26 August 2004

Minor Targets of Opportunity

So much to blog, so little time. A few random targets of opportunity, from the long targeting list in my head.
Alice Cooper is Spot.On. Alice Cooper takes on the whole idea of the "Vote For Change" concert series (that I have commented on in the past couple of weeks) and shows it for what it's worth. A good read. Now riddle me this: why is it that I had to get this story from a canadian newspaper?
This is why you read the comments..... Through a daisy chain series of links that started with Rachel Lucas and ended here (a "must" read), I stumbled upon a commenter who nailed it solid:

".....To the earlier poster who couldn’t find a reason to vote for Bush, perhaps the following might be reasons enough for a sane person:

George W. Bush survived a crude coup d’etat and voter fraud that set back a smooth transition to the White House; took over the pig sty left by the Clintons both literally and figuratively; inherited the collapse of the Ponzi scheme economy of smoke and mirrors bolstered by the media; was faced with an intelligence community in ruins and a military both low in morale and materiel, faced a relentless barrage of bashing from every side of the leftwing nutcase community and before he could settle into his new position was hit by the worse act of terror this country ever faced. He was magnificent in his masterful leadership while the media called him a coward for running and hiding, he cooly set to work ignoring the gnats buzzing around his head....."

The comment was posted by "erp", and it's well down the page. There's quite a lively discussion thread that is entertaining and informative to follow.
AirAmerica is coming to Moscow on the Huron. I can hardly fookin wait. I haven't read them in detail yet, but Pravda's fluff pieces look to be truely "fisk-worthy", but I haven't the time or energy right now. Maybe when AirAmerica welches on their contracts and leaves town in the middle of the night (like they've done in LosAngeles and Chicago) I'll do a whole big AirAmerica Grand Fisking and Review. Or maybe not

22 August 2004


Stephen Green is a fooking genius. He posts a most excellent fisking of some Clinton-era nob regarding the President's recent announcement that Europe and S.Korea can henceforth defend their own damn selves. Go read, and consider yourself informed and amused.

18 August 2004

Production Issues (Updated)

Update===>The venue for the concert has been moved to Detroit's Cobo Arena. How a venue designed as a hockey stadium differs from one designed as a basketball stadium with regard to the aforementioned "production issues" is anyone's guess. I'm just sayin', that's all. Read it here: 'Vote for Change' Springsteen show moves to Cobo.

Original post:

Good. I needed a chuckle today. Front page, above the fold, above the masthead of today's issue of the Moscow on the Huron's edition of Pravda was this headline:

The touted concert by the lengendary Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band was supposed to be part of the "Vote for Change" series of concerts (in their words) "working to unseat President Bush". According to the article, "production issues" have scratched the Crisler Arena as the venue.

I opined on this concert previously, as you loyal and valued readers will remember. One must wonder what these "production issues" could possibly be, to forego the opportunity to speak out against President Bush and to unseat the evil Republicans.

Some excerpts from the article and commentary:

"Nothing is final, but it does not appear now that Ann Arbor will work because some of the production issues we're dealing with are incompatible with the building at this time," (Phil) Ober (a volunteer organizer and promoter for the show) said Friday.

The size and design of the stage, floor seating and placement of lighting and sound equipment required by the artists are some of the issues the artists' production staff had concerns with at Crisler, he added.

"The building is designed as a basketball venue and the concert production is solely devised by the artists, who carry their own stage. There are bound to be some issues," said Ober, who would not rule out the possibility of some changes being made to keep Ann Arbor in the running.

"When you're dealing with an event of this magnitude there is a degree of flexibility necessary," he said. "It would be very sad to move the venue because we desperately wanted to have it there, but if we physically can't make it work it, we can't make it work."

When this monumentous concert undertaking was announced earlier this month, Bonnie Raitt vocalized that "This is the most important election of our lifetime." Other artist expected to participate voiced similar opinions. If getting john kerry elected is so important, you'd think the artists would do whatever it takes to make this thing work. Look back on rock and roll history, to the VietNam era, where the music was the focal point of "stop the war / oust The Man": you then had artist bent on protest (see also Guthrie, Arlo / Dylan, Bob / Seeger, Pete) setting up their acts in coffee houses, on street corners; gigantic concerts were organized in open fields in upstate New York (in the rain). Now, "It's important, sure, but we can't use our stage set-up in a basketball arena" BullShit. If they were true believers, the response would be "What size is the stage? How much room do we have to work with?" They'd do the math, set up what would fit, plug it in and turn it up to eleven and bash some bush.

Proceeds will be earmarked for America Coming Together, a national voter-mobilization project whose goal, as stated on its Web site, is to defeat Bush and Republican allies.

Maybe the "production issues" are that America Coming Together can't produce enough cocaine to secure the artists. From my commentary on the previous article:

"All funds raised beyond expenses will go to America Coming Together."

All funds beyond expenses" indeed. Have you seen the cost of cocaine lately? "America Coming Together" is going to get stuck with one hell of a bar tab.

"The interest and response we got was huge in terms of phone calls and e-mails," said Linda Siglin, coordinator for U-M's Office of Major Events. "It's always disappointing when you have what appears to be a successful event and things don't work out at the last minute."

Both Siglin and Ober said the university was not a factor in the discussions to move the concert.

No, I'm sure it wasn't. They both said so. The University of Michigan may lean so far to the left that they almost topple over, but they aren't stupid. There's currently a rift between U of M and the Bush Administration over some stem cell / partial birth research data; this could be the U's attempt to make nice, as they have their snout deeper in the trough than most.

Sure there was a huge interest: who wouldn't be interested in seeing Springsteen, John Fogerty, and Bonnie Raitt in one big show. What fails to be quantified is how much of the "interest and response" was motivated by the music vs. that what was motivated by the politics.

14 August 2004

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season

As a hurricane survivor myself (Celia, 3 August 1970), I feel for our friends in Florida. "Much Stronger Than Expected" was very much like the headline for my hurricane. We lived in Portland, Texas at the time (Celia's eye passed directly over Portland) and our house was completely destroyed. I was just short of 8 years old, but it left an indelible mark on me and who I am. To this day, I scoff at the weather: if there aren't four door 1969 Buicks getting tossed about by the wind, it just ain't a storm.

I have a load of stories about the experience that I'll save for another time; now is the time for the Charlie survivors.

Here I sit, safe and dry and comfortable; with the lights (and the 'puter) still on and not having to worry about finding a safe place for my family to sleep or wondering where we'll get fresh water. And you are, too.

So if you can see your way clear to spare a few bucks; pony up at your local RedCross office. I'm sure that they have a "Hurricane Charlie" fund set up. No cash? Give some blood. It's all good, it all helps.

If you have the time and are available, load the truck up with bottled water and diapers and cans of tuna and batteries and some bottled water and first aid kinda thingies and maybe a bottle of rum or two and some bottled water and your hammer and work gloves and sturdy boots and a couple of sheets of plywood and some bottled water and some 2 x 4s and some more water and some duct tape and some heavy gauge plastic sheeting and some bottled water and a couple of bottles of rum and head on down and help. Be sure to coordinate with the RedCross (do your own Google search, dammit), they can direct you to the communities that need the most help. When you get there, find the neighborhoods that were impoverished before Charlie and help there first.

BTW: If you ever wanted to know what a "hero's welcome" felt like, stop at a Piggly Wiggly about 150 miles out and put a couple of dozen cases of popsicles / fudgesicles/ creamsicles on dry ice. Trust me, you hand a popsicle to an adult shortly after a hurricane and you'll be a hero. Just imagine how you'll look to the kids.

The Dog Days


I've been falling below my self imposed standards for frequency in blogging lately. Sorry. Imagine that, letting Real Life get in the way of the on-line existence. But it's not just me.....

Lileks is on vacation, denBeste is giving it a miss for the Dog Days. Whittle is kinda back, with another teaser about the forthcoming "Tribes" essay and the book. Frank is still working out the kinks; and Misha is just falling flat with me lately (".....it's not you, it's me....."). Ann is mailing it in once a week. My Brothers-in-Blog on this and other endeavors seem to be missing as well.

My personal theory is that everyone is resting up until after Labor Day. Once we're in the electoral home stretch, I believe the blogosphere will positively glow with a white hot brightness.

Lileks hit upon something a couple of days ago: SBHFS (Sudden Bush Hatred Fatigue Syndrome) where you just can't take it anymore and need a break from it all. Maybe that's it.

Maybe we've reached our limit of all the baseless hatred spewed by the left and their willing accomplices. Maybe we need tin-foil hats of our own, to insulate our brains from the barrage of crap that gets shoveled on a daily basis. Maybe we should drink more. I don't know.

There are a few giggles out there; Ironbear has a list of definitions that makes you think and chuckle. And I recently discovered VodkaPundit; go read his "50 Things" lists for some ponderous laughs.

07 August 2004

At least she understands the concept

Bravo to Bonnie Raitt for getting it right and understanding How.It.Works. Am I going to go out and burn all my copies of her LPs / CDs / 8-tracks (8-tracks? WTF?) because of her views? No. I'm a "blues" guy and have appreciated Ms. Raitt's work for decades. The blues is the blues, if you know what I mean. She's entitled to her opinion, because she understands:

"This is the first time I've felt moved to get behind something I that I feel is an emergency," said Raitt. "This is the most important election of our lifetime. I am willing to lose fans ... I am a citizen as well an artist and I am willing to take the hit for something I believe in." [Emphasis mine]

Contrast her statement ".....willing to take the hit for something I believe in....." to the whining put forth by the likes of whoopie goldberg / tim robbins / natalie maines / et al. Ms.Raitt has taken her position, regardless of the consequences. She knows how it works. Being ridiculously Constitutional, while I disagree with her position, I'll vigorously defend her right to espouse her views.

If you're of strong stomach, go read the source article: Stars explain motivation for political concert tour.

I have a couple of beefs with the article's author, Roger Lelievre (sounds french, but what do I know?), the AnnArbor New's Arts Writer:

First, factual:

Presidential politics and music have had an uncomfortable relationship recently. Just ask Linda Ronstadt and the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines. Both vocalists made derogatory comments about President Bush during shows, with protests greeting their remarks.

No, Rog; Ronstadt got booted in LasVegas for dedicating "Desparato" to michael moore and protests greeted her comments. Lumping her in with maines, who overtly made anti-GWB comments (whilst over-seas, thinking that no one in the USA would ever know, nudge, nudge, wink, wink) is intellectually dis-honest.

Second, literary:

"This is the first time I've felt moved to get behind something I that I feel is an emergency," said Raitt. "This is the most important election of our lifetime. I am willing to lose fans ... I am a citizen as well an artist and I am willing to take the hit for something I believe in." Alienating fans is a definite possibility, Mills said, "but I believe the outcome of this election is far more important even than my career."

He quotes Ms.Raitt and Mr.Mills in the article before introducing them in context. Bite me, I'm in William Safire mode tonight.

Other excerpts from the article and commentary:

The artists will tour under the name "Vote For Change," with money generated going to America Coming Together, a political action group affiliated with the liberal group MoveOn and aimed at defeating President George W. Bush. Other musical acts participating nationally include the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, John Mellencamp and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. Other artists a could be added, organizers said.

All members of "the usual suspects". Nothing to see here, move on.

Mark McKinnon, the media director for the Bush campaign, said, "We think it's unfortunate these particular fine musicians have decided to affiliate with a hate-filled fringe group like MoveOn." But McKinnon said that Bush had drawn his own support from the entertainment world, citing stars like Lee Ann Womack,Kid Rock and Jessica Simpson.

What? Who the hell is jessica simpson? Now animated characters have a voice in presidential politics? Who does Bug-eyed Earl support? Enquiring minds want to know, dammit.

Mills said artists are donating their services. All funds raised beyond expenses will go to America Coming Together.

"All funds beyond expenses" indeed. Have you seen the cost of cocaine lately? "America Coming Together" is going to get stuck with one hell of a bar tab.

There have been a number of highly publicized efforts to encourage election participation, particularly by young people, among them Rock the Vote. Mills said he thinks the combined effort of everyone involved will get attention and make an impression.
Hell, it got billyjeff elected.....

"It's not so much myself, or R.E.M., or any one artist that's involved in this. It's the fact that there are so many, coming from such diverse places on the musical spectrum, all coming together for this single purpose," he said.

Bravo to this Mr.Mills, whoever he may be. Go read the article, he comports himself as understanding how it works. And I'm all for encourging election participation. Ab-so-fookin-lutely. Just don't stand on queue next to me in the voting line with your UAW "Vote for the following people" card in hand, unless you want an ear-full.

Raitt added that thought the purpose of the concerts is political, the focus will be on this music.

"We don't see hours of haranguing speeches and 20 minutes of music," she said.

Not fookin' likely. More people lit up American flags and pictures of GWB at this year's "AnnArbor Hash Bash" than they did joints.

Reach Roger LeLievre at rlelievre@annarbornews.com. (Hell, it's in his by-line.....doesn't that make it public info?)

05 August 2004

That about covers it. Any more questions?

Mike at Cold Fury puts it on a tee and whacks it good. It's the press conference we'd all pony up pay-per-view money to see.