Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Birthday MTV ...
Now - get off the air!!

"M.T.V.-Get Off The Air"

Fun Fun Fun in the fluffy chair
Flame up the herb
Woof down the beer


I'm your video DJ
I always talk like I'm wigged out on quaaludes
I wear a satin baseball jacket everywhere I go
My job is to help destroy
What's left of your imagination
By feeding you endless doses
Of sugar-coated mindless garbage
So don't create
Be sedate
Be a vegetable at home
And thwack on that dial
If we have our way even you will believe
This is the future of rock and roll

M.T.V. Get off the air!

How far will you go
How low will you stoop
To tranquilize our minds with your sugar-coated swill
You've turned rock and roll rebellion
Into Pat Boone sedation
Making sure nothing's left to the imagination

M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the air

M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the air
Get off the air

See the latest rejects from "The Muppet Show"
Shake their tits and their dicks
As they lip-synch on screen
There's something I don't like
About a band who always smiles
Another tax write-off
For some schmuck who doesn't care

M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the air

M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the
M.T.V. Get off the air
Get off the air

And so it was
Our beloved corporate gods
Claimed they created rock video
Allowing it to sink as low in one year
As commercial TV has in 25
"It's the new frontier," they say
It's wide open, anything can happen
But you've got a lot of nerve
To call yourself a pioneer
When you're too god-damn conservative
To take real chances.

Graph-paper brained accountants
Instead of music fans
Call all the shots at giant record companies now
The lowest common denominator rules
Forget honesty
Forget creativity
The dumbest buy the mostest
That's the name of the game
But sales are slumping
And no one will say why
Could it be they put out one too many lousy records?!?

M.T.V.-Get off the air! NOW

[Written by Jello Biafra, copyright, 1985]

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mexican recount
Imagine, millions of people protesting because of an election result. Seems impossible, doesn't it? Well, it happened, in Mexico today. A general strike is called for later this week.

WTO: Trade hawk Bill Greider has another piece on the WTO debacle: ["Whither the WTO"].

Terror again? OKBomb perps to assist Hezbollah? This guy thinks so: ["OKLAHOMA TERROR NETWORK TO ASSIST HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS IN US?"].

Saturday, July 29, 2006 and
I've been subscribed to the service for about a year now and I was thinking about putting some of my musical material up for sale on the service. My hope is to raise enough money to possible print up a new albums worth of material which has been sitting in the can on the shelf for about a year. The only problem is that doesn't work with individual people. Artists or labels have to go through and build a relationship with them. Has anyone out here used either service? Have you had any problems? Please let me know on or offline. Thanks!

Friday, July 28, 2006

The dead and dying ...

This Lebanese child was obviously not a terrorist.
War is a racket, as the saying goes and sometimes, I can barely hold back the tears. When little kids start getting blown to bits, kids very close to the age of children we know and love immensely, someone, with some decency, has to step in and say "Stop this bullshit already!" When will common sense prevail?
Look at that picture. Look at it long and hard.
And, we really wonder why they hate us? You can't tell me that this is a justified death at any time in the history of humanity. I'm sorry. That child didn't do a thing. That child wasn't a "terrorist." Unintended casualties just doesn't cut it anymore. Be prepared for more wars, more random terrorist attacks, more rights curtailed, more lies about American soldiers dying to preserve "our" rights - while in some foreign land, and, frankly, more of the worst of everything. The end times are surely with us.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sprout Network responds:
After posting my complaints about the firing of Melanie Martinez, I emailed the Sprout Network to complain. Here is their response:

"We understand that you are disappointed with the recent changes to The Good Night Show, and we too are saddened that we had to make this difficult decision. Our foremost priority is to do what is best for our young viewers and those who love them, and we will continue to provide the quality programming you and your children have come to expect from PBS KIDS Sprout. Thank you."

How is that for pathetic? I'd hate to be the corporate lackey who had to script that. Terrible. I won't deny my son the right to watch the silly Sprout Network but I'm really disappointed by this crap. Save Melanie!

Congrats to me: I've been accepted into the Leadership Greater Concord 2006-2007 program. Only 15 to 20 folks get chosen for the year-long program each year. The Hippo did a story on it but didn't mention that someone from WKXL 1450 was accepted to the program. Oh well. It should be pretty interesting though. I'm looking forward to the program which starts in the middle of September.

