Monday, November 17, 2008

thanksgiving do

just had to put up these pics from our small thanksgiving party this past weekend. meg made us special native american head dresses with our indian names. mine was "she of many cheeses." ha!

tim ("he who runs out of gas")

scott ("he with many skymiles")

meg ("she with many spare hours")


justin ("he who dreams of zombie apocalypse")


have you heard theleila on have you heard?

i guest-hosted the have you heard podcast this past weekend for the first time, which is now available to download! it was super fun and a bit challenging too, since i wasn't too keen on the records we were reviewing (longwave and wilderness).

from the podcast website:

In this episode We invite the editor of Leila Regan-Porter into the studio to help us review our records. Pontiak is featured in this episode with a wonderful cover too.

* Belle & Sebastian - Like Dylan In The Movies (live @ teh BBC) (free via Hard To Find A Friend)
* Boy Eats Drum Machine - BEDM Demonic With Horns (Free via The Yellow Stereo)
* School Of Seven Bells - Connjur (Free via Minneapolis Fucking Rocks)
* Longwave - Sirens In A Deep Sea (Buy the record Secrets are Sinister)
* Pontiak - Sun on Sun (Have You Heard Session Available NOW)
* Pontiak - Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles Captin beefheart cover (Exclusive cover song now 100% Free because we love you)
* Wilderness - (Buy the record (K)no(w)here)
* Feeding Fingers - Neverlight (Pre-Order the new LP via INTERWUBS)

the barack obama song on the chris moyles song!

just in celebration of the election, and to get stuck in your head allll day...

it's set to a kasabian tune, and is basically just the name barack obama over and over and over. brilliant.

Friday, November 14, 2008

janelle struts her stuff in (slightly random) xmas gap ad

ain't she the cutest? as y'all probably know, i love janelle monáe and think she is, for lack of a better work, the bomb, and have been waiting for her to take over the world ever since i saw her perform early last year. and it looks like her world domination has started. because we all know, gap is the way to conquer!

it's a pretty random lineup here, but cool nonetheless. bring on the new reign of janelle!

and yet another harry potter and the half-blood prince trailer

part of me just swoons with excitement. the other part of me shudders with anger at the thought of having to wait until bloody july for the movie to come out. sigh.

but regardless of the horrendous wait, this trailer is yet more proof that the movie is going to be fab. from rupert grint's wicked comedy as ron, to tom felton being given the chance to show his acting skills (other than just sneering) as draco, to lovely alan rickman shining as a character with depth and a intricate past as snape (not a git, as my hubby may say. at the end, when harry screams "coward" and snape whirls around, i could only gasp in excitement!) - this movie is the one to really show these characters as more than two-dimensional kids' storybook folks. it'll be funny, warm, dark and chilling and i think i am going to love it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

performer presents a fight to the death, the preakness, la tool and die

sorry for the quiet blogging week y'all. has been a bit mad at work and around the country what with this mad election finally over. and with winter drawing in, i could sleep forever. why don't we hibernate again?

anyway, speaking of work, we have an awesome performer presents coming up tomorrow at lenny's, and since our posters got lost in the mail, it would be great if everyone could talk about it really loud so everyone else knows about it. that or repost that flyer on your blog or what have you.

a fight to the death will headline, with support from the preakness and a theleila fave, l.a. tool and die. please come along! first band starts at 9, with the show ending early at 12 for the lenny's dance dance party party.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama

I'm Leila's husband and I'm taking over her blog to explain why I'm voting for Barack Obama.

Actually, I’ve already voted, but I want to say a few words (more than a few, it turns out) to a handful of friends who are still unsure of their vote and to other friends who just don’t understand my vote. Most of my friends who fall into the two categories above are center-right and evangelical Christians, so that’s who I have in mind as I write this. While I’ll no longer consider myself a conservative (or evangelical for that matter), that is my background and I can relate to those concerns.

