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Begging for Relief: the Fred Thompson edition

So lately with Comedy Central running all these re-runs of Daily Show and Colbert Report episodes I’ve been going through political comedy withdrawal. Where to turn? The Fox-sponsored Republican Debate from May 15th (it was during finals, so I only got around to watching it on Monday of this week). Which leads me to post the following:

The best round-up of any debate, ever:

What Romney actually said about doubling Guantanamo (the real thing is pretty hilarious/scary) = proof that Romney thinks that if he talks like a fascist, the GOP will nominate him. No luck there, since Giuliani actually is a fascist. Now I will go hide in a corner behind John McCain, who called Romney a flip-flopper (in a few more words).

Time for funny video #2 - Guantanamo this!

So into this mess of candidates emerges Fred Thomspon, who has serious potential to be the only non-McCain, non-loser candidate in the GOP nomination race, along the lines of a Gingrich candidacy. Now, he must live up to his potential, and APPEAL TO THE CENTER minus the talk of "Hey terrorists - Terrorize this!" on torture (also known as "enhanced interrogation techniques").
Other features to hope for: a lack of specific talk on gay marriage and other social issues except for promises to "leave things to the states" and "uphold precedent" (the best you can expect from a Republican before the general election) and expressions of displeasure with the Iraq war paired with an uncertain tone when it comes to troop withdrawal deadlines.

Hell0 Saferide - San Francisco
"The only place in North America not destroyed by the government"

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Gingrich, Giuliani, and those darn dark horse candidates

So there's this great piece in the New Yorker by Jeffrey Goldberg about the changing nature of the Republican Party, featuring Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Karl Rove and some of the valuable lessons that Gingrich and Delay learned (and didn't learn) after being shoved out as Speaker of the House. As we all know, Gingrich is one of those undeclared might-run-might-not candidates in the Republican race (along with Fred Thompson), and is quoted in the piece as saying that the only way a Republican can win in 2008 is if they run against Bush (this might explain Ron Paul's burgeoning donations). We have another few months to find out if Gingrich thinks he's that candidate.

Slate has a great piece asking the question of authentic (and not-so-authentic) populism, and why voters turn to some candidates who fake it and not others, the case in point being the gloriously undeclared Fred Thompson. Thompson, as it turns out, is looking less and less undeclared.

Back to Rudy ("Rude") Giuliani: he's gotten his act together, and has even learned how to make nice with voters who don't like him. If only he hadn't. Though apparently, if you ask him about his Yankee championship commemoration rings...

Another sad performance for Bill Richardson on Meet the Press: nothing we didn't know already.

For good laughs: Fox News isn't actually a news station (see Anna Nicole Smith) and DC Needs A Slogan ("The City of Unethical Love", anyone?)

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Let's try this again, two at a time

When I said I was looking for a co-blogger or two, I wasn't kidding. Send me an e-mail if you're interested.

Winterkids - Hear Me Out

For a band that has yet to release a full, well-promoted album (this excludes Memoirs, which appears to have only been released for promotional purposes?), Winterkids know how to make gloriously danceable indie rock. Some of us indie kids get bored out here in the country, but "Hear Me Out" requires a one-person head-bobathon. Think the Futureheads, kiddos.
Winterkids' Website / MySpace
Buy Tape It (7") from Rough Trade

Phonograph - Watch and Ward
On the opposite end of the indie rock spectrum (I didn't know there was one until I made it up just now) lies Phonograph, whose music reeks of deliberate cautiousness and subtlety in a world fraught with difficult decisions and regret. Yes, their debut album was released in February, but I don't discriminate.
Phonograph's Website / MySpace
Buy Phonograph from arclight records

P.S. - The Broken West are touring + Pitchfork announced the final line-up for its music festival.

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Mixtape: Summertime Night Drive

Having driven for nine hours to get back to Harrisonburg from Ohio, and after taking a drive through eastern West Virginia today, I've been thinking about this mixtape a bit lately.
Somewhere in this notion of driving are memories of tipsy girls, parties, and the sweetly interested guys and friends who clean things (and people) up.

