Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Super Tuesday for Dummies

Super Bowl? We’re over it. Besides, we here at the Freak know the truly “super” event this week is going on right now , as voters in 24 states (plus American Samoa—you know we love you guys) are casting their ballots in today’s historic “Super-Size Tuesday”. So get your popcorn ready, check out this new Super Tuesday-inspired track from the Mountain Goats, and read up as we let you know, hour-by-hour, what to watch for as tonight’s results roll in.

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12 Days and 1 Year Later, with 4 Months to Go: An Appreciation of Randy Newman

We’re officially 12 days removed from the Iowa Caucus, and with a trip to Chicago, some major car trouble, and a house sitting gig at a place with no TV or internet, I’ve been somewhat out of the loop of the aftermath of our tiny state’s “first in the nation” hullabaloo. In the 30 minutes I spent crawling the web this afternoon, I have to say I’m glad. A close call in New Hampshire, racial politics, name calling, excluding candidates from televised debates-it was all a little much for me to handle. But in my internet searching, I also stumbled across an op-ed in the New York Times from a year ago. The byline was credited to one of my favorite songwriters, and sure enough, the whole piece was simply the lyrics from his newest song. Despite the statuettes from his late-career Disney escapades, it was a reminder that the great Randy Newman can still pack a punch.

With 1969’s audacious and hilariously titled debut, Randy Newman Creates Something New Under the Sun, Newman launched a career based on gorgeous melodies, quirky song composition, and even quirkier lyrics that relied on wordplay as well as political and sexual humor. His left-of-center sensibilities attracted him to another slightly off-kilter musician: The Beatles’ favorite singer, Harry Nilsson. Just a year after Newman’s first major release, the almost-superstar Nilsson recorded a covers album: Nilsson Sings Newman. Nilsson’s unrivaled vocal control (before his ruptured vocal chord classic Pussy Cats) makes his versions outclass the originals, if not outshine them. Both albums (and Pussy Cats, for that matter) rank near the top of my all time favorites. Along with Newman’s Sail Away, all of these albums accomplish the rarest of feats: they could work for dinner parties, for heart-on-sleeve mixtapes, or for anti-war rallies.

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Gettin’ Raucous at the Caucus

If you live in Iowa, and you’re not doing anything Thursday night between the hours of 6:30 and 9 o’clock, you should probably hit up a caucus (or two).

Don’t know where to go? Click Here.

Don’t know what to do? Click Here.

Wanna know how the votes are actually counted? Click Here (Caution: political nerds only!)

Remember, if you want to make sure you get in, be there no later than 6:30. If you need to register to vote (or change your party registration-which you CAN do on caucus night), try and get there a little bit early. Both the Democratic and Republican are looking to be extremely close, so your vote really is essential. Plus, you may even get free cookies!

Editor’s note: We’ve used the handy tools from the Barack Obama campaign to help us help you get your caucus on. And even though we may feel that Obama is our guy, we encourage you to caucus and make your voice heard regardless of which candidate you prefer!

Editorial: On “Electability”

Drunk on beer and the power of our votes in this bizarre election cycle, my friends and I have spent an inordinate amount of time discussing the moments when the Democratic Party failed us. For one woman it was the Democratic Convention in 2000, when protesters were hauled into a chain link pen, Rage Against the Machine spoke out against the two-party system, police brutality was rampant, and the national media (as well as the Democratic Party itself) was so embroiled in corporate and “political” interests that an independent media organization was founded simply to report the other side. That was the most dramatic example, but all of us had moments of letdown, sadness, and anger. Among friends, these were little coming-out stories; as one woman put it, “that was when I was radicalized forever.”

The role of the radical left in any election year is an awkward one, with people forced between a different “lesser of two evils”: vote for the candidate that you truly believe in (if there is one), or vote for whatever centrist the DNP has decided to sponsor in hopes of beating the Republicans. It’s a struggle that I became aware of in the first election I could vote in, and also (I now realize) my moment of radicalization. I was shocked as people attacked Nader voters, blamed them for Gore’s defeat, espoused “the good of the country.” As young and politically naïve as I was, I recognized the problem of the two-party system and the corporate machinations of the Democratic Party.

Until we start to support outsider and non-party candidates, that system cannot change. And maybe it will never change, but isn’t hope what fuels so many of us in an election year? Despite the lovely signs in so many Iowans front yards, the real candidate for “hope” (a word often associated with “peace”) is Dennis Kucinich.

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Editorial: Even Cynics Have Hope

Hillary ClintonAn editorial by Nick Kowalczyk

I am twenty-eight years old, a political cynic—someone savvy enough to deflect the warm, fuzzy feelings of sentimentality, especially for politicians. So I am stunned to find myself believing in Barack Obama.

Too young to have experienced Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign, I was taught by history books that optimism and awe for an American presidential contender died in the 1960s. Certainly my lifetime hasn’t given me many inspired examples. I don’t hope for a return of Ronald Reagan’s let’s-get-greedy 1980s any more than Bill Clinton’s let’s-abandon-the-working-class-with-NAFTA 1990s. Too many well-publicized scandals, lies, letdowns, wars, and moments of national divide have turned my stomach on American politics, and for this I blame the leaders of my lifetime.

Yet I find myself believing in Barack Obama. How weird.

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Political Week

Hey Folks!

USAWe’re back. Kind of. Actually we’re all in NYC feeling the cool waves of blue blood East Coasters. We’re unearthing our J Crew sweaters, wearing collared shirts, and slick designer jeans. Kind of. At any rate we do have the future of our country on our minds and will be returning to Iowa City for the January 3rd caucus. As the date approaches we will roll out a series of editorials considering various candidates and the current state of national politics.

Please remember to caucus. Also remember that a president and an administration can only do so much: the rest is on you.