Geography Lessons From Donald Trump [VIDEO]

By: Dave Cox

Donald Trump mentioned several times that Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, was from New Jersey, and then brushed it off and kept plowing away because it’s important to keep moving forward, even when facts get in the way of the narrative.  To bad Chris Christie wasn’t there to help him.

I really only have two questions to ask about this clip:

  1. 18 months ago, would anyone have thought that Donald Trump had a legitimate chance a becoming the President of the United States of America?
  2. Would anyone believe that Donald Trump would only be the SECOND worst candidate running for President in 2016?

Somebody please wake me up when this nightmare is over! Giant Meteor 2016!!

PREVIEW: Descendents “Hypercaffium Spazzinate”

It’s been 12 years since seminal punk band Descendents released a new record. I’ve been lucky enough to see their live show twice in the last two years and they never disappoint. With their increased touring schedule in recent years and the fact that they previewed some new tunes in 2014 when I saw them in Pomona, California, it looked like they had some new music brewing. Now, we have a July 29 release of Hypercaffium Spazzinate. Fortunately, the fine folks at NPR are streaming the new record today and it is nothing short of fantastic.

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You would never know this is a band that has been together for 39 years. The new record has an urgency to it that wasn’t seen as much on 2004’s Cool to Be You.  It’s more raw and energetic than anything they’ve released in years. Imagine the musicianship of their 1996 release Everything Sux and the rawness of Milo Goes to College and you’ll be able to see where things are headed. Here’s a quick song by song breakdown:

  1. Feel This – 1:13 of fury, extremely catchy guitar riffs and vocals that grab you from the first line.
  2. Victim of Me – This song was released a few weeks ago as a teaser and I can’t stop listening to it! This song has the best bass line I’ve ever heard in a Descendents song, and that’s saying something because Karl Alvarez is probably the most melodic punk bassist in the history of the genre. I’ve been a bass player for more than 30 years and I’m still blown away at how creative Karl is in his songwriting.
  3. On Paper – Typical Descendents  – and I mean that in a good way. Catchy, edgy and fun with clever lyrics. Self-effacing lyric writing at its finest.
  4. Shameless Halo – This is one of those songs that the crowd will sing along to at every show. Big riffs, super precise drums and a lead guitar riff coming out of each chorus that will make you pump your fist in the air.
  5.  No Fat Burger – The old guy’s response to “Wienerschnitzel” – 44 seconds of concerns about greasy food and high cholesterol.
  6. Testosterone – Driving bass line and guitar work similar to some of my favorite tunes from Cool to be You but with an extra edge. Milo’s vocals on this one are edgy and impressive.
  7. Without Love – this one reminds me a lot of the minor chord progression of “One More Day” from their 2004 release. Solid song with fantastic, introspective lyrics.
  8. We Got Defeat – This song could have been released on Milo Goes To College.  Seriously. The tempo changes are insane and the double beats in the chorus will have the pit going crazy.
  9. Smile – this song was written as an ode to drummer Bill Stevensen when he was dealing with a life threatening illness a few years ago. Heart wrenching lyrics, but twisted into a sweeping, driving melody. Typical Descendents, juxtaposing dark lyrics with catchy melodies.
  10. Limiter – kicks off with a great bass solo with another one at the breakdown in the middle.  Rapid fire drumming and urgent lyrics carry it the rest of the way through. This is a raw song in the best possible way.
  11. Fighting Myself – Upper register, frantic bass playing to kick it off. Very melodic tune and one of the more interesting guitar progressions on the record. Stephen Egerton is probably one of the most underrated guitarists in punk. He has a very unique style and consistently puts out unexpected chord progressions that just work.
  12. Spineless and Scarlet Red – Excellent song from start to finish. This one has a drive and darkness to it that feels sooooooo good. Honestly, songs like this one make me wonder why the Descendents aren’t wealthy men right now. Better than anything you’ll hear on the radio.
  13. Full Circle – This is a PIT SONG. The Descendents don’t normally have hook lines where the whole band is shouting together. Well, this one does. When the whole band yells, “Keep Me Alive!” you’ll find yourself yelling along with it.
  14. Comeback Kid – GREAT bass line throughout. By this point in the record, it starts to sound like a “How to Write a Great Pop Punk Song” lesson. It’s that solid. Very catchy chorus and another sing along break in the middle of the song.
  15. Beyond the Music – This sounds almost like an outtake from Cool to be You. It’s a great tribute to each other as the song talks about their 30+ years together  as a band and their friendship, “This is our family and it will always be that way, beyond the music.”

