Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Celebrities’

Antiwar songs: “Rooster” by Alice In Chains

In Celebrities, Communism, Entertainment, History, Military, Music, Obituaries, Protest, US Government, Veterans, War on April 22, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Alice In ChainsThis video is especially interesting because it includes snippets of an interview with guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s father, who served two tours in Vietnam. In the father’s interview, he states that he hopes no one else will ever have to go through what he went through.

Jerry Cantrell never even met his father, Jerry Sr. (nicknamed “Rooster”), until he was three years old. Up until then, his father had been a soldier. About his father, Jerry once said:

My dad was trained to be a fucking killer. After that, you can’t just come back home and say, “OK, everything’s cool. I’m going to work 9 to 5 now.” That shit scars you forever.

“Rooster” is Jerry’s tribute to his father’s suffering. I will warn you, though, that the video contains explicit images of war.

For those of you who would prefer to not view images of that nature, this second video is the unplugged version of the same song, which shows nothing but the band performing:

Here are the lyrics, in case any of you can’t make them all out:

Ain’t found no way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere

Wife and kids, household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere

Here they come to snuff the Rooster
Yeah here come the Rooster, yeah
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, ya know he ain’t gonna die

Walkin’ tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my homeland
Gloria sent me pictures of my boy

Got my pills ‘gainst mosquito death
My buddy’s breathin his dyin’ breath
Oh God please, won’t you help me make it through

Here they come to snuff the Rooster
Yeah here come the Rooster, yeah
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no ya know he ain’t gonna die

Alice In Chains is Layne Staley, lead singer/songwriter; Jerry Cantrell, guitarist/vocals/songwriter; Mike Inez, bassist; and Sean Kinney, drummer. AiC was one of the most popular and successful heavy metal bands to come out of the early 90s Seattle music scene, along with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

AiC was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Heavy Metal Group”, and nominated for an American Music Award for “Favorite Heavy Metal Artist”.  AiC reached platinum album status with both “Dirt” (which contained “Rooster”) and “Facelift”, and was awarded an MTV Music Award for best video from a film, with “Would” (from the film “Singles”).

Singer Layne Staley, ranked #27 in Hit Parader’s “Heavy Metal’s All Time Top 100 Vocalists” and widely considered one of the most influential singers in rock, struggled with a severe heroin addiction for over a decade, and finally succumbed to the ravages of that addiction in 2002.

RIP, Layne.

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EW’s List of Memorable Antiwar Films

In Activism, Celebrities, Entertainment, History, Media, Terrorism, War on April 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Entertainment Weekly has come up with a list of memorable antiwar films, listed below.

Would you add other films to this list? Do you believe that any don’t belong on the list? Have antiwar films helped form your present views? What is the greatest and/or most memorable antiwar film of all time, in your opinion?

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
The Hollywood adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel is one of the earliest anti-war films, and still stands among the most haunting. As naive young German troops fight and die in World War I, their devotion to their homeland comes to seem cruelly meaningless.

LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1937)
French auteur Jean Renoir looks at WWI from the other side of the trenches and arrives at much the same conclusion. Three captured officers (Pierre Fresnay, Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio) bond in a German POW camp and learn that nationalism and class divisions are less important than the things all humanity has in common. Such a damning statement that the Nazis seized its negatives when they invaded France three years later.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
Call it the Stop-Loss of its day: Midwestern war heroes (Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Frederic March) struggle to ease back into their small-town lives after World War II. A rare look at the long-term challenges faced by ”the Greatest Generation” once they defeated the Axis.

PATHS OF GLORY (1957)
Director Stanley Kubrick’s first big box-office success was also his first foray into the anti-war territory he would return to again and again. Kirk Douglas stars as a compassionate French colonel defending troops who have been accused of cowardice by their brutal superiors during WWI.

DR. STRANGELOVE: OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)
Kubrick’s approach is considerably lighter in this mordant Cold War satire. As the U.S. and U.S.S.R. hurtle toward nuclear apocalypse for no particular reason, Peter Sellers pulls off a hat trick, playing the psychotic rocket scientist of the title, the ineffectual American president, and the lone sane military man. A masterpiece of weapons-grade gallows humor.

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966)
Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo delivers a still-searing portrait of Algeria’s mid-20th-century war of independence against its French colonial government. As both sides trade escalating acts of terrorism and brutality, the Western occupation is revealed as an exercise in gory futility.

CATCH-22 (1970)
Yossarian lives! Mike Nichols directs an all-star ensemble (Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, Orson Welles, Anthony Perkins, Bob Newhart…Art Garfunkel?!) in an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s tragicomic WWII novel. The characters may have been Allied bombers stationed in the Mediterranean, but the theme of senseless violence amid a bureaucratic tangle could hardly have been more relevant to the ever-deepening Vietnam disaster.

M*A*S*H (1970)
Before Hawkeye and Trapper John were primetime-TV staples, they featured in Robert Altman’s dark Korean War comedy. Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, and Tom Skerritt star as wisecracking Army doctors in a chaotic base camp south of the DMZ in the 1950s — another thinly veiled stand-in for the situation in Vietnam.

