i met this guy on the bowery one night. he had interesting theories about how you can become invisible if you find the right balance between not caring to be seen, and people not wanting to see you. . . he then pulled his sheet over himself, and found somewhere in between.



i had previously mentioned that there are some good alternatives to Bright Eyes, for when you're feelin' the melancholy. . . like watchin' the rain fall as a little old homeless lady wrapped in garbage bags picks through the trash while a well-dressed young couple hops out of a cab next to her and makes a joke about how they didn't tip the cabby before dashing into some swanky bar. so here are some of my favorite tracks by Papa M. i have been a fan for a while, but when i was at my 18 year old cousin's funeral a year ago, i remembered that our last conversation had been about how much she liked Papa M. so i guess you could say that has added a particular element to my affinity for his music.

• Papa M - Over Jordan

• Papa M - The Unquiet Grave

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this is bad-ass, but only for the hard and hearty. . .

Idiotarod (saturday)

The Iditarod is the famous long-distance race in which yelping dogs tow a sled across Alaska. Our Idiotarod is pretty much the same thing, except that instead of dogs, it's people, instead of sleds, it's shopping carts, and instead of Alaska it's New York City.

The race starts in Brooklyn, runs into Manhattan, and ends approximately four miles later. Teams of five will race for a cash prize. And glory. Anyone can race. This year, we have 40 teams pre-registered -- 200 runners -- and expect even more.

The rolling pageant and grueling endurance race will happen rain or shine, blizzard or breeze. Runners are encouraged to costume their teams; best in show wins a cash prize.

A lot more information can be found on the website below.

Starting Line: Fulton Ferry Landing Pier, between Old Fulton and Water streets, Brooklyn
2p registration, 2:30p race; $5 per person entry fee
jstark@nonsensenyc.com for registration


Freeze Tag on Wall Street (sunday)

Fight the yearly hibernation inclination of January in New York. The Inaugural statue of General George Washington will be home base, the triangle between the Old U.S. Customs House, The Stock Exchange and the Bank of J.P. Morgan will be the playing field, and you (if you're lucky) will be it. No tag-backs, white magic, black magic, get off my apple tree tricks, chains, or chainsaws allowed. However, cleverly concealed flasks of firewater will be applauded.

Wall and Broad streets, Manhattan
4,5 trains to Wall Street
12:30-1:30p; $free

aww man, i miss the good ol' days.



okay okay, so i may have given the impression that i don't like Bright Eyes. which is not true. i don't see why everyone is wetting themselves over him, but that doesn't mean i dislike his music. the first time i bought one of his albums was at a More Than Music Festival in columbus, ohio. i remember asking one of the guys from The Faint (who was manning the merch table) which was the best Bright Eyes album. he pointed to one and told me it had just come out and was by far the best, it was "Fever And Mirrors." he seemed so confident about it i didn't even think twice. it was a great album, and i still enjoy it.
so to prove that i am not a hater, i gave "Digital Ash, Digital Urn" a few more listens. . . determined to find the best track on it. and i did. here's track #4, "Down A Rabbit Hole." definitely the most interesting musically speaking. but wait it doesn't stop there. i'm also posting another track from his other new release "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning." musically it doesn't do much for me, but how often do you hear a song romanticizing protesters clashing with police? (well, aside from the Le Tigre track i posted a while ago, sort of.) gets points there for originality and timely significance, definitely.

• Bright Eyes - Down A Rabbit Hole

• Bright Eyes - Old Soul Song (For The New World Order)

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Death From Above 1979 cancelled their show last night. i am seriously cursed. fun show at Todd P.'s new space tonight though (on metropolitan, near kent ave, in williamsburg).

FRI 1/28 @ Nameless Space = NE Corner of Metropolitan & River St - River St door | WLMSBRG, BKLYN
L - Bedford / G - Metropolitan / JM - Marcy | 8pm | all ages + booze

--> OCS (John Dwyer from Coachwhips)
----> Black Lights (Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio)
------> Lichens
--------> Kim & Matt

and this is funny.



i have to admit it, Vice Records might be the best label around right now. they just (wisely) added Bloc Party to their impressive roster. i'm still kicking myself for missing their show at the Tribeca Grand a while back. now if only the magazine would finally make good on that subscription they owe me. . . no more tidbits for you jesse (i'm holdin' out on the chocolate ass-shaped candy modeled after super models' buttocks).

• Bloc Party - Banquet

• Bloc Party - Little Thoughts video [real player]

some videos from The Streets courtesy of Vice.