As a Descendents fanboy, I could’t be happier about this record.  There are things about all of their records that I love, but it always felt like the early releases were completely different than Everything Sux and Cool to be You. Hypercaffium Spazzinate seems to bridge that gap by capturing the energy and reckless abandon of their early work with the skilled musicianship and songwriting of their last two releases. They already have some festival shows scheduled in the late summer and fall and I’m hoping that turns into a full headlining tour after that. This band has meant more to me than I can put into words. They’ve gotten me through some hard times and celebrated with me through the good times. Hypercaffium Spazzinate just sums it all up in a big celebration of top notch music!

Why I Will Likely, but Begrudgingly, Vote for Donald Trump (Guest Blog)

by Diana Cox

I’ve been pondering this for a while, and have decided to lay out my case.  This isn’t necessarily intended to change minds, nor to defend my own political choices (as I don’t owe that to anyone), but to share possible food for thought with others that may find themselves in the same boat as myself.

As a quick background (in case you don’t know me), I consider myself a Republican, with libertarian leanings.  I love freedom, guns, capitalism, the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. military.  I dislike over-regulation of business (including in the health insurance industry) and really don’t care who marries who (as long as it is two consenting adults).  I absolutely reject the idea that Republicans are inherently ignorant, racist, homophobic, or sexist – to imply otherwise is itself ignorant.

This election cycle has been baffling in some regards (Trump), and very predictable in others (Clinton – come on, Bernie never had a chance).  Now, today we have two deeply flawed and highly unlikable candidates leading the polls for the presidency.  If polling continues the way it has been trending, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has a legitimate possibility of being included in the national televised debates alongside the Republican and Democrat nominees.  There are some highly appealing aspects of the Johnson-Weld (L) ticket – but both, once again, are flawed candidates coming from a flawed party, with (honestly, but unfortunately) no legitimate chance of winning the presidency.  Johnson’s consistently lackluster performance and demeanor, in both interviews and even within his own party debates does not engender confidence.  He does not always seem sure of his own positions, ducks opportunities to hit his opponents, and leaves a general feeling of “meh.”  In following the party more closely this cycle than in the past, I was deeply bothered by the lack of acceptance of outsiders that were interested in the party message, bizarre factions, and general animosity to real solutions that involved any kind of compromise.  Further, I do subscribe to the belief that a vote for a third party (whether it be Libertarian, Green, etc), does split the vote share and can hurt the major party candidate closer to one’s own ideals.  I encourage people to vote and to vote their conscience, but I cannot vote third party at the top of the ballot.

In discussing Secretary Clinton (D), I will begin by saying that while much of my personal ideology is quite different than hers, her presidency does not outright terrify me – but it does bother me.  I do not want to see an expansion of government – it goes against my entire personal political ideology – helmed by the leader of a party who thrives on division.  Expansion of government inherently means reduction of freedom and the Democratic Party depends on an “us versus them” mentality to secure votes.

But mostly, I have decided that I refuse to participate in a coronation of someone with a questionable character, who is treated differently than the average American, just because of place of power and gender.

The Clintons are finely tuned politicians – policy stances and statements are carefully crafted based on polling.  Their actions change to conform as needed to appease those who will let them hold on to power.  In many ways, President Bill Clinton was open to compromise  with members of the other major party, which I would argue is more than the current administration (not to mention putting himself in compromising positions).  Granted, some of the Clinton presidency policy actions may have had long reaching negative repercussions (example: the mortgage crisis ); many would still consider him a moderate Democrat.  I have opted to leave out discussion of the accusations, indiscretions, and impeachment of Pres. Clinton (for today).

Focusing on candidate Secretary Clinton (D), a few key words: Benghazi, email investigation.  Many fellow news junkies are already experiencing fatigue from hearing these words in the news cycle – others, who have already fully formed their voting decisions (or just revile at the idea of voting for anyone other than a Democrat) shut down upon seeing them.  I won’t continue to spout what every pundit has already said – but I will explain how these items impacted my decision.  I’ve learned by now that the significance of the attack on the Benghazi embassy is lost on many – and there are arguably many that should bear blame.  The U.S House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi has released its report (you can read all 800 pages here, however, I will not pretend I’ve bothered to commit the time).  Note that the committee managed to report on this long investigation while dealing with major delays in release of pertinent documents from the current administration (how’s that for transparency?).  I cannot fathom Sec. Clinton’s choice of words during a hearing: “What difference at this point does it make?” (LINK). Taken in context, it may sound slightly less heartless.  However, I would challenge you to make that argument to the families of those that were lost that night.  The problem is not with the words themselves, but to be the head of the State Department and choose to be unaware of the embassy needs, in an unstable country, then to blame what is now generally regarded as a premeditated terrorist attack on a poorly made anti-Islam YouTube video.  To cover up the breakdown of Libya and deaths of Americans assigned there by blaming a video, is untruthful and shameful.  There is some debate as to whether this claim was made directly to the family members of those killed.  The fact that there is a question is unacceptable to me.