COMING HOME (1978)
Three years after the U.S. withdrew from Southeast Asia, American audiences finally got a great film that explicitly addressed Vietnam. Jane Fonda and Jon Voight both took home Oscars for their roles in a love triangle involving a paraplegic veteran and his nurse…

THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
…and that same year, the Academy voted this intense Vietnam movie Best Picture. Robert De Niro, and Christopher Walken star as Pennsylvania steelworkers turned soldiers; we watch the war’s inhuman violence tear them apart as they proceed from a pre-war hunting trip through the battlefield and back home. You’ll never forget those Russian roulette scenes.

APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
In a loose re-telling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) journeys up a Cambodian river to find and kill the unhinged Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). It’s since become one of the most iconic Vietnam War films — quotes don’t get more quotable than Robert Duvall bellowing, ”I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

DAS BOOT (1981)
Back to World War II: Director Wolfgang Petersen takes us inside a claustrophobic German submarine, revealing the grueling realities of undersea battle for a young crew whose members are beginning to question Nazi ideology.

PLATOON (1986)
The first and most affecting of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam films. Charlie Sheen, standing in for Stone’s own wartime experiences, drops out of college and ships off to the Army. Caught up in the violent rivalry between two superior officers — a brutal authoritarian played by Tom Berenger and a warmer sergeant played by Willem Dafoe — Sheen’s ideals are shattered.

FULL METAL JACKET (1987)
Another insanity-of-war polemic from Kubrick, this one focusing on a troop of Vietnam-bound Marines. First we see Vincent D’Onofrio as a young recruit driven insane by the brutal dehumanization of basic training. The film’s second segment follows the rest of the troops through a similarly hellish march into the city of Hue.

THREE KINGS (1999)
In director David O. Russell’s quirky examination of the (first) Gulf War’s aftermath, soldiers played by George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze happen upon a treasure trove of Saddam Hussein’s gold bullion in 1991 — and then things really get started. As they traverse the desert, gradually coming to realize the war’s effect on Iraq’s civilians, wry humor gives way to touching drama.

MUNICH (2005)
Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated epic takes place more than 30 years ago, but it’s still the only feature film that’s truly done justice to the profound ethical complexity of today’s ”War on Terror.” Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, and others are undercover Israeli spies, assigned to secretly track and assassinate the Palestinian terrorists who planned the vicious murder of Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Their mission seems entirely righteous at first — but as they travel through Europe, picking off the men on their hit list, anything resembling moral clarity soon vanishes.

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS/LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006)
Clint Eastwood directed not one but two dramas about the punishing Allied campaign to take Iwo Jima at the end of WWII. In Flags, the U.S. government forces the soldiers who hoisted the stars and stripes above the island in the iconic photograph into uncomfortable propaganda roles when they return home. And in the Japanese-language Letters, we see the same bloody battle from the other perspective, as Ken Watanabe’s Gen. Kuribayashi struggles to maintain dignity amid rising casualties.

I was surprised that they didn’t include “The War At Home“, a film which takes place after a soldier returns home from Vietnam, as he struggles to deal with the horrors he experienced; the film stars Emilio Estevez, Kathy Bates, and Martin Sheen.

Another antiwar film which I would highly recommend is “Jacob’s Ladder“. It stars Tim Robbins and Danny Aielo, and is kind of hard to explain. IMDB describes it as, “A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn’t what he believes it to be when he’s attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.” It seems like a horror film in many ways, but has a very interesting plot twist at the end, which still gives me goosebumps when I think about it. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Here is the trailer for “Jacob’s Ladder”:

Which antiwar films have you seen and would recommend to others?

Dave Grohl’s “Red, White, and Barbeque” Presidential Campaign

In Activism, Celebrities, Entertainment, George Bush, Humor, Immigration, Music, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Protest, Shine on you crazy diamond, War on March 24, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Dave Grohl on HARP MagazineDave Grohl, formerly of grunge rock groundbreakers Nirvana and founder of the Foo Fighters, has decided we should return to rock’n’roll values in this country, and to that end he has announced he is running as an Independent Presidential Candidate. He recently spoke with HARP Magazine, and here are some excerpts:

On why he’s the right candidate for the job: “There’s this redneck image of America that’s been cultivated over the last eight years by our redneck president. America has blue states, red states and all kinds of divisions, but we need someone to bring them all together—and that person is me. Every night when I’m on tour, I bring my message to thousands and thousands of people. There’s 10 thousand people that woke up this morning and felt like America is the right place to be because at our show last night they were spilling beer all over themselves and tongue kissing for two hours. What other candidate can do that?”

On what’s wrong with America: “To keep cool in the summertime as a kid I turned on the hose and I drank from it. I want America to come back to that place where we’re all drinking from the hose. I think that’s a perfect metaphor for what’s gone wrong in this country. Water is now more expensive than gasoline. How is that possible? It’s because in this country, corporate domination dictates our daily lives.”