• The Streets - Could Well Be In (video) [realplayer]
[windows - 100k] [windows - 300k] [windows - 450k]
[quicktime - 100k] [quicktime - 300k] [quicktime - 450k]

• Demon, Bruza, Kano and D Double E - Get Out Of My House (video) [realplayer]
[windows - 100k] [windows - 300k] [windows - 450k]
[quicktime - 100k] [quicktime - 300k] [quicktime - 450k]

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flyer for the next opening at my friend's space in brooklyn.

The Third Leg presents "Glorious Holes"
Ginger Brooks Takahashi (NYC), Logan MacDonald (Montreal), and Onya Hogan-Finlay (Montreal)
Opening Reception is Friday, January 28th 7pm-11pm
at Cinders Gallery
103 Havemeyer Street
Between Hope & Grand
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wed- Fri 2pm to 9pm, Sat and Sun Noon to 9pm

you can read a review of the last show they had in NY Arts Magazine.

so i just discovered that it is really hard to type, fold paper airplanes, and eat grapefruit all at the same time. . . i guess my job isn't so bad sometimes. now if they would only switch the coffee to chai tea, i'd be set.

and holy wow. feel the (self-righteous) fire comin' outta this one.



so i've been taking some heat for not liking the popular-media-culture-it-boy-of-the-moment Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes (how many magazines has he been in this month?). i don't mind melancholy, but suicidally-sad and slightly off-key at the same time seems a bit much most of the time. or perhaps try this analogy: the movies "Requiem For A Dream" VS "Amores Perros." "Requiem" took you and just broke you and left you crying on the floor. "Amores Perros" took you, broke you, and then picked you back up again and helped you find the door so you could go on and live with the experience. both are rough, but only the latter offers catharsis (and therefore is more worthwhile). anything that just tears you down and leaves you definitely loses appeal pretty quickly. anyway, so check the two tracks below, they are from the forthcoming Crooked Fingers (a.k.a. a good Conor alternative) release "Dignity And Shame." i really just couldn't pick one.

• Crooked Fingers - Destroyer

• Crooked Fingers - You Must Build A Fire

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man, i have been all serious and informative lately. better cut that shit out before people start getting bored. and i am officially worthless when it comes to getting tickets pre-sale for shows. i now have missed Smog, Tegan & Sara, AND M.I.A./Diplo all in a row. i think i'll just have to give it up and stick to Tommy's Tavern and Asterix.

top secret project i have been working on.



this was given to me by someone who is really really smart. somehow they knew that i loved The Microphones almost as much as i love cover songs. and to top it all off, it not only is a cover, but also happens to be of my favorite Microphones song. damn, life is good sometimes.

• Cex - I Want To Be Cold

just in case you haven't already had this beaten into your head, here's a video of the single from the new LCD Soundsystem album (click on the tiny link "audio" to stream the album).

• LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing At My House Video [Hi] [Lo] (quicktime)

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sledding in ft. greene park, on home-made trash sleds (courtesy of "62"). running around, falling down, wrestling, laughing, and trying to get down a hill on various precarious assemblages of debris. . . it's amazing how much fun can be had with some trash and friends. and no significant injuries, except for the one girl that flew off the six-foot wall at the end of the park. . . the face is not the best thing to land on. look for "62" in the upcoming "Other America" exhibition at Exit Art in february.



hear it to believe it people. . . a song about the tsunami survivors calling them "chinks" and telling them their children are going to be sold into slavery. all thanks to nyc morning radio. this country can be pretty messed up sometimes. there's a ton of banter/arguing between members of the "morning crew" before the song starts. . . but there it is at the end, in all it's glory.


There was a time when the sun was shining bright
So I went down to the beach to catch me a tan
Then the next thing I knew, a wave twenty feet high
Came and washed your country away

And all at once you could hear the screaming chinks
And no one was safe from the wave
There were Africans drowning, little Chinamen swept away
You could hear God laughing, "Swim, you bitches, swim!"

So now you're screwed, it's the tsunami
You better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head
and now your children will be sold to child slavery (2X)

• Miss Jones In The Morning Crew (Hot 97) - Tsunami
(alternative source)

* Update: it looks like the whole crew got canned for this. . . big surprise.

