From Agent Little Bird

I just got this email:

I just had a horrifying thought.

The bankruptcy laws change in October, right? And we now have millions of homeless people who lost their houses and jobs and everything else, but still have mortgages.

“Oh, crap,” is right.

Agent Little Bird

This could be a real shitstorm for a lot of people, all the way into next year and beyond. With the new bankruptcy laws, some people may never be able to get back on their feet.


Why one should never argue history with people who don’t read books and stuff

Doghouse Riley twists John “They called me crazy and I still love them…maybe I am crazy” McCain’s tail:

John McCain, on CBS Sunday morning:

Vietnam never had a legitimate government in Saigon that the people believed in and trusted. There was superpower engagement in a huge way. [In Iraq] we [have] a problem with the Syrians — but nothing like what the Chinese and Russians were doing for the North Vietnamese. You had basic sanctuary in North Vietnam. The whole situation, I think, was very, very different.

Funny thing about comparisons: they never work if they aren’t honest. “Saigon” never had a legitimate government because “South Vietnam” was a creation of the United States, and its government existed only because we prevented national elections in 1956 under the Geneva Accords because our side was going to lose. The US recognized the government of Bao Dai in 1950, then the overthrow by rigged referendum installing Ngô Dình Diem in 1955, and after that the various corrupt military strongmen we played footsie with for our own political ends. Sorta like Saddam whatsisname.

There’s more, and it’s all good.

I watched ‘The Fog of War‘ the other night, and it’s amazing how much hagiography goes on when people look back at Vietnam. I went into the film with a reflexive hatred of McNamara. Morris’ film revealed the former SecDef to be rational, calculated, surprisingly human and still seemingly convinced of the justness of his cause. So, my superficial hatred of McNamara morphed into a detailed antipathy towards the entire Johnson administration and the war itself. As McNamara himself said: “Rationality will not save us.”

Those of us in the “reality based community” are fighting a battle for Truth, and the enemy which we fight is not ignorance, it’s sentimentality. The anti-science, anti-environmental, anti-choice, anti-social justice, pro-big business community is not stupid, it’s just married to an idea of The Way Things Used to Be (or “Ought to be”). (Y’know, back when women, negroes, gays, poor people, the huddled brown masses of oil producing countries, evolutionists and the polar ice caps knew their place.) Ronald Reagan probably wasn’t the first President to lead the Beenie Baby Nation, but he was the first one in my lifetime.

It’s important to remember that when you’re arguing with a hagiographer, you’re not arguing against lies necessarily, as much as you’re arguing against their Hallmark Card™ vision of How Things Should Be. So, also, I guess it should be remembered that no matter how demonstrably on the side of truth you might be, you may still lose the argument, just because you’re going to be bashing yourself against some very dearly cherished illusions. A lot depends, I think, upon how prejudiced one’s audience is towards an anachronistic worldview.

Strike the blow, hide the hand

Oh, excellent news today. Mr. Bush cut his vacation two days short. I realize it’s a huge sacrifice, so I really appreciate his dipping into his precious time off.

So, where to begin… hm…. so many things to delegate…. hmm……..

Well, let’s see. We know the White House isn’t gonna take responsibility for this: “The [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. “. Or this: “No Quick Fix for Gulf Oil Operations.” Or, for that matter, this: “War Strains Military’s Ability to Help.”

Hmm…. maybe if we roll some looter footage, we can blame poor people for the hurricane…. Get Hannity on the phone.

Meanwhile, back at the “Ranch”…

Y’know, I am glad Jane at firedoglake is paying attention, because this made my day:

Well I have learned to content myself with knowing that no matter how anxious I become, it is nothing compared to the slow, turning spit that Richard Perle roasts on. And why Perle, you ask? Why not Rove or Libby or Miller or Bolton or any of the other in the cast of morally bankrupt characters in and around the 1600 crew?

Because as far as we know, if Patrick Fitzgerald indicts him, Perle is the only one who will have to ask: in what case?


The SEC has already let Perle know they’re after him for his role in the Hollinger affair, having served him with a Wells notice, “a formal warning that the agency’s enforcement staff has determined that evidence of wrongdoing is sufficient to bring a civil lawsuit.”

and then there’s this:

But the good news for me in all of this is Fitzgerald gets it. He sees into the ugly, greedy, oozing heart of the neocon kleptocracy, its mafia-like structure and the all-too-cozy overlap between the war party and the profiteers, and it pisses him off. “Shareholders in public companies have a right to expect that their monies will be managed properly by officers and directors and that the officers and directors won’t steal it,” he said.

I’m so glad I never fell into lockstep with these black-hearted motherfuckers. I mean, one’s ideology, for the most part, is an accident of associations, upbringing, what one read in high school and birth order…

Can you imagine being a Jonah Goldberg or Max Boot as, one by one, these murdering bastards, your ideological scouts in the Global War on the Reality-Based-Community, are indicted, discredited, or otherwise shamed?

Bootlegger’s Delight

I can’t say enough good things about this microphone. The Sony ECM-MS907 is a great stereo microphone to attach to a Minidisc recorder. I grabbed it for use in Costa Rica to get some rainforest sounds (especially Howler monkeys), but didn’t find occasion to use it much. Since I got back, however, Mrs. Dog recorded a Music Hates You show at the Star Bar, and we got better returns off the Minidisc recorder than we got off of the sound board.

