's best song. Or, to be more accurate, Motorhead is not served by having a great song. Motorhead is about the undefinable drive to the heart of other - songcraft is just GILDING THE FUCKING LILLY.

The most essential element of the Motorhead oeuvre is breakneck drive. Sonically, this means a rampaging pace and plenty of mass. The mass is achieved by Lemmy's "guitaristic" approach to bass: roll off the low end, boost the mids, break it up a bit, and play chords instead of individual notes. The resulting sound is less spatial, more undifferentiated and impenetrable . . . and more projectile-like, or like putting the BULLET into bullet train. There's no funk to the drums; nothing there but raw drive. The guitar solos, such as they are, exist like turbulence inside the cartridge, like a light show from inside a bottle, and in no way draw down the aerodynamics of the thundering comet. Lyrics exist only to serve this single-minded purpose - vague, open-ended signifiers that, shouted out in Lemmy's rusted wail, create a cloud of threatening proto-meaning: "OVERKILL!" "KILLED BY DEATH!" "JAILBAIT!" "DANCING ON YOUR GRAVE!" "TOO LATE, TOO LATE!" "STAY CLEAN!" "BOMBER!" "STEAL YOUR FACE!" "UNDER THE KNIFE!" "SNAGGLETOOTH!" "STONE DEAD FOREVER!" etc. There is no thinking here on any level, just understanding, knowing-before-knowing the irrational at the heart of the void. Motorhead takes the substrata that drives youth culture (lust, antisocial angst, free floating anger, self-hatred) and fashions it into a perpetual motion projectile. Hammering machinegun-style against the dark empty core of existence is all that matters - everything else is secondary.

Cruising around debased mall hell the other day, Motorhead was a bracing tonic (it shouldn't need to be said that Motorhead is best in a motor vehicle - and the faster moving the better). It is counter intuitive (and ultimately wrong) to think of Motorhead as transcendent, but it shakes me like the most "transcendent" of musics. Surrounded by the gray of the landscape, weighed down by the great undifferentiated masses around me, a bereaved mourner at the funeral of meaning, Motorhead fuels the only emotion that keeps me going in the face of my claustrophobia: adrenalin rage. I was reminded of a night years ago, sometime around '87, driving my pickup out to DC to rendezvous with my pal Guy Gorman. I had been driving straight through from Bloomington. I roared through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and down through West Virgina . . . through mountains at Morgantown in the purple twilight, Giant Sand on the tape deck . . . and down into DC from the north, ratcheting crazily through the gears in my stripped-down white pickup with pirated Grateful Dead stickers mutated into Throbbing Gristle signifiers . . . the boy from the country screaming into DC with the windows down and Motorhead roaring on the stereo. Here, there was an odd joy in the adrenalin rage; in the undifferentiated monster that is Motorhead, there is plenty to be found, in spite of an almost ascetic minimalism, a sort of grungy austerity. More than most mortal rock -n- roll bands, Motorhead does not signify, Motorhead is.

November 15, 2008


Perusing the USA Today sports section at El Nap Friday, I came across the standard putdown of free agent slugger Adam "Country Strong" Dunn . . . you know, the one that slags him off as the new Dave Kingman, a selfish player who hits a few home runs, but strikes out a ton, and fields like Sam the Butcher ("bringin' Alice the meat"). Because, as anyone knows, guys who swing for the fences are egotistical and selfish, and little scrappy guys who hit singles are gutsy team players. USA Today then goes on to derisively predict that some loser team will pay Dunn big money, since only loser teams are stupid enough to pay this big selfish knucklehead money.

