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Tuesday 17 April 2007

The Virginia Tech Incident

on 17 Apr : 11:08  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
Lots of things bugging me about this.

For starters, my heart goes out to those who had family members senselessly taken from them in this whole horrible tragedy. I imagine there are zero people in this country who don't feel the same way.

What has happened since the young man who committed the crimes took his own life is where I want to focus.

The Media - From the very beginning, this has been a voyeuristic festival of vultures. At three in the afternoon yesterday, the president of the university was already fielding questions about how he screwed up. This guy is a victim of the crimes. The "news" types are instantly jumping on anything that might be controversial and playing it all up. There is only one reason to do this. They have all become Nancy Graces and know that if there is no debatable aspect of a situation then the story will not have legs. A legless story will only catch eyeballs for a day or two.

Matt Lauer (POS) interviewed President Charles Steger this morning and the first question out of POS Lauer's stupid gob was "What's the most haunting question in your mind about how this was handled?" WTF?

And how sick is it that Couric, Williams, Lauer and Veira all flew down to the school to do their shows from there? Using tragedy to get ratings much?

The Politics - Ok, call me crazy but they postponed Attorney General Gonzales' testimony.

"We have consulted with the Attorney General and all understand it is appropriate to postpone Attorney General Gonzales's appearance before the Judiciary Committee until Thursday, in light of the tragic events that occurred Monday at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the victims of this senseless and horrific tragedy, their families and the Virginia Tech community."

Now, it seems to me that something tragic always happens to postpone or end something that is potentially devastating to the Bush "administration". 9/11, for everything that it was and affected our collective consciousness, was a serious windfall for the Bush "administration". All the crazy neo-con wetdreams became serious, foreseeable outcomes when it appeared that our nation had been attacked and we should just go bomb somebody. They wanted to invade Iraq from day one and 9/11 gave them an oh-so-apt excuse.

It seems like every time something bad is about to happen to Bush and his cult, something happens that draws focus from it.

Guns - Until morons who make bombs and guns and the like come to realize that they are killing people, we'll always have to live with guns as a reality of America. Gun nuts and people who grew up watching the Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers seem to think that everyone owning a gun is the answer. It's not.

Everyone owning guns would result in MORE DEATHS from even more stupid disputes. We'd have to drunks arguing over whether Peyton Manning was the greatest quarterback of all time resolving that discussion by seeing which of them was the most dead. We'd have more parents killing their screaming children. We'd have more jilted lovers blowing away the jilting party whilst having a chardonnay with a new lover.

Basically, we'd all be living in the show DEADWOOD.

The wife mentioned the wisdom of Chris Rock. "Sure, you can buy all the guns you want, but bullets are $5000 a piece." (He hilariously goes on to portray a guy who had a beef with someone telling that someone else that they better hope he can't get no bullets on layaway.) That's not a bad idea in a way.

Cracker seems to be against registration of all guns but I don't see how that's a bad idea. All cars are registered and they kill a lot of people. Why not guns? And I would go even further and say that no one can buy ammunition for a gun without providing the serial number of the gun they want to use said ammunition in. The serial numbers would then be confirmed to match the identity of the person who owns that gun according to the system.

But that won't stop people from walking into schools and killing large numbers of kids and teachers. What would stop people/nuts from doing that? Well, we could get rid of all guns. That would definitely stop it.

Let me stop for minute and focus on guns themselves. This is kind of "out there" but bear with me for a minute. Guns are not inherently, in and of themselves, evil. Guns are simply objects that perform certain actions and those actions are sometimes beneficial but mostly those actions are antithetical to what most of us believe is good.

One of the very few sometimes is when a gun helps defend a country against invaders. Some people like to hunt and that's fine for them, I suppose. I wish they didn't want to but some do and guns are part of that. I like the idea of gun sports. Target shooting, skeet shooting and the like. A guy I know goes to a thing in Colorado every year where they use high powered rifles to shoot sticks of dynamite from 100 to 800 yards. What's the point? It's fun when things blow up. There's skill in that somewhere.

My real point is that though guns are not evil, they have a some real detrimental aspects to them. They're very handy. they're easy to operate, they're very portable and easily concealable. This attributes are very convenient to someone who is looking for a resolution to a situation in which they believe they have any no other capacities for resolution.

If a gun weighed as much as a concrete block, I doubt people would whip one out to kill their husbands for the insurance money. Guns wouldn't be used to rob liquor stores or to defend them either. End of aside.

