Friday, January 23, 2015

Radio Andromeda.

So, there's a station that's playing our last album, Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick, in rotation. That's the good news. The bad news? It's in the galaxy of Andromeda, a very long ride from here, I'm told. Can't raise it on my crystal set. (Damn ... we need some new gear.)

Well, I am exaggerating a little. Apparently the radio waves from the Andromeda station are reaching planet Earth. Trouble is, no one can translate them into something intelligible. The only people hearing it are rocket scientists, and they're not exactly our audience. Now, shapeless blobs of protoplasm on the planet Mongrovitowa 427K - THAT'S who listens to us (if you can call pseudopod sensory processing of nano-vibrations "listening"). But that counts as airplay in my book. And if we make some eggheads scratch their ... well ... eggheads, then that's all to the good. It's like when the Beatles added that hypersonic message to the family dog at the end of Sergeant Pepper. Except that, well ... dogs aren't typically scientists.

You see where I'm going with this, right? Because if YOU don't, then neither of us does.

I suppose it should make us feel a bit guilty that we are wasting all this astrophysicist speculation time just so that we can claim some listenership of one of our drug-on-the-market albums. No doubt we are also fulfilling ancient prophecies left and right among the Eric Von Daniken crowd. The space brothers are coming! Oh, no ... wait. It's just Big Green broadcasting from Neptune. What a bloody huge disappointment for someone.

Airplay! Freaking amazing!Anyhow, we're not just in business to cause people trouble. Matt and I are recording the next episode of Star Trek this very evening. We have been working on six or seven songs to accompany the episode, which will be included in the next installment of THIS IS BIG GREEN, our podcast. My guess is that a couple of weeks into February we should be ready to post. Slow time of year - ah, for the days when we would post every month like clockwork! Now that we're old and in the way, it's a little more of a challenge.

What's next? Let's get Andromeda to start broadcasting the Ned Trek show. That will confuse the hell out of those astrophysicists!

The state of it.

I imagine if you didn't watch the president's state of the union address and listened to NPR (aka Empire) news the next day, you might think they were talking about a speech made by a reactionary republican legislator or pundit. That's all they had on their guest list for the two days following the address. You have to wonder why they feel these people need all this air time. Instead of wallowing in the predictable knee-jerk partisan reactions to the speech, why don't they drill into some of the issues? Sure, they do a little "fact check" report, kind of like Politifact (and just about as superficial). But report on, say, oil and gas drilling and its implications for climate change and ultimately human survival? Not when one of their big sponsors is "think about it dot org".

Doing too little? Seriously?Then there's "Morning Joe" (or "Morning Blow") on purportedly liberal/progressive MSNBC. Their foreign policy braintrust of, well, Joe Scarborough, Richard Haas, and various senior editors from Politico have been engaging in a narrative that goes something like this, in short - "W" Bush did too much, Obama does too little, and both put us in greater danger from the scourge of jihadist terrorism, which has killed nearly one person in the United States so far this year (call it none). Setting aside the obsessive focus on this rare and sensational threat, I agree with the assertion that both presidents' foreign policies have put us in greater danger, breeding a new generation extremists, several of whom, for instance, attacked the offices of Charlie Ebdo in Paris. But the notion that Obama does too little is ludicrous. Bush and Obama basically have the same foreign policy. Obama is following Bush's playbook from 2006-08. And yes, it is murderous and destabilizing and designed to radicalize people.

Of course, the pundit circle's prescriptions for what we should be doing are drawn from the same volume. This week on Morning Blow they were latching onto co-host Mika Brzezinski's father's suggestion that we should deploy troops to the Baltic states to provide a "tripwire" against further action by Vladimir Putin. The braintrust was opining that NATO should be beefed up; more troops in Poland, etc. Again - Obama has been following the same policy as Bush, in essence. Aggressive eastward expansion of the U.S.-European trading zone and of NATO, right into Ukraine, which is as integral a part of Russian security planning as Canada and Mexico are for the U.S. Want to keep Putin from overreacting? Stop boxing the Russians in. Just saying.

The only new piece of foreign policy from Obama has been the Cuba opening, but like Boehner's invite to Netanyahu as a way of scuttling the Iran talks, there are many ways for Congress to undermine the new policy.

Next week: Domestic policy. Stay tuned.

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