Tina Fey's Scar:
If I ever get another band together, I'm going to call it Tina Fey's Scar [or The Secret of Tina Fey's Scar]. This is probably the coolest - or silliest - band name I've every come up with over the years.
Have you seen it, Tina Fey's scar, that is? It is kinda like Harrison Ford's. It is this two or three inch nick across her chin. You can't help but be mesmerized by it ... not unlike Harrison Ford's! Sometimes, it is such a distraction from her great comedy. I've always wondered what the story is. If you do a Google on "Tina Fey's scar," you will find some sites of folks who are also intrigued by the lack of information about it. There is even one called Tina Fey Scar Detective: [Tina Fey Scar Detective]. Apparently, some suspect it came about from a car accident.
However, Tina Fey is leaving SNL: ["Fey, Dratch Leaving 'SNL' for '30 Rock'"]. Too bad. She is just about the only thing worth watching on the show these days, along with the adorable Maya Rudolph.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Terrence Trent D'Arby
Recently, I've been writing about my inexpensive little mp3 player and how cool it is but I haven't really talked about the songs I have loaded into it. One of the songs, which I still love to this day, is a cheesy little rock number called "She Kissed Me" by Terrence Trent D'Arby. It is a quick funky thing with some good guitar work - right out of 1994 or something - and it just rocks. It's totally different than anything else he has done.
Well, late last night while doing some work and listening to tunes, I started thinking, 'I wonder what the heck ever became of that guy?' I mean, he was considered for the position of lead singer in INXS after Michael Hutchence died but, after that, no much has been seen or heard from him.
So, I did a Google and what did I find? Terrence is no long Terrence but he is "Sananda" ... !!! :
["Sananda Maitreya"]. The mp3s aren't free, so I don't know what he sounds like. I guess I could buy a few ... but his "change" is so wigging me out - he looks like a new age Ala Baba camped out in Tuscany - that I don't know if I really want to give the guy my credit card number just to check out his new stuff. And why would anyone ever change their name like that?
In future weeks, when I get a breath, I will write some reviews of some of the stuff I have been listening to, including the brilliant Richard Butler solo record.

Supernova, Week 4 or whatever
Well, I'm still digging this show but I really have to wonder about this band.
For weeks, they have been clamoring for singers to "bring the RAWK!" which basically gives the viewer the impression that Supernova is just going to be another damn sludge rock band. But then, they show off some demos they are working on, and they prove that they are just going to be another sludge rock band, only a little more like than the Stones than Metallica. Now that we have established that, OK. No problem.
But why go for the same old thing? Why pigeonhole yourself? Why not try something different? Last night, every negative comment they made about the singers could be interpreted as an establishment of fact that they are just going to be some sucky, all-star rock band, like Velvet Revolver, with CDs in the cutout bin three months after release.
Example: Zayra, probably the coolest woman in that group, totally diverse, interesting in her approach ... but slammed for it. Last night, she was dressed in this superhot, clingy space suit thing which looked like it came off the set of "Star Wars." Dave Navarro's comments last night that she should quit and go out on her own now were exactly right: She is too good for those clowns! And then, they rave about the bag lady's acoustic version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"? What gives?

Headline of the month?
Easily this profile of Mass. Lt. Gov. Kerry Murphy Healey:
["Muffy the Democrat Slayer"]. I must say that from watching Mass. TV, Healey's political TV spots are really pretty good. Gabrieli's are too ... the difference is really results and what you want to do.
But Healey's really strike a chord - one, addressing the high cost of living in the state, and the other one I've seen, talking about her working class background. She married well ... so what. Should that be held against her? I think she should be accepted or rejected based on the things she wants to do - not her husband's wealth or her mansion in Pride's Crossing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I wondered where she went ...

