Friday, October 29, 2004

Four Days And Counting...

We're coming down to the wire, friends and neighbors. In just four short days, it'll all be done but the shouting, and personally, I think there's gonna be a whole shit ton of shouting no matter who's announced the victor.

But that's another story for another time (and probably by another blogger). What I want to share is this. A very handy site that allows you to check your voter registration status as well as your polling place. Helps to know where you gotta go.

Me, I'm probably gonna do the early voting thing Monday, and we all know I'm not alone. Damn near every person I know has already voted and this New York Times piece says it's busting out like gangbusters. Furthermore, it's happening in states that lean both Democrat and Republican, and, of course, both sides claim it's benefiting them.

Florida, for example, has opened up early voting for the first time ever, presumably trying to stave off the little smattering of confusion that hit the Sunshine State this time four years ago. And, of course, both sides are saying the other side is being assholes. Maybe, maybe not, but let me tell you this, beloved: don't let anyone tell you that you can't vote. Via Atrios, the nice folks at MoveOn.org give us this handy, dandy Election Protection Card, letting you know what to do if some yay-hoo tries to stop you from carrying out your Constitutionally protected duty.

As the wise Lemmy said, "Don't let the bastards grind ya down." Quite.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A True Conservative...Who Doesn't Support Bush

Check out this piece from truthout.org from a lifelong Republican, solid conservative and former Air Force office. Nothing earth-shaking, but it's a pretty good round-up on why real, sho'nuff conservatives shouldn't sully their hands with Bush.

So check it out when you get a moment.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Just In Case Ya Needed A Reason...

Say, kids... ya ever run into one of those Irrational Bush Worshipers who are all agog that you don't worship The Boy Emperor? Ain't it pesky that these folks keep asking for reasons why you'd even begin to consider the notion of not voting for Bush, when any blind fool can see? Well, help is at hand. Those nice folks at The Nation give us this handy-dandy - and downloadable - checklist. One hundred reasons why George W. Bush should not get your vote, all laid out nice and pretty. Hell, they're so nice at The Nation they even provide sources like FOX News and governmental sources. Course, this won't help with them that don't dig on the whole "reality-based world" thing, but there's still hope for some.
Well, Tell Us Something We Don't Know...

Go dig on this post from Winning Argument. According to a recent report by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), apparently Bush supporters hold wildly inaccurate views about the world. Well, yeah, I coulda told you that. I won't quote the statistics - gotta share the hit love, ya know, so click on it yourself - but it's stunning that so many people still believe Iraq had WMD's (72%) or that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda (55%).

Must be that "faith-based" governing I've been hearing so much about. I guess I miss a lot living in the "reality-based world" and all.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sacrificing Bush To The Rat God...

Forget all the teachers' groups and unions and churches and whatnot, John Kerry has gotten the most important endorsement of them all. He's gotten the Gonzo vote. That's right, the Good Doctor - The Champion Of Fun - Hunter S. Thompson has given the nod to Kerry over Bush, who he says...well, read the entire article, even if it does come from that shameful excuse for a magazine Rolling Stone, but here are some choice quotes:

"Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all."

"Nader is a fool, and so is anybody who votes for him in November -- with the obvious exception of professional Republicans who have paid big money to turn poor Ralph into a world-famous Judas Goat."

And most tellingly,

"Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him."

Now, if you know anything about Thompson - and if you don't, you should - you know how much of a dump on Bush that particular comment is. It's been said by a lot of people, not just me, that the Bush-Cheney regime is thousands of times worse than the evil of the Nixon years. And it is. Nixon, compared to Bush-Cheney, is a tree-hugging liberal (recall, if you will, him being instrumental in the creation of the EPA), and Thompson hated Nixon. He said about Nixon - in his obituary for the man, no less - "He was so crooked he needed two aides to screw him into his pants every morning." So, according to Thompson - who, I must admit in full disclosure, is a heavy influence on my own writing and, yes, lifestyle - Bush is worse than Nixon.

