"Let's get out of Iraq and get back on the track"

Even Merle Haggard wants out:

Haggard is not afraid to speak his mind. And he does so again, very frankly, in the song, “Rebuild America First.”
“That’s the News,” his 2003 song commenting on Iraq, pretty much chastised the government and the media for swallowing the administration’s spin that the war was over and won. Now he moves on to the matter of the U.S. being in Iraq, period. “Rebuild America First” is pretty honest and blunt. In part, he sings:
“Yea, men in position but backing away/Freedom is stuck in reverse/Let’s get out of Iraq and get back on the track/And let’s rebuild America first.”

Read the whole article here.

Remind us again….

How does this not embolden the enemy?

[from BBC]
an Australian TV station ran footage of what appeared to be US soldiers burning the remains [of Taleban soldiers]…
footage [also] shows two US soldiers reading from a notebook messages which they said had already been broadcast to villagers.
“Attention Taleban you are cowardly dogs,” the message reads. “You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing West and burnt.
“You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be.”
…the incident could be in violation of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of enemy remains, which states that the dead should be honourably interred.

Because we love lists…

Here’s something to do while we wait for the Plamegate indictments, ponder Time’s 100 Best Novels List. Add your own suggestions and criticisms in comments. We’re just glad to see Eggers omitted. Too bad Murakami didn’t qualify. (Thanks to catch.com for pointing this out)

Rogue Wave Interview

by Robert Lanham
Rogue Wave’s last release Out of the Shadow is one of our favorite records of the past several year. It was like a more psychedelic Shins record, generous with hooks and deceptively complex. Their latest record, Descended Like Vultures, is a very worthy follow-up sure to please fans of the band. You can check out an MP3 here to get an advance taste. The record is due to be released October 25 by Sub Pop. The following is an email interview with lead vocalist and guitarist Zach Rogue (second from left above).
1. Your press release says that Descended Like Vultures was informed by politics. Is the title of the record a statement about the Iraq War or perhaps the Bush administration?
Everything is political. Ignorance, diversion, distraction, those are
all political things. Anyone with half a brain loathes the Bush
administration for obvious reasons. But the title of the record isn’t supposed to be some pointed statement directly at them or the war. It’s supposed to be about more than that. It can be a lot of different things. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. Turn on the TV or the radio or pick up a magazine. Can’t you see the vultures circling?
2. How did the band get involved with the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack?
We were playing a show in Austin last year and a couple of guys who work for the promotion company that put the project together came to the show. They came backstage and asked if we wanted to work on the project. When they said bands were covering artists from the 50’s, I said I wasn’t so sure. When they said we would be doing a Buddy Holly song, I said ok.
3. Is the first track “Bird on a Wire” an homage to Leonard Cohen?
No. I love his music though.
4. Being in a band can put a strain on friendships. Does the band spend time together when they’re not playing music?
As much as we can. If we don’t have strong friendships, we don’t have a band. So, if you’re asking if we get sick of each other, the answer is no. I always look forward to hanging out with them.
5. The last record was largely written by you. Was there a concerted effort to make this more of a “band record?”
It was kind of inevitable, given that we were basically living in a
studio for a couple of weeks. I wrote the songs, but we all contributed to the record. We weren’t trying to make every song sound like some live band was playing, or something like that. some of the songs don’t have that much instrumentation; they’re still kind of stark at certain points. But the goal all along has been for this project to be about a band and not just one person. I don’t want to be a “singer-songwriter”.
6. We’re always curious about people’s first concerts. What was the first concert you ever attended?
I think it was Donnie and Marie Osmond.
7. Is there anyone you want to say “great job” to? Anyone you want to say “you suck” to?
great job: Jon Stewart. Oh, and those guys who won the Nobel Prize for science. No wonder I have never gotten an ulcer. I should have by now.
you suck: This guy that lives next door to me that likes to do handy work and piecemeal construction on his house at about 6am on the weekends.
8. Do you guys ever record or play shows, um, impaired?
Not that you know of. Sometimes. Uh, never. Um, of course not. Yes.
Definitely NO.
9. What’s your most cherished record? Most embarassing?
I’m not embarassed about liking certain music. “I’ll Melt With You” is probably my favorite song of all time. But don’t ask me for a record. I can’t do that. Can you?
10. We like the line from the record “Screw California.” [Ha ha] When can we see the band play New York again?
The fact that there is a state named California and a person as well is sort of a coincidence. I think we will be there within the first couple of days in December.