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photos curteosy of indymedia.org.

so Bush got re-instated on thursday (yeah yeah, i know i'm a bit late. . . whatever, i had a really strange weekend). from all accounts on the mainstream media it was just a fun little party and everyone hung out and had a grand old time. they seemed to have missed the utter chaos (which at times got so bad it stopped Bush's motorcade) swirling all around the inauguration. mass arrests, hand-to-hand combat (you can always count on the anarchists for that), and a very liberal use of pepper spray and tear gas. below is a list of on-scene reports complied by Indymedia as they were happening. the top of the list starts at the end of the day and goes backwards. so i would recommend scrolling to the bottom and reading up. there is also a link to a summary article at the bottom. go ahead, get infuriated. . . it's good for the circulation.

# 12:30am New reports from Columbia Road/18th street says bricks were thrown, windows broken; Protesters were hemmed into one end of alley; 100 to 150 arrests appear to have been made; some marchers managed to get out;
# 12:09pm The two buses on 18th street are gone, as are a group of protestors who were arrested; police seem to be about to disperse;
# 11:59pm Police have assaulted DC Radio Co-Op reporter Darby Hickey for the second time during the day; police warned the reporter to "take a walk" and leave the scene, and then she was shoved; 30 more riot cops marched up to the scene and more arrests are taking place; the entire section of Columbia Road has been shut down, and the number of arrests appears to be in excess of 50 people;
# 11:52pm March turned onto 18th Street and marchers were blocked in; heavily-armed police are now detaining and arresting demonstrators, and there are 2 buses parked on 18th and another 4 buses parked on Columbia, but so far nobody has been placed in the buses; a helicopter is overhead spotlighting the scene;
# 11:46pm 100 riot police forming up at 18th and Belmont, and all roads and allies off Columbia Road are being closed off; protesters are now pinned in and are not allowed to leave;
# 11:22pm Large march of 150 or more people is now moving down Columbia Road through Adams Morgan; they have occupied the entire left lane of the road approaching 18th and Columbia, chanting "Bring the War Home"; the marchers are converging on a hotel;
# 8:09pm Police are reporting that Union Station has been cleared of "pedestrian" problems, meaning protesters; police are also reportedly moving in to block what they call "pedestrian traffic" into Columbus Circle, which is a closed area, and it is unclear if this reference to "pedestrians" means "protesters";
# 7:25pm Republican assaulted a photographer taking pictures, while police looked on; no action was taken by the police;
# 7:10pm March has taken over one entire side of Massachusettes Avenue;
# 7:10pm March is now going out of Chinatown onto Massachusettes Avenue towards Union Station; about 200 people; police have been attempting to follow, but road blockades have prevented police vehicles from following;
# Unpermitted march now at McPherson Square;
# Arrest at 15th and M at spontaneous march;
# 3:45 Coffins carried by protestors are burning;
# 3:44 At least 30 riot-police at 14th and Pennsylvania; stand-off between police and protestors; whole area is filled with pepper-spray and tear-gas; 16 mainstream journalists observed getting sprayed by police with pepper-spray;
# 3:38 Police now sending reenforcements to 15th and H street;
# 3:33 Police reporting that one of two officers injured at 14th and Pennsylvania has a broken arm;
# 3:32 Protesters are pushing through gates at 13th and Pennsylvania;
# 3:31 Two women arrested at 13th and Pennsylvania;
# 3:20 Police snipers appearing on rooftops around 14th and Pennsylvania;
# 3:20 Two officers reported injured at 14th and Pennsylvania; mainstream journalists being hit and pepper-sprayed by police;
# 3:18 Pepper spray and tear-gas directed at protestors at 15th and Pennsylvania; at least 50 injured protestors; reports from police of "chest pains" in protestor; mainstream media journalists being hit with pepper spray; reports of bleeding from injured protestors;
# 3:18 Three sections of fence on inaugural parade route now broken down by protestors; fence blocking off parade route has collapsed; protestors battling police in streets; police still responding with pepper spray and tear gas;
# 3:15PM: Much of the first 3 blocks of Pennsylvania has a significant anti-Bush presence, hard to pick pro-bush demonstrators out of some segments.
# 3:05PM: Spot in the fense near 14 and Penn, near Willard Hotel, where they've rattled the fense, gotten it knocked over or bent over twice, MPD pepper spray. Extra police are being deployed to this area.
# 2:57PM: Unconfirmed reports of 4 arrests at 8th and D NW
# 2:56PM: Pepper sprayed anarchists at 11th and E NW
# 2:52PM: Protesters at 14th and Penn have been "contained" -- surrounded by the police, according to one call.
