Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spot The Local Music Curmudgeon - Janury 31tst Edition

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:55 AM

-A weekly blog where I highlight at least one show I definitely expect to attend (see *) and throw in a few more that I'd like to and might see given the money and the time. -


RECAP

OK. Well, last week, I actually did head out after all. By chance, I was able to catch the Saturday Secret Show and it was brilliant. Bright Men of Learning were smooth, The Ka-Nives were a hoot, The Dimes were peppy, and the sun was finally shining after 5 days! Being the first time to one of these things I can report back that the Shady Tavern is hella sweet, the sound is surprisingly good, and the vibe is all sweetness. Yadda Yadda. But screw all this jibber jabber and check out this video I made of most of the Ka-Nives set. No compressed Youtube Weaksauce here! (Link)

Right, well onward to a very Bittersweet weekend...


SPOTLIGHT - This Week Belongs to the Proletariat
Adieu Mon Ami


Thurs., January 31
Rockbox
The Final Farewell Blowout
with Gracie Chavez, Squincy Jones, Witnes, Dayta, & more
@ The Proletariat
Tonight is your last chance to get enjoy the long celebrated Thursday night institution known as the Rockbox at the Prolee. Now, I'll be the first to admit that my dance moves are, shall we generously say, painful. Therefore, by law, I am required to remain no less that 300 feet from any event that involves dancing. Be that as it may, my suckitude should be no gauge as to the worthiness of this weekly party. After all, Rockbox has been a mecca of excellent DJ action for the last four years so tonight is your last chance to get in on the sweet mixes, drinking , dancing, and sweating. Just don't embarrass us, ok?

*Fri., February 1
Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Whorehound, O Pioneers!!!, Cop Warmth
@ The Proletariat
I believe the word for tonight is Braaaah! Yup, a night of dudes with loud guitars in all its shameless varied glory. Cop Warmth will bring the spastic epileptic seizure Braaaah! Oh Pioneers!!! will bring that special Eric and Chris Braaah! (Yeah, they are their own Braaah!) Whorehound will crush you with their burley "I wouldn't mess with that dude" metal-esque Braaaah! And the Fatal Flying Guilloteens will close things out with their herky-jerky garage Braaah! If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't ask me because I'm writing this up all scattershot at work where I can find the time. The point is this - it is going to kick-ass like Chia Hui Liu in Master Killer. Except without the extensive Shaolin training sequences.

*Sat., February 2
The Fiery Furnaces, The Dimes, Hearts of Animals (7" pre-release), Elaine Greer
@ The Proletariat
Here is a classy way to go out, eh? New York's Fiery Furnaces closes the Prolee. That enough would be pretty sweet but dig this line-up. Local peppy pop gods the Dimes. Hell yeah! I don't know about you but I've been digging on their new material big time. If you missed out on their Grey Ghost entry, too bad for you is all I have to say. Then, before that, Hearts Of Animals will have copies of her long awaited Dull Knife records 7" debut. Sure the 7" is culled from her Gray Ghost entry and her brilliant CDR EP Lemming Baby (which, in my opinion, was the best thing to have come out of Houston in 2007) but hey there is nothing wrong with an HOA greatest hits is there? Of course, the time limits of a 7" means scholars will be debating for decades why their favorite songs were left off of this release. Also, opening is Elaine Greer who I've been psyched to see live so do be a dear Elaine and no 10 minute sets this time eh? I'll see everyone there.

Sun., February 3
Final Night of the Proletariat
No bands. No Shows. Just kickin' it Charles Bukowski style tonight. Come on down and drown your sorrow in the final hours of a dear friend.


ALSO THIS WEEK

Fri., February 1 -
Fired For Walking
/Antarctica Starts Here
@ Rudyard's

Fired For Walking play unapologetic rock straight-up and no chaser which makes it an interesting pairing with the more spacey shoegazer stylings of Antactica Starts Here but, me, I prefer my shows a bit varied. Should be a good show.


Sat., February 2 -
H-Town Blues Festival,
featuring Shirley Brown, Marvin Sease, Latimore, Mel Waiters, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Sir Charles Jones, Jay Blackfoot, & Floyd Taylor
@ Reliant Arena

Bobby "Blue" Bland are the only three words you need to know. I remember the first time I had my ass kicked by Two Steps from the Blues! God that album Rules! Do they still have it at the juke box at Warren's? Damn makes me want to go get a martini about now! Oh and one last thing - it's always fun to say "Latimore"!


Sat., February 2 -
Digital Underground
@ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)
Ha!

Sat., February 2 -
Generator Show II, featuring
KdotT, Science Monsters Galore, Cop Warmth, The Alsace Lorraine, Buxton, Giant Princess, & Blades
@ Sylvan Beach Skate Park (La Porte; free)
Holy crap, this is going to rule! Were the Proletariot not going down this would be my pick of the week. No club - just a skate park in La Porte with a generator for power and a bunch of great bands. Freaking genious!


Mon., February 4 -
Benjamin Davis Murphy/Papermoons
@ Boondocks

I'm assuming BDM is DJing? Or is he doing his solo stuff ala his Grey Ghost? I don't know but it should be cool. His work - be it with current bands like Bright Ment On Learning or former bands like Panic in Detroit - is always tops. The Papermoons are also on the bill and their live shows are just as great as their single.

Tues., February 5 -
Nina Nastasia

@ Rudyard's

New York's Nina Nastasia does some lovely acoustic work that is worth noting here even if it is on a Tuesday night. Should be very chill and cool.

Monday, January 28, 2008

'Fotosynthesis' Tuesday night @ Bohemeo's

posted by Free Press Houston @ 4:31 PM


Local photographers Pr!mo and Hermano show their dandy works at east-side favorite Bohemeo's on Tuesday evening from 6-10 PM. Performances by Erol Kushchu & LatinTron
If you have not beed to Bohemeo's yet, make sure and order up some if Sid's amazing Fish and Shrimp Tacos. Meta-clutchness.

Visions of a Promised Land

posted by earthwirehead @ 8:49 AM


Robert F. Kennedy's widow's has this to say of Barack Obama:
"...I think he feels it. He feels it just like Bobby did,” Mrs. Kennedy said in an interview that day, comparing her late husband’s quest for social justice to Mr. Obama’s. “He has the passion in his heart. He’s not selling you. It’s just him..."
The words were spoken on the occasion of what would've been Robert Kennedy's 80th birthday, an occasion when Mrs. Kennedy introduced Senator Obama as "our next president."

This week, several other member of the Kennedy family are adding their uniquely influential voices to the chorus of those who think that Barack Obama at least should be our next President--not least among them the surviving daughter of John F. Kennedy and the surviving brother of RFK and JFK, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachussets.

