Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

for-profit prison

an NPR story says a private prison corporation and an Arizona state senator co-drafted his state’s draconian anti-immigration law, the one that requires law enforcement to jail anyone (hispanics) who can’t immediately prove their citizenship.
the story also says that many of those who voted for the law in the Arizona legislature received donations from private prison lobbyists or prison companies in the run-up to its passing.
but none of this true, obviously, and none of this will be noticed, probably, because NPR fired Juan Williams, and this affront to freedom of speech made Liberty’s Bastion, Fox News, shit a brick and fuck all that anyway because some guy stomped on the head of a Moveon.org activist in Kentucky and holy shit there’s video! hooray for the midterms!

the cupcake truck has a new fuggin’ cupcake flavor

Think of government as a huge pool of money. Control of government means control over that pool of money. Parties gain control by putting together winning coalitions of interest groups. When a party has control, its coalition’s interest groups get more from the pool and the losing coalition’s interest groups get less. So, yeah, it matters who wins. When Democrats are in charge, that’s great news for public-employees unions and General Electric’s alternative energy division. When the Republicans are in charge, that’s great news for rich people and Raytheon.”

the fightin’ fifth

I got a soft spot in my heart for Tom Perriello.
back in 2008, he beat Virginia’ 5th District Repbulican incumbent, the pandering redneck Virgil Goode, by about 700 votes out of more than 300,000 cast. and he did it by being pretty straightforward. he came back from around 20 points down in mid August. and since his election, he’s been a pretty honest politician in a district that isn’t predisposed (read: gerrymandered) to electing politicians of his stripe.
he’s a Democrat in rural Virginia. he voted for the economic stimulus package, supported cap-and-trade. but he voted against the party on financial reform, the federal budget package, Obama’s trade policies. he’s carrying an endorsement from the NRA.
naturally, tea partiers hate him. they’ve vandalized his family members’ homes. his Republican opponent calls him “Pelosi’s lapdog.” and that kind of dumb shit sticks, and he’ll probably lose a close one down there, but it’s not gonna be a for a lack effort.
the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running all sorts of attack ads on his behalf. and what’s more, Uncle Barack himself is coming to Charlottesville to stump for Perriello. as far as I know, Obama hasn’t gone out of his way to appear on behalf of any other congressional candidates during this cycle, in which a great deal of seats will be lost by the Democrats, and control of the House will likely shift.
but no matter. I think Perriello’s going to lose, because nothing would serve the 5th District better than another faceless, vanilla Republican. but at least his ass is going down swinging. Obama’s throwing him a bone for his loyalty, and for his standing fast in the face of a horde of homegrown, raving, asshole lunatics who behave as if Perriello somehow stole victory in the ’08 election, despite the fact that he carried the popular vote.
so please, don’t take that shit lying down, Tom. and when you’re probably no longer a congressman next month, know that you were a good one while it lasted and when it counted. I wish I was registered in the 5th District this year.

they were playing Burning Spear at the fancy salad restaurant down the street when I walked in for lunch: Chop’t Creative Salad Company. $8.50 for a salad, made by a guy making minimum wage, served in a 100-percent recyclable container. just like Winston Rodney intended.

shake it off

so babysitting is over. that wasn’t too bad.

I’m in a music mood today, oh yes. I listened to “go to sleep” by Radiohead about three dozen times at the office.
I’m watching Cincinnati and Louisville beat each other to shit in the mighty battle of southern Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. neither is ranked. it’s a 1-point game. you’ll have that.
I’m sitting here, listening to samples of stoner doom metal, because there is such a thing and who knew? Pitchfork probably knew, those elitist fucks, but I’m definitely not paying enough attention to notice every over-analyzed, unnecessary subgenre of rock and roll. I had heard of stoner metal. and doom metal. but the two together? jesus, I feel like I’m falling apart out here.
anyway, yes: this shit exists, and it’s probably not for everyone. but whether it’s for you or not we can all agree that a band that performs while dressed in black robes; or calls itself “Electric Wizard”; or whose bassist has been arrested for assaulting a police officer; or is always singing about Satan and pot, well … at least they’re working with the right ingredients there.

Rudy Clay may or may not be still driving the Hummer

I went to a record store in Dupont today. couldn’t find it. so here is Patrick Sweany.

and here is a BBC News report on what it describes as the poorest city in the United States: Gary, Indiana.

wolfmother

I suppose I always imagined that every rock band heads out the door on its first day to save the whole world. but they’re never going to do it for everybody. I guess that’s how you measure success, by how many people you manage to bring along, and how long you hold them up with something worth listening to. how long you produce. well, shit; Zeppelin might still be going if John Bonham hadn’t choked on his own vomit.
so Wolfmother is still a band, as it’s still putting out music. but their latest release — and it’s not like any of this is current at all, I’ve only been thinking about it because I heard a Wolfmother tune on the radio today — their latest release I find lacking. what, I don’t know exactly, which is why I’m trying to type it out here. what I do know is that between their first full-length and their second, two of the three who made up Wolfmother split, and that lef the lead guitarist with all the songwriting duties.
those two dudes took something with them, something heavier and more powerful and more sincere than what we’re left with. Wolfmother is not awful, but “Cosmic Egg” sounds like it was written explicitly to sell Mountain Dew and movies built on bad dick jokes, and not to score a John Carter of Mars novel. and it was that feel that made their early stuff legit, at least for me. the early shit Wolfmother came up with was from throwaway to fantastic, drastic, romantic and epic … but at least it had a higher end of the spectrum to even out the occasional misses.
and what’s more maybe they were knockoffs of heavier bands that came before them, they weren’t Black Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, but for a brief period of time they were fucking great all the same. I don’t think a trailblazing hard rock band would begrudge another for aping what came first for a new generation. imitation can be a sincere form of flattery.
so pour a sip on the concrete for a brief reign of rock-and-roll terror that enraptured me, at least, for four or five months in 2006. and check out one of their B-sides. for tomorrow I’m looking for a Patrick Sweany album to hold in my hands, because I’m not ready to give up and start buying shit off itunes just yet. I still draw breath.