Wow. Here's the deal as I see it, kids. As a country, we have been suspect ever since we elected Nixon to a second term. Our spiritual compass , if you will, has been off ever since. Same thing with Reagan. While I'm loathe to speak ill of the recently deceased, I'm also loathe to lie about a man who, by hook or crook, has the blood of thousands of Central Americans on his hands and, whether he was aware of it or not, allowed the most egregious subversion of the Constitution in American history to go on under his watch. If we re-elect Bush-Cheney, well... let's just say you don't feel bad about putting a rabid dog out of its misery and leave it at that.

Right on, Doc, right on.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Politics Makes For Strange Bedfellows Indeed...
And it gets even weirder. Bush's own kinfolk - some distantly related, granted - are against him. Perhaps blood isn't all that thick, after all.

Now, I'll have to admit, were I to run for president, I doubt most of my family would vote for me. My mommaw, maybe, but she still thinks I'd make a good preacher.
Shmuck...

Okay, here's the story. A guy gets "caught up in the political passions of this highly contested election". He hears from a buddy that Republican-supporting signs and it isn't happening to Democrats. He and his wife decide to even the score. He tries to steal one sign and is caught in the act, but escapes. The victim calls the cop with the couple's tag number. However, the couple isn't home. Later, the guy tries to steal another sign, isn't caught in the act, but manages to clothesline himself on a low-hanging driveway chain. He falls face-first onto the sign he stole and the concrete driveway, and knocks his fool self flag out. The cops come and find a bunch of signs in his truck.

Shmuck.

Granted, this sort of partisan foolishness is rampant this election season. Why? People are shmucks and actually think this will have some bearing on the election. To them, it isn't a matter of which candidate will better serve the people, it's a matter of making sure their side wins The Big Game so they can be "winners", as well. Way I figure, it's akin to folks who refer to their favorite sports team as "we", and I find that creepy as hell. As much a political junkie as I am - and as anti-Bush as I am - I just cannot follow that mindset. Once Kerry wins the election, I'll be on his case just as hard as I am about Bush. Of course, though, I am a "reality-based" individual, so maybe that's why I ain't out stealing signs. Or supporting Bush, for that matter.

Oh, by the by... reminds me of a story. Many years ago, my cousin Josh rode up in our front yard on his four-wheeler with a double-armload of campaign signs he'd yanked from trees and fenceposts all around our little rural community. "Josh," I asked, "why'd you steal all them signs?" He replied, "Because they make great targets for practice shooting."

Couldn't argue with that. But people, don’t steal signs, okay? It’s against the law, quality target shooting or not. Good gravy, I cannot wait until this election cycle is over. Between this idiocy and the whole “Mary Cheney” flap, I don’t know how much more foolishness I can take.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Rejoice, Dear Hearts...

Brothers and sisters, I know this is a hard, hard world. And I know that in this world, we all could use a helping hand from time to time. A little guidance to help us navigate the treacherous waters of the modern-day ocean of souls. But despite our trials and tribulations, we want to keep a smile on our face. We don't want to be preached to, in other words.

But where do we find the guidance we need? For far too many of us, the church is no option. It's either far too full of blind, hate-filled yay-hoos or, at the very best, full of people who want to make us feel bad about enjoying life and even, say, the often rib-tickling contradictions in the religious world. As a young lad, we called these folks "preachers".

Therefore beloved, I offer The Door Magazine, the world's only religious satire and humor magazine. And like all good satire, it's intelligent and well written. Do your very soul a favor, friends and neighbors, and do check it out.

A big thanks to one of the cultural bookends of my existence and a man I very much admire, Joe Bob Briggs for bringing the glory of The Door into my life. Truly, Joe Bob is a great American.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

There's A Thin Line Between What Is And What Might Be...

As Atrios says, Max speaks, you listen. Herein you'll find a couple of links that are very interesting. One is a letter sent by RNC head baby-seal-clubber Ed Gillespie to Rock The Vote concerning the organization's use of a possible draft to energize young voters. Long story short, Big Ed doesn't care for RTV saying that young people need to be aware of a draft, calling it "malicious" and a "reckless disregard for the truth". There's also a bit of a threat concerning the group's non-partisan 501(c)(3) designation with the IRS, which gets them loose of various and sundry tax things.