This is a remarkable development in may ways. Most immediately seized upon in the media is how devastating a censure this endorsement is to Mr. Obama's principal rival, the virtual co-presidency of Bill and Hillary Clinton. While this aspect of the announcement is undeniable (the catalyst for Senator Kennedy's decision, according to unamed sources, was specifically the Clintons' recent decent into race politics and Karl Rove-like distortions), it is by no means the most significant. Certainly, there is a tactical advantage to being embraced by the one political family more central to the Democratic Party than The Clintons....but there's a lot more on the table than that.

Somewhat more important, but by no means tantamount, is the strategic advantage this announcement confers in the matter of the so-called "Super Delegates." For those who have heard the phrase but not it's definition, Super Delegates are Democratic members of Congress, members of the Democratic National Convention, and former holders of high office (yes, Bill Clinton is a Super Delegate) who are entitled to vote in the Democratic National Convention, but not bound to honor the wishes of any state's voters--or, in fact, any voters at all.

To date, Hillary Clinton has held a hundred delegate lead over Barack Obama (despite the fact that Senator Obama has acquired a greater count of delegates won in primaries and caucuses). This lead is based on the fact that, even though Super Delegates are not called upon to formalize their choices until the convention, they are free to make them public in advance. In other words, every single one of the super delegates who has declared in advance for Hillary Clinton has plenty of opportunity to change their minds....and the 700 or so supers that have yet to declare a preference now have a lot more to think about.

The real significance of the endorsement goes beyond either the tactics or the strategy of securing the Democratic Presidential nomination. The real significance goes beyond the "how" of U.S. presidential politics, into the all-important "why". The Clintons are masters of the "how". Their campaign is built upon it. But when it comes to *why* Hillary Clinton wants to be President, or why the American People should choose her as such, the questions become considerably harder to answer.

The Kennedy endorsement brings into even sharper focus the many comparisions that have been made between Senator Obama and Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy....and, inevitably, Martin Luther King. Neither King nor the Kennedy brothers lived long enough to witness the "promised Land" that Dr. King spoke of in the speech he made the day before he too was struck down by an assassin's bullet.....nor have any other Americans. The promised vision of a more just and more honorable America that movitated the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements of The Sixties has been lost for decades. When Dr. King spoke of a "promised land" he was analogizing himself to Moses, who--having led his people out of bondage, wandered with them for forty years in wilderness before his people--not he--were finally permitted to enter the promised land.

And now, America has wandered for forty years in a wilderness of our own making--a barren wasteland of violence, brutality, and injustice. When Barack Obama speaks of healing this country's divisions and injustices, he speaks to a higher purpose than the mere mechanics of governance and the mere tactics of winning elections--he speaks to finally winning past the battles the Clintons are so good at fighting, but that ultimately still cripple this country. Far more than anyone, the Kennedys are the stewards of the dream that John F. Kennedy's presidency once seem to herald. As much as Bill Clinton tried to build upon the symbolism of his youthful meeting with Kennedy, and as much good as he did accomplish in his presidency, he and his wife are not the successors to the stewardship of that dream.

The Kennedys feel that torch is appropriately passed to Barack Obama. My feeling is that they are correct. All that remains now is for Americans to decide they no longer wish to wander in the wilderness.

Labels:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spot the Local Music Crumudgeon - January 24th Edition.

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:13 AM

-A weekly blog where I highlight at least one show I definitely expect to attend (see *) and throw in a few more that I'd like to and might see given the money and the time. -

RECAP

Last week was all about the Mathletes at the Prolee. The 15 piece ensemble ripped through 14 songs of pure fun and everyone had a blast. Which isn't to say that the opening bands were chopped liver. Jenny Westbury did that Jenny Westbury happy acoustic thing which is always clever and refreshing. Denton's Fishboy was an nerdy energetic hoot to say the least and Ill Advisory ripped through a great set despite some computer issues. But most importantly it was simply a party with everyone celebrating and having a good time. Definitely a great way to send Joe packin' to Austin. Here is a link to a photo blog on the show that I did for Non-Alignment Pact which sums up the night pretty well (Link).

This week though will be a bit more relaxed for me (you'll note no asterisks this week) but ,unless you have some damn good excuse, this week should be nutters with good shows. Hell it was impossible to whittle it down to just one show so I had to spotlight three - that's how nutters it is! Anyhow, let's roll on into this week shall we?

THIS WEEK - TRIPLE SPOTLIGHT
(Ka-nives, Grapes, Dimes, Sharks, Bright Men, Mlee, and Elaine - it's nutters how much there is to do)

Fri., January 25
The Ka-nives / The Dimes / American Sharks

Crocker House Party

Oh crap let's try to box up the insanity of garage gods The Ka-nives in a house, throw in poppy indie gods the Dimes, and local bad-asses American Sharks. Yeah that's a good idea! All I can say is I'm glad I'm not cleaning the house on Saturday. I predict overflowing house, insane rocking, enough beer to make St. Arnold proud, and a hella lot of fun.

Sat., January 26 -
Secret Saturday Show
featuring
The Ka-Nives & Bright Men Of Learning
& The Dimes
@ The Shady Tavern

(1206 W. 20th St.; 12-5PM, free!)
Well confirmed rumors of The Ka-nives and Bright Men of Learning have proved one thing to me: the secret thing is cute but enough already. Let us know who is playing because it's pretty neat to know and it builds a lot more excitement. Anyhow, if you can't make the house party on Friday, this is your second chance to see the Ka-nives in all their manic crazy-ass glory. More laid back but no less worthy of your afternoon are Bright Men of Learning whose well crafted rootsy indie rock will bring you back down to earth like a good shot of Scotch. OOOH I just read on Skyline Network that the Dimes are in on it too. GO!

Sat. Jan 26 -
Eat Grapes, Mlee Marie, and Elaine Greer
Notsuoh
Eat Grapes (Tyler of Balaclavas' acoustic/ambient solo project) celebrates a limited 30 Edition CD release - a split double CD-R of ambient noise improvisation with Oscillator . Eat Grapes' mix of acoustic guitar vocals and ambient tape loops are gorgeously trippy and, if that were all, it would be a pretty great reason to hit NOTSUOH but also on the bill are two other heavy hitters - Mlee Marie and Elaine Greer. Mlee Marie is the acoustic personae of Mlee Suprean (who will be in the spotlight for the next three weeks). While not noisy and textured like her more talked-about Hearts of Animals, it lacks none of the lyrical depth or melodic nuance and wit you've come to expect from her. If you've never seen Mlee Marie live, I highly recommend doing so. The last time I saw an Mlee Marie show, the room went from noisy to quiet within seconds proving that you can command a room without having to make a ruckus. Lastly, we have Elaine Greer whose melodic work I've been getting a grand kick out of on Myspace but sadly I've had the bad luck of missing her live. From what I've heard, live she's a hoot.


