August 12, 2004

So let's have a smile for an old engine driver

* Walter Cronkite thinks prisons are needlessly overpopulated with drug offenders. we agree. excerpt:

"Much of the nation, in one way or another, is victimized by this failure, including, most notably, the innocents, whose exposure to drugs is greater than ever.

"This is despite the fact that more than 500,000 people are housed in federal and state prisons and local jails on drug offenses. Clearly, no punishment could be too severe for that portion of them who were kingpins of the drug trade and who ruined so many lives. But, by far, the majority of these prisoners are guilty of only minor offenses, such as possessing small amounts of marijuana. That includes people who used it only for medicinal purposes. The cost to maintain this great horde of prisoners is more than $10 billion annually.

"And that's just part of the cost of this war on drugs: The federal, state and local drug-control budgets last year added up to almost $40 billion."
...
"The deep perversity of the system lies in the fact that women with the least culpability often get the harshest sentences."
...
"We can expect no federal action during the congressional hiatus in activity ahead of the November elections, but it would be of considerable help if, across the country, campaigning politicians put this high on their promises of legislative action, much sooner than later."

* Splendid interviews galaxie 500. [via chromewaves]. excerpt:

Splendid: Timing is everything, so I probably wouldn't be asking this question if it were a year ago or a year from now, but in light of the big Pixies reunion this summer, where you can't go a day without reading something about something as it pertains to the band, is the video anthology your reunion with Galaxie 500? It really feels that way -- I was more excited to read there was Galaxie 500 DVD than I was at the thought of lining up for hours to see the Pixies.

Dean Wareham: That's a good idea. I really like that. All I can say about them is that they're making a shitload of money. And they hate each other. The nice thing about this DVD is that Damon, Naomi and I are on better terms than we have been, which is nice. We still don't really speak -- they were really angry when I quit -- but I think it's hard to say angry at someone.

Damon Krukowski: It's probably as much a reunion as there will be, because we put it together as a band and we certainly don't intend to get on the stage together, I don't think. It's as close as we'll get to what the Pixies are doing. I think it's interesting how the Pixies are doing this right now because they were the band that overshadowed us when we were together, too.
...
Splendid: But you do own your music and the collapse of Rough Trade provided that opportunity.

Damon Krukowski: It did, and it made a good thing happen out of an otherwise bad situation. We were never getting royalties from Rough Trade, so that was the other side of that coin. We do have control of the material, which is pretty much a godsend at this point because we signed the same bad contract that every young band signs -- but then the company went bust and we did something about it.

Dean Wareham: In some ways were very lucky -- we own the rights to all of our stuff because our record company went bankrupt. Damon went down and bought them at auction. If we'd been on a major label they would have owned all the stuff and it would have been a lot more complicated. It's the advantage of being on an indie.

Splendid: Especially bankrupt ones.

Dean Wareham: Especially bankrupt ones. In some ways it was good for the band that Rough Trade went out of business and the records were out of print for five years. Ultimately, I don't think it hurt the band.

* Washington Post on the Swift Boat Smears. excerpt:

"If accurate, this would demolish a central part of the picture of Mr. Kerry as Vietnam hero. But the weight of the evidence supports Mr. Kerry. Mr. Rassmann, having had no contact with Mr. Kerry for the previous 35 years, came forward during the primaries to tell the story of how Mr. Kerry, braving enemy fire and with an injured arm, pulled him back on board. 'John came up to the bow, and I thought he was going to get killed because he was so exposed,' Mr. Rassmann recalled. Other surviving crew mates corroborate that account. 'I was there,' crew mate Del Sandusky told CNN. 'I saw the bullets skimming across the water. I saw the firefight gun flashes from the jungle. I know the firefight and the ambush we were in." Another crew mate, James Wasser, told ABC: "What boat were you riding on? Because you weren't there -- we were.'

"It's also relevant to know who's underwriting this advertising campaign. The biggest single donor so far to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth isn't a Swift boat veteran but one of the leading Republican donors in Texas. Houston builder Bob J. Perry gave the group $100,000, accounting for the bulk of the $158,000 in receipts it has reported. It's fair to ask whether truth is at the top of this group's agenda."

Over the past few years Perry has donated almost $3 million to Texas Republican causes.

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