Monday, May 28, 2007

Road Trippin

Traveling in Ohio with the girlfriend, there's a small-townish, pleasant quality to one of her hometowns, Bowling Green. Apartments shaped like windmills, and a bookstore/coffeehouse with free wireless.

Apparently, there are two apartments in there, wonder if there's cable...

Among the more interesting things in the local news is the opening of a creation museum near Cincinnati. I would go it to see it for sheer ironic value, but to enter I have to give $20 to the creationist "mission."

You know...
They are trying to compete with major theme parks, like Disneyland.

Maybe if I tell them I'm making a "pilgrimage" they'll let me in half-price.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Guardian Angels and you

I'm on the venerable Daily Page if you're interested in getting a "citizen crime-fighter" take on Tuesday's shooting.

Click here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cabaroke Wednesdays

Do you like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury belting out "Under Pressure?" How about Kermit the Frog singing "Rainbow Connection?"

You can hear them nearly every Week at Maduro, 117 E. Main St., along with Niel Diamond, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Joel.

How, do you ask?

Anthony and Leslie Cao sing them by request every Wednesday night at "Cabaroke." The harmonic duo blend ragtime and heavy metal in only a way a classically-trained avant-gardist can do.

Leslie can be as alluring as Nora Jones or as poppy as Madonna, and Anthony can switch between Cat Stevens, Disturbed and Coolio. Both carry a sort of self-aware bravado.

Maduro doesn't charge for the show, but the triviality of a tip can bring a whole night of laughs and lounge singing. At the same time, enjoy a La Crema chardonnay or a Gray's Oatmeal Stout as the soft candlelight at the tables creates little pockets of warmth.

Below, the Caos sing "How to save a Life," by the Fray. Anthony joked that this may be the last song before some of the audience ran away scared. Though with chuckles and sweet sentimentality, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Anthony and Leslie also play at the Ivory Room, 116 W. Mifflin, and they appeared in Four Seasons Theater Production of "Miss Saigon" in late March. Anthony was Thuy and played with the orchestra. Leslie was an Alto in the chorus.

State Street Shooting

The buzz in the Media seems to suggest that people are surprised that a man was shot on just outside City Bar before 12:00 this morning.

I frequently see mentally-ill folks running around state street, shouting at strangers dining outside and even inanimate objects. The only thing these people need is a gun. A man outside Brochah Monday evening was harassing women as they passed, sometimes nearly striking them as he danced on the sidewalk. There was the soliciting for sex and humping the pavement.

Anyway, I digress...

A Madison Police Department press release won't give any details on the victim or perpetrator, except that they are in their early twenties. The police also seemingly contradict themselves with "not appear to be a random act and there is no continuing threat to the community." If the act wasn't random, that would mean that the shooting is part of a larger wave of violence, wouldn't it?

Already assumptions are flying around the some in the blogosphere that the victim was some homeless guy, and the press describe the perpetrator as some "unkempt" nutjob. Oh, and if you want to see some early morning views of police wandering state street, that's available as well.

Perhaps the best line came from an interview with Samara Kalk Derby over at the Cap Times:

"The mayor is more concerned about charging $5 for Halloween than with downtown safety," he (recent UW graduate student Max Gad) said. "I came here four years ago and this was supposed to be the safest college town and now you have regular assaults on Langdon Street, more fighting going on outside of bars, and now this shooting."

Updates are available at a State Journal Live Blog.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

lou dobbs and the global economy

Old guy blasting a Christian because the reverend wants a compassionate look at immigration policy. Yeah, let's guard our borders against everyone, let's ignore economics and create subsidies for low-skilled jobs. (Which, by the way, lowers the profit margin, wastes production resources, and ultimately jacks the consumer).

What happened to globalization? global economy? supply and demand? Should we continue to pay mass-producers 10 dollars an hour, reverting the economy back to Fordist, mass production, low dynamic model as well?

My sympathy is with Joe and Diane from Smalltown, NM, but shouldn't we be helping them attain a better job, with job training rather than saving a job that someone else will do for cheaper? Would Dobbs be happier if we "helped" such families socioeconomically by making sure they can keep a bottom-wage job?

Friedman does good

For those kids who get access to New York Times op-eds, Thomas Friedman points out something that the Dems in Congress need to be thinking about.

Sure, getting out of Iraq seems to be a good policy at the moment, but in the interest of national self-preservation, we might want to not be so economically tied to the autocrats there. Or the conservative religious nuts that they, we are funding.

And so it goes:

"...the last thing we can afford to do is walk away from the Middle East militarily while remaining chained to it economically...