On what will bring America together: “I think that what the country needs now is a good, smoky barbecue—family style, at least once a week, winter months included. It’s important that people bring it back to cooking over the fire as a family unit. You know what I do when I sit around a grill with my family? I talk. We talk. It’s something about that hickory smoke that brings my family together—and friends. And that’s where I really get to share and learn with my family and fellow Americans. It’s around that grill. It’s two beers, it’s three beers, it’s four beers, it’s 10 beers. This is what America needs—beer, and barbecue. It’s the red, white and barbecue.”

On George W. Bush’s 8-year reign: “I can’t think of one president that’s been more detrimental to this country than George Bush. He’s not only set us back 50 years, I think he set us back 10,000 years. Morally this country has become prehistoric. I want us to be morally futuristic. I want to be so forward focused that we redefine American morals: family, music, barbecues.”

On the immigration issue: “Let me make a musical analogy: I look at America as if it were Wembley stadium—it’s only so big but you can fit a lot of people in it. As president of the United States of America, I promise to rock the fucking house—and everyone’s invited.”

On the war in Iraq: “I’m going to make war illegal. I’m going to make war against the law. No war. None. Anywhere.”

On “change”: “I want to present a different kind of change. I want to change change. If you continue to change change then it truly becomes change whether it’s technology, society, the economy, or the spreading of democracy. I want to be the president that takes change and changes it over and over again.”

Source: HARP Magazine

Of course, this gives me an excellent excuse to post a Foo Fighters video, so here is “The Pretender”. 😉

“Girls Gone Wild” founder victimized by “Judge Gone Wild”

In Celebrities, Censorship, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Crime, Entertainment, First Amendment, Fraud, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Police State, Politics, Protest, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation on March 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Joe Francis / Girls Gone WildI am not a fan of “Girls Gone Wild”. In fact, I almost vomit every night when I’m trying to watch South Park and Reno 911, since that’s when most of those commercials seem to air.

The latest is “The Wildest Bar In America”, and the commercial shows young women engaged in sex acts with one another, in public. If you purchase that one with a credit card (so they can automatically send you more in the future), you get “Finally 18” for free. The voiceover for the latter video says, “These girls have been waiting for their chance to go wild!”

I’m sorry, but after seeing that commercial – which shows young women masturbating on camera – I’d guess they went wild long before their 18th birthday.

The thought which always occurs to me when I see those commercials is, I’m glad it’s not my daughter. I’m glad I don’t even have a daughter, because then I don’t have to worry about her getting sauced on Spring Break then going wild on camera. I cannot even imagine the horror of parents across this country when they realize their daughter has appeared in “Girls Gone Wild”, and especially the parents of those girls who actually appear in the commercials.

However, as much as I hate “Girls Gone Wild”, I feel that I must speak out against what happened to the man behind the videos.

Joe Francis, the founder of “Girls Gone Wild”, has been in jail for the last year, and could not even post bail to get out. It all started when some parents accused him of filming their underage daughters. Francis claimed they had identification, so he had no way of knowing they were underage and thus he had done nothing wrong. I believe him. After all, he has filmed literally thousands of young women, has made untold millions from doing so, and I find it very hard to believe that he doesn’t check identification. In fact, Francis apparently takes a lawyer with him, to make sure he doesn’t do anything to get himself into trouble. The attorney checks IDs, and has the girls agree to participate both on video and in writing. The video statement is made so that no one can claim they were too drunk or otherwise unable to give consent. Joe Francis is much smarter than people expect him to be.

At any rate, Francis refused to negotiate in a civil suit brought by the parents of those girls, and he was thrown in jail for it.

When I first heard this I thought, surely that’s not the real reason he’s in jail. After all, it was a civil suit, not criminal charges. However, sure enough, that’s exactly why he was in jail.

Then while he was in jail for not negotiating with parents trying to shake him down for a civil suit (let’s be honest, once again, in saying that the “Girls Gone Wild” had actually gone wild long before they ever met Joe Francis) the IRS came a-knockin’. It appears that they claim Joe owes millions in unpaid taxes.

I’d hate to be Joe Francis, with all those problems.

This past week, he was finally released from jail after serving 11 months with no bail on the civil contempt charge (though the tax evasion charges are still pending, and he will go to trial on those charges at a later date) and faced a judge in Florida on criminal charges of child abuse and prostitution, related to filming the underage girls (for criminal charges, all that matters is that they were factually under 18). He struck a misdemeanor no contest plea, the judge gave him time served, no probation, no fine, he’s free to go. The only condition was that “Girls Gone Wild” not film there again for three years. That shouldn’t be a problem, given that girls are going wild all over this great nation of ours.

The problem I see with this, putting aside my personal feelings about his line of business, is that the man should never have been in jail over a civil suit in the first place. Here’s the basic scenario: he got sued by angry parents whose daughters used fake IDS to claim they were of legal age, the judge told the parties to work out a settlement, he didn’t want to work out a settlement because he thought he’d done nothing wrong since he was actually the one defrauded, so the judge threw him in jail for civil contempt. Personally, I think the judge showed his personal bias in the case, by throwing a man in jail simply because he preferred for a jury decide if he had done anything wrong. I think Francis is right, and I seriously doubt a civil jury would find against him, given all the safeguards he had taken against filming underage girls.

