Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Isaac Hayes

Kathy G posted this first. But it's timely, and fits a theme: songs my band covered reluctantly despite my bullheaded enthusiasm. The bastards.

Isaac Hayes was sui generis and a sublime artist.

Ok, just for contrast

This is much closer to the orginal, though it lacks Eno's wailing, screaming, siren/synth. This is how to achieve weight and power with rock and roll. Keep control of the pace, keep the energy just a hair under a boil, and hint at letting it all just crash through to the surface. Cale is masterful when he's at his best.

Sorry Elvis...

But John Cale owns this song. Though this isn't the best recorded version by Cale. That would be the version on the Slow Dazzle album. Still this is pretty nice.

Not Every Violation of the Law Is a Crime!

Especially if the laws were broken by Bush administration employees and are being judged by same. Mukasey:

Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws.

So despite the far-reaching consequences of politicizing the Justice Department, despite the obvious moral hazard in letting your boss's people off easy, despite the clear violation of the law, nobody gets prosecuted. It must be nice to be defendant, judge, and jury on the same case.

We'll see if Patrick Leahy is a hero, or is just paying lip service on this one, but he's making some good mouth noises (NYT):
Mukasey's remarks "appear premature based on the facts and evidence that congressional investigators and the inspector general have uncovered so far"

Mukasey sees no need to adjust the status of employees who were hired under the flawed process. But he does encourage those were wrongfully treated to reapply.

What a guy.

These guys can't leave soon enough.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

While I'm Complaining about McCarthy

How much bad faith does somebody need to exhibit before we just dismiss their opinions out-of-hand? Andy McCarthy:

I suppose if we are thinking about turning our country over to the second Carter term — or the first McGovern — it shouldn't surprise anyone to see Russia go into its Aghanistan mode ... or Czechoslovakia ... or Hungary ... or (as Roger reminds us) Georgia.

What purpose does this serve? He's floating a causative relationship between Obama's candidacy and post-Soviet aggression? There's a damn Democrat running for president! The Russians can see we're weak and are taking advantage! He's "joking," of course.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Galactic Blogging

That's quite a bridge! 22,000 light years long and spanning the gap between the galaxies NGC 5216 and NGC 5218, known collectively as ARP 104. Obviously in close a gravitational relationship, these two galaxies look appear to be in the process of tearing each other up, probably to merge in the next hundred thousand years or so. They're relatively close to us at a distance of about seventeen million light years in the direction of the Big Dipper. It's an APOD image, and you know what to do.

Hamdan and McCarthy

Andy McCarthy thinks the Hamdan verdict is a disgrace. The guy only got five-and-a-half years and is getting credit for time served.

It is the worst sentence I have ever heard of. It demonstrates an unseriousness about the war and the stakes involved.

Andy hyperventilates a bit here, I think. The guy is a driver. It seems to be acknowledged that he wasn't capable of planning or leading, he's just a guy who did low level jobs. A servant, essentially. By Andy's lights Hamdan provided
material support to our enemies, [...] actually protected bin Laden and transported weapons for al Qaeda,

all of which is, I assume, literally true. But it's a silly, bad faith exaggeration of Hamdan's apparent role. Does every grunt in Bin Laden's organization deserve life behind bars? What purpose does that serve, except to feed Andy and his fellow travelers' thirst for revenge, even when it's overblown and mostly inappropriate. Get your hands on Zawahiri, then try for a life sentence. Five years in GTMO ought to be enough for a the guy who changed Bin Laden's flat tires.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Pandering Content

This is a perfectly expressed version of this song enhanced immeasurably by the B&W footage. It's this sort of noirish character piece - perfectly expressed by the spare quartet sound on Small Change - that first started my interest in Waits' music. That the avant-garde sensibility of his post Swordfishtrombones work has appealed as much or more ( at least to me) and if anything is even less compromised, is proof by my lights of the incandescent quality his work.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Young Tom Waits

Ok, I've been lax. Every few months, the effort of putting up blog posts begins to seem like a burden. So, in a naked attempt to make up for a complete lack of effort, here's a nice example of Tom from his maudlin period. Young Tom, Old Tom, it's all good to me.

Friday Galactic Blogging

Need visual proof of General Relativity? Today's your lucky day! The white smeary dot at the center of this image is a relatively normal seeming, distant, apparent elliptical. The partial ring surrounding it is another galaxy, lined up distantly behind the first, whose image has been lensed by the gravitation of the closer galaxy. Known as Einstein Rings such objects aren't necessarily galaxies. The phenomenon only occurs in instances where the two objects are nearly perfectly lined up. It's an APOD image and you know the drill.