ALSO THIS WEEK

Fri., January 25 -
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings / The Ivan Meliv Band
@ Walter's on Washington
Don't worry about the rain cause some fine funky R&B is coming to town. This will likely sell out so consider yourselves warned.

Fri., January 25 -
Spain Colored Orange/Heist at Hand/Paris Falls
@ The Proletariat
Spain Coloured Orange are one of those bands who I can look and say "Man, they do what they do very well." and live they put on a good show. Still, for me Paris Falls may not be as textured but they have some bad-ass songs. Last year's Volume I was one of those CDs that kept kicking around in my car endlessly. Unfortunately their sophomore CD ended up on somewhere on Montrose at the last block party for some lucky bastard to stumble upon. Eh, that's what I get for carrying too much crap.

Fri., January 25 -
Grand Opening Polka Party on Polk Street
featuring Poopy Lungstuffing, The Annoysters, Styrofoam Duck, & Muzak John
@ Super Happy Fun Land
(new location; free!)
The long exodus is over, join The Super Happy Funland folks in the promised land which happens to be on Polk. Who wuld'ave thunk it. Minneapolis' Styrofoam Duck is pretty cool and John Muzak is always a blast and how can you not love The Annoysters when they have a song called Kazoo Hell? Anyhow, welcome back SHFL.


Fri., January 25
Poor Dumb Bastards
/Black Novas/Shit City High /Dolly Rockers
@ Rudyard's

The Poor Dumb Bastards are like some bad disease you think you killed off with those anti-biotics but then it comes back and kicks you in the henie. Eh, it's a night of overdriven guitar rock waddaya expect? The Dolly Rockers will rock too and they'll make sure to keep if from being a sausage fest.

Fri., January 25 -
Avant Disco
Ceeplus Bad Knives / PRKL8R/ Juan The Terrible / Marushka
@ Avant Garden
Ya got yr DJs plowin' through their record collections at Avant garden. Sounds sweet. But best of all they use Boris art for their poster- Awesome!

Sat., January 26 -
Sole and the Skyrider Band/ Telephone Jim Jesus/ Giant Princess
@ The Proletariat
Oh shit! It's the last week of The Prolee and that alone makes it worthwhile. I caught Giant Pricess at Dean's a while back while working on a feature article and from what I could hear they were pretty cool.

Sat., January 26
Robin Trower
@ The Meridian
I'm only mentioning this because Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs always cracks me up. I have no idea why.

Sat., January 26 -
Born Liars
,
Something Fierce, Canyon of the Skull, The Monocles
@ Rudyard's

The unholy triumvirate of Born Liars, Something Fierce and The Monocles should put fear into the hearts of most sane people then you add Austin's knuckle scraping Canyon of the skull and you will have one amazing night of ass kicking and a highly recommended ass kicking at that. By the way, Scott Snott of the Born Liars gets married this day so ladies - he's taken. Congrats Scott.

Sat., January 26 -
The Devil Bat (CD release)/Triplewide/Abigail und Hansel/ST37/Rotten Piece/Cinema Bomar
@ Super Happy Fun Land

I was trying to figure out why A Und H sounded so cool - well hell, it's Joel of ST37 - no wonder! Anyhow, ST37 are always amazing and a kick, Rotten Piece are also brilliant. So to cut to the chase ['cause it's late] this show gets the Dio metal sign.

Mon., January 28 -
Van Halen/Ky-Mani Marley

@
Toyota Center
You know, while I do have to say that I love the David Lee Roth era Van Halen and all, this show is likely the saddest nostalgia express to have rolled-up in quite some time. Attend at your own risk. I think you'd do better at...

Mon., January 28 -
Marshall’s Happy Hour Invitational
Custom Drinker, John Sears, Awesome!, The Jonx
@ The Proletariat
(Starts at 6PM)
Kudos to Marshall (Bright Men of Learning) for putting this on. It's a freaking sweet lineup. Looks to be running between 6-8pm so don't dilly-dally after work. So you don't have to come to the Prolee in a suit and tie, pack some jeans and what not in your satchel so you can change in the bathroom at work. You can thank me later. Anyhow here is Marshall's Blog on this lovely event (link)

Wed., January 30 -
Over Sea Under Stone / Geisert 8 / Judas Bear / Antarctica Starts Here
@ The Proletariat
We are winding into Prolee Week here so let the bittersweetness of great shows and good times kick into high gear. OSUS, Judas Bear, and ASH are all solid bands with unique sounds that are always interesting and Geisert 8 are from Peoria which is begging for some really bad joke.

Wed., January 30 -
Tetuzi Akiyama (Japan) & Jozef van Wissem (Holland)
@
The Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum
(8:00PM Free)
Nameless Sound (Link) brings this city some of the most incredible shows from some of the worlds most heralded improvisational musicians. In other words, you shouldn't miss out on this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beats, Rhymes and Life 2: Tonight at Prolo

posted by Free Press Houston @ 11:03 AM


Beats, Rhymes, and Life returns this time at the Proletizzle. This will be an evening of spoken word, music, drama, comedy, or dance put on by just about anyone and everyone. Oh yeah- It's Asian people. You know Asia--that is where they speak Asian.
Host: Abhi Tripathi
Location:The Proletariat
903 Richmond Ave

Monday, January 21, 2008

Renter's Fatigue

posted by Free Press Houston @ 11:02 AM


As quite a few people know I have lived in the Elder Street Artist Lofts for over 2 years. This means that I get asked at least once a week what it’s like. I thought I’d write and post this so people will understand.

First and foremost for those who want a big, cheap place where they can make their art without being hassled by a landlord or neighbors my advice is: look somewhere else.

The application process for residency alone is upwards of 30 pages and requires at least 3 years of tax returns for the self employed. For those who work for someone else the process requires no less than three separate paycheck stubs.

After completing the application and gaining approval you’ll find out that very few of the apartments are actually designated as low income housing. The majority of them are 'market value.' Market value is defined as anything over $900 a month.

Then you’ll find out that there is at least a nine month waiting list for consideration for a low income vacancy, and the current residents of the low income apartments have priority when their lease expires. You won’t find out that the waiting list is being run as an exercise in nepotism, in the last year and a half only the manager’s friends have been allowed to move in.

If by some miracle you are allowed to move in you’ll quickly realize that it’s one big pain in the ass. The management at Elder Street is intrusive to say the least and doesn’t mind you making art, as long as you keep the building clean.

