Monthly Archives: March 2008

Inspection- Of Monopoly, Mike’s Mistake and Parents vs. the State

So much has happened since I started this edition of Inspection that I felt compelled to comment on three topics…


I have been a Sirius Satellite Radio customer for several years now. I’m somewhat, somewhat not, satisfied with the service. Some of the decisions of their programmers make regular commercial radio programmers look smart. Imagine this: you’re handed an opportunity to do everything FM was supposed to do like…

1. Play odd cuts from known acts.

2. Play new and struggling acts.

3. Have exotic programming, like real DJs allowed to play music as if it isn’t grown on some top 40 chart tree…

4. …or fantasy talk radio like one host in Atlanta during the 90s. He would address national issues through role playing with his audience.

While Sirius has at least tried, XM would have none of that. I remember their CEO disparaging their competition once saying that they would make sure their programming was as mainstream and non-offensive as possible. “Just like FM only without the commercials,” is a quote I remember from the interview.

Goodie. Don’t we have enough of that already? I swear these guys think the only reason consumers would pay for what advertising provides them for free is a lack of commercials. Actually, I find creative commercials can be quite entertaining. I can even imagine a “commercial channel” where they play really whacked out ads. Instead XM offers what is already pitiful, weak, programming non-stop. Sometimes it’s a little like being locked in a room for eternity with Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I’ve Got Love in My Tummy, locked on repeat.

Sirius is a tad better. They don’t provide a channel with funny commercials, but they do have the Gay channel: Out Q, Howard Stern… as much as I don’t care for his style it is unique… but they also interrupt channels for sports all the time… (I pay them to screw me out of streams I’ve paid for, essentially.) … and take some of their most popular channels, like The Bridge which featured singer-songwriters, and turn it into a 24 hour Bruce Springsteen stream; just to give one example out of far too many. Even if I could understand that nasal drone of his, or liked his songs, I’d still wonder why they insist on pirating their own popular channel for the sake of the few who might be interested in being able listen to that damn drone 24/7. But the programming trend at Sirius is headed in the opposite direction with the Elvis stream: another non-favorite of mine, the Rolling Stones stream and the soon to be released Minnie Riperton stream where all they do is play that hideous high note over, and over, and over…

(Yes, I am kidding: kind of.)

But when it comes to their regular channels they simply mimic XM. If you expect to hear some odd cut from your favorite group: forget it. It’s not even great top 40. I’m amazed that when they play Chicago, for instance, it seems their collection is limited to two or three hits. Forget hearing whole album sides, or comparing different versions of the same songs by different artists, or playing several songs of the same theme or feel right after each other: some of the many things my audiences loved when I was in radio, but anal program directors hated. Satellite radio, XM or Sirius, is mostly wasting a wonderful opportunity for being inventive, creative and getting listeners actually excited about radio again. FM kind of did that to AM, which is why, until Limbaugh, AM was like a lingering, terminal cancer patient. Of course Limbaugh simply gave us all another kind of cancer, but that discussion is probably best saved for another edition of Inspection entitled: “An Ego Bigger and More Lethal Than All the Depleted Uranium in Iraq.”

Now the Justice Department has decided it’s OK for them to merge. Here is their argument…

“Although the two companies operate the only satellite radio firms in the US market, the Justice Department said there is ‘a lack of competition between the parties in important segments, even without the merger, and that consumers may still choose ‘alternative services.'”

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DamSpot’s Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a President named Bill Clinton. President Clinton had a Vice-President named Al Gore.

Al was kind of a shy guy. Never spoke much, or did anything. He was just waiting around for Bill to get impeached so that he could become the worlds biggest under-achiever.

This made President Clinton sad, so he and his staff would play with the thermostat in Als office during the summer and winter. During these times, the Presidents staff would walk back and forth, wiping their brows with hankies and mumbling about something called global warming.

Pretty soon, Al started noticing that a lot of the staffers were wearing shorts in the winter and began to formulate an idea. He figured that if it were hot enough in January to wear shorts, then there must really be a problem with the sky.

So Al rushed into the Senate chambers and cried The Sky is Warming, The Sky is Warming!

Most of the Senators were shocked to even find out that Al could talk, let alone cry out in concern.

So, the Senators, wondering where they were going to blow their budget that year, gave a whole bunch of money to Al to go out and find out why the sky was warming.

Al, being the prudent man he was, decided that flying all over the big sky to find the causes, would warm them further, so he went back and sat behind his desk, as he always did.

But, this was a New Al Gore. He was charged with a chance to make a name for himself, perhaps even help the world.

Al picked up his telephone, and called the CIA and told them to divert their spy satellites over the Polar Regions to see if the polar bears had enough ice to walk on.

About this time, he got a call from Europe. At last, they said, our glaciers that have been here 6 billion years (or 6 thousand years depending on your theory of evolution) are melting.

Big Al sprung into action. The first thing he did was write a book about how Man-Bear-Pig was a threat (whoops. That was an adventure on South Park)

At any rate he wrote about how the heat from cars, cows and trees was causing the glaciers to melt, despite the fact that they were melting at the correct rate for glaciers that old.