At this late date, few people will read this in time to make a difference. But maybe some will, and maybe it’ll help others, after the election, feel more comfortable with what appears to be the coming Obama administration. This is all rushed at the last minute, but I’ve needed to get this mini-novella off my chest for a while.

1)Tenor & Temperament. I have followed Barack Obama since he came on the national stage with his 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote speech. It was a masterful speech in both style and substance, one in which Obama both acknowledged a role for government and the importance of individual responsibility. (See speech.) It was the speech where he attacked the Red State / Blue State dichotomy we’ve painted over these United States. At that time, Obama was running for Senate in a solid Blue state and speaking for John Kerry against an unpopular president. There was no reason to speak of reconciliation or moderation. This was the time for red meat. Fire up the base. Paint the Bush administration with as dark of strokes as possible. Instead, what do we get?

“We worship an ‘awesome God’ in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

In 2006, before Obama announced his candidacy, I had the pleasure of attending a Q&A with New Yorker editor David Remnick at a conference for magazine executives. There and in his 2nd book which I picked up afterward, I was again impressed at his thoughtfulness and his priority on raising the level of discourse and finding common ground to make progress on many key issues.

Public discourse in this country has all but broken down. There have always been ugly campaigns, and yellow journalism has a long history in this country. But at a time when newspaper readership is down and the country increasingly gets its news in sound bites, we’ve moved to polarized debates where we shout at each other from our fixed positions and resort to personal attacks. The point is to fire up the base, tear down the opposition and possibly win over other through sheer conviction and bluster, rather than to have a real discussion. Truth is a casualty. Progress is a casualty. Humanity is a casualty. We elevate ideas to gods and sacrifice would-be friends and community on their altars.

Left, right and center have all contributed to this. Reagan ran against government (with some justification) but was good-natured and inspiration. His ideological children turned nasty, from the Atwater campaigns to the Gingrich revolution and its tear-down politics (from Wright to the Impeachment) to Rove/Cheney. The Democrats arguably ushered in the vitriol with the manner in which they handled Robert Bork’s nomination. And centrists have their share of high-minded demagogues. (How ironic is it that two of the most centrists Republicans to run for office, George H.W. Bush and John McCain, sold their principles and ran two of the most slanderous campaigns of the last 30 years. And George W. Bush, then running as a centrist, wins the award for slanderous campaigns for his 2000 primary campaign against McCain.)

This is the overriding issue for me in this election. We’ll never move this country forward, certainly not in any sustained fashion, if we cannot talk to each other, come to understand each other’s viewpoints, and find common ground on some issues. Whatever your pet issues are, we’ll never make progress until we can have civilized debate. We must extract the poison from our political process before we can work on anything else.

My political positions have shifted much over the past 20 years. In 1998, I campaigned for Jack Kemp, was a delegate to the state Republican convention, volunteered at the national convention, and re-activated and served as president of my university’s College Republicans chapter. My concern with this issue has not changed, however. I think my 18-year-old self would also have crossed sides and joined the Obama camp. Three of the main things that attracted me to Kemp were his tenor & optimism, his concern for the poor, and his sensitivity to race. All of that I see in spades in Obama. One of my most vivid memories of Kemp was witnessing him chastise a closed-door group of supporters for booing when he mentioned a Democratic senator’s name. When I saw Obama chastise his supporters for booing McCain/Palin at a rally, it was a real déjà vu moment. (Contrast that with McCain/Palin rallies.)

While McCain was a centrist pre-2000, he has seldom raised the level of debate. His condescension toward Obama has been palpable, but he has a long history of condescension coupled with an ill temper. When he’s crossed party lines, he’s done so in a manner that alienates his own party. That’s why he’s had so many problems in the primaries. He’s an honorable man, but he does not have the temperament we need at this stage in our national life (domestically or internationally).