And by management I mean the seven to ten different governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations that can, and will, stop by to inspect. These agencies and NGOs give only 24 hours notice and will pressure the landlord to evict you if you are not in compliance with every rule.

And by compliance with every rule I mean keeping the apartment spotless. Simply put if you make a mess you will get an eviction notice.

I’m not kidding when I say that I have gotten eviction notices for having a dirty toilet, too much paint on the floor and a dirty sink. I’ve also gotten notice for not turning in one of the many addendums to the lease on time.

In the two years I’ve lived there I think I’ve been presented with six or seven different pieces of paper that I have had to sign. Apparently each and every piece of paper was something required by some different government agency or non-governmental organization.

If you manage to make it through the term of your lease without getting on the landlord’s bad side, a feat in and of itself, you will have to go through the whole application process again and this time the landlord will be paying even more attention to your income. If you are accepted again chances are you won’t be accepted at the same income level.

Case in point my rent almost doubled this past October going from $324 a month to $580 a month because the landlord thinks I make more money than I do. And if you feel, like I do, that the landlord made an error in calculating your income for rent, tough shit. There is no appeals process, in other words the landlord’s decisions are final.

Perhaps the best example of what Elder Street Artist Lofts is all about is one simple statement in the latest addendum to my lease. The statement is this: duplicate key cost, $25.

Now for those of you looking for a cheap place to live don’t worry. I was looking in the greehsheet yesterday and saw an ad that’s perfect for a lot of you. It was for a cheap place at 2307 Tuam and the rent was $127 a month per $500 of income with a maximum income of $1500. The phone number is 713-528-3037.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

January 21st is the most depressing day of the year. I am just fine though.

posted by Free Press Houston @ 7:46 PM



Thus says Time Magazine. You are sad. Depressed. Well, not me. I am just fat. Oh well.

Smile folks, you live in the empire during Pax Americana. We cry over superficial bullshit and subjugate whole populations in the same breath.

Whatever you may think, today is MLK day and you would be hard pressed to deny the fact that he was indeed one of the clutchest Jedi Ascended Masters to grace this land. So keep yer head up and enjoy the day off.

Friday, January 18, 2008

City of Montrose shirts now available!

posted by Free Press Houston @ 12:32 PM


In keeping with our constant efforts of shameless self promotion and the recent secession of Montrose from Houston proper, the next apparent thing to do was to come up with a prolific t-shirt that we could sell. hence, we conjured up 4 brilliant slogans that capture the spirit of the Trose'. This shit be way clutch. I kid you not.

Available in all sizes, red or black, with the following slogans:

It's fidna be the future
Just waiting on this check
Watch your bike
Where money is free


Buy yours today! Please. We need money. No joke. Does this sound desperate? Hope not. Piss.

Email us at editors@freepresshouston.com to buy your IMMEDIATELY!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Art Storm looks through owl eyes

posted by Free Press Houston @ 11:19 AM


This Saturday, January 19, 2008 a reception for Dig Me Up From My Grave…Friends by the artist owleyes, will be held from 7- 10 PM at Art Storm in the Heights.
A collective operating out of the Heights at 807 Mathis. a quiet and narrow street a few blocks from the Calvacade exit off I-45, Art Storm started out late last year as an art space for local artists, established and emerging and unrepresented. Currently based out of Chicago, owleyes grew up in Houston and graduated from HSPVA in 1995.
From the Art Storm press release comes the evolution of this exhibit: “As the first stage of the Dig Me Up From My Grave…Friends, the artist re-visited the massive collection of printed materials that he had amassed during the past twelve years. owleyes started to process the nostalgia of these materials and alter the images. The next stage of the project was actualized in October of 2007 at Show Cave Gallery in Los Angeles when owleyes was invited to have a show by a virtual friend. He finally met many virtual friends in person and discovered that they had created a sort of family. Continuing the project at ArtStorm in Houston is another step toward making the artist’s virtual realty his true reality.”
ArtStorm has a website (www.artstormhouston.com) and a phone 713-802-0472. Regular hours are Thursday through Saturday, 12 to 5.

Spot the Local Music Crumudgeon - Sickish edition

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 8:31 AM

I've been sick with some nasty mucous-producing sinus headache-enhancing cold so expect this edition to be brief, filled with many typos, and even worse grammar than usual.

RECAP
Here is the sick dude recap:
Last Friday at Rudz:
Sharks and Sailors - kicked ass with all the sonic power and nuance you've come to expect - now in a handy 3 pack!
Ume - New songs are awesome even poppy. Lauren is still one bad ass guitarist. New album still in demo stage - bummer. (See video below)

Yesterday illin' at The Prolee:
Wicked Poseur - First time seeing them. Only saw 2 and 1/2 songs but they were a kick. Love all these bands with drum machines - never thought I'd ever say that.
Bring Back The Guns - In fine form. Matt fell on his ass when jumping on a table - nice. New song at the end ripped as did all the songs you've come to know and love. These guys are so good I fear they get taken for granted.
Woozy Helmet - most per-capita banter of the evening. Cute stuff. I liked the dude who played drums second more on the kit his style was correctly identified as "evil".

Now Some Ume Live





THIS WEEK'S SPOTLIGHT
Friday, January 18
The Mathletes (last show of '08!)

FishBoy / Jenny Westbury / Ill Advisory

@ The Proletariat

As I listen to the Mathletes while writing this I'm a little sad. Sigh! Right now Austin is on my shitlist as they are taking away the mastermind behind Houston's happy machine. The Mathletes' Joe Mathlete, is off to Austin for the next few months for a production of Speedy Motorcycle. That means no Mathletes show for the forseeable future. No Gie Gie singing Animals, no Dimes ripping up Asteroids, no Mike Swizer trombone punching up 2003, none of the cool songs that make your day happier will be played on any Houston stage. [It also means that my doing a piece on the Mathletes this Spring has been thwarted.] That sucks and that means you'd better be there tomorrow. Joe says he's going to have a huge ensemble including guests like The Dimes (of course), Miss Gie Gie (who has been sadly missed during the last few shows), Mlee Suprean (Hearts of Animals), Jenny Westbury, Charlie Naked (Defenestration Unit), and a shitload of others. "I'll have a horn section!", he exclaimed yesterday. Bad ass! So there.

Oh yeah and Jenny Westbury will be there. I love Jenny's stuff; it's really hummable acoustic stuff and she has a really charming syncopated vocal delivery which one foolish old-fogie friend dismissed as "too many notes" - don't believe him. Denton's Fishboy are pretty cool poppy stuff which only goes to remind me why Denton is a pretty cool little town. never seen Dunnock's Ill Advisory but looking forward to it. I especially love the smart-ass name. Brilliant!

