Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good for Abbie Boudreau...

She wisely walked away from James O'Keefe before he could begin his latest ignorant prank diminishing and harassing her. As Abbie describes it:

...Recently, I was the target of a failed punk. James O'Keefe, the so-called "pimp" in the ACORN expose videos, was participating in a detailed plan to "faux" seduce me on his boat. For months, I had been working on a documentary about the young conservative movement. James had called me about concerns he had regarding an upcoming shoot. He asked me to meet him to talk about the shoot. I agreed to fly to Maryland and then drive to his "office" for a face-to-face conversation with him

When I showed up, there was no office, as promised. Instead, he wanted to get me on a boat, which we later learned, was staged as a "pleasure palace." One of his colleagues, Izzy Santa, who was in Maryland that day, told me about the plan and stopped the punk before it happened.

Izzy told me he had "strawberries and champagne" waiting for me on the boat, and that he planned to "hit on me" the entire time. She said it would all be captured on hidden cameras that had been set up on the boat and in the back yard. She said the sole purpose of the "punk" was to embarrass me, and to make CNN look bad...


Well, ya gotta admit, CNN can manage to look bad all by itself -- it doesn't need anyone's help. But CNN looks pretty good this time. At least one news outlet has finally gotten wise to that little right-wing piss-ant O'Keefe and the games he plays. Before this latest high-profile stunt of his, there was the time he and some cohorts entered Senator Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans under false pretenses, disguised as phone technicians. Before that, there were his highly edited ACORN videos in which he and an accomplice dressed up as a pimp and a hooker respectively, and tried to solicit information from ACORN employees on subjects such as child prostitution and tax evasion. Before that, there were those Planned Parenthood audio recordings in which he posed as a donor seeking to fund the abortions of minorities.

And this guy has the nerve to call his new "muckraking" venture Project Veritas -- veritas being Latin for "truth." I guess you have to be a Young Conservative to understand how to report the truth by means of gross deception, because I can't follow O'Keefe's logic behind that at all. Truth-teller my ass -- he's a fuckin' clown, plain and simple.

Here's some actual truth: in her few years with CNN, Abbie Boudreau has been doing more than a little damn fine reporting. As much as I've dumped on the mainstream media over the years, I still know, deep down, that there are lots of good people still working in the mainstream. The hard part is getting me to admit it like this. But for Boudreau, I'll admit it. She's one of the good ones. She chalks a good chunk of O'Keefe's game-playing up to raw sexism, and I agree...

...
I have worked so hard to have people pay attention to my work, and to be a respected journalist. I don't want to be judged based on anything other than my work. But apparently, I represent all of the things this group hates about the mainstream media. They feel because of the way I look that I do not matter, and that my reporting is a joke. They don't know anything about my work ethic – my history – my dedication and commitment – and my love for reporting. They just saw my blonde hair. And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette.


But I would also chalk a good deal of this up to the fact that Abbie Boudreau is one of the good journalists out there -- whereas James O'Keefe is just a...

Well, a punk.

* * *

"Out of curiosity" update: I wondered what the noise machinists over at Fox Noise had to say about this latest O'Keefe prank what this sorry-ass misogynist tried to do. The first thing I found on Google was this post saying some on the Left suspected that Fox was involved in the prank plot. Apparently that's not the case, and frankly, that thought never crossed my mind:

“...FOX News had no knowledge of the stunt and no one on any of the news or opinion shows were contacted about it.”


What I wanted to know, though, was what Fox had to say about all this, nothing more or less. So I put a clothespin on my nose and went to its website. As of 11 PM, the first article listed concerned ACORN, and that story is no longer available. Nothing about Abbie Boudreau. Maybe that's changed since I wrote this update and they're talking about it now -- you can check for yourself.

I'm not leaving on the light, though...

* * *

"Strike" update: I saw lots of other bloggers saying it's really wrong to label what O'Keefe tried to do to Bordeau a prank, and gradually, I realized they were right. What he planned to do approaches sexual predation. I mean, there were dildos, condoms, porno magazines, posters of nude women, and handcuffs on that boat he wanted Bordeau to get on. Given that O'Keefe is demonstrably a wingnut with some reptillian-brain attitudes toward women and that handcuffs were on board, I wouldn't be surprised if there were whips, chains, and a ball with a leather strap in this sordid tale as well. We learned a whole lot about James O'Keefe yesterday, including some things we didn't need to know.

