Saturday, April 4, 2009

Equality NOW

Yesterday should have been a big blogging day for me - I'm off Fridays and the State Supremes made same-sex marriage legal in Iowa yesterday. And the state nutjobs were remarkably quiet. It was obviously a joyful day for those of us who have supported equality for a long time.

Like Deeth though, the real impact of it didn't hit until much later in the day. I had to do the Cannonball Run again to pick my son for his weekend, and we stopped by my folks for dinner. My parents - poster children for Eisenhower Republicanism - were just giddy over the verdict. I've been on the other side of the fence with them on so many governmental fiscal issues of late, it was weird to sit at dinner and hear then so happy for the people they knew who had been unhappy for decades, friends who finally have legal equality in their relationships.

Gosh, between endorsing a black man for president and legalizing marriage equality, what's next Iowa? Socialism?

Update: Attaturk points out that most ER's will pay attention to their pocketbooks, when couples from all over the Midwest start flocking to Iowa. Californians are also welcome.

Kay Henderson, the News Director for Radio Iowa, has the statement from the 4 Catholic bishops of Iowa:
"This decision rejects the wisdom of thousands of years of human history. It implements a novel understanding of marriage, which will grievously harm families and children.

This unwarranted social engineering attacks the good that marriage offers to society, especially the good of children, and weakens the critical relationship between marriage and parenting."

Man, that's some serious cognitive dissonance those altar boy pimps are smoking.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Take a Long Walk on a Short Pier

The fucking nerve! On the House's $3.6 trillion budget blueprint...
Republicans have warned that the prospects for bipartisanship will all but vanish if majority Democrats attempt to muzzle them.
Am I missing something here? Could the republi-cons first demonstrate some bipartisanship! I'm sorry, 3 lousy votes on the stimulus package doesn't cut it.

UPDATE: h/t Think Progress
President Obama’s budget passed the House and Senate yesterday, by votes of 233-196 and 55-43, respectively. No Republicans voted for the budget in either chamber. Twenty House Democrats voted against the budget.

Please, continue being republi-con obstructionists... the American people are making you the most ignored political party in our history.

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Finding Equilibrium Without Your Frontman

My musical obsession, Barenaked Ladies, went their separate ways recently with their lead vocalist Steven Page after he was busted for cocaine possession and supposedly admitted in court for consuming same. Usually a band that sees a line up change sits out for a few months, works up a new record of material in a studio to find a new musical ethos, polishes up the best of their product, hides the initial rough performances, and then reappears a year or so later in a publicity blitz working their fresh new view.

BNL instead accepted an invitation from Universal to play a full concert set as part of Mardi Gras in Orlando less than a month after Page's departure. It was probably an offer they decided that they couldn't refuse. Particularly since they're working a difficult path right now.

Late last year, BNL released a fun kids album, and their theme song for The Big Bang Theory has put them in the public eye as the series continues to gain eyeballs. They also went indy 3 years ago after their last contract with Reprise expired. Everything was looking good, and the Steve fucked it all up. BNL doing the concert was probably as certain as gravity.

There's a really good reason most bands don't try to quickly to haul themselves out after a radical lineup change - especially after the loss of their lead voices. It doesn't work.

In an effort to excite their fan base BNL made the audio recording available free for download to the fan mail list for a limited time. While the hardcore - myself included - will download & listen, we're not going to be happy with the product.

The free recording is marred with technical oversights and musical miscues that really make the Ladies sound like a bunch of bar-circuit guys reaching too far, too fast, and with too little practice. And I'm speaking as someone who been the crappy engineer for a group of talented guys whom aren't playing till their fingers bled. (Aside: the engineer should have been not just fired, but sacked, preferably by some very large men in leather with temperamental behavior disorders.)

The largest void is obvious in songs where Page sung lead, which is thankfully only half of their catalog, instead of the entire. Page's voice and power are so distinctive that trying to sing his material would be a challenge most performers, and the remaining Ladies just simply can't carry it for more than a tribute for someone whom they obviously miss a great deal.

All 3 other vocalists in the band make whole-hearted tries: Keyboardist Kevin Hearn, whom probably has the breathiest male voice I've ever heard, has the range, but nowhere near the power; Kevin's natural whimsy isn't an aesthetically acceptable choice. Front man Ed Roberts leads for the rest of the BNL catalog, but Ed's voice is about telling the joke and slyly whipping you around, so he doesn't have the raw vocal pipes. Bassist Jim Creegan has a pleasant voice, but he's always felt his place is in the background and rarely as lead.

The band stumbles, gets up and does better, and then does it all again for about 90 minutes, over and over again. Worse yet, if the band isn't stumbling through Page's vocals, the sound operator constantly keeps varying the reverb and gain of their microphones to the distraction of the listener.

I love this band, but guys, you need to take it back to the studio. Please. Find a new lead to replace Page, if even temporary while you work out how to move on.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Mysteries of Logical Reasoning"

(1) Anyone who favors marijuana legalization just wants to get high without being hassled, and anyone who favors drug decriminalization generally is or wants to be a drug user.

(2) Anyone who opposes a return to alcohol prohibition is almost certainly an out-of-control drunk.

(3) Anyone who cares about gay marriage or advocates for equal rights for gay couples is a closet homosexual who just wants to have sex with people of the same gender. The only reason anyone would care about that issue is if one wants to have gay sex.

(4) Anyone who believes in free speech rights for Communists obviously opposes private property ownership and craves Stalinism. Anyone who believes in free assembly rights for neo-Nazis secretly admires Hitler.

(5) Anyone who believes abortion should be legal just wants to have reckless sex without consequences.

(6) Anyone who advocates habeas corpus rights for accused terrorists or who opposes torture harbors sympathy for Islamic extremism and approves of indiscriminate violence against civilians.

(7) Anyone who opposes unrestrained government surveillance must be doing bad things in private that they want to hide.

(8) Anyone who believes in the freedom to practice a certain religion is probably an adherent of that religion and is motivated by a desire to practice it without interference.

Why is most everyone capable of understanding the egregious, illogical stupidity of propositions (2)-(8) -- based on the bleedingly obvious premise that one can advocate the freedom to do X for reasons other than a desire to do X -- while so many people embrace the equally illogical and stupid reasoning of proposition (1) as though it so self-evidently true that it requires no discussion? -- Glenn Greenwald

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