Friday, September 11, 2015

We say what if?

I decided not to write or post a lot about 9/11 today. I’ll leave that for more eloquent people. I haven't forgotten and still recall that day vividly. But as always, music speaks to me and touches me in ways that distill my thoughts and feelings perfectly.

The song that did that today was “Point of No Return” by Duran Duran, from their 2004 “Astronaut” album. It’s generally an optimistic, uplifting album, but this song asks some good questions, including if we can change...and do we really want to? Lyrics, then video.

The random aspects of our lives
Come together once in a while
So blinding and decidedly
Naivete falls from our eyes
And we'll not regain
As we watch the tower falling down

Maybe things can change
Only if you want
Maybe things can change
Only if you want

You know, you know there's no avoiding
The lesson to be learned
The lesson to be learned
The point of no return

We say what if?
But can you live it?
It's all that we deserve
It's all that we deserve
The point of no return

Don't blame yourself
Don't blame me
But we're the ones
Who can feed the ground

So this poison tree don't grow again
And from this glass and broken nerve
There is a way that can be built
A better life for everyone

Maybe things can change
Only if you want
Maybe things can change
Only if you want

You know, you know there's no avoiding
The lesson to be learned
The lesson to be learned
The point of no return

We say what if?
But can you live it?
It's all that we deserve
It's all that we deserve
The point of no return

Thursday, September 10, 2015


In case you missed my update on yesterday’s entry, the story about Survivor suing Huckabee and Davis was false. ARGH! I added an update on here and on Facebook but I wanted to write a little more to make sure I didn’t continue to perpetuate the hoax.

I try to be so careful about that, especially because the proliferation of fake news sites has become ridiculous. I do my best to not share misleading things, and it irritates me to see people sharing things as if they are real. Here is a pretty good list of fake news and satire sites (try to ignore the misspellings). I apologize for sharing something from what I should have known was a fake site. I saw the NBC News tagline, but missed that the website listed was NBC dot com dot co, which is absolutely not the real NBC site.

It occurred to me that I was easily hoodwinked on this one because I really wanted it to be true. Pardon me, my bias was showing! So it was fitting that I came across this interesting Vox article today about a quiz that checks your political bias.

Almost all of us have some bias. We tend to read sites that reflect our opinion and reinforce our beliefs. That’s been well-established. I consider myself very liberal, but I really make an effort to learn the truth about things and follow the science if it’s there. This is why I haven’t jumped on the GMO or gluten bandwagons. Science doesn’t support either claim (unless you have celiac disease). But I digress.

It didn’t take long to take the quiz, and it gave a nice, detailed report about the methods behind it and about my results. It’s worth checking out if this is something that interests you. My results showed that I was 25% biased, which was less than approximately 60% of those who took the test. The average result was 40% biased.

I was okay with these results, although it made me want to be a little more diligent about researching things and continuing to learn more. It’s very easy to grow complacent in our beliefs and not challenge ourselves. But challenging ourselves is how we learn and grow.

Onward! (And I promise to be more careful about what I share!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Story That Wouldn’t Die

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

When Mike Huckabee had his opportunistic grifting photo op rally with Kim Davis, she came out onto the stage arm-in-arm with the Huckster and her minister. Since you’ve gotta whip up the crowd a little bit, someone had the bright idea to blare “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Remember that one? From one of the gazillion Rocky movies.

Well, Survivor was none too pleased that their song was used in this way, without their permission, and for someone with whose politics and attitudes they totally disagree. They made it very clear that they were unhappy with the usage. Thus continues a fine tradition of politicians using songs without permission, usually resulting in a cease-and-desist order, or one of my favorite rebukes of all time: the Dropkick Murphys telling Scott Walker to just stop it already.
This ended up not being just a cease-and-desist order or a cut-it-out tweet. Survivor is suing Huckabee and Kim Davis for $1.2 million.

I literally laughed out loud when I saw that.

The Huckster, in a hyperbolic spasm, said that he was willing to go to jail in Kim Davis’s stead. It looks like Survivor might have a pretty good case here, so I wonder if he’s willing to pay the settlement for ol’ Kim?

When will politicians learn that musicians DO NOT LIKE IT when people they completely disagree with on almost everything use their songs without permission? I realize that copyrights are a weird and thorny area, and sometimes the musicians can’t stop these people from using their song. But it seems to me that common decency would dictate that you respect the artist and get permission first. Using it without the artist’s permission is a dick move.

