Music blogging at Crooks and Liars

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the slowdown. We’re recording an album next week so we’ll be action packed soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing little music blogs at Crooks and Liars at their Late Night Music Club, check them out!

Emptywheel: This Miracle Brought to You By America’s Unions

This is the best blog post I’ve read on the internets in about a year. Written by Emptywheel.

This Miracle Brought to You By America’s Unions
by Emptywheel

They’re calling it a miracle–the successful landing of a US Airways jet in the Hudson and subsequent rescue of all 155 passengers. They’re detailing the heroism of all involved, starting with the pilot and including cabin crew, ferry crews, and first responders. What they’re not telling you is that just about every single one of these heros is a union member.

There’s the pilot:

What might have been a catastrophe in New York — one that evoked the feel if not the scale of the Sept. 11 attack — was averted by a pilot’s quick thinking and deft maneuvers,


On board, the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, unable to get back to La Guardia, had made a command decision to avoid densely populated areas and try for the Hudson,


When all were out, the pilot walked up and down the aisle twice to make sure the plane was empty, officials said.

Sullenberger is a former national committee member and the former safety chairman for the Airline Pilots Association and now represented by US Airline Pilots Association. He–and his union–have fought to ensure pilots get the kind of safety training to pull off what he did yesterday.

Then there are the flight attendants:

One passenger, Elizabeth McHugh, 64, of Charlotte, seated on the aisle near the rear, said flight attendants shouted more instructions: feet flat on the floor, heads down, cover your heads.

They are members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Yesterday’s accident should remind all of us that flight attendants are first and foremost safety professionals–they should not be treated like cocktail waitresses.

There are the air traffic controllers:

The pilot radioed air traffic controllers on Long Island that his plane had sustained a “double bird strike.”

They’re represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Someday, they’ll rename National Airport for the work these men and women do to keep us safe in the air.

There are the ferry crews:

As the first ferry nudged up alongside, witnesses said, some passengers were able to leap onto the decks. Others were helped aboard by ferry crews.

They’re represented by the Seafarers International Union. They provide safety training to their members so they’re prepared for events like yesterday’s accident.

There are the cops and firemen:

Helicopters brought wet-suited police divers, who dropped into the water to help with the rescues.

They’re represented by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association and Uniformed Fire Officers Association (IAFF locals).They’re the men and women who performed so heroically on 9/11–and they’ve been fighting to make sure first responders get the equipment to do this kind of thing.

Bob Corker and Richard Shelby like to claim that union labor is a failed business model.

But I haven’t heard much about Bob Corker and Richard Shelby saving 155 people’s lives.

Update: Sullenberger’s union membership corrected, UFOA added.


We’ll miss you, Dana

My girl:

In honor of the tinest, most attractive trojan horse of evil’s penultimate press conference, I figured it’s time to repost our old ode to Dana Perino from over a year ago:

4. Dana, Dana

Date With Dynasty

For our first song of 2009, we are adding our guitars, drums and voices to the chorus of opposition to Caroline Kennedy’s possible Senate appointment, which keeps seesawing to and away from inevitability.

Enjoy “Date With Dynasty.”

Also: for a great take on why these appointments from the Governor, check out this piece by Tom Geoghegan, who is running for Rahm Emanuel’s house seat in Illinois the old fashioned way.

Date With Dynasty

(Mouseover makes the player appear.)

So the chattering classes said it’s said and done, and this time they’re probably right
Opportunity knocks and then it’s ring and run, and disappear into the night
And I don’t have a finger to point right out but I think it would be a mistake
To march in the order of the monarchy to the top of the Empire State

Honoring a legacy, long before I came to be
When birthright meets opportunity
You’ve got a date with dynasty
You’ve got a date with dynasty

And they said consecration was dead and gone, it’s safe to say they were wrong
And they sang out a sun-soaked symphony but someone stopped singing along
So don’t get me wrong, I think it all goes down with the best of intentions at hand
Oh what a concept, the purpose of process has turned up in desperate demand

Tell me just what happened to, hearing out two points of view
I know that isn’t the life for you, but who’s got the time with so much else to do
And that’s why saints and royalty are better left to history
Be them, kings and queens or Kennedys
You’ve got a date with dynasty
You’ve got a date with dynasty

What good is entitlement, absent some accomplishment
Or maybe some shred of evidence, of some kind of semblance of interest
I guess we’ll never take a leave of silly old ideas like these
In this land of opportunity
You’ve got a date with dynasty
You’ve got a date with dynasty
There’s nothing quite like a legacy
You’ve got a date with dynasty

Another one for the anti-migrant bigot forces

NEW YORK – It’s been a very long time since we did a pro-migrant tune (Week #6, “Weeknights at Six“, about Lou Dobbs) and it’s time for another.

Southern California welcomed me with open arms when I moved there nine years ago from New York City. Unfortunately not everyone gets such a warm welcome upon their arrival. Drive south on I-5 or I-15 to Orange County or the San Diego suburbs and you’ll find a growing anti-migrant resentment that has been sanitized and made acceptable, dressed up as populism and paraded on talk radio and cable news to the point where it’s sunk in as the norm — even among kids we meet at shows who sport Barack Obama pins.

This song, Temecula Girl, is a stab at making an aggregate of conversations I’ve had in my travels outside of Eastern Los Angeles in both The Actual and Max and the Marginalized, at diners after shows, with people that we’ve hung out with after our shows (in this case we’re putting all their words in the mouth of an attractive girl from San Diego boom-burb Temecula) who have been infected with this resentment.

