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Wednesday, January 30, 2008 
senate wedgies
the other day, republicans in the indiana house, upset that their amendment banning gay marriage was not getting anywhere, tried a trick. they attached the gay marriage amendment to another amendment, the governor's amendment that would write property tax caps into the constitution. as a result, speaker bauer pulled consideration of the bill, effectively killing it. i'm not upset about the loss of the daniels amendment, as i wasn't so sure it was a good idea anyway. but nonbigoted republicans like gary are hopping mad and the "fair tax" folks are discovering that their best bud eric miller wasn't such a good ally after all, inspiring them to step up their quasi-eliminationist rhetoric.

in the indiana senate, they do things a bit differently. the most divisive, wedgiest bills pass easily over there. so they didn't need to sneaky about banning gay marriage: they passed the bill outright. and for good measure, they passed bills on a bunch of other wedge issues as well:

they passed a bill that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medicines they are morally opposed to—read: contraceptives.

they passed a bill that would require abortion providers to "inform" women that life begins at conception and that fetuses just might be capable of experiencing something resembling pain.

they approved an immigration bill that would punish businesses for employing undocumented workers.

and pundits predicted this session would be about nothing but property taxes.

Monday, January 28, 2008 
this is cool. last year i sold a t-shirt—a recycle your record collection t-shirt, still available from the awia shop—to anki toner, a musician who lives in spain.

then this year, he wore it in a photo shoot for a short feature that appeared in the sunday magazine of el pais, spain's largest newspaper.

click the pic for a larger version, though your spanish needs to be pretty good to decipher it. i was able to make out maybe two thirds of it. most of it's about him as a collector—not only does he collect records, but he has one of the world's largest collections of cycling board games—and then there's a couple questions about his band & music at the bottom.

if you're interested in checking out his band, you can download their latest from i'm listening now, and it reminds me a lot of later-period einsturzende neubauten.

so i might not have sold that many shirts—i might even still have a couple dozen of them unsold in storage—but the people who have bought them really like them and want to show them off.

Saturday, January 26, 2008 
miss ann in indianapolis monthly
so i've been seeing comments here and there alluding to the profile of melyssa "miss ann" donaghy in this month's indianapolis monthly. at first i ignored it, expecting another puff piece like the one howey did. but on no...

you might recall that i was one of the first people to blog about miss ann. so in the past few years i've read quite a bit about her and her story. so let me say that the indianapolis monthly article about her is one of the filthiest documents about her i've seen. it's really... "sensational" is the word she uses in the article at one point. i'm honestly astonished that someone who wants to run for congress would allow such an article to appear, let alone participate in it as she did.

on one hand, as a retired dominatrix, it's quite brave of her to be this open in a mainstream publication. i must commend her for that. but holy crap—the portrait painted in this article is not of someone that most people will want to vote for.

i'm only going to quote one passage. this is an excerpt from her version of the encounter between miss ann and the undercover cop, who called himself ron. i repeat, this is her version of the story:

Donaghy then brought out two types of lingerie and told him to pick. Ron chose the gold nylon mesh two-piece. He disrobed, and put it on.

In the meantime, Donaghy had grabbed a dog collar, which she now held in front of him. "A collar not only controls an animal, but it also shows ownership," she said. "When I put it on you it means I own you. Now kiss the collar."

Ron did. She put the collar on him, put restraints around his wrists and told him to bend over. "Now ask me to hit you with this crop."

"Please, hit me."

Donaghy slapped him once on each buttock. Then she asked which part of the session he wanted first: "Humiliation or torture."

Ron chose the former. Donaghy hung him from the ceiling by his wrists, making him stand on the balls of his feet. She smacked his rear with the crop. Then she got in his face. "I'm going to teach you to worship women and treat them the way they should be treated." She berated him for using escorts for their bodies. She took a lipstick and wrote "fuck me" on his chest and "slut" across his buttocks. "How do you feel now?" she asked. "How does it feel to be used?" She clipped wooden clothespins to his nipples and twisted them. Then she told him to stand there, look at himself in the mirror, and think about the way he looked.

She then went upstairs to pay a man for cutting her lawn.