Then I came back here, and saw that I'd called his attempt to completely humiliate Abbie Bordeau a prank three times. Obviously, I couldn't let that stand. So I edited the post in those places. I'm not insensitive.

I'm just a little too slow...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Am No Longer A "Progressive", Part Whatever...

John Cole of Balloon Juice takes FDL's Jane Hamsher down a notch by correctly calling bullshit on her assertion that 1) he was a member of the now-defunct JournoList, and 2) the reason why he "cheered" what Jane called "the comfortable familiarity of a Republican health care bill" -- which, if you've been reading Balloon Juice on a daily basis for the last year and a half, as I have, you know is totally ridiculous. In fact, John's stance on that whole health care reform imbroglio, then and now, is one of the biggest reasons why I read his blog every day -- I supported the bill, with reservations, in very much the same way he did, but he explains it much better than I've ever been able to:

...I have repeatedly and consistently stated over and over again that I would prefer any health care bill penned by Jane, D-Day, Jon Walker, or any number of far more progressive bills- if they had any chance of passing. Unlike some, I am quite capable of counting to 60. There were never votes for the public option. I supported the HCR bill because it was better than the status quo. That’s it. If I had my way, I would nationalize the entire damned industry- my military healthcare was pretty damned good. I didn’t feel that way even a few years ago, but watching this healthcare debate opened my eyes to the basic fact that our system is a disaster and there are few incentives to cost-save. Even something as common sense as end of life counseling was demagogued to death. Hell, even the way we train doctors makes no damned sense...


The whole damned soap opera over health care reform opened my eyes as well. But not to the fact that the system was royally screwed up -- that I already knew. I realized that I was a pragmatist, whereas the bulk of people calling themselves progressives were more or less idealists. Well, an ideal is, basically, the conception of what something would look like in its perfect form. A principle, on the other hand, is a fundamental standard, something which is considered acceptable, yet clearly falls short of what would be considered ideal. But since we're all human, we're all destined to make mistakes, so while it may be nice to have one or more ideals we hold dear, the sad truth is, our ideals will never be realized, no matter how hard we labor to realize them. That's the basic human condition.

A lot of the self-styled progressives don't seem to realize the difference between ideals and principles. And Jane Hamsher just might be Exhibit A here. Seriously, what the hell was this? The only common cause that has ever existed among right-wing populists and left-wing populists in America is their anger at the powers that be. Thing is, the left-wing variety has always sprung from anger and frustration from sound perceptions of injustice and the desire to right those wrongs. Left-wing populism is reactive by definition -- you don't need to be Howard Zinn to know this.

The right-wing variety, however, is nothing of the sort. It is wholly artificial, and always has been. And the current iteration of this conservative "grassroots" movement calling itself the Tea Party is being funded in large part by two of the ten richest men in America, Charles and David Koch. You can't get much more un-grassroots than that -- and I can't help wondering what's running through Jane Hamsher's mind these days now that that connection has been exposed.

The next time she starts lecturing anyone on principles, someone should just tell her to stop digging...


The Truth...

I never was very good at being a progressive. Not that I never tried -- I did call myself that for a few years. But I suck at it. Always have sucked at it.

My 2 cents...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's Game Time...

And this is a devious one: Wordspector. This game is a curious cross between Mastermind and Scrabble -- letters are substituted for the colored pegs from the former, and you have a limited set of letters you can use at any time, as is the case with the latter (although in Wordspector, there are sixteen letters in your "rack" instead of seven, so you have much more flexibility -- and, you can use one letter more than once).

The devious aspect of this game is, as you progress, the words you need to come up with get longer. By about level twelve, you start to think you've bitten off more than you can chew -- and I won't even get into what every other bonus level is like, you'll just have to deal with that yourself.

Anyway, enjoy the game. If you can...

* * *

Sort of cool update: I just scored over 1,400,000 on this game, and that got me into the top 100 scorers' list at 76. Turns out if you go through each level without running out of time, your final score is doubled. It doesn't mean a thing, really, but I did crack the top 100.

Not bad...

More Good News...

That's the second federal judge to rule that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is unconstitutional:

SEATTLE – A U.S. federal court today ruled in favor of Major Margaret Witt, a decorated U.S. Air Force flight nurse who had been dismissed under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy because she is a lesbian, and ordered the U.S. Air Force to reinstate her. After six days of trial, Judge Robert Leighton found that Major Witt's sexual orientation does not negatively impact unit morale or cohesion. ACLU of Washington attorneys have represented Major Witt since her case began in 2006.

