Archives for category: Current Affairs

Ah, so Bono has glaucoma. You know what that means! MEDICAL MARIJUANA!! Next U2 record is gonna sound real different!!! Two words: stoner rock.

Bono: Edge, put down that Explorer and get out your Les Paul and plug it into the CryBaby.
Edge: but, Bono, I … I don’t own a Les Paul.
Bono: are you shitting me? You own every make and model guitar known to mankind, plus every effect pedal ever made.
Edge: sorry Bono no Les Paul no can-do.
Bono: you’re fired! TREY!! get over here and plug-in, daddy’s ready to jam …
Edge (under his breath, walking away): he doesn’t own one either …

We’re constantly told a cop is at most danger when pulling over a car to make a traffic stop. But what we’re not told is that being a cop is not even one of the top-ten most dangerous jobs in America.  And it’s been getting safer and safer to be a cop over the past few years.

Yes, the job is still dangerous overall, but cops know that going in, and maybe they shouldn’t be so chicken-shit scared when pulling over a car?  Yes they should be vigilant and careful, but also more courageous so as to be less trigger-happy, no??

Eric Thomas Duncan died of Ebola in the hospital. Allegations are going around that he received less than adequate care, that the hospital erred in letting him go home after his first trip to the ER, that they waited too long to give him an experimental therapy, that race and nationality may have been issues in him getting proper care.

Sounds about normal for the American healthcare system.

Sorry haters, U2 is cool and punk as shit!

I really don’t understand all the Bono bashing and U2 bashing.  (Okay, there’s not a shite-tonne of it, but there’s a-goddamn-‘nough of it that I think it all needs to be addressed.) Sure, U2 is not my favorite band in the world (but close), they’re like The Beatles, Sex Pistols, or Nirvana: if you have any kind of taste at all you really cannot dislike them.  And honestly, there was a time when the guys in U2 were actual punks, or mostly so anyways.  Yes Bono can come off as self-righteous, but he is mostly being that way in the service of others and his fans.  By others I mean the poor and starving and dying.  He and Bill Gates have become modern day Robin Hoods.  No they don’t steal from the rich, instead they politely ask the uber-rich for money and then give all that uber-cash to the uber-poor.  That’s punk!  They give their own money to the poor as well, which is a behavior that’s hard to label.  And not labeling things is EXTREMELY punk.

Bono has cited Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu as role models for inspiration and guidance.  Who do you look to?  Sid Vicious??  Sid killed his girlfriend and himself, both accidentally.  Bono’s philanthropic endeavors are cited as having directly saved the lives of millions of people.  How many lives have you directly saved from starvation and/or disease or from anything else?  One?  Two?  Nine?  Probably zero.  Or less than zero.

Yes, U2 have put out a few stinker albums, but most of their albums are world-class.  Including the first five ones and the seventh.  And the stinker or so-so albums would be awesome debut albums from any new band that had nothing to live up to.  Bono has the rare combo of having an excellent singing voice, amazing stage presence, AND the ability to write great, meaningful lyrics.  Yes, he gets political, but so did The Clash and The Dead Kennedys and nearly every seminal Hardcore band.

U2 often gets bashed for incorporating American musical genres like gospel, blues, and folk into their music.  Yet Mumford and Sons and The Black Keys get a pass for the same thing.  Why?  Neither of those acts has nor will ever make an album as good as The Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby.  Or even one as good as War.  And this bluegrass-is-the-new-punk-rock thing is going to pass real soon and may be in its denouement.

The critics of U2, once they finished sounding off at the self-righteousness and political nature of U2, then bashed them when they dropped that stuff and released a few absurd, Dada-esque mostly electronica albums.  Nuts huh?  At the time guys like me (yes I’m that old, thank you) where totally stoked that all those electronica sounds and noises, including the drums, actually came from real analogue instruments played by actual humans achieved by old-school studio magic and not by iPad apps or other software.  (Note: apparently iPad guitar processing apps and drum loop apps are the epitome of cool and hip these days, so my dig just now might fall on deaf ears.  But those with trained ears will giggle at my little joke.)

