Sunday, December 25, 2005

merry xmas or whatever

Whether you're eating ham with all the fixings or Chinese take-out, I hope y'all are having a fine day.

As I've already mentioned, I'm in the process of moving, and I still can't find the holiday music that I wanted to share (my packing was quite unorganized and I have over a thousand CDs in various forms of storage). It'll be belatedly posted whenever I find it, and you'll just have to keep it in mind and enjoy it next year at this time, unless you're into listening to holiday music year 'round.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to eat some cherry pie!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

on deck

For those of you out there who will be away from the computer over the next few days as the holidays, and their many activities and whatnot, take up your time, I'd like to wish you all a happy holiday season. I'll extend my wishes again on Saturday when I post again.

I've been busy with not only holiday stuff, but with moving as well. Despite all of that, I do have a couple of things on deck in the next few days. I'll be writing a musical holiday post on Saturday when I'm done moving and I find the music I wish to share. I also plan on blogging one day next week over at Enlightened Liberty, where I'll discuss a Buddhist critique of corporations and point out how such criticism applies equally to governments.

knee-jerk anti-leftism

I know that Brad Spangler has already linked to the following blog post, but I wanted to do so as well while also throwing in my two cents on the topic.

The blog post of interest is one recently written by Roderick Long about the phenomenon he dubs "knee-jerk anti-leftism". As he puts it:
One might call the problem knee-jerk anti-leftism, or in other words, automatically responding negatively to certain issues (at least when those issues aren’t obvious applications of libertarian principle, like drug legalisation) merely because those issues have typically been the concern of the left.

Aside from the examples that Long provides, there are others that come to my mind. I have addressed this issue in two separate posts about WalMart (here and here). Then there are various causes promoted by people of a green persuasion that are ridiculed by conservatives and some libertarians even if statist actions aren't being promoted or even mentioned. Not everyone who is concerned about the use of certain chemicals or is interested in alternative energy wants the State to do something about it. Caring about the Earth isn't gonna turn you into a Stalinist.

Food is another issue that I'm concerned with that falls into this category. Many libertarians see nothing wrong with mocking the consumption of organic foods while defending genetically modified foods. It seems as if much of this is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that most critics of GMOs are leftists who want the State to take the initiative. I'm not holding my breath to see any criticism of GMOs on major libertarian sites anytime soon, even from a strictly anti-corporatist perspective (the aggressive enforcement of patents and much of the R&D funding that make GMOs attractive and profitable for agribusiness are statist, along with other regulatory measures that serve the interests of agribusiness). The only libertarian writing I can recall seeing that refers to organic food in a positive manner is this LRC column written by Cathy Cuthbert back in 2004.

If libertarians are interested in making their beliefs more appealing to outsiders, they should really consider keeping some of their culutral biases to themselves. Mocking minority studies and granola eaters while praising WalMart and Monsanto isn't gonna win over any potential converts from the left. And as Long pointed out in his post, attempts to reconcile libertarianism with it's historical roots involves looking leftward since it's historical roots were not at all conservative.

People of all persuasions need to be careful not to let overly generalized or otherwise inaccurate stereotypes get the best of them. Not all Christians are blood thirsty neo-cons, and not all organic consumers are market demonizing state socialists. Such knee-jerk judgements wind up painting inaccurate pictures of certain people and values.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

libertarians and the labor movement

Radgeek, the finest blogger west of I-275 and east of US-23 (even when I lived there, which was up 'til yesterday), has written a thoughtful post about the subject of libertarianism and the labor movement. The post includes links to numerous recent blog posts from elsewhere on the subject, links to past posts he wrote on the subject, and some additional commentary of his own. Well worth checking out.

Meanwhile, Brad Spangler, the finest blogger living whereever it is he lives, has chimed in on the subject of the NYC transit union strike. His post is also well worth checking out.

That corporation everyone loves to hate is at it again

Yep, I'm referring to WalMart. And yes, I've had a habit in the past of leaving out the hypen in their name. I guess that's how it's supposed to be, although I wasn't really aware of that, and I really don't give a rat's arse.