"Today we heard the hammer of justice strike for Major Margaret Witt," said Kathleen Taylor, Executive Director of the ACLU of Washington. "We look forward to the day when all members of our military can serve our country without invidious discrimination. To discharge Major Witt simply because of her sexual orientation was entirely unfair to her and unwise for the military, which needs her significant skills."

The first breakthrough in the case came in 2008 when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Air Force must prove that discharging Major Witt is necessary for purposes of military readiness. Although the ruling left in place the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, it sent the case back to the trial court saying that before discharging a soldier under the policy, the military must prove that the individual's conduct actually hurts morale and unit cohesion. This requirement is now known as the "Witt Standard."

"I want to serve my country. I have loved being in the military – my fellow airmen have been my family. I am proud of my career and want to continue doing my job," said Major Witt. "Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me"...


Never mind what may or may not happen in November. On this count, times are changing, whether the homophobes damn well like it or not. If they don't want to change with the times, they won't -- and basically, the rest of us aren't going to care. We'll just leave them behind...


Blow Me Or Rim Me, Take Your Pick...

Last month, I wrote this post about this guy I met over at Fur Affinity. He's an alcoholic and a drug addict, and at the time, I feared he was one of those poor souls who was just plain destined to die young.

Now, I'm thinking I may have been wrong -- and boy, am I hoping that I am. He recently posted an FA journal entry that suggested he was doing a lot better now. In it, he mentioned dealing with depression, a subject I am all too familiar with. And that prompted me to leave this comment:

I don't get depressed anymore. I just get older. And having recently turned 40, I've noticed something about the aging process that I think is kick-ass: the older I get, the less of a shit I give.

I am actually looking forward to being an old man one day now. It certainly won't be easy, but it just might be more fun than I ever imagined it would be.

Having said all that, I hope you're trying to take better care of yourself in earnest now. Because one day, you're gonna be 40 as well. And life becomes a whole new ball game at that point, believe me...

I'm not kidding, depression doesn't work on me anymore. I may get boiling mad as hell or disturbingly hateful in reaction to something that strikes me as incurably and willfully stupid now and then, but not depressed. And that's because with every new day, I give just a little bit less of a shit about things. You can't get depressed if you don't give a shit, it seems.

Works for me.

Can't wait to see how this manifests itself on election day...

And Now, A New TV Show I Actually Like...

I've just finished watching the pilot episode of Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smits, on the MacBook. Part of the reason was, I like the way Smits acts, and I couldn't recall hearing anything new about him for quite some time. But mostly, I decided to watch it because they've advertised the hell out of this new show over at the Great Orange Satan twice this month, and I wanted to know what the big deal was. Markos has never done anything like that for a TV show before that I know of, and I've been sampling from his site for six years. Having seen the first episode, well...

My favorite kind of cake is chocolate, and my favorite ice cream flavor is butter pecan. Outlaw, to me, is a thick slab of chocolate cake served with three scoops of butter pecan ice cream. Nom nom nom nom!

I know it's just a TV show, designed for entertainment purposes only, but how can a guy who describes himself as a libertarian liberal, like me, not love this show? A conservative Supreme Court Justice quits the High Court, goes back into private practice, and takes on a seemingly impossible case that runs counter to everything he's ever stood for: representing an inmate convicted of murder near the very end of his Death Row run that he suspects is innocent when virtually all of the rest of the country thinks he's guilty. If you haven't seen this episode, I won't spoil it for you. But I do have to say that part of the outcome of the re-trial really surprised me. Did not see that coming, no sir.

I don't know what right-wingers have had to say about Outlaw. But my guess is, they probably don't care for it. And that's fine. They have their 24 reruns they can turn to whenever they want. When it comes to living in the past, right-wingers are without peer...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weird Hours...

I've probably worked every conceivable shift there is at some point by now. But what I'm doing these days is pretty unusual. I'm still working Monday through Friday in the pre-press department, but now I generally start around 10:45 AM and head home around 7:30 or 8 PM.

Do you know anyone else who does that?

