August 3, 2004

if I had a home you'd know it'd be in a slide trombone

* President Pickpocket. excerpt:

"In 2000, George Bush said that tax cuts would do the trick to make a fairly healthy economy even better. The anticipated federal deficit for 2004 was released yesterday at $445 billion. Since taking office, the national debt has skyrocketed to more than $7.3 trillion - more than $1.6 trillion have been added on Bush's watch - with the debt ceiling being raised three times!

"With the Senate, the Congress and the White House all under Republican control, we have been shown that fiscal responsibility definitely does not reside within that political party. For them, it would seem that their motto is 'Party On!'
...
"For the past three years, we have been told that the economy is 'turning the corner,' is 'right on the cusp,' is going to grow 'in the next quarter,' and that 'any day now' recovery is coming. But Bush's current policies are not designed for an economic recovery that will reach all of the citizens of our nation, they are designed to give illusions and justifications with no results.

"George Bush inherited a budget surplus which he rapidly converted to a budget deficit, rewarding his friends and family with massive tax cuts and no-bid contracts.

"The disparity is seen by the rising need of families that are seeking help from area food banks. The number of people in the United States that are 'food insecure' (meaning they lack the ability to ensure healthy meals and are vulnerable to some form of chronic malnutrition) is 34.9 million, affecting 11% of families. The 2003 U.S. Conference of Mayors survey of 25 cities showed that demand at food banks rose 17%.
...
"This administration offers only its failed policies and that is why you won't hear them exclaiming how wonderful they are - you will only hear them deride the opposition.

"We are all smarter than we get credit for in this country. We know that what we see with our eyes and experience in our lives is reality and we know when we hear lies and obfuscation about the facts. Don't be deceived by the rolled up shirt sleeves - George Bush doesn't know what working is. He didn't work himself through college, he didn't finance his own corporate failures; instead he relied on other people's money, the public's gullibility and his father's name.

"We need to have honest representation in our government that understands that life inside the Boardroom and the Beltway is quite different than life on Main Street."

* Will Farrell returns as President Bush in this hilarious campaign ad.

* Old Puncture piece on Sparklehorse. excerpt:

"Like a modern-day Van Gogh, Mark Linkous takes in the simple, barren countryside around him and recasts it as art. What Vincent did with paint, Mark must do with words, chords, and melodies, and he splendidly evokes the idyllic and mystical aspects of the rural south on Sparklehorse's debut, vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (on Capitol). From his rented farm in Bremo Bluff, Virginia, an hour outside Richmond, Mark glances out at the cows and horses, or his motorcycle, or the sky, or the dream he had last night. The only nonrustic thing Sparklehorse's main man plucks from the domestic scenery is that mass of metal passing through the yard at 50 miles an hour.

"'I love trains. I try to keep them out of my music because they're sort of a hack thing to write and sing about,' Mark says, reminded of a century's worth of Chattanooga Choo Choos, Mystery Trains, and City of New Orleans. 'You hear people like Hootie and the Blowfish or Soul Asylum talking about trains. I don't want to hear it romanticized anymore.'"
...
"Mark's Southern hospitality extends to letting us in on the rather odd title to Sparklehorse's album, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. 'It's a bunch of words from a dream. In it, [Confederate] General Lee had a submarine, and I was swimming toward it. I heard an old-time band playing inside. That's where the title sort of came from.'

"The 16 tracks on Vivadixie spring from innocent observations or painterly interpretations. "Spirit Ditch" is sung by a dark character who could have migrated from a Faulkner novel. In the three-minute masterpiece, as overlapping guitar notes emulate the gentle flow of a woodland creek, Mark's quavering voice relates, 'Woke up in a burned-out basement/Sleeping with metal hands in a spirit ditch.' At a moment when you expect a bridge or a ringing guitar solo to pick up the pace, a woman's voice funneled through a telephone recounts a dream in which seven-year-old Mark plays in the woods, falls down a hill, gets hurt. It's his mom.

"Mark, now in his early 30s, remembers how it came together. "We were working on the song in the studio, and we'd left a space for an instrumental solo. I was like, `Man, I don't want to do a fuckin' guitar solo.'

"'Then I called home to check my messages and my mom had left that story. I put the mike up to the telephone, and it fitted perfectly. One of those great little accidents.'"
...
"But Mark Linkous isn't just a lonely figure who reads books and strums solemn
guitar. He shares the farm with his wife, Teresa, and a battalion of animals. Mark describes his surroundings: 'Big open fields. The people we rent from live in a mansion not too far from our house. They rent the fields to someone who raises cattle. Sometimes I can't record, when the cows get really loud.'

* via Jesus' General:

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