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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Republican Mafia

Tom Delay has been indicted.  I haven’t read the indictment yet, but who didn’t know this was coming?  Delay has been the target of these kind of corruption investigations, I’m sorry….witchhunts, for a while now.  Republicans certainly saw it coming.  In November 2004, the House changed the rules so that Delay could stay on as Majority Leader if he was indicted, a move they later reversed.  Delay and his legal team have been preparing for this about as long as the prosecution, and I guarantee you, no punches will be pulled.  It will be the Rumble in the Jungle all over again, a pounding followed by a pummeling followed by a beating.

Delay, and his buddies who are also under indictment, were part of what basically amounts to a money-laundering scheme designed to skirt campaign contribution laws and fill the party’s coffers with corporate money.  Six corporate donors gave a Political Action Committee (aka as a PAC)  run by Delay and his cronies $190, 000 and surprise, a check for $190, 000 from the PAC was sent to the Republicans in Texas.  The prosecutors seem to have a case, and in fact have not only charged or indicted Delay and his PAC buddies, but also a trade association and even some corporations.  Ay yai yai.  This is some witch hunt.

But Delay’s troubles are tame compared to this.   Jack Abramoff, also indicted for fraud and other corrupt dealings, rears his ugly head yet again, not only in the face of David Safavian, the “former” Bush official (who resigned on Friday the 16th and was arrested on Monday the 19th) but in the face of Gus Boulis.  So let’s see.  Money laundering, fraud, and murder.  It’s like the mafia.

From now on, that’s what I’ll call them.  The Republican Mafia.  I think it’s important to distinguish the Republicans in power from normal every day Republicans who have, you know, jobs to go to and only get to vote once a year, if that.  The normal every day Republicans listen to Rush Limbaugh and get fired up, but they know in their hearts that most of what he says is bullshit.  They watch Fox News and snicker, but they’re not a bunch of fascist warmongers who want to reinstate slavery and institutionalize corporate welfare.  Trust me on this.  Normal every day Republicans are good people.  I know a few of them.

It’s just a shame that these normal every day Republicans, and the rest of us too, are stuck with the Republican Mafia in charge.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

2-1

Bob Cesca has a great post on Christian opposition to gay marriage here. (My comments are under Liftwithcaution if you care to read them.) I was going to send his previous post to my Dad, but it contains some accusatory language that I didn’t think would translate well even though I agree completely with everything Cesca is saying. You can get more Bob Cesca here.

And this….this is fucking hilarious.

On another note, I’ve been listening to this mixed tape I made the other day. Yeah, I know, mixed tapes. Analog. Truth be told, I burned a mixed CD and then recorded it on tape. It was a painless process, not like the old days of queuing it up and pushing buttons.

The first song on side A was Audioslave’s The Worm. I don’t know if it’s one of their “hits” but it’s a good song. It’s one of the up tempo ones on their latest disc, and has some good Rage-style jamming. And the more I listen to it, the more I think it’s a screed against self-righteous born-agains.

Some obvious clues:

(I've decided to make it alright with my)

Halo--I'm complete
Halo--with me underneath
Halo--I'm reborn
I can do no wrong


You see what I'm saying? I rest my case.

The Broncos beat the Chiefs last night, 30-10. Mike Anderson had a break out run for 44 yards. Rod Smith got knocked out. Jake Plummer rolled the bootleg out so many times the Chiefs went cross-eyed. It was beautiful.

I celebrated with some friends at Buffalo Wild Wings, stung my tongue on some of their blazing sauce, actually drank a whole beer, and steeled my courage to hit on the waitress, this immensely cute young thing named Katelun. She rebuffed me, but she remained cute.

Wanna see a good movie? Watch Donnie Darko.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Alive 2

I read this article in the NY Times this morning about bands trying new singers. And no, I’m not going to link it. The NYT is so proprietary, what’s the point? Suffice it to say that the article mentions Queen (who have taken on Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame to replace the irreplaceable Freddie Mercury) and INXS (who launched a reality show no one watched to replace Michael Hutchence, who died of an unfortunate case of autoerotic asphyxiation.). Of course, Van Halen, who has had at least three lead singers and uncountable “reunions,” got a mention. But not a peep about Drowning Pool, whose first lead singer died of heart failure and whose second lead singer quit after two years, or even Anthrax, who is in the middle of a big reunion built around the return of their singer from the 80s and early 90s, Joey Belladonna. I guess the snub is to be expected, though. It is the NY Times, after all.

