Saturday, November 29, 2008
And although it is a unique way of dealing with shoplifters, I will bet 10,000 euros that this woman never shoplifts at that store again. :)
Friday, November 28, 2008
This is absolutely sick. A worker at a Long Island Wal-Mart was literally trampled to death this morning when he tried to hold back the crowd as they stormed the store for Black Friday deals. via C&L.
"Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him."
Wow. In order to save a few bucks on a PS3 people are willing to run around and OVER a fellow human being? There's something deeply wrong with this society when shopping trumps simple human decency. It gets worse and worse every year, and every year people keep falling for the stores' bullshit, that they're going to get some crazy special deal if they wake up at 3:30 am and get to the store.
They're just things. They're just items that you will grow tired of, as you tire of everything. These things will not change your life. They will not make you happy. Your unhappiness lies in a deeper place than that. Yet we get fooled all the time by
Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you
as Bob Dylan said. This just makes me sad.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
my favorite line:
"Oh, my father-in-law will be there. Do NOT talk politics with him. If he finds out you voted for McCain he'll stab you with a turkey baster."
"Please. I voted for Palin."
happy thanksgiving everybody. :)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I mean, just when you think they've already thought of everything, someone comes along and thinks...the unthinkable: a bra for men. One that men are actually buying. One that doesn't seem to be, in the tradition of the 'bro' or 'mansierre' of Seinfeld fame, designed for men with copious moobs. It seems to be for regularly-proportioned men. Who crave wearing a bra.
"Corporation. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility."
This is truly an amazing constellation of stories, starting with one from the NY Times (via kos). In it, the reporter tells us what’s going on with executives from Swiss-owned USB, a financial beast (it hardly makes sense to call these behemoths ‘banks’ anymore, does it?) that gorged itself on the sub-prime loan feeding frenzy like many of its US counterparts. And like its US counterparts, USB took a big hit when the shell game of bundled sub-prime loans finally reached the breaking point -- to the tune of $50 billion. And the company is on the hook for more than that to the Swiss government in order to remain solvent.
So, what did the former president of the bank, Marcel Ospel and two former bank directors do? They offered to give up more than $27 million in compensation they would have received.
These guys said, if I may paraphrase, “Hey, you know what? We fucked up. Whew! Boy do we ever suck at this. We thought we were smart, but we clearly suck ass at this whole making money thing -- apparently, huh? Ha ha! No, seriously, we got duped by the allure of a fast-money scheme, and we should have known better. And we lost our investors $50 billion or more, not mention ruining our good name, and that of our company, and possibly the economy of our nation in the process. So, you know what? Mea culpa. Keep your $27 million. Compared to all that shame, what’s a few million extra -- especially when we’ve already made a killing in the process of fomenting all this destruction?”
Makes sense, right? Put that on a resume: Lost $50 billion, blew up a formerly respectable company and helped to damage and possibly destroy the entire economy of not only my nation, but the entire planet.
Talk about a bad employee review. You sure as hell don't ask for a raise or a bonus after a quarter like that. It makes sense that they wouldn’t take the money. But the funny thing about this story to me is the incredulity of the American reporter, and his US-based sources when reporting on this. To wit:
“In the United States, lawmakers and regulators have expressed profound frustration over a perceived lack of remorse among executives who made millions while peddling investments in securities whose plummeting value has pushed the financial system to the brink of collapse. Executives have resisted cuts.”
‘PERCEIVED lack of remorse?’ What personal remorse, or honest assessment of mistakes made by individual CEOs of these bailed-out corporations have you heard? All I hear about is how the ‘climate’ and the ‘markets’ and the ‘cycle’ of a ‘perfect storm’ of business-y business stuff blah blah...and then the markets, and consumer price index blah blah -- oh, and how it's Congress' fault. Or Clinton's fault. Or Obama's fault. Or the librul's war on christmas' fault. And basically never mind all that, taxpayers. Just hand over the bailout money.
And here’s a Stanford professor’s take on it:
“That is almost unheard of,” Dirk Jenter, an assistant professor of finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, said of the move by the executives. “They’ve clearly been shamed into doing that.”
