Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

As soon as I saw my father’s name on the caller ID this morning, I knew what the call was about. “How about that health care bill?” he laughed into the phone. Dad’s a Republican, and he and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on politics. We’d already had one round of argument about health care, a few weeks ago when it seemed like something would pass. Dad bemoaned the cost, the threat of “government takeover” of health care, and how the polls said most people were happy with their health care. I countered by saying if the free market had been able to fix the issues with health insurance, there wouldn’t be any impulse for some type of government intervention. As far as the private vs. government-sponsored health care, I asked him if he thought that insurance companies should be making health-care coverage decisions based on profit motives. (He said no, which illustrates the conundrum for the private coverage supporters.)

Anyway, that conversation seems quaint and outdated now that health care reform seems horribly mutated at best and likely DOA. While Republicans certainly injected their usual amount of hysteria and disinformation, I expected that. Of course Glenn Beck's going to weep tears of how giving the poor health coverage is akin to Nazism and the usual GOP suspects rail how a milquetoast attempt to provide health care reform would END AMERICA AS WE KNOW IT!!! The real problem and the source of my anger and disappointment lies with the Democratic Party.

The arguments should have been easy to counter. Government takeover of health care? A fallacy considering that there was only going to be a government option at best. The government has no business in health care? Well, if you trust the government to keep you safe from foreign enemies, why is it such a stretch to trust it to help you stay healthy? It also was easy to go on the offensive: like I said to my father, do you want your healthcare to be subject to the profit motives of insurance companies? Wouldn’t you like to have a choice for health care beyond the single option you have through your employer?

There are so many benefits that it seemed like an easy sell. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is run by the worst sales force in political history. They couldn’t sell groceries to a starving man. They never, ever controlled the debate, and they let the Republicans hack away at reform, so much that they lost any chance of rallying public opinion and the conservative Democrats needed to pass even a watered-down bill.

I can live with making a good case for liberal causes and having them rejected. It’s a democracy, and I accept that the public may not align with my values. What I can’t live with is a party that controls the White House and Congress acting like it’s still a minority party that can’t get anything done because of those big, bad Republicans, of punting on first and ten (if I may quote a certain zombie). That a party with every possible advantage is constantly on the defensive. That a party, after losing a Senate seat that should have been a lock, interprets that loss as “we have to act more like Republicans.”

I also don’t buy the gridlock excuse. Republicans are going to be obstructionist. That’s what minority parties do. If you can’t win the representative, you go to their constituents and make your case. If done well, those constituents clamor for change and the representatives get with the program. Republicans understand this. That’s how they got Democrats to roll over for Bush for so long. You would think that a party that’s been a bottom for so long would learn a thing or two about being a top, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s going to be a long ten months until November.

1) “YYZ,” Rush. Make all the jokes you want. Take all the potshots you like. I’m not only not apologizing, but I’m waving my Rush flag high in the air. Moving Pictures is a classic album and this is one of the best rock instrumentals ever recorded. It’s groovy despite the odd time signature and complex without being wanky. I always feel better after hearing this, even if playing this around TLB guarantees a lack of sexy time.

2) “Posse in Effect,” Beastie Boys. The big reason why hip-hop often leaves me cold is because I’m a music guy. I love a good turn of phrase or an insightful lyric, and dig a good beat, but I put melody ahead of everything. I need more than a drum machine and some snazzy mic work, just like I need more than a blazing hardcore beat and a lot of screaming. I like my songs to be, you know, songs.

3) “Visionary,” Husker Du. For example, here’s how to pack a punch while still carrying a tune.

4) “Glamorous Glue,” Morrissey. A pretty heavy song from the godfather of twee. It reminds me of another song, but I can’t think of what that song is. I hate when that happens.

5) “Change Partners,” Stephen Stills. Not a fan, of this or Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I always found that they didn’t have the depth of Dylan or the fuck you of Neil Young . They’re the squishy middle of a hippie who’s eaten too much trail mix.