# 2:50PM: Some anarchists at 14th and Penn are trying to pull-down barricades, break through check-points. Check-points are being closed-down by the police. Protests at 16th and H going well. (20 people laying on ground)
# 2:33PM: Flags being burned at 14th and Penn. Some callers report there has been a fight of some sort between anarchists burning a flag and a Bush-supporter trying to take the flag from them.
# 1:50PM: Possible splinter group heading from D & 7 to Capitol area. Riot police lining the streets at Penn & 14th and maybe 1,000 anti-bush protesters in the area there.
# 1:45PM: Police car at Counter-Inaugural space has left, what appears to be a plainclothes cop is still hanging out by the front access.
# 1:43PM: "Gas" at 7th and D NW
# 1:38PM: There's a police car (#137, MPD?) in front of the Counter-Inaugural convergence space.
# 1:34PM: Police being dispatched to Pershing park, report of arrests at D and 7th.
# 1:16PM: 1 uncorroborated report of rubber bullets, snow balls thrown by some activists, several people say at least 2,000 anarchists.
# Die-in at 16th and H, a couple hundred people "dead," organizers say they want more people to join them.
# 1:10PM: 1 person down, hit by pepper spray, maybe physical force between 7th and 8th on G NW, police tried to prevent one "anarchist" march from linking up with another, things are "heating up fast." One DC Radio Coop/IMC contributor has also been hit by pepper spray. No arrests yet.
# 12:45PM: DAWN march is in the vicinity of McPhearson Square, people are shouting "whose streets, our streets!" Mood is "serious, but energetic." 12:53: The square is filling up, plenty of police.
* 12:43: "Anarchist march" at 13th and L, say the police around them were drawn away by "something else."
* 12:35PM: One arrest reported on "P circle," P street near Dupont or Logan? Choppers and police cars heard converging on an area near Logan/in Shaw.
* During Bush's speech, Code Pink held up banners "Bring the troops home" and shouted. Police immediately took them away. After that another group shouted, they were taken away. 2 more protests following that. Members of the audience appluaded the police actions, shouted "USA USA," and some through snowballs while other people tried to block cameras from covering the protesters. Public radio noted this very briefly, and the CNN noted and covered none of it as far as we can tell.
* 12:15PM Splinter group broke away from DAWN march at 16th and Q NW, maybe 200-300 ppl says observer.
* 12:09 Billionaires for Bush finished auction of Social Security and Arctic Wildlife Reserve at FDR Memorial.
* 11:55AM: Police chatter estimates DAWN (Malcom X/Meridian Park) march at 10,000
* 11:50 am DAWN march from MalcomX park just started with 5-800 going down 16th street. Police presence but not too heavy. People from Maine, Michigan, East Coast corridor. Primarily younger protestors, but people who have protested before. College students from Maine. 9 jump out vans are following them behind.
* 11:41AM: Marches have left Dupont Circle and Malcom X/Meridian Park
* 11:31AM: Bush is about to be introduced at the inauguration platform
* DC Indymedia has been having cache/mirror dns issues. They may be resolved. Nothing nefarious going on.
* The president preparing to go to the Capitol, "Operation Primary Package" is underway
* 10:38AM: TSA confirms that there was a 2-car derailment, all trains are being rerouted to New Carrolton, Union Station is "shut down" says TSA.
* 10:10AM: An uncorroborated report of a man in a suit, "dressed like a congressman," arrested at the "yellow gate," Independence and S. Capitol. Who he was and what he was arrested for is unknown.
* 9:41AM: Motorcade moving through at Washington and C streets.
* 9:32AM: Checkpoints B, C and E are open for access to the security zone around the inauguration
* 9:06AAM: The critical mass reached U and 11 NW
* 9:01AM: 60-75 Critical Mass riders came by the DC Indymedia Space. They are continuing their ride with cheers and high spirits. Reports are that the police are staying relatively cool but are following the ride with at least 1 jump out van.
* 8:52AM: Critical Mass has reached the Counter-Inaugural convergence space with no reported trouble. # 12:30am New reports from Columbia Road/18th street says bricks were thrown, windows broken; Protesters were hemmed into one end of alley; 100 to 150 arrests appear to have been made; some marchers managed to get out;

you can read a brief comprehensive article here.

watch an excellent example of Fox News' "fair and balanced" news policy with this "interview" about the inauguration.

• Fox News - inauguration interview (stream from site)



coming to you from the soon to be released new Iron & Wine album "Woman King," here is the very choice title track of said album. something cheerful and pleasant to counteract the potentially nasty taste left in your mouth by today's post.

