Thursday, July 31, 2008

A old man that DOESN'T yell at cloud....

Speaking of smackdowns, here's Jack Cafferty eviscerating the McCain smear campaign. Giggles.

A kudos to Mrs. Greenspan...

Usually I'm really harsh about Andrea Mitchell of NBC/MSNBC, but lately she has proven that she can get back to her journalistic roots and call "Bullshit" when she sees it, this time from insufferable McCain Campaign Adviser Rick Davis. Watch in awe of her backhand swat of his juvenile positioning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A woman I really DO love...

And for the opposite of the C-U-N-Tuesday awards, here's the totally awesome Rachel Maddow on Keith Olbermann's countdown, both breaking down the McCain lying fiasco better than I ever could...



..as she says, "There's a difference between being a veteran and supporting a veteran as a politician."

Cee U Next Tuesday of the week....

This week's C-U-N Tuesday is former Justice Department employee Monica Goodling. Previously the liaison to the White House at the Attorney General's office, Goodling was involved in the vetting of U.S. Attorneys, a politically appointed job, as well as non-political "career" positions such as prosecutors in the civil rights, environmental, and political corruption areas. One year ago, Goodling was in front of the House Judiciary Committee, with limited immunity granted and confronted with the firing of assistant US attorneys based on cronyism and "loyalty" to the Bush Doctrine as it was. She admitted then to "crossing the line" in hiring employees at the Justice Department, using the same criteria for judging political jobs from the historically non-partisan career positions, though refusing that she did anything wrong willfully.

Well in the year following, the Inspector General's office expanded the investigation into Goodling's actions to include the day-to-day DOJ personnel. It revealed that she had not only put a litmus test on prospective jobseekers with questions like "What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?" (WTF? Is she some sort of cracked-out dominatrix pawning off her slightly-more-valuable pigboys to the "big boss"?), but also blacklisted existing judges based on hearsay, most notably in the case of Leslie Hagan, who was slandered with accusations of an illicit (but totally false) lesbian relationship with her boss, Margaret Chiara, who also was one of the nine US attorneys fired by the Gonzales' regime.

There is no greater threat to American democracy that a violation of its people's trust in the justice system, and Goodling fucked it with sandpaper. Hard. This would be among the highest of crimes no matter if the person involved were Democratic or Republican. Goodling, the product of Pat Robertson's diploma mill, deserves nothing more than to spend a few years in prison to straighten her out.

Runner up is Washington Post pretend-journalist Carrie Johnson, who in her article on the investigation wrote,

For nearly two years, a young political aide sought to cultivate a "farm system" for Republicans at the Justice Department, hiring scores of prosecutors and immigration judges who espoused conservative priorities and Christian lifestyle choices.


Sorry, dickweed, but being gay is not a "lifestyle choice" any more than your appearance of an Airedale with "the mange" is a "fashion choice". You're just born with it.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

twostepcub's music chart for July 25, 2008

Hey guys - I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, so here's my tunes for the week. It's been over a month since the last post, and after a dozen weeks on top, Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" is replaced by another lady of Welsh heritage, Duffy. Weezer (pictured above), the only Americans in the top-5, are closing in quickly, though. Happy Birthday Mikie! You're 40 before me! Yay!