But, you know and I know, this is bullshit. Dave Kingman was quite the chump, a career .236 hitter with a lifetime OBP (On Base Percentage) of .307. And, by all accounts, he was a selfish asshole. Dunn does strike out prodigiously (7th in MLB this year at 164, which is pretty close to his career average), and smack home runs even more prodigiously (40, which was good for second). His batting average is anemic as well (.236 - recognize that number?). BUT, Dunn was first in walks at 122, and his OBP was .386, which was a respectable 17th place in the majors, better than such media faves as Chase Utley, Carlos Beltran, and even Magglio Ordonez. Now, let me break that down for you: Mags was ninth in the majors with a .317 batting average, which is pretty sharp (and, importantly for Mags and his agent, solid in the statistic that everyone understands - or thinks they understand - the one statistic that says to the average guy "I am a good hitter"). And, Mags is no poke-and-slap hitter, with a reasonable .494 Slugging Percentage, which is in the MLB top 50 (21 home runs). And Mags has less than half the strikouts (76 v. Dunn's 164). But you know what? Even with his pathetic .236 batting average and his 164 strikouts, Dunn was on base a higher percentage of the time (.386 OBP v. Ordonez's .376). All that means is that Mags puts wood on the ball more often while Dunn watches more pitches (balls and strikes) sail past him. I am well aware that there is value in a batter who fouls off a lot of pitches, therefore sending pitch counts soaring earlier in the game than the opposing managers like to see, but in the end, a long fly caught at the warning track is no less an out than a called third strike. Would I take Adam Dunn over Magglio Ordonez? Well, no, 'cause that thing about Dunn fielding like a butcher is pretty accurate, though I'm sure he could get used to first base, and he was on scholarship as a quarterback at Texas, so he can't be a terrible athlete . . . but no, I'd still have to take Mags. But Dunn isn't chopped liver, certainly not another Dave Kingman, and that's the whole point here.

A-and, there's that study that Bill James and company released naming Derek Jeter the worst fielder in baseball at any position. Derek "King of New York" Jeter! The media-proclaimed "player that Alex Rodriguez should be instead of who he is"! Oh, and for the record, Rodriguez finished tenth among third basemen. Not to mention the fact that Rodriguez is a better hitter across the board, even in an off year for him, and that shortstop is his natural position . . .

* * * * *

But I shouldn't be writing about any of this baseball stuff. It gets done so much better at the Fire Joe Morgan (dot com) blog . . . or at least it did, until the other day. When I went there for the chance to gloat over the chink in Jeter's armor, or to find a friend to give a shout out to Dunn, here's what I found:

Hello, everyone.

After 21 years, and almost 40 million posts (we'll have to check those numbers, but it's something like that), we have decided to bring FJM to an end.

Although we have not lost our borderline-sociopathic joy for meticulously criticizing bad sports journalism, the realities of our professional and personal lives make FJM a time/work luxury we can no longer afford.

We started this site with two purposes: to make each other laugh, and to aid and abet the Presidential campaign of Bob Barr. Although we failed in the latter goal, we gleefully succeeded in the first, and thanks to a grassroots internetty word-of-mouth kind of a deal, we appear to have positively affected the lives of actual citizens as well, which astonishes and delights us to this day. We really never thought FJM would be for anyone but us. We are thrilled and kind of humbled to have been proven wrong.

Damn! Fire Joe Morgan was a great blog, not just a great sports blog. Or, if you make the distinction between blogs and the real world, then it was just good writing, period. Beyond all those stats, the obsessively weird insider sports humor, and a whole woodshed full of double-edged lumberjack-sized axes to grind, it was a great example of how to read, listen, and analyze. FJM hacked away at sports media, which admittedly, is a little like a crippled turkey shoot in a petting zoo, but still, they did it with admirable zeal. Theirs was a gleeful deconstruction - they more than analyzed the media, they pilloried it. In an age where the "philosophical" importance of sports to culture floats like an overinflated blimp over the American psychic landscape, FJM was a vital pin to that balloon. Beyond sports, FMJ was a vital part of the map to read culture as a whole . . . of all the posts on my blog, "The Death of Meaning Pt. 1" reads most like an FMJ post, even though it has nothing to do with sports. The whole key is to isolate the subtexts of a given text, and expose them to the cold light of day. Even when the actual critique goes of track, the act of questioning the givens of any discussion is absolutely vital.

We are told that sportswriting can be great writing, and then we are force fed Grantland Rice mythologizing bullshit, and modern bozos can't even approximate a shadow of that hackery . . . well, FJM, you will be missed, to say the least.

November 14, 2008

Eric Rensberger Poetry Website

My good friend (and persistent, although somewhat inconsistent Luddite) Eric Rensberger finally has an online presence. You can find his continuing life-project, Account of My Days, at Poems of Eric Rensberger. You can e-mail him through the site as well, though don't expect a timely answer, since he still lives sans computer at both home and work.