The funny thing is, those hours are pretty damn good. If it was totally up to me, I'd work a second-shift schedule -- 2-10, or 3-11. I did that during most of the 90s, and those hours suited me perfectly. But it turns out I have a lot of flexibility I didn't think I had in the kind of work I'm doing now. Pre-press is our graphics department, responsible for the imaging, digital proofs, and plate-making aspects of the company. I have nothing at all to do with getting the images right -- hell, you have to go to college for that -- but I do carve up a good share of the proofs the operators go by, and I burn a hundred times more plates per week than everyone else at the print shop combined. The rest of the department are the graphics people; I'm pretty much just their manual laborer.

And yet I've found that if I can maintain a pace that is two or three days ahead of the pressroom's schedule, I can pretty much decide how I want to put in my forty hours-plus per week. The only reason I don't come in at 2 PM instead of 10:45 Am is, the scheduling process at that print shop is ridiculously fluid and unpredictable -- if I come in too late, then someone else in pre-press will have to address whatever odd situation comes up in the morning, and there are plenty of those. I don't want that -- we're all working harder than we were a couple years ago, from the CEO on down, thanks to the recession, and while I'm enjoying this new-found flexibility, I don't dare abuse the privilege. And anyway, this is a trial period. If it doesn't work out, I'll go back to coming in between 8 and 9.

But Jesus, I do hope it does work out...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oh, For Christ's Sake...

Via Nunya, Newt Gingrich supposedly thinks this should be a federal law:

The second morning of speeches at the Values Voter Summit here in DC was dominated by a man who is swiftly becoming the nation's spokesperson for Islamophobia -- former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Fresh off the release of his Islam-focused film "America At Risk," Gingrich told the crowd at VVS that it's time to take federal action to prevent Shariah Law from infiltrating courtrooms in the US.

"We should have a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States," Gingrich said to a standing ovation from the audience. The law will let judges know, Gingrich said, that "no judge will remain in office that tried to use sharia law."


I say he supposedly thinks this should be the case because the only thing Newt Gingrich has ever been truly been devoted to is Newt Gingrich. And if you don't believe me, fine, go and ask his first ex-wife -- or his second. This guy makes Glenn Beck look like an altruist.

As for his recent There Ought To Be A Law horseshit, well, I am definitely not a Constitutional scholar, but I still tend to think that there are at least two safeguards ensuring America won't become the next Saudi Arabia already in place. One of them is the first of five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...


In other words, no, Newtie, thou shalt have no Sharia law imposed, nor a federal ban on Sharia law in the courts. And there won't be any, uh, judicial activism to make it so, either. Turn to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution:

...The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour...


The way I'm reading this, "Good behaviour" includes Supreme Court justices not trying to do what the First Amendment forbids our creatures of Congress to do -- unless, that is, they want to get impeached. I don't know that for sure. But it seems to me, if some dipshit of a judge did try to make Sharia law a reality in this country, even the ACLU would be hard-pressed to defend his or her actions. Ain't gonna happen. And anybody on the far right who is seriously worried about this happening any time soon is obviously a faithless and empty shell of a poor used-teabag excuse for a human being.

Give me a fucking break already...

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Need A Drink...

Digby somehow manages to remind me of why I think of myself as a liberal who is getting really fed up with other liberals:


There's a lot of back and forth today about Obama's remark the other day at a big money fundraiser criticizing "Democrats" for failing to properly appreciate his accomplishments. Here's what he said:

Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particular derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.) We have had the most productive, progressive legislative session in at least a generation.



Well, I think at least one thing is clear. Robert Gibbs wasn't freelancing with his similar comments.

Regardless of whether you agree with Obama's characterization there, I think most people would agree that it's an odd way to fire up the troops. There seems to be some misapprehension on the part of the DC Dems that trying to browbeat people into appreciating you is smart politics. I'm thinking maybe a little ass kissing at this point might be a little bit more effective.


"A little ass kissing"? Obama's supposed to atone for his alleged sins against us the way Republicans who cross Rush Limbaugh atone for their critiques of him? Really?

Is that the part about the "progressives'" disaffection with Obama that I've been failing to comprehend all this time? Somebody please tell me that I'm reading this wrong, because I'm having a hard time convincing myself that I am. This would explain a lot.

Seriously. I have absolutely no idea what else is left to say here. Aside from wondering, okay, whatever -- if Obama doesn't kiss their asses, what are they going to do about it?

Frankly, I don't want to know the answer, though I'm afraid I already might...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

About King Crimson...