Anywhoo, the following should be common knowledge by now for those who have followed some of the criticism hurled at the corporate giant:

* WalMart has no qualms whatsoever with colluding with various governments to promote their interests.
* WalMart has no qualms whatsoever with holding others' property rights in contempt.

Their latest target: land that is sacred in the eyes of the aboriginal S'Amuna people of Canada, land that should be rightfully theirs.

Thanks to Eugene Plawiuk for drawing my attention to the matter with this post and the sidebar button visible below and in my sidebar. Thanks also to Meaghan Walker for her extensive writing on the subject.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

late night CBC rant

I will always appreciate CBC for their weekly institution known as Hockey Night in Canada. I also love the fact that they show games practically every night during the playoffs. I watch as much of it as I can, being fortunate enough to live close enough to the Canadian border to pick it up with or without cable.

For the last two weeks, I've decided to watch their late-night movie that follows HNIC since they've had two great flicks on: The Maltese Falcon and The Pink Panther Strikes Again.

For the second straight week, the picture and sound have begun going in and out near the end of the movie. This isn't happening on any other channel. Curses! What's the deal? I've at least seen tonight's movie a few times before, but I had never seen The Maltese Falcon prior to last week's showing, which amounted to being a tease.

I just had to rant about it somewhere, since this is happening as I type this, and I'm pretty ticked off. I coulda and shoulda gone to bed earlier. I hardly ever watch the boob tube as it is, and crap like this often happens when I do. Curses!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Special fundraising auction

Claire Wolfe has informed her readers of a special fundraising auction taking place on ebay between now and Monday. Here is a link to the auction page. While I'm financially unable to offer a bid at this time, I thought I'd help out by spreading the word.

What is being auctioned is an autographed leather-bound copy of Vin Suprynowicz's novel The Black Arrow. As to the cause being supported by this auction, here's the description from the auction page:
THE CAUSE: Walter Bark, the founding webmaster and guiding spirit of The Claire Files discussion forums is dying of cancer. His friends Elias Alias, Basil Fishbone, and Iloilo Jones have been bearing the entire cost of the herbal medicines that are making Bark's final days tolerable. They're spending about $400 per month out of their own pockets and Elias has taken Bark and his mother and daughter into his home.

State sanctioned murder

I've refrained from writing about the news concerning Tookie Williams, although it's not because I haven't thought about it.

For the record, I do not support capital punishment at all. The term "capital punishment" is a euphemistic cover for what it truly is: State sanctioned murder. Not only is it an act of murder carried out by the State, but it's support amounts to a deification of State agents, which is both disgusting and dangerous.

Rad Geek has done a far better job than I could describing the essence of this situation. Please give it a read.

He also provides a link at the end that points to yet another potential murder on the horizon, and one that is even more of an outrage than the one that took place yesterday morning. The link goes to Radley Balko's account of Cory Maye's plight. If I were in Cory's shoes, I would have done the same thing. Then again, I'm not a black man living in Prentiss, Mississippi, although that shouldn't matter. This story is truly appalling.

The blood lust of Leviathan grows...

*UPDATE: If you wish to keep up to date with infromation and commentary concerning Cory Maye, here are two links to check out. The first is, a site devoted to the story. The second is a comprehensive tracking of blog posts and other references to the story being carried out by Battlepanda.

Say one thing, while working towards something entirely different

You see what this post is titled? People who see through the Bushevik lies concerning Middle East policy would say that such a statement applies quite well to those who persist in claiming that bombing the shit out of and then occupying foreign countries over there is all about protecting and promoting freedom.

Many war critics realize this, yet don't apply the same idea to another topic that many consider to be important. Corporations and their shills regularly claim to support and clamor for free trade and free enterprise. What many don't realize is that these people are not being honest with you. They may, in fact, be even less honest than the Busheviks who may genuinely believe that they are saviors of freedom.