Shame. What an incredibly alien idea, what an unspeakably foreign concept, what a mind-blowing, perversely deviant, bizarre notion, what a ticklishly unique and strange proposal for a business school professor to contemplate. One can only imagine that having had this utterly unfamiliar thought, said professor was instantly launched into a bizarre dreamland wherein Ben Stein sits on a giant mushroom smoking a hookah and Henry Paulson screechingly rearranges the seating.
Thank you, Stanford Graduate School of Business, for the fine work you have done in training the legion of soulless dipshits who helped bring all this about. Please, o please, continue instructing the best and the brightest shining lights of the business world and continue to send them to Wall Street so they can start to seed the cycle all over again using taxpayer bailout money.
Because basically the entire thing is a sham. I forget who said that money is really just a shared hallucination, but this crisis really paints that, wouldn’t you say?
For a spot-on dissection of the sub-prime loan issue and how things came to this pass, read this article, by Michael Lewis. He’s the guy who wrote ‘Liar’s Poker’ back in the 1980s about that decade’s Wall Street fiasco -- and he posits pretty strongly that the seeds of our current crisis lie in changes that took place back then.
The article is long, and a little dense at times, especially for those of us who ain’t so good with numbers and what-not. But it’s a fascinating read -- and it’s worth it, if you want to understand what’s happened. Trust me.And finally, here's a little Ween to send you on your way, playing a song that sadly, no thinks should rightfully be stuck in Bush's head the rest of his life. Same applies to the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street.
And making me laugh in the process.
In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
RIP Mr. Burroughs.
William S. Burroughs
Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
Thanks for a continent to despoil
Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and danger.
Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.
Thanks for bounties on wolves
Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.
Thanks for the KKK.
For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.
For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
Thanks for "Kill a Queer for
Thanks for laboratory AIDS.
Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.
Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind the
Thanks for a nation of finks.
Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.
Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.
Note to self: if you're wasted drunk and under arrest in the back of a police van after getting in a bar brawl, do NOT sing the 'Spiderpig' song from the Simpsons Movie to the cops. Oh, and perhaps don't call an officer a 'ginger' either. (A two-fer? Simpons reference and a South Park reference in one go?)
"A man has been jailed for breaching the peace by singing Spiderpig from The Simpsons Movie at police officers.
David Mullen was sentenced to three months for the incident and calling an officer "ginger" in a police van."The judge also admonished the 22-year-old for apparently drinking since he was only twelve. As this occured in Scotland, I assume the judge was disappointed the man hadn't started drinking at a younger age.
The man defended his actions by stating that he was only singing the song because it was the ringtone on his cell phone.
Good thing it wasn't 'Fuck the Police."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is too amazingly funny not to link to. So this one guy has a website, and now a book called 'Hot Chicks With Douchebags.' Which is funny enough in and of itself. But now, one of the douchebags -- er, alleged douchebags -- who appeared in the book has sued the publisher and author for libel, claiming that his inclusion in the book has resulted in his being subjected to
"hatred, contempt, and humiliation" and has resulted in "friends, acquaintances, coworkers, employees, and strangers alike" calling him a "douchebag."
According to the smoking gun. Of course, no one bothered to inform this douche -- er, alleged douche -- that by filing a lawsuit he has done much to promote the sale of this book and publicize his own douchiness -- er, alleged douchiness.
That's him in the top picture, in which, according to the author, his
"popped-collar, spikey-haired presence was so far beyond regular douche, so far beyond uberdouche, he could spontaneously create a new element on the periodic tables--Douche Nine."
Even though the lawsuit is being filed in a Clark County (Las Vegas) court, the website demonstrates just how lucky we all are to not live in New Jersey, home of douche clan. This is the swamp from whence these creatures crawl, spreading their douchiness leaving behind a snail-slime trail of hair gel and Axe. Can't wait to see how this case turns out -- wouldn't it be funny if the judge just said, 'Hey, dude, the author is right. You are a douche. Now get over it, or else flip that collar down.'
i ran across this game demo yesterday that looks like something i could REALLY get into. it's a game called left4dead, a first-person shooter (boring, i know) in which you are part of a team of survivors of a zombie plague (getting cooler). but the kicker is there's also an option to play as...THE ZOMBIES!!!
sounds fun? just watch this demo:
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So holy Joe gets to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee. In a secret, and frankly shameful ballot, over 40 senators voted to let him stay, while only 13 voted against. You have to keep in mind too that the way things work in Washington, the ones who voted against did so knowing full well what the outcome would be, that their votes were largely pointless.
