Tuesday night, Mitt Romney blamed parents for the violent tendencies of their children.

Then Tagg Romney said he wanted to punch the President.

If someone named Tagg wanted to take a punch at me, I’d let her.

That is all.

Hey, Wisconsin! What do you think of unions now?!

Image from zipmeme.com

From the HuffPo:

By way of one of the most bizarre calls that you’ll ever see in an NFL game, the Seattle Seahawks have defeated the Green Bay Packers, 14-12, on “Monday Night Football.”

With the Seahawks trailing 12-7 and down to their final play, quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a desperation pass toward the end zone. Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings rose highest and seemed to secure the ball, but Seahawks receiver Golden Tate managed to get his hands around the ball as well. One referee raised his arms to signal touchdown while another official waved his arms, seemingly signaling a touchback (by way of an interception). After review, one of the initial calls on the field was upheld… SEAHAWKS TOUCHDOWN!

(Copped the following from Louis C at Democratic Underground. With some of my own embellishments.)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a union buster. So are the owners in the NFL.

Let’s just review what this job action is about. The NFL refs are not on strike: they are locked out. That’s a big difference.

They don’t want anything more than they have: they just don’t want to lose what they already have, and have been promised through the years.

The NFL makes billions, and their brand hinges on the integrity of the game. The refs safeguard that integrity, and providing a pension is a small cost for securing it.

Now you can see how important experience and competence is at such a high-level, high-pressure job.

Last night’s game was just an example of what football fans from all over America are going through.

(Similarly, at the Metrodome on Sunday, the refs nearly cost our Minnesota Vikings the game when they lost track of how many time-outs San Francisco had left. Forty-Niners coach Jim Harbaugh took advantage of the confusion, and got his team two extra time-outs and two extra chances to challenge calls.)

Now, I know that 35% of my union brothers and sisters voted for Scott Walker in his recall. I know that was more than the margin of victory.

I also know that if Scott Walker was removed from office, it would have had no bearing on last night’s game.

However, the dispute between the NFL owners and the NFL refs is a perfect example of a very rich corporation that makes billions, and doesn’t want to share a small portion of that profit with some of those that are responsible for helping to create that profit.

Last night, that point was brought home vividly to the people of Wisconsin, and the irony should not be lost on anyone.

(And as a bonus bit of irony: the Packers are a publicly-owned team. The only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the US. The Packer backers did this to themselves. Just sayin’.)

(And as a bonus bonus bit of irony: Walker is now insisting that the unionized NFL officials return! From ThinkProgress:)

Union-Busting GOP Governor Scott Walker Demands Return Of Unionized NFL Referees

Walker’s sudden support of union labor is surprising, given his push for a radical union-busting law that effectively ended collective bargaining for many of Wisconsin’s public employees. The law, which Walker and his fellow Republicans pitched as necessary to fix Wisconsin’s budget before admitting that it was the “first step” in an anti-union strategy, was so unpopular that it led to massive protests outside the state capitol in Madison and recall elections against Walker and six Republicans in the state senate.

Multiple Packers players, incidentally, urged Wisconsinites to vote against Walker in the recall. And while Walker decries the scab officials who replaced union labor on the football field, he doesn’t hold himself to the same standard: after his union-busting law went into effect, union workers were replaced with prison labor.

Ezra Klein: What Mitt Romney Doesn’t Get About Responsibility

A column from the Bloomberg.com website. Excerpts:

Let’s do away with the ridiculous myth that 47 percent of Americans are tax-evading moochers. Of the 46 percent of Americans who were expected to pay no federal income tax in 2011, more than 60 percent of them were working and contributing payroll taxes — which means they paid a higher effective tax rate on their income than Romney does — and an additional 20 percent were elderly. So more than 80 percent were either working or past retirement age.

– – –

The point here isn’t that Romney is unfamiliar with cutting-edge work in cognitive psychology. It’s that he misses even the intuitive message of this work, the part most of us know without reading any studies: It’s really, really hard to be poor. That’s because the poorer you are, the more personal responsibility you have to take.

Is it possible that Romney’s only a pawn?

Image from gapingvoid.com

No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up. – Lily Tomlin

Is it possible that the GOP really has no desire to win the White House this time around? That Mittens is just a distraction, a sacrificial pawn to allow the Repos to focus on keeping the House, retaking the Senate, and adding more state houses? Recent developments certainly suggest that.