I am currently using the free Audio program Audacity for Mac OS X to sync and mix the two recordings, which is giving me a nice, broad sound. I will probably move it into Sound Studio 2.2 to do the final editing and equalization.

I don’t know how or when I will make the final results available to the public at large, since the show was a little uneven. We had high and low spots….

Maybe I will just do a compilation of the best live recordings at some point.

Speaking of rock and roll

This article is pretty great. David Segal, rock and pop critic for the Washington Post, meditates upon what makes for a great rock and roll show.

You know about the great Live Concert Moment, right? I’m not talking about the kind of show where you leave thinking, “Those guys rule!” and then buy a T-shirt. I’m talking about total-body bliss, a rush so strong it turns brain cells into Jell-O and, for a moment or two, you sort of leave your skin. Art lovers would probably argue that they get the same feeling by looking at a great painting, but they’re fools, and you should ignore them. A good part of what I’m talking about here is sheer volume. A painting can be many things, but it will never make your ears ring.

The Pixies, my friend, can make your ears ring.

The great Live Concert Moment is born of something heartfelt and in some important way spontaneous. Not necessarily made up on the spot — although that’s never a bad idea — but improvised to some degree. You might catch something similar in Boston next week, but it won’t be exactly what happened in D.C. This is what sets a great concert apart from a great album. It’s about music, but it’s also about an experience that’s ephemeral and communal, that you share for a couple hours with a bunch of strangers who, at some level, you feel like you know because they have the same idiotic glint in their eye when the lights come up. It’s the sense that this whole evening means as much to the band as it does to you. It’s great songs multiplied by killer performance multiplied by giddy fan reaction.

Anyone care to offer up their greatest concert moment?

‘Americans are a war-like people…’

At least, some of them. And when they get together to stifle dissent, they can’t help but knock the piss out of each other.

The crowd, which organizers said topped 3,000 but appeared closer to 1,500, chanted “Cindy, Go Home” and compared her to Jane Fonda, whose visit to a North Vietnamese gun site in 1972 earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.”

“Cindy-Hanoi Jane,” read one of the signs at the rally.

In one heated moment, members of the pro-Bush crowd turned on what they mistakenly thought were a group of anti-war protesters, cursing them, threatening them and tearing down their signs. A police officer rushed the group to safety.

Of course, it’s never pretty when the light of day falls on these people.

They’re not so well-socialized, y’know. Once they get out of mom’s basement and they get a couple of Lite beers in ’em, they get kinda nutty.

The night New Orleans died

House parties are the heart and soul of the Athens Music Scene. For all of its anti-bourgoise pretensions, the club scene is pretty much run by upper-middle class white kids with college educations. It’s not so much a glass ceiling as a diaphanous network- a set of hip cultural references, body postures and footwear choices which might appear random to the outside observer, but are actually as codified and rigid as a Japanese tea ceremony. Should one fail to communicate the proper pedigree, rejection is not communicated as much as it is implied- phone calls shall not be returned, emails will go unanswered, and word will creep back to the novitiate through the grapevine.

There are exceptions in the clubs, but they are rare.

House parties, on the other hand… House parties don’t care. House parties breathe cheap keg beer like air. House parties thrive on permissive law enforcement and crappy neighborhoods. Eleven o’clock is the witching hour, however, and last night, Brown Frown was struggling with alcohol poisoning and chemical dementia at 10:45. If at 11 pm, there’s enough noise to wake up the Mayor’s cat, then $100 noise citations shall be issued. Underage drinkers shall be carted off to jail. Cars will be towed.

Fortunately for Music Hates You, our practice space was 200 yards from last night’s party. At 10:50, we reloaded our gear into the van, threw the keg into the passenger seat and raced to the practice space. We threw up the big overhead door, turned up the amps and rocked out for something like 100 people in the shadow of the cement plant and the railyard. Yes, it was reckless- throwing a keg party in our practice space is in total violation of noise ordinances, drinking laws, common sense and our lease.

We packed so many people into our tiny rehearsal closet that all of the air got sucked up and turned to mashed sweet potatoes. Every time someone turned around to tune or adjust their volume (invariably, UP) their headstock would knock some punter nearly unconscious. We had our own little Hurricane Katrina of blood, sweat, watery beer and spit.

As we ran out of songs to play and began to succumb to the thick humidity and lack of oxygen, Noah announced “You’re gonna remember this. This is the night you came to Music Hates You’s practice space and partied while New Orleans died.”

I don’t know what time we finally ran everyone off, but no one wanted to leave until the rumor of approaching law enforcement made the decision for us.

Another night in the life….

How to win friends and influence people

I don’t guess there’s any point in pretending to be shocked by this headline:

“Bolton throws UN summit into chaos”

What follows is a laundry list of bad-faith initiatives, which seem most likely designed to make Bolton the squeakiest wheel in Squeakyland.

John Bolton, Washington’s new ambassador to the United Nations, has called for wholesale changes to a draft document due to go before a UN summit next month aimed at reshaping the world body.
Mr Bolton, a long-standing UN critic who was given a temporary appointment by George Bush three weeks ago after the United States Senate failed to agree on his nomination, has proposed 750 amendments to the draft and called for immediate talks on them.

Not sure what this is actually meant to accomplish, with the possible exception of it being pure obstructionism.

I mean, you’ve got to love anyone who gets in the way of a useless bureaucracy like the UN.

Makes me proud to be an… a …. something.