Saturday, December 31, 2005

Well, Steanso has taken ill with a cold or cedar fever or some damn thing, so he may not be partying much this New Year's. However, that doesn't slow me down from wishing you all a great New Year's celebration and a happy upcoming year!
Peace, love, and happiness.

Steanso

Friday, December 30, 2005

Damnit, people. The American pika is almost extinct, and I never even knew they existed until this morning. How am I going to know about them and catch one to keep as a pet if I don't know that they exist until they're extinct?
And The Justice Department is launching an investigation to figure out who leaked the fact that the president has been engaged in an illegal domestic wiretapping operation. No one seems interested in investigating the actual illegality of the wiretaps, or how far the illegal wiretapping extends, or determining exactly whom the president has illegally been keeping under surveillance here in the U.S. Nope. Instead, the federal governemnt is going to use your tax dollars in yet another effort to bully and browbeat whistleblowers and defenders of American civil liberties- people who have stood up to this administration in an effort to tell them that they don't have a right to spy on the American people and take away our privacy simply because they feel like it.
Bush's claim that the declassification of this program has put our country in jeopardy is laughable. The real reason he's angry is that once again he has been caught with his pants down (once again bending the American people over a barrel, I might add). Were there really any terrorists out there operating cells who still thought it was ok to discuss confidential matters over a phone? Even before this program was revealed, I would think that most potential terrorists would have been worried about their phone and internet conversations because of the danger of LEGAL wiretaps gained through proper channels with warrants (and let's be honest- those warrants weren't all that hard to come by in the first place). I think Bush's wiretapping extends to tracking not only international terrorists, but political and/or ideological enemies of the White House as well (who are likely to have done nothing illegal).
This whole thing is really creepy, and it's about to become more creepy as the White House turns the investigation away from themselves and tries to create a witch hunt in pursuit of whoever did our country the service of leaking this information.
Impeach Bush.

OK, gots to run, but you guys keep it real. I may die a fiery death tomorrow night in Wimberly (all part of the Sensat fireworks extravaganza), so wish me well.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Well, Steanso's week off has been pretty good. Mostly.
Yesterday he wasted two hours of his life that he'll never get back by going to see Wolf Creek with Crackbass and Jackbart. Wolf Creek is an Australian slasher/horror movie, which was advertised as one of the grittiest, most realistic horror movies since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I read a few reviews of the movie before going to see it (The New York Times, The Washington Post), and they all said that although the movie was flawed, that it was worth going to see. I STRONGLY disagree. Wolf Creek was one of the single most generic, uninventive, predictable, and ultimately boring horror movies that I've ever had the misfortune to spend $6 on. Sadly, it wasn't bad enough to become truly funny (and, therefore, entertaining), but it just plodded along with its silly plot, ridiculous anatagonist, and main characters that were so mindless as to eventually cause me to root for their bloody and painful deaths. Don't go see Wolf Creek, kids. Rent it if the curiosity becomes overwhelming, but if you do that, get like twelve people together and split the rental cost so that you don't feel ripped off. And when you reach a point in the movie when you think to yourself, "Surely it's about to get better," then turn it off. It's not going to get better. Trust me.
Other from that, not too much to report. If we don't get some rain in Austin soon, things are going to get nasty. We're in the middle of a really bad drought, but no one's been bitching about it yet because we're also in the middle of winter, which means no one is watering their grass, anyway. When spring comes and the aquifer is empty, though, it's gonna be bad hoodoo. Right now the biggest ramification of the drought is the fact that small Texas towns seem to keep bursting into flames. I'm looking forward to watching Andy F. burn down Wimberly with his New Year's fireworks. I've seen Andy break and ruin a lot of stuff before, but it'll really be something to see him take it up a notch by burning down an entire town! Kickass.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