Upon her return, Donaghy began the torture phase. She called Ron "slut," which was to be his name whenever he called or came by The Reformatory. She chained him face up on the table. She rolled an instrument that resembled a cowboy's spur over his body, poking and prodding the bottoms of his feet, the inside of his thighs, over his stomach, and around his genitals. Then she pulled his panties down to expose his penis. "I could cut your dick off," she said as she ran the spiky points up and down his member. "But I won't because I like you."

does that sound like an adult-oriented business to you? she rolled a spur up and down his exposed penis. for money. that's more than you get at the strip clubs, no matter how much money you cough up.

now, i'm not slagging anyone else's kink. maybe the old spur-on-the-penis routine feels pretty good, when done with the right touch. and if people want to pay her to do it, i'm cool with that. but, one, how many congressional candidates can you think of who talk publicly of such things? and two, this story directly contradicts past statements in which she stated that "his genitals remained covered and untouched during the entire session". so either that was a lie or the encounter didn't take place as depicted in the article. which is it?

at one point in the encounter, miss ann asks ron "how does it feel to be used?" as one of her earliest defenders, who readily repeated her lies and self-important propaganda, i must say, it doesn't feel so great.

the patent offensivity of dorsal nudity
from the washington post:

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday proposed a $1.43 million indecency fine against ABC television stations for a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue," the second-largest proposed indecency fine against a television broadcaster ever.

The agency proposed a $27,500 fine against 52 ABC-owned and affiliate stations in the Central and Mountain time zones, which broadcast the episode before 10 p.m., when the FCC's authority to police the airwaves for indecency expires each day.

The episode in question, aired Feb. 25, 2003, contained a scene featuring a woman and a young boy. In the scene, the woman disrobes in a bathroom. She is shown in full dorsal nudity, and the side of one breast is shown.

oh dear! full dorsal nudity, you say! i'm overjoyed that after five long years, the FCC is finally cracking down on the butts and sideboob that were broadcast in a show that was cancelled back in 2005. thanks, FCC!

For the FCC, the episode of "NYPD Blue" was an indecency twofer.

"We find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs -- specifically an adult woman's buttocks," the FCC wrote in its ruling.

excretory organs? you mean they showed her puckered-up anus on ABC? no... they just mean buttocks. to the FCC, butts are for poopin', therefore you can't show 'em. as the weatherman would say, "not the butt hole, but the whole butt." and i don't know about you, but to me, "sexual organs" means genitals, not sideboob or ass cheek. maybe to the FCC, sexual organs are anything that turns them on.

but here is perhaps the most important passage in the story (emphasis mine):

Under the FCC's indecency statutes, over-the-air radio and television stations are prohibited from broadcasting "patently offensive" material of a sexual or excretory nature from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., when children are most likely to be watching. ABC stations in the Eastern and Pacific time zones were not fined because the episode appeared after 10 p.m. in those regions. The FCC's indecency statutes do not extend to cable and satellite programming.

pay attention here. NYPD blue was always in ABC's 10pm slot, which is when all the broadcast networks air their edgiest material. so they were protected by the safe harbor provisions in the eastern and pacific time zones.

but then we get into time zone problems. all the broadcast networks—as well as many cable networks, though they don't matter for this discussion—have two network feeds, an east coast feed and a west coast feed, that are three hours apart. if you have digital cable or satellite, you might even receive both feeds for some networks. (this is why we have 12 HBOs; we only get 7 different networks, but two feeds each for 5 of them.) the people in the middle of the county have to watch one of those two feeds and just deal with the time differential.

by punishing networks for airing "indecent" content at 9pm in central/mountain, the FCC is saying this approach is no good. if the networks want to use a two-feed system, says the FCC, then they can't air edgy material until 11pm eastern/pacific. this would require them all to rearrange their nighttime newscasts as well as their profitable "late night" lineups, which i imagine they won't do. so the only real way to comply would be to add two more feeds, at god knows what cost, which would cause massive disruption for the millions of people who've grown up watching the tonight show at 10:30.

needless to say, this is an awful precedent for broadcast television, which is already hemorrhaging viewers. ABC is right to appeal, because following this precedent would wreak havoc on prime-time and late-night tv as we know it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 
elrod uses design firm with anti-gay ties
some people would have you believe that jon elrod, the republican candidate to replace julia carson in indiana's 7th district, is the best candidate on LGBT issues, based in part on the fact that he is publicly against a state amendment banning gay marriage.

but whether or not elrod is truly sympathetic to these issues, it appears that he associates with those who are decidedly not. lesser-known blogger tyrion has discovered that elrod's web site was designed by a firm with close ties to the notorious eric miller and his advance america organization:

Jon Elrod has muddied the waters by asking the anti-gay firm Main-1-Media to design his campaign website (As of January 22, 2008 the website was registered to Main-1-Media by Jack Straub, Main-1-Media's Chief Operating Officer). That would be this Main-1-Media:

Registering under Main1Media, Miller and his organization were seemingly able to fly beneath the proverbial radar regarding the nature of their assembly. When it was pointed out to a State House event planning employee that Main1Media represented Eric Miller, Advance America and an anti-gay agenda, the State House began making phone calls to find out why there might be controversy surrounding Main1Media and its rally - expected to bring 1,000 Miller followers to the State House rotunda.