By now, I believe everyone in the country has heard reference to Sec. Clinton’s emails.  The FBI Director did find that she and her lawyers misled investigators and the public.  They found her to be “extremely careless” – however, the agency did not recommend charges.   We can ponder whether the decision to use personal email and a personal server was just ignorance and laziness (one offered explanation was so she would only have to carry one device) or a bit more nefarious: to intentionally skirt FOIA and other document requirements.  What matters the most here, is how would any other citizen or member of government be treated?  Some point to Gen. Patraeus as an example, but I will cede there are some differences in their cases.  As an individual who has served in the military with a security clearance, been trained on classified information handling, and exposed to sensitive information – I will tell you, I believe to my core, that had I done the same as Sec. Clinton, I would have been prosecuted or at a minimum had my clearance stripped, as other service members have.  (Read more about how others are treated here.)  As a matter of fact, a Marine, currently facing legal challenges that will force him out of the military will be citing the Clinton case to fight his involuntary discharge.  In his case, it wasn’t carelessness or laziness that sparked the charges against him – it was his attempt to warn others of an imminent threat.  If she got a pass, why should he not for attempting to save lives?  While he is not facing criminal charges, he was investigated by NCIS and is facing being kicked out of the Marines.  I assure you these are not the only examples – access to classified information and retaining a security clearance are serious issues, which can result in actual damages to national security and loss of life.  Last I checked, ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking the law, nor is motivation for the violation part of the decision (besides, I would argue on behalf of the Marine if we are going to talk about intent).

Secretary Clinton is a woman, and so am I – however that does not obligate me to share her beliefs or vote for her.  That does not mean I wouldn’t love to see a woman president – but gender and race are not deciding factors for myself.

On to Donald Trump (R) – who has managed to break so many accepted campaign rules, but still gain the party nomination – passed 17 other primary candidates (while I was rooting for the party to finally embrace Rand Paul).  I will argue that despite the official label now, and despite what he’s said in the past – he is not much of a Republican.  He wavers on healthcare, other than accurately being certain the Affordable Care Act is not working.  I raise an eyebrow on his comments on trade (tariffs, etc) as I am more of a free-market type of girl.  I believe that I as an individual can better use my income than a government agency.   While our immigration system is undeniably broken, I do not consider a wall priority one.  I have not seen evidence that he is a racist. I have not seen evidence that he is sexist.  I do not foresee him pursuing any policies that would challenge major the major Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade (abortion) or Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage) – which often appear to be the primary focuses of the less politically-minded population.  I do vehemently support free speech (even if it hurts your feelings) and we all know that he agrees.   I support law enforcement and military, which he purports to, as well.  Hopefully, the problems in the Veterans Administration will be addressed regardless of who wins in November.   His stances are not as “small government” – less intrusive in daily life – as I would like, and argue are at the true core of the Republican Party (fiscal responsibility).  I certainly cannot deny that his speaking is hugely mock-able and his public demeanor can be painful to watch, and his social media style distasteful. I do not think he has a good grasp on what is actionable by the president, and he speaks off the cuff without the necessary background information.  A lot of us do these things, but a lot of us are not running for president.  I do believe his focus would be on the economy – he is a businessman, it serves his interest – and national security, it serves economic interest as well.  Regardless, as what I am seeing may be what I want to see – I will wrap up with this – Trump has pursued many business endeavors; some failed, some succeeded.  Many successful people in business and sports alike subscribe to a similar creed that they credit with their success: surround yourself with people smarter than you.  Despite his flubs and misstatements and a deficiency in likeability, as a businessman, Trump should be expected to surround himself with a well-versed team to advise him should he win the presidency.  I dislike the “Make America Great Again” slogan, as it is based on the premise that America is not currently great.  America is a great country, but of course, it could always be better.

Before you judge too harshly, I assure you that I will likely need to take a shower after casting this (likely) vote.

And if you still do not feel any better and think we are facing the end of the U.S. as we know it, you can just read this or check out how your taxes may look.

“You are entitled to nothing” – Frank Underwood, House of Cards

 

Guest Blogger Diana Cox is a self-proclaimed news junkie and has a Masters of Arts in Political Science from University of Texas at Dallas.  In addition to working full-time for a small business in the entertainment industry, she is an adjunct faculty member at Tarrant County College where she teaches Texas Government.  Diana served in the Texas Army National Guard for six years as a human resources officer.  She is in a band with (and married to) the weirdo who runs this blog.