I suppose that’s why the vast majority of complaints against politicians doing exactly that is on the Republican side. It strikes me as a sense of entitlement, an attitude of “I can do whatever I want to,” thinking that there will be no consequences or objection.

The political season is just revving up, so I’m sure we’ll see more unfair use and more objections from musicians. This topic comes up every presidential election. My personal favorite suggestion for a politician’s theme song that my friends and I came up with was this one by Nine Inch Nails. The politician? The Half-Gov herself, the Quittah from Wasilla, Sarah Palin!

Head like a hole
Black as your soul
I’d rather die
Than give you control


**UPDATE** It seems that the story of Survivor suing Huckabee and Davis is not true! The band definitely is not happy about it and is considering the possibility, but no lawsuit has been filed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What do you call a group of hillbillies?

I don’t know, but it looks like this.


I’m so sick of writing about this, but I just can’t help myself. I’m sure most of you have seen this picture making the rounds on the Interwebz. My immediate reaction was laughter.

After that wore off, I was left with a feeling of what I was surprised to realize was sadness.

I’m sad that Joe Davis is so backward that he decided that his overalls and straw hat would be a dandy outfit for his photo op with a presidential candidate (albeit a rather second-rate one), a photo that would circulate nationally.

I’m sad that he is reinforcing every bad stereotype of a hilljack Kentuckian. As someone from Indiana, I’ve had to work hard to counter an image of stereotypical Hoosiers, and it hasn’t been easy. I don’t embrace the image of a hick Hoosier, and don’t try to perpetuate it. I think it’s sad and kind of weird that Mr. Kim Davis seems so proud of his farmer gear.

Finally, I find it sad that the Davises are apparently so ignorant that they don’t realize that they are being used. Used by their lawyers who are trying to gain national prominence with this case, despite surely understanding that they don’t have a legal leg to stand on. Used by opportunists like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, who showed up to visit Davis in jail, only to have the judge release her. Kind of spoiled the heartfelt prayer across the bars of the jail cell, Judge Bunning. (I know it probably doesn't work that way, but can’t you just see the Huckster gripping Davis’s hands through the bars as they bow their heads in prayer?)

The Huckster got his photo op with Davis onstage, but poor Ted Cruz missed out and had to watch from the audience as Huckabee stole his righteous, persecuted Christian thunder. As if this whole thing weren’t bizarre enough, a Huckabee aide apparently physically blocked Cruz from joining them onstage. Man, why didn’t Cruz fight back? Now that would have been some must-see footage! Brouhaha in the Bluegrass State! Commotion in the country! Hubbub in the hills!

So while I’m laughing at this whole stupid situation and especially at this incredibly stupid picture, I’m still left with a sense of sadness. Maybe the biggest source of my sadness is all the people that are buying into the thought that this woman is on the side of what is right and just.

She is not. She is forcing her religious views on others. She is on the wrong side of history in denying every American their right to marry and to be free of discrimination. And this IS discrimination, in the name of religion. She will one day be viewed in the same light as all those people who resisted integration in schools and interracial marriages.

That really is sad.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Don’t believe everything you read

Except stuff you read here! Believe it all!

One of the first things I read this morning as I was going through my feeds was this headline: “Trump Leads All Democrats Nationally.” The reaction in my head went something like “Whaaaat?” I was immediately skeptical.

The poll was from SurveyUSA and the first thing I did was click through to drill down on the methodology and demographics of the poll. I am a skeptical person by nature, and when I read something that doesn’t jibe with what I’m seeing in reality, I need to dig a little deeper.

Sure enough, a few things jumped out at me right away. First, the vast majority of those polled were polled via landlines rather than cell phones. Younger, more liberal people rarely have both landlines and cell phones, so the poll is skewed as far as age and ideology right there.

The second thing was that the vast majority of people polled were from the South. The second-most polled was the West, followed by the Midwest, with the least amount in the Northeast.

Finally, 40% of the respondents made $80,000 per year or more; 36% made $40-80,000; only 24% made less than $40,000.

I believe this is a very flawed poll in its makeup of respondents. What is most bothersome to me is that the headline is very misleading and does not give the full picture. Unfortunately, there are very few people who will take the time to dig deeper and learn more.

Stay skeptical, Citizens.