You'll recall, Main-1-Media is owned by Rick Terry, an Eric Miller crony and the former Director of Development for Miller's organization (solid reporting, AI!), Advance America. Advance America is one of the primary promoters of the homophobic "marriage amendment" to the Indiana State Constitution. In support of that amendment, Miller used the Main-1-Media firm to register and organize a rally in support of the amendment at the Indiana Statehouse in 2005. In other words, Main-1-Media has been directly involved in anti-gay activism.

a whois search for confirms that the domain is registered to main-1-media. in fact, until recently, elrod's site had a disclaimer at the bottom that the site was designed by main-1-media. that disclaimer is gone now, but here is a google cache of a page bearing the main-1-media disclaimer. there's also a rough draft of the site, complete with lorem ipsum, up on main-1-media's servers.

this revelation was buried in a post by tyrion criticizing blogger gary welsh of advance indiana for his often-baseless attacks on andré carson. gary's advance indiana blog should not be confused with eric miller's similarly-named advance america organization—if anything, advance indiana is dedicated to fighting advance america. so it's a tad ironic that if you google "rick terry" "advance america", the third link is to this old AI post documenting advance america's shady accounting practices. gary and eric miller might be committed political enemies, but they sure agree on a lot of issues, including support for jon elrod, it would seem. (gary has repeatedly refused to allow links to tyrion's blog entry to be posted at AI, even turning on comment moderation to prevent this uncomfortable truth about elrod from being posted.)

incidentally, main-1-media also designed the state's controversial "in god we trust" license plates, which they did at no charge. they just wanted to spread the word of god-trustin', i guess.

update: a reader notes that on jan 14, elrod's site was registered to d3 datasolutions (at least according to polis politics). so apparently the site's registration just switched to main-1-media in the past couple weeks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 
it's tobias fever!
randall "randy" tobias is back in the news in a big way.

you might recall that last year, tobias resigned his high-profile state department job when news came out that had been paying for "massages" from jeane palfrey's notorious DC escort service. but a little sex scandal can't keep a good tobias down... nor prevent him from putting his name on more stuff.

last week, we learned that mayor ballard plans to appoint tobias to head up the airport authority. the announcement didn't exactly inspire his disillusioned former supporters who are coming to realize that they didn't get what they thought they voted for.

and today, there's even more tobias news in the star:

The Indianapolis Museum of Art will join the ranks of major museums that have made movies a year-round staple, thanks to two local benefactors.

Tuesday, the IMA accepted a $1 million gift from Randall and Marianne Tobias to refurbish Tobias Theater and turn it into a major film venue. The Tobiases also gave $1 million toward the theater in 2003.

yes, yet another indianapolis structure will bear the tobias name, as the showalter pavilion becomes "tobias theater" or "the toby". this is a good PR move from the tobiases, as it gets randy's name back in the news, and the article doesn't even mention all that nasty business about escorts and penis massages. (then again, it also doesn't mention his upcoming job at the airport authority; only that he's currently vacationing in florida.)

personally, i think it's great that the IMA is going to show movies. there are currently only two places in town to see art house flicks—landmark and key cinemas—and they both have their flaws. i just hope they don't all end up competing for the same films, which could really hurt the small, independent key cinemas.

my one concern about showing movies at the IMA is parking. when we went to the rome exhibition a few months back, parking was tricky. adding a movie theater without adding more parking could just make things worse.

update: this IBJ story makes it sound like mayor ballard hasn't yet decided whether tobias is getting the airport gig. i guess we'll see whether jim shella was right after all.

Monday, January 21, 2008 
things falling apart
this weekend's arctic cold meant bad news for the pipes in our primary bathroom, which froze saturday night, requiring the maintenance man to spend three full hours hanging out in our place trying to unfreeze them (and knocking a couple holes in the wall in the process). we had been obediently letting our faucets drip, as recommended by the landlord, but apparently they weren't dripping enough. that's what zero-degree weather will do for you. fortunately, virago noticed the problem early enough that our pipes didn't burst, as happened to one of our downstairs neighbors.

then, in a follow-up, our wireless router apparently died in the middle of the night last night. i don't think it froze to death, but the timing was suspicious. it probably died of old age—the thing was running wireless B, which made it positively ancient by networking standards. this forced an unplanned trip to best buy, but i turned that to my advantage by also grabbing a new joypad and some atari games to feed my craving for classic video games. playing metroid or super mario bros using the Z, X, and ctrl keys is not an ergonomic experience.