We have to remember also that Obama himself put it out there that this was the result he wanted. Now, it's hard to say what kind of White House he is going to run, but based on his campaigning, we have to assume that he isn't the type to be easily led by advisors. He is decidedly a hands-on kind of politician, and he must have known full well what he was doing when he let it be known that he wanted Lieberman to retain his chairmanship.
Not to paint lipstick on a pig, ha ha, but in looking at the brighter side, one commentator on Countdown last night pointed out that what Obama has done is to collect a huge freakin' IOU from Lieberman. I imagine a 'Godfather' type of scenario (even though reports say no such conversation took place between the two men; reportedly Obama didn't even return Lieberman's calls) in which Obama says, 'One day I may ask a favor of you in return...' Time magazine also has an article outlining this view.
Now, as to whether a smackdown was called for, or even if Joe the Weasel-Rat can be trusted to do the right thing is an open question. I think my feelings are known on that subject, not that they are important. But as the article says:
That lingering resentment should help guarantee his cooperation. "It is the iron law of reciprocity. He will remember and help those who helped him at a critical time in the future," says James Thurber, director of American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. "It is politically smart. The President and the Democrats will need him in the future. It is part of building bipartisanship and political capital."
If nothing else, all eyes will be on him, and the knives shall remain sharp in Washington, as they are wont to do. He shan't betray the dems a second time without unleashing ten kinds of hell upon himself.
And as the Senate moves closer and closer to the magic number of the 'filibuster-proof' 60 blue seats, each vote counts. I hesitate to get all gooey over the 60 number though, as some pundits more attuned to the horse-race aspects of politics tend to do. Frankly it doesn't mean shit. As Lieberman has proven, the only thing these guys ever consistenly support is saving their own asses. Senate Dems are not likely to vote in lockstep as the Republican-controlled House did prior to 2006, and there are likely to be Republican defections to the Dem side on big votes as well, what with the way the wind is blowing.
Ultimately, though, the more probable blue votes that are out there, the better. Senator Intertubes has been flushed, with Alaska booting out convicted felon Ted Stevens in favor of a democrat, so 58 seats are held by Dems with two more races up for grabs, in Minnesota and Georgia. One can only surmise that Obama knows what he is doing--revenge might be sweet, but getting shit done is important too.
As Time pointed out, Lieberman has thus been effectively 'defanged.' Better to have the rat at least pretending to be on our side, rather than running amok and deliberately fucking shit up out of his own petty bitterness at being given the boot.
I ran across this link to some civil war photos that are really stunning in the stories they tell. The brutality of war, the faces of these men and the horror reflected in their eyes over what they had seen, and the sheer scale of the destruction that was wrought by Americans in America. And they are a reminder of the fearsome power that we humans are capable of unleashing on one another.
And consider too that these photos were taken nearly 150 years ago. Clearly war technology has made leaps and bounds since then, but even with canons and other iterations of early artillery we were able to do this to one of the greatest cities of the South. One can only imagine what the modern destruction wrought by American soldiers in our name in foreign countries might look like, were our military not so averse to releasing images of it. Especially because this destruction took place here at home, the above shot brings to life the sense that this is no intellectual exercise. Actual people lived here, worked here, got married and raised families. The crumbled brickwork of their buildings and shattered streets, and the stink of rotting corpses is all they are left with after their lives have been brought to this moment of bleak hopelessness.
I am also struck by the odd column standing in the center of this shot. Beyond the obvious, the scene is reminiscent of the fall of Rome--a once-mighty power brought down to the harsh reality of time, decay, and death that hunts all of us.
(FYI: I am not attempting to glorify the South or its position in the Civil War in any way, merely to point out that the destruction of war, and what it does to people and the great works we build is universal in its horror. Seeing this decimation on American soil brings it home, literally and figuratively.)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Yes, that famously overused word that appears in blogs and online chat sites with so much enthusiasm that it runs counter to the apathy it conveys has now appeared in a dictionary. "Meh," which is believed to have been first coined by the writers for the Simpsons, expressing boredom, apathy and indifference is now an official English language word, according to HarperCollins.