Obama has proven to be a uniquely impressive politician along these lines. You cannot truly study the man and not believe that his concern for elevating the level of discourse comes from the core of his being. Those who point to his Senate voting record miss many other clues that are more indicative of how he’s likely to govern: the issues he’s championed for years, the platform his constructed, the way his managed this campaign and the advisors he’s selected, and, yes, the words he consistently uses--not just during this campaign but throughout his career in public service and in the two books he’s written (without ghostwriters). Word do matter. It’s where public discourse starts. Without Ronald Regan’s ability to communicate, the conservative moment flounders. Without MLK’s inspiration, the civil rights movement would not have progressed the way it did last century.

Consensus isn’t always possible, and the new administration will fail repeatedly in its attempts to make good on its promise to reform Washington and reach across the aisle. But it’s important to try. It's important to have healthy dialogue and to reach consensus on areas where that’s feasible. And there are many areas where that’s possible—-if we approach these discussions with honesty and good faith. For all our differences, we are a nation of shared values. There is truly more that unites than divides us. And where we can’t agree, we can move forward as adults and keep working to understand and to have our viewpoints understood.

We need a gifted politician with the kind of intelligence, political instincts and oratorical abilities that Obama has shown. We need someone who recalls the best of Regan, Kennedy and King and can inspire a wide swath of Americans to believe in the American idea. It’s time for morning in America again. It’s time for dreams to take hold. It’s time to ask what we can give to our country and the world. As divided as the country has been, we have a chance to move forward again, and that requires a unique leader like Obama.

2)International Relations. Put simply, America has seen its moral authority erode over the last eight years. The U.S. and indeed the world-—humanity itself-—is poorer for it. And we must reverse this tide.

I’m not talking about winning a popularity contest. This is not a response to “Why don’t they like us?” whining or an appeal to French intelligentsia and third-world dictators. As long as we are the largest economic and military force in the world, there will always be resentment. But it’s no longer accompanied by begrudging respect because we’ve acted irresponsibly. We’ve been driven by fear, surrendered civil liberties, invaded a country without direct provocation, and resorted to torture-—not Jack Bauer heroism, but depraved humiliation driven by hate and not national security interests. The vast, vast majority of our servicemen have acted honorably, but our leaders have misled. From the environment to terrorism, we’ve been cowboys, not responsible community members. If we keep going down this path, we will surrender leadership and move ever closer to irrelevancy.

While McCain has shown a willingness to cross party lines with regard to domestic issues, and he has stood against torture (though he tempered his position in order to win the Republican nomination), he clearly approaches the job with a warrior mentality. While he will be better than Bush 43, at best he halts the decline in our position. I do not see McCain restoring any measure of America’s international standing. And based on his behavior over the past couple years, I fear he will continue our decline. He blithely sung “bomb, bomb Iran;” he’s made rash comments on Russia and China that even the Bush administration distanced itself from. I fear the erratic way he’s handled economic policy in the campaign will be how he’ll govern with respect to international relations.

Obama, on the other hand, has shown strength (see the way he’s talked about Iran and Pakistan) but in the context of a desire for dialogue, peace and reconciliation. For those worried about Obama’s stances here, read Colin Powell’s endorsement and the praise from Republican Chuck Hagel-—who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Listen to former GOP 15-term Congressman Jim Leach (IA): “I'm convinced that the national interest demands a new approach to our interaction with the world.” The election of Obama will send a strong signal to the world that the U.S. is ready to lead again."

Those two issues have been my predominant reasons for supporting Obama from the beginning. As the campaign has transpired, a couple others have emerged.

3. Obama’s managerial skills. I recently heard a former high-level member of the Bush administration speak to a small group of evangelical leaders. He all but endorsed Obama as he exhorted the leaders to vote for the candidate with the superior leadership and managerial abilities and not merely for the candidate you agree with more. The Presidency is bigger than the man and it’s bigger than his ideology. You want someone who can manage the machinery of government. Ideological changes happens well upstream of the Presidency. It starts with individuals, community groups (churches, synagogues, water-cooler talk) and the arts and then works its way through government from the bottom up. That’s where the real political landscape changes.