Miller to receive First Amendment award

No, we’re not joking.

New York Times reporter Judith Miller is getting an award and taking part in a journalism debate in Las Vegas today about whether reporters should be legally shielded from revealing confidential sources. Miller recently spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.
She’s due to receive a First Amendment award during a convention of the Society of Professional Journalists — an organization with almost 10-thousand television, radio, print and student members nationwide.[see whole article here]

Catch.com sums up Miller nicely:

a reporter who wrote stories the newspaper knew were fabricated from dubious sources, who had close ties with the administration, whose articles were embarrassingly pro-administration, who had security clearance and all the baggage that comes with it, and who operated outside of editorial control

Up next, Miller to receive a cushy department appointment from the Bush administration.

On the Judith Miller fiasco…

The Times apologized for Judith Miller’s inept reporting yet again yesterday. They also confessed to their own incompetence. If they really wanted to reform and become relevant again, why not fire Miller? She fucked up covering WMD in the lead-up to the Iraq War, and now she can’t even “recall” who her source was in Plamegate much less decipher her own notes. The time has come to start reading the Washington Post, the superior paper. Sorry Frank Rich. Sorry Maureen Dowd. We’ll miss you.

Tetched: A Novel by Thaddeus Rutkowski

A non-review by J. Stefan-Cole
At the top of Thaddeus Rutkowski’s novel is the definition of Tetched: adj (1921) somewhat unbalanced mentally; touched [Alteration (influenced by obsolete tached, of a given disposition) of touched]. You know, those kids in school you’d make a rotating sign around your temple at, behind their back, to your laughing friends; touched, whacked, weird, odd, different. Those kids who wore punk or goth before punk and goth hit the mainstream, and before the Columbine High School massacres made headlines out of outsider kids who took their pain to deadly extremes.
Told in the first person, the book spans from a boy’s rural childhood in a dysfunctional, biracial family (he’s a “Twinkie,” yellow and white, Chinese American) to a more functional if not entirely convincingly resolved adulthood in the big city. Everything in between borders on the insane. My take on the kid is that he’s the sane one, reacting to the world he found himself born to, bending out of shape in the home soil. Underneath, he’s perfectly tuned, it’s the others that strike the sick notes, and the craziness of it leads to experiments in self-mutilation, like tying a string tourniquet-style over his penis, toying along the edge, “I found if I stood on a chair I could hang myself. I didn’t want to hang myself by my neck, because that would have been too dangerous. So I hung myself by my wrists.” It’s a tortured form of taking control.

[Read more…]

Jeff Bechtel Opening

Our good friend, the very talented Jeff Bechtel has an opening at Brooklyn Fire Proof tonight. (Yes, he’s also the guy who illustrated The Hipster Handbook and Food Court Druids.) Stop by if you can.

October 14 – November 13th, 2005
Opening reception: Friday, October 14, 7 – 10 pm
Followed by a performance by COBRETTI at 10 pm
The Monstrum is etymologically “that which reveals,”
“that which warns.”
Brooklyn Fire Proof is pleased to present DEADALIVE, Jeff Bechtel’s first solo exhibition in which he has adopted the role of Dr. Frankenstein. Understanding culture as a multitude of fragments, Jeff Bechtel has presented some of these fragments in collections of an unassimilated hybrid, a monster. The monstrous body is a cultural construct and projection: something to be read. It signifies something other than itself, gives reason to the unexplained, signals warning, and reflects our inner fears and desires. Always it comes with a strain of dark comedy. John Ruskin said: ‚”The grotesque is, in almost all cases, composed of two elements, one ludicrous, the other fearful.”
In DEADALIVE, Bechtel introduces zombie glyphs in portrait-like settings of the glamorous affluent. The familiarity and pictorial seduction of this platform provides a pleasing confrontation with the grotesque, creating a perplexing situation of attraction and revulsion. The reaction and its meaning is imparted on the viewer.

Directions after the jump.

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