Melanie Martinez will no longer be putting toddlers to bed on PBS's Sprout Network.
My toddler regularly tunes in to "The Good Night Show" on the Sprout Network run by PBS. Sometimes, I come home and he will be watching it and I will say, "Are you watching your show, sproutlet?" which usually leads to some giggling [Sproulet is the term they use to call young viewers].
The show was hosted by this pretty dark-haired woman, who my son would point to and call his mommy. I would say, "No, that's not your mom!" And we would giggle about it together.
Well, last week, Melanie Martinez, disappeared. My wife and I thought it was kinda strange. All of a sudden, she was gone. Vanished. Poof. We wondered why. Was she OK? Did she die or something? Did they cancel the show?
Well, thanks to a link on Drudge, we all know why now: ["PBS Kids' Show Host Fired for Video"]. After reading the story, I did a Google and found the comedy videos which, granted, were a tad racy, and found this statement by PBS:
A Notice To Parents Regarding The Good Night Show
Late last week, Melanie Martinez, host of The Good Night Show, alerted us to the internet posting of an independent short film that she appeared in seven years ago. PBS KIDS Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character’s credibility with our audience. As a result, PBS KIDS Sprout has decided that she will no longer appear as host of The Good Night Show. Melanie has been an important part of our network and we are disappointed that we had to make this difficult decision. PBS KIDS Sprout’s foremost priority is to do what is best for our young viewers and their families. We remain committed to The Good Night Show, which debuted last year, as a valuable tool for parents to help children wind down after a busy day. Regularly scheduled programs within The Good Night Show (e.g. Dragon Tales™, Bob The Builder™, Thomas & Friends™) will continue to air in their designated time slots with new short-form content replacing Melanie’s segments. We are developing plans to launch a new season of The Good Night Show with a new host in late 2006.
Well, as a parent, I must say that I'm extremely disappointed by this action. Should she really be fired for previous work she did seven years ago? I mean, come on. It isn't like it was full-nude porn, Playboy, or prostitution. She wasn't a corrupt Congressman or some intern earning her presidential kneepads and now TV babysitting to very small children. So, she did a questionable comedy video back when she was a struggling actress. Big deal. Shouldn't she be judged by her current work? She did a good job on "The Good Night Show." My son really enjoys watching her and the show. He doesn't know anything about her previous work and wouldn't. All he knew was that the girl who looks like mommy is on TV and now isn't.
This is disheartening on many levels, most of which is that as an actress, women are going to be held to this huge standard for the choices they make in their career and immediately not be able to apply for certain work based on past roles, no matter if they are qualified or not.
So I say, Save Melanie! Bring back the babe who my son likes to look at and let's not be making a big deal about such trivial things.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stupid Democrats?
What are the national Democrats doing? Have they no shame? Don't they know a thing about tradition? History? The great art of grassroots politicking, shoe leather, and meeting folks one-on-one? Clearly, they don't.
Saturday's move by the DNC to add a caucus in Nevada before New Hampshire, and a primary in South Carolina right afterwards, was a slap in the face of all that is good about politics - the New Hampshire primary.
We New Hampshirites feel a sense of purpose when it comes to preserving the primary here and it is more than just the desire to be the first one. It is about tradition and it's about the process of choosing our leaders in the best way possible - by really getting to know them. Sometimes, we don't make the best decisions; but we get a really good look at them and we do weed them out pretty well.
I really liked some of Gov. John Lynch's comments this weekend about the insiders mucking up everything. But it shouldn’t have been a surprise. From the beginning, the knives were out for New Hampshire and out they came.
It is important to note that those insiders, and their interests, are not necessarily the interests of the voters when setting the calendar. This is clear from the previous results of other commissions and DNC chairmen who have set the primaries up to be front-loaded - with the false impression that getting an early winner would allow that winner to compete more aggressively and, eventually, win. The DNC is interested in winning back the White House - not necessarily setting up a calendar of primaries and caucuses which empowers voters into making the best decisions for the party.
The goal of this commission shouldn't have been to strip New Hampshire of our status. It should be to set a calendar that creates a primary and caucus schedule that allows as many states as possible to have the retail political experience.
But it isn't just the calendar that matters. It is also the media and the candidates who decide how long a campaign should be waged and whether other states have a role in participating.
The media has done a pretty poor job of covering the candidates in the past. Gone are the days of relatively thorough and decent coverage of the candidates; in are the days where a candidate's howling at a campaign event is repeated over and over again to the point of personal destruction. Destruction should be left to the 30-second ad, not the news media. There is also the issue of the Washington, DC cocktail crowd who always seem to manage to wreck everything with their pomposity and arrogance.
In the past, I think most of the candidates have quit too early. In 2000, former Sen. Bill Bradley had quit by mid-March. By the end of February 2004, most of the candidates were gone. Two of the candidates - Sen. Bob Graham and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun - quit before a vote was even cast. Another candidate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, stayed in until the end. Although, he could have waged a more relevant campaign had he not "changed his mind" on abortion and ran as a pro-life Democrat, stayed true to his message to the very end, giving his voters a reason to go to the polls, even though he was never going to win the presidency.
I always respected that former California Governor Jerry Brown refused to quit the race in 1992 until the very end. Other candidates in 2004 could have stayed in longer or forged alliances to beat the clearly unelectable John Kerry. There was a point in mid- to late-February where the Howard Dean and John Edwards forces needed to have a serious sit down - not the one they did have which led to nothing. Dean had amassed a number of super delegates and Edwards was surging as the Kerry alternative. The two of them together could have led to a stronger ticket than the Kerry fronted ticket. Imagine, no Swift Boats, no Massachusetts liberal [especially if Dean was VP], very little flip-flopping. Edwards would have easily beaten Bush in the debates and Dean would have easily beaten Dick Cheney. It would have been a stronger ticket, Ralph Nader still would have only been a minor footnote, and the Democrats would have been stronger going into the final election.
Then there is the issue of diversity and whether or not that will really bring a stronger Democratic candidate in the final election. Despite my political incorrectness here, I doubt it.
Looking at the 2004 Electoral College map, I don't see where diversity helps the Democratic nominee. Where does a more diverse ticket win in the red states? Where does a Democratic nominee gain from more diversity on the ticket? According to exit polls, Kerry received 88 percent of the black vote and 53 percent of the Hispanic vote. Those are pretty good clips. There is also a good chance that Democrats won't gain more of those votes because they are conservative ones.
What the commission also seems to have ignored is that both Iowa and New Hampshire are diverse in other ways other than skin color, like economics, education, and castes. Skin color isn't the only measure of "diversity." Personally, I hate it when politicos get obsessed with skin color as if it should be a measuring stick for access to power or, that somehow, folks who are not people of color can't relate to the trials and tribulations of our nation's minority populations. Let me tell, we can relate more than you know.
Next month, more national Democrats will look over the proposal by the nominating process commission and probably approve their foolish changes. Thankfully, the people of New Hampshire can expect our Secretary of State Bill Gardener to put a stop to all of this foolishness and preserve the primary.
And then hopefully, in 2009, when the Democrats start meeting again about how to "improve" the political process, they will realize that front-loading, worrying about diversity, and messing with history, may not be the best way to "fix" things. Instead, they can look to a strategy of bringing the New Hampshire experience to other states to improve things - instead of taking our experience from us.
Crossposted at Area603

