Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kot dismantled

Greg Kot, writer for the Chicago Tribune, dissed U2 pretty hard on the first leg of the Vertigo Tour, but now... he's hip to the third leg:

"Conclusion: So long, Dinosaur Act. The art-rocking, risk-taking U2 is back with a timely reminder of why this city embraced the band in the first place, 25 years ago."

conversion complete, next!

That scraping noise?

"That scraping noise you hear? It's the sound of sheepish voters creeping out to the garage late at night, furtively removing "Bush-Cheney 2004" bumperstickers from the back of their SUVs when no one is looking.

Meanwhile, as the scales fall from the eyes of the hoi polloi, even the one constituency which could plausibly make the claim that Bush has been good for America (read: their wallets), is speaking the unspeakable as well. Robert Novak, of all people, wrote a column last week chronicling his experience watching rich Republicans at an Aspen retreat bash the idiocy of Bush administration policies on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, stem-cell research and more."

Friedman spoke about this on "Meet the Press" as well. For some reason, I feel like I'm seeing more Kerry/Edwards stickers lately (and a tad fewer "W" ones. I did see and "M" one....beneath it, in small letters, it said "The Moron") I don't hate him like some people do, but you'd be hard pressed to claim he's been good for the country.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

BS to Power Fuel Cells

"But hydrogen is difficult to use since it must be stored under high pressure at low temperatures. It also takes a lot of fossil fuel to produce it. Other research aims to develop different types of fuel.

That's where cow manure comes in.

Various laboratories are studying the potential of certain microbes to run fuel cells using such raw material as sewage. The Ohio State team takes its inspiration from one of nature's most efficient microbial processing systems - the main stomach of a cow. Microbes in a cow's rumen fluid release electrons as they break down cellulose in the cow's feed. The team has used this fermenting fluid as the source of electrons for a fuel cell's electric current."

Is this BS? Well, yes and....

GWB Drinks?

"Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against "falling off the wagon" and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: "Stop George!"

"Laura gave him an ultimatum before, 'It's Jim Beam or me.' She doesn't want to replay that nightmare — especially now when it's such tough going for her husband.""

OK, it's the National Inquirer, but still.....

AGC Runs

wagcrunsmile, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Watts Playing

It's been a long while since I posted my "now playing on the Clie" list, so here goes:

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bono and Eddie Vedder at a Pearl Jam Concert

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Marine's Plea

An Honest Victory - New York Times (I miss the free op-eds, what a shame!)

"President Bush has the power to change the United States' prospects in Iraq. But doing so requires the courage to admit errors, and the willingness to embrace good ideas. A break with the past can be Hurricane Katrina's positive legacy."
-Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine captain who led infantry platoons in Afghanistan and Iraq, is the author of 'One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.'"

Powerful op-ed...I agree that Bush needs a reality-check.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bono and Jesse Helms

The Statesman - New York Times: "In mid-2000, Bono received an audience with Senator Jesse Helms, viewed by Bono's fellow lefties, including members of the band, as the archfiend himself. Bono quickly realized that his usual spiel about debt service and so on wasn't making a dent. So, he recalls: 'I started talking about Scripture. I talked about AIDS as the leprosy of our age.' Married women and children were dying of AIDS, he told the senator, and governments burdened by debt couldn't do a thing about it. Helms listened, and his eyes began to well up. Finally the flinty old Southerner rose to his feet, grabbed for his cane and said, 'I want to give you a blessing.' He embraced the singer, saying, 'I want to do anything I can to help you.' Kasich, who was watching from a couch, says, 'I thought somebody had spiked my coffee.'"
Ha! I had not heard that tidbit before, funny stuff! Still an amazing moment in history, kudos to Bono and Jesse Helms, too. Read, hear and see more at my trusty ol' U2 site

one-man State: The Bono

The Statesman - New York Times: "He's a strange sort of entity, this euphoric rock star with the chin stubble and the tinted glasses - a new and heretofore undescribed planet in an emerging galaxy filled with transnational, multinational and subnational bodies. He's a kind of one-man state who fills his treasury with the global currency of fame. He is also, of course, an emanation of the celebrity culture. But it is Bono's willingness to invest his fame, and to do so with a steady sense of purpose and a tolerance for detail, that has made him the most politically effective figure in the recent history of popular culture."