In his book, he also failed to point out that Iceland was also having the coldest winter in their written history, which unfortunately, only goes back as far as the Vikings.

As a matter of fact. And Im not completely sure of this; the only thing he may have gotten right was his name, on the book.

Hmmmm, Global Warming. Record snows in Arkansas and California this year. Lost half the Florida Orange crop due to intense frost.

This past winter Yuma, Arizona still experienced 80 degrees during the day and the low 50s at night.

It actually snowed something other than body ash in Baghdad this winter.

Poor Al. And to think it all started because Bill Clinton fooled with the thermostats.


The Tattlesnake Throw Them All Under the Bus Edition

This, That and Other Scat

— “Throw under the bus” Isn’t it time to throw this exhausted Mediocracy line under the bus and back over it a few times for good measure?

— The country’s deeply in the debt and borrowing money to keep afloat, our economy’s ‘under the bus,’ and our military is near the breaking point, yet I didn’t hear McCain asked even one question regarding how he intends to pay for his endless war in Iraq, nor how he plans to find fresh bodies to sacrifice to his vague idea of victory over there.

— Will Tonya Harding object to her tactics of ‘knee-capping’ Nancy Kerrigan being compared to Hillary Clinton’s going negative against Obama? I can hear Tonya now, “I’m voting for that McCainey guy I don’t truck with them pinko liberal commies like Clinton.” (Side note: Will Hillary be appearing on “Celebrity Boxing” in a few years?)

— Speaking of Hillary, what could she be thinking by proposing to alleviate the housing crisis by dragging in Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan to fix it? Rubin is the ultimate Wall Street insider and rinky-dink deals by his Big Money cronies caused the crisis in the first place while Greenspan’s fetid policies as Fed chief set the stage for the economic disaster we’re wallowing in now. Would a President Hillary invite McCain and Cheney in to help her during a Middle East crisis?

— Hey, Jimmy Jeff Carville want to talk about traitors? How about a Democratic Party presidential candidate who praises Republican John McCain over her Dem rival?

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Economic Plans…

Obama gave a speech on his economic plans this morning that consisted of six principles that should guide the legal reforms needed to establish a 21st century regulatory system.

He called JohnMcCains economic plan as something that amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen.

While this is consistent with Senator McCains determination to run for George Bushs third term, it wont help families who are suffering, and it wont help lift our economy out of recession, he said.

Tucker Bounds, McCain campaign spokesman issued the following statement on Mr. Obamas speech:

No amount of rhetoric can hide Senator Obamas clear record of embracing the liberal tax and spend, big government policies that hit hardworking American families at a time when theyre most vulnerable, and are certain to move America backward.

McCain would take over for the current’ administration’s policy of Borrow and Spend, which is even worse, considering that eventually that debt has to be paid back plus interest. So yes, “tax” and spend is a far more responsible way of getting things done.

Hillary Clinton had this to say about John McCain’s economic plans:

Sometimes the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House and its an economic crisis, Mrs. Clinton said. And we need a president who is ready and willing to answer that call. But I read Senator McCains plan which does virtually nothing to ease the credit crisis or the housing crisis. The phone is ringing and he would just let it ring and ring.

Good god, woman! That 3AM telephone call routine is starting to spoil. You need some new material and pronto.


Does this photo make Barack Obama look bigger than life, or is Bloomberg really that small of a man?

4000 Plus and Still Not in my Name

While the Bush III candidacy starts reving up to tell us how good things are going in Iraq, we reached another terrible milestone over the weekend with #4000 of our troops dead. To make matters worse, it looks as though Moqtada al-Sadr’s cease fire is coming to an end, as battles with the Mahdi Army erupt all over Iraq.

“The cease-fire is over; we have been told to fight the Americans,” said one Mahdi Army militiaman, who was reached by telephone in Sadr City. This same man, when interviewed in January, had stated that he was abiding by the cease-fire and that he was keeping busy running his cellular phone store.

Way back in 2002, I posted a song by Chumbawamba called Jacob’s Ladder (Not in My Name), which wound its way thoughout the Internet as a protest to this Unilateral war. I thought today would bea good time to repost it.

Jacob’s Ladder (Not in My Name)

Jacobs ladder
Like the Sermon on the mountain says dumber got dumb
Hellfire and brimstone swapped for oil and guns
When were pushing up daisies we all look the same
In the name of the Father, maybe, but not in my name
On this Jacobs ladder, the only way up is down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
Jacobs ladder
And they sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain
A million lifetimes left dying in the sun
In the streets down in Whitehall, dogs pickin at the bones
Nine eleven got branded, nine eleven got sold
And therell be no one left to water all the seeds you sowed
On this Jacobs ladder, the only way up is down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
Jacobs ladder
And they sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain
On this Jacobs ladder, the only way up is down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
On this Jacobs ladder, the only way up is down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
Jacobs ladder
Puppy dog leader sooner or later
Well dig up your cellar and try you for murder

Just as relevent now as it was then.

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