2014 Honorable Mention Pick 14

Shakey Graves: And the War Came (Dual Tone, 2014).

I think normal, cubicle dweller types of music listeners deserve good records that work for them and this record that combines alt-country and arena rock with some excellent arranging and some fire q.

It’s well done and straight ahead — no Wilco slackness, no old 97′s punk sauce and thank God it’s not a Wilco record.  Hipsters need not roll out with complaints of lack of irony

I like the arrangements and I think the singer does a really good job at putting over the songs.  The production is very modern but it’s not cheesy.  A lot of records that work in this neighborhood tend to collapse under the weight of their own epic-ness.  Here there is an intimacy that draws you in and most of that credit goes to the singer.  There is some nice guitar work on the record as well.

Surveillance state USA!

From Slate here:

 As the Baltimore Sun reports, Detective John L. Haley, who works in Baltimore City police’s phone tracking unit, denied that his unit used stingrays (devices that collect data by mimicing cellphone towers to trick cellphones into connecting to them) to surveil cellphones, but he wouldn’t elaborate further, invoking a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI. Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams threatened to hold Haley in contempt, noting, “You don’t have a nondisclosure agreement with the court.”

The situation echoes a broader national discussion about surveillance technologies—like stingrays—that local police use but claim they can’t discuss because of federal restrictions. The Sun notes that the Baltimore Police Department purchased a stingray for $133,000 in 2009.


Boy, it really hasn’t taken long for Uncle Sam to take technologies that were supposed to protect Americans and use them against Americans.

And if we were to examine the neighborhoods and skin color of the receiving end of these spook technologies we will find African Americans being arrested and controlled with the spy gadgets.

U.S. to continue destroying Afghanistan in 2015!

From Slate here:

President Obama reversed course on his previous decision to end American troops’ combat role in Afghanistan by the end of the year. The classified order, the New York Times reports, will give American troops broader offensive capability in the country—including carrying out missions against the Taliban and broader support of the Afghan military—than first articulated by the President earlier this year.


I guess Obama (and his warmonger advisors) feel that some more violence will produce peace in Afghanistan after twelve years there.

It makes sense, they really haven’t given it enough time.


Super Pumpedness = Disease = Sociopathy!

Earlier this week I put up a list of personality traits that the next Internet Death Star Uber looks for in their employees.  The last characteristic is ‘super pumpedness’.

It has been my experience is that ‘super pumpedness’ leads to all manner of ill, anti-social behavior.  In the business sphere it leads to ripping people off, lying in your marketing, and just giving way to doing whatever necessary to make money because you’re super pumped.

Super pumped leads to invading countries that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Super pumped leads to stop and frisk and it leads to cops shooting the wrong people.

I advocate that people avoid becoming super pumped at all cost and to avoid like the super pumped people you encounter in your life.


Mike Brown 148 feet from Officer Wilson when he died?

From here:

Police claimed — and the media repeatedly reported — that Brown was killed 35 feet from Wilson’s SUV, a distance at which police can reasonably be said to be in fear for their lives. But according to visual evidence from the day of the shooting and an on-site measurement based upon it, Shaun King contends that Brown was approximately 148 feet from the door of Wilson’s SUV when he died.


I don’t know how an armed police officer fears for his life from an unarmed black teen who is 130+ feet away from him, but that’s what the super honest Ferguson police force is saying.