S'up, loyal readers? Did everyone have a happy holiday? I hope so. In Steanso's humble opinion, we've all been deserving a break. In some ways, it's kinda been a tough year (health problems in our family, my unemployment, war, the political climate, Katrina and Rita, the tsunami, etc.) although there've been some causes for celebration as well (recovery of health, gaining a new job, the birth of new kiddos in the Steanso tribal community). Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed your holidays.
Steanso got into town last night and immediately launched into a Mexican dinner with team Wilson just to prove to himself that he was, indeed, at home. Phoenix was good. Not exactly action-packed, but relaxing and fun. It was good to see Roundball and McSteans (as well as Melbotis, Jeff, and their newest ball of fuzzy, black chaos, Lucy). McSteans managed to pull off a tasty Christmas dinner, and we did some traditional Steans family Christmas activities, such as driving around looking at Christmas lights while listening to Mojo Nixon and going to see a giant Hollywood blockbuster. (By the way- King Kong was fun. Being a big, confused animal myself, I always get choked up when those pesky little humans pester that gorilla to death.)

To see what happened when things got a little slow on my trip, check out Roundball's site, The League of Melbotis.

Not a lot else to say tonight. I had fun in the desert, but I'm glad to be back at the Hop-A-Long Lounge with Cassidy. I can do more damage here.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Well, it's Christmas Eve here in Phoenix, AZ. I woke this morning to find my brother and sister-in-law standing in the yard looking at a flotilla of hot air balloons which were making their way across the cloudless Arizona sky. Pretty cool.
Steanso has also reentered the world of cable news since landing in Phoenix (Steanso's own cable having been cut off since sometime during his unemployment last summer), and I couldn't help but notice CNN reporting this morning that Bush's illegal wiretap program apparently extended farther than the White House initially admitted (what a surprise- see Monday, December 19th of the Adventures). The New York Times has reported that the White House's wiretapping program extended to large volumes of data gained from telephone and internet communication companies, data which related to domestic communications within the U.S. as well as foreign communication services (as opposed to strictly monitoring international communications, which the White House had previously admitted to). Anyhoo, I can't emphasize this enough people- Bush needs to be impeached. This whole program just seem to me to be way more illegal than getting a BJ from an intern. I don't get it.
Well, merry Christmas!!!! Drink some 'nog and sing some carols!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Hey kids! Merry Christmas! Steanso has successfully landed in Phoenix, met at Sky Harbor by Jamie McSteans, sister-in-law extraordinaire. Roundball, mi hermano, is still putting in a last few hours at the office before breaking for the Christmas holiday. Another piece of coal for the fire, Mr. Scrooge?
I have already met my brother's new dog, Lucy, and I can only say that she's a bloodthirsty monster that needs to be put down. (actually she's a good dog, a vewwy good doggy, aren't we Lucy?)
Anyway, just wanted to send a shout out.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sometimes the devil speaks bits of truth, kids. That's what makes him so dangerous.

But when did Hussein become a governmental watchdog? Of course, it doesn't help that The White House keeps giving him so much ammunition to work with.
Well, Christmas is almost upon us, and Steanso is s'posed to fly out for Phoenix to visit the brother, Ryan "Roundball" Steans, and sister-in-law, Jamie "McSteans" Steans. It'll be good to see them, but it's a bit hectic trying to get out of here.
I hope that each and every one of you guys has a good, peaceful Christmas, no matter how you choose to enjoy it (good wishes to you Kwanza, Hanukkah, and winter solstice celebrators as well- Steanso ain't biased). I've got friends who are doing everything from the traditional Christmas at home with the family to jetting off to Thailand to light some incense in Buddhist temples and do some shopping in the 90 degree streets of Bangkok. No matter how you celebrate, Steanso wishes you happiness and peaceful coexistence with your fellow man. And tequila. Lots and lots of tequila.
OK, I have a surpising amount of work to do if I'm going to get out of here at a reasonable time today, but you guys enjoy yourselves! (and for heaven's sake, be safe)