This is something that some libertarians realize, although it unfortunately may not appear that way if your exposure to libertarians consists of the more mainstream lot who croon about that schmuck Neal Boortz and dismiss corporate criticism as being "anti-capitalist lunacy". While checking out Larry Gambone's Porkupine Blog tonight, I discovered that he has linked to a recent George Monbiot column that deals with this subject. Apparently, Monbiot gets it too, at least this time.

Corporations may claim to support free enterprise, but this excerpt from Monbiot's piece shows a completely different picture:
In the submission it made to the chancellor's pre-budget report, it demanded that the government spend less on everything except business. The state should cut its planned spending on health, social security and local authorities, and use some of the savings to protect and enhance its "support and advisory services for trade and businesses". Our higher-education budget should be used to supply free research for corporations. The regional development agencies should "expand their activities to support more extensive business-to-business networking and collaboration". Further road taxes should be abandoned, and the climate-change levy "should be frozen", but the government should help businesses by building more roads and airports. This is what the CBI means by free enterprise.
(emphasis mine)

He then goes on to expose how big businesses have been the biggest beneficiaries of the EU's farm subsidies, including many businesses that have no connections to agriculture. The examples he provides on this subject are outrageous, as are the ones he provides related to other government expenditure programs, both in Eurpope and here in the USSA.

There are many examples other than the ones Monbiot provides that reveal how the growth and maintenance of large corporate giants usually has more to do with what Gambone calls "the state socialism of the rich" than market forces. These corporations who benefit so tremendously from government subsidy most certainly don't want to lose it all and have to compete in an actual free market, just as imperialists and war profiteers most certainly don't want to see genuine freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere thwart their sinister plans.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Automaker promotes walking!

Now here's something you don't see everyday.

Walk to work, carmaker tells staff

In case you don't care to click on the link, here's the opening of the article:
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corp. is recommending its employees walk to the office, rather than drive, to improve their health and protect the environment, a company spokesman said Friday.

Those meeting a set of requirements by going to office on foot are eligible to receive 1,500 yen ($12) a month, Mazda spokesman Ken Haruki said.

Neato. And quite surprising coming from an automaker.

I may not walk to work, but I do ride the bus and get off at a stop further away from work so that I have to walk for about 15 minutes to get to work. I also have a 15 minute walk home from the bus station after work. I may have to fork over $1 to ride the bus, but it sure beats paying for gas, insurance, maintenence, and other expenses that go along with car ownership.

(link via A day in the life of Fred, a blog I discovered through Wolfesblog)

Obama is an idiot

I just got through reading a ridiculous article about Senator Barack Obama's latest claim about Republicans. He claims that Republicans are all about Social Darwinism.

Now, to some extent, he does have a point. He then tarnishes that point with the ignorant claim that:
"They have a philosophy they have implemented and that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. They basically don't believe in government. They have a different philosophy that says, 'We're going to dismantle government',"


Republicans have no interest in dismantling government. They LOVE government! They believe in it immensely as the key tool to promote their grand ol' vision of corporatism, militarism, nationalism and almost any other ism that'll make ya wanna vomit. They're all about increasing the size of government in some areas, like the military for example, while shifting things around in other areas in order to promote efficiency in government. In other words, they're all about reducing the level of state socialism in government while promoting a more corporatist agenda. That doesn't result in a dismantling of government, it results in a restructuring of government. Their faux privatization of Social Security plan is a fine example of that.

Further down the column, we find this:
Social Darwinism applies Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection from biology to human culture. Popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the theory advocates free competition and a minimalist role for government in society. Darwin himself rejected the application of natural selection to human society.

Now, if Obama truly believes that Republicans are interested in "free competition and a minimalist role for government", then he not only is an idiot, he's also a jackass. Then again, a jackass is the symbol of his party.

Meanwhile, lest you think that I'm somehow defending the elephant party, I'm not. In fact, I'd love to see those elephants poached (*note to animal lovers: I'm not talking about REAL elephants). While I absolutely loathe both major parties, I've always had a more negative view of the Republican party, which goes back to my days as a statist leftie.