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Catching up on some headlines
For whatever reason, IE has now decided to list all the Web sites in my favorites file in alphabetical order instead of the time I save it to the file or where I put them manually. I don't know why it is doing this, but it is. So, for recent posts, I haven't posted all the stories available, because they've been put at different areas of the file. So, while some of these links may be a tad old, they are still worthy of a looksie.

DNC to decide New Hampshire's fate: The Democratic National Committee will be meeting today to discuss the final 2008 primary and caucus calendar. I don't like the looks of what they are trying to do:
["The DNC Calendar Choices Narrow"]. Their obsession with taking away "New Hampshire clout" is getting ridiculous, especially in light of how Terry McAwful front-loaded the primaries in the past. This process of front-loading - not the NH Primary - is the real reason for the "lack of diversity" in the nomination process, as well as the weak nominee syndrome. Looking back at the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry wasn't such a weak nominee, he just took bad advice and didn't fight hard enough for it. Kerry missed winning by very little in the scheme of things. Some would also contend that Al Gore wasn't such a weak nominee. The 2000 election was virtual tie. And if anything, it was lack of progressivity, not diversity, that doomed his candidacy, especially after picking Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate which allowed Ralph Nader a huge opening to punch the guy throughout the late months of the campaign. In addition, Gore took bad advice and didn't sit down with Nader after he asked for a meeting back in 1999, setting the stage for the 2000 race. Had Gore answered the phone, things might have been a lot different, wouldn't they?

In other 2008 news: It looks like Rudy is in:
["Rudy for president?"]. And Sen. MBNA [aka Biden] comes to our town: ["Talk about retail politics"]. Check out that Preston Gateaway photo too. Just a tad too close for most comfort levels. He looks like he is putting the moves on that girl!

One of my heros, Bill Hillsman:
["Backstory: Reducing the campaign snooze factor"]. Someday, when I get to be independently secure, in the financial sense, I'm going to work for this guy. Or, I'm going to create my own ad ompany to so I can do similar things. Back during the Nader campaign, one of Hillsman's underlings commended the free Nader radio spots I put together for some of the states which could afford to buy independent expenditure ads. The ad descriptions are here: ["Anti-Nader study falls flat"]. Someone needs to put the fun back in politics and this guy is doing it.

More brilliance from Buchanan:
["No, this is not 'our war'"]. And more stupidity by this administration: ["Spy Agency Sought U.S. Call Records Before 9/11, Lawyers Say"].

Lieberman-Lamont race: David Sirota has a great piece on Common Dreams with an overview of the CT Senate race, with the beltway insider/cocktail crowd attempting to save it for Lieberman:
["Pull Up A Chair-- This Is the Funniest Show In Politics"]. It is clear that there should be term limits for syndicated columnists and pundits on the talking head shows ... [Hmm, I feel a column coming on ...].
Earlier this week, there was some good stuff posted on Daily Kos by posters following this race. The bloggers are giggling about how they are affecting someone who should really be unelected. The dynamic is interesting, to say the least. The key will be this: Will the bloggers become the beltway insiders at some point or will they truly make the changes needed to run a better nation, via their posts? In other words, are they a part of the solution, or part of the future problems. Before closing out this issue, here is the story that started the onslaught:
["Lamont Has Narrow Lead"].
Also, here is another article about the issue of bloggers which I meant to post a couple of weeks ago:
["Bloggers battle old-school media for political clout"].

This is a sad story and also brings up the issue of state/court control over parental control:
["Judge Orders Teen to Cancer Treatment"]. Where does this judge or this state, get off telling parents that they have to do something they don't think will work? Courts have decided that on religious grounds, parents can't be forced to treat their children. Why can't they have the right to treat sickness with alternative medicine if they so choose?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More on the Middle East
Here are two columns worth a read which make really good points. First, "Peacenik" Pat Buchanan drops this bomb: ["Where are the Christians?"].
"Now, Israel's rampage against a defenseless Lebanon – smashing airport runways, fuel tanks, power plants, gas stations, lighthouses, bridges, roads and the occasional refugee convoy – has exposed Bush's folly in subcontracting U.S. policy out to Tel Aviv, thus making Israel the custodian of our reputation and interests in the Middle East."
All I can say is wow.
Then there is this by Lou Dobbs: ["Not so smart when it comes to the Middle East"].
"While the United States provides about $2.5 billion in military and economic aid to Israel each year, U.S. aid to Lebanon amounts to no more than $40 million. This despite the fact that the per capita GDP of Israel is among the highest in the world at $24,600, nearly four times as high as Lebanon's GDP per capita of $6,200.
Lebanon's lack of wealth is matched by the Palestinians -- three out of every four Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet the vast majority of our giving in the region flows to Israel. This kind of geopolitical inconsistency and shortsightedness has contributed to the Arab-Israeli conflict that the Western world seems content to allow to perpetuate endlessly."
Again, all I can say is wow. Maybe I'm not so "liberal" after all?