PEACE!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Well, no time to really blog today, and Steanso will be in court tomorrow, so there may no blogging tomorrow either. Just want to say hi and that I hope everyone is hanging in there in as we ramp up for the holidays. I know it's a little stressful, but Steanso wishes all of you guys a whole pile of Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza cheer. Okay. Gotta run. Peace, ya'll.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I just don't get it, guys. I really don't. Clinton lied about a consensual sexual indiscretion with an intern, and he got impeached. Nixon wiretapped campaign offices in a hotel building, and he was driven out of office in disgrace. Bush has (so far) lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to help kickstart an invasion (after purposely clouding the issue of whether or not Al Qaeda had ever even operated in Iraq), and now Bush has been caught secretly wiretapping the phones of thousands of Americans without any proof or suspicion that those citizens were ever engaged in illegal activity. Where's the outrage? Where are the cries for impeachment?

Bush, of course, maintains that the wiretaps were/are legal, and that he was granted power to spy on Americans within the United States through the authorization to use military force which Congress granted to the president shortly after 9/11. Critics (and myself) strongly disagree, noting that there are no provisions in the constitution for the authorization of wiretaps on American citizens without judicial oversight (i.e., without a warrant signed by a judge), and noting that there was nothing in the congressional authorization for the use of military force which indicated that wiretapping American citizens was being made permissible without a warrant. Bush also tried to mitigate the damage that he is inflicting upon the civil rights of Americans by pointing out that he has only authorized wiretaps for phone calls between the U.S. and foreign countries. This doesn't satisfy me for two reasons: 1) wiretapping Americans who are making international phone calls is bad enough, and 2) I really don't believe Bush at all when he says that the U.S. isn't monitoring domestic phone conversations. I think that the feds are already up in our shiznit like
At any rate, this is just one more example of the lengths that the president is willing to go to as part of his "ends justify the means" policy in dealing with "the war on terror". Maybe the U.S. really is secretly waging a classified, large-scale battle against large numbers of enemy forces which have not only infiltrated our country but which are secretly plotting to do us harm from within. But I doubt it. I think that there are, at most, a handful of bad guys out there, and that some of those people who want to do us harm are probably from within the U.S. itself (anyone remember Timothy McVeigh?).
Here's the thing. You can't have 100% security without a 100% lack of privacy, and I'm not willing to make that trade. As long as two people can get together and talk behind a closed door somewhere we're going to have the possibility of conspiracy, and Bush is going to want to have the right to kick that door down.
You want to make Americans safer, George? If you want to trample on our constitution in a way that actually makes us a little safer, then you might want to start with some more restrictions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Didn't Clinton's ban on assault weapons get overturned? (I might be wrong about that, but I don't think so) As long as it's legal for people to drive around with small arsenals in their cars, the term "security" in America will continue to be a relative word. Keeping better track of the people who buy explosives and tons of fertilizer might be a good idea as well. Oh yeah, while you're at it, you might want to loan the border patrol and INS a dollar or two so they can actually try to stem the flood of illegal immigration that occurs in this country on a daily basis. If you're going to keep any eye on suspected terrorists, it might be nice to do something to prevent them from just strolling across the border. And last (but NOT least), you might want to quit pissing off every country in the world. I know that you don't want to pander to the world community, George, but jeez- remember when we had friends? We even seemed like we were kind of popular at one point...
Also while Steanso wasn't looking (getting ready for Festivus), someone took one of his favorite radio stations (102.3 FM, which was a sort of classic rock station- dubbed world class rock) and turned it into some kind of Christian rock station. I hate Christiasn rock. I don't care if you're the most devout Christian in the world- there's no excuse for the blandness and lack of style that have always permeated Christian rock (from Stryper to Creed to Jars of Clay). If you're religious, just try to carve out a little niche of respect for regular rock music, ok? Just because some of the songs are about sex and drugs doesn't mean that the world is going to fall apart around us. Rock songs are typically kind of like blues music, anyway- they usually bemoan mistakes and sing songs of tradgedy and regret- they aren't meant to provide instruction guides for better living. Some of the best classical (and obviously gospel) music in the world was written by and for Christians, so let's just leave rock music alone, ok?
But they've taken away the station that I listen to on my 'puter at work. I tell ya, you can't turn your back for one second...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Festivus has come and gone. So many small moments of triumph, and oh so many small moments of travesty, tradgedy, and comedy.
Festivus 2005 will undoubtedly go on record as yet another Festivus success. As predicted, there were casualties (by the end of the night, three fallen bodies had landed in Steanso's house alone, with more across the street at Wilson Manor), but there were victories as well (two kegstands in less than 10 minutes? Kudos to Sarah. We loved your style right up until the moment you lost consciousness).
There were some critical meet and greets. Sadly, some of these people may never want to meet again. Such is the nature of Festivus.
I think the band played pretty well. Or we were at least entertaining. Mostly. Anyway, some people danced to our sh*t, so that's usually a good sign.
Steanso hopes to have some pictures to post pretty soon, but doesn't have them yet, kids. All digital and regular film photography from Festivus is currently being scanned by the federal government pursuant to little-understood portions of The Patriot Act.
Hopefully, there will be pictures soon.