The 5 Day Taco Bell Cleanse

By: Dave Cox

There are lots of fad cleanses out there. Some are 3 days, some 5, some 7 and some even go all the way up to 15 days. Some involve kale, green smoothies, cabbage soup and all kinds of other unsavory foods and shakes. If you’re lucky enough to survive any of these detox diets, your psyche will forever be damaged because of the horrible things that you had to put into your body. I had finally seen enough of these ridiculous fads, so I developed my own plan.  I hope you like it. It’s called the “5 Day Taco Bell Cleanse.”

Initially, I was going to call it the “5 Day Bean Burrito Cleanse” but my extensive research found that there is something special in the Taco Bell bean burrito that makes this cleanse such a success. The process is quite simple and the results are phenomenal. Just follow my simple 5 day plan below and you’ll be on your way to a brand new you!

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Day 1 – GETTING STARTED

Breakfast: You’ll have to skip breakfast on Day 1 because bean burritos are not available on the Taco Bell breakfast menu. Drink lots of water and one extra large Diet Pepsi to jump start your metabolism. Hang in there! Lunch will be here before you know it.

Lunch: 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of mild sauce and one medium Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Enjoy your first meal on the 5 Day Taco Bell Cleanse! Taco Bell bean burritos are magic. Use 3 packets of mild sauce (very important) on each burrito. You’ll feel quite full and satisfied for a couple of hours. As soon as you start to feel a little hungry, you’ll feel some gas pains. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Depending on how frequently you’ve eaten Taco Bell in the past, you may or may not need to spend some time in the bathroom. This is the beginning of getting those toxins out of your system.

Dinner: Order 3 Taco Bell bean burritos and put 1 in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow. For dinner, you’ll have 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of hot sauce and one large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Note: Diet Pepsi is ideal, but substitute unsweetened tea if necessary. Use 3 packets of hot sauce on each burrito. This is when you will begin to understand the magnitude of the 5 Day Taco Bell Cleanse! Approximately one hour after eating the burritos and finishing your Diet Pepsi, you will spend some quality time in the bathroom. Everything that you have eaten today will leave your body and then some. The cleanse is working already! Pat yourself on the back because you made it through Day 1.  

Day 2 – FIRST FULL DAY

Breakfast: Grab the extra bean burrito that you ordered last night. You can heat it in the microwave or eat it cold. It’s up to you because this is YOUR cleanse! No sauce at breakfast. Drink 2 large cups of black coffee with your bean burrito, followed by one 8 ounce glass of water to jump start your metabolism. You’re now ready to take on the day, and the bathroom.

Lunch: 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of hot sauce and one medium Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 3 packets of hot sauce (very important) on each burrito. You’ll feel quite full and satisfied for a couple of hours. As soon as you start to feel a little hungry, you’ll feel those gas pains like you felt yesterday, but they might be a little stronger this time. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Your body is beginning to expel significantly more matter than you have taken in. The metabolic process occurring to break down the bean burritos is starting to break free years of waste that is stuck in your large intestine and bowels.

Dinner: Order 3 Taco Bell bean burritos and put 1 in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow. For dinner, you’ll have 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of fire sauce and one large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 3 packets of fire sauce on each burrito. Approximately one hour after eating the burritos and finishing your Diet Pepsi, you will spend some time in the bathroom again. Everything that you have eaten today will leave your body plus a whole lot more! The cleanse is is now expelling 33% more calories than you took in today. Pat yourself on the back because you made it through Day 2.  

Day 3 – HELL TO PAY  

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I’m not going to sugar coat this – Day 3 is not going to be fun. Your body is beginning to deplete its reserves because of all the excess matter being evacuated. You will most likely begin to experience some discomfort in the bathroom, so you might want to get some baby wipes. It’s also VERY important to stay hydrated during the rest of the 5 Day Taco Bell Cleanse, so please drink lots of Diet Pepsi, coffee and as much water as you want.

Breakfast: Grab the extra bean burrito that you ordered last night. You can heat it in the microwave or eat it cold. It’s up to you because this is YOUR cleanse! No sauce at breakfast. Drink 2 large cups of black coffee with your bean burrito, followed by one 8 ounce glass of water to jump start your metabolism. You’re now ready to take on the day, and the bathroom.