Why the stock market sucks: ["Yahoo Stock Falls to Biggest One-Day Drop"]. You make your target, you're selling tons of ads to basically no one, the Internet isn't a tangible thing like a factory, your company turns in millions and millions in profit, but because you aren't as big as Google, and won't become as big any time soon, well, you lose $10 billion in one day. What?! Insane.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

'Terrorists' everywhere but little peace
For the last few days, I've been trying to ignore the news. You can't help but see all the war going on, but I've been trying to ignore it.
The latest actions - Israel attacking Lebanon; Hezbollah striking back; tons of innocent people dying - are just another example of how violence begets violence, and another example of how our tax dollars are being spent wrongly. And what an uneven fight: Israel, with her ships and jets and tanks; Hezbollah, with their swords, rocks, and homemade improvised explosive devices. Israel, with the full backing of the United States; Hezbollah, with some assistance from some loon in Iran who gave them a few rockets.
In my mind, they are both terrorist organizations. I'm not happy with either side's actions and I am even angrier with our government for continuing to fund governments - in this case, the Israeli government - which arbitrarily massacres people for little reason. Unlike some, I don't think the Palestinians are without fault. But, in some ways, they are fighting for their freedom, their justice, and their holy land, just like the Jews are trying to preserve their's. There is no right and wrong here - just death.
As well, people don't know their history. Before the 1940s, Israel didn't exist. The plan for a Jewish state was created after World War I and implemented by the United Kingdom, the country which basically occupied this land for awhile before the Ottomans and Romans. And that is what is so amazing about all of these conflicts in the Middle East: it has basically all come about because of the British government. We, the United States citizenry, are continuing to be dragged into these conflicts, whether we like it or not, based on actions of another country almost a century before [and natural resources too]. We are still fighting these wars and conflicts with our blood and our precious dollars. And, the creators of the weapons - and their investors - get rich on our blood and dimes.
That is why there are no good guys and no bad guys in these conficts, with the exception of the people who are the parasites feeding off all of it.
Some links:
That loon from Iran likens what Israel is doing to the Holocaust: ["Ahmadinejad: Israel acting like Hitler"]. More interestingly, is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is suggesting that the president should a spade a spade: ["Gingrich says it's World War III"]. This quote seems to be ass-backwards though.
"This idea that we have this one-sided war where the other team gets to plan how to kill us and we get to talk, is nuts."
The problem with his analogy here is that it sounds like he is talking about Israel and not Hezbollah. Gingrich is an intriuging candidate for president in 2008 ... if we didn't already know him as a liar and an adulterer. I'm surprised by his frank talk, having seen him on C-Span a couple of times now. He is a wildcard; but he will make the race interesting.