Also, in the pre-Festivus buildup I've been missing the news. Did someone say that the president illegally authorized the NSA to spy on the phone calls of Americans without getting warrants? See, this is what I'm talking about. Steanso turns his back for just one little second and the president swipes another one of our constitutional rights. Motherf......
Transmission from Interzone; 12.17.05:
With Festivus only hours away, my stomach is churning and my pulse has become rapid and erratic. Already I can hear the distant pounding of drums as the natives begin to prepare for this vicfor an evening of ious, twisted winter ritual.
Through the trees I can see glowing lights. Several vehicles have already arrived, undoubtedly delivering ordinance meant to be used after sunset, under cover of night and away from prying eyes. Limber tribespeople hum and bounce, preparing themselves for celebration, battle, and endless dancing.
It won't be long now. Soon the the bounty of the earth will be exploited, warped and turned against the very workings of our innermost minds. Festivus is at hand.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Sweet! The Senate denies reauthorization of the Patriot Act!

Festivus takes place this Saturday. May God have mercy on our souls.

Also, Bush and McCain have finally come to terms on an agreement to limit torture. This seems to kind of signal a big change in Bush's policy, but Steanso's not going to spend too much time asking questions about the president's change of heart. I'm just glad that we're living in a country that limits torture. It just makes me feel better about who we are as a people and the kind of country that we're living in. It might sound like an overly simplified argument, but I just don't want to live in a place which lowers itself to the same moral standards as wicked people in order to fight the bad things that they're doing in the world. Some people will say that it's impossible to bring bad people to justice without getting your hands dirty, but I just can't accept that line of thinking. I just don't accept any line of reasoning which supports the abuse of human beings as a means to an end. Human beings are ends in themselves (to paraphrase Kant, among others), and to lose sight of this fact is to start down a very slippery slope.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hey, guys. Not much news today. The County Attorney's party is tonight at Serrano's, so Steanso will be attending that.
Aimee Blanchard ( a valued FOS- Friend of Steanso) will be leaving our ranks tomorrow to go and live with her boyfriend, Alex, up in New Hampshire after a much deserved break in Hawaii. Aimee is a really great, fun person, and we'll all be very sad to see her go. Nonetheless, we wish her well up north with her new endeavors. Via con dios, Aimee! You are one of the good guys, and we will miss you a whole lot!
OK, well, the blog is kind of short today, but that's ok. Senator McCain apparently made some progress today on getting congressional limits passed on the use of torture in U.S. detention facilities, so that has to be a good thing, but I don't know a lot of details about it because I haven't had time to read up very much today.
Court tomorrow for Steanso, so have a good weekend if I don't get a chance to shout at you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Well, here are some reasons to remain positive!!!!
The House of Representatives has approved a renewal of the Patriot Act today, thereby continuing to grant the federal government almost limitless power to check up on who we are hanging out with and what we are reading, as well as increased powers for eavesdropping on our phone conversations and email and for (and this one's my favorite) sneaking into our homes to have a look around while we're away. Good thing we're in Iraq fighting for all of this freedom and democracy. Look, digital cable and credit cards with outrageous spending limits really aren't a good trade for our civil liberties. I know that things feel okay at the moment, but eventually you're going to miss all of those rights you've heard so much about. Trust Steanso on this one.