ALSO THIS WEEK
Friday, January 18
Six Organs of Admittance
The(e) Freed
@ Walter's on Washington
I've heard a bunch of people lump Ben Chasny's Six Organs as "Freak Folk." Sorry he's predated that lazy pigeonhole of marketing term. I mean if that's what it takes you to give it a listen then fine . Whatever you want to call it he puts on some amazing shows and this one should prove no different. The(e) Freed will open up which should be intereting given that the last two shows I've seen have been nothing alike.

Saturday, January 19 Buxton (CD release) / By the End of Tonight / Papermoons / Ghost Mountain @ Walter's on Washington
(admission includes new Buxton album, old album, & EP!)
If you read this at all you will know this is a pretty sweet bill. Buxton does lovely pop stuff, BTEOT is a manic assault of riffs, and Papermoons...well that 7" is playing in the background right now as I write this - gorgeous stuff really.

Saturday, January 19
Megan Williams Benefit Show with
The Winchester Mansions / The Quarantines / The Factory Party / The Kamikaze Overture / The Shiny Darks / Penny Arcade / Brutally Normal / Alarma
@ the Mink
All proceeds from this show will be donated to the Megan Williams Fund and will help Megan's family with her medical and therapy bills.


Saturday, January 19 - Secret Saturday Show, featuring several mystery bands & DJs @ The Shady Tavern (1206 W. 20th St.; 12-5PM, free!)
(Insert standard weekly plug mentionign it's free and secret and a a show here)

Sunday, January 20 Lindsay's Birthday Party, featuring Sabra Laval , Judas Bear, and Sew What @ The Proletariat
Yay Lindsay! You got Sabra on your birthday - that is pretty bad ass! Much cooler than a magic show! {hey they just added Judas bear and Sew What!]

Sunday, January 20 MGMT / Yeasayer @ Walter's on Washington
MGMT do some pretty cute stuff so just gonna give you a heads up.

Tuesday, January 22 Foo Fighters / Jimmy Eat World / Against Me! @ Toyota Center
Attention ladies! The Foo Fighters are in town and David Grohl will be singing to you and only you tonight the Toyota Center. The other bands suck but it's a small price to pay.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here it is: Worst of Houston Awards!

posted by Free Press Houston @ 12:57 PM

Here it is: The 3rd Annual ‘Worst of Houston’ award for the year of 2007. Rather than send smoke our advertiser’s asses or go through the proverbial shoulder rubbing with some sort of ‘best of’, we feel it is incumbent upon us to educate our fellow Houstonian’s as to the most dastardly, devious, deceitful elements of our city. So utilize, enjoy, and be sure to spread rumors far and wide.

Awards below are arbitrarily based upon hyperbole, rumors, bull-scheizzer, and sometimes facts.

Worst Blunt Object: HPD Nightstick
Yes it’s true that there seems to be some coherent policy behind the systematic eviction of homeless people trying to sleep anywhere downtown or else anywhere near rich people’s houses, but who do we blame? Some think we should focus on the cops themselves, or their commanders who give them their orders, or the city officials who tell the police which laws to focus on

(is there a big crack down on human trafficking in this port city? NO,) or even the real-estate interests that pressure the city to keep their areas clean of unclean people. But let’s focus on the actual source of the problem and not get distracted by all that. The cops use their nightsticks to nudge these people awake, and then tell them to get out of the area. Let’s blame the sticks.

-Nick Cooper

Worst Example of Flagrant Greed and Shortsightedness on the Part of a Real Estate Developer: Ashby High-rise
Where better to put a 27-story residential high-rise than at the corner of a couple of two lane streets that can't be widened, in the middle of a residential neighborhood that doesn't want the damn thing? That's almost as bad as running a train down Richmond Avenue...oh, wait.

- M. Martin

Worst Trend in Montrose: Overdosing

We’ve had three deaths from overdoses within the last six months, an exceedingly high number. Two were from mixing cocaine with various other things and one was from heroin. Local bar-goers and scenesters treat these people like celebrities instead of like the town idiot. But what happens when you take a bunch of cocaine and heroin? You die. Duh.

This last entry has caused quite a bit of stir as a result of it's apparent insensitivity. Here is a letter we recieved from a bereaved, loved one of someone who overdosed.

Worst Barometer of Art : Houston Chronicle
The Houston Chronicle fired its entire Art Staff in late November including thirty-year veteran Patricia Johnson. The Hearst-owned paper will be pulling art stories from the waiver wire in the future, providing Chronicle readers with no information about anything going on in town besides celebri-slut Shelby Hodge’s notes from the aristocratic parties of oil barons and plastic surgeons.

Johnson had been writing since Houston galleries were struggling to sell abstract paintings to collectors in the 70’s. She documented the founding of every major alternative space in town including the Lawndale Art Center and Diverseworks, and grew into holding a powerful position in the 90’s when marketing companies monopolized her attention and marginalized the little guys. With a send-off mention of the Artcrawl, Johnson broke the trend and stuck up for the little guy for once—it was great to see that many people had cut out the map from the paper and were trudging through the warehouse district enjoying the best art festival in Houston.

The good news is that bloggers are picking up the slack with their own priorities. Besides, no one reads the Chronicle—their consistent trend is to reprint New York Times articles from

the day before, editing out any controversial sentences. Remind me, how much is yesterday’s news worth?

-Buffalo Sean

Worst Devolution in Style: Hotel Zaza

Animal print lovers unite! Zaza Hotel has covered the elegant Warwick Hotel in cheese. Between the Museum of Fine Arts and Hermann Park, Zaza has brought a little bit of Dallas hysteria to Houston.

Be prepared for money badly spent, from the zebra-striped chairs in the Tycoon room to the Fatal Charms suite, where it’s possible to indulge the George Costanza wet-dream of wrapping yourself in velvet. After the hotel opened this past summer, the best rumor of the year sprang up: that Zaza had dwarves working the lobby in plastic sombreros filled with chips and queso. It doesn’t help their image to be bathing promotional materials in hot pink and glossy fa

shion photos—this is truly a place designed for fans of Legally Blonde: The Musical.

As a side note, either the Monarch Restaurant sucks or their IT guy was fired for hitting on the hostess. How are you going to have a Press Clips webpage with zero reviews?

