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Salman Rushdie at Portsmouth Music Hall


A change of pace tonight. A few months ago, we saw Salman Rushdie speak and do an interview as part of the Writers on a New England Stage series presented by NH Public Radio. He gave a brief reading from his recent memoir, Joseph Anton, followed by an interview.

Listen Here

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Scurvy Fundamentalists React To Tragedy


This week we've had a massive tragedy. Dozens of innocents killed in the most callous way possible. Everyone, everywhere very, very sad.

Except for those devoutly religious enough to bring their unique view to the whole event. I've been reading statements to the effect that God did not intervene because he is polite enough not to go where he isn't welcome. That the answer to this is that our children should pray before every school day, also, More Guns.

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The Coup & People Under The Stairs at the Middle East, 12/5/2012


DEVO - Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA

Go Here:Read an interview with Boots Riley, by old friend and excellent writer Tom Andes. -- @The Rumpus

A very happy confluence of events led me to lie to Chris Portugal at The Coup / People Under the Stairs show. The first thing that had to happen was that the original venue for People Under the Stairs had to be unprepared to open. That venue is the Sinclair in Cambridge. It's apparently still not open as they're shuffling shows to TT's and the Royale.

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More people I've confused


New Order - Dream Attack

This past weekend I had a pretty awkward encounter with two candidates for the NH state house, Andy Hughes, and Henry Mullaney. This was largely my fault for being lazy and not having had my wake-up cigarette yet.

I also never expected them to be Democratic candidates. It was frankly refreshing to see and hear someone say he's my candidate for the state legislature, and that his interests include protecting a woman's right to choose, and improving education options, specifically the state technical college system.

I'm much more used to having one of:

  • Canvassers affiliated with a Republican candidate, basically just pamphlet-hander-outers
  • People trying to sell me stuff
  • People trying to sell me religions

These guys were pretty friendly, if a tiny bit bewildered by my out-awkwarding them. In my own defense though, come on folks, this is New Hampshire we're talking about here. I'm lucky to know the names of my neighbors, let alone have a chat with my state rep. hopefuls. I expect this kind of thing in the south, but in New England, I only expect to be sold knives and vacuum cleaners or Jesus, in that order. If a candidate (or candidates) for office shows up at your door, don't drop the ball, give 'em a chat. Don't bungle the encounter like my staggering, un-kempt, still-waking-up self did.

You'd have to spend time around me to fully appreciate what "xrayspx Unkempt" can look like and why it might be jarring to a man wearing a tie.

In exchange for their befuddlement, I promise I'll vote for these two, as if there is some case in which my (D) isn't enough of a foregone conclusion.

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LGBTQ Bigotry - Finally Speaking Up


Leonard Cohen - Anthem

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."" -- Jerry Falwell, with Pat Robertson, discussing why God sent religious zealots to attack American cities on 9/11/2001.

This post is not an attempt at suppression of anyone's speech or opinions. It is an expression on my part of how those words make me feel. People's feelings, bigoted and horrifying though they may be to me, are their own. Americans have the right, and duty, to non-violently advocate their position as strenuously as possible. History and the sands of time will be the judges of which opinion was right or wrong. If you disagree with me and want to comment, feel free to speak your mind. I will certainly speak mine right back. This is ethical advocacy and will not prevent me from having a beer and a dog, and then another beer, with anyone, ever. And we shall breezily talk of other things. Weather. Inferior corn-height (I am a born Hoosier, remember that. I instinctively know what corn is supposed to look like, and when). Baseball. Kittens.

I've made it clear through the history of my posts that I'm a vocal advocate for equal protection under the law for all Americans. Many of my inlaws do not share this belief, and out of an abundance of respect for my wife, and the fact that their opinions are their own, I've not said anything about the bigotry I see on a pretty regular basis. I have simply kept my mouth shut and turned the other cheek when I have seen attacks against gays, women and those who they perceive to worship religions different to their own.

However, the last week of batty Chick-Fil-A nonsense has brought things to a head. A string of updates, beginning with "It's unconstitutional for people to protest Chick-Fil-A" and culminating today in "[National Same Sex Kiss Day] is the start of Christian Persecution".