And here's some more good news! The U.S. trade deficit has now hit a record high of $68.9 blillion dollars. That basically means that we're buying a lot more stuff from other countries than they're buying from us, which is pretty darn bad for the U.S. economy (all of the money spent on foreign goods is basically helping to pay people who manufactured those goods in foreign markets rather than paying the salaries of U.S. manufacturers and employees). So far I've heard that our unemployment figures are actually not bad, but if this deficit continues, it's gonna be bad hoodoo for the U.S. economy. Maybe a little bit of protective taxation (on foreign goods) wouldn't be a completely terrible thing (especially in light of the fact that countries like China have already been using these kinds of tactics against American goods for years). I'm looking your way, George.

And last, but not least, crocodiles have now topped the list as the animal most likely to kill or maim you if you live in Zimbabwe. They've passed up the old favorite- the rampaging elephant- as the critter most likely to kill you before you can kill it. Apparently the crocs tend to snatch people off of riverbanks while the people are bathing or fishing or whatnot. Elephants, which I've always (apparently foolishly) though of as fairly peaceful, tend to stampede and trample people when they become alarmed, or maybe just annoyed. Crocs eat people just because they're hungry. Also, if you're in Zimbabwe, look out for the hippos because they'll charge your fishing boat and f*%k you up.

OK, that's it for now. Hope everyone is doing alright.

Peace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Well, I'm in JP3 today, so I have almost no time for blogging, but I wanted to just refer my faithful readers (and my not so faithful readers) to a review of the Superman boxed set which was written by my brother, Ryan "Roundball" Steans for Texas Public Radio. Roundball may not know much, but he knows his Superman (and most other stuff related to the funny books).
Gotta go make the donuts of justice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Last night Crackbass and I went to see what was allegedly the last live performance of The American Analog Set. They're an Austin-based band who play kind of mellow, atmospheric dance grooves with a lot of layered keyboard, vibraphone, and guitar sounds. Their show was pretty cool, but sort of strange as well. For one thing, it was just about the quietest show that I've ever been to. I guess that the sort of music that Amanset plays sort of makes people pay attention and maybe even get a little introspective, but for whatever reason, between songs the audience was nearly silent for most of the show (except, of course, for applause immediately following each song). It was kind of like seeing a show in a library. The music was good, but I felt like I should be laying on the ground on a pile of pillows to listen to it instead of in a club.
Anyway, these guys say that they're not breaking up, but that they're going to pursue individual projects for awhile, so I recommend that people go out and buy one of their CDs. Then, by the time they start playing live again you'll be ready to go see them.
Anyway, the show was good, but Steanso stayed out too late and now he is sleepy.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

By the way, I just wanted to belatedly point out that The Adventures accidentally breezed past its one year anniversary (November 30, 2004 was the first entry) without event or fanfare. I just wanted to send a shout out and some truly heartfelt thanks to each an every person who has read the blog, and a double dip of thanks to people who have posted comments (because the comments are really what make the blog worth reading).
I know that my blog is kind of ridiculous, but it keeps me in touch with friends, forces me to examine and reflect upon the world around me, and gives me a much-needed outlet for emotional venting. On the whole, I think it's a good thing.
If anyone has ideas for blog topics or wishes to do some guest blogging, you can email me at j_steans@msn.com or just post a comment in the comment section.

That's it for now. Thanks for sticking with me.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Richard Pryor has died. We'll miss him. He was an incredibly funny, intelligent, and insightful guy, and I think his style of brave, honest, self-revealing comedy is something that a lot of modern comics strive to emulate (some with more success than others). He was in some movies, like Brewster's Millions, The Toy, and Stir Crazy, but he was probably best known for his stand up comedy (he was also in Superman III, but that probably wasn't his greatest moment). If you haven't seen Richard Pryor: Live in Concert from '79 or Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin' from '85, go check 'em out. We probably wouldn't have Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle without Richard Pryor.