More important, if Iraq totally fails, but we still believe it is in our interest to promote reform in the Middle East, a serious U.S. energy policy that permanently brings down the price of oil — by developing scalable alternative energies — is actually the best Plan B there is. You will see reform in the Arab-Muslim world only when regimes there can’t survive just by extracting oil, but have to extract the talents of their people by educating, empowering and connecting them."

Though the self-interest motif isn't the most enlightened way to look at how you treat other countries, it is the most realistic.

And those who condemn what the U.S. policy is doing do have to offer alternatives. Real consensus with both parties can't be won with the politics of pessimism, but the plan to actually do something progressive for the way we do business.

There is praise for some:

"Chris Dodd has just broken ranks and become the first presidential candidate to issue a serious, comprehensive energy plan that includes the 'T word.' He has called for a 'corporate carbon tax' that would both help fight global warming emissions and raise gasoline prices."

“You say the word ‘tax’ and people usually head for the hills,” Mr. Dodd told me. “But this is one where the American people can handle the truth. Unless you address the issue of price, you’re not serious about moving us from Point A to Point B.”

Barack Obama also just got right in Detroit’s face. He went to Motown, called for much tougher fuel economy standards and bluntly told automakers and autoworkers the truth: “For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars. Whenever an attempt was made to raise our fuel efficiency standards, the auto companies would lobby furiously against it, spending millions to prevent the very reform that could’ve saved their industry.” Those are fightin’ words!

"...announced that it was joining other major U.S. corporations, like General Electric, and signing on to the United States Climate Action Partnership (U.S.C.A.P.), which calls for a cap-and-trade program to control carbon dioxide emissions. G.M. is the first auto company to do so."

Of course, the politics of self-interest may seem to denigrate the fact that a primary source of income for the Arab world is oil revenue, and if we pull the plug, then their economy collapses, and the situation becomes worse. But that seems cynical.

We ought not consider the same region of the world that fostered and maintained the scientific, logical inquiry of ancient Greece to fall down and be a pauper among regions. But the West must foster positive movements among moderates, in the universities, without demanding that the region embrace secularism and liberal economics within the scope of a some years.

Houses in Motion

David Byrne showed himself once again with eyes glazed towards the 80s-clad crowd. A nervous tic motion to the head set off a night of Talking Head's nostalgia, when weird was pop and pop was art.

Madison's very own Cafe Montmartre, home to Chad Vader's chocolate Martini obsession and half-priced wine Mondays, saw Houses in Motion set the place on fire. A few Dewars glasses and mojitos later, midnight dancers took to the tables singing, "psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?" Run, Run, Run, Run, Run Away...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Like classical guitar?

This is one of the most amazing things I've seen. The kid bests Hendrix, probably the only one who does...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Idiots, and their bullies

David Obey erupts again at liberals. Frankly, I don't blame Obey getting pissy at liberals, the majority of which don't know a damn thing about the politics of trying to pass good policy. The system we have now is based on consensus, and like it or not, you may have to compromise your dreams once in a while to advance a motion that somewhat resembles your principles.

Obey and I and many more sane people want to get the hell out of Iraq and thought that we never should have gone there in the first place.

The principle is: Democracy can't be forced from the outside by a power seen as imperialist, it only pisses off the radicals. (see Vietnam, Algeria, and Chile) Gradual prompting works a lot better than a bitch slap.

Likewise in Washington.

Many in the U.S. don't want an immediate pullout. Hell conservative Christians are all against pulling out. So anti-warriors have to compromise some to eventually make things happen, waiting more than they'd like.

Many on the right, who still want to throw young lives into Iraq as well as bombs, need to be treated like children who don't want their vegetables. If liberals smack the kids in the face, the kids will kick back. But if the brussel sprouts are delivered bit by bit for a some months, green leafy goodness will catch on. I am still talking about national/international politics, I think.

One side has to be grown-up, we all have different learning curves.

As far as Kucinich is concerned. Obey was a little too much the drunken, abusive father. Ohio's spitfire should be able to ask questions. And liberals also have to learn how to eat their brussel sprouts, on a gradual basis rather than getting stabbed with the fork.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Setting a date...for failure

"If setting a date to withdraw only emboldens the enemy, then we oughtta stay there indefinately. The Dems are only spreading fear on the prospects of the troops, much like failing to give them body armor, or not putting enough in Iraq in the first place."

"Plus, The enemy is really bad, whoever they are, and we need to stay there until all our enemies are gone."

"Again remember 9/11. We gotta stay in Iraq so that terrorist groups don't rebuild training programs to create another 9/11. Like in Afghanistan, where we fled and they rebuilt and are threatening us again."

"So let's fund the troops...
I am also a crazy glue-sniffer, peace America, I'm out."

-President Bush

Seriously, no one in government is debating that the troops not be funded. But why the hell should they not say they will be there on a limited engagement.