I would get excited about this, but whatever.
A community college teacher in Maryland has been collecting delightful gems of the Manglish language for many years now, and a Baltimore Examiner columnist has published several of them in a recent column. (via fark.)
Here's one, in which a student explains his absence from class in a note:
“I was absent on Monday because I was stopped on the Beltway for erotic driving.”
Sounds like fun...
Here's a few more gems, and there's many more here.
• “The person was an innocent by standard, who just happened to be the victim of your friend’s careless responsibility.” • “Society has moved toward cereal killers.” • “Romeo and Juliet exchanged their vowels.” • “Willie Loman put Biff on a petal stool.” • “Another effect of smoking is it may give you cancer of the thought.” • “The children of lesbian couples receive as much neutering as those of other couples." Or, when asked to use the past tense of “fly” in a sentence: “I flought to Chicago.”
The funny thing to me isn't just the mangling of the English language, but the utter lack of thought put into some of these. (And before you get all high and mighty about community college students versus large university students, i must say that i personally encountered lots and lots of examples of idiocy like this both at Front Range Community College as well as at CU-Boulder.)
Here's a couple of winners:
• “Benjamin Franklin discovered America while fling a kite.” • “Christopher Columbus sailed all over the world until he found Ohio.”
I also found this online dictionary section that lists commonly misunderstood/misspoken phrases that is amusing. "A blessing in the skies" being one of my personal faves.
I believe that children are the future.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
It looks like Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont is now the first senator to publicly state that Lieberman should not be allowed to even remain in the dem caucus, let alone retain his chairmanship. (via TPM)
"Every Senator will have to vote the way he or she believes they should," Leahy said, in a reference to the upcoming vote on Lieberman's fate in the Dem caucus next week. "I'm one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did."
And thanks for pointing out the obvious that seems to be escaping the waffling, fearful dems:
"I would feel that had I done something similar," Leahy concluded, "that I would not be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress."
Also, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, (via C&L) we've already lost Joe's vote anyway. After years of playing footsie with the Bush Administration over torture, Katrina (non) investigations, Iraq, etc., what's the point of even hypothesizing that he would do the right thing in the future? Plus tha argument that the dems can at any point strip him of his chairmanship, as Sen. Evan Bayh likes to pretend is an ace in the hole, what do you think would happen if, hypothetically, a Lieberman-led investigation into Obama's American-ness, or his ties to some long-ago radical were undertaken, and THEN the dems decided to pull the plug on Weasel-Rat Joe? The radical far-right would explode.
Boot this guy, please. We won; for once take the freakin' ball and run with. Don't be pansies.
Contact Senator Salazar if you're a Colorado resident.
okay, now, i like coffee. a lot. i'm not even really human until i've had one or two or three espressos in the morning, and i dare not interact with other alleged humans before then. and i like good coffee. i have a grinder, and i don't even drink the brown water that passes for coffee most places; my regular coffee maker has gathered dust in a cabinet somewhere for years, as i only use my espresso maker.
however, this is just bizarre. 'kopi luwak' is a delicacy, a type of coffee made from beans that pass undigested through the systems of Indonesian cats called civets. the beans are gathered by hand, out of the poo that these cats leave behind, then roasted, ground, and made into coffee just as any other non-poo type of coffee would be.
some theorize that the cat's digestive enzymes break down proteins that give coffee it's bitter taste. and despite the fact that thousands of these cats were recently extirminated due to a SARS scare, people still pay between $120-$600 a pound for the rare beans.
so, not only are people drinking cat poo-coffee, they're drinking possible SARS-cat/cat-poo coffee.
let's face it, people are fucking weird.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This is awesome. Thinkprogress has put together a comprehensive list of all that is wrong with Joe. via C&L.
Said progressive candidates would cower to terrorism: In an interview with Salon.com, Lieberman said, “I worry that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will have a hard time scampering back to assure people that they’re prepared to take on the Islamist extremists and [any] other nation that threatens our security.”