The problem with this is that, at the time he was originally incarcerated, no jury had ever determined that he had done anything wrong, civilly or criminally, and the criminal charges against him were not even close to being capital crimes, so he was entitled to bail. Frankly, I get the impression that they just didn’t want him in their area, documenting the fact that their little girls are going wild.. Maybe one of the girls who went wild is the niece of a friend of a friend of the judge, who knows.

Overall, while I am definitely not a fan of “Girls Gone Wild”, I am a fan of the Constitution, and under the Constitution, what happened to Joe Francis should never happen to anyone.

Nolan Chart chooses Jesse Ventura as Ron Paul’s successor

In Barack Obama, Candidate Endorsement, Celebrities, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Medical Marijuana, Politics, Republican on March 13, 2008 at 12:46 am

Could Jesse Ventura win the White House as a Libertarian nominee? I’d say no way, but Jeff Wrobel at Nolan Chart believes he can.

In the spirit of Dr. Paul’s request, it is time to choose his successor. It’s time to choose a candidate who can avoid the pitfalls of the Ron Paul candidacy. As discussed in a previous NolanChart article, Paul’s followers should sponsor a moderate libertarian celebrity for president. In the following mathematical model, I will prove that if Paul’s supporters place Jesse Ventura on the ballot, he will be the next president of the United States.

First: an introduction for those unfamiliar with Jesse Ventura. He’s 56 years old and is a former Navy Seal. He became famous as Jesse “The Body” Ventura in the World Wrestling Federation. He used his success there to become an actor. His most famous role was as a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s crack commando team in the movie Predator, where he uttered his most memorable line: “I ain’t got time to bleed.” In 1998 he ran (as Jesse “The Mind” Ventura) against very well-known candidates, Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Hubert Humphrey III, for governor of Minnesota — and Ventura won!

Jesse Ventura could be placed at about the center of the Libertarian quadrant of the Nolan Chart. He describes himself as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”. Like most libertarians he supports a smaller government in general, lower taxes, gay rights, medicinal marijuana, instant-runoff voting, opposes helmet and seatbelt laws, opposes the use of the National Guard overseas, and opposed the teachers union. In a few areas he disagrees with pure libertarians; for instance, he approves of well-funded government-run lower education and government-run public transportation.

Ventura can avoid most of the troubles that befell Ron Paul. First, Ventura is taken somewhat seriously by the media since he has actually served in a high public executive office (as both a mayor and governor) and has considerable media experience with his own radio and TV talk shows. Second, and most importantly, he is not as radical a libertarian as Ron Paul, so he’ll appeal more to liberals, centrists, and conservatives. Third, he is not nearly as old as Ron Paul, has an imposing 6′ 4″ frame, and (no disrespect to the very honorable Dr. Paul) has a fair deal of charisma.

You can read the entire article, including his mathematical predictions, here.

Glenn Beck’s horrifying hospital experience

In Celebrities, Crazy Claims, Health, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Politics on January 26, 2008 at 4:57 am

Glenn BeckConservative television personality Glenn Beck is absolutely outraged because he went to a hospital emergency room in an upscale area (where the President of GE is treated, no less), and was made to wait in the ER for 40 minutes. Even after he got into a bed, for two horrifying hours he was given no pain medication, and he was ignored by hospital staff.

He even cried, trying to get attention, but it didn’t work. What does an incredibly annoying, self-important, arrogant and pompous television personality have to do to get some medical treatment these days, anyway? Beck complained about “massive, massive pain”, and complained that a large orderly did not help Mrs. Beck get him up out of the chair. He requested oxygen, but that request was denied.

He says he has hospital stories from that stay that will “melt your brain”. He compared his hospital experiences to the movie “Saw“. He felt that there was “no reason to live”.

Eventually the situation was put into perspective for us by Beck’s employer, CNN, when they compared Beck’s experience to that of Edith Rodriguez.

Last year, [Rodriguez] was on the floor of a Los Angeles hospital emergency room vomiting blood, and witnesses say no one did anything to help her. Her boyfriend actually called 911, which refused to help since she was already in a hospital. Rodriguez died in the emergency room.

CNN is absolutely correct. Glenn Beck could have died right there in the ER, from his life-threatening case of …..

Hemorrhoids?

You’re kidding, right?

Okay, that’s just plain funny. Becky needs to man up and stop acting like a whiny little sissy girl, ROFL.

If anyone can stomach watching this ass-clown whine incessantly about his horrifying hemorrhoid hospital experience, here’s the video he made (yeah, he actually made a video so we could point and laugh at him – thanks, Becky!)