NYT goes in-depth on Bono....I haven't finished reading it yet, its 14 online pages, a whopper! Starts out great, I hope I can finish the article one day....

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sanctity of Life

The Larger Shame - New York Times

"If it's shameful that we have bloated corpses on New Orleans streets, it's even more disgraceful that the infant mortality rate in America's capital is twice as high as in China's capital. That's right - the number of babies who died before their first birthdays amounted to 11.5 per thousand live births in 2002 in Washington, compared with 4.6 in Beijing.

Indeed, according to the United Nations Development Program, an African-American baby in Washington has less chance of surviving its first year than a baby born in urban parts of the state of Kerala in India.

Under Mr. Bush, the national infant mortality rate has risen for the first time since 1958. The U.S. ranks 43rd in the world in infant mortality, according to the C.I.A.'s World Factbook; if we could reach the level of Singapore, ranked No. 1, we would save 18,900 children's lives each year.

So in some ways the poor children evacuated from New Orleans are the lucky ones because they may now get checkups and vaccinations. Nationally, 29 percent of children had no health insurance at some point in the last 12 months, and many get neither checkups nor vaccinations. On immunizations, the U.S. ranks 84th for measles and 89th for polio."

Kristof has some hope for the aftermath of Katrina...seeing this disaster has changed the way many people view poverty and the after effects of racism. Let's hope we can find a grand bargain that will help lift these folks from poverty. We must at least be able to get those 29% of kids some health coverage. Oh, and see how many of those 18,900 kids' lives we can save...

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Orleans

I love New Orleans. The first time I visited, I was 15 and it was the summer of 1984. The World's Fair was in New Orleans that year, but in that city, it was just another thing to do. There was the same nonchalant attitude the last time I was there in 1997 for the U2 PopMart show at the Superdome. The U2 show was a small sideshow in the city of New Orleans, just as the World's Fair had been.
Summer of '84, on a bus tour with about 60 other hormonal teenagers, and New Orleans was the last stop on our three week cross-country tour. It was basically too late to get into trouble and be "sent home", so we were emboldened to join in the spirit of New Orleans and imbibe some (OK, many) intoxicating beverages before our group met up at the Jimmy Buffet concert at the World's Fair. (The pictured statue was part of the main entrance) The stage backed up to the river, and steamboats rolled by in the background. One of my friends who was well over the limit sat behind me. He somehow managed to throw up into my shoes. Wafts of smoke from the Parrotheads mixed with the smell of beer & urine....ah, New Orleans! The city has more flavor than the food, and that's saying something there. Brennan's Eggs Benedict does wonders for hangovers.
Fast forward 13 years to 1997, I fly into New Orleans solo, to see U2 at the Superdome. It's my third U2 concert on the PopMart Tour. At Clemson, I had been fortunate enough to shake Bono's hand and share some words before the concert. (link) I arrived the morning before the concert and stalked out the Superdome early in the day to try and improve my ticket, but the place was all closed up. I wandered down to the French Quarter after circumventing the Superdome and found my way to a bar. Not difficult! I made small talk with the bartender, and he told me another customer was trying to sell their extra! I bought the 8th row center ticket for face value and it was amazing being right there. Not as cool as "inside the heart" (link) though.
After the concert I made my way back to Bourbon Street and ended up in an Irish Pub, drinking Guinnesses and listening to a gentleman play Irish folk songs all night, not giving a damn that those Irish paddies U2 were in town. I heard Michael Hutchence had died from a radio while walking down the street.
The streets in the downtown area were crowded with police and homeless people. Some other U2 fans and I ended up being involved in a scam down by the river, basically robbed... New Orleans has never been a safe town.
Racism, classism, whatever -ism you want to call it, there was something festering under the surface there, something I also felt when visiting Jamaica and other Carribbean islands. It's a bit scary to see society unravel like it has down there, and it is a shame we weren't more prepared to meet the basic needs for our fellow citizens. I can't help but think of the resources we are wasting in Iraq, while this is happening at home. But the real problems do stem from racism in New Orleans. Enabling Democrats are just as blamable as your conservative Republican budget cutters in creating the systemic poverty in a city that has 30% of citizens living under the poverty line (and 40% illiteracy rate).
George W. did slash funding for the levee 3 years running. And admitted that the money was needed for Iraq.
I have fond memories of New Orleans, but I don't expect to ever see it again now, and that's sad.