-Buffalo Sean

Worst New “Everybody’s Secretly Doing It” Drug: Vicodin aka Lorcet, Lortab,Hydrocodone, aka Blast
Yeah! This shit is sweeping the fucking nation. All your friends are doing it and they’r

e getting it from their parents! What a great thing to have potentially drop out of your pocket for ANYTHING else to pick up and eat. It’s totally even made what’s practically a heroin addiction justifiable because every doctor in the nation has been prescribing it for everything from muscle pains to toothaches for the last 5+ years. Sweet! Looking forward to seeing you all at the methadone clinic! This shit is to white people and the working middle-upper class what crack was to D.C.’s African community in the 80’s.

-Shelby Hohl

Worst Artworld Power Grab: Maggi Battalino at Commerce Street
How did Maggi Battalino shut down the Commerce Street Artists’ Warehouse collective? With two cops and a lawyer.

Battalino first garnered some attention this summer when she instructed two hired, off-duty police officers to remove everyone from the building during a cultural event of traditional Aztec food, dance and art. Families and children were pushed out of the building, as were residents Skeez 181 and Javier, who had organized the event. Whether she considered it or not, the surprise escalation of security at the normally relaxed art space seemed implausibly racist, and when the event organizers were evicted just weeks later they brought their story to the Houston Press.

In a short-lived court case, two guys named Skeez and Javier had no shot at defeating lawyer Frank Holcomb. The suit with the office across the street from the posh Houstonian Resort took the collective agreement that had governed over a hundred Houston artists at Commerce Street since 1988 and had it declared non-binding, meaning that Battalino could evict whomever she wanted to, whenever. When the story of the violated contract was discussed at Commerce Street, Battalino canceled several meetings and said that she was above the rules that she had signed when she joined the artists in 2006.

On November 25, 2007, Maggi Battalino was removed from all elected offices of the group of artists known as Commerce Street Art Warehouse. She promptly evicted the fourteen members who had voted against her. When sued by the members, Frank Holcomb defended his self-created precedent in court, and as of publication, Battalino still has the $14,000 that she embezzled from the collective and refuses to give restitution or explanation.

-Buffalo Sean


Worst University to Attend: TSU
The past year has been a nightmare for the other university on Scott Street. Aside from the Pricilla Slade debacle, there have been problems with the board of regents as well as with funding. Now to make matters worse the whole school is one step away from losing its accreditation. The Southwestern Association of Colleges and Schools, which determines what Texas colleges and universities are allowed to provide what degrees, has said that if TSU doesn't get its finances straight it will lose its accreditation. If this happens, all degrees from TSU will be worth less than the paper they are printed on and no one attending the school will be eligible to receive financial aid.

-Alex Wukman


Worst Restroom: Notsuoh's downstairs bathroom
I know this is a touchy category and the women's restroom at Number's has many acolytes, however you do not know true terror until you experience explosive diarrhea and have to take a dump in a death-reeking Notsouh’s toilet that has been overflowing since 2003 while some drunk scenester is peeing in the sink.

-Alex Wukman


Worst Bar Name: Beer Island
This bar name has consistently sucked since they opened. Sadly, the decor is not much better and the fact that they show sports on TV doesn't win them any points in the cool-place-to-hang category. All that doesn't matter though, because they have the cheapest drinks in town. They have 50-cent Lone Star Mondays, which means that you and your crew can get trashed for five bucks.

-Alex Wukman

Worst Construction: Heights utility work
For the last four years, some street or another has been under construction in the Heights. In fact, it has gotten so bad that the city had to open a field office just to deal with all the problems of ruptured water lines and broken cranes. Yes, some operator broke a crane on White Oak.

-Alex Wukman

Worst Use of Public Funds: TIE IPOD downloads and downtown bus station cleaning contract
After our November Metro article came out, we had so many people tell us that Houston needs light rail, that we need a train, that blah blah blah. No one seemed to understand that METRO IS MISSPENDING TAXPAYER MONEY! So we decided to restate two of the key facts from the article: First, Metro spent $90,000 on IPOD downloads and they had no data to support the expenditure. There was no market study. They didn't have any information regarding the percentage of Metro riders that own an IPOD or have regular access to one. Second, Metro gave $136,000 to a company that has nothing but a P.O. Box—B&J's Enterprise in Webster, TX. This company has no phone number, website, e-mail, or physical address and Metro gave them $136,000 of taxpayer money. And no one at Metro would justify the expenditure when asked.

-Alex Wukman

Worst Political Fuck-Up: Rick Perry's HPV vaccine executive order
This was pure stupidity for two reasons and neither of them had anything to do with public perception. The first reason is that Rick Perry doesn't have the constitutional authority to make an executive order. In Texas, the Executive branch—i.e. the office of the Governor—is extremely weak and does not have the power to issue orders that supersede the legislature. The second reason is that Gov. Perry's former chief of staff is the head lobbyist for Merck, the manufacturer of the HPV vaccine, which is a serious conflict of interest. Now all this wouldn't be so bad except we are talking about a way to prevent cervical cancer and the way Rick Perry shot his own political future. In Republican circles Perry was being discussed as a potential vice-presidential candidate for the '08 election. Thankfully, now it doesn't look like Governor Good Hair will be going to the ball with anyone. This is so because the Republicans are not completely insane. They realize that in the '06 election, he was the incumbent governor of a red state and still didn't crack 60% and then, in his state of the state speech, he proved that he doesn't even know his own state's constitution.

Alex Wukman

Worst Municipal Politician: Michael Berry
The inherently racist city-council member Michael Berry, who is a host of conservative Talk Radio, said that the U.S. should “stop the continuous apology for what was done to the American Indians.” The Houston Police Department gave him the “Councilman of the Year” award. Need I say more?
-Sousan Hammad

Worst New “Everybody’s Secretly Doing It” Drug: Vicodin aka Lorcet, Lortab,Hydrocodone, aka Blast
Yeah! This shit is sweeping the fucking nation. All your friends are doing it and they’re getting it from their parents! What a great thing to have potentially drop out of your pocket for ANYTHING else to pick up and eat. It’s totally even made what’s practically a heroin addiction justifiable because every doctor in the nation has been prescribing it for everything from muscle pains to toothaches for the last 5+ years. Sweet! Looking forward to seeing you all at the methadone clinic! This shit is to white people and the working middle-upper class what crack was to D.C.’s African community in the 80’s.

-Shelby Hohl
Worst Local Attraction Marketing: Houston Chamber of Commerce
Man seriously, what the fuck. Your favorite Press recently deployed themselves on a covert mission to a place we’re only allowed to call “Austin”, and we had the pleasure of seeing a brochure on Houston as a tourist attraction. Yeah, marinate on that for a second. Okay, what do you picture? You see motherfuckers on horses. Tumbleweeds. Dickweeds. The Houston Skyline. Katy Mills Mall. Ya’ll come back now, y’hear?

