Nowhere To Go But Back – our new song about the GI Bill

If McCain’s opposition to Jim Webb’s new GI Bill isn’t all the proof we need that he won’t do enough for our veterans, then I don’t know what is.

After his usual “my military service gives me special privilege to shit all over those with military service” qualifier, McCain explained his position:

The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment, the same benefits as those offered veterans who have reenlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale. It offers generous benefits to all veterans but increases those veterans’ benefits according to the veterans’ length of service. It’s important to do that. Because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment.

Maybe I’m standing too far outside the process to see whatever it is that he, Bush and the 22 senators who voted against Webb’s bill see, but it seems to me that at a time when volunteering for service is a far more dangerous proposition than ever, four years of education for four years of military service is a fair deal. To double a soldier’s chances of not ever getting to use those benefits by making them go back for another deployment-laden term is cruel, cruel treatment, and to suggest it should strip anyone of the right to say they support the troops.

That’s the monstrosity that inspired this week’s song about McCain, et al’s efforts to keep our servicemen from ever receiving the benefits it dangles in front of them, “Nowhere To Go But Back”.

(Hold the mouse over the title, a player will appear.)

Nowhere To Go But Back

There’s an upward trajectory that they promised
But to be frankly honest, I must’ve misunderstood
‘Cause they’re taking double the years that they’re giving
Waving around yellow ribbons, but they’re not making good
So, can you help me figure it out?
I can’t tell which side they’re on when they talk out of either side of their mouths

So pay no attention to the signals they send
It’s not what you do, it’s what you spend
If you intend to hold up your end of the pact
And I know there’s a carrot stuck on a stick
It keeps getting longer they keep getting sick
A hundred or so world’s away from the inside track
Because there’s nowhere to go but back

No one mentioned the MRIs or the X-Rays
No, they promised a gateway, not a revolving door
And it’s a million memories away from the basketball team
Waiting out some varsity dream from a tent on the floor

And I find it difficult to discern
I’d like to think that the more you put in the line the more you’d expect in return

So pay no attention to the message they send
It’s not what you do, it’s what you spend
If you really intend to keep their affairs all intact
And I know there’s a carrot stuck on a stick
It keeps getting longer they keep getting sick
Put those gloves together and pray for a second act
Because there’s nowhere to go but back

I don’t know what kind of degree I could earn
With a shaken up brain too shell-shocked to learn
At the end of one more enlistment term
So long on risk but short on returns
To climb up the ladder to a lower rung
They’ll keep on climbing long after it’s done
Throwing man after man after dollar in spite of the facts
There’s nowhere to go but back

Jury Duty

Hello from Jury Duty. Everyone is watching The View after having just listened to a woman with the most annoying voice in history explain to us that there were many places to eat on Figueroa Street (but you have to drive there, she kept saying) and arguing with some carpet-clawing ex-rebel jerk who said it was wrong to force people do to things like jury service and compared our cushy, magazine-laden room to Gitmo.

Anyways I taped her in Garageband and this is what she sounds like. It gets really abrasive after a while.

Update: Kirk Cameron is on The View talking about Jeebus and how he’s part of “The ultimate statistic: 10 out of 10 people die.” He also has SIX children.

Sunday Evening Political Tunes by Other Bands

There’s a lot of bad political music out there, and a few great bands that really know how to do it. I leave it up to you to decide where we fall in that equation.

There are some amazing political songs out there and I thought it would be fun to feature some favorites of mine so this is the first installment of Sunday Evening Political Tunes By Other Bands. There is no better band to kick this off than Midnight Oil.

It’s not easy to convey a real message and be neither vague nor preachy, and no one has managed to do it exclusively and sell millions of records (awesome records!) except for the almighty Midnight Oil. I want to be them when I grow up.

Here’s my favorite, 1990’s “Blue Sky Mine”.

Don’t forget that he’s still in office.

President Bush opposed a pay raise for servicemen just in time for Memorial Day. Pigfuckers!

via ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, the House passed the Defense Authorization bill, which prescribes spending amounts for the military activities.

