June 12th, 2006


Hurricane season already defying common wisdom.

When Tropical Depression One was announced on Saturday, it was hard not looking at its 30 mph winds as a bit of a joke. After all, it was too early in the season with lots of wind shear to weaken the storm, and it wasn't certain that the storm would even make tropical storm status, much less reach hurricane strength. Originally, it was only given 1a 15% chance of doing so, with little chance of weakening.

That has changed, however. It is now Tropical Storm Alberto, with winds at 70 MPH and a 70% chance of becoming a hurricane later on today, and is expected to make landfall on the gulf coast of Florida on a more-or-less direct course towards the town of Perry, Florida, about 50 miles east of Tallahassee. The hurricane's rapid growth has already made Alberto as strong as last year's Tropical Storm Arlene, which appeared at approximately the same time of the year.

The ability for a weak, disorganized tropical depression like this to become a full-fledged hurricane is not something you really want to see so early on in the season. Let's hope that the area dodges a few bullets as far as the creation of these kinds of storms, because the gulf waters are certainly primed and heated enough to feed their growth quite rapidly.

It's a (violent) crime what's happening to America nowadays.

Just when you thought there was nothing else that the Bush administration could screw up...

U.S. violent crimes last year increased by the highest percentage in 15 years, the FBI said on Monday, but Justice Department officials rejected any suggestion that an anti-terrorism emphasis and federal funding cuts were to blame.

(i.e. We're experiencing the largest increases in violent crime since the days of President Bush the Elder.)

So, why more violent crime? After all, aren't we incarcerating a higher percentage of the public than ever before in US history? Why yes... yes we are.

Perhaps it has something to do with the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, with more and more people being squeezed out of the middle class... or with this joke of an economy we have, where we celebrate the growth of lower-paying jobs, even as higher paying ones are being outsourced overseas. Or maybe its something to do with a growing culture of violence, anger, and divisiveness, at the expense of scientific, cultural, and intellectual pursuits. Or maybe it's because Republican politicians are unwilling to tell the NRA and fellow gun owners that they should work together to create moderate legislation to make the gun trade and gun ownership safer, while keeping weapons out of the hands of violent criminals.

It's foolish for many of those on the Right to enthusiastically support politicians who restrict people's right to peaceably assemble, who strip people of their right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, who deprive people of their life, liberty, and/or property without due process, who take away their rights to a speedy and public trial, but who insist that their rights to bear arms should be so unrestricted that any hardened violent criminal can get ahold of a lethal weapon.

Under such circumstances, many on the Right have forsaken their responsibility to be guardians of the Constitution, and have chosen instead to be little more than armed vigilantes, who in their hearts feel that this great experiment in democracy simply does not (or should not be allowed to...) work.

All or nothing, people. All of your rights, or none at all.

The sound adults can't hear.

... has been turned into a ringtone, soon to be used by kids behind their teacher's back.

Maybe it was because I was right against the stage during Janes Addiction's first concert in the S.F. Bay Area, or perhaps it was from seeing Nirvana play in a tiny little 200-capacity nightclub, or it could've been was when I was backstage at the Ramones, but I can't hear this sound for the life of me unless I crank the volume up all the way on my computer, in which case I can make out a slight vibration that I'd probably be unable to detect unless I was absolutely concentrating on it.

I feel disappointed, betrayed, and a bit old frankly, and I don't relish potentially being texted about behind my back someday. That said, I do believe in encouraging open, unrestricted communications... so hey, fuck "the man", even if that man is me... here's the ringtone. And if you can't hear it, well, welcome to the boat.

(That said, you snotnosed Hot Topics wannabes out there missed some great shows. Poseurs...)