The Price of Vindication

Note: I’ll have a new mix in a couple hours but I’m trying to be very good about making it on Thursday afternoon, hell or high water. Props to new producer/engineer Chris Rakestraw for making us sound good again. Go over to SteveAudio’s blog and tell him thanks for setting us up with him.

In about half of the 40 or so discussions I’ve had this week about the economic meltdown, someone has said, in some way or another, that this will finally close the book on the GOP brand of unbridled free marketeering. Just like how Katrina would finally close the book on the idea that shrinking government down to a size where you could “drown it in the bathtub” once hundreds of people drowned along with it. And Abu Ghraib would close the book on the idea that we could win more hearts and minds in Iraq than we were repulsing. Progressive ideas have been proven right repeatedly by last straw upon last straw in the past couple thousand days, and with staggering consequences.

Our new song The Price of Vindication is about the financial crisis as the latest in a series of validations of progressive ideals that have unfortunately long-stopped being fun to get smug about.

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The Price of Vindication

I heard it meant a change was coming
When the photographs went public of degraded prison subjects
And it surely signaled off the end of something
When the Mississippi waterfalls busted through the city walls
The wringing hands of every morning after
Never turn to fists to break their nose
And that particular final chapter happened a dozen final chapters ago

Righteous indignation’s rotting in the bargain bin
The credits started rolling but the jokes keep pouring in
I can’t afford a smile, just a chuckle now and then
Until the price of vindication goes back down again

I haven’t got a head for economics
What a take from the appearance of an awful lot of zeroes is
Just a life raft to abuse widespread and chronic
With a “Swear you won’t do this again,”
“We swear we won’t this is the end,”

We disappointed vultures come out often
Scatter off with nothing in our mouths
Every final nail that hits that coffin
Splits the wood and lets the corpse fall out

Righteous indignation’s rotting in the bargain bin
The epilogue’s been written, they keep tacking on the end
I can’t afford a smile, just a chuckle now and then
Until the price of vindication goes back down again

Parachutes of platinum and silk safety nets
They made out like bandits and lost every bet
They’ve learned every lesson there is to forget
It ain’t over ’til it’s over, I guarantee it isn’t over yet

I’m tired of mending fences so I’m sharpening my spine
With an appetite for vengeance and a thirst for better times
So I’ll order up what’s mine, and send the bill to them
Until the price of vindication goes back down again


Worse Where It Counts

Paul Krugman in today’s New York Times has a much better explanation of why a McCain presidency wouldn’t be Bush’s third term than we did a few weeks ago. Enjoy both!

When a stranger rolls in on a truck

There are outsiders and then there are outsiders. Barack Obama has run his candidacy as an outsider claiming immunity to the groupthink and cynicism that affects those who have spent years in spitting distance of Washington institutions, but with a firm respect for the institutions themselves. That’s the good kind. Sarah Palin and George W. Bush are the other kind, whose outsiderism comes from little more than a sneering disdain for the institutions themselves.

It’s often asked how in hell George W. Bush ran as an outsider in 2000 with better connections to classic Washington power structures than anyone to seek the presidency since RFK. Watching Sarah Palin, I finally see that he really was one. It didn’t matter who he had access to. To him, any of their accomplishments and expertise were of no more value than his brush-clearing skills anyway. His chief qualification was having never lost the part of us that gets bored at dinner with our mothers’ friends when we’re twelve. It was all boring goofy talk to him, and it’s all boring goofy talk to Sarah Palin.

It’s that kind of thinking that deems it perfectly reasonable to hire a childhood friend to run a $2 million dollar agriculture agency in Alaska, as Palin did, because she likes cows, or to hire the Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association to run FEMA. When you think all these organizations are a waste of time anyway, why not just hook your buddies up with a cush job?

And so, even though our appetite to be governed by a silly movie hero who rolls into town in a pickup truck armed with little more than intuition and decisiveness has a body count, folks are lining up to do it again with Sarah Palin. How is novelty still novel after eight years? Why are people excited about someone whose solution to everything is to “shake things up” when we’re already a nation with a case of Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Our new song “A Stranger Rolls in on a Truck” is our punk rock musing on this question – enjoy.

