I’m on an airplane

Off to see Les Thugs reunite.

It’s Awkward When Bad People Die

Graphic by Darkblack

It is. How can anyone manage to acknowledge that Jesse Helms was absolutely the pits, make it clear that they think death is a very serious thing, and say that their heart goes out to his family (who I’m sure are very nice people) without looking like they themselves are committing the kind of cultural insensitivity that Helms made the centerpiece of his career? It’s really a mess.

Enjoy our elegy for Mr. Helms, “It’s Awkward When Bad People Die”. (Player appears when you put your mouse over the title.)

It’s Awkward When Bad People Die

Another infamous villain has suddenly passed away
And any good obit won’t try to show it but the point will get across either way
So can we reconcile the record with the sons and the daughters that cry
All I can say without reservation is it’s awkward when bad people die

Maybe Vlad the Impaler was a hell of a guy off the job
And Stalin was married, when pallbearers carried his coffin she wept and she sobbed
So I’ll try to mix my misgivings with a tactful and tasteful goodbye
With that kind of person all I know for certain is it’s awkward when bad people die

So cue up the footage
I’d rather not
My heart goes out
And blah blah blah
The well worded elegies
will tick through the wire
Insensitive is as insensitive does, so let’s throw a log on the fire

I used to be driven to anger whenever your face made the news
As for reacting to the sound of your passing, mostly I’m just confused
Because your legacy it will fester long after the tributes subside
It just goes to show, wherever they go, it’s awkward when bad people die
All that I know, it just goes to show, it’s awkward when bad people die


Weekend political tunes by other bands: Public Enemy

Public Enemy still makes music, and it’s still good. This song is no exception. The video leaves out a good bit of information (namely that Bush’s ties to the Bin Laden family don’t imply what a lot of people think they imply, since Osama is the disowned child they all hate among the 45 or so others they think are okay) but it’s still vitriolic and relevant.

Admiring Jesse Helms’s integrity, for whatever it’s worth.

There’s a creepy “if I were in a parallel or opposite universe” feeling I get from time to time that I’m going to do my best to explain. Here are some examples of it: if I was born in 1950, I would’ve hated Black Sabbath in 1969. I’ve known this for a long time and it makes me sad because they’re just the greatest thing ever, but I would’ve. I remember how I felt about the band Korn when I was 15 (and still feel the same way about, with the historical update that no matter how awful they are, the bands that followed their lead were way worse), and am sure that I would’ve thought the same thing about Sabbath then as I do about Korn.

That’s the parallel example – here’s the opposite one – if I was a Republican in the 80s and 90s, would I have liked Jesse Helms? I’m not sure. For a second I thought I would’ve and then I read “He fought bitterly against Federal aid for AIDS research and treatment, saying the disease resulted from “unnatural” and “disgusting” homosexual behavior. All this and more in the NYT obituary for Helms, who seems to have died a few minutes ago, forcing the very awkward situation about how to best pay respects to someone who was an accomplished national figure that obviously believed he was doing good for the world when he fought against federal funding for AIDS research, saying saying the disease resulted from “unnatural” and “disgusting” homosexual behavior, but also adopted a disabled nine-year-old boy after reading a newspaper article about him where he said he wanted a mother and father for Christmas.

Helms was clearly willing to buck his party in favor of his own beliefs that were more radical then the rest of the party, and was considered a pain in the ass all around for them. When I see Dennis Kucinich reading the articles if impeachment in Congress despite the total futility of the effort, I get all teary eyed at his complete unwillingness to stand on practicality over principle when principles are so in demand. I can’t decide whether or not Helms was the same thing, or whether he was just a wackjob who should’ve never had a political career in the first place.

Anyways, Helms clearly had a lot of integrity, and since every day I get pissed off at one Democrat or another for compromising toward the center, I gotta give props to anyone who doesn’t cave to that pressure. So, Jesse, you were obviously a dick – but we could all learn a thing or two from your “this is what I believe, take me or leave me” attitude which had you elected to 6 senate terms.