For all the ideological faults I find with the Bush administration, W’s fundamental problem has been mismanagement, not ideology. From pre-war intelligence to the execution of the war to Katrina and his handling of the economy, he’s repeatedly bungled things. And frankly, right now, the Republican Party itself seems to be lacking in talent in this area. We’ve seen the same cast of characters recycled through the past few decades and they need new blood. We simply cannot afford more of the same.

Meanwhile, there’s a surfeit of talent from the Clinton years and much new talent added by Obama, ready to serve. Even his strongest detractors are in awe of the campaign he’s managed. To come from nowhere to beat the Clinton machine, to execute a nationwide primary and general election campaign with an organization like we’ve never seen, to collect record donations from millions of Americans, to keep such a large machine on message and disciplined, to enter as a relatively inexperienced candidate and “the most liberal member of the Senate” and convey a sense of steadiness and confidence so that you come across as the safe, not risky, choice is remarkable. More than anything he could have done had he served 35 years in the Senate, the way he’s run a long, hotly contested campaign gives me supreme confidence in his ability to manage and lead this country.

4. McCain’s blunders. On balance, McCain’s campaign has been very negative (focusing on Obama instead of making a case for McCain) but seldom overtly nasty (though the tenor has been troubling at times). And I’m glad he's shown as much restraint as he has (on the Jeremiah Wright issue, for example). But at time, it has been despicable (as in the ad that attacked Obama for promoting comprehensive sex education when the bill was designed to protect children from predators). But the most damning thing is that, at its best, McCain and his campaign has been unsteady. Palin was a horrible, unprincipled, cynical choice. Not because she’s conservative (though I don’t think this was the election to count on the Rove strategy), and not even because she’s turned out to not be particularly informed or interested in the issues she needs to be well-versed in. Even if she’d turn out to be a masterful candidate, it was irresponsible to chose a vice-presidential candidate (especially a neophyte) based on one face-to-face meeting. And politically, it was fundamentally unwise to surrender his best argument (experience). The way McCain’s vacillated on policy positions (especially the economy) and the way he’s managed his campaign gives me grave concern about how he’ll manage the nation. I am no longer convinced he will be much better than Bush.

Next, let me address a couple broader points and a couple specific points of concern to some conservatives.

Political narrative. The political narrative—-the stereotypes of tax-and-send liberal Democrats and war-mongering, big-business Republicans—-we’ve lived under for the past 30 to 40 years is fundamentally wrong. A Republican, Nixon, imposed the first wage and price controls and also opened the door to China. Reagan ran against government, then presided over its expansion. “Read my lips” Bush 41 raised taxes, then a Democrat declared the era of big government is over, signed welfare reform, cut taxes and saw unprecedented economic expansion. And now a “conservative” Republican has led the largest government intervention in the economy that we’ve ever seen.

“Christian.” The Bush administration official I alluded to above also told a story of his years immediately after leaving the White House. He took a service job to get away from politics for a while. And played a little word association with the people he was serving. When he said “Jesus” he invariably got responses like “abortion,” “gays” and “prayer in school.” Not love, not justice, not service, not helping widows and orphans, not self-sacrifice. None of the things Jesus actually talked about. This Jesus who directed most of his harsh words at the religious and who seemed to take a liaise-faire attitude with respect to government (“render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”) despite having plenty of reason to do otherwis (Roman society at the time makes all of America at its most extreme appear puritanical) has become synonymous with conservative politics. The Christian right has besmirched the name of Jesus, and it’s time for Christians of all political viewpoints to change the way we engage with politics.