_________________________________

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Beck’s hemorrhoid horror

CNN: Five things not to do in the ER
Originally posted on Adventures in Frickintardistan

The RIAA has finally lost what little bit of mind it started out with…

In Celebrities, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Entertainment, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Music, Protest on January 4, 2008 at 12:38 am

RIAA posterThe RIAA, the recording industry mouthpiece responsible for suing everyone from pre-teens to grannies for downloading music online, has now suggested that it is against the law even for consumers to copy a CD onto their own computer, for their own personal use, or to loan a CD to someone else for them to listen to it.

When I read that, I threw up into my mouth a little bit. Do you have any idea how many albums I loaned out and/or borrowed when I was a teenager? Yeah, I know, I’m dating myself by referencing albums. Yet, I’m sure teens today do the same thing with CDs, and you know what? I don’t see a damn thing wrong with doing that. They bought it, it’s theirs, and they can do with it as they please.

According to The Washington Post:

The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.

“I couldn’t believe it when I read that,” says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. “The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation.”

RIAA’s hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: “If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you’re stealing. You’re breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.”

Whether customers may copy their CDs onto their computers—an act at the very heart of the digital revolution—has a murky legal foundation, the RIAA argues. The industry’s own Web site says that making a personal copy of a CD that you bought legitimately may not be a legal right, but it “won’t usually raise concerns,” as long as you don’t give away the music or lend it to anyone.

The Howell case was not the first time the industry has argued that making a personal copy from a legally purchased CD is illegal. At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG’s chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that “when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Copying a song you bought is “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy,’ “ she said.

The industry “will continue to bring lawsuits” against those who “ignore years of warnings,” RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said in a statement. “It’s not our first choice, but it’s a necessary part of the equation. There are consequences for breaking the law.” And, perhaps, for firing up your computer.

They’ve GOT to be kidding.

If I buy a book and loan it to someone else to read, am I violating the author’s copyright? Of course not, especially since libraries are made to do exactly that. Yet it takes a LOT longer to write a book, than it does to record a CD, and arguably requires far more intelligence and (in many cases) more talent. Why is it that writers aren’t screaming about this, while musicians are? I’d guess it’s because writers are smarter than musicians, but we already knew that.

Libraries now loan out CDs, they’ve been doing that for quite a while. Is the RIAA going to sue libraries for loaning out CDs, or will they pick and choose who they are going to sue? Outrageous.

Now, I’m not into downloading music, never have been. However, I’m getting so annoyed with these RIAA holier-than-thou assholes that I’m tempted to start downloading the hell out of music I already own, just to prove a point.

If I buy a CD, the music is mine forever. I can copy the music files onto my computer in case the CD ever gets scratched, I can post a song on my website, I can loan the CD to a friend so they can listen to it. That’s all called “Fair Use”. If the CD really sucks, I can use the CD itself as a frisbee to play with my dogs (I don’t suggest that, because dogs can get hurt on it) or I can use it as a coaster. What I do with it is nobody’s business but mine, because I own it. I feel confident that, when and if the RIAA’s newest ludicrous claims are ever litigated, the courts will agree with me.

What the RIAA folks don’t seem to understand (or maybe they’re starting to figure it out, time will tell) is that music consumers are rebelling, big time. CD sales were down 20% from last year. People are paying for downloads instead, so they get only the songs they want (as opposed to buying a CD, where you are paying even for songs you don’t want). The industry is changing, and if the RIAA and the artists don’t change with it, they’re in for a world of hurt.

Truthfully, I won’t feel sorry for them if they end up going broke. I bust my ass to write for a living, when I’m writing I’m working 18 hours a day, sometimes for months on end. I’ve got a few stories I’ve been chasing for years, at great cost to me in both time and money. Yet you don’t see me bellyaching because the local library loaned my work to multiple people without paying me for it each time they loan it out.

By the way, I blame this entire mess on Metallica. They were upset because people were downloading their music on Napster, and raised hell and started this entire mess. The problem is, Metallica really isn’t all that talented, and their music isn’t all that unique. It’s not as if they created the musical equivalent of War and Peace, after all.

The RIAA needs to understand that it is going too far, and their ownership myopia is going to start backfiring on them with juries. Just hide and watch, you’ll see that I’m right. Jury nullification is alive and well in this country, and jurors are not going to find anybody liable for thousands of dollars in damages merely for copying a CD onto their own computer for personal use, or for loaning a CD to their friend.

Originally posted by ElfNinosMom on Adventures in Frickintardistan

Known Libertarian Selected For Barker’s Replacement on Game Show

In Celebrities, Libertarian on July 24, 2007 at 10:45 am

It’s official! Rosie O’Donnell will not be spouting off 9/11 conspiracies on the “Price Is Right”. Drew Carey is Barker’s replacement on the longtime game show. I think Barker let out a big sigh of relief when he found out Drew was replacing him and not Rosie.

Barker said he’s not familiar enough with Carey’s past performances to offer an opinion on his selection. But, he said, “I understand he ad-libs very well and that he has a very nice, friendly way of working, and I think both of those would be helpful to him on`The Price Is Right.'” His advice for Carey: “Go out there and do that show the way you think it should be done. Don’t imitate me and don’t imitate anyone else.”