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" -- Dan Cathy, President and COO, Chick-Fil-A

There is no requirement for people to support a company which actively works to discriminate against those very same people. Just black people and Jews "boycott" Resistance Records, so shall Gay people (and the people who love them) boycott Chick-Fil-A. Resistance Records' first amendment rights are not being infringed upon simply because the object of their hatred doesn't give them money, and neither are the rights of Chick-Fil-A being infringed upon.

This "persecution" angle has finally prompted me to respond.

In the lifetime of our nation, we've seen:

  • Southern Christians abandoned the Republican party for 100 years after Lincoln took away their biblically mandated right to own other human beings. It wasn't until the 1960s until the Nixon/Goldwater Southern Strategy got them back on the team. (This makes me especially upset, because I often see people say both "Republicans, the party of Lincoln" and "Democrats, who opposed equal rights for blacks in the '50s/'60s", because it's not about the party when the demographic shifts 180 degrees, twice. Southern Evangelicals fled the Republican party because of Lincoln, and only returned to the party when racial intolerance became a plank of the Republican platform)
  • Christians protesting the right for women to vote.
  • Christians protesting the right for black people to vote.
  • Christians protesting the right for black people to eat in the same restaurants, drink from the same fountains, and attending the same schools as whites
  • Christians protesting and making laws against interracial marriage.
  • Christians abandoned the Republican party for 100 years after the Republican Lincoln took away their biblically mandated right to own other human beings. Until the Nixon/Goldwater Southern Strategy got them back on the team. (This makes me especially upset, when people say both "Republicans, the party of Lincoln" and "Democrats, who opposed equal rights for blacks in the '50s/'60s", because it's not about the party. Southern Evangelicals fled the Republican party because of Lincoln, and only returned? to the party when racial intolerance became a plank of their platform)

Since it's been said that boycotts are first amendment violations of the rights of Chick-Fil-A's free speech, and that we are seeing the start of Christian oppression in this country. Below is what "Christian Oppression" would actually look like when presented as mirror images of acts of oppression which have actually happened to other groups :

  • The 85% Atheist majority passes laws requiring science be taught to children in Sunday School
  • The 85% Atheist majority taxes churches to the point that it's not financially feasible for them to hold services (Taxes churches out of existence)
  • An Atheist-values-based chicken company gives millions of dollars to hate groups advocating the extermination, expulsion and imprisonment of Christians (Genocide! Ethnic Cleansing!)
  • A pair of lesbians in Wyoming viciously beats a straight Christian man and leaves him to die tied to a fence post for the crime of speaking to them in a bar
  • A lesbian Atheist group rises to national prominence by protesting that same Christian man's funeral carrying disgusting placards stating "God Hates Christians"
  • That same extremist group grows over the next twenty years, protesting the funerals of American soldiers because those soldiers fight for a country which permits Christians to practice their faith
  • A Christian is legally fired from their job simply because of the fact that they believe in Christ. The federal government does not recognize Christians as a protected group, safe from firing based on their religious beliefs.
  • The federal government refuses to recognize Christian marriage, and denies federal tax and death benefits to Christians who were lucky enough to marry in the tiny minority of states which have chosen to permit them to.
  • Athiest hate groups picketing and intimidating Christian Scientists and Jehovas Witnesses and shooting those who legally refuse to take their family to hospitals for medical care and blood transfusions
  • The 85% Atheist majority looting and burning entire countries to find Christian believers and forcibly convert them away from Christ. If the Christians don't renounce religion, they are murdered after watching their entire family die
  • A written test is required for segments of Americans to be allowed to vote. That test includes questions specifically pertaining to things of which Christians as a group have no knowledge. Additionally, a fee is imposed at the voting booth, which is then selectively enforced, but which Christians all must pay in order to cast their vote. If they pass the test, and pay the fee, the Christian vote then only counts as 3/5 the vote of an Atheist

Honestly, to equate yourselves to actual oppressed people is childish, disgusting, and shows a lack of knowledge of history and the struggles of oppressed peoples. The equal rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans is just the latest in a very, very long list of basic human rights and equality measures which have been violently opposed by Christians in the name of their bible over the last 400 years in the New World. For Christians to self-identify as some second-class put-upon minority class is frankly sickening.