still, lest i be accused of technological ageism, not everything old needs to be replaced. i recently dusted off the old bread machine, which has to be 15 years old and hasn't been used regularly in 10, and started using it again. after all this time, it still works like a charm, and i suspect we're already becoming spoiled by the ready availability of fresh homemade honey-wheat-oatmeal bread. (the recipe calls for bread flour; i just replace a cup of that with wheat and add a bit more salt to make sure it rises.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008 
the invasion is over... for now brings us some much-needed good news:

we must not allow the fishes to overtake our upscale lakeside communities! and if we can't beat them in the courtroom, we'll fight them in streets if we have to. humans up, fish down!

seriously, though, i didn't get a screenshot of the actual story before they changed it, but fortunately it still turns up in search results.

and for more hire-some-editors-already fun from the star, try this passage:

According to conversations by officers over police radios, investigating officers were looking into the possibility that something thrown from the fleeing vehicle during the chase was drugs.

hoo boy. the more i reread this sentence, the more problems i have with it.

anyway, sorry for the trivial nonsense, but i figured i should check in every couple days. last i finally got a new replacement crossfader for my mixer, which i've needed for ages, so i've been spending much of my free time working on my next album. (the term album is very '70s, but it seems more fitting than cd, considering it probably won't be released on cd at all, only as an mp3 download.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 
terminator tv
you know, for weeks or probably months, i didn't think much about nor expect much of terminator: the sarah connor chronicles, perhaps because the third terminator film was so awful. but as the show's premiere approached, i realized that i really wanted to watch it. if there were no writers strike—that is, if it weren't one of the only new shows on tv—i might feel differently.

so on monday i set my dvr to record it, only to realize that the first episode had already aired sunday. so i watched it on the fox on demand website. watching it that way was a surprisingly pleasant experience, hands-down better than watching stuff on, and i was impressed that the required player software (which seemed to function pretty well) was provided as a firefox add-in, so installation was super-smooth. then i watched the second part this morning on my dvr.

the show is actually pretty good. if anything, the terminator premise works better in an episodic tv format, where you have the time to explore what sarah and john's lives are like, constantly on the run both from police and from killer robots. i admit, at first i did miss arnold, but once i realized that different terminators are played by different actors and thus don't all have the same face and same inexplicable austrian accent, i came around pretty quickly.

in fact, this show is probably closer to what i had hoped bionic woman would be. bionic woman had its moments, but i've had to deal with the realization that it was never going to become the show i wanted it to be, and that if it gets cancelled, not only will i not be surprised but i won't even miss it. that's sad, considering that i was fully prepared for it to be my favorite show of the year. one of the show's major problems was that they only had rights to the name, and thus legally "couldn't depict mechanistic technology that involved parts being placed on the body". as a result, jamie just kind of became a generic action character who was fast and strong. she just wasn't very bionic.

so i'll just have to make do with terminator: the sarah connor chronicles, which isn't great but is quite watchable. plus, i have lots more death note to look forward to, along with a couple other adult swim shows, and american idol starts tonight. other than that, there's not much to watch on our big new tv this season. i can't even bring myself to watch a daily show anymore, which is a shadow of its former self without writers. hopefully, the studios will come to their senses soon and the strike will end in the next couple months.

Sunday, January 13, 2008 
the race is on
yesterday afternoon, the marion county democratic party held its caucus to select its nominee for the special election to replace the late julia carson. to nobody's surprise, andré carson, julia's nephew, won resoundingly. the andré haters quickly swarmed the blogs, also to nobody's surprise. in fact, the only surprise was that the blogosphere's most vocal andré hater is a democrat diarist from blue indiana, who was puzzlingly out on the rightie blogs lamenting the lack of unity in the party while simultaneously openly sowing dissention.

later in the evening, the libertarians selected their candidate, sean shepard. i don't know much about the guy and haven't turned up much about him other than that he was a plaintiff in one of the NSA wiretapping lawsuits, along with the state libertarian party, and that he hates hillary and wusses. one thing i know for sure is that he's not melyssa "miss ann" donaghy, who was vying for the nomination. her candidacy would've been hilarious, but the party selected someone a bit more google-friendly. still, she might still plan to run in the primary, so we might still get more entertainment out of her candidacy yet.

then tonight, the republicans held their caucus, selecting the boyish jon elrod both for the special and for slating—meaning that elrod will have the party's official support in the primary. (though how much financial support they give remains to be seen.) hoosier access's josh gillespie live-blogged the event, though gary's write-up is perhaps more interesting.

so on march 11, it'll be elrod against carson, with shepard on the side hoping to pick off a few spoiler votes. carson is definitely the favorite, but republicans are hoping he can become ballard jr and pull off an upset. the winner will serve the rest of julia's term in the house. then in may will be the primary, to select party nominees for next term. the republicans seem to be unifying around jon elrod, who will face only token opposition in the primary from the likes of jocelyn tandy-adande—not that any human ever has or ever will vote for her. andré carson won't be so lucky, as he'll have to fight off david orentlicher and perhaps a couple others for the 2008 nomination. it's going to be a tough year for andré carson and he'll have to do a lot to prove whether he's worthy of his grandmother's legacy.

update: bil browning was at the democratic caucus and noticed some irregularities.

lolcolts playoffs
the beginning of playoffs means three lolcolts this week!