We have John Stossel on ABC and Drew Carey on CBS…who’s next?

Now for something completely different….

In Celebrities, Censorship, Music, Shine on you crazy diamond on July 7, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Back in the ’70s, there was a lot of controversy about alleged backward masking (i.e., subliminal messaging) in rock music.  Parents were absolutely freaking out over it, and forbidding their children to listen to rock music.   It should surprise no one to discover that I was one of the kids back then who played a lot of albums backward, just to see what all the controversy was about.  It was pretty easy to do on a record player, after all.

While most songs played backward have words here and there that you can clearly recognize, and some even had recognizable sentences which appear to make sense in some way, the undisputed king of all backward messages was, and still is, “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.  In fact, many hardcore rock fans at that time called the song “Oppositioner”, based on its backward message.

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t think this was intentional at all, since even human speech played backward can say some pretty weird stuff.  Still, it’s kinda freaky that the entire song seems to be a message in line with the song title, LOL.  So, for your viewing and listening pleasure, I present to you “Stairway To Heaven” played backward, with the “Oppositioner” lyrics printed on-screen.

Paris Hilton’s trash (but now those three words can be taken two ways)

In Celebrities, Humor on June 25, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Paris HiltonConsidering that I regularly use the word “trash” to describe ultra-skanky heiress Paris Hilton, I found this a little amusing. From Yahoo News:

LOS ANGELES – So, how much would you pay for an empty dog-food can if you thought it was snatched from Paris Hilton’s trash? So far the answer is $0.

But the people from HollywoodStarTrash.com are counting on someone forking over at least $40. That’s the starting bid listed on eBay for the can that once contained a helping of Party Animal organic gourmet. Bidding closes Sunday.

As of midday Monday, the can had no takers. Nor had anyone put down a bid for the used toothbrush, the Hilton fan letter or the Hilton-autographed postcard also said to have been plucked from the hotel heiress’ garbage.

According to a video placed on hollywoodstartrash.com, a guy wearing an Uncle Sam mask tracked down Hilton’s address from a map to movie stars’ homes. Then he and a colleague, who remains off camera, sneaked into Hilton’s neighborhood before dawn on a recent Thursday and absconded with six bags of garbage.

“We discovered that Paris Hilton throws out a well organized and quite neat bag of trash, save for a few Cobb salads and banana peels,” says one of the two.

Neither immediately responded to an e-mailed request to elaborate.

Their Web site indicated that as time goes by they’ll be sifting through other celebrities’ trash and offering it for sale. A man identified as a lawyer, who appears on the video, tells them their actions are legal as long as they wait for celebrities to put their trash cans out on the street and don’t trespass on their property.

As to whether the trash is really Hilton’s, they place the following statement on each of the eBay offerings: “We guarantee that each item comes from the trash bins outside the celebrity’s home!”

And who wouldn’t believe a guy in an Uncle Sam mask?

Outside the initial amusement factor, though, I find this more than a little disturbing. The website doesn’t stop at empty dog food cans and used toothbrushes. It also has photos of prescription bottles and, although they have “censored” over identifying information, it’s not at all hard to figure out what those bottles contained. I also find it disturbing that these folks actually believe there’s somebody out there, so obsessed with Paris Hilton, that they’d pay for her used tissues and Q-tips. That’s beyond weird. It’s sick.

Also posted on ENM’s “The Rampant Anti-PAMite“. 

Paris Hilton video parody

In Celebrities on June 21, 2007 at 6:09 pm

This is for ElfNinosMom:

Censored OJ Simpson book leaked; many believe it to be a confession

In Celebrities, Censorship, Constitutional Rights, Crime, History, Media on June 19, 2007 at 6:31 pm

OJ Simpson mug shotAs you may be aware, OJ Simpson’s book, titled If I Did It, describes how – if in fact he were guilty – he would have murdered his ex-wife (Nicole Brown Simpson) and her friend (Ronald Goldman). Admittedly, it’s an extremely strange idea for a book, but was also sure to be a bestseller.
However, publication of the book was cancelled due to public outrage (although I’d be willing to bet that many of those people would have secretly purchased it), and all copies of the book were destroyed by the publisher. Later, rights to the manuscript were awarded by a bankruptcy court to the Goldman family, as the result of a longstanding $33 million wrongful death civil judgment they won against OJ Simpson.

The original publisher, Judith Regan, called the book “a confession”. His attorneys denied that it was a confession.

Not surprisingly, a news organization received a leaked copy of the manuscript. Newsweek published an article in January about what was in the manuscript, and the writer stated that, in his opinion, it was a confession. However, they did not print any excerpts, so the reader was left wondering how accurate their characterization of a confession really was.

Today the manuscript was leaked again, to celebrity gossip site TMZ, and they published excerpts. I have posted those excerpts here so LFV readers can decide for themselves whether this is, in fact, a confession to the most notorious murder case of our time.