Linked Obama’s policies to socialism: “There are ways I suppose you can make an argument that there are some similarities between what Sen. Obama is talking about (‘spreading the wealth’) and classic, what used to be known as socialist theory…[but] I’m not going to use the name calling,” Lieberman said.
[An aside: this is one my favorite tricks, adding the 'i'm not going to call people names,' tag right after calling someone a name. Same concept as adding 'no disrespect' right after saying something completely disrespectful, and thinking it's then okay: 'Hey, man, your girlfriend is a fat whore who blows dockworkers and homeless guys. No disrespect.']
And this is one of the best. When it comes to running the committee he heads, and performing, you know, oversight, like the Senate is supposed to do, he's just not that into it:
Lieberman on oversight duties: “We don’t like investigating”: Responding to criticism of his committee’s record, Lieberman said, “We like to do legislation,” Lieberman said. “We don’t like investigating … just to see who is at fault.”
Write or call Senator Salazar, if you haven't already, and tell him why this douche must go.
this is brilliant. somewhat obvious in places, but this guy is a former talk radio producer and he lays out exactly how this ugly segment of the *gasp* media works. a long article, but worth the read. via fark.
Whither goest thou, o right wing of the right wing? Wither goest thou, o Republican?
As is fashionable moments after an election, Terribly Smart People have been performing a vivisection on the still-breathing (barely) corpus of the losing party, and their findings are...stunning. Stunningly hilarious in some cases.
But the way the groundswell seems to be forming, many people on the right think, against all logic, that it wasn’t that voters in this country responded negatively to the usual culture war nonsense they’ve been spouting more and more shrilly for a couple decades now, but rather that the Republicans aren’t conservative enough.
Yes, you read that right. People like David Brooks, a TSP for the WashPost laments the shift ever-rightward, kinda, in an article yesterday, but he thinks the battle between traditionalists and reformers is already won:
“To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.”
And they have much-loved standard-bearers too:
“Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the most prominent voices in the Traditionalist camp...”
Awesome. Well, delusion is as delusion does.
Let’s see how this might work, in the mind of a traditionalist: McCain got a bump when he picked Sarah Palin. Then the polls showed her popularity steadily declining, to the point where nearly 60 percent of Americans said she was unfit for the job of even VICE-president. And then we lost the election. So let’s double down and pump out more candidates like her: ignorant, proud rednecks with no curiosity about the changing world around them and the belief that God wants them to run for office to rule over a world he invented 6000 years ago. Oh, and sporting Neiman-Marcus and wearing make-up applied by $22,000-an-hour make-up artists, naturally, because that’s what Bubba and Mrs. Bubba shopping for diapers for baby number seven in Wal-Mart can relate to.
Really? But all I can think is, cool. Go with that. The party of, as William Burroughs put it, ‘...decent church-going women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces...’ resonated so well everywhere but in a band of red across the western Appalachians and the central South that you want to push those values even further? Go for it. We’ll look forward to 2012.
The idea that the economy is what wrecked McCain is another trope that gets trotted out a lot lately, but I think this is overstated. I think (hope) that the tired politics of meanness, hatred, fear, and demonization of ‘the other’ is largely played out, and that the bankruptcy of this tack is what sank McCain. Not saying that these tactics won’t ever come up again, just that this world is so much more connected and even cosmopolitan, at least through electronic connections, that the device of trying to scare the rubes in the heartland with images of the scary Other is fading in its usefulness. In this day and age, is a white family in rural Indiana really going to be that terrified by the image of a black Harvard graduate in a suit when their teenage son has been dressing like a wigger for years and belting out rhymes by 50 Cent?
But even the election results may not cow the rightest of the right, those brave culture warriors looking to convert the rest of us to their shrinking demographic. One thoughtful article I ran across today points out the similarities between the moment Republicans face today and what the conservative Tories saw back in 1997. Jonathan Freedland is a columnist for the Guardian UK, and in his assessment of how the Tories reacted to their plight when Tony Blair beat them soundly is a blueprint for what we can expect here with the Repubs:
“What might panicked Republicans learn from the Tory experience? That apparently the first response to electoral disaster is denial.... Under pressure from the Tory right in Parliament and the press, Mr. Hague (Conservative Party leader) adopted a “core vote strategy,” aimed chiefly at enthusing the Conservative base. He pressed the right’s favorite button, hostility to the European Union — the British equivalent of opposition to abortion — warning that Labor would abandon the pound in favor of the euro. The response was an electoral walloping nearly as brutal as the one the Tories had suffered four years earlier.”
I think we’re already strongly into the denial phase. Let’s start getting those ‘Palin/Limbaugh 2012’ posters ready!
...does this mean that good taste is suddenly coming back into fashion? Crocs reports $148 million loss in the last quarter, so i assume people aren't buying these atrocious plastic shoes anymore.
Or, as fark put it: "...thousands of grown-up male customers finally took the time to look at themselves in the mirror."
can the loss of palin/mccain/palin finally augur the death of tackiness? are americans fed up with wal-mart chic?
one can only hope.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
To all my Colorado brethren and sistren:
One of our Colorado senators, Ken Salazar, is one of a handful of senators trying to ensure that the turncoat weasel-rat Joe Lieberman gets to retain his powerful chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Now, in case you've forgotten, this is the same Joe Lieberman who spoke at the Republican Convention, spouting the same untruths as Fox Noise about Obama's record. This man is a rat of the worst kind, because now he is trying to make nice with the Dems in hopes of retaining his power. For a taste of what he's all about, watch this short video (1:41).
What can you do? Well, senators have to be elected. And they generally like to be re-elected. And when they sense the people who voted for them last time around might not be so eager next time, they get nervous, and sometimes respond. So take a moment, watch the short, short vid of Lieberman's ugly little dance, and then click this link to email Salazar's people and tell them what you think of his support of Lieberman.
We don't need him that badly.
Here's a sample letter for you to cut and paste to Senator Salazar:
while i celebrate the stunning victory for sanity and reality in last week's election, it is unconscionable that you would throw your weight behind a turncoat like joe lieberman in his naked quest to retain his own power. the man has no moral compass to speak of, at least as far as can be seen out here in the hinterlands, in that he was willing to support bush's war and mccain's run for president -- when the wind was blowing that way -- going so far as to speak at the republican convention.
i would hope that you and other democrats would find it in your own moral code to realize that even with a chairmanship, this man cannot be trusted. we don't need him that badly.
a colorado voter
UPDATE: forgot to link to the original article in which these senators were called out for their behind-the-scenes efforts to save Lieberman, here at Politico, an excellent site.
Here we go again. Here’s another Terribly Smart Person lecturing about how Obama should be careful how he spends his political capital--or if he even has any. Michael Gerson in the WashPost tells us:
“Obama's election was a tremendous, historic achievement, but it was not an ideological revolution.”
Oh, how badly these guys want things to stay the same. Despite Gerson’s acknowledgment that Obama put together an impressive coalition including independents, low-income people, the affluent, Catholics, and suburbanites--and, not incidentally, in the process won 54 percent of the popular vote--Gerson still thinks there is somehow NOT a tectonic shift happening around him. He goes on to cite the same statistics Bill Kristol used in the article I cited yesterday:
“In the 2004 election, according to the Associated Press, 21 percent of Americans called themselves liberal, 45 percent moderate and 34 percent conservative. In this election, 22 percent described themselves as liberal, 44 percent as moderate and 34 percent as conservative.”
But here’s the problem with the assessment. What it doesn’t take into account is the relentless demonization of the term ‘liberal’ over the past 20 years or so.
Now, personally, I am proud to be one of the filthy librul, hedonistic, elitist, godless, baby-killing horde. I think I may even control the media. I’ll have to check my mail and see if I paid my club dues last month.
There’s more honesty in that position -- that people should be able to do basically what they want as long as they don’t harm others, that the government isn’t some mythological beast looking to eat us and our income, but rather ‘We the People’ and that it should function as such -- than there is in the phony ‘libertarian’ canard you hear tossed about by conservatives. In fact, there’s more libertarianism in my stance, and that of most unwashed libruls I know than there is among alleged libertarians I speak with. (To wit: why is it so important to go-along/get-along Fox News acolytes disguised as libertarians to keep the big bad gubbmint out of our lives when it comes to taxes and guns, but not when it comes to the bedroom? Or reproductive choices? Food for thought...)
