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hooligan update

More on the police riot that broke out at Spartan Stadium last weekend. As you'll recall, LA fans were beaten by local cops. The fans have maintained their innocence ... they have also used a woman named Linda Pickle as people's exhibit #1 in their case, noting that Pickle, a middle-aged fan and a member of the Galaxians, had been taken to the hospital after cracking her head during the melee. The Galaxians are roughly equivalent to the Quakes' "Casbah" ... hardcore fans who are nonetheless mostly harmless, in comparison to the rougher Riot Squad from LA, roughly equivalent to San Jose's "Ultras," who take their hardcore behavior to a more rowdy place.

Pickle's story is told here, and it's not good news for the Riot Squadders:

"I had a concussion, but I don't blame MLS or anything. Actually, I blame the Riot Squad for their behavior." Linda spoke.

"They actually shoved the Galaxians out of the way. They took over our section. They stood in front of me. We had the front two rows and basically, we couldn't get to our seats.

"It was nasty. What really made me mad was that I told one Riot Squader that he smelled really bad because of the amount of beer he drank. He told me, 'if you don't like it, go sit somewhere else.'

"I've been coming since the beginning. I've promoted since day one. They just pissed me off."

Pickle went on to chastise the security goons who overeacted, but then returned to her earlier point:
"Too many people were yelling and screaming, but no one had a level head and talked. Los Angeles Riot Squad has no leader and they were all in our area. The Riot Squad were in the wrong seats. Their finger pointing, the language, the drinking were all part of the problem.

"They need to change. They need to tone it down. They're not there for the team, they're not there for the soccer.

"Now it's more of a party than a soccer game. This was a wake-up call."

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear anyone has woken up. The Riot Squadders, justly pissed about the police brutality, still think they were blameless. I suspect the difference between Riot Squad and Linda Pickle can be summed up in her sentence that "finger pointing, the language, the drinking were all part of the problem" ... groups like the Riot Squad and the Ultras don't see those things as problems.

Nor do I, to be honest ... I just don't like obnoxious behavior. Finger pointing and language don't bother me ... drinking doesn't bother me, either ... but I confess I'm not much for the kind of aggro that drunks offer up as proof of their excellence as fans.

Meanwhile, the award for creepy hyperbole goes to "supersport," who compared the Riot Squadders to Rosa Parks. When asked if he really meant to compare the LA fans to the legendary civil-rights activist, supersport replied "Damn Right, I did."

kevin hill and other teevee

Another new show last night, Kevin Hill, with Taye Diggs and not much else. I didn't hate it, and since I watch something at 8 and at 10 on Wednesdays, I might as well leave the tube on from 9-10. But I wasn't overwhelmed by the pilot.

Here's the 2004 season update. On Sundays, The Wire is already shaping up to be another great season, although as always, it's off to a slow start as things are put in place. Dead Like Me doesn't seem to have internal consistency, but it's engaging ... I'm happy to stick with it. Desperate Housewives begins this Sunday, and it's the only show Robin asked about, for what it's worth.

Mondays is blank right now, until 24 returns. On Tuesday, NYPD Blue is actually a tad better this season than in recent years, and House is still to come. Wednesday has Lost ... I'm hooked, it's the best of these new shows so far ... and Rescue Me is a pretty vile Guy Show that I'm enjoying quite a bit. Joan of Arcadia on Friday seems to have a bit more edge in its first couple of episodes this season ... at the end of last season, Joan had lost her faith in god, and while she believes in god again now, she's not happy about it, nor is she happy with him/her/it.

The Wire is the only great show on right now ... I can't recommend any of these others to folks, except perhaps Lost if you're into creepy stuff. But I haven't given up on any new shows yet, which is something, I suppose. Although now that I think about it, I've only watched two so far.

karma 3000 and top ten

I finally reached 3000 songs on my Karma, with the addition of "Add It Up" by the Violent Femmes. I don't think I'll go any higher ... in fact, I think I'll do some pruning. I still have several hundred meg of space, and I could probably triple the number of songs if I lowered the quality of the files, but 3000 is enough.

Meanwhile, here's the current, and as always very suspicious, Top Ten. One day I'll figure out what Queen Latifah has that makes my Karma love her so much. Last month's ranking in parentheses:

1. Queen Latifah, "Ladies First" (1)
2. Bruce Springsteen, "Glory Days" (2)
3. Prince, "Delirious" (-)
4. Donovan, "Riding in My Car (Car Song)" (3)
5. Marianne Faithfull, "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (4)
6. Simon and Garfunkel, "Cecilia" (5)
7. En Vogue, "Don't Let Go (Love)" (6)
8. Peggy Lee, "Fever" (7)
9. Willie Nelson, "Whisky River" (-)
10. Lucinda Williams, "Concrete and Barbed Wire" (-)

It's obvious what's happened ... everything is the same as last month, except for the addition of songs by the three people I saw in concert last month. Falling out of the top ten are Hall and Oates, "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" (8th last month, 11th this month), Andrew Gold, "Lonely Boy" (#9, #12), and Buffalo Springfield, "Kind Woman" (#10, #14 ... another Lucinda song snuck into #13).

scan of the day

This comes from December of 1978. It's an outtake from a photo session that produced a similar picture that you may have seen. It's Our Budding Family in a Nutshell: Sara a handful, struggling to get free, Neal thoughtfully checking out the scene, me trying my best to keep Sara in the picture, and Robin in charge of us all:


partisan hatred

I read and hear a lot these days about how ugly the partisan nature of American politics has become. Republicans really hated Bill Clinton; Democrats really hate the current George Bush; back in the day it was different. I'm not sure it's so different, but I certainly hate George Bush.