Thursday, January 10, 2008 
voter id supreme
perhaps you've already read about yesterday's supreme court session on indiana's voter id law. but the best analysis you're going to read is probably the one at scotusblog:

The Supreme Court, studiously avoiding almost all mention that it was examining a thoroughly partisan political battle, spent a spirited hour on Wednesday looking for ways either to scuttle a major test case over voters' rights or to find a way — as if the Justices were writing a law themselves — to soften the impact of a tough state requirement for a photo ID before a voter may cast a ballot at the polls.

Only two Justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens — even hinted at the real-world fact that the photo ID law in Indiana is at the heart of a bitter, ongoing contest reaching well beyond Indiana. It is a dispute between Republicans worried over election fraud supposedly generated by Democrats to pad their votes, and Democrats worried over voter suppression supposedly promoted by Republicans to cut down their opposition. The abiding question at the end: can a decision be written that does not itself sound like a political, rather than a judicial, tract? Can the Court, in short, avoid at least the appearance of another Bush v. Gore?

At issue in the consolidated cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25) is the constitutionality of a 2005 Indiana law that voters who show up at the polls without a photo ID will be allowed only to cast a provisional ballot, to be validated later at another place only if they can travel there and then prove identity. It has been upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court, leading to appeals to the Supreme Court by Democrats or their state party apparatus.

It was apparent from the outset that the Court's more conservative members were most interested in (a) finding that no one had a right to bring the constitutional challenge, at least at this stage, (b) putting off a challenge until the law has actually been enforced or at least until just before election day, or (c) salvaging as much as possible of the Indiana photo ID requirement on the theory that voter fraud is a problem that states have a legitimate right to try to solve. There was some hand-wringing, particularly by Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., over how difficult it is for a judge to "draw the line" on when a voting requirement would or would not pass a constitutional test.

And it was equally apparent that the Court's more liberal members were most keen about (a) pushing the Court to decide the case now, (b) doing so in a way that at least narrows the impact of the Indiana law on poor or minority voters, and (c) applying some constitutional pressure on the states to regulate voter fraud — if they do so at all — with more specifically targeted statutes.

that pretty much nails it, but do read the whole thing.

this is one of those cases where there's very little actual evidence on either side, so lacking any solid information, neither side has much to fall back on save its own political philosophy (or innate biases, as it were). the bush DoJ practically tore their fingernails off digging for actual evidence of polling place fraud, yet came up empty handed—but still, conservatives remain convinced that it exists.

likewise, it's blatantly obvious to liberals that the law as written is an undue burden on some voters, but the percentage of the population that's potentially disenfranchised is small—the highest estimate of 200,000 hoosiers is still less than 3% of the population, not taking into effect low turnout rates, etc—so finding people who've been denied the right to vote has been difficult. either they eventually went through enough hoops that they were allowed to vote, they filed provisional ballots but never came back to certify them, or, knowing that they couldn't obtain adequate id, they simply stayed home instead of wasting their time going to the polls.

so it's hardly a surprise that a supreme court which president bush has managed to stack with conservatives would be leaning 5-4 in favor of indiana's voter id law. that's just the nature of today's court. and if they rule that crawford didn't have proper standing to bring this case at this time, then it looks like the only way to challenge the law will be for democrats to find some actual disenfranchised voters. i'm convined they'll be able to do it eventually, but it might take a couple elections. sadly, that means that the damage will already be done by the time we can get the law changed—at least judicially. of course, the best way to fix the law is probably legislatively.

one other, semi-related story: if you've been reading the rightie blogs you might've noticed them trumpeting something about some "voter id poster child" who was somehow "busted" which blah blah something or other. if you're like me—and i've been actively following the voter id story for some time—your reaction was probably "who the hell are they talking about? poster child, wtf?"

but, reading through the story, we see that faye buis-ewing is a 72-year-old woman who did not have proper id to vote in 2006, so she went through a four-hour kafkaesque ordeal in order to get id so she could cast her ballot—which she did. this is the kind of story that wouldn't convince voter id proponents anyway—"she got the id and voted, so who cares?", they'd say. but it turns out that the reason she didn't have proper id is because she's a snowbird who winters in florida and thus has a florida id, which poll workers wouldn't accept. she was also registered to vote in florida, although the article states clearly that she had never done so.

