Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Running for President

 (Look how patriotic I am!  I look like Uncle Sam after he moved to West Hollywood.)

I have decided to run for President....eventually.

I know what you're going to say. "Wait Kevin, aren't you 10 years too young and a total jackass?"

Yes, that's why I said "eventually."

And fuck you. :-)

Look, if Sarah Palin can be considered a viable candidate, I am the fucking messiah.

Here's a very brief rundown of where I stand on the major issues in the US:

Abortion: Pro-Choice. A woman's body is her own business. However, I am against the abortion of me. Good choice, Mom!

Affirmative Action:I don't believe in quota's, but special consideration should be given to those who come from disadvantaged schools and areas. If you can maintain a 3.5 GPA in honor's courses while enduring friends being shot and the ghetto bird out every night, you deserve to be in the school of your choice.

Capital Punishment: I believe in, quite literally, an eye for an eye, when it comes to crime. Murderer? Prepare to die. Violent Rapist? Prepare to be violently raped. Tax evader or caught in possession of drugs? Prison is stupid. Pay a fine, determined by your crime, go through a rehab program, don't screw up again because the fine keeps increasing every time you do.

Censorship: The laws on this need to be relaxed. Seriously. So what if you're 7-year old son see's a nipple on TV. Good, you know hard I had to search and how many extra channels we needed to have before I found a nipple on TV? Nipples should be more accessible.

Cuba: Are we seriously STILL upset about communism? Come on now. What is the threat? All the Cuban terrorists that move to Miami and become Republicans? Give me a break!

Current Administration (Obama): My only gripe with this administration is the lack of movement on gay rights issues. I understand more pressing needs have arisen, but Obama needs to come out (no pun intended) and clearly state whether he is in support of gay marriage or not. Other than that, they're doing a fantastic job.

Current Congress: This is an absolute clusterfuck. To their credit, the Democrats are trying to pass legislation, while the GOP literally refuses to consider passing anything proposed by the Dems. It's like rival Kindergarten classes, only they run the most powerful nation on earth.

Flag Burning: You have the right to burn whatever flag you want. I personally am going to burn the flag with Barry Bonds' ugly head on it.

Foreign Policy:The US needs to be a less-polarizing figure in the world. Our military shouldn't be stationed everywhere. When it comes to the Arab world, a conciliatory tone, along with an admission that we have been assholes over the past 50 years, will go over well, as will a promise to stay out of their business, politically and militarily.

Gay Rights: Did we learn nothing from the Civil Rights movement?Apparently. I'm amazed this is still an issue. Separation of Church and State, people. Simple as that.

Global Warming: Needs to be taken seriously immediately. Quit paying off scientists to dispute the facts. I refuse to stand on a beach in Phoenix.

Gun Control: Agree with a mass purge of guns within society. Guns should be the most difficult pieces of equipment to get a hold of, unless you're in the military or a police officer. Crackdowns on the black market need to be more frequent and sweeping.

Healthcare: We are the wealthiest nation on earth. If we didn't spend so much money on useless things, pork-barrel legislation and dated Cold War military objectives, we would have more than enough surplus to cover every American citizen. Healthcare should be free to those who want it, and for those who prefer to keep paying for private coverage, they can do that. A healthy competition between private and public sectors is always a good thing.

Illegal Immigration:  I think the requirements to become a citizen should not include a fee. Merely state your intent to become a citizen, go through a background check, and if you pass, you are legally on your way to becoming a legal immigrant.

Marijuana Legalization: Legalize it and tax it.

Minimum Wage: Minimum Wage should be enough to keep people above the poverty line.

Right to Die: Why is anyone going to stop someone from killing themselves when they have a terminal disease? I don't understand stopping others, just so they can suffer.

School Prayer: Nope. Not in public schools unless the children are doing it on their own time, during recess or lunch. If you want prayer time in school, go to a private school.

Social Security:Privatization? Are you fucking kidding me? They want to take away the only safety net many elderly have? Not everyone earns six-figure incomes and has a few million in their account when they retire. FDR started this for a reason.

Stem Cell Research: I'd like to live a long time. Keep researching!

United Nations: If the US wants the UN to be relevant, we need to actually listen to them once in a while and be a functioning member, not just a uni-lateral country who does whatever the fuck they want.

War in Iraq: Pull out! It's time to get out of there. On a side note, we should be out of that region entirely. That means more money into alternative fuel research and less interest in Israel.

Welfare: The system needs to be reformed. Job training should be offered to recipients who are unemployed. In addition, the amount of support given should keep families above the poverty line.

So when I inevitably run for President, vote for me. So what if I have a checkered past and my secret plan is to invade the South and re-start the Civil War, I'm still a better candidate than Palin!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Golden Era of Urban Music

So I'm not going to rant today. I was just thinking about music recently and, as a musician, most people are very surprised to know my favorite type of music.

Some background: I am a musician. I'm first and foremost a singer and am pretty damned good at it as well. I've played the drums for 15 years and can also play the Guitar, Bass Guitar, Timbales, Conga's and Bongo's reasonably well. In addition, I am slowly learning piano on a slightly grander scale as I am versed in the rudimentary fundamentals of it. My musical influences range from The Beatles to Blink-182, Glenn Miller Orchestra to Johnny Cash, Tito Puente to Pancho Sanchez to Earth Wind and Fire and most things in-between. I am diverse (Modern Country does not crack my listenable list) and appreciative with music.

So, it comes as a surprise to most, including myself, that 1990's Gangsta Rap is my favorite type of music.

From Snoop to Dre to Coolio to Tupac to Biggie, 90's hip-hop represented a cultural revolution through lyrics that brought the plight of the inner streets to mainstream America. Personal experiences with drug dealing, murder, family relationships and living on the streets painted a poignant and raw interpretation of how difficult life could be in the land of opportunity.

Set to catchy melodies and beats, these pioneers of hip-hop flowed so succinctly that one can not help but to be drawn into their struggle while reflecting on our own personal fortune to not have been forced into that type of upbringing.

Despite many artist's legal trouble and gang affiliation, the lyrics seemed to hide a deeper meaning of a desire for success. Most rapper's would immediately buy a house for their mother's as soon as they got that first big check, a testament to the strong family unit that many critics derided as being non-existent. Nearly every artist in the 90's either made a song in reverence for their parental figure or alluded to it in various songs. It struck a chord that inner-city people were no different than anyone else. They were not mindless killing machines who preferred to be strung out on crack. They were poetic souls who drew from their own experiences to bring inner city life to the forefront of the public conscience.

The 90's hip-hop scene brought about a different kind of revolution than was seen in the 1960's. It was not a response to an unpopular war or the glorification of drug use. It was a response to the indifference shown to the poor, urban area's of America. Urban America was not going to simply put up with being ignored or looked down upon. Their intelligence, wit, talent and abilities were put on full-display during the 90's and the world took notice.

When I listen to modern Hip-Hop, I long for times past, but the spirit of this tumultuous but, ultimately, beautiful style of music lives on.