The Big Dig fiasco: I really want to go off on this but unfortunately, I don't have the time. I'd need about a week to really tell the entire story I would like to tell from the aspect of someone who watched that monstrosity get built, heard about the shady deals, and watched the media - who are now complaining about it - sit back and watch it happen. Everyone is to blame and not just Matt Amorello and Bechtel, but every complacent pol involved in the bloody mess, from Mayor Menino to the late Tip O'Neill.
I have four words for you: Don't kill the job. That essentially has been the mantra and if you got in their way, they took you out.
Ask Diane Modica, the former city councilor from East Boston who was critical of the thing from the beginning and got taken out by a hotshot real estate attorney - Paul Scapicchio of the North End - who actually managed to get elected even though he a love child on the side! All those happy-faced pictures in Improper Bostonian didn't hurt the guy as he clearly appealed to the young yuppie set taking over what once was a working class neighborhood. Modica got Scapicchio'd, as I liked to say at the time.
Ask the late Jerry Williams, who was doing drive-time on 680 WRKO and was talking about the thing for years and years, only to be taken off the air by then-PD Kevin Straley [if I recall correctly]. He and others were replaced with "hot talk" wankers which took the talk radio format to new lows at the time [Hmm, what is more important: Talking about corruption at the Big Dig or who do you want to see naked on TV?]. And there was a line of them in Boston - from the abhorrent Jeff Katz to others, who thought it more to entertain than to inform and would actually rail that MLK was a commie and adulterer and therefore, shouldn't have a holiday. No one knows what the guy was doing in his bed. Please. Straley, Katz, and others are long gone from Boston radio; but the legacy of a media with no guts and no backbone lives on.
Dan Kennedy had a pretty good piece published in 1997, an opus rather, about the whole Boston talk radio scene at the time. The archives are on the Phoenix's Web site: ["The Death of Talk Radio"]. I'm proud to say that I was a part of that all-important article here:
Take Anthony Schinella, who wants to talk about empowerment but finds himself shut out. Schinella got involved in talk radio through Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential campaign and the 1993 debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. He's a bright, articulate guy, and he espouses a hard-edged political view that's seldom heard these days. He's beside himself, for instance, that not one Boston talk show chose to focus on the recently announced layoff of more than 100 workers at Osram Sylvania, in Danvers, whose jobs are being moved to Mexico thanks to NAFTA.
But Schinella can't break in. He just left a once-a-week gig at Tufts University's tiny WMFO, and is starting a Sunday-morning show at the slightly larger WUNR (AM 1600). Yet he has few illusions about breaking into the big time. "There's no Triple A farm system," he says. "There's no place for me to go. There's a wall there." And he wonders who, in the post-Jerry Williams era, will talk about the Big Dig, a new baseball stadium, or any of a host of local issues. "When you limit the number of voices, you limit the real news that people get," he says. "You don't get news from Dr. Laura."
It is hard to believe that it is almost 10 years later and we are now witnessing what happens when we have a negligent and complacent media not looking at the serious issues of the day.
I've always liked Howie Carr mostly because he was really funny and went after some really bad people when he was local. But I've always been critical of his need to lower himself to new lows instead of standing his ground and doing what he does best. It was pretty amusing to hear him the other day railing about the Big Dig when his silence during most of it was deafening. 'The listeners don't want to hear it,' he and others would say. But, the worst part about all of this is the fact that media personalities, their producers, reporters, and news directors, do actually control what people think and hear. They decide what people will listen to via what they put on the air. The listeners don't control anything.
Over at the Phoenix, Adam Reilly has a good take on the situation, looking at the effects on the Romney 2008 campaign: ["Mitt's Katrina"].

Meanwhile, back in Baghdad: ["Baghdad starts to collapse as its people flee a life of death"]. Liberals finally get some stones: ["Liberals angry at Boxer for supporting Lieberman"]. A pretty bad suggestion: ["Magna Raises Red Flag Over Nielsen Commercial Ratings"]. And lastly, this, not about people who hate gays but gays who are haters themselves: ["A new intolerance visits Provincetown"].

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hello baby bear!

My wife took this picture of a baby bear in our backyard Friday afternoon.
Nature is an amazing thing. But one bad thing which is happening is that there is so much development in some parts of the world, that many facets of nature are being driven out of their natural habitat.
We live in a woodsy area in the small suburban city of Concord. My family has owned the house we live in for more than a quarter of a century.
In the old days, there were only a few houses around us. Then, a slew of McMansions - before they were termed as such - were built in the woods next door. Soon after that, a slew more were built down the road and around the corner ... and then a slew more up the road ... and then more up the road further ... and then a few more down around the corner again ... and now just feet down the road, another 15 more are going in.
In all, by the end of this year, I estimate that probably 100 new homes will have been built in the immediate area in the last 20 years. That may not seem like a lot. But in what once was pretty much the woods, that's a lot!
In the old days, there were never any bears around here. Deers, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, and obnoxious chipmunks digging up the lawn? Sure. Bears? Nada. But now the bears are finding their entire area being settled by homes and not just a few homes either. And, they don't seem to have anywhere to go but into neighborhoods where they never were before.
And where there is a baby bear, there are usually more baby bears and also, a mummy bear. Mum was probably somewhere near by when my wife snapped this quick shot and you don't not want to get near the mummy bears under any circumstances.
So, what to do? More controlled development might be nice. A bear sanctuary? Bear hunting? Keeping better control of your trash so they don't roam around for goodies and picnic baskets?
How about just plain figuring out how we all live together reasonably ... while not being afraid to go outside with your little ones!
Crossposted at Area603