Abortion. For single-issue abortion voters, I’d like to point out that we’ve had 20 of 28 years of pro-life Presidents and, if anything, that movement has moved backwards. And John McCain is hardly the candidate to advance the cause; he's shown little passion for it. Further, many evangelicals have developed nuanced views on the issue. They realize there are real hardships associated with an unwanted pregnancy and those most be addressed. And they realize that lasting change cannot come simply by legislative fiat. Some have even argued that more progress will be made by an Obama administration than under any pro-life President we’ve had because he takes seriously the need to address underlying issues and make abortion more rare. Isn't that a great first step? And isn't saving those lives the point? (See

Iraq. I was opposed to the war from the beginning. I think the Bush doctrine is the most destructive policy the U.S. has undertaken in modern history. We are considerably less safe now and have given every two-bit dictator cover as it’s now reasonable for their citizens to fear unprovoked U.S. action and to want some sort of WMDs. But I did support the surge, under the you-break-it-you-buy-it theory. Some people I know fear Obama will pull out irresponsibly. First, if you go back through what he’s said, he’s been remarkably nuanced for someone who first made his name on this issue. Early in the Democratic primaries, he refused to give firm guarantees when it would have been the expedient thing to do. Second, endorsements by leaders such as Powell and Hagel should put your mind at ease. Third, his timeframe is very close to the one the Bush administration and Iraqi government are close to settling on. Iraq and even the Bush administration are closer to Obama’s plan than McCain’s.

Finally, I’d like to point you to some endorsements by prominent conservatives (and a couple others). Each election there’s always some crossing of party lines. But I’ve never seen this kind of crossing of party and ideological lines. It’s shocking. Many of these are thoughtful reasoned conservatives I still respect and I encourage you to read some of their thoughts. Certainly, after reading these, it’s hard to buy into the notion that Obama is dangerously inexperienced or ideologically extreme.

  • Colin Powell
  • Fomer Governor William Weld [R-MA): “Senator Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who will transform our politics and restore America's standing in the world. We need a president who will lead based on our common values and Senator Obama demonstrates an ability to unite and inspire. Throughout this campaign I've watched his steady leadership through trying times and I'm confident he is the best candidate to move our country forward.”
  • Leading conservative thinker, Harvard law professor and former McCain advisor, Charles Fried
  • Former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan
  • Paul Volcker, chairman of the Fed under Reagan, largely credited with brining inflation under control and widely speculated to take a leading role under Obama (despite his 81 years of age)
  • Warren Buffet
  • Conservative talk show host, Michael Smerconish
  • Former Republican, now Independent, Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI)
  • Republican mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska, Jim Whitaker (who endorsed McCain in 2000)
  • Former Deputy Attorney General for Nixon, William D. Ruckelshaus
  • Former Legal Counsel to Reagan and Bush 41, Former Dean of Law School at The Catholic University of America
  • Wick Allison, former publisher of the National Review
  • Chrisopher Buckley, former speechwriter for Bush 41, son of William F. Buckley, Jr., and (until endorsement) writer for National Review (and author of Thank You for Smoking)
  • The ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar (IN), while not endorsing Obama, has praised his approach to diplomacy.
  • Peggy Noonan doesn’t endorse and has reservations, particularly with regard to the Congress, but she does say this: “[Obama] has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. … He is steady, calm, and he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make.”
  • George Will has been highly critical of McCain-Palin and come very close to making the case for Obama
  • Similarly for David Brooks, who calls Palin a cancer to the Republican Party
  • I also recommend reading the endorsement by Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian

And while it may not be a surprise that Obama has won more newspaper endorsements, it stands in stark contrast to the last election. Obama leads by more than 2-to-1 with 240 endorsements to McCain’s 114, while Kerry barely edged out Bush, 213 to 205. At least 50 papers have flipped from Bush to Obama; just 4 have flipped from Kerry to McCain. (

If you've made it through all this, thanks for listening.

Tim Regan-Porter

Sunday, November 2, 2008

halloween awesomeness

we had a great time at the halloween party of kimberly, scott and chris (of regator) last night. i was pretty chuffed to get first prize in the form of a lovely picnic basket with my freddie mercury costume, made by me and my super-handy mum.

my freddie:

tim's serial/cereal killer (puns make great costumes!):

meg's amelia earhart (with tim):

chris' zombie:

amanda b's zombie: