Streetwise Professor

July 23, 2013

A Musical Interlude

Filed under: Music — The Professor @ 2:46 pm

Haven’t posted any tunes lately, but the last line of the last post brought this to mind:


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June 8, 2013

A Recurring Nightmare

Filed under: Music — The Professor @ 8:43 pm

I know you have all been waiting for my review of the Social D show in Asheville, NC on Wednesday.  Well, not all of you, maybe:  commenter Green as Grass wrote to say that the bands I like sound “bloody awful.” De gustibus non est disputandum, Green.

The show was good.  This was the seventh time I’ve seen Social D, and they lived up to their previous standards.  The set list was quite different, with several songs that I haven’t heard live before.  Mike Ness was basically all business, and didn’t engage in a lot of patter this time.

The funniest part of the evening relates to one of my experiences when I went to the Social D show in Asheville in November, 2010.  (The band has played in Asheville twice . . . I’ve made both shows.)  At the 2010 show, there was a girl next to me with “Nightmare” tattooed on the back of her neck, and “Goth Bitch” tattooed across the knuckles of her hands.  So who was standing in front of me in line to get into the show? A girl with “Nightmare” tattooed on the back of her neck, and “Goth Bitch” tattooed on the knuckles of her hands.  I wonder.  Could it have been the same person?  I surely remembered her, but I don’t think she recognized me: of course, I am totally lacking in any memorable tattoos.  But at a Social D show, that should make me memorable.

And in case you are wondering . . . I didn’t come across any motorcyclists sprawled in the middle of the street on the way back to my parents’ house.  Totally uneventful ride home.

Here are a couple of shots from the show.  I was pretty close to the front, right on the edge of the mosh.

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June 5, 2013

Social D at the Orange Peel

Filed under: Music — The Professor @ 3:55 pm

Headed off in a while to see Social Distortion at the Orange Peel in Asheville.  Hopefully this time I won’t have to give first aid to the <a href=”″>casualty of a motorcycle accident, </a> like I did when I saw them here in 2010.

I’ll post a review in the next couple of days.

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June 2, 2013

Leaks For Me But Not For Thee

Filed under: Music,Politics — The Professor @ 7:53 am

In response to the furor over the AP and Rosen investigations, Obama noted the threat that leaks pose to national security:

“As commander-in-chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy. “

In a rational world, he would be referring to things like this:

It was the Obama administration that sealed the fate of the Pakistani doctor jailed for helping nail Usama Bin Laden, by divulging key details after the fact and dooming any chance Shakil Afridi’s cover story could win his freedom, according to a confidential Pakistani report.

When former Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta publicly acknowledged Afridi’s role in the ruse which helped the CIA pinpoint Bin Laden’s presence in an Abbottabad compound, any chance that Pakistani authorities could help him get out of the country vanished, according to what some have called Pakistan’s version of the 9/11 Commission, a 357-page report from an independent body set up to probe the aftermath of the 2011 raid by Navy SEALs in which the Al Qaeda leader was killed.

“The statement by the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was the CIA Director when May 2 happened, confirming the role of Dr. Afridi in making the U.S. assassination mission a success, rendered much of what Afridi told the Commission very questionable if not outright lies,” states the report, which has not been released, but which has viewed.

As I wrote about a year ago, this administration leaks furiously information that makes it look good, even though these leaks (like the one involving Afridi, or the apprehension of the would-be junk bomber in Yemen, or the US involvement in Stuxnet) are deeply damaging.

In every administration there has been a considerable amount of for-me-but-not-for-thee hypocrisy when it comes to leaking about national security.  But nothing like what we’ve seen in the Age of Obama.

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May 12, 2013

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

Filed under: Music — The Professor @ 1:23 pm

I’m in Istanbul for a conference on CCPs.  I’ll post when I have time.  In the meantime, for your listening pleasure, They Might Be Giants:

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May 3, 2013

Off With Their Heads!