This week Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Mercy - Duffy (2)
2. Pork & Beans - Weezer (3)
3. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis (1)
4. All I See - Kylie Minogue (4)
5. Pocketful Of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield (5)
6. In Love With A Girl - Gavin DeGraw (6)
7. Tryin' To Stop Your Leavin' - Dierks Bentley (10)
8. Love Remains The Same - Gavin Rossdale (13)
9. Feels Like Tonight - Daughtry (7)
10. Stop And Stare - OneRepublic (11)
11. Viva La Vida - Coldplay (27)
12. Realize - Colbie Caillat (12)
13. Take A Bow - Rihanna (23)
14. Home - Blake Shelton (15)
15. No Air - Jordin Sparks f/Chris Brown (16)
16. Last Name - Carrie Underwood (9)
17. Same Old F*cking Story - Cyndi Lauper (17)
18. Rise Above This - Seether (18)
19. Stay Beautiful - The Last Goodnight (8)
20. Damaged - Danity Kane (21)
21. Nine In The Afternoon - Panic! At The Disco (19)
22. Gunpowder & Lead - Miranda Lambert (24)
23. Disco Lies - Moby (20)
24. 4 Minutes - Madonna f/Justin Timberlake (14)
25. Leavin' - Jesse McCartney (25)
26. We Weren't Crazy - Josh Gracin (28)
27. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz (29)
28. Love Song - Sara Bareilles (22)
29. Stamp Your Feet - Donna Summer (37)
30. American Boy - Estelle f/Kanye West (30)
31. If I Never See Your Face Again - Maroon5 f/Rihanna (40)
32. Hammerhead - The Offspring (33)
33. Given Up - Linkin Park (36)
34. Another Try - Josh Turner f/Trisha Yearwood (35)
35. All Summer Long - Kid Rock (43)
36. I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie (38)
37. Turn It Up - Mark Picchiotti p/Basstoy (42)
38. New Soul - Yael Naim (26)
39. Violet Hill - Coldplay (44)
40. What's Done Is Done - Tracy Young p/Ceevox (41)
41. I Still Miss You - Keith Anderson (47)
42. Better As A Memory - Kenny Chesney (32)
43. Let It Die - Foo Fighters (49)
44. Just Dance - Lady Gaga f/Colby O'Donis (46)
45. All Over You - The Spill Canvas (45)
46. Stand By Me - Mr. Timothy f/Inaya Day (50)
47. Break The Ice - Britney Spears (31)
48. Whatever It Takes - Lifehouse (34)
49. The Time Of My Life - David Cook (56)
50. Woman - Raheem DeVaughn (48)
51. Fall - Kimberley Locke (62)
52. It's Not My Time - 3 Doors Down (52)
53. Where The Music Takes You - Ari Gold f/Sasha Allen (63)
54. Every Other Weekend - Reba McEntire f/Kenny Chesney (58)
55. I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry (76)
56. Bottle It Up - Sara Bareilles (60)
57. Good Time - Alan Jackson (57)
58. Great DJ - The Ting Tings (78)
59. Funplex - The B-52's (59)
60. Shake It - Anane f/Tony Touch & Mr. Vegas (73)
61. Every Day - Rascal Flatts (39)
62. All I Want To Do - Sugarland (68)
63. Handle Me - Robyn (87)
64. Warwick Avenue - Duffy (66)
65. Dream Catch Me - Newton Faulkner (67)
66. Dance Like There's No Tomorrow - Paula Abdul & Randy Jackson (51)
67. You Look Good In My Shirt - Keith Urban (97)
68. Inside The Fire - The Disturbed (86)
69. This Is Not Real Love - George Michael f/Mutya Buena (55)
70. Discipline - Nine Inch Nails (70)
71. Back When I Knew It All - Montgomery Gentry (75)
72. Learning How To Bend - Gary Allan (85)
73. Never Would Have Made It - Marvin Sapp (79)
74. I Can't Help Myself - Bellatrax f/Sophie May (74)
75. Won't Be Home Without You - Maroon5 (53)
76. Give It 2 Me - Madonna (DEBUT)
77. Sorry - Buckcherry (65)
78. I'm Still A Guy - Brad Paisley (71)
79. We Break The Dawn - Michelle Williams (DEBUT)
80. Underneath - Alanis Morissette (54)
81. The Right Life - Seal (69)
82. Handlebars - The Flobots (72)
83. Rock With U - Janet Jackson (84)
84. Just Got Started Lovin' You - James Otto (77)
85. All Around Me - Flyleaf (90)
86. Put A Girl In It - Brooks & Dunn (88)
87. Love Don't Live Here - Lady Antebellum (61)
88. Should've Said No - Taylor Swift (92)
89. The River - Noel Gourdin (93)
90. Shine - Anna Nalick (95)
91. Come On Get Higher - Matt Nathanson (100)
92. Do You Believe Me Now - Jimmy Wayne (DEBUT)
93. You're The Only One - Eric Benet (DEBUT)
94. I Can Sleep When I'm Dead - Jason Michael Carroll (96)
95. Spice Up Your Life 2008 - The Spice Girls (DEBUT)
96. Life In A Northern Town - Sugarland f/Little Big Town & Jake Owen (98)
97. Holler Back - The Lost Trailers (99)
98. Set U Free 2008 - Planet Soul (DEBUT)
99. Forever - Chris Brown (DEBUT)
100. Teenage Love Affair - Alicia Keys (DEBUT)