RTV president Jehmu S. Greene takes umbrage at the suggestion and, I imagine, the thinly veiled threats by one the meanest bastards in Washington. Gillespie, you will recall, is the guy who said partisanship was akin to "date rape". Lovely cat.

In any event, Greene makes some great points. Sure, Bush, Cheney and Kerry all have said they wouldn't institute a draft, but how dumb do you gotta be to swallow that line? These guys are running for President of The United States, remember, and saying you're in favor of a draft - especially for an increasingly unpopular war - is about as sharp as coming out in favor of eating babies. And just because the U.S. Congress has downed a couple of pieces of weak-sister draft legislation means less than nothing, too. We're in an election cycle and, like raising taxes, a draft just ain't something a politician who's on the ball comes out in favor of if he wants to stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Even a reality-based" challenged individual" like Bush knows that.

But it doesn't mean anything, because we have precedent for this, beloved. Remember LBJ promising that "no more American boys would die in Asia"? Remember Nixon's "secret plan to get us out of Vietnam by Christmas"? I hate to apparently bust a few bubbles here, but politicians will climb a tree to tell a lie when they can stand on the ground to tell the truth, and that's on their best day when not faced with the most important presidential election in history.

Here's how it is. Kids are concerned about the draft. Why? Because if there is a draft, it's not old farts like Ed Gillespie who'll be sent off to some desert to die for what seems to an increasingly evaporating rationale. I work with a lot of kids from 18 to 25, and I'd have to say that's the main thing on their mind in this election. From what I understand, enlistment is down - amazing that some of those Young Republicans ain't lining up at their local recruiting office, ain't it - and Iraq is getting to be a bigger and bigger mess as the days wear on. Frankly, no matter who wins, I don't know how we can stay embroiled in the current Pax Americana style of imperialism...oops, I'm sorry, how we can continue to "fight terrorism" without a draft. And with the hinky things being played on reservists and the whole Stop-Loss thingamabob going down, we damn near got an unofficial draft working already.

But that's neither here nor there. What is important is that despite what the RNC wants us to think, the draft is on voters' minds. Especially young voters, who are registering in droves. Now, from what I can tell, the RTV people didn't finger either Kerry or Bush as the bad guy concerning a possible draft. One has to wonder who the GOP is so prickly about the topic coming up. Maybe if they showed a little more restraint in running off to start half-assed wars, folks might not be so suspicious.

In other words, is a guilty conscience getting to you, Ed?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Now, You Know Something Is Wrong...

As I've said a couple of times before, I was born and raised in the great state of Mississippi. My family - both sides - have been in the state since the early 1800s and, in fact, my mother's people have been on the land the family lives on now since 1830 or so. In other words, the red-clay mud of the Magnolia State runs deep in my veins. Though I don't live there now and wouldn't move back for love or money, Mississippi is still my home. And while I don't have a whole lot in common with the people of my hometown, I'm a Mississippi boy and will always be one. You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy... not even with dynamite.

For better or worse, Mississippians aren't ones to back down. Granted, that's not always a good thing. It took us until 1995 or so to get around to making slavery against state law, and I'll be the first to admit the Magnolia State's record on Civil Rights isn't the best. Still, we're hardheaded and have a tendency to stick to our guns. The upside of this, of course, is if a Mississippian says he's gonna do something, you can put money on it getting done.

That's why this story from the Marine Corps Times is so interesting. In short, a platoon of Army Reservists from the Jackson area (where my paternal grandfather lives) serving in Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel. Long story short - I provided the link, you read the damn thing - the 17-man platoon refused to transport fuel because the troop wasn't going to get the proper support in terms of protection because, ya know, despite what Bush thinks, Iraq is kinda dangerous. There are also charges of out-dated equipment, poorly maintained vehicles and ill-equipped soldiers.