Lunch: 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of fire sauce and one medium Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 3 packets of mild sauce (very important) on each burrito. You’ll feel quite full and satisfied for a couple of hours. As soon as you start to feel a little hungry, you’ll feel those gas pains like you felt yesterday, but they’ll be much stronger this time. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Your body is expelling significantly more matter than you have taken in. The metabolic process occurring to break down the bean burritos is chasing those toxins from your body at a remarkable rate.

Dinner: Order 3 Taco Bell bean burritos and put 1 in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow. For dinner, you’ll have 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of fire sauce and one large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 3 packets of fire sauce on each burrito. Approximately one hour after eating the burritos and finishing your Diet Pepsi, you will spend several hours in the bathroom. Everything that you have eaten today will leave your body plus a whole lot more! The cleanse is is now expelling 66% more calories than you took in today. Pat yourself on the back because you made it through Day 3.  

Day 4 – DEAR GOD, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?!?

Day 4 is brutal – plain and simple. Your body is thoroughly confused because it has never seen such a fuel source more efficient than a Taco Bell bean burrito. You might even have to go to the bathroom BEFORE you finish a meal. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably woke up last night, at least once, for some bonus cleansing. It’s that good, folks!   .

Breakfast: Grab the extra bean burrito that you ordered last night. You can heat it in the microwave or eat it cold. No sauce at breakfast. Drink 2 large cups of black coffee with your bean burrito, followed by one 8 ounce glass of water to jump start your metabolism. You’re now ready to take on the day, and the bathroom is eagerly awaiting your first visit.

Lunch: 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 6 packets of fire sauce and one large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 3 packets of fire sauce (very important) on each burrito. You’ll feel quite full and satisfied for a couple of hours. As soon as you start to feel a little hungry, you’ll feel those gas pains like you felt yesterday, but they might be a little stronger this time. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Your body is beginning to expel significantly more matter than you have taken in. The metabolic process occurring to break down the bean burritos is starting to break free years of waste that is stuck in your large intestine and bowels.

Dinner: Order 3 Taco Bell bean burritos and put 1 in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow. For dinner, you’ll have 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 8 packets of fire sauce and one large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 4 packets of fire sauce on each burrito. Approximately 2 minutes after eating the burritos and finishing your Diet Pepsi, you will spend some emergency time in the bathroom. Everything that you have eaten today will leave your body plus a whole lot more! The cleanse is is now expelling a miraculous 79% more calories than you took in today. Pat yourself on the back because you made it through Day 4.  

Day 5 – DAY OF RECKONING

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This is the final day of the 5 Day Taco Bell Cleanse. By now, you’re probably wearing your best pair of athletic shoes and you have a pack of baby wipes in your pocket. Your coworkers are probably a little annoyed at what has happened in the bathroom this week, but they’re also jealous because you’re a lean, mean Taco Bell bean burrito eating machine. Hang in there. Today is not going to be easy. No pain, no gain. Note: You’ll incorporate diablo sauce on the final day of your cleanse!

Breakfast: Grab the extra bean burrito that you ordered last night. You can heat it in the microwave or eat it cold. No sauce at breakfast. Drink 4 large cups of black coffee with your bean burrito, followed by one 8 ounce glass of water to jump start your metabolism. You’re now ready to take on the day, and, let’s face it, you probably had to eat this meal while sitting on the toilet. How efficient is that, by the way? Food in and food out at the same time!

Lunch: 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 8 packets of diablo sauce and one extra large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 4 packets of volcano sauce on each burrito. Chances are, you will also eat this meal on the toilet. Don’t worry, you only have one more meal to go! Your body is fighting you, but only because it never knew it cold be this efficient. The metabolic process has completely cleaned your large intestines and bowels and you are now metabolizing significant amounts of body fat. Sure, it hurts, but you’re almost done.

Dinner: . For dinner, you’ll have 2 Taco Bell bean burritos, 12 packets of diablo sauce and one extra large Diet Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea. Use 6 packets of diablo sauce on each burrito. Your body is fighting you, but you’re almost done. The cleanse is is now expelling a miraculous 233% more calories than you took in today. You probably left work at lunchtime and have spent the rest of the day in the bathroom. You made your spouse go grab these last two burritos for you, but YOU MADE IT! When you wake up tomorrow, you will know that you transformed your body in 5 short days. Congrats!!

CONCLUSION

So, there you have it. The most simple and effective 5 Day Cleanse on the market today.  And the cost is unbeatable. You purchased a total of 24 bean burritos at approximately $1 each, 10 Diet Pepsi’s (or unsweetened iced teas) at approximately $1.30 each, 4 packs of baby wipes for $5 each and one pack of new underpants at $17.  For $72 (less than the cost of 5 days of groceries) you are a brand new person!!!  YOU DID IT!!!