I have been friends with Eric since at least '87, and a fan of his poetry even before that. I wrote a gushing introduction to his poetry in the second issue of Bears on Text that I still stand behind 100%. If you have any interest in poetry, or even if you think poetry is shit since all you've read or heard is crappy poetry-slam ranting, then do yourself a favor and go here. You'll be glad you did - this is really great stuff.

Oh, and it even has audio clips of him reading some of his stuff. Nice!

November 12, 2008

I Know Better

. . . than to get too excited, but the rebuilt/reborn post-Auburn Hills Pacers are now 4-3, and winning the "guts" battle night in and night out. Tonight, they went into New Jersey (who, to be fair, are not good, and missing Devon Harris to boot), and won pretty easily WITHOUT Danny Granger (25.3 ppg), Mike Dunleavy (19.1 ppg last year, yet to play this year), and Troy Murphy (9.2 rpg). 2008 so far has been T J Ford's coming out party - he's the pro everyone thought he would be all those years ago at Texas, before that horrific fall in Milwaukee almost paralyzed him. Tonight, the Mighty Mite's line looked like this: 18 points (7-14 from the field, 4-5 from the line), 8 rebounds (??!! - he's barely 6' & 165 lbs.), 9 assists, 3 steals, and a whole bunch of deflections (a stat the Pacers track that doesn't show up in most box scores). He's making a beleaguered Larry Bird look like a genius so far.

For those of you not tracking the NBA this year, Larry Legend finally cleaned out the remnants of the O'Neal/Artest team that imploded at the Palace in Auburn Hills November 19, 2004 . . . the infamous brawl that destroyed the team on the brink of its rise to the top of the NBA. Bird and then-team president Donnie Walsh gambled by sticking with their talented team the next year, which turned out to be a bad idea, since Artest once again imploded. Gone are the crazies (Artest, Jackson), the thugs or those-who-have-thugs-in-their-orbit (Tinsley, Williams . . . though Williams is, by all accounts, a very nice kid who doesn't use the word "no" when it comes to his posse), and the good (Jermaine O'Neal, one of the true citizens of the NBA who gave his best years to the P). This year, Bird made the purge final by moving O'Neal to Toronto for Ford and, when no one would trade anything (anything at all!) for Tinsley, telling him to go home & collect his paycheck until his contract runs out (technically, he's still on the roster, but he's pointedly "not welcome" around the Pacer's facilities). Only Jeff Foster remains from that ill-fated 2004-2005 team, the team that should have finally won Reggie Miller his ring.

Bird caught a fair amount of heat for acquiring Ford, given T J's history of injuries, but I never understood why. First of all, O'Neal's recent injury history isn't much better; and secondly, he really didn't have much choice. Moving "huge upside" in the form of Jaryd Bayless (who will indeed become a full grown man with the Blazers in a few years) for Jarrett Jack was also controversial, but Jack is tank of a point who is the perfect rugged foil to Ford's perceived fragility. That, plus it's a nice offensive changeup to throw at a defense - you spend most of the first half chasing Ford all over the court, then Jack comes in and starts running right at (and over) you, posting you up like he's Wilt (or, more accurately, Mark Jackson) in the point. On top of that, you've got a coach on his third strike (Jim O'Brien, who couldn't agree with Danny Ainge on how best to clean up Rick Pitino's mess in Boston, and then couldn't gain the dubious blessing of Billie King in Philly), a Dukie (Josh McRoberts) who gives you serious value in limited minutes, Travis Deiner launching jumpers from Monument Circle (and doing a reasonable job spelling the point as well), Roy Hibbert being 7 foot, etc. Things should be interesting when Dunleavy gets back, especially since Granger has stepped up to be a real scoring threat - a real 25/5/3 guy. If Dunleavy can keep up around 18 a game, and Ford can be a double/double guy, then things look interesting for this newly "scrappy" squad. The ceiling here is playoffs & a gutsy performance therein. Nothing more, nothing less.