Everyone has a right to own a gun. Everyone also has a right to own pet rattle snakes. If that was the norm and written into the Constitution (the right of the people to keep and care for pet rattle snakes, shall not be infringed), the discussions and debates would be identical. Kids would kill each other because Joey thought his pet rattle snake was de-fanged. Wives would put the pet rattle snake down their abusive husbands shirt. Guys with hoodies and sunglasses on would walk into convenience stores and hold their pet rattle snakes out, fangs first to the cashier and demand all the money in the register. And the NPRSA would be crying about how its in the Constitution and they believe in American values and how the government would have no opposition if the government was the only owner of pet rattle snakes.

But they'd still be rattle snakes and they'd still kill people because that's what they do. The rattle snakes are only decent as pets and their use as a pest control is easily filled by some other pest control.

And there'd be all these people saying, "Good grief, we've got people keeping rattle snakes in their houses." And it's just not safe to have a rattle snake in the house.

The point is that we have to do something to make it less convenient for people to pick up a gun to resolve conflicts or exert their will on others. Big Brother is not the answer. Banning guns is not going to be allowed to be the answer.

The Lesson
- In my opinion, we have got to be better people. What I will take away from the incident is that humans have to be better. That's the discussion I want to have with others. How do we collectively make life better for everyone? What would have helped this guy not want to kill as many as possible? It's too easy to say that his parents f'ed up. Sure, they were the front liners and the closest to him but what happened that they were who they were and that resulted in their making him incapable of handling his emotions in a non-violent, socially unacceptable manner? Was is historical, financial, educational, dietary? What was it?

Was there something as a society that we all could have done without any effort in the least to make their lives better so they'd have a better chance of raising a healthier child? In the years that they had him were they too obsessed with paying bills and keeping the lights on and so didn't spend enough time with him teaching him how to feel? How to resolve conflict? How to deal with disappointment?

As human beings, we've got to realize that we are complex beings. Nothing is cut and dried. One can succeed at something and be totally deficient at another. OJ was a great football player but he clearly had problems emotionally. John Lennon was a great musician but he couldn't talk to his son. Mozart couldn't communicate with his father. Donald Trump can't be a husband very well.

Emotion should be part of everyone's education and since it's not, we have college students using semi-automatics to feel better about his girlfriend's new beau.

Saturday 14 April 2007

For the Family Types

on 14 Apr : 15:49  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
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Thursday 12 April 2007

Dear Mr. President

on 12 Apr : 10:53  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  







When someone like PINK is writing songs like this, it points to real dissatisfaction with "Dear Leader".

Maybe the Bush "administration" isn't going to get away with it after all.

Via DailyKos
Monday 26 March 2007

David Holt For District 89

on 26 Mar : 20:56  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
We couldn't ask for a more decent person than David Holt for the interim replacement for Beverly Marrero. (We could ask, I suppose, but we damn well couldn't get it.)

Mr. Holt makes his case at his site: Confessions of a West Tennessee Liberal. I urge the Commission to act quickly and decisively in bringing this honorable man to public service.

The Anna Nicole Smith Story

on 26 Mar : 12:15  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
CBS News today...

Former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose of a sleeping medication and other drugs after she was found unresponsive at a hotel, authorities said Monday.

Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper said Smith died of "combined drug intoxication" with the sleeping medication chloral hydrate as the major factor. Smith was taking a lengthy list of other medications, including methadone for pain, he said.

Remember OJ, Tonya Harding, that Hispanic chick that cut off her husband's junk and threw it out a car window and all that was going on and stories about "tabloid news" were all the rage? Everyone would eventually say something like, "UGH! If I hear about (X) one more time, I'm gonna spew!" And that was often followed by someone who spent a lot of time reading news (and/or entertainment news) saying something like, "When is the media going to focus on things that really MATTER?!?!" Remember that?

Well, nothing's changed.

This Anna Nicole thing is the kind of story that should have just ended when they said she died but the ratings were good when they talked about who the father of her baby might be. The ratings were good when they had one of the guys crying about his "baby". The ratings were great when they paid the funeral home in the Bahamas to allow access inside the chapel where that bizarre-as-crap funeral took place.

Never have I been so repulsed by media coverage. (Yes, I am full aware of the hypocrisy/irony of my filling a post with a rant about it.)

There are a couple of figures who I have read some about their lives and I am just overwhelmed at the tragedy of how their lives ended. Howard Hughes and Elvis Presley could have been so much more than they were and have become since their deaths if someone had actually given a damn about them and not so much about their own well-being.

I'm firmly convinced that though Howard Hughes was mentally ill (obsessive compulsive or perhaps brain-damaged by his aviation accident), his small network of caretakers actually did little to help him overcome his problems. It was easier for them to clean the cans of peaches with a new bar of soap every day and keep drawing a check for doing so than for them to say, "Hey, Mr. Hughes is sick and we need to get some doctors in here NOW to help the guy."