I’ve believed all along that it doesn’t look like the GOP is playing their A-team this time. I thought the plan was to concede the White House in ’12, wait for Obama to improve the economy (which a second term will allow him to do), then count on Americans’ short memories and run Jeb Bush in ’16. But it’s looking more and more like their endgame may come sooner.

Image from fileunderi.blogspot.com

This of course precludes the very real possibility of voter fraud. It’s quite possible that the Repos are running Romney/Ryan and giving them free rein, because the election’s already in the bag. 2000 and hanging chads all over again. Underestimate Rove, Adelson, and the Koch brothers at your own peril.

No matter what parts of the above, if any, are true: this is no time for complacency. Don’t get distracted by what’s going on at the top of the ticket.

Your thoughts?

Says it all.

Image from theatlanticwire.com

Image from static.guim.co.uk

Says it all.

Image from J.D. Crowe and editorialcartoonists.com

So you built that business all by yourself, did you? Okay..

(Inspired by The Velveteen Ocelot, a poster on Democratic Underground.)

If your place of business caught fire, who would put it out? Can you afford to employ your own firefighters?

If someone broke into your business, who would investigate the crime, catch the criminals, prosecute them, conduct a trial, and send them to prison? If the government did not supply police, prosecutors, and courts, who would? And if they didn’t exist, how would you protect your business from crime?

If some other business fails to pay your bill, or doesn’t perform a contract, or commits an act of fraud that costs you money, how would you handle that if there was no court system?

Where did the streets and roads come from that make it possible for your customers to get to your business? If the government had not built those roads, how would they get there? Can you afford to build your own roads?

Who educated you and your employees? Did you go to a private school? If you went to college, did that college get federal funds? Did you take out a federally-guaranteed student loan? If your business employs people with particular skills, where did those people learn those skills?

If your business involves the production or sale of goods, how are those goods distributed? Do they travel by truck on federal highways? Are they flown to and from airports owned and operated by municipal or other governments? If you ever travel for business, who inspects the airplanes to be sure they are safe? Who controls air traffic to be sure planes don’t collide with each other?

If you had to hire private entities and pay them for all of these services, would you be able to maintain your business at all?

Do any of your customers earn their living in jobs paid for by tax dollars? Police officers, fire fighters, teachers, military? Do any of them earn their living by selling their products and services to the government (like private contractors)? How would business be without them?

What happens if no one buys your goods or services? Will the wealthy 1% come and buy your goods and services, since there will be no middle class that can afford anything? Will Donald Trump come and bail you out?

But take heart. You could move your business to a country that has no regulations to speak of, no taxes, and almost nothing by way of a functioning government – that being Somalia – and just see how well it does there.


“Fake” Journey (no Steve Perry) playing at a Romney private party for half a mil.

Image from edgecastdn.net


A cool half a mil for a 90 minute gig.

Fake Journey sources announced it’s just another gig, not a political statement.

Any way you want it, I guess.

Steve – please – knock some sense into these douchenozzles.

I grow weary of what passes for “country” music these days.

Image from cammonk.wordpress.com

Image from cammonk.wordpress.com

I know I’ve touched on this before, but I pretty much deplore what passes for “new country.” It’s formulaic and sounds like late-70s soft rock; Barry Manilow with a pedal steel. I worked at a “new country” radio station down south for a couple of years, and if I didn’t dislike it before that I certainly did after.

Inevitably, I guess, as I grow older I’ve gained a grudging respect for “old country.” The Hanks (Williams and Snow), Lefty, George, Johnny, Lester and Earl, Patsy, Wanda, Buck, Merle, Marty, Waylon, and Ira and Charlie. The great John Prine said that rock’n’roll is more an attitude than a music style, and they all had the attitude.

When the “new traditionalists” came into the country music universe in the 1980s I had rekindled hopes for less weaksauce and more of that attitude. Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, The Mavericks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, k.d. lang, Lyle Lovett, Rodney Crowell, Nanci Griffith, Foster & Lloyd, Shawn Colvin, Todd Snider, the Desert Rose Band, and the Dixie Chicks. But alas, this was all too… unique for Nashville. Too different and unfamiliar for a genre that bets its bankroll and depends so desperately on everything sounding JUST THE SAME AS EVERYTHING ELSE.