6) “Waiting for an Alibi,” Thin Lizzy. The double-lead-guitar thing is so simple, yet so effective. The solos would still be terrific, but that second guitar is like another row of shark’s teeth that give it even more bite.

7) “She Don’t Use Jelly,” The Flaming Lips. I would have liked The Flaming Lips a lot more if critics hadn’t told me that I should love The Flaming Lips. They’re a good band, quirky yet accessible, but they achieved a level of critical nerd acclaim that I never got and therefore made me want to not listen to them. It reminds me a lot of people who get too pushy about They Might Be Giants.

8) “Mic Check,” Rage Against the Machine. This song is more like Rage Against the Zzzzzz. I only find them interesting when they are balls out and basically playing some variation of “Killing in the Name Of,” which is what all their best songs really are. Slowing it down so I can focus on the freshman Peace Studies major lyrics, repetitive beat, and guitar effects wanking? No thanks.

9) “End,” The Cure. In this edition of The Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever, The Cure play a droning, repetitive track that should bore me the way “Mic Check” does. But Robert Smith adds just enough progression and ramps up the depression and desperation as the song goes on, so that even as it basically repeats the same riff and beat over and over, it adds enough new musical misery and ripped-apart riffs to keep me interested.

10) “You Got Lucky,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I think this is a decent entry from Petty, but it has a special place in my musical memory because of the video. It’s one of the earliest ones I remember that had some concept to it, instead of just being the band playing. The video still stands out after all these years because it’s really kind of depressing, showing a dusty, post-apocalyptic world where we’ll be lucky to find some dusty, discarded electronics. It also serves as a training video for life after President Palin.

11) “Intolerance,” Tool. I would love to introduce them at a concert. I’d grab the mic and yell out, “Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to laugh? Then please welcome…Tool!” They are also another group whose fans can get pretty pushy about: “OMG Tool are like, fucking awesome, they’re, like, so dark and the music is, like, so complex and shit.” Simmer down, ToolFan69. Snark aside, though, the first half of their first album is pretty damn amazing, truly dark and off kilter while somehow being catchy. And, frankly, given my mood this week, appropriate to end the Random 11 on.

Hopefully a weekend will render me less whiny and annoyed than I sound today. I intend to have fun family time, get some writing done, and hopefully watch Brett Favre not go to the Super Bowl. Enjoy yourselves, too!


Jennifer said...

I could barely read all of the post just because truth is painful, but out of respect for you, I did.

And, out of respect for you, I listened to all of YYZ. Thank you for picking an instrumental. :)

Have a good weekend.

Brando said...

Jennifer, I appreciate your sacrifice.

It's not an easy thing to confront, but if this isn't a look in the mirror moment for the Democrats, I don't know what is. I'm just worried they're seeing a lighter version of Mitt Romney smiling back at them.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

HCR has been declared dead seven or eight times before.

I can't get too worked up over Scott Brown in the face of The American Experiment being sold to the highest bidder, brokered by John Roberts and his stooges.

fish said...

One of the arguments that just made me bang my head on the table was when Republicans made the argument that insurance companies couldn't compete against a non-profit gov insurance.


Substance McGravitas said...

I would have liked The Flaming Lips a lot more if critics hadn’t told me that I should love The Flaming Lips.

I heard a funny live track early in their career in which prior to the song the singer tries to get people interested in Sonic Youth. At the time Sonic Youth were the indie gods and The Flaming Lips were hick nobodies.

They seemed so sincere I had to like them.

Brando said...

Yeah, SM, they have a number of songs I like, and I love "Fight Test." Plus they definitely do their own thing.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Dad bemoaned the cost...

Does Dad know that we have $12 trillion, which was run up by Reagan and Bush II?

Where were the fiscal scolds the last 8 years?

Churlita said...

Hey, at least you got your wish. Go Saints!