Tuesday, April 19, 2011

republican math

gary welsh reposts a press release from indiana GOP chairman eric holcomb:

Democrats continue to fight for narrow special interests clamoring for the status quo. A finance report filed last week shows the entire Urbana hotel bill was footed by unions - many of them out-of-state.

Unions contributed $139,000 to the Indiana Democrat Party during the walkout, every penny of which went to pay off the $84,953.70 hotel tab.

wow, every penny of their $139k contribution went to paying off an $85k tab?

hmmm... there seems to be something wrong with that statement, but i can't quite put my finger on what it is...
$139k - $85k = $54k
...oh, i see what the problem is. he said "democrat party"—the correct name is democratic party.

Monday, April 18, 2011

bad taste is back!

oh frubjous day! after having been down for three months, the bad taste site has been resurrected once more!

after the catastrophic failure of our old hosting service, some data was lost. the old bad taste blog is gone into the ether, for example. so we're going to take this opportunity to rebuild and redesign the site from the bottom up. but that could take a while, and after being gone so long we didn't want to leave you hanging, so we made sure that the mp3 section is well stocked. in addition to our page of free ringtones, we have thirteen releases available for free download, including one that has never before been available for donwload—the classic mainline VS temple ov S_i_D split! the mainline side, japanese soundscapes of effects is 100% analog—four tracks of soundscapes and chill-yet-warm beats assembled using classic analog synths. temple ov S_i_D is a chiptune side project by dr. butcher m.d. devoted to the commodore 64's legendary SID chip. need i say more?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

hipsters: the more you know

i've finally learned what the word "hipster" means:

hipsters: the more you know

knowledge is power!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

on hiring ex-offenders

so gary welsh posted a screed this morning lamenting how outrageous it is that the city has programs for helping ex-offenders find jobs. in particular, he's up in arms that ex-offenders are landing city jobs driving garbage trucks, cleaning up parks, and the like.

i know fear of crime is big in right-wing politics, but i'm puzzled about what's supposed to be so bad about mayor ballard's ex-offender programs, because frankly i believe those to be among the mayor's most admirable initiatives.

in our criminal justice system, if you're convicted of a crime and fulfill the terms of your punishment, then that's supposed to be that. you did the crime, now do the time, as they say. but the reality is that there are few opportunities for those who've been incarcerated. when you get out, you have no money, often have no support system, and finding even a crappy mcjob can be a mighty struggle because lots of employers discriminate against ex-offenders. many end up returning to crime out of sheer desperation—they're broke, desperate, unable to find work, and crime may be the only life they know.

the best hope for breaking the cycle of recidivism is to help ex-offenders find stable jobs, housing, and support systems so that they can learn how to become upstanding members of society. mayor ballard wants to do that, but this makes gary welsh very angry. so what does gary think should happen to the city's ex-offenders? are they supposed to curl up and die? should we lock them up and throw away the key? should they just remain criminals, hopping in and out of prison until they get shanked in the shower? should their useful indiscretions doom them to life as a permanent underclass, barred from getting cushy jobs like working with "solid waste"? should we just give them a one-way bus ticket to cincinnati and let someone else deal with them?

i don't often find reason to praise mayor ballard, but i whole-heartedly support his ex-offender re-entry programs and feel we need more such programs, not less. they're good for the ex-offenders, good for the community, and even good for the economy—incarcerating people costs tax money; getting them jobs creates tax revenue. there is no down side—unless you believe that people can never change and there's no such thing as rehabilitation... in which case we probably shouldn't release people from prison at all.

update: i'd been hoping that paul ogden would try to talk some sense into gary, but no, he now has a post up calling ballard's program "insane". he writes, "While we shouldn't rule out people convicted from working for the city, it certainly shouldn't be a positive chip on the side of the applicant." but why not? it's a public good for ex-offenders to be able to find gainful employment when they get out, so what's the harm in setting aside a few jobs in order to help that happen? i can't think of a more benign or effective way to achieve that goal, and ogden sure doesn't propose any.

furthermore, i would argue that the program doesn't conflict with the mayor's overall focus on public safety, as ogden claims. on the contrary, the program makes our community safer by helping ex-offenders go legit rather than fall back into old criminal habits. but ogden may be right that a lot of republican voters won't see it that way.