I don't understand at all why people who don't like King Crimson don't seem to hear what I hear when I listen to them. Maybe God just intended for me to go through life fucked in the head, I dunno. But when I listen to something like "Level Five," I rarely miss a beat...




All I know is, every time I hear KC doing the thing they do, whatever it is that makes my spirit tick gets a bit frisky. Every time. Hell if I know why.

Enjoy...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This Is Good...

For a change, President Obama did something that made the left-wing ideologues -- oh, excuse me, I meant the "progressives" -- quite happy: he named Elizabeth Warren to be the head of a new outfit known as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection:

...Sidestepping a Senate confirmation fight — for now — Obama stopped short of nominating Warren to head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Instead, his action will let the Harvard Law School professor and expert on bankruptcy to move quickly to shape the bureau.

The appointment will allow Warren, "a janitor's daughter," as Obama called her in a Rose Garden introduction, to recruit staff and initiate policies for regulating mortgages, student loans and other consumer-credit products. She also will have a voice in picking the first director, he said. The favorite among administration officials is Michael Barr, an assistant secretary of Treasury for financial institutions who is an authority on financial regulation and on services for low- and moderate-income households.

The interim role for Warren, 61, averts a political problem for Obama in this election season. Rejecting her would have angered many party liberals. Liberal and consumer groups had lobbied hard for her, along with some lawmakers, including Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Senate Republicans view Warren as too critical of Wall Street and big banks. The business and banking community opposed her as director of the new bureau, contending she would make the agency too aggressive...

Yeah, well, I would hope that that's the whole point of this new endeavor. Two years ago, we had to bail these greedy dickheads out to the tune of $700 billion, just to keep the American economy from collapsing completely. And they didn't appreciate the gesture -- they turned around and gave themselves billions in bonuses.

But if you criticized them for these actions, you were duly informed that you were attacking free enterprise itself. Uh-huh. And pigs are now growing wings, too. Free enterprise my ass -- anything with a $700 billion price tag looks pretty goddamned expensive to me.

Anyway, I hadn't been following this consumer advocacy aspect of politics with any measurable interest until I heard of Obama's announcement, mainly because every time I hear the words "Wall Street," my blood pressure begins to spike and I develop these awful headaches which I never used to get until this year. (I find, however, that listening to King Crimson helps to minimize them. You can tell just by looking over the Medley's current main page that I've had my share of headaches lately.) Thus, I had little idea of who Elizabeth Warren was.

Now that I'm almost up to speed here, I gotta say, I'm totally with the "progressives" when it comes to Warren. Furthermore, I hope this woman gives the Wall Street vipers and their Republican lackeys nightmares, ulcers, and incontinence. Maybe even a seizure or two. Hey, they got the money, right? Then they can afford to be hospitalized if necessary, without having to worry about breaking their own banks. Fuck 'em. There are tens of millions of working-class Americans going through worse every single day because of what these folks have done.

And just to end this post (it is getting kind of long, especially for early Saturday morning), here's a Daily Show clip of some of the things Warren has said, and will continue to say, about this rotten mess we're in. Do watch it. She is on the verge of gaining substantial power to do justice on behalf of working-class Americans, and offhand, I can't think of anybody else I'd rather see have that power. Elizabeth Warren is hitting all of the correct notes.

Also, this is one less thing for the "progressives" to bitch about. Mr. President? It's about damned time you dealt us a break from that...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Repeat Myself When Under Stress I Repeat Myself When Under Stress...

"Indiscipline" was my introduction to King Crimson, courtesy of my fellow high school graduating classmate and subsequent apartment sharer Mike some twenty years ago. At the time, I thought it sucked. But the more familiar I became with their repertoire, again thanks to Mike, the more I appreciated this song. People tend to go with their first impressions of whatever. In this case, I'm glad I got past my own first impression of this band...





Enjoy...

While I'm At It...

Moar King Crimson...



Just Moar.

Enjoy...

Larks' Tongues In Aspic...

Part 2:



Enjoy...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brother, You Said It...

Last weekend, I paid a visit to Phoenix Rising, which as far as I know is the only gay and lesbian bookstore left in Virginia. It had been more than a year since I'd dropped in on the place, so I was just grateful that it's still afloat in these crappy economic times. I consider this evidence that if there is a God, He is really hard but ultimately fair -- at least when He's dealing with His queer children.

