Monday, August 31, 2009

Obamacare's First Death Panel

Real life thuggery. 'Nuff said. Thankfully it was only attempted murder.

Three people posed as insurance agents hawking President Obama's health-care reform plan to gain entry to a Long Island home, where they pistol-whipped, shot and robbed two women and a man, authorities said.

Vance Jackson, 46, of Yonkers, and Benjamin Thompson, of Brooklyn, were arraigned yesterday in Central Islip on attempted-murder and burglary charges.

A female accomplice, Natalie Taylor, 26, of Nyack, is expected to be arraigned today. The men were nabbed about a mile from the Huntington crime scene in an SUV, and Taylor was apprehended a few hours later, police said.

Prosecutors said Thompson and Taylor approached a home on Virginia Avenue at around noon Friday, and then began to talk about Obama's policies, while Jackson pushed into the door seeking cash.

Taylor allegedly pistol-whipped one woman, and Thompson shot another in the foot as Jackson led the man upstairs to retrieve some cash.

"When he didn't get enough money, he shot the man twice in the neck, once in the back, and once in the chest," said a Suffolk County prosecutor at the men's arraignment.

Hat Tip: Sweetness & Light

Friday, August 28, 2009

Trick or Treat Helicopter Ben!

Fast on the heels of Bloomberg's lawsuit against the Federal Reserve to disclose the failing entities to which it lended vast amounts of money, now comes word of when we can expect to see HR 1207, Ron Paul's bill to Audit the Federal Reserve, hit the floor of the House. When I first wrote about this bill and why it is so important in late April, urging people to get on board and contact their representatives, the bill had 91 co-sponsors, and stood alone as the first effort in tackling the Fed. A mere four months later, HR 1207 now enjoys 282 co-sponsors, and it's companion bill in the Senate, S 604, has attracted 23 co-sponsors.

Meanwhile, responding to the Judge Preska's verdict in US District Court, the Fed is hapless:

Fed lawyer Kit Wheatley told Preska in a conference call today that she did not know how long it would take for the Fed board to search the New York Fed for records.

“We really don’t know what’s in New York,” Wheatley said. “We don’t control the system of record-keeping in New York.”

The Standard

The Fed’s lawyer went on to say that she did not know what records would fall under a “delegated function,” which would be a task assigned to the New York Fed.

Preska interrupted Wheatley, saying that “Ms. Wheatley, I held that’s not the standard. You didn’t search under the regulation. You’re supposed to search under the regulation.”

While their bumbling lawyers stumble about searching for ways to continue to allow the organization to operate in the shadows, other representatives of the Federal Reserve offer nothing but excuses as defense for their existence.
“Experience in the banking industry has shown that when customers and market participants hear negative rumors about a bank, negative consequences inevitably flow,” Norman Nelson, vice president and general counsel for the group, said in the document.
You don't say, Norman? You mean to tell us that when businesses factually and functionally operate as failures, there are negative consequences? We are not talking about rumors here. We are talking about institutions receiving funds from the Fed for the purpose of even remaining in business at all. They made decisions that the free market dictated should end their businesses, and the Fed gave them the money to stay alive, whether they could show a capacity to be a profitable business venture in the future or not. The Fed did this by increasing the money supply, staging the market for de facto inflation, thus devaluing everyone's money. To save businesses they very likely should not have been saved, the Fed robbed us all. This is why this is public interest.

“Our argument is that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the banks’ interest in secrecy,” said Thomas Golden, a lawyer with New York-based Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP who represents Bloomberg.

Preska’s Aug. 24 ruling rejected the Fed’s argument that the records should remain private because they are trade secrets and would scare customers into pulling their deposits.

“What has the Fed got to hide?” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who sponsored a bill to require the Fed to submit to an audit by the Government Accountability Office. “The time has come for the Fed to stop stonewalling and hand this information over to the public,” he said in an e- mail.

Rest assured, the Federal Reserve will be appealing the ruling. But no matter what, time is most definitely not on its side. For even if the Fed can manage to delay disclosing these records due to court order, it appears to be merely a matter of time until they must disclose all of their transactions as a matter of law. In fact, given Barney Frank's recent meeting below (HT: BTB), the idea of trick-or-treating as Helicopter Ben might not seem so far fetched.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Abraham Miller pens an article today for American Thinker that begins to shed a much brighter light on the surge of Chicago machine politics to the national stage than has really been shone thus far. To be sure, I have blogged about some of Obama's tactics, particularly his dealings with and treatment of the media. Basically, when asked questions that require actual thought and real leadership-style answers, he all too conveniently relies on Mayor Daley's approach of berating the press.

The light that Miller shines in his article, while being brighter for being on American Thinker (as compared to my small efforts), is also more focused on the real machinations of the behemoth that is Chicago. A professor of politics specializing in ethnic politics, Miller has studied Chicago extensively, and is able to focus us in on what really matters. While many of us debate the high level business concerns, Miller brings us back to street level, explaining the down-and-dirty nature of this political machine:

Talk-radio host Sean Hannity can trumpet medical savings accounts on one day and talk about the forty percent of Americans who don't pay taxes the next, and he will be immune to the inconsistency because Hannity's listeners are taxpayers. But a medical savings account means nothing if you don't pay taxes.

If you don't pay taxes and don't have health insurance, you want a card in your wallet that says someone else is going to pay. You want a medical savings account and tort reform about as much as you want another Chicago winter in an unheated apartment.

If you grow up poor and minority, everyone else's gain is ill-gotten. You expect the people you elect to take from them and give to you. If they don't, then there is no point in electing them. You might as well stay home on Election Day.

Michele Malkin is upset that David Axelrod's firm is doing the public relations for Obama Care. Michele Malkin is a superb intellectual analyst of Chicago politics, but she has no visceral feel for it. When Mayor Richard J. Daley was confronted about the city's insurance business going to a sole-source brokerage run by his sons, he responded that there would be no point in being in politics if he couldn't throw a little business to his children. Why would Axelrod be in politics if he couldn't profit from it?

The emphasis added is my own. Here is the problem when taking the stance against healthcare. As we argue items like freedom of the marketplace, liberty of the individual, taxes and opening up competition across state lines, there remains the fact that we stray away from our visceral feel of Chicago politics. Indeed there is no greater example than Chicago for the concept of Organized Exploitation. As Miller points out, those people waiting for an insurance card are, to The Machine, simply statistics to be exploited.

If you want to understand Obama's health care policy, you need to start where Obama starts. You need to start with Chicago. You need to look at constituent interests.

Obama won in 2008 because, among other things, he mobilized the electoral periphery. He mobilized young voters and minority voters, people who traditionally had a lower probability of showing up on Election Day. Chicago politics is about mobilizing the vote. "Vote early and often" is the city's sardonic refrain.

Obama needs his newly socialized base. He needs them to keep coming to the polls. In the vein of Chicago politics, he needs to deliver benefits to them.

Unrewarded, the electoral periphery will revert back to apathy. Health care is a reward to this base of people who are on the economic as well as political periphery.

There is little doubt that our health care system in general requires reform. As Miller points out, along with many others, this does not require 1,000+ pages of legislation added to a government that is already nothing short of Leviathan. But, as Miller notes:

...building a new power base resulting from the mobilization of the political and economic periphery requires redefining the nation's health problems as the nation's health catastrophe.

Health reform is Chicago politics on a national level. Welcome to the city.

At least our skyline is gorgeous.

Bernanke Worse than Greenspan?

Peter Schiff seems to think so.

House Healthcare Scavenger Hunt

Today is a rainy day here in Chicago, and there's not that much to do. If you, like me, are in need of something to while away the hours, why not play along in the coolest new game on the intertubes? I give you the House Healthcare Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy!

Hat Tip: Doug Bandow, C4L

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ending the Fed: A Crack in the Ice

The Federal Reserve has been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska to disclose information related to its "emergency lending" program.

If you'll recall, when the bank bailouts began happening, we were treated to some pretty juicy quotes when the bankers themselves were asked exactly how they were utilizing the funds they received:

"We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking."

-- SunTrust Banks spokesman Barry Koling on the receipt of $3.5 billion

"We manage our capital in its aggregate."

-- Regions Financial spokesman Tim Deighton on the receipt of $3.5 billion

"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it.'"

-- JPMorgan Chase spokesman Thomas Kelly on the receipt of $25 billion

Almost unimaginably, Bloomberg was unsatisfied with these types of responses, and filed a Freedom of Information Act request aimed at the Fed, which has since become a lawsuit.

The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under 11 programs, most put in place during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, saying that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.

“The Federal Reserve has to be accountable for the decisions that it makes,” said Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, after Preska’s ruling. “It’s one thing to say that the Federal Reserve is an independent institution. It’s another thing to say that it can keep us all in the dark.”