And every Memphian knows of the neglect and abuse suffered by Elvis at the hands of the small-minded "Colonel Tom Parker". Even when E wanted to do something that might have meant his career moving into a more fulfilling chapter, Parker shot it down. This is best highlighted by the story of Elvis being offered the role of the "has been" rock star in Barbara Streisand's remake of A Star Is Born. Parker was allegedly incensed that he was not asked first and then demanded that E get a top billing and a huge amount of money, thus killing the deal. Imagine Elvis doing some real acting and possibly getting rid of Parker and getting his life together. What could have been?

Both instances can be boiled down to each of the men constructing a bubble around themselves. I used to think that Prince would eventually wind up this way but he seems to be coming out of it, but it's clear to me that we can now add Anna Nicole Smith that list of people. Was she a great talent like Elvis? Not really but she could have gained respect in the modeling industry if someone had given a good god damn about her and not just wanting to share in her million dollar settlement. Was she a genius like Hughes? Clearly not.

The point is that instead of being this trashy star who was a gold-digger drug addict inside a bubble who lucked into millions, had she not constructed her bubble of supporters, enablers and hangers-on, there was potential for her to do a lot of good if someone had just said, "Hey, let's get you some help." Now, before you utter you're "Yeah, right!", imagine flipping through the channels and coming upon E! and there's Anna Nicole but her eyes are clear, her speech is not remotely slurred and she's like a ballsy broad who is laughing at herself in a self-deprecating fashion.

Would you keep on clicking or linger for a sec, remarking, "OMG, how did this happen?"

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It's just kind of tragic is all I'm saying.

The Edwards'

on 26 Mar : 11:07  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
Events happened during the hiatus that I had opinions about and so I want to re-visit some of them with you so bear with me and I'll be brief. Thanks again.

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John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth held a press conference to announce that her cancer had indeed returned and it was worse. The phrase used was "not curable, but treatable". With that news, they also let it be known that Edwards' presidential campaign would continue.

For a few days, the personal story was the point. Elizabeth has been an inspiration to many and all our good thoughts were with her in this trying time. From what I have beheld, she seems to be a very down-to-earth person who has lived a storied life so far. Married her first love in a storybook fashion. Worked with her husband and attained a great family and wealth. Suffered tragedy when they lost their teenage son in a terrible auto accident. Came very close to becoming the wife of the Vice-President (Second lady?).

Inevitably though, the talk changed from the Elizabeth aspect and the human focus to the political impact. Of course, those on the right allowed their cynicism to rule and the reporters turned to the ugly side to fill their hours. Rush Limbaugh posited that Hillary nor Obama would be able to attack Edwards because of it. My stomach turned as I actually heard a female reporter on ABC (or it may have been Kelly O'Donnell on NBC) look into a camera and actually say the words, "This could wind up helping Edwards".

Politics is ugly. When I say "politics", I mean it in the ugliest sense of the word. The machinations and tactics of the pursuit and retention of power in the form of government office. Oftentimes, the reporters on politics can be ignorant of its audience and not refrain from saying what it on their own minds in the hopes of relaying information to that audience. Of course, the political impact of the announcement has to be a consideration of the John Edwards' campaign. It would be naive of me to think otherwise.

What I find disappointing is Edwards' decision to continue the campaign. My imagining of the situation behind the scenes is pretty agonizing. Edwards must surely be torn . Here, he's lost one campaign for what he must think is a position for him to do some good in the world. (I have never really gotten a nefarious vibe when I've heard him talk.) Now, his wife, through no fault of anyone's is now in another fight to which he will have to devote a great deal of time. That takes time away from the campaign.

Elizabeth, loving her husband, can only encourage him to continue because she would find it devastating to contribute to her husband's second loss of his dream. It's torturous.

In my opinion, his campaign in finished. Who will want to worry about Elizabeth dying during a presidential campaign? How can the Democratic Party put up a candidate whose wife may be incapacitated at any moment? Furthermore, subconsciously, the public will not want to put themselves through a first lady dying in office especially when she is obviously such a good woman.

It is a terrible situation all the way around.

Edwards has never been a guy I would support for president but its not like I disdain the guy. He needs to be at home with his wife. Best of luck to the both of them.

Related: Katie Couric gives ugly voices airtime.
Sunday 25 March 2007

Hiatus' End

on 25 Mar : 16:59  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
If you were or are someone who checks with this site on a regular basis, let me just offer you an apology for the lack of info/content.

Over the last two months I took a much-needed break from observing politics and giving my opinion. There have been some topics I wanted to post about but when I got to the keyboard, it just seemed pointless and tiresome. I suppose it was some kind of burnout.