Anyway, I bought a book while I was there: Michael Lassell's The Hard Way. He's a gay man now in his sixties who has spent the bulk of his adult life writing poetry, essays, and stories. The Hard Way was published in 1995. Every time I go to Phoenix Rising, I end up buying a book. Maybe that's because I'm a print-based person trapped in a television-based society -- when I'm interested in learning something important, I always fall back on books. Lately, I've been wanting to go back to my roots, so to speak -- as a gay guy now in his 40s, I find that I'm quite interested in the things gay guys who are old enough to be my father have to say about being gay in a country that is only now starting to understand on a broad scale that the 3-4 percent of us who are gay are human beings too, surprise surprise.

And at one point, I reached this paragraph:

Julian wore red clothing exclusively and lied even when the truth would have done him more good. Some say this was because he was too stupid to know the truth, or had forgotten it; but others think it was just Julian's way of making sense of the world, which apparently made little sense to him on its own terms. They say the truth will set you free. But maybe Julian didn't like the idea of freedom. I tell the truth all the time, and it hasn't set me free.

I didn't know how to describe the way that last sentence hit me when I read it. But it definitely hit me. It wasn't quite anger toward how I'd been lied to by people I'd trusted, but it wasn't quite the long-awaited epiphany it could have or should have been, either. But now I do know how to describe it...

It is what it is. Simple as that.

It's not exactly inspiring, I know. But it's funny how I manage to keep losing track of this simple fact of life, even temporarily. You'd think me being gay in a still-largely heteronormative society would keep that in mind at all times...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All King Crimson All The Time...

The Devil's Triangle...



Enjoy...

I Hate Like Hell To Have To Paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld...

But if you call yourself a disgusted liberal or a disgusted progressive these days, then tough crullers -- come November, you go to vote for the Democrats you have, not stay home because the Democrats you want aren't on the ballot. That's the best deal you're gonna get this year, like it or not. Gordon over at the Brain gets it:

I know that we're not particularly fond of the Democrats right now, but the alternative is far worse. Cheney was right when he said the American people get their chance to be heard every four years, or in this case, every two years. As distasteful and arrogant as that is, it's absolutely correct. If you still your voice by throwing away your vote, either by voting for unelectable third-party candidates or staying home in disgust, you are helping the Forces of Darkness who seem poised to turn out in record numbers.

...

If you remember the apt right now old joke about the people in Hell up to their necks in shit, if the Repugs get back in control, coffee break's over. Back on your knees.


Exactly.

Yes, every two years, we have to put the clothespins on our noses and do the same thing we've been doing once again. And yes, I'm getting tired of it, too. If someone has a better idea, though, then let's hear it. I've been waiting to hear a better idea for several years now.

Anybody? Bueller?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Don't Fight It, It's Over Your Head...

It's all right...



You wake up in your bed.

Enjoy...

This One's Easy...

From Rob Kall at OpEd News, link courtesy of Nunya:



...Obama and the Democrats were given historic powers-- a filibuster-proof majority in the senate, even. And they threw the power away. They wasted time, they made excuses. They were weak when they had to be strong. They sold out the middle class again and again.

So now, we have labor day for a skeletal working force. We have laws that allow, even encourage corporations to out-source jobs, not just low level jobs, but high-paying ones. No wonder there are millions of unemployed. No wonder the word is that those millions of jobs may never come back.

It used to be that labor day was a day to celebrate the worker. Perhaps now, we should seeing labor day as a memorial for the short time in American history when workers were honored and through their salaries and living wages, respected.

Perhaps, as David Letterman suggests, we should make Labor Day a celebration of the Chinese worker. Or maybe we should celebrate the worker in America before Bill Clinton signed globalization agreements like WTO and NAFTA, which, as Ross Perot accurately predicted, created that great sucking sound of millions of lost jobs.

I don't understand why the millions of unemployed have not rised up and made a lot of noise-- a hell of a lot of noise. Where are their spines? Have they been beated down so badly that they can't speak up, stand up and insist that the White House and congress do at least as good a job rescuing them as they did the banksters...


I do understand why there hasn't been a massive uprising over all those lost jobs. But before I get to that, I need to point out a couple other things.