People like me are generally blamed for the current state of affairs. Whatever happened to respect from the loyal opposition? I'm at fault, not because I disagree with Bush, but because I hate him. Some are concerned that the rhetoric of hatred is poisoning the American political system.

If this is so, it's not my fault. Place the blame for the current mood of spiteful partisanship where it belongs: with the fucking dickheads of the Republican party.

If you accept the simplistic view that our major parties represent the left and right of the political spectrum, you won't buy my argument here. I don't accept that view. The Democratic party is centrist. Clinton was a centrist ... Gore was a centrist ... Kerry is a centrist. Here in the Bay Area we have plenty of examples of real left-wing politicians, if you want one: my Representative, Barbara Lee, is a leftist. To a lesser extent, so are Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. But the Democratic Party isn't Barbara Lee ... she is an extremist within the party, which is focused on centrists like John Kerry (and if you can't tell the difference between Kerry and Lee, you're a moron). The Democratic Party is partisan, to be sure, but they are fighting for the center. I don't agree with them, but I recognize their effort.

But the mainstream of the Republican Party IS right wing. As I mentioned when quoting Garrison Keillor yesterday, the Repugs have moved so far to the right you almost get nostalgic for Dick Nixon. Since Reagan became President, the Republicans have been far more to the right than the mainstream of the Democratic Party has ever been to the left, at least since the days of FDR.

And this is the root of today's current partisan ugliness. The Democrats try to placate everyone by placing roots in the center ... like I say, I don't agree with them, but that's what they've done. The Republicans have moved away from the center, though ... they are the reason mainstream American politics today is so bitterly partisan.

Bush and company give me reason to hate them. They lie every day of their lives ... they are the direct cause of the deaths of thousands in Iraq ... their domestic policies are a pile of putrid garbage ... they are trying to remake America in a dangerous fashion. They deserve my hatred, and it's them that causes it, not me.

And I'm sure they'd hate me right back, if they knew I existed. They hate Kerry and Clinton ... one can only imagine how much they'd hate someone who was an actual left-winger. There's a war going on in this country ... now isn't the time to be polite. If you vote for Bush in 2004, you are a fucked-up asshole, plain and simple.

scans of the day

In the summer of 1972, I returned from a year in exile in Indiana, and got in touch with Robin. We started the long road of getting back together ... well, not that long, we were married within a year, but there were some oddball steps along the way. That summer, Robin was living in Sherman Hall, a student co-op next to Memorial Stadium ... she'd lived there for her freshman year, and along with one other girl was house-sitting for the summer. I spent a lot of time there that summer, as did our friend Tom. The three of us had many escapades that will not be hashed over here ... if Robin or Tom want to pipe up, that's fine, but I'm not talking unless they do. It was an odd summer, the summer of George McGovern. Anyway, we apparently referred to ourselves in a joking manner as living in a commune, which leads to the following three documents. The first is one of my infamous drawings (infamous because I can't draw), showing what we did:

commune freaks
Tom played drums, I was thinking about becoming a film major, and Robin ... well, I'm not sure why she got to be next to what appears to be a typewriter.

The typewriter gets a workout here, in a fragment from a continuing tale we cranked out when bored:

life in a commune
Finally, this hand-written note by Tom, with reply from Robin, which just might be the first documented case of Steven Acting Out:
Life in a commune, summer of 1972.

republican update

Garrison Keillor:

Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned - and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor....

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous....

Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy - the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president's personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.

Yes, today's Republicans are so bad, they make one nostalgic for Dick Nixon.

Fucking dickheads.

happy birthday john!

holmes, john holmes

Believe it or not, I know this guy. Even harder to believe: he puts up with me. He married Robin's sister on my birthday back in 1998, which makes it easy for me to remember their anniversary. He's a good guy, even if he did supplant me as the favorite son-in-law. And today is his birthday, a fact I knew without prompting. So here's to my brother-in-law John. Happy birthday! May the next year be one of many blog comments.

the american press

From Rolling Stone via Salon:

The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that. I think that Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective and backed them into a corner of sorts where they have ceded some of their responsibility and righteous power.

The Washington Post and New York Times apologies about their initial reporting about Iraq not being critical enough were very revealing. I am a dedicated Times reader, and I've found enormous sustenance from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd on the Op-Ed page. There has been great reporting, but there has also been some self-consciousness in some of the reporting about the policy differences in this election.

This is going to be an issue after the election. I don't know if it began with the Iraq war, but shortly thereafter there was an enormous amount of Fox impersonators among what you previously thought were relatively sane media outlets across the cable channels. It was very disheartening. The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard.

The free press is supposed to be the lifeline and the blood of democracy. That is the position of responsibility that those institutions have. Those things are distorted by ratings and by money ...

-- Bruce Springsteen