Friday, June 30, 2006

Maybe there's hope for Alito one day. But when all the decisions for this year are rendered, I'll bet they'll be a foursome on many more occasions. Mmmmmmm. Foursome.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Before everyone begins celebrating the latest Supreme Court Decision ruling out military tribunals at Gitmo, it is now clear that the notion of the "Scalia four" is real. Make no mistake, if Roberts hadn't recused himself, it would have been a 5-4 decision. So it is clear that the far right on the Court now counts four. Roberts for Rehnquist was a wash. Alito for O'Connor clearly is not. John Paul Stevens is 86 years old. I'm not a religious man, but his health is one thing to pray for.

It is also now clear that Anthony Kennedy is the swing vote, so to speak. One can take some solace in the fact that, when Thomas was brought in back in '91, O'Connor shifted a little more towards the center. The same can be hoped for Kennedy now. One note of irony: Stevens, considered the most liberal on the court now, was a Ford appointee. Then again, Earl Warren was an Eisenhower appointee and a GOP Governor of the great state of CA. Evolution is possible. But not for Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. Thomas himself was once quoted as saying "I ain't evolvin'." That arrogance says it all. And they've got a friend in the White House. To me, Roberts is the one to worry about the most. There's something in those eyes of his that have that "holy roller" glaze. I can almost picture him speaking in tongues.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The latest absurity to come out of the White House is that it is somehow treasonous for the New York Times to report that we've been monitoring financial transactions to try and catch terrorists. What the fuck? Don't they think that, maybe, the terrorists are cognizant of the fact that we're tracking them in any way that we can, legal or not? Give me a fucking break! Plus, our government mentioned this as one possibility way back in 2002. It was public domain then. Why is it some big damn secret now? Am I missing something?

What's even more frustrating is that the Democrats continue to lack the spine to stand up to the GOP blueprint (see Feinstein cow-towing to the Flag Burning Amendment nut jobs). They do not have much of a vision because they can't agree. And so you have armies and legions of mindless platitudes marching across the teleprompter in search of a point. Gone are the days when Clinton methodically pointed out that trickle-down economics (and how Bush learned from that playbook, repeating one's own coined terms for things like Supply Side) doesn't work except in a vacuum.

Sigh.

Howard Dean acted like Jon Stewart (and the studio audience) should have been awestruck by his door-to-door campaign when he appeared on the Daily Show last month. Stewart said "So the Democrats are now as powerful as some of the Jehovah's Witnesses." And when Stewart asked him what the Democrats planned to do differently than the Bush administration and the GOP, Dean said "Aha! I thought you might ask this." And he pulls out a door hanger, the kind that Chinese restaurants and pizza joints from the neighborhood litter your front porch with and says, I shit you not: "You hang this over the doorknob if nobody's home" as if this was some earth shaking new concept that no one's ever heard before. And when Stewart said "You are SO not going to win in November," my heart sank, because he's right.

The people (some homo sapiens, many more homo erectus) that voted for Bush will always show up to the polls. People with common sense are spooked because they don't think that Democrats can do anything better except raise their taxes for everything. The Dems need to figure out a dumbed down way to cut through that bullshit.

George Lakoff's excellent Don't Think of an Elephant is the closest we get, but even that falls short of articulating the vision. Lakoff points out how to present the message, and even hints at some what the message should be, but there's not a lot of meat and potatoes. Before we know it, we'll wake up one morning and realize that we're looking at the kind of inequality we saw in the 19th Century.

The one bright spot, with that in mind, is Warren Buffet's astonishing announcement earlier in the week. I can only hope that is some kind of a leading indicator for what ended up happening as a result of the "robber baron" era of the late 19th. The only solace I take is that our time is not unlike the turn of the last century.

We're about due for strong, articulate leadership that can bring us back to an era of common sense progressivism. Take T.R., who would have been a Democrat in a different age, we won't like everything he (probably not she yet) will say, but if you agree that the right to life means basic healthcare for all people, not saving a zygote in a test tube; if the right to liberty is best sought by scientific analysis of the problems of our time by coming up with hypotheses based on facts and observations, where we then come to conclusions, not blind faith and superstition where you come to the table with an all-encompassing, preconceived belief that you then pick and choose whatever facts, true or not, fit that theory; and the pursuit of happiness means to stop letting the powerful consolidate their power and instead take common sense measures to level the playing field so that everyone has at least a basic opportunity to get ahead, or even stay afloat--in other words, if you want the middle class to survive, and to finish the job that the civil rights movement started, then we need someone like a T.R to present a blunt version of the aforementioned before it's too late. Consider this draft one, with more to come.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


It's hot as a mother up in here. Right now, at almost 8pm, it's still about 87 degrees. Tomorrow the high in Santa Clara is 96. And it's not a dry heat. Folks in No-Cal are not accustomed to this. At least there aren't that many mosquitoes.