The 17 Reservists in question face not only a dishonorable discharge, but also five years in the military pokey if convicted. Beloved, this isn't good news. Like I said, Mississippians don't back down for much and this just adds to the mountain of stories coming from soldiers in Iraq telling stories of the complete clusterfuck that whole situation is.

Putting a magnetic yellow ribbon on your S.U.V. to "support the troops" is a nice gesture, but that's all it is: a gesture. It doesn't really mean much. And despite what the Bush people think, "supporting the troops" doesn't mean under funding them or chunking them in a no-win situation (by the standards being used anyway) just for political gain. Democrat, Republican or otherwise, this is unquestionable unacceptable. Despite what you may think of the military - and as I've said before, I'm no fan of the service - the soldiers are human beings and should be treated with respect.

Sending them off to see the elephant is one thing, but it's unconscionable to use them as they're currently used: proxy jerkoff material for bloodthirsty cowards and dirtbag politicians trying to win one more term in office off the backs of the people. Support the troops, dear hearts, but support them for real and during both peace and war.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Candidates, Don't Tell Us Nonsense...

Boy, South Carolina's got a potential winner on their hands. According to CNN, not only does Republican candidate Senatorial candidate and three-term congressmen Jim DeMint think homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to teach his precious babies, but he thinks unwed pregnant mothers have no business in the classroom. Why? Family values, of course. Wouldn't want the little darlings to think the world isn't exactly like Mommy and Daddy, made up of instead, ya know, different people. Of course, this isn't an attempt at discrimination or even an attempt for some tight-assed wingnut to force his views on everyone else just because he can. It is, as DeMint said, a need to have folks "represent our values."

I'm not even gonna get into just what wingnut values are - it should be noted this whole brouhaha comes less than a week after one of DeMint's staffers got in trouble for slamming lesbians in an email. I do want to make one little note here, though, beloved. Teachers aren't supposed to "teach values". Nor are they supposed to "teach patriotism" or "provide a moral base founded on religious principles". That, dear wingnut parents, is your job. I know it's tough raising kids, but hey... shoulda kept it in your pants if you didn't want the responsibility. And if you really gave a damn about your kids education, you'd stop supporting Bush The Lesser's disastrous No Child Left Behind nonsense and quit supporting yay-hoos who want to gut education for their own financial gain or ideological motives. Otherwise, button it. If you give such a damn about your kids' patriotism, values, religious background, here's a wacky idea: roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.

Much love to Athenae for the heads up.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Buckle Up, Kids, It's Gonna Be A Rough One...

Here's an interesting piece from Salon. Gist of the story, a whole lot of die-hard Republican women in Arizona - some of whom are part of a Washington-based group called Women In the Senate and House, or WISH - are turning their backs on Bush in favor of Kerry. Why? Well, because thanks to its love affair with the extreme religious right, the modern Republican Party and the Bush malAdministration in particular have abandoned this country's women. In keeping with Arizona's history as a conservative-yet-unpredictable state - the place produced Barry Goldwater and John McCain, after all - it's being deemed a "purple". In other words, it's not locked for Kerry nor Bush just yet. And a whole lot of folks who're dyed-in-the-wool Republicans and traditional conservatives are scared shitless at the thought of another four years with Bush manning the helm.

Me, I don't blame 'em. Frankly, I don't see how any rational, thoughtful person - male or female - could even tolerate the notion of voting for Bush this time around. Even on security - supposedly the issue where Bush rules supreme - the facts don't bear out the spin, and a lot of people are picking up on the fact that invading Iraq and toppling Saddam didn't make us "safer", whether it really could or not.

I honestly think a lot of so-called "pundits" are gonna be awfully surprised come Nov. 3. The polls are still showing a dead heat - though apparently Kerry got a slight bump by wiping the floor with Bush at Thursday night's debate - but those polls aren't asking people who're newly registered. For example, yesterday, at least a dozen kids I work with registered to vote for the first time. Some had just turned of age, but many simply had never bothered to vote. A lot of folks, I think, are realizing what that kind of apathy has given this country. Granted, these kids are more voting against Bush than for Kerry - and, to be frank, so am I, more or less - but it's a start.