A moment of muso dorkout: this is our third reggae tune. I love our reggae tunes, and before doing this band never imagined I’d write one. Expect more — but this will be the only one in 13/8 time.


(Mouseover should make a player appear. If not just click it.)
Temecula Girl

You tell me there’s a look that you pick up on the street
At the car wash in the heat
And it darkens down your day
Pleading on for a metal wire fence
Or some other sad defense that will make them go away

But I’m afraid you don’t get it, no I just can’t see what you mean
You don’t get it, and nor does your father waving his fingers fast the screen
And I can’t connect how this affects the smallest detail of your little world
So forget, because you don’t get it, no you don’t, Temecula Girl

You allege in a hateful thin panache
That there ones who caused the crash, and a removal’s overdue
And exclaim squarely where you place the blame, as you take your aim
A pretty girl with an ugly point of view

But you don’t get it, no I just can’t see what you mean
you don’t get it, and I can’t meet you halfway, halfway between
And I can’t connect, how this affects even the smallest detail of your little world
So forget, because you don’t get it, no you don’t, Temecula Girl

So if you need someone to agree, you can look somewhere else for a nod
Of approval or consolation, just be patient and maybe the things that you ought to get
Just might connect with whatever good is still left in your little world if you let it
Because I don’t get it, no I don’t, Temecula Girl

Merry X-mas from George

A fine one from our pals at Brave New Films:

Merry Xmas!

Slowing down a bit, but Darkblack is back, so who cares…

Hello hello.

So, we’re at I think the song 60 mark. As you can see, we’ve slowed down a little bit upon making it to a year. We will get back into the swing of things shortly but we are going to be recording an album next month wherein we rerecord the best tracks we’ve done so far with a bit more practice and better fidelity.

Any void we temporarily leave behind should be fulfilled sufficiently by the almighty Darkblack, who is like us if we were 100x awesomer than we are currently, and used Photoshop instead of guitars.

If you doubt me, observe:

We’ll have a new song on Thursday, gonna finish it up tonight.

Newspaper business, welcome to the music business

My colleague in my non-derelict professional life James Boyce has a blog up at HuffPo about the 2 billion dollar quarterly decline in ad revenue that the Newspaper business has found itself in, and (correctly) asserts that it’s the newspapers’ fault.

That, by the way, is a quarterly drop. When you drop from $10 billion to $8 billion in a quarter, you’re headed for oblivion. Just as the Big 3 claimed their troubles have nothing to do with the crap cars they produce and everything to do with the economic crisis, so too will many newspapers try to claim the decline is not their fault.

It is.

Why is newspaper ad revenue plummeting? Two primary reasons. Readership and Clicks. As major dailies across the country report double digit drops in subscriptions and readers every six months, the advertising revenue that is based upon those numbers drops accordingly.

In a remarkably arrogant move, what newspapers have been doing is raising rates in the face of declining readers to keep income even. It sounds stupid but it’s true. Many have also doubled their newstand prices with the same logic. The industry is headed to roadrunner status, speeding along and over the cliff, arrogance and incompetence, full steam ahead.

Newspaper business, welcome to the music business. The decline of record sales had as much to do with Napster as it did with a total pattern shift from developing acts into real, album-worthy artists (once the norm) to machines capable of creating albums with one or two hits and interminable filler in between. Albums like “American Idiot” or the first M.I.A. record still get bought. Each attempt to squeeze a hit out of Britney between treatment centers do not.

Best Buy had the right idea too – making CDs cheaper in the face of consumers finding cheaper ways to get music. HMV, Tower, Warehouse, and any of the other major record retailers that have shut their doors in the past six years can testify to that before they say hello to your favorite newspaper.

Talk to the Invisible Hand

A simple song about our lost faith in the invisible hand of the markets. Talk to the invisible hand!

(mouseover the title, player appears)
Talk to the Invisible Hand

Invisible hand, invisible hand, a magic trick that I don’t understand
Watching its fist contract and expand with every jaw it breaks open
I might be a cynic but I think you’ll agree, I can’t put my trust in a thing I can’t see
Invisible hand, i bow down to thee cause I don’t want mine to get broken

When the invisible hand of the marketplace plants a punch right on your face
All the fools who once embraced it will let it pull them right under
When the invisible eyes of oversight fall asleep in broad daylight
Just drop the shades and kill the lights and leave them soundly in slumber
So keep your head afloat, and talk to the invisible hand ’til it slits your throat

Invisible hand, invisible hand, tickling away at supply and demand
Sprinkling imbalance across the land and thumbing its nose at resistance
Scratching the backs of the dry cleaner set, until they start begging to buy off the debt
If that’s self-correction, let’s come correct, I can’t stretch all that distance

When the invisible hand of the marketplace plants a punch right on your face
All the fools who once embraced it will let it pull them right under
When the invisible eyes of oversight fall asleep in broad daylight
Just drop the shades and kill the lights and leave them soundly in slumber
So keep your head afloat, and talk to the invisible hand ’til it slits your throat

When the invisible hand of the market share flips it’s finger in the air
And turns around and pinkie swears that it never knew what was coming
Invisible targets are easy to miss when they scurry off with a slap on the wrist
So how many more ’til we tire of this
And resolve to burn them with something more than a gift and a reprimand
It’s time that we had a talk with the invisible hand

Blogging from an airplane

Well, it’s finally here. You can have WiFi on an airplane. Dave and Jon drove back after our show in SF Friday night but I stayed to hang out with my former bandmates from The Actual and now am on a plane. Virgin America now has WiFi. That’s sort of great, and sort of awful, as I began to really enjoy time on planes, since it’s the only time I’m absolutely forced to not deal with anything work related. Well so long to that.

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