2020 Caucus Update: I see Mayor Pete

Apr. 19th, 2019 07:57 am
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New blog post at iowaguy2020.blogspot.com/

Go there and see pics!

 There does not seem to be anyone with more star power in the race right now than Pete Buttigieg.  Granted, I was writing about him in October 2017 which is why you should be following this blog.

As the news reports it, that meet and greet for 50 people turned into a campaign rally for 1600.
Pete Buttigieg seems to be the real deal. He has the energy and idealism of Barack Obama, and that force quickly moved across the audience. The main topic of his speech seemed to be around climate change, a topic other candidates have focused on. He also spent considerable time talking health care and LBGT+ issues, while weaving in personal stories, while his husband and mother stood cheerfully to his right.  It was not hard to love those two (and the puggle back home).

Smart, but relatable and personal, he took questions randomly picked from a fish bowl after his speech. It was quite easy to like him as he interacted easily with the crowd. When asked how he would run against Trump, he compared it to Chinese Handcuffs- the more that you extend effort into it, the further into the trap you fall.

He nodded to Iowa’s groundbreaking legalization of gay marriage ten years ago . Telling his coming out story in Governor Pence’s Indiana, he said he couldn’t exactly poll voters to see if they would vote for “Mayor Pete if he was gay.” Buttigieg said his relationship with Pence was “well known”.  Pete also contrasted his age and Trump's and took shots at the MAGA slogan.

I don’t want to give too much voice to the protesters who came to disrupt Buttigieg, but it has become one of the headlines. That particular protester was Randall Terry, who has publicly announced that he plans to show up all caucus season at rallies for Buttigieg, Booker and others. Terry is a far-right extremist and opportunist (similar to Fred Phelps). To date, he is most well-known for running against Obama as a Democrat in 2012, so he could get attention in an otherwise uncontested primary election, and trying to buy bizarre graphic ads during the Super Bowl.

The crowd galvanized behind Buttigieg during the incident, but it also showed how well Mayor Pete can speak off the cuff and react quickly to unexpected surroundings.

There were plenty of Pete shirts in the crowd (like Raygun’s “Give Pete a Chance”) and the rest of the crowd appeared won over.   As I waited for Pete I speak, I talked to as many Democrats as I could to get a pulse on the current race, but that is a separate post.

It is hard not to compare Pete to Obama, and the buzz is real.  I have heard similar things about Cory Booker who came to Iowa on the same day, and whose visit was just nudged or shared in the headlines.  For sure, the wolves and MAGArs will come to attack Pete soon, so we still have a ways to go.

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As we look toward another round of a bunch of candidates headed to Iowa including Pete Buttigieg, I thought it was worth mentioning some Beto O’Rourke stuff.  O’Rourke announced his candidacy and made a trip to the Hawkeye State. A lot of the national media about O’Rourke is that his star has burned out. A friend who knows says he still sees Beto as a Top 5 candidate. Indeed, if they’re talking about you, then you are still in the conversation. It’s when they stop talking about you.

The excellent Iowa Starting Line has come to the same conclusion and seemed impressed with the young Texan. They shared a story of Beto addressing a crowd of 300 in Waterloo standing on the back of a red pickup truck.  This comes off a Politico article that seemed to want to bury Beto, but contains the particular observation of the mayor of Dennison (a town of 8000 in the reddest part of the country).  Mayor Beymar saying 80 people showing up in his town a workday is like attratcing a crowd of a thousand.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls paper covered his Eastern Iowa visit which started with a 60 person meeting where half were media, but hitting Iowa City with Hawkeye gear and sharing anecdotes like his locker being next to local Dave Loebsack in the House Gym. The Iowa City Press Citizen, local Democrat volunteer Karen Cooney has the best insight, comparing Beto to Obama for intelligence and likeability, as opposed tothe party favorites like Gore, Kerry and Hillary.  It has also been noted that the red state politics that Beto navigated in Texas are appropriate to conservative-purplish Iowa

The Des Moines Register covered his 12 hour day in the Capital city area with impressed voters who compared him to JFK, 45 minute media-caused delays, references to local baseball and local bars, and at least 100 requests for pictures. Another Register story mentioned the fact he stopped to try Caseys Pizza (a Iowa stand by).  As an observer and blogger, I love this stuff, but I realize that I am falling into the trap that I am accusing Politico of.  Politico in their piece seemingly ridicule O'Rourke for always wearing the local ball cap or of namedropping the local Democrats.  That's nothing to be ashamed of.  It is the candidate that thinks those niceties are beow them that are the ones who fall flat.

A few other statements of note that came out of his visits.  In Dubuque, he was asked if he would pick a female running mate and he said yes. A Spokane newspaper with some solid 2020 coverage reported, as well as the fact he was dropping a flippant joke about his wife doing all the parenting.

In short, to declare Betomania dead or that he has been a bust seems short-sighted.  Does he have the ability to compete with the well-stocked and well-organized Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris?  Has his millenial energetic thunder shifted over to Mayor Pete?