right-wingers are crowing that this proves... actually, i'm not even sure what they think this proves. that old ladies get confused by election laws? her story remains the same: an elderly woman spent four hours in bureaucratic limbo in order to get id so she could vote. sounds like an undue hardship to me. she's clearly not someone trying to defraud the electoral system; she's just an old lady who got confused and signed some papers she shouldn't have. whether you like it or not, folks, the constitution guarantees the right to vote to the mildly senile, not just the young & mentally spry.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 
here are some bite-sized news nuggets for those of you who were offended by my glamour shots post below.

forget santa and the easter bunny... what will happen when the kids discover that hannah montana isn't real?

go hillary! as i've said before, i don't really have a dog in the presidential primary race, but i've been kinda rooting for hillary to win NH if only because it would shut the hillary haters for a few minutes. and now the news orgs are starting to project hillary as the winner for the state. iron my shirt indeed! (both clinton and obama each received more votes than the republican winner, john mccain.)

i hear the surprisingly moderate weather in NH helped drive a record turnout over there. i guess that's cool for them, because it's also sixty degrees here in indiana, but over here we're getting torrential rains and lethal flooding. doug has more.

desperate for new content, cbs is going to air the first season of showtime's dexter. this is a smart move because dexter is an excellent show... but it's much better on showtime, where they can air it with all the violence and occasional profanities or nipple shots intact. then again, if you're the kind of person who likes to watch the sopranos on A&E (and apparently such people do exist) then you'll probably love dexter on showtime.

i watched the first new episodes of a daily show and the colbert report since the writers strike began. jon stewart has tremendous wit, so he was still fairly watchable, but the show clearly pales in comparison to what it was with a writing staff, which jon himself pointed out repeatedly. he also seems generally puzzled and almost hurt as to why the WGA hasn't cut a deal with him and colbert similar to the one it cut with letterman's worldwide pants. i have to wonder myself, as it would seem to be in the WGA's best interest to sign such deals. the colbert report was relatively fresh, but i don't know how long they'll be able to keep it up. i can't really imagine what the tonight show or late night must be like without writers... anyone watching that shiz?

there'll be no golden globe award show this year because every single nominee refused to cross a picket line in order to attend. but the golden globe awards will still be given out, just at a press conference instead. however, the SAG awards will go on, and will not be picketed, because SAG are down with their union brothers.

a reporter with the new republic managed to dig up some of ron paul's old newsletters, where he found some frankly disturbing content. paul argues that he didn't write the shockingly racist articles—the newsletters have no bylines so it's hard to tell who wrote what—but it's a bit hard for him to wash his hands of the content of a publications with names like ron paul political report. my favorite quote so far is "opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions." but tnr has released a bunch of excerpts, so read 'em all and pick your favorite moments. zach wendling has more.

eye candy
i probably spent an hour or more dicking with the self-timer on the camera in order to get a decent self-portrait for some promotional art for my next cd. but it was worth it for this:

a larger version is available here.

shorter ruth holladay
shorter ruth holladay: video footage of hillary crying in new hampshire proves that hillary is worse than nixon!

...seriously, folks, this is the pettiest, worst kind of gotcha politics. it's like the "dean scream" but possibly even more shallow and irrelevant. this is exactly why i'm not really following the presidential primaries: the fact that we're discussing hillary's tears instead of... i dunno... her policies shows how utterly broken our political system—and especially our political media—truly is.

Monday, January 07, 2008 
recent cd/dvd acquisitions
blade runner: the final cut 4dvd collector edition
i figured this was the best compromise edition between content and price (the 5dvd set comes in an attache case and is like $60+). this comes with the new "final cut" as well as three other previous cuts (original, european, and theatrical), plus the documentary and other stuff. classic film.

death note vol 1 & 2
this is possibly my favorite anime ever! it's so dark and edgy, and it moves so quickly, with never a dull moment.

ween - la cucaracha
back in the pure guava days, ween was my favorite band. i still have my old bomber jacket from those days, with an enormous boognish painted on the back. but i just can't get into their latest couple albums. sure, there are some good songs on there, but they've changed from edgy, weird experimenters into an almost-AM-radio kind of band.

milanese - adapt
i found milanese via and they've really impressed me. they do a style of experimental 2-step jungle/garage that's apparently called "dubstep", and they do it quite well. this is apparently an EP and half of it is remixes, so i guess i shouldn't ordered extend first, but i'll be getting that from aquarius really soon. (my girlfriend gave me an aquarius mailorder gift certificate for xmas.)