This week eight new songs enter the chart - starting with the grande dame herself, Madonna. Her second single from her 11th proper album, Hard Candy, "Give It 2 Me" sounds like something off her disco-infused last effort, Confessions On A Dance Floor, while the video seems like a direct copy of Kylie's "All I See"...



As 1/3 of the last version of Destiny's Child, Michelle Williams always played backseat to both Beyonce and Kelly Rowland. After a foray into gospel, Williams new set embraces dance culture. It's got the funky, filtered disco sound I can't get enough of. Here's "We Break The Dawn"...



Jimmy Wayne, a country singer from North Carolina, had 4 top-20 country hits from his debut album in 2003. 5 years is an eternity in music, but he comes back strong with the tearjerker "Do You Believe Me Now"...



Eric Benet has kept a low profile since his fiasco of a divorce from Halle Berry, but he's back with a retro low-key ballad that's quite reminiscent of Babyface. Here's "You're The Only One"...



There are two songs that re-enter due to updated remixes, and the one with the highest profile is the second mix this year on my chart from the Spice Girls, with "Spice Up Your Life"...here they are in concert in my neck of the woods...



The second re-vamp debut is Planet Soul's "Set U Free". I was sad to hear lead singer Nadine Renee died giving childbirth a few years back, but the song itself will carry on nicely...



Chris Brown is the new Usher is the new Bobby Brown is the new Michael Jackson. Yeah Yeah Yeah. "Forever" is still an awesome pop followup to "With You", and gets me dancing in the car...



Finally, Alicia Keys tries to pretend she's not 27 with "Teenage Love Affair"...See you CAN fall in love at a political rally! You go Alicia!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Closed off from love didn't need the pain...


This was the album I was expecting Mariah Carey to make. Actually, it pretty much is Mariah's debut album reincarnated as a soccer-mom car record.

Leona Lewis right now has the Oprah-approved mainstream pop single of 2008 so far, "Bleeding Love". The Londoner is the first big export from Britain since the Spice Girls, and while her career track follows a similar course, the result is miles different. A graduate of the BRIT school, the arty trade-school formerly home to Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Kate Nash, and Adele, Lewis' rise to fame in the UK comes courtesy of Simon Cowell spin-off from Pop Idol, The X-Factor. Her win on that program made her an instant star in the UK, mimicing the American Idol franchise even to the point of having her release a version of "A Moment Like This" in the UK. This was followed by the blockbuster "Bleeding Love", which bring her to Oprah. Oprah brought Lewis to the audience she needed, and "Bleeding Love" exploded in America, setting up her #1 album, Spirit.