I wasn't about to let idiot Obama slide though with his promotion of nonsense about the Republicans. There are endless ways that one could go about bashing Republicans. Painting an inaccurate picture of them only makes you look like an idiot.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Another WalMart post

It has just come to my attention that Karen DeCoster was disappointed by the criticism of WalMart I wrote awhile back. You'll have to scroll down a bit to get to the part where she addresses my post.

My original post pointed to Lew Rockwell's commentary on WalMart's support of a minimum wage hike, and then questioned why certain free market advocates supported WalMart, an institution that is an enemy of free markets. I also provided a link to a Jonathan Tasini article that provides some of the reasons why WalMart is not pro-free market. With that background taken care of, here is what Karen's response begins with:
Then the libertarian critter--a fellow Michigander and all-around good guy--disappoints with this post. He links to an absolutely spot-on article by Lew Rockwell that shows how Wal-Mart does exactly what many other corporations do to squash competition, in concert with the state. (Lew discusses the backing of a higher minimum wages by Wal-Mart executives.) Now how does this set Wal-Mart apart from every other state-supporting corporation across America? Of course, it doesn't. But these anti-free market moments need to be pointed out, always.

Here's where the critter makes me go {sigh}. He links to this absolutely left-wing, anti-free market article, and he himself equates Wal-Mart with evil on the basis of all those usual hysterical accusations made by the Left and the Luddite Right. Rather clumsily, the critter attempts to make libertarians defending Wal-Mart look as if they are in grave error:

If you ask me, it must be a knee-jerk reaction for some of these otherwise consistent free market types to defend anything criticized by certain leftists.

The pro-Wal-Mart free enterprise types, are, in fact, the ones defending against knee-jerk hysteria and the hate against free trade and "bigness." It is NOT just leftists that rail against Wal-Mart; in fact, it was the Luddite, Mom-and-Pop "Right" who formerly had the biggest voices and the craziest accusations. The Left jumped on the bandwagon with a different tack (human rights, unions, health care, job loss, etc.).

Yes, the Tasini article is anti-free market in nature, but i'm not concerned with his ideas on what to do about WalMart. I'm interested in his expose of Walmart as it pertains to showing WalMart as being just another beneficiary of state capitalism as opposed to the bastion of free enterprise as many portray it as being. Additionally, I did not equate WalMart with evil for all the usual reasons cited by the anti-WalMart crowd at large. Again, my concern is with their increasingly apparent animosity towards free enterprise.

I recognize where free market types defend against complaints from typical anti-WalMart people and have no problem with it to the extent that they're addressing the arguments that are imprecise, or worse. What concerns me is when people equate WalMart with free enterprise, as if what all free market types yearn for is a world where everything winds up being run like a WalMart. WalMart is not the embodiment of free enterprise, it is a beneficiary of state capitalism. We don't even have a free market, so how can an actually existing corporation be the embodiment of an economic order that is actively suppressed by state intervention? Free market advocates such as Karen and myself may realize this, but many people do not.

As a radical free market advocate with an interest in making free market libertarianism more appealing to the left, I have no interest in defending an institution that is both hostile to free enterprise and seen as evil by leftists, even if I don't agree with all of their criticisms. I also condemn any statist remedies that leftists may have in mind, but the typical statist nature of WalMart criticism isn't going to keep me from joining in, albeit while singing a different, pro-free market tune. To praise an institution that benefits from state privledge is inconsistent with free market advocacy, and I thus have no interest in doing so, even if I enjoyed their low prices (which I don't since I don't shop at WalMart).