Filed under: Music,Punk,Uncategorized — The Professor @ 4:05 pm

Oh, there are a lot of candidates who are just begging for the Red Queen treatment, but that’s not whom I referring to.  I’m referring to the band.  Headed out to see them at House of Blues Houston tonight.  Just what I need.  Some spiritual, uplifting music.

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March 1, 2013

Punk Cures That Punk Feeling

Filed under: Music — The Professor @ 10:39 am

I was feeling a little punk yesterday.  Punk as in “blah.”  But I had a ticket for the Dropkick Murphys so I sucked it up and went to the show, and I’m glad I did.  Punk cured my punky feeling.

I’ve seen them 5 times now, so I knew what to expect, and they met expectations.  Some new stuff, some old stuff, all good stuff.

I arrived only 15 minutes before the went on, so initially was  at the very edge of the floor crowd.  But I worked my way to the front.  Mainly by following a woman about 4’10” tall and 3′ wide who went through the crowd like a bowling ball.  I just followed in her wake, and made it to the rail as the attached pictures show.  A little rambunctious, a lot of checking, a lot of “Oi!”‘s but not too crazy.  Just fun crazy.

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April 30, 2012

Some New Faves

Filed under: Music — The Professor @ 2:40 pm

Off With Their Heads.  Dillinger Four.  Dead to Me.  Lawrence Arms.  Give them a listen.  Not exactly music that hath charms to soothe a savage breast-more the opposite, probably. But if you like melodic, chord-based punk it’s all good.

For something a little more laid back, Lucero is a good pick.

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February 26, 2012

What It Is Ain’t Exactly Clear (To Some People)

Filed under: Music,Politics — The Professor @ 2:18 pm

Some updates on the Afghanistan situation from the WSJ (h/t R).

First, an alternative biography of the suspected shooter:

Western officials said Mr. Salangi was a driver for an Afghan intelligence official at the ministry who may have had access to the restricted area where the U.S. advisers were shot in the head.

A driver? Really?  With independent access to a highly secure area? There is something not right about that.  Either the facts as presented are wrong, or the security procedures in the Interior Ministry are outrageous.  And what explains the huge difference between the different characterizations of the shooter.  First reports: Afghan intel officer with high responsibilities.  This report: driver for the intel official.

The Karzai response-properly, the lack thereof-is an outrage:

Mr. Karzai didn’t even mention the American deaths in his opening statement during a news conference on Sunday. He expressed his condolences—but not an apology—only when asked by a reporter about the shootings of Americans.

While his Interior Ministry earlier Sunday identified Mr. Salangi as the chief suspect, Mr. Karzai also kept alive speculation—explicitly rejected by U.S. military officials—that the two Americans may have been killed by another Westerner.

“It is not yet clearly known as to who has committed this and where he was from, whether Afghan or foreigner or any other element involved,” he said.

Mr. Karzai’s response was “unfortunate,” one senior American official said.

Unfortunate? Is that what they call it now? How big is the euphemism dictionary, anyways?

Even worse:

Mr. Karzai’s remarks Sunday focused instead on the investigation into how the Qurans were burned at Bagram, and on attempts to launch peace talks with the Taliban.

Hello! The cluephone is ringing.  Some people-including a former Ranger and Afghan War vet who now works for a think tank-aren’t picking up:

“The Afghan leadership has been painfully slow to realize the gravity of these events and to understand how little patience Americans have for the war in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Exum. “President Karzai has to understand that patience for the continued commitment to Afghanistan is wearing very thin.”

Karzai understands perfectly.  Perfectly.  That is the point.

Need another clue? The Afghans are flogging the Koran angle for all it is worth:

Afghan officials describe Saboor as a man who never never suggested any radical tendencies, leading them to assume that he was inspired by the accidental burning of Qurans by U.S. troops last Tuesday.

They are playing this for all it is worth. They are fanning the flames-almost literally. Why?