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Lopez 12-Step Program for Winning the War on Terror, 2006
Guest Perspective/Ralph Lopez
1. Realize Al Qaeda turns von Clausewitz on his head.
There are no standing armies to attack, no tank formations, no air bases. Al Qaeda's source of strength is popular support, which increases or decreases as a direct result of US foreign policy actions. Rather than a traditional military hierarchy, Al Qaeda is a "network." Al Qaeda 2.0. There is no head to cut off. It can only be starved from the bottom, politically.
2. Isolate Al Qaeda in the Arab world by announcing a shift in US policy which redresses grievances held since our 1953 overthrow of democratically-elected Iranian president Mohammed Mossadeq. Apologize for it. Don't worry, even if you don't understand, the Middle East will, and it will make a difference.
3. Get off the oil junk. The former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, identifies our addiction to oil as the root cause of Middle Eastern terrorism. Slap a windfall profits tax on oil companies, and use the proceeds to finance a Marshall Plan for U.S. Energy Independence. Attack any resistance from the oil companies as unpatriotic and heedless of the national security. Play hardball with these bastards. We need to cut back consumption by, say, 75 percent. Sure, we need oil for some things, but non-energy efficient light bulbs isn't one of them. 4. Follow up with a concerted push against our corrupt allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and the rest, to allow their people political rights. Don't argue with them. Just tell them, if you guys keep beating heads at peaceful democratic protests, there go your spare F-15 parts. Do it again, there goes $10 million of your military aid. How do you like me now?
5. Announce our timetable to leave Iraq.
6. With the political initiative firmly underway, go on the military offensive. Take 50,000 troops, seasoned with experience in Iraq, and position them at strategic passes in the Pakistani mountains and tribal areas. Make a giant noose. Take no bullshit from the Pakistani government. You are either with us or against us. Make them see the light. See what happened to that government in Afghanistan? That can happen to you.
7. Drop the cream of Special Operations Forces inside the noose and let them do their thing. Believe me, if the damned politicians would let them, they'd find the terrorists.
8. Prepare the world for the imminent capture of Bin Laden. Tell them look, we're giving you downtrodden people a chance, now let's start fresh. You know this guy attacked us and in your religion, we are entitled to justice. THIS WAR IS OVER. We can all be friends.
Now lets go solve the problem that's going to kick ALL our asses: global warming.
9. No more blank check for the Israeli government to crush Palestinian civilians. They may be our friends, but when your friend is wrong, you tell him. Even if he is your friend.
10. Institute a universal draft, Israeli-style, that gets us old guys (up to 52, I say) into combat gear, since we may need long-term peacekeeping in Afghanistan. Which should be made into a shining model of democracy, even if it takes until our grandchildren's time to do it. It's not fair that the young guys do all the fighting while our fat asses stay safe. This should also go a long way toward making future wars obsolete, when congressmen have to hump a pack and drop and do twenty. Wouldn't that be beautiful?
11. Check the last chapter of my book American Dream for my idea on how to rebuild the World Trade Center.
The symbolism is important, it takes too long to describe here.
12. Now we're hunting terror cells around the world, mopping up with the cooperation of governments and people who know where they are, who have the inside scoop. We'll still have battles with the hard-cores, but their recruitment will dry up. AMERICANS ARE THE GOOD GUYS AGAIN! Eventually the violence will fade, and we can pre-occupy ourselves with the task of building a sustainable human society, based on a stable Earth population. The Constitution will have survived, and we can get back to drinking, making babies, eating carousing and just living our lives.
Heck, life is supposed to be FUN and we shouldn't be worrying about this shit. But for awhile we have to, because the road we're on now leads to NOWHERE.
Ralph Lopez is a former state Senate candidate in Cambridge, Mass. His recent books include "The Elephant in the Room" and "American Dream."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Supernova: Week 2
A pretty good showing tonight all around with some of the folks who I thought were pretty rough last week actually sounding good. Good performances once again from Zayra, Storm, and Dana. Surprisingly good performances from Magni, Dilana, and Jill, who I thought all personally sucked last week. Magni did a pretty good version of the The Who's "My Generation." Dilana did a spooky version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." And Jill, who was pretty hot in this short-skirted white wedding dress, did an OK version of Hole's "Violet." Good performances were also turned in by Lukas, Jenny, Patrice and Manchester's own Josh Logan. I think Chris, Toby, Phil and Ryan are in trouble. We'll see tomorrow.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova
Alright, I've gotten sucked into another one.
My wife said, "Let's watch the new Rock Star." I said, "Sure." And so we did and it actually wasn't bad so far.
First, the house band was the same as last time and they are really impressive musicians. But instead of INXS, this one is based on a new "supergroup" formed by Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, guitarist Gilbey Clarke of Guns & Roses, and Jason Newstead, the bassist from Metallica, all bands I personally have no use for. But, at least Dave Navarro is there and Tommy Less is mildly amusing.
Interestingly, the band has allowed their producer, Butch Walker, to sit in on the auditions and make comments, which is pretty cool when you think about it. A supposed supergroup, with egos like the ones these guys probably have, usually would want total control of the situation and wouldn't want a producer to come anywhere near their stuff.
The theme is that the winner of the contest will get to front the new super band. It's not unlike the INXS one except that Supernova isn't actually a band yet. There is already one smartass JD-type guy - Lukas - who actually did a pretty badass version of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" and who is already starting to stir up some trouble at the house.
The first round of songs were pretty standard rock fare. No real stand outs but I scored it this way: Zayra, Patrice, Dana, Storm, Matt, Jenny, Ryan, Toby, Lukas, Josh, Phil, Chris, Jill, Magni, and Dilana. Zayra did this great rockin' gloomy goth piece which I didn't recognize but which was cool. Patrice did a great version of "Somebody to Love." Dana did a Melissa Ethridge song, which I don't really like, but her voice was good. Storm did "Pinball Wizard" pretty well. Ryan did a Goo Goo Dolls track and got criticized for looking down at his guitar too much. The kid from Manchester did an OK version of the Black Crowes but I wasn't really impressed with him that much. Jill was this bouncing Long Island blonde with what clearly looked like fake boobs.
Amazing, this total spaz Dilana got to do the encore - a foolish version of Nirvana's "Lithium" with her bouncing around like a chicken with her head cut off. So uncool. Magni, this guy from Iceland, did this lame version of "Satisfaction" by the Stones which was god awful. We thought for sure he would be in the bottom three. He was in the early voting but was salvaged by late voting.
In the end, Chris, Matt, and Phil were at bottom. I could understand Chris and Phil: Chris did an upbeat version of The Police's "Roxanne" which wasn't too bad except that he was very flat. Phil didn't sing too bad on the Living Color tune he did, "Cult of Personality," but he bounced around like he was in a kiddie tumblers class. Matt did an amazing version of Coldplay's "Yellow" which only slightly faded at the end. He was criticized for not doing something more "rockin'" ... eh ... that song rocks.
So, for their last try out, Chris plays "L.A. Woman." Phil did some song called "Star" by some sludge rock band I didn't know. Matt did "Planet Earth" by Duran Duran, which caused the "supergroup" to all the grimace. They said they didn't think Chris could sing. They told Phil they didn't like his stage presence. They told Matt that song selection was everything and then, booted him.
Actually, what Matt did was pretty clever: He tried to show them that they could potential have a singer which was diverse. They want someone who can "RAWK." That may be fine and good for wankin' off, but is it going to sell records? Ask Velvet Rolver if a "supergroup" that wanks off and doesn't have any friggin' songs if it sells records. Supernova are a bunch of boneheads for booting the guy off.
But remember Matt Hoffer. If he can get a decent band, he might actually become something. And we'll see what happens to the rest of the crowd.

All you need is debt: I'm not a huge Beatles fan. I like 'em; but I not a huge fan. But, it is pretty embarrassing to hear "All You Need Is Love" as the theme music to a Chase credit card commercial. It is almost upsetting. Interestingly, I didn't feel so bad when I saw Verizon using "Pretty in Pink" to sell pink Razer cellphones. I know those guys have families to feed and all. But, Michael Jackson owns the Beatles catalog. All he is doing with the money he got from Chase to destroy that classic was to pay is legal fees for diddling boys. It is a disgrace.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Monday, July 3, 2006

Blogging at Area 603

I've been invited to blog over at Area 603 and can't wait to give it a whirl. Area 603 is a subsidiary of New Hampshire Magazine and has been running the blog for the last few months. There are a slew of interesting people blogging there. I don't quite know what I will be writing about yet. But please do join me. It should make for interesting reading.

Exercise & Downloading
I've been trying to walk more, lose a few pounds and relieve some stress. So far, I haven't been too successful. But, I'm trying. I've also been downloading stuff on, one of the more inexpensive downloading services, and having a lot of fun doing it. The problem is that I'm often not using up all the tracks I can download on any given month. I have a reminder set so that I can use them all up before the end of the month. But, I don't always remember.
The worst part about downloading is that I don't have much time to listen to all the cool stuff I'm downloading. So, I've been thinking about buying an mp3 player in order to enjoy some of the music on my walks. But which mp3 player to choose? Probably not Apple, I guess: ["Apple faces the music as public discord with iPod grows"]. I had a mini iPod which I won at NAB in a raffle but I sold it on eBay for $90. I guess I should have saved it. Or maybe not. I didn't have any use for an mp3 player at the time but I do now.
I actually can't bring myself to buy one no matter how much I would like to be walking around listening to the tunage. While I like the sounds of the outdoors, I find my energy level getting pumped when I listen to music. And I would like to figure out ways to increase my energy level while exercising. Any recommendations on mp3 players would be appreciated.

Losing Farm
It's the end of an era in Winchester, Mass. with the signing over of the deed for Winning Farm to Salter Healthcare: ["Salter to take title"].
For any readers in Winchester who check out this blog, you know about this case and some of the writing which I previously did about the issue as editor of that newspaper.
For those of you who don't know, essentially, a rich suburban town sells 40 acres of land - 12.5 developable - to a local health care company with connections to insiders at cost. At the same time, said town begs and begs for more tax money from an aging population who can't afford the property taxes now. It was probably the biggest giveaway in the history of Massachusetts and everywhere you turned, the fix seemed to be in.
Lydia Crafts, the new reporter for The Winchester Star, gets some of the story wrong in this article but that isn't her fault. The larger story was never told because those people who are connected to the project did all they could to protect those folks behind the scene. I even had one person close to the deal come very close to offering me a bribe to ignore the story under the guise of how little money journalists make. That was when I really knew I was on to something. The case of this one parcel - sold at a fraction of its value - would make a great book or even very long piece for a magazine some day, if anyone can ever get to the bottom of it. Someone will, eventually, when the place is built and running and Salter and his minions are raking in the millions.
I'm sure there are a ton of these stories all over the place which aren't being told because the media just doesn't seem to want to look into much any more ... and townspeople are too afraid to upset other townspeople at their cocktail parties. Sigh.