It begins with the following passage:

I’m going to tell you a story you’ve never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it. It takes place on the night June 12, 1994, and it concerns the murder of my ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her young friend, Ronald Goldman. I want you to forget everything you think you know about that night because I know the facts better than anyone. I know the players. I’ve seen the evidence. I’ve heard the theories. And, of course, I’ve read all the stories: That I did it. That I did it but I don’t know I did it. That I can no longer tell fact from fiction. That I wake up in the middle of the night, consumed by guilt, screaming.

OJ describes the murder scene:

I looked over at Goldman, and I was fuming. I guess he thought I was going to hit him, because he got into his little karate stance. “What the fuck is that?” I said. “You think you can take me with your karate shit?” He started circling me, bobbing and weaving, and if I hadn’t been so fucking angry I would have laughed in his face. “O.J., come on!” It was Charlie again, pleading. Nicole moaned, regaining consciousness. She stirred on the ground and opened her eyes and looked at me, but it didn’t seem like anything was registering. Charlie walked over and planted himself in front of me blocking my view. “We are fucking done here, man-let’s go!”

I noticed the knife in Charlie’s hand, and in one deft move I removed my right glove and snatched it up. “We’re not going anywhere,” I said, turning to face Goldman. Goldman was still circling me, bobbing and weaving, but I didn’t feel like laughing anymore. “You think you’re tough, motherfucker?” I said. I could hear Charlie just behind me, saying something, urging me to get the fuck out of there, and at one point he even reached for me and tried to drag me away, but I shook him off, hard, and moved toward Goldman. “Okay, motherfucker!” I said. “Show me how tough you are!”

Then something went horribly wrong, and I know what happened, but I can’t tell you exactly how. I was still standing in Nicole’s courtyard, of course, but for a few moments I couldn’t remember how I’d gotten there, when I’d arrived, or even why I was there. Then it came back to me, very slowly: The recital-with little Sydney up on stage, dancing her little heart out; me, chipping balls into my neighbor’s yard; Paula, angry, not answering her phone; Charlie, stopping by the house to tell me some more ugly shit about Nicole’s behavior. Then what? The short, quick drive from Rockingham to the Bundy condo. And now?

Now I was standing in Nicole’s courtyard, in the dark, listening to the loud, rhythmic, accelerated beating of my own heart. I put my left hand to my heart and my shirt felt strangely wet. I looked down at myself. For several moments, I couldn’t get my mind around what I was seeing. The whole front of me was covered in blood, but it didn’t compute. Is this really blood? I wondered. And whose blood is it? Is it mine? Am I hurt? Read the rest of this entry »

The Judicial System Works For Celebrities

In Celebrities, Personal Responsibility on June 7, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Our judicial system is a joke. Another celebrity gets out of jail early because of a bogus medical condition. I’m sure you know who I’m talking about-Paris Hilton. We know that our judicial system is not fair nor blind. If you are rich- you get special favors; if you are poor- throw away the key. The system is also racist, sexist and elitist. Paris Hilton knew before she was sent to jail that it wasn’t going to be Club Med. When are these celebrity “criminals” going to accept the fact that they are NOT above the law and they should do their time like any other criminal. When is the judicial system going to stop giving preferential treatment to these celebrities? What kind of message does that send to our children, especially those who look up to these celebrities. It sends the message that “if you become rich and famous you can be above the law and escape punishment for your actions?” Twenty-three days in jail is a walk in the park;that’s all Paris would have had to serve. Now she gets to go serve 40 days in her posh mansion in Hollywood Hills on an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. The judicial system works for the celebrities!

Vote or Die, Bitch!

In Big Brother, Celebrities, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Fraud, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Media, Music, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Terrorism on June 5, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Since I gave Michelle a hat tip earlier, might as well make it a pair. (It’s easier to get away with staring with my hat tipped low). Something is making me think of Michelle and pairs today. Not sure what that is. Wait, don’t tell me, I almost got it figured out….damn, I forgot again. What was it, I wonder? Anyway. A wolf, a sheep, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing went in the polling booth….did I mention voting was mandatory in the USSR?

Ron Paul on the Daily Show

In Celebrities, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Republican, Taxation on June 5, 2007 at 7:24 am

hat tip Michelle Shinghal

Now, anyone who has not just gotten here just now knows I’m supporting Steve Kubby for President. You know I have some issue position differences with Ron Paul. But, I’m endorsing Ron Paul for reelection to Congress, and I love what he is doing in the Republican debates.

Speaking of Republican debates, we will be providing live coverage at Last Free Voice tonight. I’ve heard a rumor that Michelle and TG might show up drunk, and there may or may not be trampolines involved. You won’t want to miss it!

So, to sum it up: until Steve can start showing up on the Daily Show, I’m damn glad and proud to see 1988 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Ron Paul on there. Here’s the clip:

And here is Michelle, doing her part by offering some high profile advertising:

Also useful as a floatation device, this kewl and handy billboard has many useful and even life saving properties.

As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free.