• Iron & Wine - Woman King

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limited edition prints by Brian Ewing

so this kid Brian Ewing is having a little shindig goin' down in L.A. it's a joint birthday party/art show/and live band thing. there will be food/drink specials, live music by Three Bad Jacks, and most importantly nice artwork for sale (see pics above, and the plethora of band posters on his site). if you are a denizen of the hellish hole they call L.A., you should definitely check it out. oh, and don't worry about buying a present, "Just bring some money and lady friends... all will be right with the world."

Where: ZEN SUSHI in Silverlake, CA
When: January 29th 8 til Midnight (it's a Saturday)
Art: BRIAN EWING i.e. Art Prints, Posters and Original Art
No Cover, 18 and over with ID

i just spent an hour walking around in the blizzard for no particular reason. . . yeah it's one of those weekends. but sledding in ft. greene park in a couple hours, hell yeah.



i wanted to post a track by Three Bad Jacks, but the slackers don't have any samples on their site. . . oh well, their loss. so instead here is a pretty hot mash up from Dopplebanger.

• Gang Of Four VS Coco - Damaged Miracle (by Dopplebanger)

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did you know that williamsburg, brooklyn is soon going to resemble the swanky battery city park? yep it's true, gated high-rises, beautiful waterfront, spacious parks, and roving security with tranquilizer guns in case any "undesirables" get through the perimeter (okay, i made the last one up. . . it'll just be the nypd with tasers). of course people are opposing this plan, asking for the standard % of "affordable housing'. . . but c'mon, this is nyc, not candyland. afterall if 111 First St. could be bullied and burned (arsoned isn't a verb) out of the hands of jersey city and the preservation society, what chance do you think the williamsburg waterfront has? i have a feeling bushwick is gonna start getting really crowded soon. below are some links and quotes from other sources, if you live anywhere near williamsburg (greenpoint, i'm lookin' at you) this is pretty damn important.

"The evil Doctor Yes, (Bloomie's head of Development, Dan Doctoroff) is coming to raise your rents and force all the non-yuppies to move out to Canarsie! His evil plan is to rezone the Williamsburg waterfront to build an Evil Spire of Doom (luxury condos) that will tower 40 floors in to the air. The rest of the neighborhood will fall into an age of shadow and darkness 'neath the bulk of these Imposing Towers of Babel."

"The city's plan will bring 40,000 new yuppies to W'Burg, without adding low-income housing, or a height cap on the luxury waterfront condo high-rise, or re-opening the firehouse, or increasing L train service, or providing access to the waterfront, or adding green space to a community that has almost none to speak of."

"What is truly spectacular is that if you look at the city's "illustrative renderings" like these. they show all this open space with the very edge of a building at the edge of the image. And how big is that building? Well gosh, you can't tell. Because they don't show the tops of the buildings TOWERING over all of Greenpoint. The image wouldn't be big enough. This plan is such a grotesque money grab it isn't even funny. If you want to see what's going to happen once the plan is a proved, take a look at this virtual tour (caution: may cause nausea and or vomiting).

Originally the city swore the public would have access to the waterfront and moderate income housing as part of Shaefer Landing. But instead actually offers one bedroom apartments for $500,000, which might be a bargain for the "new williamsburg" but is waaaaay out of reach for a normal middle income family. Put 20% down and you are paying $2500 a month for a one bedroom apartment. Which is not moderate. Moreover, they seem to be selling spaces in a fully gated community (ie. no public access to the waterfront) with a water taxi stop so you never have to actually set foot in foul Brooklyn."

Shaefer Landing



okay, back to the music. so Bright Eyes is coming out with 2 new albums this month. i've had "Digital Ash, Digital Urn" for a bit, not really feeling it i have to say. this track comes from the other new album "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" and it's also being released as a single. it's nothing amazing, but better than "Digial Ash." the two albums are apparently supposed to represent differenct aspects of his music. i don't know, seems like Conor has been trying, but just can't top "Fever And Mirrors." but anyway, here's a little sneak preview for ya. . . enjoy.

• Bright Eyes - Lua

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yes, that is a mural of Scott Baio. it was in the women's restroom of a porno theater in vancouver of course, where else?



this was sent to me from a friend (dare is say "fan") of this little blog. there was some discussion about how the strength of this song sneaks up on you, and has eluded many on their first listen. so give it a turn and see what you think.

• Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Calloused Fingers Won't Make You Strong, Edith Wong

samples of Scott Baio's singing career can be found here. proceed with caution.

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so did you know that months before the attack of september 11th, the exact same thing (pretty much) took place on network television? yep. there was a show on Fox called The Lone Gunman, a spin-off of the three characters from the X-Files. in the episode, a secret U.S. government agency attempts to crash a Boeing 727 into the WTC via remote control. why you ask? to blame it on foreign terrorists. why, you ask again? well, do to the demise of the cold war, the arms race had ended. military budgets were shrinking (and therefore so were profits for the influential weapons manufacturers), countries like the US were faltering in their un-challenged dominance of the planet, and people were no longer living in fear. . . they were turning to other things, like improving the quality of life. so crash a plane into the WTC, blame it on a pourous network of "terrorists" and BOOM! you've got your long-drawn-out-war-with-hazy-targets-and-even-hazier-goals. cold war nothin'. this time you not only get to have unprecedented spending for the military, but you actually get to go blow people up and take over countries. it's like the cold war + all the fun you were missing the first time around (dare i say "new and improved"?). of course this is all just hypothetical theory, thought up by the mastermind Chris Carter and his team. . . it's not actually real. well, it wasn't supposed to be. and i never really thought of the X-Files as the stuff reality is made of. maybe we should all go rent the dvds and start taking notes. it's not like the real US government would ever intentionally harm it's citizens to further a clandestine agenda or anything. . .

"In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. . . The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." -ABC (5/01/01)

so a network as big as Fox broadcasts this scenario months before it happens, and yet somehow everyone in the government and military just totally missed it.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that...they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," said National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice." -CBS (05/17/02)

"You hate to admit it, but we hadn't thought about this," Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said. -DoD (10/23/01)

and Condoleezza's up to be the next Secretary of State, eh? yeah, we're in good hands people. in case you still don't believe me, you can download a pretty crappy edited version of the original episode and see for yourself.

• The Lone Gunman - "Pilot" (windows media player)

i know you all were hoping for the new Britney Spears video (although it's nothing you haven't seen before), but i thought this was much more interesting. . . and definitely sexier. thanks to this site for the quotes.



so keeping in line with the slight political bent of today's post, here's a track from the unrelentingly conscious Sage Francis. years ago i used to go see Sage when he MC-ed at 313 Bowery for my friend's poetry slam team. he was definitely one of my favorite poets, even if he did intimidate the hell out of me. it's nice to see he's getting some recognition for his solo efforts, although i am not belittling his work with Anticon one bit. but that commercial he did for the X-Games? priceless. . .

• Sage Francis - Slow Down Gandhi

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damn it's m-fckn cold here. i hate riding my bike to work and getting icicles on my face.



a friend over at Hollertronix sent this my way. Lowbudget is half of this dazzling dj duo (and i mean that with the utmost sincerity). his partner Diplo has been doing some pretty crazy stuff, including mixing up Baile funk from Rio ("Favela on Blast"). i'm still feelin' that one out. not only are these guys the best djs outside of Black Label, but i got to watch that brat Hilton make an ass of herself the last time i went to see them. too bad her security had my number when i kept trying to get a photo. anyway this is the mix description straight from the source: "It's adult contemporary meets crunk and Clasic Rock reggae(Aren't I so weird and creative ! WOW!). But mostly it new hip hop (Luda, T.I., Cassidy, Snoop)." what's not to like?

• Lowbudget - January Mix (54 MB!)

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i fought germany. . . and germany won. you will be missed, even if i can always find you in magazines.



so i just saw the movie Garden State it for the first time last night. i remember there was a lot of buzz surrounding this movie because of the "super-indie" soundtrack (which is good, if you're driving through the suburbs in a spring rainfall, i suppose). i couldn't quite figure out why i liked the movie so much, but it just seemed so much more believable and sincere than most "mainstream" releases. especially the characters. i mentioned it to my roommate and he agreed, saying something like, "you're watching it and it's like: yeah i know that girl. . . i've met a girl just like her before." although the ending did feel a bit forced. anyway, this track is from the soundtrack and it fits very well with the farewell from my weekend. . . at least when i played it for her she liked it. classical musicians can be really tough to please with "popular" music.

• Colin Hay - I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You

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this is my dad, in his pajamas. he was telling a story about how he tried to fly when he was little. . . he and his friend skippy had just seen "Peter Pan." my dad was nice enough to let skippy go first, of course. you can really get hurt jumping off a roof, even if you used "pixie dust" (ie. dirt) beforehand.