-Shelby Hohl

Worst New “Controlled Substance” Law: Possession of a gram or less gets you a felony!
Guess what Houston? All those empty “they can’t take me to jail for this” coke baggies floating around your Benzos and your Beamers could now land you a felony! That’s right, a felony! Yep, you’ll never be able to rent an apartment in your name again. You get to start adding that in on job applications. The fun will never stop! The great inevitable irony has already fallen into place though, in the form of Houston’s County Jail filling up to just shy of capacity 4 months into the passing of the law. District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal overwhelmed the judicial system so much with his new law that HE HIMSELF is now working to abolish the very law which he pressed so hard to establish. Rookies.

-Shelby Hohl

Worst New Unnecessary Metro Hassle: Smoking within 20ft of a freestanding bus stop is against the law
I don’t even smoke cigarettes anymore but this STILL pisses me off because I know that tax dollars are being put towards making the lives of Houstonians that much more stressful. Metro police *sigh*, you don’t think there is ANNNYYYTHING else you could be doing out there other than issuing citations to people that happen to be smoking somewhere kind of close to a bus stop you may not have known was even there? We all know police are made of monster blood and nazi oven fumes but here are some things you guys can do to “protect and serve” instead of “beat and annoy”:

-More effort towards finding kidnapped or missing children.

-A cop car in front of the bus allowing it immunity to traffic.

-If ever in question about how to handle a native Montrosianite-ian, have a Free Press Houston staff-member riding shotgun to teach you “the ropes”.

-Shelby Hohl

Worst Trend in Bar Names: Quasi Rock and Roll Innuendo (ex. Kobain or Zeppelin)
Whereas last year we called out single word/single syllable bar names like ‘Bond’ and ‘Next’, this year it is imperative that we make note of a very dangerous trend—douche-bag club names—before it goes too far. Two new club names in particular drive me fucking mad: Kobain and Zeppelin. Kurt Cobain would commit hara-kiri all over again if he had the chance to walk into local bar Kobain. It is packed tight with lavender-shirt douchebags that are a rare hybrid of frat boy and greaseball goombah-club types. This place is the antithesis of everything Kurt ever sang about. Shame on you. Then there is Zeppelin, a new mid-town flavor of the month. They call themselves a ‘video lounge.’ If I still practiced black magic, I would conjure up the spirit of Bonzo to slay every 50,000 Dollar millionaire in the whole place. Bottom line: Don’t capitalize on our heroes’ names unless you are willing to endure the wrath of their true followers.

-Omar Afra

Worst Statue that Forebodes the New World Order: Elder Bush Memorial
Considering the existing desperate needs of our city, it is preposterous that nearly 2 million dollars were spent on a life-size statue in honor of George Bush the father. I simply cannot think of a more vulgar use of taxpayer funds than to pay tribute to this blood-drinking son of a Nazi sympathizer. No joke, Prescott Bush was indicted under the ‘Trading with the Enemy Act’ for colluding with the Nazis. What short memories we have. However, the good news is that many a prankster have taken to covering the statue with red paint ostensibly to signify the collective blood that is on his hands.

-Omar Afra



Worst April Fool’s Joke: The Death of Alex Wukman
Last April, we thought it would be a barrel of monkeys for Alex to play dead for a couple of weeks as our April Fool’s joke on the city. We printed it on the front cover, wrote a tribute letter, had Wukman hide out a couple of weeks and waited for the calls and emails to flood in. Problem was, it worked, too well. I know. That shit just was not right. Well, we had a blast with it until some friends actually did die in the month after. Since then, whenever someone dies, as in the case of Rix Myth, folks just don’t believe us. Well, we won’t be faking any deaths again. Wukman lost a lot of friends and it was a cheap way of getting publicity. All that said, how the hell did you fall for it? It came out on April 1 for Pete’s sake?

-Omar Afra

Worst Case of Diarrhea: Tamale Guy
A dozen tamales for 6 bux sounds like a great deal but there is a price to pay.

-Omar Afra

Worst Newspaper: Houston Chronicle
These guys are the worst by default. They are the only daily in a city of nearly 5 million. That is a big responsibility and it seems they never miss an opportunity to abdicate responsibility. By its own admission, Houston Chronicle is written at a high-school reader’s level. In the last year, they let go several critical writers, started relying heavily on nationally syndicated material, and even allowed their art direction to take a lame and childish turn. Also, they are often the last ones to report on stories of local significance.

- Omar Afra

Worst Magazine: Icon Magazine
Have you seen this utter and total piece of shit? The Carolyn Farb ( 2006 Worst of Houston winner) types of our city finally have a place to huddle their collective scumfuck faces to read about abhorrently rich folks that need to dissipate their white, capitalist guilt. Imagine a glossy magazine dedicated to nothing other than bourgeois socialite garbage. Many of the other glossy mags touch on this but Icon focuses entirely on local socialites. The magazine typically covers philanthropic events from the previous month and features pictures of the attendees all holding the same glasses of white wine. Speaking of white ‘whine’, I counted two African-Americans in the entire mag that featured more than 350 people. One of the two was a valet. Get the idea? Ladies and gentlemen, this is the reason people fly airplanes into our buildings. They don’t hate our freedom, they hate our publications.


Worst Radio Station: KTRH
There’s only so good you can be if you have a Rush Limbaugh, a Michael Berry and a Sean Hannity on your airwaves. But if your main selling point on billboards is the celebration of this pathetic line-up of loud-mouthed cheerleader frat boys, well yeah, then you’re the worst.

-Nick Cooper

Worst Police Department: Pasadena

Move over HPD, Pasadena is kickin’ your ass in the ass-kickin’ department. Pedro Gonzales was released from jail at 1 a.m. and re-arrested a few blocks away from the jail an hour later. On the way to the cop car, something caused him to have punctured lungs, cuts, bruises, abrasions, and blood on his jeans. He was dead in a cell a few hours later. Pasadena Police initially blamed a slipping and falling incident and later acknowledged that maybe they had to use a bit of reasonable force. A witness to the brutality called 911, where they immediately responded by doing nothing.

-Nick Cooper

Worst Use of State of the Art Technology: The Red Light Camera Enforcement Safety Program
Ok so maybe it is state-of-the-art, just like it says in the HPD press release, but does the digital camera and detection system they’ve installed at various intersections actually reduce collisions like they say? Who knows—there’s been no study.

-Nick Cooper

Worst Attempt to Help the Environment: TCEQ
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is about to ban biodiesel in the state’s largest markets. The decision is based on an old study about nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, but recently, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab found that biodiesel has barely any NOx emissions, in addition to having much less particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. However, the TCEQ is moving ahead with the ban. Did someone leave a tank of nitrous in their offices?