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's good to see that ol' "Wild" Bill Clinton is still standing up and trying to do the right thing, in spite of the disapproval of an administration which is beholden to special interests and which refuses to act in the best interests of the American people (and in this case, the world). Clinton showed up for the U.N. climate conference this week to make a pitch endorsing the Kyoto accords (international treaties through which various nations have agreed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions in the effort to combat global warming), a move which has kind of pissed off the Bush administration, given their refusal to have the U.S. join into this environmental agreement.
The Bush cronies maintain that putting limits on U.S. greenhouse emissions would put an unfair strain on U.S. industry and manufacturing, thereby hurting the U.S. economy. Their argument seems to ignore the fact that most of Europe (and, in fact, the majority of the world's industrialized nations) have joined into the accord (thus negating the argument that signing the accord would unfairly hamstring the U.S. economy) and the fact that building a strong American economy is going to do us very little good if we manage to melt the polar ice caps in the process (and, yes, the U.S. does account for a sizeable percentage of world wide greenhouse gas emissions- probably around 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide).
Anyway, Steanso thinks that the fact that we haven't signed the Kyoto treaty is just another classic example of American narcissism and ignorance. If we want other countries to like us more, we have to quit acting like jackasses- not pound our chests and shout about patriotism.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Old Man winter has once again visited his wrath upon us, but this time in the form of a sleety, slippery snow day! (thank goodness Travis County is way too chicken about lawsuits to force us to come in to work after the first bit of ice forms upon the roadway). Some ice this morning, but by this afternoon, the sun was shining and the birds were singing, and I went with Crackbass and Jackbart to the movies to see Aeon Flux (which was interesting, but not great). The theater, of course, was packed full of high school kids who also had the day off. Kind of ironic that we all got the day off because it was supposedly too dangerous to drive, but that the movie theater was packed full of people who had driven to the theater seeking entertainment for their snow day.
I had dinner tonight at Homeslice Pizza on South Congress. The restaurant was a cool place, the waitstaff was friendly, and the crowd was young and hip, but I found the pizza to be kind of mediocre. Not bad, mind you, but not really outstanding in any kind of way. I still miss Pizza Nizza, and I think that the Pizza Garden out near Oak Hill did a little more with their pies. We kind of debated the pizza on the drive home (The Pea loved it while Crackbass remained unimpressed), and although Crackbass said he thought Homeslice was better than both Rounders and Mangia, I think I would put it probably on a par with either one of those places (neither better nor worse). The advantage that Homeslice has, of course, over a lot of other places is the location. It was a brilliant marketing move to open up a pizza joint on South Congress, and the kids are already flocking there due to convenience and the simple fun of dining in the ever popular South Congress district. Anyway, it's a decent place and probably worth trying out, but I just wish they would step it up a notch (I don't know, do something with the cheese or the sauce or the crust to give it a little more zing).

Okay. Food critic duties are concluded. Incidentally, I heard that Homeslice was opened by a former food critic from the Austin Chronicle (this is a completely unsubstantiated rumor). If so, it makes the place that much more puzzling....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