The bill includes a section to raise the pay for the soldiers by 3.9 percent – an increase of 0.5 percent over the Bush administration’s request. In a “Statement of Administration Policy” released yesterday, the White House asserts that it “strongly opposes” the pay increase authorized by Congress:

pic1.gifThe Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the 0.5 percent increase in troop pay would mean spending just an extra $324 million in 2009:

picture-2.pngAt the same time it is strongly opposing a slight increase in pay for the troops, the Bush administration is asking for hundreds of billions more for war. To put it in all in context, the White House wants $165 billion to continue fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars this year, but refuses to spend 0.2 percent of that amount ($324 million) to provide the troops a slight pay raise.

Despite his opposition to a pay increase, President Bush continues to demagogue the issue of support for the troops, telling soldiers at Ft. Drum yesterday that Congress is to blame for not having passed “a responsible war funding bill.” Of course, he didn’t tell that troops that by “responsible,” he means he wants a bill that gives them less pay.

Happy memorial day!!!

When Dakota Goes South


Cartoon by Scott L. Ehrisman, SouthDaCola.com

Like in 2006, South Dakota has an abortion ban on the ballot in November. The ’06 version allowed no exceptions even to save the life of the mother and would’ve prevented Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3 from getting an abortion – it failed 56% to 44%.

The new one has exceptions for rape and incest victims who report the crime to police, or in cases where the woman is “at serious risk of a substantial and irreversible impairment of the functioning of a major bodily organ or system.” If a ban that didn’t even have these paltry loopholes can lose by such a narrow margin, it’s going to take a lot more than us ripping off The Kinks to help stop this one, especially with a complete lack of a national movement against this initiative.

If you have second, go help fight this by signing the petition and donating at South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, a bipartisan group that is fighting the ballot measure, and enjoy our song “When Dakota Goes South”.

When Dakota Goes South

When Dakota goes south and takes the whole world with her
I will open my mouth and beg her to stay where she belongs
When Dakota goes south I’ll try my best to forgive her
When she begs and she pouts for the robes to rule out wrong

She drives around in her Winnebago
From the Black Hills down to the River Sioux
Like a time machine wrapped inside a tornado
That will blow us back to 1972
What to do? I hope you figure it out, yeah I do

When Dakota goes south and takes the whole world with her
I will open my mouth and tell her to stay right where she is
When Dakota goes south I’ll try my best to forgive her
Until she figures it out, that it’s not for her to insist

She’ll kick the other girls in the stomach
And wait with tapping toes as they bleed
For the man in the robe to kick in the bucket
And she’ll come jumping out of the weeds
With sunflower seeds, she knows not what she needs

When Dakota goes south and takes the whole world with her
I will open my mouth and tell her to stay where she belongs
When Dakota goes south I’ll try my best to forgive her
Until she figures it out, that she’s got this thing all wrong

I didn’t put these on the blog at HuffPost because they’re very mature over there, but here are some fun pictures of us a few weeks ago at Republican Party Headquarters in Pierre, SD, the very edifice responsible for this. If you think we’re too intellectual to rub our buttcheeks on the window, you give us too much credit.

I am not mature enough to not rub my butt on their window.

Max and the Marginalized give the SD GOP a thumbs down

Our BFF Max Williams pees on the SD GOP HQ

(this is our BFF and tour-mate Max Williams peeing on SD GOP Headquarters.)

Weekend at Bernie’s goes to Abu Ghraib

I am obsessed with the movie Weekend At Bernie’s – I think it’s arguably the best premise comedy ever made, and has the funniest joke of any film I’ve seen (when Richard, awkwardly staring at the hot summer intern Gwen who he wants to talk to just says “my aunt is very sick” – if you saw it you’d know what I mean) and I watch it twice a year. When I was switching from VHS it was the only DVD I owned.

Natch, I got a kick out of this (and a shudder) – from Errol Morris’s piece in today’s Times about Abu Ghraib.