First, this business of Obama and the Dems "selling us out." As Rob would say, bullshit. Remember all those people who celebrated in streets all over the country after it was announced that Obama had won the election? That was a big mistake on their part, not because Obama misled them over and over again during his campaign (he didn't, actually -- in fact, as politicians go, he's been surprisingly honest so far), but because when he spoke, his supporters tended to hear what they wanted to hear, whether or not it lined up with what he was saying. You can blame part of that on Obama's gift for eloquent and persuasive speech -- hell, even I was under that spell for a while after his more perfect union speech. That's one for the history textbooks. But I wasn't dancing in the streets that night in 2008, nor did I desire to dance. I was just glad the winner wasn't McCain, with that insufferably brainless Sarah Palin one cardiac arrest away from the Oval Office.

Yes, Obama has been disappointing for me in many ways, which I will not even bother to list -- contrary to certain common perceptions, I'm not into self-flagellation. But I don't go around saying he sold me out, for two reasons: 1) I simply don't feel that way, and 2) those who do feel that way would probably also get mad at W. C. Fields for suckering them. With Obama, we're getting pretty much what he told us to expect. He didn't trick his supporters; they tricked themselves.

And second, I don't like the fact that American workers are increasingly being treated like crap by American corporations any more than anyone else does, but you know what? This has been going on for at least thirty years. Not only that, millions of working-class Americans have taken this strange delight in it, manifested in large part by their record of voting Republican year after year, decade after decade, in flagrant violation of their own interests, and oblivious to their own stupidity.

I have stories about such people. Like "R. C." He was the working-class mechanic who once said to me, with a smile, "Unions are a thing of the past." Which is funny. See, if he'd had a union job with good pay, he might have been able to afford that five-figure boat he bought with money he didn't have -- the same boat he later tried to sell via roadside advertisement when money got tight. Or "D. K." the husband with three kids who complained about his mortgage payments but voted Republican because he was against abortion. Last I heard, he was up to four kids, he'd been laid off, and he'd lost his home. Probably voted for McCain two years ago anyway -- I've heard him use the N-word before, on top of everything else. Or "D. S." the completely-defeated-looking senior citizen, Rush Limbaugh devotee, and newly minted teabagger who called me a Communist because the books I've read include Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. No, really! Atlas Shrugged! The former book because since Zinn died, the FBI has released hundreds of pages from its files alleging Zinn may have been a Communist, so obviously I must be one too. And the latter book because I have yet to convert to teabaggery even after reading it, so somehow, in this guy's version of a mind, that makes me a card-carrying Commie.

Yeah, well, I've also read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. If you want to scare the hell out of yourself, give that one a read. And then ask me what I think of the teabaggers' and the Far Right's opinions. You can bitch and holler all you want at me about how our leaders lie to us through their teeth. But if others want to be lied to, what can either of us do about it? Far as I can tell, not a goddamned thing.

Which brings me to Rob Kall's mystery. "Where are their spines?" he wonders of the millions of unemployed working-class Americans. My answer, in light of all the self-destructive activity I've seen among working-class Americans in the twenty-three years I've been one of them...

They have spines? Really?

They sure fooled me. Because they haven't used them for at least thirty years.

That's why there's been no uprising. They're too ashamed to show their faces in public. They know, on some level, that they've been played for fools so thoroughly for so long. And the part that kills me is, instead of using this as the opportunity for atonement now, good works later, redemption in the end, that it is, some of these people are going to keep right on doing what they've been doing, rationalizing it all away as best they can. Some of the people who get a taste of the path of least resistance just turn that into a habit, I don't know why -- these days, we call such people Republicans and teabaggers. What that's going to get us in November is anyone's guess.

But whatever happens, we deserve it. there's no escaping that...

This One's For Bartkid...

One of the best King Crimson covers ever...




I haven't forgotten you, Bartkid. How could I ever forget you?! It ain't possible -- we're brothers in Crimson, there is nothing that can erase that...

King Crimson Only...

I originally said the new Medley would be a YooToob-free zone. I've decided to amend that policy: King Crimson videos will be allowed on this main page -- and that's it. No other band, not even my favorite, Genesis, will appear here in YooToob form. And I'm going to usher in this amendment with a clip of the first song I ever YooToobed on the old Medley, "Dinosaur"...




Why only King Crimson? Because I saw them during the Thrak tour in which this song was filmed, and they are, by far, the best live act I have ever seen. That's why. Ya don't like it, don't look at it.

Also: I think upwards of 99% of YooToob is utter shit.

Enjoy the video. Or don't. I don't really give a fuck what you think...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quote of the Day...