For those of you who missed the recent Crack gig, here's a bit of the action at the ol' Ruta Maya on South Congress from last Friday night. It's not entirely clear, but I believe that this shot was taken during the performance of our hit single "Crabs and Lice" (which is one of the few tunes in the rotation in which Rusty Trombone Bloom takes the mic for some lead vocals). From left to right, that's "Special Friend" Gary Meyer on guitar, Jeff "Crackbass" Wilson on bass, Sigmund "Rusty Trombone" Bloom on the 'bone, and "Cleveland" Steanso himself on drums ("Dirty" Andy Sensat, on keyboards is not pictured). Thanks again to everyone who came out to see us. For those of you who didn't come out to see us- a pox on your houses. Posted by Picasa
Well, Howard Dean is coming under a lot of fire this week for saying that he thinks that the war in Iraq is unwinnable. The president, surprising no one, immediately jumped on Dean, labeling him as unpatriotic and criticizing him for failing to support the troops. Going further, the president said that our troops need to believe that their fight is winnable and there is a sound strategy behind this war.
And right there I think the president shot himself in the foot.
What strategy? The White House has refused to provide a timetable for troop withdrawals or to even establish a set of guidelines under which America might be able to say that the war has been won. We're fighting a "war" which is not a war in the conventional sense. There is no nation or organized group which is going to surrender to us or organize a cease fire. The war in Iraq is more akin to the war on crime or the war on drugs than any kind of traditional war. We're waging a war against a tactic, and even if tomorrow we were to wipe out every single person who has ever made use of a terrorist tactic, there's nothing to prevent new people from turning to terrorist tactics the following day in order to further their own political agendas. As long as the poor and disenfranchised seek to rise up and fight vastly superior forces, there will be horrible actions committed against civilian or noncombat targets by some individuals who use terrorism as a means of striking back at the enemy.

Perhaps Dean should have phrased his comments a little differently, but I agree with his sentiment. Furthermore, I believe that Dean had nothing more than the interests of our American soldiers at heart when he made his comments. If the war is unwinnable, we need a new strategy before more American lives are lost. Patriotism only gets you so far. There's a difference between supporting the troops and herding lemmings toward the sea. This is not a war which is going to have a discernible end. America needs a policy of international intelligence and police action for combatting terrorism- not a policy of large-scale foreign invasion.

I listened to an old Vietnam-era Richard Nixon speech on Air America this week as I was driving in to work, and it was truly chilling how similar his comments were to the soundbites that we are currently getting out of the Bush White House.
We can't set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam because doing so would only send a message of encouragement to the enemy.
Questioning the war effort is unpatriotic and undermines the efforts of our brave, young soldiers.
If we just have faith in the secret plans of our leaders and hold out for a while longer, things will get better.

History is teaching us nothing, people. We're mewing, sheeplike putty in the hands of Carl Rove's propaganda machine, and people are dying because of our ignorance. We're idiots, but we're damn patriotic idiots.

"Convince an enemy, convince him that he's wrong
Is to win a bloodless battle where victory is long
A simple act of faith
In reason over might
To blow up his children will only prove him right
History will teach us nothing"
- Sting

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Steanso spent all day today in JP3 with no time at all for blogging.
Steanso finally got to spend about half an hour reading his newspapers, but he really didn't read anything that made him want to blog too much (Cheney is still claiming we're winning the Iraq War as insurgents set off bombs at the Baghdad police academy, Bush is still insisting upon larger and larger tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, as the deficit grows and services are cut for the poor, and there's been some new kind of cat/fox creature discovered in Borneo which the World Wildlife Fund is trying to study and/or capture before the developers destroy its habitat).

Sorry the blogging has been suffering, but in addition to the fact that the new job is cramping my style, Steanso has just not been too fired up by the news lately. I'm just hanging back, waiting for inspiration to strike.
Steanso spent all day today in JP3 with no time at all for blogging.
Steanso finally got to spend about half an hour reading his newspapers, but he really didn't read anything that made him want to blog too much (Cheney is still claiming we're winning the Iraq War as insurgents set off bombs at the Baghdad police academy, Bush is still insisting upon larger and larger tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, as the deficit grows and services are cut for the poor, and there's been some new kind of cat/fox creature discovered in Borneo which the World Wildlife Fund is trying to study and/or capture before the developers destroy its habitat).

Sorry the blogging has been suffering, but in addition to the fact that the new job is cramping my style, Steanso has just not been too fired up by the news lately. I'm just hanging back, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Well, Steanso's weekend was eventful indeed. I'd like to thank everyone who came out to Ruta Maya on Friday night to suffer through the savant garde musical stylings of Crack. Our gig wasn't necessarily "good" in the traditional sense of the word, but it seemed to be entertaining, if the reactions of the crowd were any indication. We really appreciated the crowd support, we had a great time, and Buttercup, Los Mescaleros (sp?), and F for Fake were all really good following Crack. I think F for Fake needs to be playing around town a little more often. They've got a good vibe going.