People have bashed The Edge as being a lousy guitar player.  Clearly none of those people play guitar.  Or else they play but think only guys like Yngwie Malmsteen or Trey Anastasio can be considered great guitar players.  Shredders and strict pentatonic scale (or pentatonic AND mixolydian, Trey) players are all well and good, but they are not the sole benchmarks of guitar excellence.  Actually, excellence isn’t really the yardstick to measure any guitarist by: style, sound/tone, and passion are.  Phrasing is often more important that note selection or speed when it comes to guitar.  As Flea put it, “music isn’t the Olympics”.  (Okay, yes, he’s a bass player, but the bass is a type of guitar and you get the point.)  And even Flea was once know for his speed and amount of notes played.  No one ever bashed Johnny Ramone for his shortcomings as a guitar player.  Instead they give him EXTREME credit for turning his shortcomings into a signature style.  Same can be said for The Edge, though he has far fewer shortcomings and is a world-class song writer.  But if you insist on solely judging guitar players by their technical virtuosity, then get out your guitar and effects pedals and play me “Where The Streets Have No Name” and have it sound EXACTLY as is does on the album.  It’s very hard to do and even The Edge sometimes struggles with it live.  Most players don’t even try, they just hear that song and go “nope”.

U2 has found that rare balance between serious and irreverent IMHO.  Sure they act like pompous rock stars.  But when they do it’s just that, an act.  All that “The Fly” and “Pop Mart” stuff is performance art railing against ego and abject consumerism.  Which is about as punk as it gets btw.

So if you think Bono and U2 are lame and suck, I beg you to rethink that thought.

Have a nice day!

When has arming and training a “moderate” group of proxy rebels ever worked to bring about the regime change America desired?  It didn’t work in Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia, The Congo, Nicaragua, and Sudan.  It didn’t work in Vietnam and Iraq either and look what happened in both those countries.

I thought Obama was aware that this strategy is always a very long shot (especially in the Middle East) and it’s why he didn’t want to arm moderates in Syria before?  I guess the “success” of Libya has made him forget most of America’s history with regime change?  He certainly knows ISIS is driving around in US tanks that we provided to the Iraqi Army assumed to share our strategic interests.

If we want to get rid of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad, it will take US boots on the ground, air, and sea.  And even then, if we do topple those regimes, we don’t know how to do nation-building at all as proven by our efforts at just that in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We can’t afford nor do we have the desire to occupy Syria & Iraq at the commitment levels it will take to bring the kind of change that we desire to those countries.

I don’t know the answer myself, but I’m pretty a sure that using a proxy army to further US interests doesn’t work.

Why can’t/won’t the US go after ISIS as part of the war on terror?  We’re still doing drone strikes on al-Qaeda in Pakistan and elsewhere … 

Everyone should read this article, click here!

But know there are a few things you can do.  In no particular order other than stream-of-conscious …

1. On an individual level, consume less media and produce more of it yourself.  2. Do the same with everything else, borrow and share too.  3.  Realize that when you rip off artists and musicians, by not supporting them with actual money, things get worse.  This may seem to conflict with #1 & #2 and it does really, so find the right balance for you and don’t expect it all for free.  4. Stop working in tech or other forms of content packaging and distribution and make content yourself.  Or at least respect and cherish the content producers that make your distribution job possible: don’t take advantage of them.  4a. Play a musical instrument, even poorly.  5. Volunteer and help other people out directly, don’t expect others or the government to do it for you.  6. Only read and watch the best in breed in journalism, avoid all the rest at all cost.  7. Dive deep and master something, don’t think you need to be aware of everything going on under the sun to survive and be happy.  8. Trust the experts and scientists that have done the work and the study and have the best credentials, ignore the rest.  9. Get a dog.  10.  Fall in love and have a lot of sex.  10a. If you’re not in love, you should still have some sex too.  11. Start a family (but be ready to do so).  12. Be social in real life, meet real people and make real friends, listen to their stories and share your own, have good conversations, start conversations.  13. Give back and pay it forward.  14. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, advice, or knowledge.  15. Get an education and realize you can get one on your own outside of a school too if school isn’t an option.  16. Don’t be lazy, fight it off when it starts to get the best of you.  17. Vote, and vote with your brain not your heart, gut, or genitals. 18. Know that you will fail and other will too but don’t let it stop you (not that you have a choice really) or drive you nuts.



When Hamas only gets props from Iran, Syria, and Turkey (really Turkey?) you know the jig is up. Oh and Qatar, I forgot Qatar, but who doesn’t, right?