Dems listen up – Jesse Helms’s refusal to comprise his completely unreasonable principles never lost him an election, yet here we are compromising our totally legit ones thinking it will help. Nothing would make him spin in his grave like Democrats acknowledging that he was a man of great integrity, however freakishly misguided, and learning from that to help us take back the White House and improve our majorities in the House and Senate.

A piece of something that isn’t the thing that I bought.

The consensus of the blogosphere in the aftermath of Capitulation: Round 1 seems to be as follows:

Expanding the death penalty to include non-murderers and treating the fourth amendment as a mere suggestion may be betrayals of the progressive ideals that Barack Obama ran on in the primary, but now that we’re in the high stakes of the general election, we must stand unwavering as our beloved candidate throws the very ideals that caused many of us to support him aside to pursue the oh-so necessary winning strategy that proves a surefire loser for the Democrats every time.

I was 8 years old when Michael Dukakis popped out of a tank looking like a Jack-in-the-Box with a strapped on yarmulke and don’t remember any of it, but when it gets brought up every other day it’s usually in the context of poor theatrics and costume design, and if only they hadn’t put the stupid helmet on him he might’ve had a chance (I’m completely ignoring the fact that he took a principled stand on the death penalty in a tactless manner because it makes my point about Obama making an unprincipled concession on the death penalty sufficiently weaker.) I don’t think the helmet was the problem, though the chinstrap really sucked. Bad.

The problem is that in a quest to impress the three people who drive lifted trucks who might vote Democratic, you’ll inevitably end up look as ridiculous as you should look trying to achieve that end. As long as Obama is racing to make sure we know that he thinks executin’ isn’t just for murderers, warantless wiretapping isn’t that important, and that Wes Clark’s completely accurate statements should be rejected, it’s not a question of if his helmet-in-a-tank moment will come, but when?

Electoral strategy aside, what about that capitulation, strictly as a matter of principle? Should those of us who really do feel let down by all this be speaking up? I have to fall on the side of yes, and that’s why wrote and recorded our song for this week, “It Isn’t the Thing That I Bought”.

Obama’s campaign was a new campaign where he literally asked us to donate and “own a piece of this campaign”. If you are going to do that, you’re going to end up with shareholders, and some of those shareholders are going to say “this isn’t the company we bought stock in. Mr. Chairman, we support you, but c’mon… enough of this nonsense.”

It Isn’t the Thing That I Bought

At the outset I’d like to make it clear
Whether it’s right or wrong, it happens to be a bad idea
They try this every time, and I can’t figure why
’cause the thugs they’re trying to impress
aren’t impressed and neither am I
and how dare anyone suggest
that if you own a paltry stake, you’ve got a right to protest
My check is small, but it isn’t blank
Raising a voice is not breaking rank
So take us straight into ’88 with cameras helmets and tanks

‘Cause I own a piece of something
that isn’t the thing that I bought
And don’t tell me, that it’s nothing
I won’t be convinced that it is, cause it’s not
So the least I’m asking, is fight for the things that you fought
‘Cause I own a piece of something that isn’t the thing that I bought

Because there’s not abandonment implied
In a little bit of criticism from the people on your side
‘Cause there’s a million tiny stumps, working from the bottom up
Concessions in July will bring on more when November comes

‘Cause I own a piece of something
that isn’t the thing that I bought
And don’t tell me, that it’s nothing
I won’t be convinced that it is, cause it’s not
So the least I’m asking, is fight for the things that you fought
‘Cause I own a piece of something that isn’t the thing that I bought

Register to vote here + help us play at the convention!

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Here’s the deal. If our band gets the most people to register to vote, we get to play at the convention. Please register to vote if you haven’t because not voting is a terrible idea and you’re better than that, and because obviously us winning this thing would be unbelievable.