(Well, that'll keep them interested. *YAWN* — Ed.)
Anyway, the big story of the week is Swift Veterans Against Kerry. This is a group of Vietnam veterans who have written a book, Unfit For Command, and released an advert calling John Kerry's war record into question. Specifically, they say that Kerry did not deserve the Bronze Star he was awarded for rescuing Jim Rassman, and that he lied when testifying about war crimes. If nothing else, this advert has seriously pissed off John McCain, who called upon the White House to denounce it (so far, they've only issued a non-committal "we have said that we won't talk about Kerry's military record" statement). The book is currently number one on Amazon, but the story is beginning to fall apart already.
Firstly, none of the men in the advert actually served on Kerry's boat. All of the men who served with Kerry are supporting him, bar one who is now dead. Secondly, one of the members of SVAK, Larry Thurlow, who has been on several news networks this week denouncing Kerry and insisting that the attack never took place, won a Bronze Star himself for the incident. So he's lying now, or he doesn't deserve his Star either. And finally, George Elliot, a member of the group in the advert, appeared in today's Boston Globe to retract the claims that he made, and to say that he regretted making them.
One question remains though: how did this new group manage to find enough funds to broadcast in the hotly contested swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin (at a cost of roughly $500,000)? It appears the key figures behind the campaign are a Texan Republican, Bob Perry, who donated $100,000 to the group, and John O'Neill, the co-writer of Unfit For Command, who was once hired by the Nixon Government to discredit Kerry and the Veterans Against The War group back in the 1970s. No direct involvement from the White House. Of course.
(I, Robot: Much better than you'd expect! And actually rather good!)
No link, but I'm amused by people who say that the suffragettes weren't hardcore feminists (I'm sure that some of the opponents back then would have begged to differ).
Somewhere, what sounds like an out-of-tune version of the lambada plays. Then the song begins: "Win your complaints / Slam the doors and break all the plates" It's an explosion of Phil Spector and Motown tricks; a group of indie kids break into the derelict remains of Detroit, discover the Funk Brothers' old equipment and immediately set to work breaking a million hearts in mono. This is an unmixed, low bit-rate, unfinished song, and it's still one of the best things I've heard all year; a transcendent piece of pop. And this week, of all weeks, I needed to know that music isn't just there to cause me grief.
This site is hosted in the US, but the music files were stored on my Linux server at home to save space.
I've checked the logs for both this site and my home machine. There's no access that corresponds with the time that the BPI gave. But there is a spike of activity on both servers from an IP address of 188.8.131.52 around that hour. The user-agent string is "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT; DigExt)". which doesn't seem special in any way, and I can't find any referral data, so I have no clue how they got here. The address doesn't resolve, but SideBit's Locator places it in the UK. The address is now blocked at my firewall, but that's just me being petty rather than a serious attempt at blocking their access.
The moral of the story seems to be: if you're running a music blog, make sure you don't host the files in the UK.
Meanwhile, the Commons foreign affairs select committee released a report on how well things are going in Iraq, oh, and Afghanistan too. Turns out that Afghanistan is safe, as long as you define "Afghanistan" to be a street in Kabul.
This looks like a fun book. I'm not sure that "We weren't as bad as the Nazis!" really counts as a defence though.
Anyway, the final day of the convention. For a change, I had a look at some of the other news networks, and I must say: why did Fox News bother going to the expense of moving everybody out to Boston? They're not showing most of the speeches, they're still running their regular programmes. It would have been so much easier to leave everybody behind...
Hmm, only just flipped back, but not sure if bringing up De Gaulle is a good idea, Sen. Biden, but a good point on trust.
Now Wesley Clark. Beating the war drum and, most likely, talking up Kerry's Vietnam record. Because I don't think they've mentioned it yet.
Ah, Joe Lieberman. Will I resist the urge to put my foot through the television? Yes, Joe, and look how that VP nomination turned out, eh? And don't think bringing up Obama is going to make you look any better. Sorry, I really don't like Lieberman. Always makes me feel that he's in the wrong party somehow. Like he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque along the line. Well, I hope there's not Hindus, Sikhs, or Buddhists watching, Joe. Will he mention Clinton in former Presidents? Yes, but skipped Johnson. For obvious reasons, I guess.
Bored now. Seen this? I'm quite impressed. Not to get all fanboy about it, but when do you stop? Will Lucas be happy when he's added a digital effect to every frame? Has anybody said "No, George, that would suck" to him in the last twenty years?
Nancy Pelosi. Making the case for a Democrat Congress. It's weird; even if there was an election going on over here at the moment, there would be as much emphasis on soldiers. I mean, she's talking about healthcare, education, and outsourcing now, but there's been so much talking about war and supporting the troops. Even if we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, the issues will probably be Europe and public spending, with defence getting a cursory mention. Sorry, getting distracted here, but I think it's an intriguing difference…
Oh. She's gone. Whoops. BUT! WILLY NELSON! ON THE PULSE OF YOUNG AMERICA! Actually, this could be great. HE'S GOT A GOSPEL CHOIR, AND HE'S MAD ENOUGH TO USE IT! Dammit, why didn't they invite The Polyphonic Spree? Forty hippies on a stage! Hmm, this isn't as good as it could be. Oh well. Who else? "Coming up next! A bunch of emo bands and intelligent dance music! DEMOCRATS BIGGING IT UP IN THE AREA! SLAM-DUNKING, OUR KID!"