Saturday I had lunch with the Wilsons and Greg "Big" Johnson, who had motored into town from Houston to check out the Crack gig. Saturday night we celebrated Andy's birthday, having dinner with he and Rami (Sigmund was also in attendance). Afterward we met up with Hannah and Chris and Dan and Vicki and we all had a few drinks at Don's on South Congress in order to celebrate Dan's birthday as well (everyone wish Dan Hamre a happy birthday). After drinking a few rounds there, we retreated to the Wilson's pond for a nightcap before trundling off to bed.

Sunday I had a beaujolais nouveau tasting party at my house which was meant to take place before Mono E practice, but which ended up lasting through practice until about 9:30 p.m. (festivities started at 3:00). We had a decent practice and much wine-laden festivity was had. Hope everyone had fun!!!!

OK. Gotta run. Maybe more later.
Peace.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a convicted killer and founding member of the Crips street gang, is apparently headed for an execution date of December 17th after having exhausted his appeals with the California Supreme Court.
Williams, like a few other death row inmates, has done a lot of good, charitable work since being placed on death row, speaking out against gang violence and writing children's books, the proceeds from which go to organizations which combat gang violence. Williams was convicted in 1981 for having killed an immigrant couple and their daughter while stealing cash from their motel.
Steanso, to be honest, is not sure what to make of the death penalty. It seems like a truly horrible thing, but then again, the crimes which people commit that get them executed are typically equally horrible. There's the argument to be made that the government makes mistakes and occasionally executes the wrong person, but that doesn't really end the argument, because death penalty proponents will still want to use execution in so-called "airtight" cases (which involve multiple eyewitnesses, videotape, DNA evidence, etc.).
The death penalty definitely leaves a nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach, but how would I feel if one of my family members or close friends were killed? Then again, maybe we shouldn't be basing our decisions regarding justice on the emotional demands of a group of people who simply want venegeance. Then again, maybe we shouldn't discount the death penalty as a rational and just form of punishment just because it makes us feel very uncomfortable.
I guess that at the end of the day, I oppose the death penalty mostly because it scares me to think that the government has the right to kill anyone. The government does make mistakes, and it's machinery is susceptible to all of the errors and flaws that come with any large, decision-making body (and in my opinion, groups often tend to come to the easiest decisions, but not necessarily the correct ones). Furthermore, execution by the government tends to make everyone responsible for the execution, which in the end makes no one responsible for it. I'm not sure we're as careful as we should be when there is no one person that we can point to as being responsible for the taking of a life.
I'm also just not sure that the taking of human life should be in the government's job description, period (except in defense of our society, which, I guess [damnit] criminal execution arguably could be a form of....)

Plus, there are questions about what makes a life worth something, or alternately, what makes it worth nothing?
Tookie Williams has done some very bad things. He has killed innocent people who were just trying to make a life for themselves. He should definitely be punished, and punished quite severely. He should almost certainly never again be given the freedom to live a life outside of prison.
But should he be denied the opportunity to continue to exist, especially if he's now doing some good for his community for the first time in his life? (and, yes, I'm aware of the possibility that he may just be trying to save his own skin, but that neither diminishes the practical benefits of his contributions nor precludes the possibility that he may undergo a genuine change in his belief structure as a result of his charitable work).
It still comes back to those victims who never got a chance to decide their own fate, though, doesn't it?
It's been said that vengeance is a lazy form of grief. But that's easier to say when it's not your family member lying dead of a gunshot wound in a parking lot.
So Steanso is confused by the death penalty, and the case of Tookie Williams highlights many of the issues that make it confusing.
Enough for now.
I know it's an age old debate, but I don't think that makes it less worthy of discussion.