If certain free market types wish to defend WalMart's "bigness", their wages, or other things targeted by the anti-WalMart crowd, be my guest. I just wish that such defenses don't leave an impression amongst those who may read them that the WalMarts of the world are consistent with a free market vision, because they're not. I happen to be similarly bothered by lefties who criticize "free trade" treaties like NAFTA and know that they're not really about free trade, but then don't let their readers know that there is a difference between "free trade" and the real deal. It creates confusion amongst people who may not know the difference and wind up thinking that the huge government-managed treaties that largely serve corporate interests are what free trade is all about. Similarly, when free market types equate WalMart with free enterprise, some people wind up thinking that a free market would result in a world where everything would be like WalMart, which is totally inaccurate.

Before moving on, I wish to point out that not all critics of "bigness" are luddites. "Bigness" is not necessarily synonymous with progress, and some people view progress differently from those who view big box stores as the greatest thing since sliced bread. If some people like shopping at WalMart, then more power to them. I'm not one of them, but that doesn't make me a luddite, just like buying my produce at the local food co-op and planning on one day having my own organic garden to take care of my produce needs doesn't make me a luddite. Oh, and I also think that big box stores are ugly, but I'm still not a luddite.

Karen then confronts the portion of Tasini's article that focuses on WalMart's relationship with China. She dismisses what she calls "anti-china hysteria" as being "old and worn", without going in depth as to why. The only analysis she provides involves correctly noting Lew Rockwell's commentary about WalMart supporting a rise in the minimum wage, along with the fact that WalMart pays higher than the minimum wage here in the US, which is also, to my knowledge, correct. The problem is that she states these things in response to Tasini's claim that Chinese workers would have to be paid more in a free market. Regardless of Tasini's potential flaw in perceiving who is ultimately responsible for the paychecks of these Chinese workers, Karen has not addressed the ultimate claim that WalMart, in a free market, would be hard pressed to remain the giant that it currently is, let alone even exist at all.

While some free market advocates may think that large corporations may still exist in a genuine free market, others do not agree. While I again don't have much of anything in common with Tasini, I linked to his article because he does point out that a) WalMart's practices are inconsistent with free enterprise, and b)things would be radically different for WalMart in a free market. The fact that Tasini is also hostile to free enterprise does concern me, but not at this moment.

Additionally, I don't see why criticizing China is "old and worn". Why is criticizing government corruption "old and worn"? Why is criticizing the artifical suppression of wages and other state distortions of the market "old and worn"? Why is criticizing prisoner slave labor "old and worn"?

So China may be involved in a transition from a state socialist hellhole to a more state capitalist hellhole. I see no reason to celebrate, and the fact that China remains being a totalitarian hellhole and that corporations like WalMart would rather support such totalitarian hellholes than promote free enterprise makes me see much relevance in continuing the criticism of China and those who support China's tyrannical system. Again, I don't agree with all of the criticisms, such as the ones rooted in pro-protectionist beliefs, but some of the criticisms are valid and warranted.

Finally, she concludes her post with the following:
This is what the "free market types" (as espoused by the critter) are defending against: the authoritarian, anti-free trade hysteria (especially concerning China): the war against "bigness" and progress; the socialist-protectionist takeover of the economy under the umbrella of the "American Dream" and "national interest"; and the war on the lower and middle classes and the improvement in living standards therein.

Yes, Wal-Mart is guilty of many crimes--including eminent domain issues--and so are many other corporatist state players. But "ugly buildings," world-class inventory systems, higher wages, more jobs, progressive supplier relationships, and lower prices are the "crimes" Wal-mart is unjustly accused of because people just love to hate Wal-Mart.

To the extent that these free market types criticize protectionism and further state intervention of the economy, I salute them. But as I've already stated, "bigness" is not inherently synonymous with progress, and the anti-free market practices of Wal-Mart make them an institution that I view deserves scorn rather than praise. WalMart may not be much different than any other player in the corporate statist system, but the fact that they are part of that system is what bothers me. I may not boycott all such corporations, but that doesn't mean that I have to like them.

It's true that many people love to hate WalMart, and their reasons for doing so and their proposed remedies may not jive with me. My only reason to chime in on the subject of WalMart is to defend free enterprise from those who are hostile to it and from those who falsely equate WalMart with free enterprise. When people make that false equation, it gives free enterprise a bad rap that it doesn't deserve amongst those who may be open to free market ideas if they understood some of the things that so many people make confusing.

I appreciate much of Karen's writing on various issues of importance (especially her criticisms of the automotive industry), but I must say that we wind up disappointing each other on the issue of WalMart.

Brad Spangler on war, socialism and semantics

I encourage y'all to give Brad Spangler's new blog post titled "War, Socialism and Precision in Thinking" a good reading. He begins by stressing the difference between pacifism and the type of anti-imperialist position held by many war critics today. Switching over to the topic of socialism, Brad goes into an extensive dissection of corporate statism and the varying definitions of both capitalism and socialism in order to show where both the conventional Left and the "vulgar libertarians" go wrong in their understanding of the two isms.

Some people may lament the constant discussion of semantics, seeing it as a waste of time that diverts attention away from supposedly more important things. Brad's post shows why I must disagree with such sentiment. What is the point of action and the promotion of ideas if such things are rooted in imprecise understandings of other people and their positions? People are very rarely on the same page when engaging in political discussion, which is why some people can view the term "libertarian socialism" as being an oxymoron while others roll their eyes when hearing someone praise "free market capitalism" due to having a different idea of what capitalism is. As Brad puts it:
If “capitalism” is held as being genuine devotion to a free market, property rights, productivity and resulting prosperity — then clearly saving money (accumulating capital) is a “Good Thing(tm)”.

But if “capitalism” has nothing to do with a free market and is instead all about using the power of the state to craft market distorting privileges on behalf of a political class — then accumulation of capital by ordinary people becomes something mildly subversive to the established order and will be discouraged.

Clearly, capitalism[1] is not capitalism[2].

This also reminds me of the various conceptions of "property" that Proudhon discussed in "What is Property?" A condensed treatment of Proudhon's ideas on the subject by fictional character Hagbard Celine were included within the appendices of The Illuminatus Trilogy, and can be read here.

Music: Kevin Sawka

The drum machine has become obsolete.

Well, maybe not, depending on what you may want to accomplish and listen to, musically speaking. The intense, hyper fast beats that such machines are used for in creating various types of electronic music have been replicated and improved upon by a flesh and blood human being who has been mesmerizing people in the northwest and other locales for a few years now. His name is Kevin Sawka, and his insane talent is bound to make him a big shot in the music world anytime now.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHe's already been noticed by various jazz musicians in the Seattle area, along with original Santana drummer Michael Schrieve for his unique, bionic-like skills. While he has performed with such cats, lending his services to enhance jazz or rock based projects, his primary focus is in the world of live electronic music. Drum and bass and jungle are two styles that come to mind when listening to his mind bending dexterity on the drumkit. His enduring ability to perform for hours on end is also amazing in it's own right.

Sawka performs both solo and with various musicians, mostly from the Seattle area. He has performed in numerous late night Seattle loft party sessions where musicians gather to throw down some serious improvisation and grooviness. One such session took place on June 8, 2002 with musicians such as Skerik (Critters Buggin, Les Claypool) on sax, Brad Houser on bass, Eric McFadden (P-Funk All-Stars, Stockholm Syndrome) on electric guitar and mandolin, and Reggie Watts (Maktub) on keys and voice box. Over three hours of exhilirating madness took place, which the following mp3s will confirm. The first one is almost 80 minutes long and fills up an entire CD. I recieved it that way, and I don't have the software needed to break it up. The other two tracks come from the very end of the performance and feature a supercharged rendition of the Charles Mingus classic "Haitian Fight Song". Again, I recieved it broken up in two instead of being one track as it should be.

Seattle Loft Party 6/8/02
MP3: disc 2 (79:48 long!)
MP3: Haitian Fight Song pt.1
MP3: Haitian Fight Song pt.2

A collaboration that appears in Seattle once in a while called Varmint also features Sawka working with people from the jazz and improv world. This exciting mesh of jazz improv and drum and bass includes Sawka on drums, Bill Frisell on guitar, Wayne Horvitz on keys, Eyvind Kang on viola, and Paul Kemmish on bass. Their improvisations represent more pleasant listening than the more youthful and raw loft party show while still being high octane in nature, largely because of Sawka's contribution.

