Archive for February 2014

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Sam Bell is in the third year of a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Geology as in rocks. But Bell also moonlights as the the state coordinator of The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, the state affiliate of the 10-year-old Progressive Democrats of America. And in his work with The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, Bell was instrumental to the investigation that ultimately led to the National Rifle Association paying the second largest campaign finance fine in the state’s history.

Last year, Bell and his group started digging into the financial relationship between the NRA’s state-level political action committee, which over the previous decade had given tens of thousands of dollars to Rhode Island lawmakers, and the NRA’s national PAC, known as the NRA Political Victory Fund. What Bell and his associates found led them to file a complaint with the state’s Board of Elections, alleging a number of serious campaign finance violations. In apparent response, the NRA last year quietly dissolved its Rhode Island PAC. Then, earlier this year, news came that the pro-gun group had reached a settlement with the state, and agreed to pay a $63,000 fine — officially for not creating a separate bank account for money the state PAC received from the larger national PAC.

In an interview with TPM this week, Bell explained how his interest in science led him to politics.

“The thing that first got me interested in getting involved in politics was watching how science got devastated by cuts to fundings, particularly at the federal level but also at the state level.” Bell said. “I had the sort of disappointing realization that politics has a huge amount to do with the advancement of science. And in many ways the best thing one can do for science is to get politicians to be willing to support it.”

Radio Show 51 Thursday February 27, 2014 9-10pm Eastern US Time WBKM.ORG   Leave a comment



I just got back from my local music radio show on internet only WBKM.ORG. I had great plans all set, then noticed that the flower to click on, to listen to the stream, was missing. It’s working now, but I’m not sure how many people were able to listen to the show. Thanks Britt Shorter for letting me know that it could be heard by some, and played at Healthy Living.

Song before: It’s Going Down – MIDLAKE BAND



From our small city to the great big world, these are the Sounds Of Burlington. Today, I got asked one of the nicest questions ever. Eric Olsen asked if I would like a new Swale song to play on the show. I said yes!! This is a song called Joyless by a band called Swale on WBKM, and this is Burlington’s Kind Of Music.

1.) Joyless – Swale
2.) Jet Pilot High – The Red Telephone
3.) Carry The Oar – Pours

Pours are a newish duo who have an album coming out in May. it’s on Section Sign Records, who are making vinyl albums of local music. They will play a show in April at Signal Kitchen. I saw them once at the Lou Reed tribute night at the Monkey House, where they played a killer version of Venus In Furs. It will be fun to hear what the album sounds like. Before that was the mighty Red Telephone and what a great new song from Swale. They are playing March 7th, the same night ROUGH FRANCIS are playing an album release show at Arts Riot. Also that night both Black Rabbit and The Mountain Says No are playing at Manhattan Pizza and Pub. How do I be in 3 places at once? Oh well, here’s the next song on Maximum Soul Power.

4.) Righteous – Rough Francis
5.) Knight Ov Swords – The Contrarian
6.) Children Of The Grave – JCHA
7.) Home Invasion – Rough Francis

I felt so bad about cutting Hi off last week I wanted to play it again this week, only all the way through. JCHA played at Metal Monday at Nectar’s after Elephants of Scotland the other week. I was tired and did not stay, but they left out 4 song discs that said take one, so I did. Nice cover of Sabbath on that one. Burlington seems to have a thing for covering Sabbath, whether it’s The Dirty Blondes doing Paranoid, Swale doing War Pigs, Samara Lark Brown singing Electric Funeral with the Mildred Moody band, or any of the ones I’m forgetting. Swords is a killer song and Casey Hades Rae is in town, so I had to play one of his songs. I probably should have picked up that he was on a music panel Wednesday night with Dan Bolles and walked down to check it out. OK, let’s keep rocking

8.) Dirty Knees – Persian Claws
9.) I Need A Raise – Cave Bees
10.) Scorned Woman – The Dirty Blondes
11.) Trading Bullets – Fire The Cannons

I love the eponymous song from the Cannons. The Blondes always rock. It’s Mardi Gras in Burlington this weekend. One year I saw the bees on the Seven Days float playing I Need A Raise right in the heart of downtown. The Claws have been playing some impressive shows lately!! Next up, let’s slow it down a bit with one of the great women singer songwriters in town. Not only does she play a lot, but she is very active in supporting Girls Rock Vermont, which helps give girls the resources to go out and play rock music. That can only make our musical community better,and I praise Linda Bassick for all of her great work.