That was then, this is now. So, hopefully people will come back.
Monday 05 February 2007

Regarding Super Bowl Day

on 05 Feb : 10:28  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
We went out to our friends' Ray and Kristin's and had a wonderful afternoon.

Unfortunately, the game did not go our way. I had hoped the Bears would possible just spend four quarters sacking Peyton Manning and he, in a fit of crybaby temper would wind up sitting out the last of the game because he was crying to hard and didn't want to "lose" the Super Bowl.

My impression of Manning is solidly confirmed that he is a crybaby. There were like five shots of him yesterday shrugging like, "WTF? Where's my defense!?!?!?!? Wah!"

Let me tell ya, we were all whooping and hollering when the Bears ran the ball all the way back in the opening kickoff. First in the history of the game and we were there. Freaking amazing. And you KNOW, Manning's heart dropped like four inches in his chest.

Oh yeah, sadly disappointed with Billy Joel's performance. I consider him one of the greatest ever but that performance yesterday kind of stunk up the joint. He couldn't hit the notes. I hope he does something like an Eric Clapton Unplugged show soon and reminds the world why The Stranger was rated by Rolling Stone at #67 in the Top 500 Albums of All Time. He looked old and I just want him polished up and sharpened.

The rain was annoying to even me. I just kept imagining his much it must suck to have to be out there and not think about rain just soaking all the way through your clothes, rolling around on wet grass and hoping constantly that you can keep the ball from popping out when it comes to you.

And how long has this game been televised? Why is it that no one has come up with a towel or tissue or SOMETHING that can keep the lens dry? In Nascar, they have those self-cleaning cameras. Why not get whatever device that cleans those and use them in the rain during the freaking SUPER BOWL?!? IT'S THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL, FOR PETE'S SAKE! Millions of people are watching on TV. Have a decent image!

I kept saying that the Bears could pull it out and reminding everyone that The Bears had once won a game by scoring three touchdowns in 30 seconds or something and went to look it up on the net after the game and couldn't find it. Anybody know anything about that?

The highlight of the whole thing for me was, of course, Prince's show. Has there ever been a more perfect half time show? I haven't seen it if there was. Lots of pyrotechnics that went with the music. A freaking marching band that actually played along with Prince and danced. He played old stuff that everyone knew and a couple of songs that weren't typical. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER?!?! It's brilliant because who would think, "Hey that'd be a good one to play at the half time for the Super Bowl." It so worked though. And then he busted out lyrics to Foo Fighters' BEST OF YOU.

DAMN! It really almost outdid the Super Bowl. It was like Drake and Zeke have been saying in the run up to the game. It was like a football game they played around a Prince show.

And what could be better than thousands of drunk football fans all joining in the refrain from PURPLE RAIN? Come on, that was brilliant.

It was the perfect break from a pretty decent football game with lots of dramatic points to it. All in all, well worth watching and very enjoyable.

However, I still wish they had broken at least ONE of Manning's legs. Can't have it all though...
Friday 02 February 2007

See what I mean?

on 02 Feb : 16:39  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
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Smarmy bastards...

Super Bowl!!! Dunh, dunh, dunh, duuuuuuuuh!

on 02 Feb : 16:33  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
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Looking forward to Sunday.

The game should be pretty good. I'm not a real sports fan. I don't play fantasy football and I don't really keep up with the stats and all that. I just like to watch the the game and enjoy the fellowship of shared experience. The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events on television and it's kind of cool to think of a billion people all watching the same thing at the same time and nobody's getting killed.

Call me crazy (lots do) but, for some reason, I've always equated Peyton Manning with George Bush.

Manning is an amazing quarterback (unlike Bush who isn't an amazing anything [maybe an amazing failure]). I'm constantly blown away by how he does in fact have a "laser rocket arm" but, somehow I arrived at the idea that he is, like Bush, an arrogant rich boy. It may be something as simple as his face which to me sometimes looks like he has the smirking chimp look and I become enraged when he yells at his team because he got sacked.

I can't remember what game it was but a few years ago, in order to avoid a sack, he tucked the ball and actually ran towards his own goal line!

Perhaps worst of all, my inner socialist probably just sees him as a spoiled, rich kid who is living his dream. I should be all like, "Good for him!" but I really just want him to get his leg broke. That's terrible, isn't it?

In continuing against-the-grain Brassmask fashion, I actually LOVE the Tennessee Titans. I watched every game the season they went to the Super Bowl. I was never a fan of any sport till that year and that's about all I watch. What a dramatic story. A new franchise going to the playoffs. Then in the championship game they pull off one of the most memorable plays in NFL history. ("Hey, he's got something here!") Then they go to the SuperBowl against one of the showiest teams of all time and lose by "the longest yard". Come on! That's historic.

