NASCAR & Integrity

The other day, the US House of Representatives denied passage of a bill that would eliminate federal funding for advertising of the US Military on NASCAR cars.

Earlier, the same congress slashed funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X, the LIHEAP, NPR, PBS, and Americorps, cut funding for the EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and rejected numerous defense spending reductions.

I suppose it depends on your politics whether Republican congresspersons are wholly self-interested, NASCAR-loving "rednecks" with absolutely no integrity - or patriots who stick to their core values.

As a result of some conversations this weekend, however, I've learned that, as "enlightened," "open-minded," and "liberal" as I may be I'm super judgmental of folks I perceive to be closed-minded. So it's time for a thought experiment.

What if you believed that a vicious, world-wide conspiracy of armed and dangerous terrorists were mobilizing to destroy your home country, and patriotism is one of your core values? What if you believed that the conspiracy was so vast, and so dangerous, and so illogical and backward that there was literally no chance of any kind of diplomatic solution to the disagreements between these terrorist killers? What if you believed, literally, that they are the embodiment of evil?

Then, wouldn't it make sense to prioritize marketing the US Army (the growth of which is a necessity, remember, considering the scenario above) to NASCAR watchers, who tend to be both lower-income and Southern (two heavy markets for Army recruiting), even when doing so conflicts with one's other values ("fiscal responsibility")?

The thinking could go, "I know that it's important to help poor people heat their homes in the winter, but they won't even have homes if (when) Al-Qaieda takes over our country, installs Sharia law, rapes all of our women and murders all the good Christians. Preventing that from happening is more important as it affects all of us."

I don't buy it, but I could see how some people with values radically different from my own could (though it's hard for me to believe a rational person having those values without simultaneously being burdened by Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Orientalism, etc).

By the way, Obama's budget also cut funding for LIHEAP. Food for thought?

My favorite music of 2010

It's a week or so late, but...

A lot of this stuff has seen life on my Quarterly Mixes, click back to see what I was into each quarter of this year and what made the cut through to this "Best of 2010" Mix.

It's two CDs because I couldn't trim it down to a respectable single-cd level. I couldn't figure out how to split all of the songs into two different CDs (I originally had them flowing as one piece) - but as the genres vary, I decided to try and keep my original order intact but put most of the upbeat songs - either by BPM, lyrical content, dance-ablility, etc. - on the 1st CD and the downbeat songs on the 2nd CD.

If you see a song on here, and it's different than a song from the same artist that was on one of my quarterly mixes, that's either because 1) I wanted to branch out and get some deeper cuts from that record onto here or 2) I realized that, since that quarterly mix came out, I like this song better than that one. Nearly every song on here means I really liked the album that it came from, not necessarily that that single song was one of my favorites from the entire year, you dig?

Click the image to download. They should show up in iTunes with album art, track numbers, etc. So don't worry. Also remember - if you like these songs, pay for them! This is just a sample. Go buy music!

1. Lost in the World (ft. Bon Iver) / Kanye West // My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. Umm Hmm / Erykah Badu // New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh
3. Cold War / Janelle Monae // The ArchAndroid
4. Can Change / LCD Soundsystem // This Is Happening
5. O.N.E. / Yeasayer // Odd Blood
6. Thieves in The Night / Hot Chip // One Life Stand
7. White Sky / Vampire Weekend // Contra
8. Convertiible Balloon / Wavves // King of the Beach
9. When I'm With You / Best Coast // Crazy For You
10. Low Shoulder / Toro y Moi // Causers of This
11. Vesuvius / Sufjan Stevens // The Age of Adz
12. Biting Your Tail / Iron & Wine // Walking Far From Home
13. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) / Arcade Fire // The Suburbs

1. Falling From the Sun / The Album Leaf // A Chorus of Storytellers
2. Don't Leave My Mind / Azure Ray // Drawing Down the Moon
3. The Resistance / Drake // Thank Me Later
4. If You Want It / TV Girl // TV Girl EP
5. Always On My Mind / Reading Rainbow // Prism Eyes
6. Goons / Small Black // New Chain
7. Castles in The Snow / Twin Shadow // Forget
8. I Really Do / Seapony // Seapony EP
9. Good Intentions Paving Company / Joanna Newsom // Have One On Me
10. Honey Come Home / Head and the Heart // Head and the Heart
11. My Girl the Horse / Fences // Fences
12. I'll Build You A Fire / Seabear // We Built A Fire
13. Like the Wheel / The Tallest Man On Earth // The Wild Hunt

What did I miss? Any glaring omissions?