The judge said the central bank “improperly withheld agency records” by “conducting an inadequate search” after Bloomberg News reporters filed a request under the information act. She gave the Fed five days to turn over documents it told the reporters it located, including 231 pages of reports, and said it must look for more at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which runs most of the loan programs.

While I will imagine that the Fed is going to appeal this as far as it possibly can in order to stall the process, if not turn it back, this is a fantastic blow to the shadowy organization. The Bloomberg article calls it what it is: a wake-up call to the American people.
“The public deserves to know what’s being done with the money,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This ought to be a wake-up call for the public that they need to be far more educated about this.”
I've been educating myself about the Federal Reserve more and more since I began writing this blog back in January, following primarily the effort to begin the process by Auditing the Federal Reserve via HR 1207. Will you educate yourselves?

Here are some of my posts about the Fed to get you started:

America: Freedom to Fascism
Change We Can Believe In
Truth on Taxation
Federal Reserve: WTF?
History in the Making: HR 1207
Our Monetary Policy is Eroding Our Freedom

Start Googling. The history of the Federal Reserve is fascinating enough in and of itself to keep you interested. And if you have even the tiniest stream of desire for a true republic, for actual liberty, you will begin to devour information about this organization and our monetary system voraciously. Who knows, you may even look into the book many are saying will be one of the most important of our time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

White Folk Are Ready to Riot

I suppose even posting this makes me an EXTREEEEEEEEEEME RACIST!!!!!

But it's pretty damn funny and I just can't help myself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why Big Government Kills Economic Growth

Dan Mitchell with Cato is back for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity to discuss eight major reasons why big government hurts economic growth. Reason seven warrants particular attention, as it outlines the major reason why our healthcare "system" is ashambles, and requires a type of reform that removes government from the equation, rather than adding more government to it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Schiff's Financial Week in Review

A great wrap-up on retail sales and why their being down is a good thing on the whole, CPI and the movement (or lack thereof) in the markets. Schiff also defends himself against allegations that his investors have "lost their shirts," and finishes up with a discussion on his Senate run.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cash for Clunkers: Obamacare Edition

Let the ad campaign begin!

HT: Modern Conservative

Prescription for Healthcare? The Free Market

Peter Schiff is dead on again, as he appears on Fox Business.


The Effects of Socialized Medicine

The timeless words of Ronald Reagan.

Obama's Imperialism

Even as Obama has increased America's physical imperialism in the middle east, with nary a peep from those who so demonized Bush for it, he is extending American Imperialism into even the most peaceful of countries.

HT: International Liberty

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Government Healthcare: Lost Options

Because there's a lot that government insurance just won't cover:

A nice, calm and respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, "I would like to buy some cyanide."

The pharmacist asked, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"

The lady replied, "I need it to poison my husband..."

The pharmacist's eyes got big and he exclaimed, "Lord have mercy! I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband. That's against the law! I'll lose my license!

They'll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!"

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, "Well now, that's different. You didn't tell me you had a prescription."

Misplacing My Rage

Today Bruce Bartlett at the Daily Beast pens a column about how all of us out here that are upset about the immense government expansion taking place before our eyes are blaming the wrong person, by taking it out on President Obama. Who are we to blame? Well, President Bush, of course! Now, let me say that from a purely economic standpoint, yes, Bruce Bartlett is correct, and he does a great job of explaining himself.

Conservatives delude themselves that the Bush tax cuts worked and that the best medicine for America’s economic woes is more tax cuts; at a minimum, any tax increase would be economic poison. They forget that Ronald Reagan worked hard to pass one of the largest tax increases in American history in September 1982, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, even though the nation was still in a recession that didn’t end until November of that year. Indeed, one could easily argue that the enactment of that legislation was a critical prerequisite to recovery because it led to a decline in interest rates. The same could be said of Clinton’s 1993 tax increase, which many conservatives predicted would cause a recession but led to one of the biggest economic booms in history.

According to the CBO, federal taxes will amount to just 15.5 percent of GDP this year. That’s 2.2 percent of GDP less than last year, 3.3 percent less than in 2007, and 1.8 percent less than the lowest percentage recorded during the Reagan years. If conservatives really believe their own rhetoric, they should be congratulating Obama for being one of the greatest tax cutters in history.

Conservatives will respond that some tax cuts are good while others are not. Determining which is which is based on something called supply-side economics. Because I was among those who developed it, I think I can speak authoritatively on the subject. According to the supply-side view, temporary tax cuts and tax credits are economically valueless. Only permanent cuts in marginal tax rates will significantly raise growth.