I've been sittin' on this one way too long. Shystie is a female MC hailing out of the british garage scene. her voice just rips out and bites you on your ass. . . and she don't let go until she's good and ready. i'm not going to get into what exactly the garage/grime/eski scene is, but if you're feelin' the likes of Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, etc. this is for you.
* for further reading on this subject, go to silverdollarcircle and this entry on Gutterbreakz.

• Shystie - P. P. Stealer

• Dizzee Rascal - Dream (video) [real player hi] [real player lo]

probably the best music video i saw all last year, of course that means it's the best out of about 20 or 30. take that as you will.

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June 11, 2003

Michael Chertoff: Ashcroft's Top Gremlin

Spreading Mischief from DoJ to the Federal Bench


I have been watching John Ashcroft so long that it is getting to be a
little boring. Promising to use all available means to "fight terrorism," prosecuting every violation of law "to the fullest extent of the law," desperately wanting the death penalty for every possible offense, and, according to his remarks last week before the Senate Judiciary committee, wanting laws changed to impose the death penalty for even more offenses. Ashcroft changes law and procedure by signing Executive Orders, and yes, he can get away with that unless a court stops him. So far, no court has. Some congressional members, damn few, express mild dismay at his tactics, such as locking up resident aliens after 9/11 and holding some of them for months without access to family or lawyers (or charges), then deporting many on the most technical visa violations (some of them the fault of INS, over which he has authority). It never ends-the Ashcroft watch. It only gets worse, and more frightening.

But now I have a new gremlin to watch, someone who is as intent on
undermining the law and Constitution as Ashcroft. I am referring to the man behind the criminal prosecution of terrorists, Michael Chertoff. Chertoff, former chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, and a scary looking guy if ever there was one, has been elevated to the level of Court of Appeals judge--the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. What's so scary about Michael? Well, besides having no judicial experience and being a right-ring radical who does not believe in the Constitution and wants to rewrite federal law and rules of procedure on an ad hoc, case by case basis, as it suits him, nothing I guess.

A good place to look for Chertoff's legal philosophy is in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui , now taking place in the Eastern District of Virginia. Chertoff is not the prosecutor of course, Paul McNulty of the Eastern District is. But Chertoff is McNulty's boss and he is calling the shots. So Chertoff argued the government's case in the super secret hearing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week. The government is trying to block trial judge Leonie Brinkema's ruling that Moussaoui and his lawyers have access to the government's star witnesses against him. The government has refused and appealed. Judge Brinkema, who still believes in the Constitution, rightly ruled that to deny Moussaoui that access is a blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses.

Brinkema indicates that she will not be a party to making exceptions to the Constitution on a case-by-case basis. She, in effect, suggests that maybe Justice better take Moussaoui to Guantanamo and try him there in secret, in the military tribunals they set up. Easy there to not only try him, but convict him, and execute him . So why is the government insisting on keeping him in federal court?

I have the answer, and it lies in Chertoff. Chertoff's goal, I believe, and the goal of Ashcroft and Bush in supporting this prosecution in federal court, is to subject federal trials, as they see fit, to ad hoc exemptions of whatever laws (be they constitutional, criminal code, or rules of procedure) that will suit their purposes. Their grand scheme is to ultimately cripple and dismantle the federal courts as we know them, one brick at a time.

Support for this theory of mine includes their prosecution of attorney Lynne Stewart, for, in effect, zealously representing her client; rules created by Ashcroft that subject attorneys and their clients to surveillance, be they under secret wiretaps issues by the secret FISA court or monitoring of all contacts in prison settings. These procedures came about by fiat from Ashcroft. They make any attorney who represents someone charged with an act of "terrorism" (and a terrorist crime is one defined by Bush and Ashcroft-that is an ad hoc determination, as well).

The Moussaoui case has many examples of legal changes. Moussaoui and even his attorneys (!) cannot receive all documents related to the case, because of "national security" interests. Witnesses may appear in court behind screens (!) so that they cannot be seen. And, the Fourth Circuit hearing last week was closed-closed-for the first time in history. Under Ashcroft we have had secret warrants (or no warrants), secret hearings denying bail, secret trials, and now secret appellate court arguments. Next, we can expect the Supreme Court to be closed, can't we?