-Nick Cooper
Worst Energy Reformer: Gene Green
Houston Democratic Congressman and vice-chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, Gene Green had an opportunity to help put together the 2007 Energy Bill (one of the few things the Democrats actually accomplished). But in order to do so, of course, they took out the stuff that mattered. Continue uninterrupted the tax breaks for big oil, and impose no new standards for renewable energy. Well, at least our vehicles will have to be running on average at 35 mpg by 2020 (as if the price of gas alone wouldn’t have done that).

-Nick Cooper

Worst Governor: Rick Perry
Well yeah, and as much as he sucks, he’s also the best governor since he’s the only one, but anyway, one reason to rant about him here is his approval of the transfer of highly toxic VX nerve agent waste to Port Arthur, Texas for incineration. Governors in New Jersey and Ohio stood up for the safety of their populations by refusing to allow this agent to come through. This stuff is so powerful that 10 milligrams on the skin can kill a human. Hey, I know why Perry wants that stuff—maybe it’s cheaper or “more humane” than lethal injection. No injection necessary! Perry’s Texas is already executing more people than anywhere else in the world; now we can also impress the world with our recycling of old cold-war chemical warfare agents. In Perry’s defense, he did bow to international pressure and commute the death sentence of Kenneth Foster to life in prison. Thanks to this, we don’t have to be known as the state that executes people for having a passenger in their car who just killed someone, and Foster’s eleven-year-old daughter Nydesha gets to visit her dad in jail instead of at the cemetery.

-Nick Cooper

Worst Utility Transaction: Comcast
Comcast dot sucks. I was sad because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet. I thought Road Runner offered lame customer support until I dealt with Comcast. Try navigating phone menus, getting a customer service rep who doesn't have a clue, getting transferred to another rep with a similarly clueless nature, then being put on hold only to have the phone disconnect. The disconnect is with a company that wastes your time without remorse. Satellite television and internet cafes should offer thanks to Comcast for all the business they will now receive.

- I. P. Freeley

Worst Blog: Houston Chronicle
If they disagree with your posted opinion, they block it from all other readers except the writer. This way the writer will not know that the Chron blocked and will still post. This keeps the Chronicle's online readership numbers up.

- Stephen Coffman

Worst Moving Service: 50 Dollar Movers
This was the WORST experience I've ever had with a moving company. To summarize, they never showed up to move me. They didn't show up three times in a one week period! My mistake was actually giving them a second and third chance to move me, but I had already paid for the service and they weren't answering my request for a refund. I was left with one day to scramble and try to find another moving service. They wouldn't answer my calls or return messages. When I wrote a letter to the manager Larry, asking what had happened and telling him I was making a formal complaint with the BBB, he finally decided to respond with a threat to sue me unless I revoked the complaint and took down my blog (I didn't). I never got an explanation or an apology for why they didn't show up. They suck. I really hope you guys will publish this one and save others the headache.

- Julie Osborn

Not So Fast, Evita

posted by earthwirehead @ 6:59 AM


In the midst of all the attention being given to our own little Evita crying herself up a thin win in New Hampshire, a counter-narrative has been forming on the 'Net and finally broken through to mainstream attention (in places as diverse at Salon, NPR, and Fox News): the distinct possibility that the New Hampshire Primary that stalled Barack Obama's march to the White House might've been a rigged election.

The basis for this suspicion: 80% of precincts reporting in the New Hampshire primary use Diebold-supplied optical scanners to digitally tabulate votes, while 20%--primarily in poorer, rural areas-- tabulate votes by hand. The hand-counted votes are in accordance with both the predictive polling and the exit polling and show Obama winning. The electronically counted ballots show Clinton ahead. More damning: the percentages, according to at least one watchdog group, appear to be exactly switched.

The stories appearing in the mainstream media all contain the disclaimer phrase "of course, no one suspects the Clinton campaign" (no one, that is, who wants to keep their job). The official "explanation" is that the vote discrepancy mere reflect the preference patterns of the voters in these different parts of New Hampshire. In other words, we're suppose to accept that more people in rural farming communities voted for the young and controversial black man than for the old and utterly staid white woman, while the younger, better educated, and more affluent voters in urban areas did exactly the opposite.....yeah, right.

The other explanation being touted for Mrs. Clinton's unexpected win is the unprecedentedly high number (15% or better) of voters who remained undecided up until the moment they stepped into the polling place. ALL of these undecided voters, we are told, waited until the last possible moment to cast their vote for one of the most widely-known figures in American politics, without considering ANY of the alternatives.

If you are finding all of this a little bit improbable, you aren't alone. To his great good credit, Dennis Kucinich has used his position as one of the candidates in the contested election to demand--and pay for-- a recount. Kucinich no more accuses Clinton of complicity in the dubious results than he expects himself to benefit from a recount. He simply believes that this election cycle is far too important to be tainted by even a suggestion of fraud.

As is the case with all "conspiracy theories", it is necessary to provide a motive for conspirators and at least provide some likely suspects. In this case, there is no shortage of both. The presumed innocence of the Clinton operation is, to begin with, just a bit naive. They've proven themselves willing to do pretty much everything short of election fraud to win, and they absolutely believe that the end justifies the means-- if anything authentic emerged from Madam Clinton's little crying jag, it is her absolute conviction that she is far better equipped to discern what is good for the American people than we are able to do so for ourselves.

Nor is it entirely far-fetched to believe that the same people widely suspected of delivering an election for George W. Bush would not have been inclined to do Hillary the same favor. In the first place, anyone with an interest in keeping the White House in Republican hands would infinitely prefer to have Mrs. Clinton at the head of the Democratic ticket than Barack Obama. In the second place, if the corporate interests that run this country have to concede the White House to the opposition party (which is highly likely), the only "democrat" who would be any more suitable to their interests than Hillary Clinton would be Joe Lieberman. It has been obvious from the start that Mrs. Clinton fills the same role in this election cycle as that filled by John Kerry in the last--the "safe" democrat, the one who can be trusted to not rock the boat (interesting,given that Kerry has now declared support for Obama--over both Clinton and his former running mate, Mr. Edwards).

The results of a recount will not be available in time to impact the Democratic nomination process, and may not even be available in time to matter in November. It would be nice to see a statement from the Clinton campaign praising Dennis Kucinich's commitment to democracy. It would be nice to see the Obama campaign learn the full lesson of what happened to them in New Hampshire and find momentum and victory in South Carolina. It would be nice to see the pall of suspicion, distrust, and paranoia that is the true legacy of the Bush Administration fade like the clouds of a passing storm. Sadly, all of these things are far less likely than any of us would want to believe.

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