Granted I’m having a teeth-grinder of a day, but this latest bit of static from the Dems is a real chafe.

(“There has not been a determination by the Democratic Caucus as to how we finalize our legislative approach to this,” Reid told reporters Tuesday. “There are a number of different ways we could go. You suggested the deauthorization (of the Iraq war) — that is certainly one. The other is to change the mission legislatively, what’s going on there. And we’re working our way through that.”

Asked his preference, Reid said, “I have a preference of making sure that I have my arms around the entire caucus before I put my name on an amendment.”)

Sure, Harry. However, I have a preference against announcing an impending move against the war, only to back off because support for said move is soft to nonexistent. And now Condi’s initiating “talks” between “Iraq,” Iran and Syria?!?

I know that I was praising the Dems’ perseverance about five minutes ago,  and many leftists among us are nodding to the tune of “I told you so.” To the Trots I say that barring a social uprising almost nobody appears to be in the mood for, congressional Dems are the only people that can end this effing war. Failing to do so, Dems maim the very horse they rode to victory last November. They endanger their hopes for victory while vanquishing our hopes for an end to this disaster.  This political party needs a political identity. It’s even more important than it was five minutes ago.


Mitt Exposed, Not Much to Show

Wow, so who do we got running campaigns these days? A 77-page strategy presentation leaks from Mitt’s camp, and all there is to read is “don’t flip-flop” and “accuse Hillary of Frenchness”(?!?)

Prisonship, starring “You!”

An informal but very serious poll arises within me.

1) whom would you have preside over our nation?











The aformentioned options are the only options available: You must choose.

2) Crap/Not Crap: Statehood for Puerto Rico

3) Crap/Not Crap: Joseph Lieberman

4) Crap/Not Crap: Nancy Pelosi

Thank you for your time. Your readership is important to us. photo-52.jpg

i need a miracle

really… because of my new gig, it’s going to be difficult for us to get to the dirty south this Summer. thus i’m looking for tix over Spring Break, but so are 18-22 year-olds all over this nation. i’ve yet to glimpse anything below $600, as it stands. anyone have killer advice on where to scout the cheap tix? if no, an mp3 of the Dead doing “I Need A Miracle” would suffice.

Chasepack on Iraq

Opinions and roadmaps from the best and the rest in easy-to-read blurb format.

What a Rut, no?

John Bresnahan on 5 rhetorical moves that can stifle Democrats’ initiatives towards turning Iraq* around. I admire the Dems’ initiative, and their determination to make the war a matter for public debate even after the Senate failed to do so – they’re showing a sense of procedural craft that impresses me, at least.  But the effort is all for nothing if such a debate never takes place. It also’ll all be useless if the Dems lack a coherent platform when this debate comes around. You cannot defeat the “support the troops” gambit by showing how you actually do support them. An entirely different discourse is necessary, though I sympathize with Democrats’ desire to dispel that tripe.

* Of course, when one evokes ‘Iraq’ on the television or in a press room, one is more often gesturing towards a complex of domestic effects more than the geographic, demographic venue upon which our government enacts spectacular imperial terror. And that’s a big part of what’s fucked – not that the politics of war is fought primarily on discursive fronts, but that the Democrats often fail to act as if this is the case! How you could confuse Washingon (or anywhere else) with a Habermasian** “ideal speech community” is beyond me. Show us something here, Democrats! We know you’re working hard… but how about “working smart”?

** Our soon-t0-be-last-best-hope is himself releasing a book on Reason come May, which ironically might prove useful in a popular context. While there’s nothing sexy about enlightenment rationalism, power obtains to s/he who can claim the mantle of “common sense.***” Juxtaposing laboratory smarts to Abu Ghraib might be particularly useful if one is taking on the man whose city hosted the Abner Louima nightmare.

*** Reason guiding political strategy = crap

Reason as Democratic identity discourse = (possibly) not crap

Volt Live, Volt News

Review of Philly Radio appearance last Friday, featuring the full-band debut of lots of tunes.

Circadian Rhythym – Way more subdued version then earlier takes would’ve suggested, and the keyboards have finally reached the right level. This is a haunting song.

Underground Dream – Why does Jay drop so many big, smelly-fart abstractions like “eternity” lately? Amazing chord progression and arrangements show that the stripped acoustic version we heard on Gob tour was really only half the song. Gorgeous, and overburdened with half-formed or ‘goes-without-saying’ political platitudes. “Guns or education,” huh? One recalls that Pearl Jam t-shirt with the kid, the crayon and the gun…that’s not a compliment. I liked it better when Jay grieved all punk-like “this trickle down theory has left all these pockets empty” or in the way more oblique, pastoral mode of the first two volt records.

The Picture – Way more bearable with harmonica ‘stead of horns. Pretty, actually.

Action – Now we’re talking. Finally the “blues hammer” inclinations we’ve endured in Jay’s two worst ever songs (Fool King’s Crown, Damn Shame) have come to fruition. The song modulates from brainy, introspective mantras into purposeful open strumming, finishing up in a briney swamp. It’s a great, subtle realization of all the raga-inspired experiments during the solo period spent touring with Spencer. I say this because rather than having a part that screams “modal East Indian thing,” that motif is phrased in a blues-y context…of course that’s the modal/pentatonic synthesis that guides all of our favorite psychedelic music, right?

Methamphetamine – I always think of that other druggie/journeyman epic, Lowell George’s ‘Willin,’ when I hear this one. All of my issues with Jay’s way of writing “topical” songs notwithstanding, the chorus gets me every time.

Highways and Cigarettes – An attempt to recapture the “Windfall” thing? Weird that despite all of the talk of a new-fangled Son Volt that accompanies this record, it features some of the most “traditional” Jay songs we’ve heard since “Barstow,” at least.

Phosphate Skin – Wow. Interesting and gorgeous. It’s like a “Damaged Son” or “Dead Promises” for the 2.0-era volt. This will be getting a lot of play with me. Awesome, reverb-y notes from Walbourne, the kind my friend Abe calls “desert riffs.”

The Search – Is a great song. What’s not to like? People say his voice sounds strained, but this one’s got the steady-galloping momentum we like from Son Volt’s “rock” songs. Hooray!

(Apparently they encored with Bandages and Scars and  a cover of the Stones’ “2000 Light Years from Home.”)

Additional Note: James Walbourne sounds great on this recording: his leads never get buried like Chris Frame’s sometimes would, but his playing doesn’t quite have the over-assured, whatever-comes-into-my-head-is-cool stylings of B. Rice. As this is his second tour as a Son Volt utility guy, I wonder if he’s opted out of any full-time assignment.

Additional Additional Note: This show is currently downloadable from the Jay board, under a thread entitled “Set List 2/2/07 Live at WXPN.” In other Jay board news, my friend Sticky has made available very high quality video of Volt at the Pageant, in what was I think the last gig of the Okemah tour: check out the thread called “10/29/05-whole show…etc”. He’s also posted really old, really rare video of the Primitives, Jeff, Jay and Wade’s pre-Tupelo teen scream. Check “Some real old UT/Primitives video.”