Streetwise Professor

June 22, 2022

With Friends Like John Cornyn, Who Needs Enemies?

Filed under: Guns,Politics,Punk — cpirrong @ 5:51 pm

Senators have released a draft gun control bill produced as the result of a “bipartisan compromise.” Let me translate: “bipartisan compromise” means a cabal of the uniparty has conspired to screw you. That’s not a conspiracy theory: that’s an empirical regularity.

Some of the bill is unobjectionable. But that conceals its diseased heart: a provision to bribe states to adopt “red flag” laws.

Red flag laws are patently unconstitutional. Fourth Amendment. Fifth Amendment. Second Amendment. Binding on the states by the Fifteenth Amendment. Other than that, great!

It is highly unlikely that these laws can or will prevent lunatics like the Uvalde shooter or the Parkland shooter (whom I will not give any notoriety by writing their names), but they will impose substantial costs on innocent individuals, especially those afflicted with a vengeful spouse or disputatious neighbor.

The “Republican” leader in these negotiations, my own state’s John Cornyn, had the audacity to preen over the bill:

The red flag provision will not reduce the risk of Uvaldes, but it will trounce the Second Amendment. The last sentence is particularly mendacious. “Mental health and school safety bill.” Yeah, right, John. Only nuts will get snared by red flag laws, right? In fact, it’s more likely that nuts will use them against their enemies than it is to disarm murderous nuts.

And “NO NEW RESTRICTIONS”? Please. In fact, I think the all caps are a clear case of thou protest too much. Further, it is an outright lie. Outsourcing unconstitutional and anti-liberty measures to the states (and paying them to take these measures) is cynically dishonest beyond belief. Even for you.

And spare me any of your pompous, pious crap about “due process.” The process is the punishment. It pits the individual against a predatory state. Anyone knows that getting enmeshed in a legal dispute is financially costly and emotionally tortuous: that is especially true in the circumstances that give rise to red flag actions. Even if at the end of the day you “win”–that is, you get your guns back–you lose. And there is no guarantee that you will win. The odds are stacked against you.

If Cornyn were an actual Republican, rather than a member of the uniparty (AKA the government party, the swamp party) he would realize that this is politically idiotic. The Democrats are reeling. They face a disaster in November. Their addled “leader” has, by the last poll, a 32 percent favorable rating. Why give them a victory? Why throw them a line? Just stand there and watch them drown. Or better yet–throw them an anvil.

But no. So by revealed preference Cornyn demonstrates that he is just another uniparty apparatchik.

And indeed, Cornyn has said as much. He was booed at the Texas GOP convention in Houston last week. His stand is highly unpopular among the base. But he said that he doesn’t care what his constituents think.

So also spare me any laments over our dying democracy. It’s people like John Cornyn who are killing it, and who are stoking populism, by betraying those who elected them.

Cornyn is in line to replace Mitch McConnell, and become majority leader in the event of the Republicans regaining control of the Senate. So Tweedledee will replace Tweedledum. Oh Joy! McConnell’s only positive contribution to the Republic is preventing Merrick Garland from ascending to the Supreme Court. Other than that, he’s just another apparatchik for whom Cornyn would be a worthy replacement.

This title of this song is an apt description of our current age. And John–the chorus is all about you.

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December 8, 2014

VVP: Not Getting His Kicks On Brent $66

Filed under: Economics,Energy,Music,Politics,Punk,Russia — The Professor @ 9:19 pm
Brent traded with a 66 handle for most of today. I am sure that Putin was not getting his kicks on Brent 66.

But no worries. It didn’t stay there long: it’s now trading at a 65 handle.

Going down, down, down, in a ring of fire.

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September 4, 2013

Last One to Die

Filed under: Music,Punk — The Professor @ 10:59 pm
And now for something completely different.  No Eddie.  No Vova. Nothing about clearing or derivatives or Obama or Gary Gensler. Instead, this is a concert review-and crowd review.