Friday, April 08, 2011

why newspapers are dying

well, this is embarrassing.

on tuesday, republican paul ryan released a federal budget proposal that would, among other things, slash taxes on the rich, abolish medicare and replace it with vouchers, and do something similar with medicaid.

since that time, the internet has been awash with commentary, as a million commentators with a million keyboards point out a million flaws with ryan's plan. for example:

i could go on, but i think you get my point: ryan's budget is a joke, a fantasy. it could never pass, it relies on numbers that have been called "insane", and most absurd of all, under the plan, the debt would be higher than if we did nothing.

so i was flabbergasted when i saw the headline to today's lead editorial in the indy star:

Finally, a serious plan to cut deficit

this would've been humiliating enough if it had run wednesday morning. if it had, it would've shown that, like too many in the media, the star ed board is easily impressed by "bold" plans that take drastic measures, even if those plans rest on fallacious premises and rely on magical thinking. it would've shown that screwing the poor is all you need to do for the ed board to brand you as "serious".

but the fact that this ran today—after the internet has been tearing the ryan plan to shreds for three days—is mortifying. today, as the threat of a federal government shutdown looms, the star runs an editorial praising a budget plan that was shown to be sham days ago. they are shockingly, disgracefully behind the times.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

an old track, but it's new to you

i've been digging through some old tunes lately—both old records i haven't listened to in a while as well as tracks i produced back in the day—and i stumbled across a databent track called "denial of service". this track was recorded early in the true data sessions* and i was quite pleased with it at the time, but i made around eight tracks and there was only room for four on the record, so it got cut. however, unlike the other tracks that got cut—two of which have been on my mp3 page for ages—"denial of service" somehow slipped through the cracks and i forgot about it.

as such, i believe this track has never been released in any format. that seemed like a damn shame, so i uploaded it to soundcloud:

stAllio! - denial of service by stallio

* true data, of course, is available for streaming on soundcloud, and still available as a 12" in the AWIA shop.

Friday, April 01, 2011

talk talk talk talk talk

did you know that the legendary metal band black sabbath wasn't always called black sabbath? this isn't an april fool's joke, folks! at one time, the band was called earth and they played hippy crap like everyone else in the '60s. then one day they wrote a really creepy song called "black sabbath" and realized they were on to something, so they took the song title as their band name and began exploring their new sound. the rest is history.

i like to imagine a similar origin story for the new-wave band talk talk, whose first single was titled—wait for it—"talk talk". apparently, the song was a cover: the original was called "talk talk talk talk", so maybe they decided to split the title in half and use the first half as their band name. talk talk - talk talk? guys, that's brilliant!

so my wife and i have been watching a lot of the 120 minutes video block on vh1 classic, and they play "talk talk" a lot. like, every time. way more than they play "it's my life", which was talk talk's big hit in the US. we wondered why this might be, and concluded it was likely due to ringtone sales. vh1 classic is all about selling ringtones these days, and "talk talk" is uniquely suited to ringtone use thanks to its lyrical content (or lack thereof).

of course, vh1's ringtones are a huge ripoff ($5.99/month gets you two whole ringtones each month!), and you'd be better off getting the song elsewhere and copying it to your phone manually. my wife mentioned this—that you could make your own talk talk ringtone—and at that moment, i was struck by inspiration—create the ultimate talk talk ringtone, stripped down to its essence: just the parts where he says "talk".

so here it is: the talk edit ringtone of "talk talk". and for your enjoyment, here's the full video version:

kind of hypnotic, actually...