If you're going to bother looking at these websites, you might as well be registered to vote. I'm certainly not convinced that voting makes a difference on the national level, since both majority political parties are so close together in philosophy it is sometimes hard to tell them apart. However, since it only takes a few minutes one day a year to vote, I do it anyway. If you need to register to vote, there's a website where you can go and start the registration process. Just visit http://www.beavoter.org/ and get registered.
Probably the best source on the net for information on candidates and other political issues is Project Vote Smart. PVS takes an unbiased opinion towards candidates, and simply makes available as much information as possible for over 13,000 candidates in the US, from the president on down to state government. If you're interested in finding out what the candidates think based on their past actions, this is the place to visit. Project Vote Smart is at http://www.vote-smart.org/ .
Open Secrets is another site that simply provides the facts. In this case, they give you a list of where each candidate gets their campaign contributions, how much money they've received, and how much they've spent. You'll find out who really owns the candidates. Open Secrets is at http://www.opensecrets.org/ .
The League of Women Voters is another nonpartisan group that offers information on the candidates' positions on the issues. They help sponsor The Democracy Network website at http://www.dnet.org/ that also offers information on state and national candidates. The DNet site is also sponsored by grassroots.com (http://www.grassroots.com/) which is a site that helps citizens connect with their government. They also have columns, one of which is written by Michael Moore (of Roger & Me fame).
Those sites should give you a good start on the candidates. Now, how about a few sites that take aim at G Dubya Bush? First off is The Bush Files (http://www.bushfiles.com/), which offers up a collection of newspaper columns that are critical of Bush -- both his policies in Texas and things he's said and done in his past. A lot of interesting reading is contained there.
Another anti-Bush site is The Partnership for a Bush Free America at http://www.jug-or-not.com/pbfa/ . This site is a collection of links to other sites that discuss shady business dealings, lies, and other stuff the Bush family doesn't want you to know. Actually, Bush looks like almost any other politician. Big surprise.
Finally, for a bit of fun, visit the W. Dance page at http://www.gwbush.com/wdance/ . I'm not gonna tell you what's there -- you'll have to find out for yourself. Have fun.
Okay, enough with the politics already. I'm going to finish up with a few punk rock websites for your enjoyment, starting off with one I first mentioned in 1996 -- and it just keeps getting bigger and better all the time. I'm talking about World Wide Punk, and if you haven't been there before you've really missed out. World Wide Punk contains more links than you'll ever have time to look at, along with reviews, interviews, message boards, and more. Visit it now and often -- http://www.worldwidepunk.com/ .
World Wide Punk should be heading the list at Top 25 Punk sites, and it doesn't even show up. Who knows? Anyway, you can find out what's on the list right now by visiting http://server27.hypermart.net/punxnot/cgi-bin/topsites//topsites.html .
A regional website that features information on Northwest US bands is Northwest Punk at http://www.northwestpunk.com/ . They are basically a resource list for all things punk rock in Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver, BC. Quite a bit here, though not extensive.
I got e-mail from spbclub touting their website, so I went to visit it, and guess what? It is written in Cyrillic. I have no idea what is going on at this site, but if you know the Russian language and want to brush up on things, visit http://www.spbclub.cool.ru/ .
Aversion is an interesting website, if only because their review section seems to pan every punk album they listen to, even though they bill themselves as a source for Rock, Punk, and Indie music. If they hate punk so much, why bother covering it. Still, it warms my heart to see a jaded rock critic pan J Church or the Dropkick Murphys. Visit Aversion at http://www.aversion.com/ -- just donít expect to like what you read.
Digital Independence is a new web "portal" that is supposed to be a resource for all indie media, including films, comics, magazines, bands, and more. If you have a site, bands, or whatever, get yourself listed here. Remember, the more places you're listed, the more people will find your site to hear your band, see what you have to say, or whatever. Digital Independence is found at http://www.digitalindependence.org/ .
I'm going to finish up the column this month by mentioning the legendary Cleveland, Ohio band The Pagans. The http://www.geocities.com/pagan_pages/ website is a four part biography written by vocalist Mike Hudson, as well as a complete official discography and links to other sites about 70's punk rock. Unfortunately, there are no sound files. Still, worth a visit for a taste of history.
That's gonna wrap it up for this month. Remember to send your site recommendations my way -- firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.diehippiedie.com for my past, present, and future columns. And, as always, my mailbox is at PO Box 8059; Santa Cruz CA 95061. See ya.