Varmint 4/20/02 I-Spy Seattle, WA
MP3: Varmint sample

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSiamese is the name of the group that largely made Sawka well known in the Seattle music scene. Although the group is no longer active, they still get together once in a while to put on a wild live drum and bass and jungle experience that takes electronic influenced music to another level. Siamese consisted of Sawka, Jeremy Lightfoot on bass, and Dave Z on keys and guitar. They released an EP in 2003 called Ancients of Days that provides a polished sample of their profound sound. I've also included a track from a live performance from a private party in Seattle on December 6, 2002 that really embodies their trademark hardcore style.

ALBUM: Ancients of Days (Mixtape Meditation, 2003)
MP3: Jade
From a private party in Seattle on 12/6/02:
MP3: live Siamese sample

Sawka's current project is called KJ Sawka and consists of both solo performances and performances with band members and various female vocalists from Seattle. His music here seems to emcompass numerous different electronic styles besides just drum and bass and jungle, displaying his growing compositional and sytlistic maturity. Two albums, one live and one studio, have been released recently and I've enjoyed both of them. I've provided one song from each for your ears to enjoy.

ALBUM: Chop Suey Live (Wax Orchard, 2005)
MP3: Sapphire (Magic Mix)
ALBUM: Synchronized Decompression (Wax Orchard, 2005)
MP3: For Oily to Normal Skin

*Addendum: I forgot to include mention of a group that Sawka was involved with for about a year called Live Evil. If you click on the link, you'll find a brief description of the band, along with some mp3s to check out. The version of the song "Boogaloo" provided there is long and is also good, but not as good as the version I'm offering up below. The version I have is much shorter and cut, but is very much worth downloading if you've liked any of the other songs from this post.

MP3: Live Evil - Boogaloo

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The BCS is bad enough as it is

Congress intervening in the sports world can trigger at least two different reactions by libertarian sports fans. Some may be appalled by legislators seeking to wield power over the way a game is played, or called, or what an athlete is allowed in ingest. Others may look at the bright side and acknowledge that they're at least not spending even more time fucking up more serious issues, like the economy or something.

Either way, it's not good for Congress to be doing much of anything at all, and that includes meddling with the sports world. With baseball season over (thank goodness) and the steroid issue seemingly settled, members of Congress have now decided to befoul another sport: college football. According to this ESPN report, Congress has decided to conduct a hearing next week on the "deeply flawed" Bowl Championship Series, otherwise known as the BCS (or BS, depending on what team you root for). That's just great. The system is bad enough as it is, and will continue to be until some sort of playoff system is implemented. Given the inevitability for Congress to screw up anything it gets involved with, the BCS might end up seeming fair in contrast to whatever those meddling bureaucrats come up with. And I thought that referees sucked!

The good news is that no actual legislation is in mind, that they just want to brainfart (er, storm) some ideas and spark discussion. I think that there is something else that they have their eyes on though. As commitee chairman Joe Barton, a Republican from Longhorn country put it: "College football is not just an exhilarating sport, but a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore"

Friday, December 02, 2005

An apology and an FYI or two

I apologize to those who have checked in lately and found nothing new here. I've been busy lately and will continue to be busy until the end of the year. Posts will be sparse between now and then.

For those interested in music related posts, I have one on deck for this weekend with a drum and bass flavor to it, and will write at least one additional post before the end of the year. Posts about politics or anything else will pop up if and when I've got time.

Oh, and I'll be yet another blogger to recommend reading the latest essay by Roderick Long titled "Liberalism vs Fascism", which provides more on the 19th century libertarian acknowledgement and critique of the militarism, corporatism, nationalism and other tendencies that go along with fascism.