On this basis, we see that Bush’s tax cuts were pretty much the opposite of what supply-side economics would recommend. The vast bulk of his tax cuts involved tax rebates—which failed in 2001 and again in 2008, because the vast bulk of the money was saved—or tax credits that had no incentive effects. While marginal rates were cut slightly—the top rate fell from 39.6 percent to 35 percent—it was phased in slowly and never made permanent. Neither were Bush’s cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes.

I could go on to discuss other Bush mistakes that had negative economic consequences, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which imposed a massive regulatory burden on corporations without doing anything to prevent corporate misconduct, and starting unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will burden the economy for decades to come in the form of veterans’ benefits.

It is very important for Conservatives, Libertarians and, yes, the GOP, to understand and accept this argument. It's the same argument I posted about earlier as to Peter Schiff's appearance on Fast Money the other day. Poor decisions were made, on top of poor monetary policy, and everything went to hell. We all need to recognize that this is what happened. Just as the Fed propping up the market right now cannot be sustained, neither could have the "good" effects of Bush's tax cuts then have been sustained, particularly as they were largely rebates, as Bartlett discusses.

Where Bartlett's article goes wrong, however, is in its actual point. Bartlett is trying to say that everything that is going wrong right now is the after-effects of the wrong-headed economic policy that the Federal Reserve implemented under President Bush. And he argues that since the President appoints the board of the Federal Reserve, it's on Bush. So we should be mad at Bush, not mad at Obama.

The problem with Bartlett's argument is that he has completely ignored every single step the Obama administration has taken since January. For instance, you cannot deride the Bush tax cuts for being non-stimulative since they were rebates, and then in the same breath try to tell me that Obama is simply trying to clean up the mess by doing the exact same thing in the "stimulus," which was laden with "cuts" that were cuts in rhetoric only, and which were ALL rebates, and not possibly stimulative in any way. You cannot argue that the actions of the Federal Reserve, and the Fed's ties to the presidency, are the problem, and completely ignore the fact that Obama wants to expand the role of the Federal Reserve, making it yet more dangerous.

In a display of Monday Morning Quarterbacking that Peter King himself would be envious of, Bartlett even goes on to blame Bush for never undertaking reform of healthcare.

But there is yet another dimension to Bush’s failures—the things he didn’t do. In this category I would put a health-care overhaul. Budget experts have known for years that Medicare was on an unsustainable financial path. It is impossible to pay all the benefits that have been promised because spending has been rising faster than GDP.

In 2003, the Bush administration repeatedly lied about the cost of the drug benefit to get it passed, and Bush himself heavily pressured reluctant conservatives to vote for the program.

Because reforming Medicare is an important part of getting health costs under control generally, Bush could have used the opportunity to develop a comprehensive health-reform plan. By not doing so, he left his party with nothing to offer as an alternative to the Obama plan. Instead, Republicans have opposed Obama's initiative while proposing nothing themselves.

So the economy sucks now because Bush never reformed Medicare? OK I'll bite on that. But don't tell me that I should be happy now that Obama is pushing a healthcare reform bill that, in case you haven't been paying attention, doesn't fix Medicare! In fact, largely undiscussed is the idea that what this current healthcare bill does do, is to take the private sector of healthcare insurance, which is functioning profitably, and roll it into a social security and medicare type of package. Those two packages, coincidentally, are rotting like dead fish on the side of the road at this point.

The economy stands as it will, at times alongside, at times astride, at other times even subject to the world of politics and government. What remains consistent however, is that the economy will behave in a manner largely dictated by our central bank's monetary policies. This is the case no matter which party is in office. But we must remember that two wrongs do not make a right. Bush did wrong, and Obama is continuing to do wrong, and to do worse. Because we should be mad at Bush for what he did or did not do in the past, does not mean we shouldn't be mad at what we're watching our government continue to do wrong.

President Bush is no longer in office. President Obama is. It is only practical that we voice our opinions to those who can do something about it. My rage, and the rage of all those like mine, is simply against the machine. When the engine breaks down, I care not who the conductor is. I care only that he is able to make the necessary repairs. And I'm sure as hell going to let him know about it when he's slicing off fan belts when the problem is the oil, even if the oil should have been changed by the last guy.

Peter Schiff Discusses the Fed's Loose Money

I suppose it comes as no surprise now that the markets are "doing well again," that the analysts on shows like Fast Money are back to deriding Peter Schiff's outlook on things. It's almost completely unfathomable to me, however, that these people who spend their lives analyzing finances and money, either fail to understand, or flat out refuse to acknowledge that what Peter is talking about is our monetary policy.

Essentially the analysts are talking about Bernanke throwing more sticks on the campfire, and so everyone is warm right now, while Schiff is talking about making sure there are actually trees growing to get those sticks from. Yes, the market is good now, but it's still based on a fallacy.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tax Havens: Myths vs. Facts

Having previously discussed the Economic Benefits, as well as the Moral Necessity of Tax Havens, and their role in creating legitimate tax competition and liberalizing economies, Dan Mitchell discusses the facts surrounding six of the biggest myths about the idea of tax havens:

1. Tax havens promote tax evasion.
2. Attacking tax havens promotes more compliance with tax laws.
3. Tax havens create higher taxes elsewhere.
4. Tax havens promote bad policy.
5. Tax havens are all rogue political regimes.
6. Tax havens promote money laundering.


Daniel Hannan on Obamacare

Leave it to a member of the British European Parliament to have more respect for the US Constitution than almost anyone in our own government.


Tax Havens: The Moral Case

After outlining the Economic Importance of Tax Havens and their role in Liberalizing Economies through Tax Competition, Dan Mitchell, Senior Fellow with the Cato Institute is back to discuss why Tax Havens are not only moral, but morally necessary. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tax Havens: The Economic Case

After establishing why Tax Competition is a Liberalizing Force for the global economy, Dan Mitchell with the Cato Institute discusses the Economic Case for Tax Havens. But what's with all that money hoarded away in the Caymans, you ask? Well, not so fast. You'll never guess where the most important tax haven in the world is. Enjoy!

Lollapalooza: Day Three Diamonds

With a day three jam packed full of must see acts, it was going to be difficult to come home with many diamonds in the rough, since I was going to be spending most of the day occupied with bands I knew were going to be good. So it comes as no surprise that I have only one diamond for day three. That said, it happens to be the diamond of the weekend.

Friendly Fires

Apparently this is what would happen if you threw The Cure, Radiohead, Erasure, Echo & the Bunnymen and Coldplay into a big pile and lit them all on fire. Spike Lee once shilled shoes for Reebok under the slogan "The mo' colors, the mo' better." In the case of Friendly Fires, it's the mo' intruments, the mo' better. Guitar, bass, drums, auxiliary drums played by the bassist, sound board played by the singer, a second mic for effect by the singer, a myriad of little percussion instruments like tambourines and cowbells, even knocking the mic against his head, this was just a wave of pure musical party. There is nothing more I can say that can possibly do justice to how much fun this performance was, other than that you need to listen to this band. As much as possible. Now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lollapalooza: Day Three Must See's

Day three of Lollapalooza looms. My legs are rubber from walking nonstop for two days already and my body is sore from moshing to Rise Against and Tool like I was 16 years old. Yet day three brings more must see bands than either of the previous two days.

Cage the Elephant

I had never heard of this band until I started randomly browsing the Lollapalooza lineup back in the spring. Thank goodness I did, because these guys have put out, quite simply, the best rock album of the year, hands down. Can't miss.

Cold War Kids

Just one of the coolest sounding bands around. No song they've done has ever let me down.

Lou Reed

The original alternative rock god. Known for either being the greatest show you've ever seen, or the worst, Lollapalooza marks his first ever festival show in the United States. My money is on "best show ever" this time, enough so to eschew Snoop Dogg in his favor.

Silversun Pickups

When I first heard Lazy Eye, I thought these guys sounded like a weak Smashing Pumpkins cover band. Then I heard Panic Switch. Now I am hooked. This should be good!

Jane's Addiction

I have never seen Jane's Addiction, so I can't wait for this show. Fitting that Perry Farrel will close out his monstrous festival himself. Here's looking forward to a great performance!

Lollapalooza: Day Two Diamonds

As expected, Rise Against and Tool both put on mind blowing performances yesterday. But as I attempt to steel my already sore body to the reality of walking another hundred miles on the hottest day of the year, I must reflect on day two's diamonds in the rough, including the one act that may very well have stolen the entire weekend with his performance.

Coheed and Cambria

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're saying. How is a band like Coheed a diamond in the rough? Well, first, I live in Chicago, where the only alternative station is Q101, owned by Emmis, who also bought the Loop. So no matter what, I'm only any longer exposed to watered down crap and about 11 hours a day of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That said, the only Coheed I had ever heard was terrible. So imagine my surprise to go check these guys out at my friend's recommendation and I was pummeled with wave after wave of face-melting rock! No wonder the program is comparing them to Rush. Just one word: Wow!