Josh Ritter - Kathleen

Bright Eyes - Another Travelin' Song
Elephant Parade - Riding in your car
Wilco - Passenger Side
Carbon Leaf - On Any Given Day
Jennifer O'Connor - Tonight We Ride
Incubus - Drive


"Fearless" in Oberlin

Oberlin College changed its admissions slogan from "Think one person can change the world? So do we." to "Fearless" this past year with a good deal of opposition from the student body. One of my friends came up with a parody video about the origin of the slogan for her final project for her digital film class, and I thought you might enjoy it.

An Oberlin Review article on the issue.


Voxtrot, Georgie James, whimpy Congressional Dems, etc.

Voxtrot's first album, self-titled and all, was finally released yesterday to a big collective blogger sigh, seeing how we've all been waiting for this album for about/over year now. Another sigh too, because it's not quite as brilliant as I'd hoped. But still pretty good.
Voxtrot - Kid Gloves
Buy Voxtrot from
Just an FYI - They'll be heading to the Black Cat in DC on June 13th (more dates).

Meanwhile, the reason I'm back to posting again is that finals are over and I'm back in Virginia, though still working on unpacking.
Limbeck - Home (Is Where the Van Is) (download or die)

Georgie James, who have been looking for a record label for a few months now, finally settled on Saddle Creek, and changed the planned name of their album without telling anybody. Supposedly before it was "Hello" but now it's Places, and it'll be released in September.
Georgie James - Cake Parade (live)
Buy Georgie James records/singles from Dischord records
Their Website / Myspace

Ted Leo's got some more tour dates, the Little Ones have a new EP coming out with a new track "There's A Pot A Brewin" and some remixes.

A final music-related plee: someone, anyone, please stop by the Satellite Ballroom on your tour this summer.

More of the inside scoop on Giuliani from one of his former NYC admin officials; McCain goes at it with Romney. Hillary can't decide what U2 or KT Tunstall song she wants for her campaign.
Congressional Democrats are whimps and that's all I have to say about that.

Bonus: Wilco - Impossibly Germany
(for a friend who's out of the country at the moment and won't be reading this post)

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Did you know? You're probably not rich enough for Giuliani.

The Giuliani campaign snubs an Iowa farmer couple involved in planning a rally. Why? They weren't rich enough.

Make fun of Bill Richardson's ad all you want, I love it.

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It's Finals week, and I'm kind of swamped. No posts for a while.

Belle and Sebastian - We Rule the School

Today's "What if?"

...Ron Paul won the Republican nomination. I'm living in fantasy land with this, I promise. But he's my dream candidate in a lot of ways...


Begin afresh, afresh, afresh

I haven't been back home to DC for a couple of months now, but I do have an appeal to make to anyone who enjoyed the great pleasures of Eastern Market before it burned. Buy a T-shirt, now.

You can also send an e-mail to your Senators telling them that you support DC Voting rights.

Where I did I get such a silly post title from? Here.

Some Download Fun:

Sir Salvatore - Hooray This Projector
Cute, cheerful indie rock for your next stroll through the city. Think Built to Spill on happy chill pills.
Sir Salvatore's Website / Myspace

Lost in the Trees - Walk Around the Lake

Distant and soothing, the lead singer's voice reminds me a little bit of Travis. Ghosts wander in the background, humming and singing in chorus.
Lost in the Trees' Website / Myspace
Buy Time Taunts Me EP

Beat Radio - Ancient as the stars, no. 2
Beat Radio - People are talking
"Ancient as the stars, no. 2" is as sweet as the name suggests, making me think of summer breezes blowing through the window and the first time I held hands with a boy I liked. Think of it as the folksy soundtrack to your post-modern desperation, you dreamer, you. "People are talking" is newer, and a bit more distracted, but still lovely.
Beat Radio's Website / Myspace

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Icky Thump

So I've made fun of the cover...said Icky Thump was silly album name...and expressed my deep regrets that Brendan Benson ever started the Raconteurs (because his solo work was infinitely superior).

But I'm posting it anyway. Why, you ask? The track is outstanding.
The White Stripes - Icky Thump


We the Presidential Candidates 2008

I’ve been thinking about doing a post similar to this one for a while, since it’ll be useful to have to deal with the questions I get about my stance on the 2008 candidate field.

The Question: How do you evaluate the candidates?

In my mind, there’s a serious distinction to be made between the candidate best suited to make decisions about the future of the U.S. and the candidate in the best position to lead the country in a new direction. Were I to make such a decision in 2001 or 2002, the choices in the first category would be obvious: John McCain and Bill Richardson. Of this year’s field of candidates, it is the two of them who stick out as having most astoundingly served the nation, Bill Richardson as a Congressman, US Ambassador to the UN, Secretary of Energy, and Governor of New Mexico; and John McCain as naval aviator and then a POW for 5 years during the Vietnam War and, later, a Senator representing his state for 20 years.

Is in comparison to the current front runners in both parties that these candidates properly stand out – Rudy Giuliani has never served in office except as major of New York City and U.S. Attorney. Nothing about him qualifies either actually or symbolically for President of the United States. His current stance as front-runner is the sole product of his opportunism in taking something that the United States sees as one its greatest tragedies and using it to launch himself into a position of great power (if you’re a Heroes fan it’s worth noting how Giuliani’s path to Presidency oddly mirrors Sylar’s). Giuliani is also notable for a bit of cronyism and dealing harshly with those (especially the press) who disagree with him (see Ferrets). He has a lifetime muzzle award?

Obama’s lack of true qualification is slightly more benign; he was on track to take the slow and certain path to a Presidential campaign with seven years in the Illinois senate and what was sure to be a noteworthy career in the Senate. Along with this, some aspects of Obama’s biography place him in a unique position to run for president; with his book Dreams from My Father, written before his entrance into politics, he demonstrated a long-standing unique outlook on the nation’s complicated racial politics. Likewise, having chosen to work for Saul Alinsky's coummunity organizing group (which recently received some interesting press attention), it is clear that his plans for himself always involved public service. In some ways, this puts Obama on equal footing with Hillary Clinton, whose own political achievements will always be seen in the shadow of her husband’s. Obama fits into the 2nd category by which to judge the candidates - having seen him in person and followed him closely, I can say with some certainty that he has the ability to provide a type of inspirational leadership that the country currently lacks. The real question to ask is how important this type of leadership is in choosing a president.

Back to the real world: noting that Bill Richardson will probably never make it in with the Democratic front-runners due to his sad lack of charisma and public speaking ability, I have no clear preference between the top three Democratic candidates. I campaigned for John Edwards in 2004, and I like both Obama and Clinton, though I have a slight preference for Obama. My only hope for those three is whichever one of them wins the nomination and possibly the presidency will consider Bill Richardson as their Vice President or Secretary of State.

….Which leaves the Republic field of candidates. Noting my distaste for Giuliani, and considering that Romney has changed his position on every social issue the religious right cares about and has basically no integrity left to throw out the window, McCain is clearly the best candidate for the Republican nomination. Every Republican presidential candidate supports continuing the Iraq war in some form, and McCain is the only one to have clearly articulated an Iraq policy distinct from the status quo (see here). Were McCain to win the election, his career in the Senate acts as proof that he knows how and when to compromise effectively, and that his concerns are not simply partisan ones. His greatest downfall is that of his party: he supports an unpopular and unsuccessful war. With the only good option for an incoming president being to minimize the Bush administration’s damage by withdrawing from Iraq while leaving in place some type of structure that will diminish the blow to the region when Iraq eventually collapses, a Democrat will probably win the 2008 election. But the 2008 election will serve to the international community as a test of the American public on the Iraq war, and for a debate on the issue to happen, each party must put forward its strongest voice. John McCain is the only Republican who can fill those shoes. If he does win the election, those in the U.S. against the war will at least be able to live with hope, knowing that McCain has the experience and wisdom necessary to change his mind.

I know there are some problematic things about McCain's candidacy I didn't cover, but I think this post is a bit on the long side as it is.
Mystery Pollster asks, "Who won the Republican Debate?" The answer: not Giuliani, but Romney

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Saturday is overrated

I'm kidding. However, I do have one admission, which is that lately my obsession with politics has been skewing my writing about music (this is what happens when you don't have co-bloggers, if you're interested send me an e-mail - I'm serious). Needless to say, I'm attempting to correct this.

News-wise: We have the Easy Tiger tracklist! (Source)
01 Goodnight Rose
02 Two (ft. Sheryl Crow)
03 Everybody Knows
04 Halloweenhead
05 Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
06 Tears of Gold
07 The Sun Also Sets
08 Off Broadway
09 Pearls on a String
10 Rip Off
11 Two Hearts
12 Three Girls
13 I Taught Myself How to Grow Old
Now, some of you folks out there may think Ryan Adams is a bit pretentious, but you can't deny that as far as songwriters go, he's got an astounding work ethic. The album will be released on June 26th.
Ryan Adams - Oh My God, Whatever, Etc. (live)

After some time off from recording, serious touring, it likes like Lauryn Hill is getting back on track with some UK tour dates...maybe this means a new Fugees album? In the meantime, if you love The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, there's some potential that you might love her MTV Unplugged Recordings, which I'm a huge fan of.
Lauryn Hill - Adam Lives In Theory
Buy the album, seriously.

Meanwhile, Shameless Complacency has a nice collection of White Stripes b-sides posted.

BONUS: Voxtrot - Stephen

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SO Hot...

You know you love Kelly Clarkson too...

This video also reminds me of a certain other single...same guy?
Ted Leo - Since U Been Gone + Maps


Fox News on Hillary - let's talk media distortion

So...Clinton gives a speech in Alabama, and Fox News airs this segment asking the question, "Is Hillary Clinton trying to fake a southern accent?"

Now, that segment looks kind of creepy, but when you hear the context of the speech, the media distortion becomes obvious:
(Correction: for those who aren't going to bother to read the comment discussion, I assume she changes accents because she's quoting a hymn)

Let's take this one step further: imagine if Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, also owned the Wall Street Journal...

I am not a Hillary Clinton fan (go McCain at tonight's debate!!! 8 pm MSNBC), but please, Fox could do a little less obvious of a job distorting what actually happened.

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If I feed you music, will you eat it?

Elk City - You Got Me
I only have one track from New Believers, which was released April 17, sitting on my computer at this time, but I've been listening to it the way I do when I find a piece of perfect pop. "So if you're feeling lonely and alone / put down your sorrows and pick up the phone."
Buy New Believers from Amazon
Elk City's Website / MySpace

Windmill - Plastic Pre-Flight Seats
I picked up this track as part of my ongoing emusic browsing/downloading, and find that, in all its electronic instrumentation and quietness, it gives me an overwhelming sense of deep frustration hidden in whispered moments and walks in the morning sunlight. Where I get this feeling from, who knows?
Buy Puddle City Racing Lights from eMusic
Windmill's Website / MySpace

The Broken West - On the Bubble
"Indie rock" is something of a hated label amongst those who don't listen to it (or who don't admit it). Though the Broken West fits this label with a hard-to-pin-down guitar section, a solid drumline, and ever-thoughtfully worded lyrics, as I write this I realized I have a hard time pinning down where it fits on the "indie rock" spectrum. Pavement? Voxtrot? something? I feel like this may be the secret to the Broken West's success within the blogger community (see Hype Machine).
Buy I Can't Go On, I'll Go On from Amazon
The Broken West's Website / MySpace

Ahem. A radio rip of the new Interpol single has been making its way around.

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new Bishop Allen album

After a year's worth of great EP's, we're finally going to get it.
It's called The Broken String, it's out July 24th, and it's primarily composed of re-recorded songs from this year's EP series. Thanks, YANP.

Now...I'm a little disappointed, because I was expecting more than one new song on the album, seeing as I've made some effort to collect all this year's EPs.

At least John Collins talked to NME about the upcoming New Pornographers' album, Challengers, while they were at Coachella.

Bishop Allen - Corazon


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