venetian snares - my downfall
what can i say about venetian snares? his work is consistently first-rate. however, a lot of his records are just collections of recent madcap breakcore that he's composed. this record is not: it's a follow up to rossz csillag allat szuletett. like that record, this one is full of beautiful strings and insane breaks. this one's a little darker, and arguably not quite as good as rossz, but it's still a wonderful album, and more cohesive as a whole than his usual fare.

various artists - 200
planet mu celebrates their 200th release with a compilation. there's some really cool stuff here, with tracks by cool artists like ceephax, boxcutter, MRK1, and duran duran duran... not to mention venetian snares and milanese, mentioned above. there are a couple lame tracks that i'm forced to skip through, but most of it is pretty listenable. it ranges from relatively experimental yet beat-oriented idm to some surprisingly straightforward mashed-up amen jungle stuff.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 
sunday funnies
no lolcolts this week... those are just for game days. if you really want some, make 'em yourself, you lazy bastards! but here's some other stuff.

let's start with today's behind closed doors column in the indy star:

Both parties apparently ran into some transition friction in the final days before Bart Peterson surrendered the mayor's office to Greg Ballard.

Ballard this past week said Peterson wouldn't let his people enter the 25th-floor offices. But the level of animosity between the two camps went beyond that, though not quite reaching the legendary removal of W's from the keyboards in the White House at the end of President Bill Clinton's administration.

the removal of W keys from white house keyboards was indeed "legendary", if by "legendary" you mean that it never happened. two paragraphs in, and we already have a blatant falsehood. nice editing, guys.

and what evidence is there that outgoing peterson aides mashed the place up on their way out? why, there was a dirty supply room! plus, they shredded some stuff! (imagine that... after eight years, they had accumulated some crap they wanted to throw away. the horror! democrats are such dicks!)

but then the column gets a bit more interesting, as it moves on to explain troubles surrounding ike randolph, who apparently won't be getting a high-profile appointment in the ballard administration after all. as it turns out, nobody actually selected ike to be on ballard's transition team; he basically appointed himself. neither ballard nor ike's bosses at IFD were too pleased when they found out what'd happened. see advance indiana for more.

elsewhere, ruth holladay helps set the record straight regarding andré carson. unfortunately, ruth has a bad habit of falling for right-wing bs until her sources come in and straighten her out, and that's what happened here (see also: rishawn biddle and indyundercover, both stories she got wrong before she got right). a couple days ago, ruth posted about the garbage rumors that andré is a member of the nation of islam (farrakhan's people). of course, the rumors are false, and have already been addressed infinity+1 one times, but the julia-haters keep repeating them. but now (finally), ruth's follow-up post has a statement from erin rosenberg, a regular blog commenter who's also andré's campaign treasurer, which i guess makes infinity+2.

and oh... if you have ten thousand dollars, you too can get your picture taken with mayor ballard! power to the people!

i'm pretty much out of political news by now, so i'll just note that avant-garde composer henri chopin has passed away (not to be confused with frédéric chopin). i'd honestly not really heard of the guy, but there's a bunch of his music for free on the fantastic ubuweb site, and it sounds pretty good to my ears.

double primaries?
i haven't been paying too much attention to the presidential primaries, as i don't have a dog in that race. indiana's primary is so late that it doesn't matter who i'd pick—the primaries will be over by the time i'd get a vote. and while the democratic contenders all have their flaws, they're universally far superior to the pack of jokers running for the republican nomination.

so i don't feel obligated to make a choice: i'll be happy to support whoever wins the democratic nomination. right now it looks like that might be obama. it probably won't be john edwards since the media refuses to pay attention to him. (i have to wonder about those who would make thursday's iowa caucuses about hillary. she might've come in third, closely behind edwards, but she got way more votes than huckabee.)

according to today's tully column, tully's favorite politician mitch daniels has an idea to move up indiana's presidential primary. tully loves the idea and writes another of his glowing odes to his mitchiness. but while i agree that it'd be cool to have my primary vote count, the way the governor wants to go about it is downright moronic.

mitch wants to move indiana's presidential primary to be the same day as new hampshire's. mitch asserts, and tully is apparently convinced, that this would force the national parties to focus as much if not more on indiana as they do on new hampshire, which will supposedly bring bazillions of dollars into the state.

the problem is: it won't work. new hampshire has a state law that requires that its primary be held at least seven days before any similar election. in other words, NH is first because NH law requires it. if indiana tried to move its primary up, new hampshire would just move up its primary, too, as it has done several times before (NH primaries used to be held in march). iowa is allowed to have its caucuses before the NH primaries because, let's face it, the iowa caucuses are insane and bear no resemblance to a real election. the same does not hold true for indiana.