If you’re for a free Gaza with open borders and little to no control from Israel, please know that Hamas is making that a lot less likely, not more. Because nothing says “trusts us, we make great neighbors” like rocket attacks, terrorist tunnels, broken cease-fires, and suicide bombers! Even Egypt, normally Gaza’s best friend, locked down the border between it and Gaza and went after the tunnels there too, and before Israel decided to do the same thing. Arguably the closed Egypt/Gaza border is what really caused Hamas’s current desperation, as it was getting most of its resources from that route. (Note: the US and Mexico have a free trade agreement and we still control that border, more so everyday.). So yes, champion a free Gaza, but do so with smarts and class, not with terrorism and anti-Semitism. No discussion occurs about a free Gaza with Hamas in power there, that’s the political reality. Even 75% of Gazans hate Hamas. 

The other bit of crazy talk is when people say “Israel’s response should be more proportional”. Here’s the thing: Hamas and Israel are fighting a war, like it or not (not). And the objective of war is to win not tie. A proportional response leads to stalemate not victory. Now this doesn’t mean I’m pro war or even think that Israel should try to achieve its goals with war. It’s just that it’s silly to expect either side to hold back in a war, no matter which side you think is justified (if any justification can actually be ascribed). If Hamas were to acquire better weapons and tactics it would use them in its quest for victory, it wouldn’t hold back at all, especially not out of fear of killing civilians.

Yes, many of Israel’s weapons are from the United States. And many of Hamas’s weapons are from Iran, Syria, and Russia.

So why I’m a getting so worked up about this shit to the point where I need to discuss it on this forum of kitten videos and food photos? I mean other than just trying to make sense of it?? Because I’m discouraged to see my people, we liberal hipster creative types, fall on the wrong side of the argument. And, not for nothin’, to see Fox News more or less fall on the right side of the argument. Not that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict slots neatly into a right/wrong binary, but I do think Israelis are less wrong than Palestinians. It’s shocking to see how much strange thinking exists out there, how much anti-Semitism or near-anti-Semitism there seems to exist in purportedly open-minded people. I know the tendency in my tribe is to support the little guy, the underdog, the mom-and-pop, and all things indie. And I know it seems like Hamas are the freedom fighting rebels like in Star Wars. But they’re not, and even if they were the end doesn’t justify the means. The ultimate irony is to say Israel has created an Apartheid state in Gaza and thus Hamas can do no wrong, as Nelson Mandela himself tried fighting oppression with violence first, failed at it, then tried peaceful, thoughtful, non-violent tactics like sanctions and divestiture and succeeded.

Hmm, so if Flight 17 was hit by an SA-11 missile that disables its target with shrapnel rather than with a concussive explosion, it seems possible that many of the people on the plane would have survived the missile attack and would not have died immediately, but would have lived as the plane fell from the sky and died upon impact with the ground. Yes, cabin depressurization and the resulting lack of oxygen would have rendered the passengers unconscious. But if the oxygen masks deployed properly it’s possible the passengers did not lose consciousness. If the masks did not deploy and the passengers passed out, they may have regained consciousness once the plane descended to thicker air with more oxygen.

The photos of the crash site also seem to suggest that large sections of the fuselage crashed intact and that the plane was not disintegrated by the missile at 33,000 feet as originally reported/suggested by the media. Reports initially said the missile “slammed into the plane”, but now it has come to light an SA-11 missile explodes about a hundred meters in front of or underneath the plane it’s targeting, creating a cloud of small bits of shrapnel that the plane flies into which then disables the plane. The photos also show a large area of scorched earth, suggesting that the fuel in the plane did not ignite from the missile attack but ignited upon impact with the ground. Yet media reports are still saying the fuel exploded in mid-air at the time of the missile intercept. Also, the reports of many of the bodies being found intact on the ground is further evidence that there was not a massive, catastrophic explosion mid-air.

I guess the data recorders will shed light on this all.

Since it appears that people will continue to use the emergency room for minor health issues even after getting health insurance, doctors and hospitals should adapt to the behavior of the people and not the other way around.

Health care is perhaps the only industry were sellers expect buyers to adapt to them, rather than accept and operate as nearly ever other industry where organizations are always adapting to the needs and preferences of consumers in a ever-changing marketplace.

Expecting people to self-triage, and then charging them a penalty (in either time or money) when they get it wrong is how it works in American healthcare today.

The current system expects the patient to know the difference between whether, for example, they have the common flu or SARS and to choose the proper doctor and facility to match exactly what they have. Is it appendicitis or just bad gas? You better know before you decide where to go to seek relief or you may wind up having to pay out of pocket for a bill five times what it should be.


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