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The Titans will rule next season with Vince Young starting from the first game!

Not only is the Super Bowl this year going to be a decent game (I hope and think) but no kidding, my all time top two favorite musicians are both performing.

Billy Joel

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and Prince,

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come on!

(Yes, I know those are really old pics of them but hey!, I don't wanna feel old!)
Tuesday 30 January 2007

Obama and Vilsack Bring In the New...

on 30 Jan : 12:52  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
Via Wonkette...

Look, I'm all for bringing in new ideas and the WOW! factor but this is kind of odd and I think it will be off-putting for some. I'm just stunned for now. It's wierd when campaigns actually try new things. What's that all about?

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And if that's not wierd enough for you, check out Tom Vilsack's stuff.

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Wonkette has the comparisons HERE and HERE.

Tell me that's not some scary stuff...
Monday 22 January 2007

Steve Cohen Vote Pays Off Big Time

on 22 Jan : 12:08  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
Brilliant

This is the kind of action I've been hoping for from the newly minted 110th Congress.

I've felt a real malaise after seeing them mamby pamby around with Bush and allowing him to sneak in those new troops while the 110th just twiddled their thumbs and slapped themselves on the backs for doing their 100 Hours in 42.5 and whined about the "president" not "consulting them". Have they learned nothing? What did they expect from a pig but a grunt?

Instead of standing on the White House drive and grimacing and appearing angry, they should have gone back to their offices and drawn up this bill and started notifying the congress that the jig is up and it is now time to rein in Bush and his insanity.

Seriously, I'm glad they did what they said they were going to do but I've had a sneaky feeling that Pelosi was going to get all this stuff passed and then the Senate was going to drag its feet and alter bills and it would then pass toothless versions of whatever Nancy Pelosi and the kids passed and no one would be the wiser.

Maybe I've gotten too cynical about this whole political thing but I see them taking off days after they made such a hullaballoo about working FIVE DAYS A WEEK. They're getting all these ooo's and aaahh's "about stuff they supposed to do!" The low-expectation-having-m-fer's! (thanks Chris Rock)

Anyway, this new bill which Steve Cohen is one of the co-sponsors does EXACTLY what I would like to see happen. Perhaps I'm too pessimistic but I don't know if this thing can actually pass. The people who have been in congress, for the most part, are not really heartened or empowered by the last elections. They are still afraid to challenge Bush, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome holds them in its grip apparently.

For now, I keep hope alive though...

Hat tip to PeskyFly.
Saturday 13 January 2007

Birds swarming at sunset...

on 13 Jan : 15:11  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  


Pretty cool. Michelle and I saw this kind of thing happening on a road trip one time. It's kind of scarier in real life. I wish that music had been playing, I would have been more moved when we saw the birds that we saw...
Wednesday 10 January 2007

Bush To Send More Americans To Die For No Reason

on 10 Jan : 15:13  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
This site urges you to watch "President" George W Bush commit a crime against humanity tonight on television.

When a mere 11% of Americans support sending more troops to Iraq, Bush will defy the will of the people and the Congress to order more troops into a country struggling to stay a sovereign nation and a nation that wants American troops out immediately.

This is no different than Hitler invading Poland, in my estimation, and if you will watch tonight, as difficult as it will be to sit through his lies and delusion, you will at least be able to say to those who in the near future will be whining about the Democrats just seeking revenge for Clinton's impeachment that you watched Bush the night he committed his crime and you saw with your own eyes the delusion and absolute detachment from reality that he exhibited.

Your conscience demands it.

From CNN:

Senior White House officials said Wednesday that Bush wants to send 21,000 to 24,000 additional U.S. troops to Baghdad and Anbar province over the next few months, and the first of five U.S. Army brigades could leave within weeks.

The White House will ask Congress for $5.6 billion for the additional troops, and $1.2 billion for rebuilding and jobs programs in Iraq, senior administration officials said.

Democrats leading the House and Senate are under pressure from opponents of the war to block money for additional troop deployments.

The president is expected to announce his plan in a televised speech at 9 p.m. ET, which will be broadcast on CNN, with a preview beginning at 7 p.m.
Tuesday 09 January 2007

Bizarro

on 09 Jan : 11:55  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
Nixon Meets Elvis, we've all seen the surreal photos.

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And, of course, most Memphians will know that yesterday was Elvis Presley's (72nd) birthday; but did you know that today is Richard Nixon's birthday? He'd have been 94.
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