Spirit is a totally by-the-books adult R&B-based pop that supposedly doesn't sell anymore. Heck, Mariah had to get all "street", so this was definitely a surprise. The album is seamlessly produced to almost being sterile. Lewis definitely has the singing chops, and shows off her range in just about every song on here. It's no surprise that Simon Cowell and Clive Davis produced, since everything is spot-on - no rough edges or offensive moods. There's only love, lack of love, then love again. The songs here don't reach anything above a simmer, which these days of rap-infused soul and emo-rock, are actually welcome. So "Bleeding Love", written by teen-pop idol Jesse McCartney and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (of "Apologize" fame) is Leona's "Vision Of Love", second single "Better In Time" is her "Can't Let Go". Both deal with intimate relationships, albeit with nuanced tacks - in "Bleeding" she hold on to a dying love, while in "Better" she moves on. Nothing really more. In fact, the one could have easily evolved from the other. "I Will Be" is the standard "I'm only here for you" power ballad that usually is more effective if it wasn't as common as on here - 80% of the CD is showstopper ballads. Occasionally a more upbeat moment comes, like "Forgive Me", which is in effect Leona's "Someday", and "Misses Glass", but oddly they are stuck together in the middle of the album. But even with these, there is nothing that can't be misinterpreted by the broad audience Lewis (and more importantly gurus Cowell and Davis) crave. The most "edgy" moment on the record is a bare-boned cover of Roberta Flack's "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face", only that they didn't turn it into a full or orchestrated "I Will Always Love You" bombast. The only kowtow to current trends is the singsong delivery of "Take A Bow", which now is overshadowed by Rihanna's similiarly themed (but different) song of the same name. And to close out the set, "Footprints In The Sand", which plaigarizes from the ubiqitous wall poster, and "Here I Am" hammer a overbearing moral punch. And any bit of bad vibes (the UK track "Homeless" or the remake of Davis' headbutter Clarkson's "A Moment Like This") have been exorcised for the US release. But Spirit was never meant for deep thought, only an emotional backdrop to a certain audience, and to them, it does deliver. We've finally hit the "Nostaglia for the early 90's" moment.

Spirit
is very well executed, and Leona has an amazing voice. You can put this on when you're having your mother over for lunch. Hopefully with this success Leona can let a little guard down and not expect to blow us away with every crescendo. Oh yeah. She'd REALLY be Mariah then.

Spirit hit #1 on both the US and UK albums Chart.
"Bleeding Love" hit #1 pop, #1 Adult top40, #2 Adult Contemporary, #107 R&B, and #1 in the UK.
"Better In Time" so far has reached #62 pop, and #2 in the UK.
"Footprints In The Sand" made #2 in the UK as the "B-side" of "Better In Time".
"Yesterday" so far has reached #117 pop.

You can pick up Spirit at websites like here and here.

And here's Leona's first single, "Bleeding Love"...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So let me get this straight....


As long as your a Beltway Bush-lapdog media clown, you can hit-and-run a pedestrian, sending them to the hospital, attempt to leave the scene, and not be arrested?

Where has he been?

Well, no where, really. I wish I could say that I was busy travelling the globe filming myself going through seizures to world music like this guy...


(I kid, I kid)

..but alas, the truth is a little more mundane. I guess I came across my best approximation for "writer's block". It's not like there isn't a lot to pontificate about - I mean the most important presidential election of my lifetime so far is happening, I've almost caught up on listening to all the CDs I've purchased, and have had a lot of interesting and notso interesting things happen over the last month (or months), as well as enough time in front of a computer screen to go on about it. However I sit, and my mind goes blank. I read other blogs (boy do I read other blogs, I have more bookmarks than my local library), and sometimes think "this is way better than my scralls". I guess my aptness for procrastination led me to fear that I was just going to post youtube videos and charts, and what good is that? I have been working a lot more (right now, I'm in the middle of ten days in a row), and since it's summer I've been trying to be outside more. But it's more than that.

I'm in the throes of the big one. 4-0. I have no idea where it came from specifically, but I've grown up with the subconscious tic that 40 was the BIG age to hit. Where everything hits its apex. You are at the point of your life where you have acheived what you mean to achieve, both personally and professionally, and it's resting on your laurels from there. I admit I'm struggling bigtime with that, and as much as I really didnt want this blog to be about me per se, I wanted to be a little honest. I mean I really never know who reads these posts (other than SB himself, who has been pushing me about why I haven't posted anything), and I came to think maybe I was more doing this for myself than anybody else. It almost wasn't getting to be fun, but a chore. And maybe that's why I took a little break - to clear my head a little (though trust me, it's still way cloudy).

I appreciate anyone who reads this for sticking with it, and I'll be back to nonsensical ranting, and musical goodness. But right now, I better go stick some laundry in the washer. Out.