It may not be clear to some-or maybe some who do understand are playing very dumb-but is seems pretty obvious that this is all part of a concerted effort by Karzai and his Pashtun and Pakistani allies to push out NATO and the US.  Why is virtually all of the media pretending otherwise? And why is the administration enabling the Muslims-legitimately-outraged-by-Koran-desecration meme? That is less clear to me, but none of the explanations that immediately come to mind are encouraging-or any other word associated with “courage.”

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July 31, 2011

Borisov Did It. Did Natasha Help?

Filed under: Music,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:20 pm

Vlad Socor at EDM has more details on the allegations about GRU involvement in the bombing of the US Embassy in Georgia (and in other bombings in that country):

On July 28, the US National Intelligence Council (analytical arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) provided the Intelligence Committees of both chambers of Congress with a second analysis, following up to the December 2010 analysis of the September 2010 incident. Both analyses drew on a variety of inputs, including those from Georgian counterintelligence. The basic conclusion is that Russian GRU’s Major Yevgeny Borisov, stationed on a military base in Abkhazia, coordinated the planting of about a dozen low-yield bombs in Georgia during 2010, including that outside the US embassy (another bomb outside the embassy was detected and defused).

Borisov operated from Abkhazia through a few agents recruited inside Georgia, at least one of whom is in pre-trial detention since December in Tbilisi. Several of the bombs, including those at the US embassy, were made to look innocuous by using candy-box packaging.

A blunder helped to confirm Borisov’s already suspected role. On his behalf, his deputy telephoned the European Union’s Monitoring Mission (EUMM, in Georgia’s interior, with a hotline to the Russian military), offering to help with the casualties of a bomb explosion that had supposedly occurred on the railway bridge near Poti, Georgia’s Black Sea commercial port. However, the field agent had falsely reported to Borisov by mobile telephone minutes earlier that the bomb had exploded. In fact, Georgian counterintelligence was tracking that agent and defused the bomb.

The Georgians intercepted at least two telephone calls from field agents inside Georgia to Borisov’s office, immediately following explosions. Georgian authorities put six suspects on trial in December 2010. Borisov and his deputy, GRU officer Mukhran Tskhadaia, were sentenced in absentia to long prison terms. The investigation established that Borisov’s office supplied the explosive material (Hexogen, known as Cyclonit or RDX in the West) and paid those agents.

. . . .

Obama administration officials, speaking to the press without nominal attribution, downplay the incident in two ways. First, there is no full inter-agency consensus about a direct responsibility of the GRU at the high levels of that organization. Perhaps Borisov was operating as a rogue agent, these officials speculate aloud. Second, the incident at the US embassy in Tbilisi has more to do with Russia-Georgia than with Russia-US relations; and “it pokes the Georgians in the eye, not the US” (EurasiaNet, The Cable, The New York Times, Washington Times, July 27, 28, 29).

The first excuse is lame.  The second is simply mendacious.  Our embassy is our embassy, and bombing it is a poke in our eye, not Georgia’s.  It is also clearly aimed at us, and intended to get us to back off in support for Georgia.  Ah, for the days of “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!”  Turning the other cheek on this only encourages further probing–or worse–and not just by Russia, but by the even more unscrupulous.

Note that for those who want to blow this off as a figment of Georgian imagination–or propaganda note that the administration investigated the issue, and agreed with the Georgians despite its clear desire to sweep the whole matter under the rug.  The administration is so invested in the precious reset that if it could have discredited the factual allegations, it would have done so.  This lends credence to the reliability of those allegations.  The only alternative available  was to minimize the importance of the bombing.  The justifications are palpably pathetic, but given Obama’s parlous domestic situation, plummeting poll numbers, and serial foreign policy follies (I can’t even bring myself to write anything about the Libyan fiasco which is playing out as badly as I forecast back in March), the administration is not about to admit failure on what it considers one of its signature accomplishments.

So expect more mischief in Georgia–and more silence and excuses in DC.

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