The 4th Circuit hearing was close to all but those "screened" and approved by the Justice Department, the Defense Department, and the CIA. The judge presiding over the hearing told the "security" official to jump up if any attorney arguing the case said anything that would jeopardize national security-so that the room could be cleared! Then, as will happen in a trial, the government can proceed out of the presence of the defendant or his attorney. Oh, of course, Moussaoui was not allowed to be at the appellate hearing last week. How is that for a legal system.

Chertoff argued to the 4th Circuit that the Court could not order the government to produce its star witness against Moussaoui because (are you ready?) he, the witness, is out of the country at an undisclosed location. True, but the witness is in the custody of the federal government! The out-of-the country argument is a sham. This is similar to a ruling recently by the federal court that ruled that Guantanmo Bay prisoners had no access to federal courts for claims that they be charged or release because-they are out of the country!! Of course, in federal custody, but that does not matter.

The absurd arguments contrary to the letter and spirit of all that not only the Constitution, but current federal law provides, is appalling and shameful. Chertoff will be making those arguments for the government when they appear before his court (and if you think that appellate judges don't make arguments, you did not hear Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist make Bush's arguments for his attorney, not Solicitor General Ted Olson. And you have not read the rulings of the Fourth Circuit when it denied an American citizen, Yasir Hamdi, the right to see a lawyer. He is locked up in some military brig. He has not been charged with a crime and has been in custody for close to a year. The opinion was a political treatise, not a legal argument. And the treatise-opinion supported the government's argument that courts step back and not conduct meaningful judicial review or, heaven forbid, overrule the government in a time of "war." And that treatise said that the "war" on terror will only be over when the President says it is over, and that the "front" of the war may change from time to time. When the "front" changes, then the government may tighten up surveillance and arrests on that "battleground," which could be Alexandria, Virginia or any city in the country.

This same court will rule on Moussaoui's right to have access to a witness who, by all counts, may help his case and hurt the government. If the 4th Circuit rules that the witness may not be produced, federal law, procedure, and the Constitution will have been violated to support the Bush-Ashcroft agenda. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Michael Chertoff with hardly an argument (though they did conduct an "investigation" into charges that he engaged in some misconduct while at DOJ, which turned up nothing, or so we are told).

Keep your eye on Michael Chertoff. As bad for the law and Constitution as many of Bush's judicial appointees are, Chertoff has been the architect of prosecutions in the "war on terror." And he may have big changes in mind for you, me, the courts, and the Constitution.

Elaine Cassel practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teaches law and psychology, and writes Civil Liberties Watch under the auspices of The City Pages. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net





this guy was the singer in a seminal 90s hardcore band from cleveland. anyone who guesses his name wins a prize.



Tv On The Radio is one of my top 5 bands of 2004. i could think of a lot of adjectives to describe them, but i think the "refreshing" sums them up the best. i already posted their cover of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Modern Romance." so keeping in the vein of the not-readily-available. . . here's an acapella/beatbox version of "Ambulance" done live on Air America Radio. sorry if the quality isn't ideal, but it is internet radio after all, whatcha gonna do?

• Tv On The Radio - Ambulance (live acapella)

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man people are grumpy in nyc. walkin' through union square yesterday it was like the parade of the sour pusses. and the weather wasn't even bad or anything. it just seems to me that if living here makes you so pissed off, why not move? it's not like it's more expensive to live outside of nyc or anything. of course this simply reiterates what i ask myself every morning when i get up. . . but that's a whole other issue. if nothing else, outside nyc you would occasionally see something stunningly beautiful like an ice-covered tree. . . that alone definitely makes getting up in the morning worth it.



so when the first album by The Kills came out, i liked it, quite a bit. i wasn't totally blown out of my discount sneakers, but it was really enjoyable. well this track is off their new album, and if it's any indication. . . i need to go get me some extra sneakers. if you don't like this, write me and tell me why. there must be something wrong with you, and i would like to try and understand your problems.

• The Kills - At The Back Of The Shell

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so i know i'm 10 days late, but here's some flicks of the drunken cleveland fun from new years (kitchen brawls, fireworks, rooftop hijinks excluded). and that 8 hour drive back to nyc is not to be taken too lightly. . . although the amazing snow-covered trees leaning out into the highway up in the mountains almost made the whole trip worth it. the new Mars Volta album came on almost exactly as i entered the snow-scape. there couldn't have been a more compelling soundtrack for the ride through this setting of many childhood dreams and nightmares.



nothin' fancy today. but every time i hear this song i think of Boo Radley sitting in his house staring out at the kids playing in their yards. . .

• M. Ward - Sad Sad Song

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