In Celebrities, Civil Liberties, Politics, Republican on May 15, 2007 at 4:23 pm

Jerry Falwell is dead.

I feel sorry for his family, of course, and on a non-political and non-theological level I’m sad to see a fellow human being die.

Not to be a dick, though, but this is some of the greatest news that the social and civil libertarian crowd could possibly hear. A man who stood against equal rights for women, gays, and immigrants can no longer influence our political system. Furthermore, this seems to be the starkest demonstration God could have possibly given us that the social conservative branch of the Republican Party is dead, leaving only fiscal conservatives and neocons, with the neocons about to die off as well.

Our future may be cloudy in the short term, but twenty years from now we will look back on these days like people today look back on the Vietnam War, draft and stagflation and wonder what the hell they must have been thinking.

I get a little bit closer to feeling sick

In Celebrities, Environment, Music on May 11, 2007 at 8:17 pm

So Cheryl Crow thinks that we really only need one piece of toilet paper per bathroom visit.

On April 23, Cheryl Crow, the well-know singer was quoted in Britain’s The Register as saying: “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don’t want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.”

Ms. Crow has reportedly since claimed that she was merely joking. Be that as it may, her proposal follows logically from ideas that permeate the environmental movement. It follows from the belief in the need to reduce consumption as a means of reducing the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which emissions allegedly cause global warming. It also follows from the doctrine of the alleged intrinsic value of nature undisturbed by man. If the trees from which toilet paper is ultimately made are intrinsically valuable and thus must not be disturbed, it follows that man should not have toilet paper.

Even if she was joking, screw that. And I gotta admit… I’m never going to be able to listen to her music with a straight face anymore.

But one piece of toilet paper? Who the hell does she think she’s talking to, Arnold Rimmer? “One up, one down, and one to polish”?! How about no. I’m pretty sure that the Earth is not going to asplodinate because I wiped my ass thoroughly.

Wayne Allen Root for President?

In Celebrities, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Wayne Allen Root on May 4, 2007 at 5:35 pm

I forgot, Wayne Allen Root is running for the Libertarian nomination. Go check out this article, it sounds like it was written by Eric Dondero minus the whole Islamofascist bullshit:

Widely considered the frontrunner for the Libertarian Presidential nomination, Wayne Root is a resident of Henderson, Nevada- and a strong supporter of Nevada’s brand of Libertarian politics.

He is a anti-tax, limited government, pro states’ rights, anti-Nanny State, socially tolerant, anti-Yucca Mountain Libertarian conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater.

I find myself wanting to bash this guy because of this poorly-written article and because Dondero thinks he’s the Second Coming of Christ, but then again I really ought to give him a chance. The article is biased as all fuck, not even acknowledging any other big names vying for the nomination. But that’s not necessarily the man’s fault, and he admittedly does seem to have some pull with gamblers, which by all rights is a natural Libertarian constituency. But if he’s gonna run, where’s his website? Read the rest of this entry »

So It Goes, Or, Kurt Is Up In Heaven Now

In Celebrities, Censorship, Obituaries, War on April 12, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Iconoclastic novelist, essayist and humanist Kurt Vonnegut Jr has died, at the age of 84. While Vonnegut was many times described as a libertarian socialist (putting him in a category with such groups as the ACLU and Food Not Bombs), he was the writer whose work most strongly influenced my left libertarian beliefs. The loss of his wry wit and great intellect is a loss to us all.

For anyone not familiar with Vonnegut, he was without question one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Penning such classics as Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut mixed science fiction, sarcasm, black humor, and keen insight to force us to confront the commonality of mankind. His “bad guys” were never people, but governments and situations. His characters were each “a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”

Vonnegut spoke out against war, despite his belief that WWII was necessary. In Slaughterhouse Five, named after the underground meat-packing cellar in which he was held as a POW during the bombing of Dresden, he confronted a truth that most would like to overlook when he wrote, “You know we’ve had to imagine the war here, and we have imagined that it was being fought by aging men like ourselves. We had forgotten that wars were fought by babies. When I saw those freshly shaved faces, it was a shock. ‘My God, my God—’ I said to myself. ‘It’s the Children’s Crusade.'” His Slaughterhouse Five catchphrase “So it goes”, an ironic reference to death, was adopted by protesters during Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »

Sherlock Holmes Connection To Houdini Murder Mystery?

In Celebrities, Crime, Health, Obituaries on March 23, 2007 at 6:36 am

Renowned magician Harry Houdini is rising from the grave, 81 years after his untimely death at age 52.

He’s not doing so voluntarily, though, despite his promise to contact his loved ones from The Great Beyoooooond.

It seems that members of his family now believe he died, not as the result of peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix as previously believed, but rather as the result of murder most foul carried out by Spiritualists who were angry that he had exposed their fraud.

A book about Houdini’s life published last year, which included a somewhat threatening letter written by Spiritualist proponent and Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, suggests that the magician was possibly poisoned with arsenic. No autopsy was ever performed but, if true, it is possible that arsenic may be detectable even now.

Read more here.