This evening I spent 80 minutes in full body contact/hand-to-hand combat at the Rancid show at House of Blues in Houston.  By far the wildest, most intense show I’ve ever seen.  I thought the Dropkick Murphys crowds were insane, but they had nothing on the crowd tonight.  I was at the rail the entire show: close enough to read every letter on Lars’s somewhat fading “skunx” forehead tattoo.  I’ll say that I forced my way up there with brute strength, but truth be told it was more like I was propelled there, and then spent the night fending off attacks from three sides.  The advantage of the rail is that you are protected in the front and can use it for leverage 😛  I made some new friends-Niko, who shouted all the lyrics in my ear, and who clung to me for protection, and the burly guy who kept trying to elbow me aside until he finally gave up, put his hand on my head and shook it around, saying “you’re a bad motherfucker. I like that.” Mom will be so proud.

Because of the way things were, there was no way I could take pics, except a couple during song intros which I’ll post later.

As for the show.  Rancid killed it.  I’ve only seen them once before, at a bigger venue, and in an abbreviated (50 minute) set where they were the lead in act to Rise Against (which is a lame band, IMO-Jeez I can’t stand them).  Here they were the headline act, and played 80 minutes with just a 5 minute break.  They were excellent.  High energy, very tight.  They played songs from every one of their albums, including several from my favorite, Rancid 2000.  Black Derby Jacket was my favorite.  Matt Freeman just killed it on the bass.  That guy is unbelievable.  Best bass player I’ve ever heard or seen.  His fingers just fly over the frets.  It’s not just rhythm, it’s melody, and melody that you feel in your solar plexus.  No one else even comes close.

One interesting observation.  Lars was wearing Oxfords.  Very funny.  Another observation.  One kid went over the rail and security grabbed him, and put him in a headlock.  Stupidly, he put up a fight against the burly security guys (probably because he was obviously very wasted) .  As he was being wrestled away, Lars bent down, put his hand on the kid’s hand and told him to be cool and settle down.

Um, when Lars Frederiksen tells you to chill, you know you’re out of control.

Tim Armstrong did double duty, performing with Tim Timebomb and Friends as the second act.  Very entertaining ska and reggae influenced set.  That alone would have been worth the price of admission.

I hope Rancid doesn’t wait 5 years to return to Houston.  Hell, I’ll be old by then.

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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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January 12, 2013

The Boys Are Back, and They’re Lookin’ for Trouble

Filed under: Punk — The Professor @ 3:26 pm
The “boys” being the Dropkick Murphys. Their new CD, Signed and Sealed in Blood, came out earlier this week. I liked every tune a lot. Track-for-track the best DKM disc yet, which is saying something. Maybe not any tunes as good as their best, but every track is very, very good.

They will be in Houston at HOB on 28 February. I’ll be there, up close. Not that close. I’m only a little crazy, and the DKM mosh pit is for those bigger, younger, and a lot crazier than me. And the much more wasted.

Here’s a live version of the single release from the CD, “The Boys are Back”:

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November 9, 2010

Mama Told Me Not to Come: Diary of the Tattoo Challenged, 8 November, 2010

Filed under: Music,Punk — The Professor @ 3:01 pm
I attended the Social Distortion concert at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC yesterday–combined a trip to see my folks with a trip to see the mirror image of my folks, Mike Ness (though he is a dad–as I’ll discuss more below).  The thing that struck me while waiting between the openers (Frank Turner) and Social D was that I was the only person in sight without a tattoo (though I did see one girl later without one–what was her problem, anyways?)

The winner of the evening was this nightmare Goth bitch whom I stood next to for most of the show.  Don’t look at me!  I’m just reading the labels!  Really!

Specifically: She had “Nightmare” tattooed across the back of the neck.  (I didn’t know there was a Nightmare Diocese.)  She had “Goth!” tattooed on the fingers and thumb of her right hand, and “Bitch” on the fingers and thumb of the left (conveniently positioned facing outwards for easy reading!)

But there’s more!  She was wearing just a chemise, and her shoulders (and visible) front were fully tattooed.  Pictures.  No words.  Except for the “Nightmare” thing.