Joe Pug

The program talked about critics comparing him to Bob Dylan. Also he was the closest act at the time to the beer garden. In any case, I was not let down. If Black Joe Lewis on day one was the resurrection of James Brown, Joe Pug is every bit the new Bob Dylan. Just a fantastic voice. Great guitar work, and played the harmonica, too. And as to his band, who doesn't love the good ol' country twang of a real deal slide guitar?

Quinn Sullivan

I checked my Facebook at about 1:28 to see an alert from Lollapalooza that Buddy Guy was going to be at the Kidzapalooza stage at 1:30. I had to be there, no questions asked. What I found when I got there was the announcer talking up the next performer, calling him one of the most talented guitar players he had ever seen, of any age, but especially at the age of 10! My jaw and the jaws of those around me didn't leave the ground as 10 year old Quinn Sullivan played some of the best blues around, including his own stuff, a completely unreal performance of Little Wing, and then wrapped it up with a five plus minute rendition of his song "Buddy Blues," side by side with Buddy Guy. Something seriously amazing will have to happen today for this not to be the performance of the weekend!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lollapalooza: Day Two Must See's

I must confess I don't like much of what I see throughout the day for day two of Lollapalooza. However, the night brings the heavy hitters, and will make the entire weekend worth it to me. Only two must see's for me today, so I hope to find myself pleasantly surprised by the rest of the day. I would have three must see's, but I need to keep a good spot between my two must see's, so I won't be going to see Ben Harper, even though I want to.

Rise Against

The hottest band on the planet right now not named Kings of Leon. Pure energy, through and through, and while I'm not the biggest fan of their politics, I still love the music, and I can't wait to see them. Here's hoping for a great show as the Chicago boys come home to play!


My second favorite band ever, behind Alice In Chains. These guys put on the best live performance I have ever seen in my life, and they do it every time out. The best drummer alive, and one of the best ever, Danny Carey is almost inhuman.

Lollapalooza: Day One Diamonds

As I wake up this morning to the sound of my neighbor playing the drums in his backyard, coincidentally right outside my window, I am forced immediately past the grogginess I should feel after walking something like 847 miles in the rain yesterday, and into a clear minded state of recollection of day one's diamonds in the rough.

The Knux

Loved this hip-hop duo and their approach, utilizing a full band in lieu of a DJ. Fantastic energy, great beats and definitely a group to keep an eye on if you're into rap. Wouldn't you know it, entertainers that they were, they even broke out House of Pain's Jump Around. If Lolla had a roof, they would've blown it off!

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

The resurrection of James Brown. Since I'm finding it difficult to express the words for these guys beyond that, I'll steal a line from a Youtube commenter: Every once in a while I come across a band, musician, or artist that blows me away. I found my next one here!

Hollywood Holt

These guys came out and absolutely tore up Perry's, the DJ stage. They had the crowd absolutely amped up. We got so into this show that I completely forgot I only stopped in at Perry's "for a few minutes" while we waited for Ben Folds. We missed Ben Folds.

Asher Roth

You're either going to say, "Oh my God, not another rapper," or you're going to say, "But everybody knows Asher Roth!" Well, to the first point, there wasn't much happening aside from Black Joe Lewis on the rock front on day one. Manchester Orchestra, Black Joe Lewis, and Kings of Leon saved the rock day in my eyes. I gave the Springsteen-esque Gaslight Anthem a shot, but they just about put me to sleep. To the second point, yes, everyone already does know Asher Roth for his song "I Love College," but he's a diamond to me because this performance made him so much more than just that song to me. He killed his whole set, and save for Hollywood Holt, had his crowd going harder than anybody else all day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lollapalooza Day One: My Must Sees

As I write this, it's probably about two hours before I get to run the gamut of weather conditions over the course of seeing as many bands as possible over the next three days. Excitement brews as I ponder my Day One Must See's. Enjoy the videos below and check out some of these bands and performers if you don't know them already. I'll be back tonight with any other diamonds in the rough I found during the day!

Manchester Orchestra

Ben Folds

Andrew Bird

Kings of Leon

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Liberalizing Force

Dan Mitchell against creating an "OPEC for Politicians." Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pulling the Plug

Peter Schiff on why the current market rally we're seeing isn't what it's cracked up to be, and why our representatives just aren't doing anything about it. Enjoy!

Art vs. Racism

Jokers Wild!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

America: Freedom to Fascism

One of the most important documentaries you will ever see. Enjoy!