Thursday, September 20, 2007


From the news today: Dubai is planning to acquire 19.9% of the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, placing the Arab government in an ownership position. The move has raised concerns among many in Congress. They are also acquiring 28% of London's stock exchange.

I've been telling people for years that something's going on in Dubai and they just chuckle at my overactive imagine. Mark my words, people. I will say it again. There is something going on in Dubai.


Summer is nearly over and it's been a fun one, my friends. So fun, in fact, I've had little time to report on much. For this I apologize. You deserve so much more than the stream of activist propaganda and Bush-being-stupid-again links I've been posting. All in due time. Thanks for hanging in there.

So what was I up to over the past few months? Well, you may have read that I recently attended the Austin City Limits music festival. That was a nice way to spend an afternoon. It was also an easy way to sweat off about 6 pounds standing still. Damn does it get hot down there.

I also watched the 4th of July fireworks from the rooftop of my Chicago high rise. I can't begin to describe to you the view. Okay, I'll try. First, you should know that Chicago's fireworks are always on the 3rd of July - but the suburban celebrations usually take place on the 4th. So I headed up to the roof around 9:30 and turned to the west to see if I could spot anything.

The sound of tiny, distant explosions filled the air, like muffled bursts of popcorn in a scalding hot kettle. Low along the horizon, as far as the eye could see, bright colorful pinwheels were shattering like tiny Christmas lights everywhere. It was amazing to behold. Some shot higher than others, and they appeared suddenly, randomly - near, far, and beyond. A soft gray haze cloaked distant chimneys, lying flat like a pool of marsh water and flickering orange with every pyrotechnic eruption. Whistles, bangs, and sirens rang out. A stranger would think the streets were under siege with all of the commotion below. But from up there on the rooftop, it all seemed very peaceful. A light breeze stroked my bare arms as I clung to a chain link fence, gazing through the metal diamonds at the world I love.

After several minutes enjoying the view, I turned around and noticed I wasn't alone. The roof had been collecting others - also curious to see the celebration from on high. It was a perspective on Independence day fireworks unlike any other I'd witnessed before. Instead of lying below the massive umbrellas of cascading light, I was watching them from above - crackling, fizzling, and dripping like condensation on a shower door into the urban drain. I imagined what the spectacle must look like from even higher up as a jet plane skated quietly above - lights flickering reliably underneath. They have the best view of all, I thought. To them the world looked like a motherboard short-circuiting.

I remember thinking how great it was that, in the midst of this horrible war, with foreclosures reaching record highs, faith in government at historic lows, recession on the tongue of every other economic forecaster, somehow, we had the temerity to wish ourselves a happy birthday. Now here's a country with a little self-confidence, I said to myself. We're optimistic if nothing else. We know we're not very popular right now, but dammit we mean well. And we're not bad people...we just keep electing bad leaders. Things are bound to turn around at some point, right?

And on that note, I turned around and headed back inside.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Sing that song, my brother. Olbermann rocks. Let's get on these fuckers.


Want to get a little freedom back? Become a citizen co-sponsor of a bill in the U.S. Senate that's expected to go up for a vote THIS WEEK.

By signing on, you can actually help Congress roll back some of the dangerous policies instituted by the Bush Administration - policies that essentially made it legal for the government to break into your home, kidnap you, and lock you up for as long as they want without giving you a reason.

Let your voice be heard on this vital piece of legislation. The vote will be close - but if we speak loud enough, we can force our elected officials to do the right thing for a change. Make sure they know you are watching how they vote.

Restore Habeus-Corpus. It only takes a minute!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


One of the few remaining justifications for the war in Iraq, we're told, is the possibility that – SOMEHOW – by invading the country on false pretenses, toppling a lame dictatorship that posed no more a threat to our national security than any other country in that region, creating a dangerous power vacuum without a thoughtful, viable plan for filling the government void, refereeing an intensely violent sectarian civil war, sparking a broad insurgency across an already volatile region, sustaining widespread, worldwide resentment toward our hegemonic foreign policy decisions, dumping billions into destabilizing the Middle East to promote an aggressive, unilateral campaign of preemptive military intervention, and sacrificing the lives of thousands of Americans who might have done more for our country had they been afforded an opportunity to serve it here at home – SOMEHOW – we’re SAFER for it.