this is basic stuff; the fact that neither the governor nor the columnist knows this—and that apparently none of the governor's advisors have bothered to point this out to him—is a bit embarrassing.

but this is possibly the stupidest part:

Daniels said he might include the primary plan in his 2008 campaign platform. He is working out the details but says this primary would be separate from the May contests that determine candidates for other offices. He also suggested imposing a surtax on presidential primary advertising to defray costs.

mitch doesn't want to move up the primary: he wants to hold two primaries! remember, this is the same guy who didn't want to hold a special election to replace julia carson until this may, because he felt it would be too expensive (thankfully, it looks like we'll have the special on march 11). yet he wants the state to have two primary elections every four years? how does that make sense? either move up the primary or don't.

i'm all for moving up the presidential primary so that my vote might actually be worth something. but this plan is just dumb. it may even be mitch's dumbest idea yet.

update: jen at tdw points out that the last time someone proposed moving up indiana's primary, governor daniels wasn't interested.

also, apparently the guv has forgotten all the hubbub from earlier this year:

Both parties have been trying to put a halt to the leapfrogging. They have said they would penalize all but a handful of states if they hold a primary before Feb. 5, stripping them of half their delegates to the national nominating conventions. Under Democratic Party rules, the candidates can also be penalized, losing the delegates they won in the rule-breaking state.

when florida moved up its primary, it didn't result in more candidates coming there to campaign; in fact, just the opposite:

The rules, unanimously passed in 2006 by nearly 450 Democratic party activists across the country - including Florida - are clear and leave little or no leeway for Dean to waive them: Any state that violates the schedule set by the DNC loses half its delegates to the national nominating convention and any candidate who campaigns in that state will forfeit all delegates from that state.

By moving to Jan. 29, Dean told a New Hampshire student, Florida Democrats "essentially converted their primary to a straw poll."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 
in with the new
happy new year, everybody! a new year means it's time for new stuff!

for example, indiana equality has a new blog! well, maybe it's not entirely new, as there seem to be three older posts from december. but brandon monson told me they were launching a new blog as of today, so maybe that means today is the official launch and the old posts are just test posts.

if you're not familiar, IE is probably indiana's premier LGBT advocacy organization, dedicated to fighting discrimination and preventing the passage of an anti-gay marriage amendment in indiana. there has been talk of the state legislature once again trying to pass SJR-7 this year; the IE blog should be a good source of info about that.

meanwhile, the new year means new formats for indy's radio stations! last week, WENS officially moved its talk format to 93.1 (former home of top 40, which has moved to 100.9), and today brings the newest format to 93.9:

Hit songs with a smooth texture are the new specialty at FM radio frequency 93.9, where conservative talk was heard in 2007 and Christian music had a home from 2004 to 2006.

"Warm 93.9" plans to play the softer side of acts such as the Police, John Mellencamp and Gwen Stefani in hopes of attracting female listeners at work -- the same audience coveted by competing pop stations WYXB-FM (105.7), WNTR-FM (107.9) and WKLU-FM (101.9).

"One of the most attractive demographic targets now is women 25 to 54," said Chris Wheat, market manager for Warm 93.9 and sister stations WFMS-FM (95.9) and WJJK-FM (104.5). "It's certainly an advertiser-friendly format."

The new format debuted at 9:39 a.m. today, with 1983 Police hit "Every Breath You Take" airing first.

Warm 93.9, which will retain the call letters WWFT for the immediate future, will air the syndicated "John Tesh Radio Show" from 7 p.m. to midnight on weeknights.

Wheat said the station also plans to hire on-air staff.

you're welcome to disagree, but to my eyes the only good news here is that they're hiring local staff. local content is good, and growing increasingly rare in the days of completely automated stations like jack.

also, doesn't this seem a bit sexist? they want to appeal to women so they're going to play smooth music, because women like soft, smooth unoffensive entertainment that doesn't make them faint in embarrassment like that stuff the kids listen to. i'm not going to use the p-word but that seems to be the underlying message: this is soft, feminine music for girls.

personally, i'm going to miss all the perrey & kingsley. you see, after WWFT dropped hannity, savage, and the bunch earlier this year, they switched to christmas music... meaning there was yuletide tunage to be heard both at 93.1 and 93.9 for about two months. after christmas, rather than keeping up with that for another week, WWFT switched to an all–perrey & kingsley format for about a week. hearing the spaced-out campiness of p&k on the radio was delightfully refreshing... until you realized that they only had three or four songs and were repeating them. "swan's splashdown" is a fun song, but after the fifth or sixth time you've heard it within a half hour, you're probably ready to move on to something else. but moving on to john tesh?

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