Talking about playing basketball "the right way" is dodgy, because there's a trap door into the culture wars there . . . but, there is a right way to play basketball (many, actually), & the Pacers are doing it. So far, so good. Here's to seeing the P in the playoffs this year, and not having to settle for a first round exit next.

* * * * *

Greg Oden debuted tonight and looked like Tree Rollins with arthritis. It's still early, though.

Uhm, don't look now, but the Hawks are really good. Can this last? Remember, they didn't knock the Pacers out of the playoffs last year until the second to last game of the season. And then, they up and took the (eventual champs) Celtics to the final game of the series, a series which saved Mike Woodson's job. Right now, they look one step below the Celtics and one step above the Cavs and the Pistons in the East. I would be surprised if that held, but only a little.

There was a fight in the Houston/Phoenix game tonight. The big surprise? Artest wasn't involved.

Speaking of the Rockets, they may be very dangerous as some point. Or, they may remain the same mess they are right now. The fact is, Artest has never fully gelled with any team, and as much as I hope it happens (I am a huge fan of Ron-Ron), I don't see it. Unfortunately, this may be his last chance, barring a late career "triumph of the will over diminished skills" resurrection into relevance. Come to think of it, if I were a betting man, that's where my money would ride.

Shaq hit two free throws in a row tonight. Saw it with my own eyes, or I wouldn't have believed it. Actually, he's looked very good tonight, almost like his old self. Phoenix may figure out how to use the Big Narc after all.

Well, that's it. That Motorhead post is coming very soon.

November 6, 2008

Nietzsche, bitches!

From my notebooks on Thus Spoke Zarathustra


November 3, 2008

In Defense of Not Voting / In Defense of Voting

In Defense of Not Voting

"Don't forget to do your civic duty: vote Tuesday, November 4th."

No. No. Voting is not your civic duty. To the degree that you have a civic duty, it is to work to improve the situation of the collective (neighborhood, city, state, nation, world - the organized collection of people around you). Voting is not only tangential to that goal, but it could be argued that it is actually counter-productive.

The political system is corrupt - or, even if not exactly corrupt, at least unable to progress the well being of our collective (again, that can be taken at any political level you wish, but for this discussion we will be looking at national politics). Everyone, no matter what her/his political persuasion, always votes for change . . . even incumbents claim to have the "experience" to be able to affect "real change" within the political system. Political change, however, is a pipe dream. The political system functions above all else to ensure its own existence, and to do that, it must maintain status quo. One would think that serving the interests of the populace would be in the best interests of the political system, but that is demonstrably not the case a significant part of the time.

There are always tensions in a democracy: the rights of the few and the wishes of the many, the individual versus the state, the ever shifting horizon of colliding personal freedoms (my freedom to blow Motorhead as loud as I want, anytime I want, versus your freedom to live in peace and quiet). The best way to maintain the precarious balance of the system is to always have citizens who aspire to change believe that change is possible, while eternally postponing the change. Think of the alliance between neo cons and religious conservatives: what would happen if a conservative administration actually managed to get abortion outlawed? Where would that leave the alliance? No doubt many religious conservatives would still stick with the Republican party out of loyalty, but the most issue oriented leaders of the movement would be on to the next issue. What if, after the conservative view of "sanctity of life" is enacted, the religious leaders moved on to the environment, or fighting poverty? Obviously, the connections between the religious conservatives and the neo cons would be strained to the breaking point . . . and, lest you think that's a far-fetched scenario, note that the Republicans will lose some of the fundamentalist Christian vote for exactly those reasons even in this election.

The political system must provide the illusion of choice to keep the citizen invested. To do that, it promises to "change" the things which the populace asks to change, to the point when "CHANGE" itself becomes more important than any actual issues. Once the abstract idea has replaced the specific issue, then the citizen becomes invested in the system that embodies the abstract idea, which is in turn perpetually driven precisely by that which it will not achieve. Our choices, to the degree that we have them, are usually between McDonald's and Burger King.

It is no coincidence that true men of conscience and the desire to do good, such as Jimmy Carter, are often "failures" as president. I believe it is Carter's unwillingness to fully capitulate to the political system that led to his defeat in '80. I also believe that it is no coincidence that Jimmy Carter has done much more for our nation, and for the world as a whole, after he left office. The system is built to resist change.