12.) One From Two – Linda Bassick
13.) Think I’ll Stay – Great Western
14.) Go Ahead – farm

Hmmm, Eonosburg’s finest, Farm. I love that song by GW. I may try and catch some of their set at 1/2 Lounge tomorrow, before heading to Signal Kitchen for the Rachel Ries album release party. I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?



Song after: Market Square Heroes – Fish




Kelly Ravin & Friends, Swale and Vedora at The Monkey House February 22, 204   Leave a comment

I had a great time seeing music last Saturday at The Monkey House. I met up with Christopher Larrow and we arrived at the show with Kelly Ravin and band onstage. He was singing and playing electric and was accompanied by a stand-up bass player and a twangless pedal steel player. I listened to the country song they were playing as I settled in, but the next song had a nice pop sound and some great lyrics, and it just blew me away. They followed with another country song and closed with a rocker that had a slight Floyd vibe. The band were smooth and elegant, and I need to find out what those two songs were!
Nathan Curtis showed up after that and soon Swale took the stage. They started slow and song by song got more rocking. They were going at a good clip, but just dd not take it over the top. They slowed things down for another song or two, then built the rock again. They climbed a little higher, but still not to the heights they can hit. They brought things down almost too much with Old School, then used If You Get Lost to ramp things up. By the end of the set they were in full glorious all out rock mode and I was blissfully happy.
Vedora followed with a solid set of mostly new songs. They tossed in a couple of classics but the new songs took center stage. I’m still getting to know them, and like them a lot. I really liked the set, but it was not quite as dynamic as some of the shows in the past. The new material seems a bit more tightly constructed, and I’m sure I will get used to it soon. They closed with a Matthew Hastings guitar workout on Sober, and that was that.
A band called Great Western Plains, from Maine were set to follow, but I was just drained. I took the easy ride home from Nate and called it a night. I’m bummed I missed the last band, and should have showed up earlier, but I loved what I caught.

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Gov Jan Brewer (R-AZ) “Good evening, and thank you for joining me here today.  I am here to announce my decision on Senate Bill 1062.
As with every proposal that reaches my desk, I gave Senate Bill 1062 careful evaluation and deliberate consideration.

I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or boos from the crowd.  I took the time necessary to make the right decision.
I met or spoke with my attorneys, lawmakers and citizens supporting and opposing this legislation.  I listened, and asked questions.
As Governor, I have protected religious freedoms when there is a specific and present concern that exists in our state.

And I have the record to prove it.
My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona.
When I addressed the Legislature earlier this year, I made my priorities for this session abundantly clear…

Among them are passing a responsible budget that continues Arizona’s economic comeback.
From CEOs to entrepreneurs to business surveys  Arizona ranks as one the best states to grow or start a business.  Additionally, our IMMEDIATE challenge is fixing a broken Child Protection system.  Instead, this is the first policy bill to cross my desk.

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.

The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.
After weighing all of the arguments,  I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.”

Click to access gs_022614_sb1062remarks.pdf

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 Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News “I prefer to look at Lincoln this way.  At the time that he was the President of the United States, slavery was dying a natural death all over the western world…  Instead of allowing it to die, or helping it to die, or even purchasing the slaves and then freeing them, which would have cost a lot less money than the civil war cost, Lincoln set about on the most murderous war in American history. “

Jon Stewart “Oh right, compensated emancipation.  Why didn’t Lincoln think of that?  Oh, he did think of that.  He spent most of 1862 trying to convince the border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia to free their slaves in exchange for money and everybody said bleep off.  OK, alright, ’cause it wasn’t economically feasible and the slave states had a deeply vested sociopolitical interest  in maintaining a two-tiered culture based on cheap forced labor.  Frankly, I don’t even know why we’re talking about slavery.  I mean, why are we even talking about slavery?  It seems that wasn’t really what the civil war was about.”

Napolitano “Well, it’s not even all together clear if slavery was the reason for secession…But, largely the impetus for secession was tariffs.”

Stewart “Sure, unless he’s talking about a slave named tariff, he’s talking out his ass, ’cause in their own declarations of secession, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi all clearly put slavery as the number one issue for wanting to secede, with Mississippi saying quote our position is thoroughly identified with the institute of slavery, the greatest material interest of the world.  I guess  you can read into that.  Going on to say, although for future whitewashing purposes please replace the word slavery with tariffs.  Alright, for more on the issue we talk to our senior black correspondent Larry Wilmore.  Larry, thanks for joining us.  So, what about this idea that Lincoln should have just waited because slavery would have eventually died of natural causes.”

Wilmore “Uh Jon, the south was so committed to slavery, Lincoln didn’t die of natural causes.”