A Stranger Rolls in on a Truck

When a stranger rides in on a truck and talks about shaking it up
And lays it on down like a new cop in town to applauses both shrill and abrupt
In a frenzied media splash, incompetence dressed as panache
it will slip right on by with a glint in her eye and a sparkling photography flash
A scientist and a quack, a populist and a hack
Are divided by lines clear and defined with beginnings and endings exact
If an era of death and decline can’t rub off novelty’s shine
Than pass me the pills, we’ll drink ’til we’re all and we’ll sleep it off some other time

How many times can we fall ’til we find, that boredom is beauty and dull is divine
But we melt into water with each folksy line and they’re laughing and lapping it up
And our eyes go aflutter year after year as the charming offensive opens our ears
Quickly forgetting how we made it here simply stuck from a stranger who rode in on a truck

The more that you learn the less that you know, how does nonsense like that ever go
Over with any, let alone many when you figure that out let me know
So when they strut in slowly and cool, thumbing their nose at the rules
Be it cowgirls or cowboys, like gun-slinging androids, a fine kind of freshness for fools

We’ll be shaking our heads in disgust when we see how they pull of identical moves to a tee
Feet in our mouths, getting kicked in the teeth saying sorry, you’re shit out of luck
So save us from fake-outs of false confidence, shrill speaking voices of decisiveness
Determination transmogrified into trust by a stranger who rode in on a truck

How much time will it take to find that boredom is beauty and dull is divine
We drool over each ridiculous line hands clapping, lapping it up
Our eyes go aflutter year after year with the charming offensive plugged in our ears
Resigned to the fact that we’re staying here simply stuck with a stranger who rode in on a truck

We’ll have a better mix of this up soon. We’re still recovering from our studio/engineer moving to Portland. Bear with us.

Show tonight in LA

We are playing tonight at the Knitting Factory in LA in the little room. It’s at 7021 Hollywood Blvd and costs $6. We’ll be playing our usual smattering of wonky political punk rock tunes at about 9:30 – we hope to see you there. It will go something like this:

Taking Tiger Mountain

Some savvy friends and I are starting a new group blog called Taking Tiger Mountain. It is a day old and has just a couple posts so far but please pay a visit. Thanks!

Temper, temper

John McCain is chocked full electoral liabilities. The fact that he said “Fuck you” to John Cornyn isn’t one of them. Even I think it’s awesome.

There’s a couple problems with the idea — for one, people LOVE people with tempers. Most of us have pretty bad ones ourselves. I was leaving Las Vegas and accidentally got on a freeway that put me right back in Las Vegas 40 minutes later and I punched a crack in my windshield, which my friends and girlfriend think is adorable. We make superheroes out of people with bad tempers, like the Hulk or the crazy news guy in Network that the entire progressive community has made into a folk hero while attacking John McCain for his temper out of the other side of its mouth. If we can get John McCain to appear like his temper is SOOO bad that he’s crazy, then we really have something, but unfortunately if you don’t get to that point you just make him more likable along the way. Here’s my very unscientific graph of this concept:

And therein lies the rub. There might be a couple things that could make it work — for example if you can drive the ideas that John McCain is both super rich and has a bad temper (thus making him into Tina Brown in The Devil Wears Prada) you go from guy with righteous rage to rich guy who yells at people, which is way more promising. For that to work best, it’s ideal to have him making a subordinate cry. My lazy googling finds no such luck, just things like this, from 1999.

Those who have been on the receiving end of a McCain uproar include Republican Gov. Jane Hull, former Republican Gov. Rose Mofford and former Democratic Mayor Paul Johnson of Phoenix.

So if we add in Cornyn, plus the alleged fistfight with Rick Renzi, we have McCain getting enraged and furious with four Republicans and one Democrat, and powerful ones at that. This might add 5 points to the bad temper department and at least 600 to the maverick department, which is really a shame since McCain clearly does have a horrible temper and has proven his mavericky streak to have been a minor detour on the traditional Republican road to power. Point is, the temper narrative’s a mess, and there are plenty that aren’t.

Like the fact that John McCain really doesn’t care about our veterans. His 6 years of honorable military service as a soldier stand in stark contrast to 21 years of disservice to our armed forces as a Senator. Indeed, his army service earned him the Bronze Star, but his service in the Senate earned him the 2nd worst rating of all members of the House and Senate from Disabled American Veterans. Like the fact that he cares about OEF/OIF vets enough to not give them full education benefits for a full four-year term.

That something to go for. This temper thing, on the other hand, almost makes me like him more.