We have the guru in development visiting work this week from the London office and offering some great insight into the operation of our products, and it's helped me make some strides in my conceptual framework about a lot of things. Well, he arrived today and we had a good four hour session. Tremendously helpful.

Other than that, an A's/Giants game happens on Sat. and we'll just try and beat the heat. Here's a nice picture of our upstairs room, including the desk where I'm typing this. Oh, and K's at the desk with aforementioned (from previous entry) cat, Boo.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Summer's setting in. The Out of the Darnkess walk for Suicide Awareness and Prevention is a little over a month away. K & I haven't been doing as many "practice" walks of late, but we'll get there. While 20 miles is no slouch, I'm not too worried about it. Legs will be sore regardless of what we do. I'm $70 shy of my $1000 goal. Wanna donate?

Margo, my mother in law, is away for a month in Australia on a Fulbright scholarship. I helped her set up a blogger page last week. Check it out.

The tech job's going okay. One of my coworkers was just promoted to Sales Engineer, and we had quite a bender in his honor at the Slow Club Thursday night. We were all hurting yesterday.....whoa....my cat just hopped up right in front of the screen. Needy little bugger, eh? Anyway, all's humming along there. I think I'd be more comfortable if I had a little more knowledge of network admin and a better conceptual grasp of group policy and third party application deployment methodologies. But whenever I get a free moment at work to study up on all of that, I get distracted and start random surfing.

Chris and his buddy John from Hudson Bell took a swing down here in the SC last night to pick up the Tascam MSR-16, and to sit down for some of my famous BBQ chicken. Well, famous to some.

The takeaway both Chris and I got from the Bye Bye Blackbirds' sessions is that the drums sound better (at least) if you first track them to analog tape and then move them over to Protools, DP or whatever digital environment you're recording/overdubbing/editing in, even if the tape is only 1/2" at 15ips. As a return favor for all of the work Chris put in (saved my ass, really), it's the least I can do. It was nice to meet John as well.

In this interim time (the next few months) I can now be forced to get the G4 and my stolen copy of DP running. I've got what I believe to be the right A/D converter, so it's now a matter of buying a flatscreen monitor, a rack mount for all the free gear I obtained, and maybe a patch bay. Wish me luck.

Speaking of the Bye Bye Blackbirds, it's finally in the hands of John Golden Mastering, so my work is almost done there. I've also rehearsed with them two times thus far with my solo material. I was slated to go again last night, but I was just too wiped after a long, hard week.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Time passes quickly these days. I've now been at my new company for three months and I still don't know fuck-all, but I'll get there. Won't you please donate to the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide awareness? It's happening on July 22-23 and then K & I head to Rochester for her brother's wedding. There will be no show to raise funds for the event, a minor disappointment but I'm just not ready to get back out onstage.

The Bye Bye Blackbirds' project is done except for mastering, which I'm shipping off to John Golden this week. I've enlisted them to be my backing band for a few songs I've had in my notebook for a while. Some originated ten, even fifteen years ago. The interesting thing about them is that they were prescient, when I began writing them, about my life as it exists today...as if I knew how I'd feel as a 36 year old. Or maybe they are merely self fulfulling prophecies. At any rate, there will be a record of these songs at some point, I just am not sure when.

Thanks to my good friend Aaron, I've acquired a bit of gear, among them a MOTU A/D converter of the era that my G4 is from. Got Digital Performer from Eli. I've been waiting on getting a flat screen monitor for that. Also, a 24 channel X4 X4 Mackie mixing console...a bit tweaky but a definite improvement over the clunky old 16 track Fostex. That Fostex I used for HWS and When Your Heartstrings Break, so it did its job. But it's time to move on. Eventually I'll get a Soundcraft or a board with better pres. All in due time. I'm not made of money. The main reason I'm not doing much in the line of music is because I have to work to pay off old debts. By this time next year we should be getting close. And then...I should hopefully be done decompressing from all that is music.