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Friday, February 12, 2016

Magnetists.

Right, so there ARE gravitational waves after all, disturbing the peace of the space-time continuum. Uh ... I knew that. No news to me. Next question?

See, here's the advantage of having a mad science adviser. (Every band should have at least one. Wilco, I believe, retains an entire gaggle of them.) Just casual hallway conversations yield amazing benefits. Turns out there are planets with negative gravity. True story. In fact, our mad science adviser Mitch Macaphee claims that he was born on one. The negative gravity of his home planet was so strong that it immediately shot him like a cannon ball straight to Earth. Fortunately, he was wearing a heat shield poncho at the time (his first invention, innovated straight out of his mother's womb).

Mitch has an idea about how to manipulate gravity waves for casual amusement - kind of like playing with a galactic yo-yo. Only now he's back in one of his funks, with the announcement of the gravity wave discovery by prominent physicists. "Everybody's going to want a piece of this!" Mitch shouted upon receiving the news, and stormed off to his quarters. He's been brooding ever since. Hard to keep a man like that happy. We gave him the best quarters available in this abandoned hammer mill, and at considerable personal sacrifice. (I myself have been forced to make do with dimes.)

That's some yo-yo, Mitch.Not much we can do except continue working on our music. Yes, music comes first around here - ask anybody. We're currently producing a few more songs for the podcast, a couple of which may make it on to a collection at some point. It's kind of the same process we've been going through for the past few years - write and track about a half dozen songs, throw them up onto the Web, then do it again. That's how Cowboy Scat got done, for better or for worse. That's likely how the next album will go, though at some point we're going to knuckle down and record some of our older songs (at least one album of those), preferably before we punch our one-way ticket to geezerville.

Hold on ... I think my applesauce may be warm enough to gum.

Another country heard from.

New Hampshire has refocused the race for president a bit, and now we're bracing for the contests to come. As I write, another Democratic debate is scheduled for this evening. My hope is that Senator Sanders will have worked out a way of speaking about foreign policy that will make him less of a target on that score. I'm not suggesting that he adopt more hawkish positions - quite the opposite. He just needs to articulate some of the quite nuanced views that he has held for many years. If ever we needed an alternative take on foreign policy, that time is now.

{Later that evening ... }

Really, Hillary? I mean, really?Okay, I did hear some encouraging words from Senator Sanders on war and peace. Not enough, in my opinion, but certainly better than last time. I am glad that he gave some historical perspective to a position that is just as relevant today as it was in the 1950s: the conviction that the United States should not be acting like an empire, overthrowing disobedient regimes whenever we feel like it, bombing wherever we please, always opting early for the sword. Clinton did what she always does - offer a set of proposals that extend the bad policy we are currently implementing. Could Sanders have disagreed more with the underlying premises of her positions? Oh, yes ... but you have to pick your fights in a television debate.

It was heartening to hear Sanders call Clinton out on her bragging about being endorsed, in a sense, by Henry Kissinger. I'm very glad he addressed that, because it counteracts Clinton's attempt at arguing that political fights of previous decades have no bearing on the current policy debate. Kissinger is still a player and continues to undergo a kind of rehabilitation promoted by both Republicans and - shamefully - Democrats. Sanders was right to denounce him as in essence a war criminal, with the blood of many thousands on his hands. Maybe I was in the minority in being gobsmacked by Clinton's invocation of Kissinger at the last debate - she tried to minimize it a bit during the PBS debate somewhat, but that fell kind of flat.

It's incumbent upon us, the other America, to push Sanders and, yes, Clinton to the left on these and other issues. We cannot afford to continue these bankrupt policies overseas; if we just accept the comforting lies, we can look forward to another decade or more of pointless war.

luv u,
jp