Tall grass gets mowed down even with the rest; nails that stick up higher than the others get hammered level. So back came the weaksauce. We ended up with Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn, and Carrie Underwood. Jesus, take the wheel.

It’s no surprise to me that when the economy goes in the tank, the radio industry puts all its chips into country music. It’s predictable, it’s easy to program, and radio sales people love it because “new country” fans seem like they’d rather buy CDs than feed their kids. (“But Mama, I’m hungry!” “Shut up and listen to Lady Antebellum!”) Seems like the only time we hear alternative rock stations or anything with some creativity to it is when the economy is on an uptick.

This is actually very short-sighted on the part of radio programmers. (What a surprise..) As far as listener loyalty, no demographic group holds a candle to the fans of “Music Of Your Life”-type “Adult Standards” stations (a/k/a the “nostalgia” format). They’re so grateful to hear the music they love. And let’s face it, they have the money to spend. In the Twin Cities market our local adult standards station actually received calls from listeners who said, “Send me a list of your sponsors. I want to buy things from them.”

So here’s a whole demographic with enormous loyalty and resources. And the music’s better too. Yet the radio world dashes like lemmings to “new country” whenever the economy falters. Idoan geddit.

Desert Island Discs: “It’ll Shine When It Shines” by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils (1974)

Image from ozarkdaredevils.com

In the early ‘70s, between the breakup of The Beatles and the beginning of disco, rock music was all about hippies moving to the hills. “Southern rock” was the term of choice, and it was heavier on the rock than the weaksauce that passes for “country rock” these days. (grumble grumble grumble, goldurn kids…) And it’s the subject of today’s Desert Island Discs, 1974’s “It’ll Shine When It Shines” by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

Record label execs are basically herd animals. Each wanted their very own Eagles or Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd. As a result there came Pure Prairie League and The Outlaws and Firefall. In 1973 A&M Records’ execs received a demo tape from a Springfield, Missouri band called “Cosmic Corn Cob & His Amazing Ozark Mountain Daredevils.” Thankfully the band shortened its name: according to Wikipedia this was because they wanted to avoid confusion with the Amazing Rhythm Aces, but mainly because none of the members wanted to be known as “Cosmic Corn Cob.”

Two A&M producers flew to Missouri to hear the Daredevils perform. They were nervous that night, and they stunk. Unperturbed, their promoter invited the two back to his coffee house in Springfield to hear an “unplugged” performance. That was the ticket: the two were blown away and the band got signed.

Their eponymous first album was recorded in England and released in late 1973. It sold well and generated a minor hit, “If You Wanna Get to Heaven.” The next album was recorded on the band’s home turf, in the pre-Civil War house that served as their rehearsal space. I’m skeptical when an artist or band says they experience “a special vibe” in a particular studio, but that’s undoubtedly the case here.

Of the six band members, five contributed songs to this album and collaborated on a few. The best-known song on this album, and the Daredevils’ biggest chart hit, came when drummer Larry Lee was at the piano noodling a song about a 420-friendly woman they knew. A&M producer Glyn Johns suggested if they cleaned it up they’d have a hit on their hands. Lee and lead singer Steve Cash tweaked and buffed and polished till they came up with “Jackie Blue,” wherein the woman morphed from a stoner to a loner. Johns was right: it hit #3 in the summer of ’75.

The versatility on this album is astonishing. There’s rockers (“Look Away,” “Kansas You Fooler,” the aforementioned “Jackie Blue”), swamp boogie (“E.E. Lawson,” “Tidal Wave”), country (“Walkin’ Down the Road,” “It Probably Always Will”), ballads (“It Couldn’t Be Better,” “What’s Happened Along in My Life,” “Lowlands”) and even a couple of hillbilly spirituals (“You Made It Right” and the title track). (Yes, kiddies, there was a day when variety in pop music was a GOOD thing.)

My two favorites on the album are “Look Away” and “It Probably Always Will.”

The Daredevils never recreated this success, but they created an album that stands as an icon of ‘70s Southern rock. Back in the day when country rock contained as much “rock” as “country.” If it were released today it would be called alt-country and compared to Son Volt. A Desert Island Disc to be sure.

Incidentally, the marketing super-geniuses at UMG have kept the Daredevils’ CDs out of print for several years. They’ve just recently been released again, but a company in the UK has put them out for many years. They sell a twofer of the first two CDs on one disc which is an amazing bargain. Find it, snap it up.