From William Rivers Pitt, emphasis mine:

2010 is shaping up to be the Year of the Hate Crime in America, thanks in large part to right-bent Republicans and their Tea Party allies who have nothing to run on in the upcoming midterms. Think about it; would you want to run for office as a Republican these days? Their dearest economic ideas gave us the current recession, their foreign policies resulted in a war we lost in Iraq and a war we're losing in Afghanistan, their environmental designs have resulted in yet another oil rig detonation in the Gulf of Mexico, a great many of their supporters don't believe in dinosaurs because the Bible doesn't mention them, and their biggest national superstar is Sarah Palin, who by all appearances is so drastically stupid that she couldn't figure out how to pour piss out of a boot if there were directions on the heel...


Piss nearly poured out of me after I read that! Spot-on criticism. And well-deserved, too.

The rest of the article is almost as sober as a judge, but not quite. It concerns the right-wingers' propensity for spreading fear and hate when all else fails, and what that often leads to. But in this case, it adds something else that this can lead to, and for once, did.

Hint: check the labels for this post. Then give the article a read...


A Modern Version of an Aesop Fable...

Vanity Fair's Michael Shnayerson has a fascinating story about the professional con man Kenneth Starr, his rise in fortune, and his subsequent fall into disgrace and imprisonment. Not the Kenneth Starr who badgered the hell out of Bill Clinton in the 90s, obviously -- that motherfucker is currently the president of Baylor University. I'm talking about the accountant of the same name who scammed a group of people that included the likes of Caroline Kennedy, Martha Stewart, Al Pacino, Neil Simon, and Barbara Walters out of some $59 million -- sort of a low-caliber Bernie Madoff possessing a top-notch celebrity clientele.

As I was reading this thing, I kept asking myself why these stories just keep recurring over and over and over to no readily visible end. Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow pulled essentially the same bullshit while they were at Enron. Bernie Madoff did it on a far larger scale and in deliberately wholesale fashion. There are many other examples of this with different names and entities.

The best answer I can come up with is Aesop's fable about the dog and his bone. That fleabag steals a bone from a butcher shop or somewhere, starts to cross a bridge on his way to bury it, looks over the bridge halfway into the water below, sees his own reflection, thinks it's another dog with another bone, decides he wants that bone too, barks at the reflection, and thus loses his own bone to the water.

Moral of the story: if you keep wanting more and more, you're liable to end up with less and less. Seems to me that's Mr. Starr's bio in a nutshell.

It's just really fucked up how his story is just the latest iteration of the ancient fable, and that there will be more iterations of it in the future, each as ignorant of history as the last. That's the part I can't quite get...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right...

These days, I follow Balloon Juice more closely than any other political blog. Why? Because it's the only blog I know of where on any given day, I can read no fewer than two new posts, more often three, and find myself saying out loud, "THANK YOU." It's the only blog I know of where everyone who contributes on a regular or semi-regular basis seems to grasp not only just how fucked up this country is, but how both the progressive clowns and the teabagger jokers out there are doing little beyond exacerbating this problem as well. I touched on this issue earlier, mostly out of frustration and a growing disgust with fellow liberals in general.

That was a couple weeks ago. However, little has changed since then. The only reason I still call myself a liberal now is because I don't know what else to call myself. I'm going to keep voting the way I've been voting, right along with the proud liberals -- none of that has changed, and I doubt it ever will. It's just that trainloads of other left-leaning voters have this knack for rubbing me the wrong way. And I may have figured out why.

See, ten years ago, I called myself a conservative. Whether or not I was, I don't really know for sure -- I think I've always been more of a libertarian than anything else, just one who started leaning more and more to the left during the Bush years. Whatever. What I do know is I developed behavioral patterns common among the sensible right-leaning people before starting my right-to-left political migration: wary of strangers but not hysterically so, doubtful of the idea that humans are intrinsically good but hopeful that they are, wanting to viciously shatter the skulls of people who habitually piss me off but refraining from doing so because I fear the inevitable consequences -- you get the idea. (Small wonder why John Cole would think the world of Tunch.) This is the way my mind has always functioned, the way a self-described conservative's mind functions. I know it, I used to be one. In practice, I am a liberal. But internally, I am a conservative. And always will be.

I think this is why I not only don't get along with too many liberals these days, it's why I don't want to get along with them, either. I'm just not like them. My solidarity with them begins and ends at the voting booth, and maybe that's the way it ought to be.

My 2 cents...