NOW we’re safer, they say. Isn’t that right, General Petraeus?

Shockingly, even the man charged with driving the war bus in Iraq admitted on the record before Congress he isn’t convinced that, despite our best efforts, we’re any safer today.

Because he knows we AREN'T.

The most responsible thing we the people can do right now is to hold our leadership accountable for the bad decisions they've made. And that includes leaning on the Democratic opposition who continue to roll over in tacit support of our ongoing national tragedy. I say this now because the plans have already been drawn up for a military air strike on Iran - and many believe the idiot in charge plans to authorize one before he leaves office in January '09. Google it, my friends.

Someone must put an end to America's military crusade in the Middle East before we're forced to mobilize hundreds of thousands more troops for a wider scale conflict of Third Reichian proportions. Look at the monumental failures we've already accomplished and take notice of where we're headed. The Republican Presidential nominees are blowing hard about "cutting and running" and "admitting defeat." This dangerous mentality is the express route to a national draft and permanent occupation.

Has anyone stopped to consider: Maybe there's no exit strategy in Iraq because Doomsday Dick, Rumsfailed, Condoliesalot, Wolfoshitz and the rest of the neo-conditos never intended to leave.

As the bumper sticker says: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Not only did Bush manage to turn me from a staunch conservative into a raging liberal, he also moved me off Dennis Miller and onto Bill Maher.

I can't believe there was a time when I couldn't stand this guy. But these days I agree with nearly every bit of biting sarcasm that oozes out of his bitter mouth. His New Rules segments are the bomb - great stuff here.

Thanks to JB for keeping these in my Inbox.


Did a little old school partying this past weekend down in Austin, Texas. If you've never been there, you're missing out on the world's largest collection of white people with really bad tattoos. Quite a collection I should say. They actually have a motto down there they seem quite proud of: Keep Austin Weird. It's on hats and t-shirts and mugs at the airport. They fancy themselves a little different - and compared to the rest of Texas, they are most certainly that.

My reason for being there was Crowded House. Just a month after seeing one of my favorite music artists at the (Crowded) House of Blues in Chicago, I was back for more...this time in the scalding Texas sun at Austin City Limits, a now-famous 3-day music festival that's basically like a corporate-sponsored Woodstock for Generation whoever. Lots of live music, beer, pot, deep fried food, and really bad tattoos. Not the good bad. The bad bad. I'm pretty sure half of them were made at home using a hot skillet and a ball-point pen.

Crowded House rocked, by the way. Again. They even made rain, believe it or not. In the middle of a sunny, steamy hot summer day they managed to conjure up a little liquid from heaven. And it happened during the song "Fall at Your Feet," which features the chorus line: "Whenever I fall at your feet, you let your tears rain down on me." And as we sang along, it actually started to rain. It was more than a little moving - borderline spiritual in a way. I'm sure the beer also helped in this regard. The band immediately recognized their accomplishment and changed their set to squeeze in the tune "Weather With You." Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you...

As a side note to my recent adventure, I wanted to share a little bit of Americana with you. Flying from Chicago to Austin was going to run somewhere between $434-$900 round trip - unless, by some quirk in the system, I flew Northwest Airlines northwest to Minneapolis first and then down to Texas. That cost was $288 after taxes. Sold!

During my layover at the Minneapolis airport, I decided to check out the restroom where Senator Larry Craig was arrested for his wide-stance tap dance routine. I was going to snap a photo of the crime scene for your files, but decided against taking photographs in a busy airport bathroom for fear of meeting the same ironic fate as the Senator himself. I'm pretty sure the other patrons would not have been comfortable with me shooting digital pictures while they did their business.

The best I could do was this shot of the outside of the restroom. I also should note that the stall next to the one Craig was arrested in was closed for business. They'd wrapped the commode in garbage bags and roped off the stall with yellow tape. No joke. Perhaps the Solicitor General wanted to dust for prints.

After snapping this photo I went in and sat down for a few minutes, fucking with fellow travelers by tapping my foot under their stall a few times once they sat down. Try it some time - at your own risk, of course.