Or they could bring on Madeleine Albright. I like them, I do, but I'm now bored senseless. I'm guessing that the Republican Convention will be different, if only because there's more chance of me getting worked up when I see people like Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush. Or I might have a job by then and you will all be spared. I want to see Al Sharpton following Bush around all summer, with a sign saying "WHERE'S MY MULE?" Albirght: unity, security, truth, bringing the world back to America. The usual.
And I'm worried. There's not going to be a big bounce after this convention. Or even a little one, I think. And it doesn't matter that he's now in a better position than Carter in 1976, Reagan in 1980, and Clinton in 1992. No bounce means failure in the eyes of the media. So that's what it will be. But anybody who has watched any part of this convention will know about Kerry's war record and what he stands for. If they've been lucky, they've seen fantastic speeches (Gore/Clinton on first night, Obama on the second, and Sharpton yesterday). I don't know what I'm trying to say; I suppose I'm trying to say that the convention probably doesn't matter to people who are busy having lives and not sitting in front of a computer screen, so I don't understand why it's considered to be so important. Is it even being carried by the major networks?
Carole King. And guess what she;s singing? "Close your eyes and think of me / and soon I will be there" DO I SEE LIGHTERS? And a sing-a-long! And a "You've got a friend…in John Kerry" (aha!) moment.
JFK sounded good, didn't he? DEMOCRAT DANCE PARTY!
"Kerry/Edwards Time! Let's Get It On!"Willie Nelson's checking Hillary Clinton out!
Andre Heinz is coming out to Hey Ya. Dude. Heh, "6"6" with the hair" Vanessa Kerry is good. And now Alexandra Kerry. All the family! Hamster CPR! Leave no hamster behind!
and now, a special bio hosted by Morgan Freeman.
They've got the men of Kerry's patrol boat on stage. Wow. Introducing Senator Max Cleland. More Vietnam, although this time incorporating Kerry's protests afterwards.
He's walking through the crowd! To Bruce Springsteen! Don't screw it up.
Just guessing, but this is probably going to be a speech of few sentences and lots of cheering.
Life story first.
"I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to his military advisors, and I will appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Constitution of the United States" — oooh.
He's getting better. Warming up a little. And now laying into Bush for throwing away unity: "Saying mission accomplished doesn't make it so"
"We will not go to war because we want to, but only because we have to"
"We will never send you to war without a plan to win the peace."
Leading with the military, then. 40,000 new troops, but not for Iraq; to bolster an over-stretched army.
"The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom"
"We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in America." ouch.
I know it's because I'm listening to him. But he sounds good. He's moving on to the domestic issues now, about "you don't take kids out of after-school programs to give Enron a bigger tax cut."
"help is on the way" investment, closing tax loop-holes for companies that outsources. And reintroducing fiscal responsibility. A pledge not to raise taxes for the middle classes, but rolling back tax cut for those that make over $200,000 a year.
Education: increased spending, especially in the poorer areas (his wording here about prison was great).
Healthcare: "[Healthcare] is a right for all Americans and we will make it so"
Energy - reducing the dependence on oil. DAMN
"I want to address these next words to President George W. Bush" — a pledge for unity and also a call for him not to abuse the Constitution (veiled reference to election postponement?)
Picking back up on Obama's speech — One America.
"What if we have a President who believes in Science?"
And U2's Beautiful Day to close us out. You can't have everything.
Kerry / Edwards on stage, balloons coming soon, I imagine.
Well, he had to be good. And he was. We can but hope.
"That sounds nice, daddy. What happened?"
"Well, despite that there were more records being sold than ever before, some people didn't want to share. And didn't want others to share. And these people were in control. But only for a limited time. To get around that, whenever the limited time was about to end, they'd talk to some other people in control, and as if by magic, their time was extended. Meanwhile, the people who they were supposed to represent weren't always getting paid the money they were owed, and because they hated technology and the changing world, they tried to stop it from happening."
"So why don't we have music anymore?"
"Because they modified our ears at the genetic level so we couldn't hear a song unless we paid £5 for a one-use-only, non-refundable ringtone, son."
The British Phonographic Industry Limited ("BPI") is a member of the Internet Enforcement Group (see www.ieg-uk.org) and the UK national group for the International Federation of Phonographic Industries ("IFPI"). Our members comprise over 300 record companies in the United Kingdom. Between them our members are responsible for the production or distribution of the vast majority of sound recordings sold and/or distributed legally within the United Kingdom. The BPI is also mandated to act on behalf of the members of Phonographic Performance Limited ("PPL") and the Association of Independent Music Limited ("AIM") and in this respect, to protect the rights in the sound recordings that are owned or controlled by members of PPL and AIM, as well those that are owned or controlled by BPI.
Part of our work involves monitoring the internet and taking action against persons that use, facilitate, enable and/or authorise the use of sound recordings in a manner that infringes the rights of the members of BPI, PPL and AIM.
We have identified a website that is available upon your internet service that enables access to a large number of infringing sound recordings. The site address is identified above.
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Without limitation, examples of the sound recordings featured upon this site that are owned by or licensed to our members and/or the members of PPL and AIM are:
URL: http://184.108.40.206/six.mp3 Host: 220.127.116.11 (18.104.22.168) Document: /six.mp3 Timestamp: 20-Jul-2004 08:27:06 Artist / Track: THE POGUES / BIRMINGHAM SIX
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