Twitter, in death, achieves eternal life

This is just wrong, and I laughed really hard before calling for peeps to be fired.

I like lipstick, I like pigs

What’s the fuss? How can the MSM can even speculate that this was a sexist remark without going into the possibility that the digs on community organizer are implicitly racist?



h/t Adam Mordecai.

Declaring the Sex Wars A Draw (and new song!)

Note: we recorded this song in a new studio we’ve never been to. I think it came out pretty good, but it’s very hard to adjust to a new recording situation, as Max Waker was so integral to the sound of our band. It’s going to take us a while to find exactly the right place. Please bear with us. Thanks!

When you think about all the heavyweights that have taken bullets in the partisan sex wars, it’s hard to imagine a peace brokered by a pouty-faced 17-year old Alaskan who as far as we know doesn’t speak. Here’s hoping.

The response to Bristol Palin’s pregnancy from the Obama campaign, and anyone else with half a brain, a sprinkle of candor and a dash of decency has been pitch perfect. It really is the family’s business. It’s not ironic at all that the daughter of a Governor opposed to sex-education and very possibly opposed to contraception has a pregnant daughter (it would be ironic if the daughter of the founder of Trojan got pregnant) and the family’s response has been exactly in line with what you would expect of someone with their principles.

And sure, abstinence-only education is as much of a joke here as it is a tragedy in Africa, but the Palins have made good on it. I have no idea if Bristol Palin would not be pregnant if she had the pleasure, as I did, of seeing my school nurse with an OTB addiction put a condom on an unlucky banana plucked from the cafeteria. What I do know is that no one went ahead and blamed rap music or Grand Theft Auto II or Leisure Suit Larry (remember?) for it, and that’s a step in the right direction.

The fact is we should treat every pregnant teenager like she’s Bristol Palin. Hate-mongering pols can find this to be a fine moment to stop making teenage black mothers into welfare phantoms while issuing oratory icing about Bristol Palin’s bravery. They’re both in difficult situations where to do anything at all is brave. And after years of back-and-forth of debate about which party’s sex scandals make them bigger hypocrites, from Clinton to Vitter to Craig to Spitzer to Edwards and all the forgotten political corpses in between, and the ones we haven’t found out about yet and perhaps never will, now might be a good time to take stock. Find me a person whose sex and/or family life isn’t the slightest bit at odds with his or her public persona and I’ll show you someone with a fucked up public persona. The only people that come to mind are Bret Michaels and GG Allin, and one of those was buried with a mustache and no pants.

So. as someone who still doesn’t care about John Edwards’ affair, thinks that David Vitter’s senate career is marked far more darkly by his policies than his diaper fetish, and that Sarah Palin’s parenting skills might be her best trait, this is a nice time to admit that both political parties have done a horrible enough job at living up to our own sexual ideals and instilling them in their children that we should just declare it a 0-0 game and get the hell on with it.

This is the point in the blog where I introduce the song that we did about the topic discussed above. It’s called “They’ll Make an Example Out Of You” and we scratched it together today as an attempt to present this idea with fewer words and more bounce.

And re: rock music/politics, Fred Durst will not make it into the rock and roll hall of fame, but not because of the sex tape (gross!) He won’t make it in because he isn’t qualified. Hopefully Sarah Palin won’t make it to the Vice Presidency for similar reasons. Led Zeppelin did something with a groupie and a fish and are firmly in the rock god pantheon. We clearly apply better standards here than we do in politics.

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They’ll Make An Example Out Of You

I drove passed the PSA on a western federal road
I waited on the time delay to filter out the signal from code
I’m not in the business of throwing rocks, if I was I know where they’d go
I’d aim for the schoolhouse door, they’d aim for my radio

Call off the coverage, declare this one a draw
Mistakes they come to many, we’re happy hypocrites all
But the angle angles different, based on what we’re born into
The focus will hedge on the tone of the flesh
If you fit in the story they’ll make an example out of you

I enjoyed all the summer heat as the reports blared into my cure
Schadenfreude it sure tastes so sweet, jumping out of our seats towards the stars
Quite tempting though it all might be, it don’t dignify a response
I’ll sit on my filthy hands to get this off the table for once

And for good, I’m declaring this one a draw
None of us are any good at this, so let’s stop pretending we are
Go on and treat them like royalty, but do the same with all others too
I’ve got no respect for the best laid plans
With clean losing hands, making no examples out of you