Monday, June 02, 2003

It's been a while since I last blogged - I spent this past weekend on the road;

The old 91 Honda Civic (with 102K+ miles on it no less) took the girlfriend and I from homebase in Chicago to Columbus, Ohio and then to Louisville, KY, and back to home in Rogers Park. I love road trips, and I have to confess I am a bit envious of my friends and former band mates Knife Of Simpson, who are on tour right now. What is one of the greatest experiences I've ever had was while touring in a band - touring parts of the country I've never seen before, meeting new people, being taken in by (the kindness of ) strangers, living out of a van (well not every detail of that experience was great, but overall...). It was a real eye opener and an incredible learning experience. I think it was Mark Twain who said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "the antidote for ignorance is travel". I would have to agree, there is a lot of truth in that nugget.

I was in Ohio on Friday to see my sister, who is a dance major. She performed in one dance and choreographed another at her first public performance while attending Ohio State. I know she’s my sister and I’m biased but I was really impressed, especially by her choreography. I know I wasn’t the only one because I heard members of the audience muttering in agreement. And I have to say Columbus is a very hip town, I really enjoyed it. This was my second time there, but I saw more of it this time around and had a good time.

Then it was off to Louisville for a wedding. This was also my second time to Louisville, but the last time I was there was in 1997, and the majority of that time span that I spent in Louisville was in a recording studio, or partying at someone's house, drinking Maker's Mark. Louisville is also a pretty neat town, even if you can't help but start humming the melody to "Dueling Banjos" as soon as you enter the state. FYI - just in case you didn't know - that's the song that everyone hums when they think of a backwoods area in the US, mainly because of the movie "Deliverance". I've never seen the flick myself and it has to be the most re-enacted movie scene for a flick that not that many folks have actually seen.

As sad as this sounds, one of the things I look forward to when I'm on a road trip is getting to watch cable at the hotel. I don't have cable sat home pecifically because I know how much I'd watch it if I did. With cable you have an excuse to flip thru the channels endlessly, because by the time you get all of them at least once or twice, a half hour has elapsed and you can start all over again in hopes of finding something that wasn't on 30 minutes ago. Without cable, when there's nothing on (most of the time) and you've passed every channel at least four or five time over (because you only get about 12 in Chicago and 3 of them are in Spanish) only about 5 minutes have gone by. After that the little voice in the back of your head, the one that is calling you a lazy bastard and intellectual idiotic for watching so much boob tube, can finally be heard over the din of infomercials, reruns and gobbledy-gook. I'm afraid my will power in this department is so weak that I'll never leave the house if I did have cable.

However when in a hotel room it is a novelty for me. Since the only time I'm in the room is when I'm about to turn in for the evening it doesn't feel so bad. One of the things I really wish I could get without footing an entire monthly cable bills is C-Span, being the info junkie that I am. For some reason I don't feel so guilty watching it, and sometimes it's pretty damn entertaining, like what I saw this past weekend: Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly going at it on live TV at a book expo fair meet and greet with an audience. The whole thing was so entertaining because this gathering was apparently the first time that O'Reilly had seen the cover of Al's hilariously titled book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them". The book has a picture of Bill on TV doing his Factor show, along with some other right wing talking heads on the cover. Bill mistook the press conference for his own show and forgot that you can't just shut someone up by talking over them. Al was hysterical, and I definitely will have to read his book. Unfortunately you'll have to wait till October to get it.

Blogging has taken a back seat to a lot of things, although there is clearly no shortage of news;

I'm not surprised that the FCC ruled the way it did. Getting worked up about it seemed kinda silly since the outcome was so obvious - you could see the result coming a mile away. It's not like anyone in this administration gives a shit about what anyone thinks except the big conglomerates and CEO's that carve up more and more of this country for themselves. The White House will continue to kowtow to corporate America so much so that it will actually ignore the pleas of supposed key allies crucial to their own election, like the NRA who sent protest letters to Powell but to no avail. Of the complaints sent to the the FCC and Powell, over 97% plus were angry over the deregulation proposal (there's that word again) Until there are actual consequences I dont see much changing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Until then just expect more of the same, and getting worked up into a tizzy is wasteful. While I have yet to take my own advice, I still think this is a good idea - don't waste another second doing anything related to any legislation or otherwise while this president is in office, except for one thing and one thing only - see to it that Dubya isn't re-elected. Everything else is a complete waste of time, really.

Here's what I don't get though - what is going to happen between now and re-election time for Dubya in November 2004 is there is going to be a surge of consolidation, followed by a slew of layoffs within the merging corporations. This will no doubt have a negative effect in the economy. Are the people in the administration so incredibly dumb and inept that they don't realize this? The only persistently serious threat to Dubya's chances of re-election is the state of the economy. Why wouldn't they wait for after the election? Are they counting on the ensuing mergers completely squashing dissent against the president? Does Rupert Murdoch intend to buy everything possible? Do they have a deal worked out with the CEO's to not lay off anyone until after Nov. 2004 Election day. Or is the entire administration including Karl Rove completely stupid and devoid of foresight and basic economic sense? I can't figure it out.

Believe me, if the mergers cause the economy to take a down turn and in effect hurt the President (as long as it doesn't hurt my job – selfish I know) let them do it. I'll be happy if this administration shoots itself in the foot by trying to bite off more than it can chew for corporate America. But I can't decide if there is something really insidious at work here, or just plain stupidity. I know our Commander in Chief is a boob, but he does have some intelligent people working for him, it's just that they never use that intellect for meanigful things. They'd be able to boast of their acheivement of liberating Iraq if the used half of the intelligence and effort they expended in planning the war and protection of Iraq's Oil Ministry and Oil fields. I guess there isn't enough IQ points to go around for things like trying to build an effective plan to bring peace to Iraq. I hate that bastard, but I'd like to think that Rove's re-election focused one track mind would be sharp enough to recognize the potential pitfall of big media mergers and subsequent layoffs. Any ideas out there in blog-ville why I'm the only one who's thought of these consequences now? Am I the only one who thinks thje deregulation of the communication industry isn’t just bad for our society, but also for Dubya’s reelection prospects as well?

Here's some related links;

FCC chairman Michael Powell is likely to get media ownership deregulated -- even though public comment is running 97 percent against it.

C-SPAN and how they came to be.

How this administration doesn't really believe in Free Markets unless it effects liberal states. Texas is the nations largest producer of Cotton. The article is about the doubling of farm subsidies for Cotton under this administration -

From the The New Republic / TRB FROM WASHINGTON: Grain of Salt - by Peter Beinart

I don't mind that this administration preaches to the world. Some liberals think the Bush team's moralizing breeds anti-Americanism, but I suspect that's not right. After all, moralizing in service of a just cause can win the United States admiration—as liberals understood when they demanded that the United States publicly moralize about apartheid. What alienates the world isn't moralism; it's hypocrisy. When you lecture others, you must be able to withstand scrutiny yourself.

I spotted the link on Andrew Sullivan's page. Yeah he's annoying & whiny Right Wing Queen, but he's still worth something.


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