she owns about seven lawnmowers

I went to a “food truck festival” — yes, that’s what I’ll call it — over in that park at New York Avenue and 11th today. food trucks are popping up around Washington, and among the strange, effete hipster-yuppie hybrids that populate this town, they are all the rage. I went and I paid $3 for a goddamn chocolate sweet potato cupcake. it was delicious, and I’m ashamed of myself.

but let’s get down to brass tacks: CBS has released a poll that finds tea partiers say the Republican party represents their values. I know. get the fuck right out of town.
I just felt a sharp pain in my temple. god damn it, are politics stupid; the crazy lady who’s got a decent chance of unseating Harry Reid in Nevada said recently that Sharia law is being practiced in certain American cities. what? oh god … my temple!
when I read shit like that I am faced with the strong feeling that it is making me more dumb. a physical feeling. a feeling I am sure is not unlike the quickening in “Highlander.” there can be only one.
but see, Queen didn’t write a song about how incredibly fucking low-brow politics are in this country, and how depressing it is to be plagued with an intellectually bankrupt party like the GOP that puts dipshits like Sharron Angle in close proximity to power and influence. oh no: Queen wrote a song about the Highlander’s battles with an immortal Eurasian warlord. because that movie was the shit.
but yes. it’s definitely happening. so listen to some Tap Tap, and try not to walk into a closed door, or spill shit all over your Dockers after standing in line for twenty minutes to buy a $15 lobster roll out of the back of a catering truck. one of the other rubes might notice.
because sharia law, says Sharron Angle. jesus christ.

fall is here, oh boy, and some asshole billionaire just got richer

… By 2007, the top 1 percent of households took home 23 percent of the national income after a 15-year run in which they captured more than half – yes, you read that right, more than half – of the country’s economic growth. As Tim Noah noted recently in a wonderful series of articles in Slate, that’s the kind of income distribution you’d associate with a banana republic or a sub-Saharan kleptocracy, not the world’s oldest democracy and wealthiest market economy.

— Steve Pearlstein drops more knowledge

the meanest

so you can cross it off the ol’ bucket list for me: I have been in a wedding.
it’s not like I did anything special, besides look presentable in my rented suit and make nice conversation with anyone I happened to speak with. but it was fun and nostalgic, exhausting and hilarious, reflective and touching, and God bless Dawn and Phil. and there’s never enough time for all of it. ever.

but what about your flight, Matt? can’t you ramble about nursing a phobia for 500 words instead of your good friend’s wedding?
I flew in and out of Baltimore, which, despite the fortyfive minute car ride, is the best airport option for me — especially when you factor in pricing. I don’t know if you’re reading your local business page, but Southwest has apparently purchased AirTran, which from my seat in the uninformed section is a good deal for the consumer at large — and if not mister at large, then at least for me and the Washington commuter. Southwest lands at Dulles, I think, which sucks, because Dulles sucks, and at Baltimore, which is a hike. but AirTran’s miserable ass flies out of National, which is so close to everything and everyone that getting to the plane on time would no longer be a question. but as far as I know, the low, low prices haven’t started falling yet at National. so until they do, Bawlmer it is.
I hate flying. I’m assuming I’ve made note of this before, but I’ll explain here just to be thorough: I hate that shit.
I’m pretty sure I can recall the first time I flew: with Mar, going to see dad, probably December 1993. back then, it was novel and exciting to get on an airplane. it’s only gotten shittier as I’ve grown older.
it’s not just the security, the exorbant pricing, or the mad rush that accompanies any trip to the airport. no: it’s the flight itself. maybe I’ve worked myself into an early terror, I don’t know. probably I have. but I swear to god, each time the plane taxies out onto the runway, and in the silent moments before the pilot accelerates for take-off, I breathe deep and hold my breath and think this shit is unnatural. man was not meant to sit in a big aluminum can and hurdle through the atmosphere like this. the engine is going to kick off at any second. we’re gonna go through a gaggle of migrating geese. we’ll hit some sort of unexplained monolith in the middle of a cloud bank at ten thousand feet. and then we’ll all die.
but.
have you ever flown into Chicago at night? from the east coast into Midway, the plane comes in from the southeast … right over Porter County, actually, so regularly that I can pick out the landmarks and name the roads and the grid beneath me.
when you come over Chicago’s south side, the grid becomes uninterrupted, and the boulevards reveal themselves to be longer and straighter than you knew they were, and then lead north until your eyes try to tell you’re they’re coming together at a point in the distance, but not before the skyscrapers rise abruptly, like the darkest chocolate bars you’ve ever seen standing on end. the street lights bathe the city in a yellow glow, up to the edge that’s off to your right; the lake.
I have tiny crises on every flight. the night flights, especially when it’s dark, and the engines and the drag are loud enough that you’re rendered deaf and forced into solitude by the noise, and your ears start popping; when the world through the windows looks and warm and terrifying and massive and surreal. I always refuse the complimentary drinks now, because I don’t want what could possibly be my last goddamn taste to be a Coke, yet I always take the tiny bags of peanuts, because I’m difficult and skin-deep like that. and I involuntaily think about my existence, and whether I’m looking down on Youngstown or Akron or not. and about how out there, somewhere, my sister and mother or my brother or my girlfriend or Andrew are tracing a line home along the roads that look like circuits from above. and I inevitably feel awful and alone, both going and coming. I hate flying.