Wait... wait.. wait.  What am I doing?  Analsysis?  Insight?  This is not what I intend for my blog at all.  Let's fix this immediately.

Per the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

"I was in the bathroom, minding my own business and I was washing my hands," said Matthew Rowland, a University of Iowa student. "And this guy asked me how it was going, and I said good, 'How's it going,' going for some small talk.

Rowland asked, "Are you here to see Beto?"

He said Beto O'Rourke looked up at him with a grin and said, "That's me."


(Photo via New York Times)

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Social media obviously draws attention to deaths but it is still true that they are sad events.
( Collapse )

Undoubtedly though, the death of Ranking Roger is a sad one.

I almost undoubtedly heard the English Beat first on MuchMusic. That Canadian video station found a spot for ska. I heard “Mirror in the Bathroom” and it is one of those special life-changing songs.

I special ordered “What is Beat?” because I had gotten in that habit. Needless to say, that album is perfect

The Beat like the Buzzcocks had three records that were pretty solid so the greatest hits records are start to finish perfection. Though not quite the same band template, the Jam’s “Snap” and XTC’s “Waxworks” make for four of the most perfect one record compilations of the late 70s and early 80s. True Desert Island Discs.

Of course, in the 90s and early Aughts, I upgraded to CDs and the greatest hits collections got filled out reissues. Without a doubt, there are very few records that I have listened to in my life than What is Beat.

After discovering the Beat, I would go on to discover the Specials and 2 Tone. Always grouped together and yet apart, the Beat because of their amazing pop sensibility, often get labeled as less authentic. Ironically, in terms of career output, the Beat dwarf this mythical competition.

In the 90s, one of the first new wave reunions took place when Ranking Roger joined the legendary Saxa and drummer Everett Morton from the Beat and four members of the Specials to form the Special Beat. To me, this was a really big deal. In retrospect, this was a nonevent in musical press terms. Of course, should that be the case? This was one of an early chain of events that kicked off a new heyday for ska.

Unexpectedly, General Public has another big hit and went to #22 in 1994. Their cover of The Staples’ “I’ll take you there” is a great cover and a deservedly pop staple in its own right and was in the year end Top 100.

In 2013, it was announced that Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling would both be leading separate versions of the Beat complete with tours, upcoming studio and all that entails. It was hard to imagine Roger without Dave and vice versa after so many years together off and on.

I saw much more press for the Roger version, which had some bona fide claim to the title. Besides Roger, it also included his son, Fuzz Townshend (Pop Will Eat Itself, Bentley Rhythm Ace), Oscar Harrison (Ocean Colour Scene) and Bobby Bird (Higher Intelligence Agency).

In 2016, that record did appear- Bounce. It was a good record though I felt it ultimately fell a bit short of its goal. Not a bad record by any means, but hardly essential.

What I didn’t realize when the new album Public Confidential came out was that Bounce was essentially a group that was in the process of finding itself.

There’s some irony in the fact that it comes out at a similar time as The Specials reunite and release a new disc. There’s also an ironic sadness that Roger passed away so soon after the release.

I wonder if I would have delved into this record without that. I likely still would have. In any case, I am glad that I did. It is a record that meets and exceeds its lofty expectations.

Whereas I listened to Bounce and lamented that Dave was not going to show up, with Public Confidential, I never feel that element missing. It truly feels like the English Beat, mixing the right amount of looking-back nostalgia mixed with a modern feel. It seems hyperbole when reviewers compare it to the Beat's classic, but it really is in the conversation. Nor is this an element of one or two hit singles, but a collection of cohesive songs. I find it unlikely, but it will undoubtedly be on the short list of my favorite albums of the year.

nebris: (The Temple 2)
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Unconditional Love is nonsense. ALL relationships are based upon NEED.

Even if you are Of Service to whom all you meet, even if you give Love to everyone you encounter no matter whether they return it of not, even if you are The Most Blessed Saint Ever, somewhere y'all are getting blissed out on that shit...and that is perfectly fine. Such is fulfilling an essential positive need of yours and that's a Good Thing.

But if you've bought into all that Unconditional Love hocus pocus, there is a good chance you'll feel guilty about feeling good for doing good and that's just plain self defeating and self abusive. So cut that shit out and own feeling good about being good. Just don't get fucking smug about it. No one likes that crap. lol
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Detective Comics (2016-) #1000Detective Comics (2016-) #1000 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I almost skipped this one. You know how I feel about standalones that don't stand up. Heck, for that matter, it is almost hard to tell if this "96 Page Issue" is all new material or a host of reprints.

Still, it's a pretty stellar cast for Batman, who with all of his versatility, might be America's greatest hero. There's some of the recent Batman names of all stripes (Snyder, King, Dini, Tomasi, Tynion, Johns, Kevin Smith), the legend (Denny O'Neil), the "hot" name (Bendis) and a few wild cards (Warren Ellis, Christopher Priest). The exclusion (for whatever reason, I don't know) of Grant Morrison particularly sticks out.