I’m not done!  She also had non-tattoo body decorations.  She looked like she had taken a bite out of my grandmother’s pin cushion, but hadn’t spit out 8 or so of the pins.  And I wouldn’t say that her ears were pierced.  I would say they’d been excavated.  She had huge holes in her lobes, which had been stretched to reach nearly to her shoulders.  I hadn’t seen the like since reading National Geographic when I was 10.

I can’t imagine that there was anybody there more elaborately and deliberately defaced than she.  I’m not saying that there wasn’t, just that I couldn’t possibly imagine it.

The show, you ask?  But I was talking about the show.  Oh, the music, you mean.

Two words:

Damned good.  They’d cancelled the two previous shows because, as Ness said at the show, he was “sick as a f*cking dog.”  But he was sick in the good way on Monday.  High energy.  Tight and loud.  He was fantastic on the guitar.  They played about 1:50, with only  5 minute break.  My favorites: “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Bakersfield.”  Only disappointment: didn’t play “Far Behind.”  One tune from their upcoming CD, which sounded really good.

It was a younger crowd than at the last Social D show I saw in beautiful Sauget, IL, at Pops nestled conveniently between the Hustler and Penthouse Clubs.  And with youth, came energy.  I was closer to the stage (about 4 bodies back), so it was more crazed than even the Murphys back in March.  Constant body slamming, though I was on the receiving end I wasn’t deliberately initiating.  Often hit, never knocked down, though I did knock down one knucklehead that was getting a little carried away.  After he hit me full speed about the fifth time I gave him a two hander which sent him and about 3 other people in the pit sprawling.  Whoops.  A member of the security “Krewe” (that’s what the shirts said) wasn’t too pleased.  He came up and shook his finger in my face, and shouted something.  Yeah, like I could hear you, man.  No problems after that.

Except for the beer shower.  Some girl accidentally doused me with beer, right on the top of my head.  I looked back and she was so apologetic.  She started wiping off the dripping beer with the sleeves of her shirt, and then said: “Let me give you a hug to apologize.”  So she did.

The funniest part of the show (for me, anyways) was right at the very end.  Right before the finale number, “Ring of Fire,” Ness delivered a little patter, saying “this next one’s a love song, so guys lean over and say something loving to your girlfriend, I can’t tell you what to say, but if you say the right thing maybe she’ll drive you home and run all the red lights and you’ll get lucky, but if you don’t she’ll just throw you a bottle of Jergins” (though he pronounced it “jerkins”).  While he was giving this little monologue, some kid, a guy, leans over to me and says: “This dude is like 50 years old.”  I could only look at him, smile and chuckle.   (Ness isn’t 50, BTW.  Only 48.  Although I think he’s turned over the odometer several times more than I have.)

This was Social D’s first time in Asheville.  I was wondering why they’d play there, and about half way through the show I found out.  Ness’s son came out to play guitar on one number.  Ness said his son, 18, lives in Asheville.  I would surmise he goes to Warren Wilson College.  Let’s just say they’d never ask me to teach there.  Ha.  He played very well.

All in all, a blast.  I should also say I really liked the leadoff band, Frank Turner.  It was like Deliverance meets Hell’s Angels meets the Muscle Shoals Horns.  You know a band is good when you’ve never heard them and you can immediately get into the rhythm and beat of every song.  Definitely buying their CD.

I’m psyched and ready to do it again.  Houston, November 19.  House of Blues.  A little too upscale for a band like Social D, but it’ll do.

Only damper on the evening occurred during the drive back to my folk’s house around midnight.  I came upon a motorcyclist who had wiped out, and was lying sprawled in the middle of the road.  I was the first person there, and thought he was dead at first because he wasn’t moving.  I jumped out of the car, and when I reached him I saw that he was breathing, though unconscious.  Somebody else came up and called 911, but it was 5 minutes until the cops and EMT arrived.  During that time the guy regained consciousness and started thrashing around, so I tried to keep him calm and hold him down.  I was worried about him hitting his head again, so I put my hand on the back of his head, only to feel a goose egg literally the size of a real goose egg.  He hadn’t been wearing an helmet, and a good portion of his scalp was also ripped open but still attached, so I got pretty bloody.  He was talking by the time the EMTs arrived, and his eyes looked fairly clear, so I think he’ll be OK.

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