However, I gotta say it's a sad of affairs, dear hearts, when we've allowed ourselves to come to a point where we're voting against candidates rather than for them. Course, we've never had anyone quite as bad as Bush and his people, but still. Maybe this'll wake up a lot of people and we'll start getting the "leaders" we deserve.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Last Rock And Roll Show...

It's 3:30 a.m. and I'm hammered so apologies in advance if this is less than coherent. However, I feel the need to preserve this moment for posterity's sake.

My band played its last show, and we rocked the how. We had a decent enough turnout and played with one of my favorite local guys, Rob Veal. Go buy his CD, right now. He used to be in The Dashboard Saviors, if that means anything to anybody, and in a fair world, it world. They were awesome and he's awesome, so go buy his CD and any Saviors records you come across.

But back to my band, Twain played it's last ever gig tonight. People dug it. We were on fire. It was good. I'm glad it's over.

I have to admit I feel a little melancholy about the whole affair, though. I'll probably never play those songs again. They're good songs and we're a good band. When we're on, man, there are nights when I feel like we could wipe the floor with anyone who dares share a stage with us. Tonight might've been one of those nights. My good buddy Patterson Hood played a show with another local killer Donnie Chambers at Nuci's Space - by the way, congrats Patterson and Reba - and a lot of the Athens music glitterati came by our show afterwards. Patterson's a good friend of mine, so he must've said some kind words about us. And they dug it... or they're blowing smoke up my ass, and I can never tell which is which.

In any event, people dug it, we had fun, the record's killer and the whole shebang is done. As I've said on this space before, we're breaking up mainly because our lead singer and songwriter - who's otherwise a helluva guy - can't get his personal shit together. It's one of those situations that really worries me, frankly; I hate to see a friend go through that much pain, but there's only so much one man can do to help. I've tried to help, and yet he still acts like he's doing his damnedest to burn out in some sort of dumbass Gram Parsons/Hank Williams-type manner. It's a common ailment when it comes to musicians, especially guys who are talented writers and try to cut to the heart of the human experience. There's a song, and I can't remember who does it, but it has a line that says "Everybody wants to be Hank Williams, but nobody wants to die." I sometimes wonder if my erstwhile lead singer wants the second half of that ride in a long white Cadillac, too.

But, there's only so much I can do, and I've done all I can. It's no fun anymore, and as much as tonight left me with a four-foot boner - you performing musicians know what I'm talking about - I know the next show, were I to stick it out, would be a complete train wreck. It's best to let it go out with some dignity and some class, and in a way that left a lot of sons of bitches wishing they'd have gotten on board sooner. Always, and I mean always leave 'em wanting more.

And, on another note, I ran into one of the two girls I have a massive-yet-unrequited crush on tonight. This is the one I actually talk to from time to time, which makes it that much more fun. Someone asked me in Atrios' comments section just what my "thing" with women was. Now, as this particular post has already veered way too close to the "this is how my day went" diary aspect I so loathe from most blogs, I'll leave that for another time. But, in any event and on that side of things, it's nice to feel that urge from time to time, though I do nothing about it.

I gotta admit, though there's plenty going on, I really haven't had much urge to write lately. Maybe with the band thing taken care of, I'll do more. Hopefully, anyway, because - and this is in all honesty and not just fake humility - I'm not that good a musician. If I'm ever gonna make a living at anything besides just getting by, it ain't gonna be with music. It's gonna be with writing. So, here's my challenge to you, dear readers: what do y'all want to hear? You pick the topic. Here's a pair of ideas. Either I write about the new Faces box set in slavering glowing terms or I go into detail about my whole "dating thing". Either women or music, kids, it's your choice.

And, I got one more thing to say about the band. I feel good about what we've accomplished and I'm glad I spent time in the band. Even despite all the normal shit a band goes through - crappy turnouts, bad performances, no interest from anybody - and our own specific headaches, we were a good band. So, Eric Gregory, Doug Nisley and Tom Bavis... my pipe is raised to y'all. Thanks for giving a poor country boy a shot and letting him play rock star for at least a little while.