All the Presidents, Man

Over the course of 28 days, three dudes in Northern California did all 42 past U.S. presidents.

With large doses of insanity suspectedly involved, songwriters Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken, and Jefferson Pitcher self-produced and recorded 14 songs a piece, each number based on the tenure of an American president.

abraham lincolnCompleted as part of February Album Writing Month, this particular project is deserving of wider recognition, especially at a time when our current president is actively re-classifying historical records in an effort to manipulate his own legacy. The trio intends to salute the Commander with a final song for the project, tentatively slated for proper release in late 2006.

Audio files and complete liner notes including lyrics for each track are available for free here. None of these are little ditties — they are complete songs and run as long as seven minutes. The lyrics and melody in Kiefer’s “Eisenhower (When Ike Walked the Land)” put the listener quite literally in the landscape of suburbanization and black and white TV:

We made a fence / painted it white / made the kids all fear God / and Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll / sold lots of radios.

Jeff Pitcher’s rich ode to the demise of President William Henry Harrison could bring someone to tears, if only they weren’t aware that he is widely regarded as maybe THE worst president in history, or had they not at least read Pitcher’s extensive commentary in the notes:

William Henry Harrison was an incredibly horrible and atrocious piece of shit… who was ultimately responsible for a big portion of the genocide of native americans….

The cut cuts deep.

Warren G. Harding may have been in and out before his first term was up, but as Matt Gerken explains in verse, we can thank him for establishing the chronyist corporatocracy we know so well:

The cabinet was a board room / Business leaders / Hobby policymakers / Protecting their interests / Making sure life is harder / For the rest of us / Just like today

I don’t post about music as much as I’d like, but once I downloaded the tracks and listened, I was pretty floored. Not since unwrapping the most recent gift of historical manifestations from Surfjan Stevens had I remembered that the dullest of stories could be brought to light in bright melodies.

Kudos, gentlemen for the incredible feat of not only writing one song for each of our 42 past presidents, but for creating AND laying down the tracks all within the course of our shortest month! Readers — check it out, this is far and away the best history lesson out there since Jon Stewart’s America.

Track 43 may prove to be epic… I can’t wait.

Condi Gets in Shape… for Gitmo?

After a very successful week of live workouts for the D.C. morning news, Condoleezza Rice has decided to take test her newfound hardbodity by training on the grounds of the only U.S. Naval base in Communist territory, “a highly successful stop for many Naval ships looking for a place for their crews to rest and relax.”

Creator of the Public Diplomacy Press Review (which I dutifully promo multiple times/week here) John Brown posted this hilarious essay at Selves and Others in which he warns Sec. Rice, of among other things, the program’s “revolutionary anti-exercise exercise program.”

I’m pretty certain Spike Lee is biting his tongue on this one, as he is already published as telling Condi to “stop smoking that crack” in the April Stuff magazine. Elsewhere, Condi’s “husband” President Bush continues making unilateral decisions regarding who is good and who is evil, with no regard (or knowledge)? of how parties such as his new friend Pervez Musharraf came to power (coup, but at least he’s not Taliban) and still apparently not briefed on the NPT.

Back home, the White House continues erasing history, or is it just threatening the messengers. And now even Tony Blair is saying “God made me do it” in reference to Iraq.

Sunday morning’s best: Rep. John Murtha on Face the Nation. (transcript) (video).

Addition by Detraction

I just got the memo — and at the risk of being classified a “determined detractor,” I want ON Rummy’s “electronic media engagement team.”

Because the best offense is the defense of the known unknowns.

“Fewer than 10 blogs written by those who oppose U.S. operations, which CENTCOM calls “determined detractors,” have established links, [CENTCOM’s Lt. Col. Richard McNorton] said.”

On Thursday Rumsfeld drew comparisons to the Truman years of the Cold War: “the future then too was unclear, the tasks often seemed insurmountable, and it was difficult to view things with the perspective that only history can offer.”

So Commie pinkos will be damned, we PATRIOTs shall spread nukes to whomever doesn’t yet want us dead — maybe they too will discover a “hopeful” existence, perhaps some sort of Asian democracy.centcom

McNorton: “‘The enemy’ even ha[s] virtual Caliphates. We were so far behind the curve,”

Sign me UP — and lift us up where we belong!

‘Four years, five months, 18 days and counting’

President Bush actually had the gall to make a surprise visit to Afghanistan Wednesday, where he was lambasted by journalists (only four questions were allowed) in a country which he considers to be one of his more successful pet projects.

The blinders, however were on full-force, when he responded to criticism (ahem, bin Laden… deteriorating security situation since U.S. troops left) with this robotic statement:

“….[W]e’re bringing the people to justice, and the world is better for it, as a result of our steady progress.”

Read Froomkin for the full recap.

Also…. more in-depth criticism of the NSA scandal has prompted AG Gonzales to attempt to clarify his testimony. And a survey reveals that 2/3 of the country finds Bush’s sidestepping FISA to be “clearly” illegal.