Although, I will reprint here the article’s closing paragraphs:

Doc McGhee, who represents the rockers KISS, has another twist on the idea altogether: he has been toying with the idea of recruiting an entire band to replace the original KISS and don the band's famous makeup.
"KISS is more like Doritos or Pepsi, as far as a brand name is concerned," he said. "They're more characters than the individual person. I think they have a legitimate chance to carry the franchise."

Is that not the stupidest idea you’ve ever heard? Doc, put the…idea…down.

Speaking of Anthrax…as promised, I got the new DVD which came out last week, Alive 2. I wanted to get the CD, but friggin Best Buy didn’t have their shit together. (It came out last Tuesday and I went to the store last Friday. And Tuesday’s arrivals weren’t on the shelves to be sold? WTF? I digress…) So I bought the DVD, instead of the CD.

And I’m glad I did. With the CD, you’d get the music and the cover art and the liner notes, but with the DVD, you get the music (in 5.1 surround sound no less) AND the video, AND a documentary and other silly stuff.

The documentary was the part that I went to first, and after watching it, you kind of get a sense of who the band is, as characters, as people, as players. Just kind of. For instance, you find out very quickly that Charlie’s the heart of the band and Scott’s the soul. Frankie’s the obnoxious cousin who embarrasses you but you keep him around because he’s entertaining. Danny and Joey are kind of the new kids on the block, even though they’ve been around since the early days. Joey seems grateful to be part of the reunion and he’s making the most of it. Danny is happy too, but he also has this something-to-prove swagger that’s kind of annoying after a while. He’s a short guy, and he’s all buffed out now. I mean, he’s so ripped that he looks like a mini-Arnie almost. His stomach muscles are so big it looks like he’s pregnant. Could it be Short Man’s Syndrome?

Oh you know the type. They infest every gym across America like rats. Short little guys, tired of looking up to us tall people, tired of feeling inferior. So they work out to extremes, trying to make up for in girth what they lack in height. Dan Spitz is one of them.

He’s also a Swiss watchmaker. No joke. He’s damn proud of it, too. In his dedication, he says “Blessings to all of you from the Swiss certified master watchmaker and lead guitarist of this insane freakin’ band called Anthrax.” Just listen to him rant about all the “timepieces” he’s worked on over the years.

Scott has some key insights into why the band got together again and it makes sense. Frankie admits that money is a factor, so I guess the plan is to milk it now. But…I have to admit this is a good thing. The band is as tight as ever.

Danny is a little rusty….but the guy hasn’t played guitar in 10 years. The mini-He-man shirtless thing is a little much, and so are the baggy pants and goofy hair. Dan, you’re great. Don’t try so hard.

Joey hasn’t missed a beat. He can still hit all the high notes and he remembers all the old tricks. He’s got this mic stand…alright, so it’s not really a mic stand. It’s only the top half of one, but it’s perfectly suited for extending into the crowd for the sing along parts or getting into that two-point rock star pose, the one guitar players make naturally because they’re holding a guitar. Holding a two-handed mic is a lot better than playing air guitar anyway. I mean, who plays air guitar on stage? I firmly believe that all air guitar should be played in the privacy of your own home.

Scott does his guttural growls better than ever, and I mean that sincerely. He’s older now, more barrel chested, all the more noticeable from the early footage that shows how skinny he used to be. He also goes into his stomp routine, which is kind of like skanking but doing it while playing guitar. I wonder if he does that at all of the shows or if he breaks it out only when he’s feeling it. If it’s obligatory, it brings to mind professional wrestling, where every jabroni and heel has a “special” move. Is stomping Scott’s special move? Will the masses be disappointed if he doesn’t stomp? I think so.

Charlie pounds it out like a master. He makes it look so easy, but you’re listening to it and you know it’s not easy. Both of his feet are going, both hands, sometimes in different directions, and always at the speed of light. This is Anthrax, man. They are one of the founding fathers of thrash metal.

And I have to say this about Frankie. He used to be my favorite, but now I think he’s kind of an ass. He’s also quite strange. That silly voice you hear on I’m the Man….that’s Frankie. During the performance of the song, his face and body contort like a crazy man. Even during the performance of other songs, he’s dancing around like a goofy chicken. His schtick is more “goofy” than cool. He does a little Angus Young prance thing, sticking his tongue out. He lets the bass almost hit the floor, pounding on it with his fingers. At least that’s not as bad as Danny, who tries to do the back-to-back dual guitarist thing a time or two. That trick don’t turn, mini-man.

But hey, for all the criticism, deserved or not, I love Anthrax, love their music, and this was awesome.