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: “But first, here’s my take. 2013 seemed in many ways to be the year of Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had consolidated power in his country, crushed any possible opposition, kept his ally in Syria from being toppled and brokered a deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons.

2014 was also going pretty well for Putin. The Sochi Olympics was not the disaster many had suggested and, above all, Putin had maintained Russia’s historic relationship with Ukraine, outmaneuvering the European Union, which had made Ukraine a complicated and conditional offer that Ukraine’s president turned down in return for cold Russian cash.

That’s what it had looked like until just a few days ago. But now, on the central issue of Ukraine, Russia does not look so triumphant. Ukraine’s President Yanukovych, who is now its former president, overplayed his hand.

Putin assumed that force would solve the problem and disperse the protests. Western observers were despairing and assigning blame for all that had happened from Washington to the European Union.

And then things started to change. President Yanukovych and the opposition made a deal, brokered by the Europeans, calling for a coalition government, national elections and a new constitution.

But even that was not enough for the protesters, who have managed to achieve change much faster, ousting the president and beginning the process of transformation right away. In this long and complex situation, it is the people on the street who have shown determination, courage and persistence.

Now one has to be cautious; everything we know about these kinds of revolutions is that this is the thrilling moment which is often followed by turmoil, tension, violence and chaos. Destroying the old order is a lot easier than building a new one.

This is going to be particularly true in Ukraine, which is riddled with corruption and, in many ways, is on the brink of economic collapse. The opposition will have to act with wisdom and include those whom it despises, including the supporters of former President Yanukovych.

And Russia will not allow Ukraine to slip completely from its grasp. One of its main fleets is based in the Black Sea in Ukraine. Russian pipelines crisscross the country, carrying natural gas to Europe.

Russia will demand a say in what happens there as it has for 300 years. That’s why the Ukrainian opposition turned government needs to approach things with caution and a sense of national unity.

But Russia, too, will have to be careful; as the last few weeks have shown, it has created a deep sense of opposition among tens of millions of people in Ukraine and their hostility to Russian domination might well grow.

For now at least, let’s just marvel at the spirit of the Ukrainian people, let’s keep our fingers crossed for their future and let’s note that 2014 is not looking quite as good for Vladimir Putin as it did a week ago.”

Posted February 24, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Bill Maher “It’s still a very volatile there in Ukraine.  President Obama hasn’t really decided exactly what we’re going to do.  Fox news has already decided that whatever it is, it’s wrong.  Sean Hannity said today it’s either gutless and will show the world we’re weak, or it’s reckless and will get us all killed.  I’ll get back to you on Monday.

And, people keep asking me what are they fighting about there in the Ukraine.  Well, it’s complicated, but basically half of the country wants to modernize and become more western in their outlook, and the other half of the country wants to live in the past.  Same problem with our country.”

Posted February 22, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Radio Show 50 Thursday February 20, 2014 9-10pm Eastern US Time WBKM.ORG   Leave a comment



I just got back from local music radio show number 50 on internet only WBKM.ORG. It is the one year anniversary of the show. I let the past dance with the future.

Song before: Kings – The Church Band



From our small city to the great big world, these are the Sounds Of Burlington. I had a great time at the video shoot for ROUGH FRANCIS last Saturday. I have so much respect for band, cast and especially the crew. Here is the next song on Maximum Soul Power. This is Home Invasion by Rough Francis on WBKM, and this is Burlington’s Kind Of Music.

1.) Home Invasion – Rough Francis (I accidentally double clicked something late in the song and it tossed the next song in. At least it cut on the line Don’t Cut Me Off….)

2.) Terrarium – Vedora
3.) Nowhere Feels Like Home – Fire The Cannons
4.) Las Vegas – Ninja Custodian

Ninja played many legendary shows in this town. Fire the cannons used to rock it hard themselves. Vedora are writing new songs and playing at The Monkey House on Saturday. Sorry about cutting the Rough Francis song. At least you know it’s live. This next band used to play all over town and will be playing South by Southwest soon.

5.) Roll Me – The Cush
6.) Starboard – Elephants of Scotland

Elephants played a great show at Nectar’s on Monday. They will have a new album out soon. I just got an e-mail saying the Cush are mastering their next album now. This next band will have a new album out soon.

7.) If You Get Lost – Swale
8.) Sunflower Street – David L. Jarvis
9.) These Summer Nights – Sarah Emily Blacker

Sarah is writing new songs and hopefully will make the trip up from Boston to see us in the near future. Dave is out of the Army and in the North Country. Hopefully, I will catch up with him soon. Swale are playing the Monkey House Saturday too. This next band is from Rutland.