A prisoner (the one whose corpse the pretty girl with the green gloves is smiling over with the thumbs up in that photo) has been accidentally killed during interrogation:

Swanner [14] called on his cell phone for assistance and several other C.I.A. officers arrived.[15] It’s presumably not O.K. to kill prisoners. Several additional M.P.’s arrived, including Capt. Christopher Brinson. Capt. Donald Reese and Lt. Col. Steve Jordan. Jordan soon notified Colonel Pappas, the commander of the prison. [16]

The top brass at the prison — essentially everyone who was anyone — were present and involved in a heated discussion of what to do next.[17] According to Jordan, Pappas made it clear that he wasn’t going to take the fall for what amounted to the death of an O.G.A. prisoner. [18, 19]

Hydrue Joyner described [20] the scene as a version of the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s,” where two sad-sack employees pretend that their murdered boss is still alive so that they can avoid being implicated in his death. Indeed, when al-Jamadi was finally entered into the prison log book on November 5, 2003 (since he was a “ghost” detainee without an identification number), he was simply identified as “Bernie.” A good joke.

Everyone always ends up at Bernie's sooner or later
It’s early, and my sense of moral outrage doesn’t kick in until about 10am. Nonetheless, I’ll make a stab at the talking points:

1: As usual with the torture/prison treatment/etc., I blame the culture passed down from the top, not the seven bad apples from Abu Ghraib. When you imply a connection between Iraq and 9/11 and treat the Geneva Conventions like they are rules what what order to use different forks at fancy dinners, you get Abu Ghraib.

2: When you spend enough time in a war zone, especially in a prison where prisoners are dying by the lot, you start to forget what death is. It’s like when my friend Pam and I go fishing and on a really good day when we catch tons of fish and start playing air guitar to “Barracuda” on a dead Barracuda. The dead factor is just gone because there’s so many damn dead fish.

3: Weekend at Bernie’s belongs to the ages.

P.S. When Sen. Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota went into a coma shortly after the Dems won their one-vote majority in 2006 (had he died, Gov. Mike Rounds, who is an asshole, would’ve appointed the new Senator, most certainly a Republican), I was talking to my very funny friend Cameron – she said “I know what to do. Pull a Weekend at Bernie’s.”

Dana, Dana. How can you explain away this mess that we’re in?

This was the 4th song we ever recorded, and I’d like to record it again because we were still figuring out what we sounded like. It’s about WH press secretary Dana Perino – this incident that happened today made me feel like it was a tune worth digging up – Enjoy “Dana, Dana” and read the nonsense below.

From The Raw Story:

Yesterday at the White House press briefing, Dana Perino asked me to lower my hand when I raised it to ask a question. I’ve been attending White House briefings for over three years—first for the group blog BTC News, and since this January for RAW STORY—and I’ve never before seen a press secretary ask a reporter to put his or her hand down.

At the time, I thought she was winding down her answer to a question posed by April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks regarding the Secret Service’s investigation into a “noose incident” at one of its training facilities. Dana’s response to April had begun like this:

“Well, as you just said, the Secret Service is investigating the incident and as you just said also, they have not completed that investigation, so I’m not going to get ahead of them and I’ll let them do that.”

Since the White House has a policy of not commenting on ongoing investigations, I thought she was about to move on, so at that point I raised my hand. I was sitting in Helen Thomas’s seat (Helen was absent) in the middle of the front row, so I was face to face with Dana. Although a couple of other reporters in the front row raised their hand at the same time, Dana singled me out for criticism, interrupting her answer to complain:

“Can you please put your hand down for a second so I can concentrate on April.”

I complied, but continued to raise it, at appropriate times, throughout the rest of the briefing, during which Dana ignored me completely.

Dana has spontaneously called on me only two times in the four months I’ve attended her briefings (a third instance came about only because Les Kinsolving shamed her into it). Her deputies, Tony Fratto and Scott Stanzel, have each called on me once. Between the three of them, they’ve ignored my attempts to ask a question on twenty occasions. So they’ve willingly called on me 16% of the time, and ignored or tried to ignore me 84% of the time. That makes it hard to do my job. Every other reporter who gets a seat in the first five rows of the briefing room (I’ve been in the first three rows all this year) gets called on as often as he or she wants, some several times a day. The only exception that I know of happened last year when Tony Snow ignored Kinsolving three days in a row for asking what Tony considered to be irrelevant questions. Dana, however, calls on Kinsolving at every briefing, and he asks two questions each time.