I figured I should try it, even if I was not particularly impressed with DC's similar 1000 issue of Superman. I also am not a big fan of annuals, but this felt like it could be a decent enough stand-alone, and for that, it does actually work.

Let's talk about the stories.

Given the impact Scott Snyder and Tom King have had with this character in recent years, they get book-end stories. Both make their effort worthwhile.

Snyder has a likeable "Don't think about it too hard" story that is generally memorable and enjoyable. King's story is less memorable, but he essentially has 6 pages to work with, so he uses it to capture a really good Batman feel and show off his strengths.

Unlikely as it might seem, but Kevin Smith has the best story and it's pretty straight forward. At 8 pages, it goes quickly. Not only is it a good payoff, but the build up really grabs the reader, captures the right mood and is complimented by Jim Lee's art.

Paul Dini does what Dini does, and it is a fairly memorable and likely story. At six pages, it is maybe overlong. It's a great story, but he telegraphs the ending, so the mystery is solved fairly easily and before Dini gets to it.

Brian Michael Bendis tells a future Penguin/Batman story that seems like a logical fit for a book like this, though it probably falls under an Elseworlds story or something similar. It is pretty good, maybe only let down by an ending that doesn't feel all that original. The real hero is Alex Maleev who's art and colors give it particular staying power. I was happy with both Bendis and Dini putting their particular marks on here, though the ending of both stories strike me as plots I've known before.

Warren Ellis is given 8 pages, though his part is unexpectedly forgettable. Seeing Ellis's name, I expected either a new plot that no one had thought of, or some deep characterization that would resound. Neither is there. This is a light piece, almost poetry, whose best feature is Becky Cloonan's art and Jordie Bellaire's colors by a mile.

From there, it tends to be a lot of filler. This is like the golden age of Compact Discs when you might buy an album for 3 or 4 songs. Like CD's, the $10 price tag is pretty steep, and undoubtedly, the company wanted to make sure they were providing enough content for the money. Also like those albums of the past, this comic is heavily front loaded with all of the good stuff near the start. It ends with Peter Tomasi's intro into the next Detective Comics art, which was not nearly enough to get me to want to pick #1001 up,

The art is pretty good through without (Capullo, Joelle Jones and Tony Daniel and the ones I mentioned and didn't mention). DC does a weird job of sequencing in that is hard to tell when the story has ended and the next (and very different) story has started. It also does a bad job of advertising the creators inside. Overall, I keep going back to the CD analogy. I was satisfied enough that I bought this, and it will likely only appreciate with age, but it wouldn't be a complete review, without acknowledging there's plenty of filler, too.



View all my reviews

Her Prophet Speaks

Apr. 9th, 2019 09:10 pm
nebris: (The Temple 2)
[personal profile] nebris
~I really don't like most humans. Even many of the few that I do like tend to annoy me on a regular basis. They rarely have any real foresight and get dragged along by the herd far too often. Good people, but fear driven. All the 2020 political horseshit just highlights that again for me. Unlike 2016, I shall not get my hopes up again.

In the past twenty two years I have asked my Spirit Guide many, many times why She picked such a bitter cynical misanthrope to be Her Messenger. Her replies all fall into the general category of “you fit the bill.” So I ask less and less and just do my best to do the Work in front of me, all while laboring under massive depression.

I do at least have some good news. The Sisterhood's High Priestess is finally moving to LA this Fall. She has gathered considerable resources and is already building her network. Goddess willing, this whole New Matriarchy thing might actually get off the ground.

...and so it is.

On the Shelf 190: Bill Pritchard

Apr. 8th, 2019 08:01 am
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[personal profile] bedsitter23

My first introduction to Bill Pritchard was an IRS release in 1989 called “Three months, three weeks and two days.

” Spin Magazine called him a “French Morrissey” which was more than enough than send me off on a search.

I am not sure what happened next, but I worked at a college radio station and probably went there (It is also possible that I heard Bill on MuchMusic as some songs like “Tommy and Co” did get play). In any case, I found a copy of the disc at a small town pawn shop which was nowhere near anything but I would discover the most obscure finds like The Associates

Pritchard was probably more Cohen than Moz and these days, I see him compared to the lighter side of British and British sounding Pop (Go-Betweens, Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout, Lloyd Cole)

The record remains a favorite “lost classic” of mine. Two sides of wistful pop that Lloyd Cole would be proud off peaking at the end with a slightly over two minute shrug that Morrissey probably wished he wrote called “ Better to be Bitter”.

There seem to be a couple of sizable gaps in his career. While he has not made any impact in the US, it sounds like he has done well in countries like France, Belgium, Canada and Japan.

There are a good dozen or more songwriters who made a good impact on me and I wonder what happened to them. Pritchard, I discovered has a new record out. In often cases, revisiting one of these major memories reveals a songwriter with diminished talent.

In this case, Midland Lullabies is a hit. It sounds like he has picked up right where he did 30 years ago. Quite possibly, the new record might be an even better collection of songs, though nostalgia is always the strongest contender. In any case, check out both the old and the new.




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