10.) No Reservations – Split Tongue Crow
11.) Hollywood – Lendway
12.) Extended Werewolf – farm

Great song by Farm. Lendway are working mostly on side projects, but hey, you never know when they will write and record more of their sweet songs. Same with Split Tongue Crow. It was fun looking back a year to see what’s relevant and what’s history. I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?



Song after: The Leaving – Fish




Elephants of Scotland at Nectar’s February 17, 2014   Leave a comment

I had a good time seeing new music from Elephants of Scotland Monday night at Nectar’s. It had been a long week of working in the day and seeing music at night. I put in a long day Monday, but did not have to work until Tuesday afternoon. I was pretty tired, but thought I had a 9-9:45 rock show left in me.
Rich Haskell stopped by and we headed out just before 9. We arrived on time for the show, but even though the stage was set, not a lot was happening. We chatted with the band for a bit, then the sound man showed up. They sound checked the drums, then the rest of the band, and maybe around 10, they were set to go.
The Elephants played 45 minutes of mostly new songs. I had heard a couple of them live a while ago, but the rest ware new. I never seem to be able to grasp their songs the first time through. They are large and move through a lot of changes. I had a really good time listening to them, but with my body so exhausted, I don’t think I caught as much of what was happening as I usually can. It seemed like Amber Waves had a bit more punch to it from the last time I saw it. They ended with a suite of songs, that I think are Endless and Endless pt 2. I really liked those two, but the rest of the night was left in the room.
They will be playing a couple of shows in March, so I will have to go see them again and really start to learn the new songs. It’s probably just as well, that I was so tired the first time through. It gave me the chance to just listen and experience the songs. From past experience, that should give me the basis to really explore them the next few times through.
After they finished up, there were two more bands on the bill. The second sounded like prog-metal, which could be interesting, but the late start made sure I was done the moment Elephants let the last note ring. I should probably not try the 5 nights in a row thing for a while.

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Bill Maher “This Valentine’s day, Americans must remember that politicians are like a box of chocolates. We bite into them to find out what’s on the inside, only to discover that Democrats are too often soft and gooey, and Republicans are mostly nuts.

Valentine’s day is a good time to remember that psychologists tell us that the strongest relationships aren’t built on animal attraction, they’re built on a lifetime of respect and trust, if that’s what you’re into. But it’s also not really an accurate description of the American psyche which is always obsessed with what is new. We love the new phone, the new app, the new restaurant, the new app that tells us about the new restaurant, and we see this phenomenon in Presidential races. Voters say they want experience, but time after time a party nominates the guy we don’t know that well, and he wins. And, when they nominate the older guy, who’s waited his turn, they loose. Bob Dole, Al Gore, John McCain, John Kerry, Walter Mondale, Mitt Romney. America looked at all of them and said where’s the mystery, where’s the romance? Or in McCain’s case, where’s the pulse?

In America, the ideal candidate for office is someone no one knows, like Barack Obama in 2007. If he had waited another four years to run, voters might have caught on that underneath his chocolate coating was a creamy layer of intellect, and that never goes over well in America. But Obama, always smart, and he realized that if you wait your turn, when your turn finally comes, America is already tired of you. Oh, he was told to wait, told that it wasn’t his turn, that he had only been a Senator since Tuesday, told that nobody knew him, that he hadn’t done anything, and he said exactly. Yes, much better to be a blank canvas before you’ve cast all those votes that can be twisted in attack ads, before you’ve made enemies and left a paper trail, before your dick pics go viral. Before, in short, you have too much baggage.

And who has more baggage than the current favorite for the next Democratic nomination. This week Rand Paul and Reince Priebus both announced that the old Clinton scandals were fair game in 2016, as if it was Hilary’s fault that her husband got blown when he was President in the ’90’s. Like she was in on it….No, that Obama. Smart guy. He knew, get in early before some stuff happens.

And the guy who missed that lesson is Chris Christie. He could have, and should have run in 2012, back when he still had that new candidate smell. Back when the public didn’t look at him and think scandal, they looked at him and thought thank God humans invented clothing. Three months ago, Christie was such a shoe-in for the White House they were practically measuring which wall to knock down to get the forklift in. But now, he’s 350 pounds of toast, because the longer you stay in, the more likely some bad thing will stick to you.

It could be anything. A land deal from 25 years ago, an illegal nanny, the fact that you’re a witch. People in your office, who you had absolutely no knowledge of, doing something really stupid like throwing a tantrum and keeping people from crossing a bridge, like a four year old crossed with a troll.

Politicians are like suede jackets. There are cheap ones and expensive ones, but once they get rain on them, they all look like shit.”