All true change must happen outside the normalizing influence of the political system. We may oppose the fundamentalist Christian stand on abortion, but talk with a younger fundamentalist, and you may find that you agree on the environment. So, why not join forces to change environmental law? Form coalitions. Protest in the streets. Organize awareness campaigns. Take the fight to the courts. INVOLVE IN DIRECT ACTION. LEAVE THE POLITICAL SYSTEM BEHIND. Ultimately, most of us have many beliefs in common, once we get past our own selfish interests, and the culture warriors who exploit our fears and biases.

It is here where voting becomes counterproductive. If the choice is between McDonald's and Burger King, then a vote for either one is a vote that perpetuates the defective system. In Zimbabwe, when it became clear that Robert Mugabe had no intention of letting Morgan Tsvangirai win the election, citizens abandoned the government (to the degree that they could, anyway). A citizen of conscience would not vote if he/she believed that vote to perpetuate a destructive system.

In Defense of Voting

  1. Sometimes, there really is a lesser of two evils. In 2000, I did not vote for Al Gore because I did not see a difference between a centrist Democrat and a centrist Republican. After all, Bill Clinton moved to the right at the speed of light as soon as it became clear that is how he could hold on to office. Clinton loosened business regulations, cut back on the government's social safety net, and bombed the hell out of a European country. By the time he was done, he was somewhere to the right of Nixon. I had no reason to believe that Gore would be any different, and given the number of Nixon people in Bush's orbit, it seemed like Nixon versus Clinton. Of course, hindsight being 20/20 . . .
  2. There is, on rare occasion, the opportunity to vote for someone who clearly is better for the country, no matter how much that candidate is still (necessarily) invested in the current defective political system. It is foolhardy to expect ANYONE invested in this system (to the degree that they would actually run for office - and that includes people like Dennis Kucinich and Ralph "Don Quixote" Nader) to be able to change the system, but it is possible that people can be elected who would not stand in the way of a change from outside. It's difficult to know who these people are, because they don't align cleanly with any political philosophy: I would, for instance, vote for Dick Lugar before Hillary Clinton, for even though I agree with Clinton on more of the "issues", Lugar has proven to be a politician who looks for answers that don't necessarily come from within the political sphere (of course, it helps that Lugar is so popular in Indiana that he has run virtually unopposed for the majority of his political career). That is not necessarily a dig at Clinton (I like her much more than I like her husband); it just seems that Clinton is stuck in the American bi-partisan political rut in a way that Lugar is not.
  3. Of course, always vote in local elections, if nothing else. Gotta keep those creationists off the school board and in their churches where they belong.
It is for these reasons that I will vote for Barack Obama. I have no illusions about his ability to achieve CHANGE, but I do believe that he has principles that roughly align with mine and, more importantly, he will not stand in the way of citizen-driven change for the better. And, unlike Bill Clinton, I believe he would risk his political career to stand in the way of change for the worse. He seems much more intelligent than most politicians. He also seems more thoughtful. He has hinted at a broader understanding of how to truly change the world for the better, a change that takes place outside of the political sphere. Though I am totally at a loss as to how his empty rhetoric has inspired a groundswell of enthusiasm, I am thankful, because I like him as much as anyone I have ever had a chance to vote for in a major election. And, most importantly, if he is elected and serves all eight years, he will leave office at the age of 55. That will leave him a long time to do some real good outside of the US political system (see the Jimmy Carter example above).

Well, that's it. I had planned to flesh this out and really do it right (maybe drag Badiou into it), but I shot from the hip instead. I'm tired of politics, I'm tired of writing about politics, and I'm really tired of this election. I'm dashing this off so I can stop writing stuff that annoys even me. It's about time I kicked back, took a shot of Old Fitz 90 proof, brewed myself a mug of hot tea, and played some guitar. If you have to have more, here's that notorious commie wackjob Howard Zinn touching on the same issues (thanks to Dan Willems for posting this video where I could see it):

There you have it. Now that's over. I've taken my shot, I've got my tea, I've got my resonator, I think I'll start it out with a little Son House, "Pearline"

Yeah, that's the stuff. Next post will be about Motorhead. Or not.