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Catholics, This Is How It's Done

This protestant congregation is reacting in the way I always expected Catholics should have reacted when confronted with a 50 year global child sex abuse conspiracy. Or a 50 year nationwide conspiracy to steal and sell thousands of Spanish newborns. This congregation sounded on the verge of lynching their church leadership after they covered up a minister's arrest for solicitation of prostitution, and further plea deal in which he pled guilty to a lesser charge.

I imagine this is due to them not being cowed into subservience by 1800 years of patriarchal dogma. I applaud this congregation for standing up against their church leaders and their coverup, but I still have lots of questions for members of larger churches.

Why didn't you rise up as one and boo Cardinals and Bishops into hiding?

According to the stats I've seen, between 4% (Church numbers) and 10% (external estimates) of priests were directly involved in the abuse of children. Add to that the hierarchy that hid this from the world and enabled these priests by moving them to other parishes, and you've got quite the conspiracy on your hands. This adds up to quite a large proportion of the church either abusing kids, or having direct knowledge of child abuse and choosing to cover it up rather than go directly to the police.

If you have been, over the course of your lifetime, in the company of 50 priests, at least two of those priests was statistically a child molester, and several more were conspirators.

People have said that such abuse is "in line with society at large". As unlikely as I find that argument, it ignores two huge points:

-- If 4% of priests and 4% of society are child molesters, the difference is that no one. NO. ONE. is willing to conspire with the societal molesters rather than turn them in.

-- I don't know anyone who lives their lives according to the teachings of "Creepy guy who touches himself at the park"

Anyway, I'd love to hear opinions on this. I would directly ask people I know if we could candidly discuss their beliefs and how that affects their feelings about all this, but I'm pretty sure it would cost me friends and family.

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Bad Brains with H2O at the Paradise, Boston 4-16-2012


Big Black – Bad Penny

(excuses for the rambling. It's not even stream of consciousness, it's subconscious, I'm nowhere near awake enough to do a good job, we'll get through it)

H2o opened, and I have to admit that they were a litte "after my time" for hardcore bands (1996), but I was peripherally aware of them at the time. You know, since I'm 37 and therefore I'm from back in Historical Times, when burgers cost 15 cents and I could get into a movie for a quarter. They were great, pretty much sounded like "Epitaph Band", which it turned out they were. I did recognize a couple songs and they did some good Ian MacKaye birthday tributes in covers and dropping Minor Threat phrases here and there. They had lots of local support and we were all really into it.

It did depress me when Toby Morse did a song from the pit, and said "I'm 42, so you know, don't hurt me", and I was like "shit, you're the 'noob' from 1996, and now you're 42, I wanna hang myself". For the record, Ian MacKaye is now 50. The photos of them largely sucked, but I've got a couple for posterity.

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Presidential Candidate Questions

There are several pointed questions I'd like to see people ask our presidential candidates. I'm going to start a list below, if anyone goes to an event, and can get one of these off before being tossed out, I'll buy you a coke. If it gets a reasonable answer, I'll buy you two cokes. If anyone has anything to add, tell me and I'll add it.

I'm going to do them by issue type and candidate, I guess. Most of them are probably pretty interchangeable. I started thinking of these in the context of "questions I would want to ask Rick Santorum", so I'm starting with him.

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A new job for the little Asus

I think I've finally found the perfect job for the little Asus EEE, since it's just too weak to show good video. It has the following tasks:

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The Goth Militia Is Rising!

This past weekend the feds conducted raids in three states targeting the Hutaree militia group. These guys are Christian survivalist extremists, "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive". They believe the Anti-Christ walks among us, that kind of thing. Nevermind that as I understand it, if the Anti-Christ is walking among us, that means the rapture has already happened, which means "You Lose".


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