But to a lot of people, calling themselves a ‘liberal’ would be akin to publicly saying, ‘I worship Satan.’ It’s just not gonna happen.
The way people label themselves is really immaterial. Hell, even Bill O’Reilly makes a big stink about calling himself an ‘independent.’ Anyone buying that? From either side of the aisle?
But with the results of this election, it’s not plausible to say that the country hasn’t taken a mighty swing of the pendulum away from the so-called conservatism of lowering taxes for the new Gilded Class and dumping money into abstinence programs at the expense of actual, useful sex-ed, and sending our soldiers overseas on dubious if not downright false information. Even if you don’t want to call it by name, even if people don’t want to call themselves by that name, liberalism has spoken at the polls, and the results are in. That’s what the majority of people want.
Even if they’re not Terribly Smart People like Michael Gerson.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
To all those who have served in our armed forces, or are currently serving, thank you. You don't need to be told that you are brave, and honorable. But you need to know that we out here in the world know that you are, and that we appreciate your sacrifice.
This song can perhaps remind us that the wounds of war, that most terrible and uncivilized remnant of our tribal, caveman past, are not always injuries that can be seen or treated with bandages and surgery.
Perhaps also, this song can serve as a reminder that when we blithely send our countrymen out to kill or die in our name, we send actual people, with families, and lives, and pasts of their own.
And to those who would sacrifice the children of others for gold, or for power, or for politics, or for some bizarre understanding of God, and who would do so without stepping up to offer themselves in a similar sacrifice: fuck you. Your place in hell in assured.
lifted, obviously, from agitprop. i just love the pic. :)
Well, it looks like losing this election after eight years of unbridled dominance has actually sent many wing-nuts spinning off their screws and hurtling into the depths of madness. The memory of owning a country and keeping a populace -- and the opposition in Congress -- quaking in fear, along with those promises of a Republican majority lasting for decades has seriously collided with reality, and the delicate mental states of some of these guys seems to be fraying. Examples:
1) John Hinderacker, an influential blogger at powerline had this to say, when comparing Obama's speaking abilities to George Bush's:
"Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated."
Erm, what? I mean...what? Let's look at that again: "In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed." My God. Delusional much?
I don't even know what to say to that, except that Mr. Hinderacker needs to have his medical team run a series of tests, and re-check his meds. It's possible he had one of those mini-strokes you hear about on 'House.' Perhaps a tiny blood clot came loose when he was so apoplectic with rage over the drubbing McCain and conservatism in general took last week. Or maybe he's suffering under the delusion that the right-wing noise machine still has the power to repeat any and all ridiculous lies often enough that people will believe them, and trust them as Very Wise Men. (via TPM)
2) GA Representative Paul Broun thinks Obama may well be on the way to establishing a dictatorship:
"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force," Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism." ... "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did," Broun said. "When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."
Oh my. Whatever would we do if a president appeared to be trying to establish a dictatorship? Like if he were to set up secret prisons without the approval of congress, declare himself able to determine whether or not someone was guilty of a crime and imprison them without benefit of a trial, declare war unilaterally without cause, set up a cadre of secret policemen in cable-guy drag to spy on citizens, illegally wiretap the phone calls and emails of citizens, announce that disagreeing with his views was un-American, salt the Justice Department with cronies on the lookout for any opportunity to sabotage the opposition party, pump billions of taxpayer dollars into a another crony's private security company to help run an illegal war without fear of legal consequences, or declare he is above answering to any of the other branches of government?
Thank goodness we have Rep. Broun to keep a watchful eye out for anything like that. (via kos)
3) The much-espoused notion that despite the fact that McCain lost the popular vote by a 52-46 margin, this is still a 'center-right' country, and that, daggum it, that Obama fella better govern that way. Good ol' Bill Kristol perhaps best sums up this delusional bit of nonsense:
"What’s more, this year’s exit polls suggested a partisan shift but no ideological realignment. In 2008, self-described Democrats made up 39 percent of the electorate and Republicans 32 percent, in contrast with a 37-37 split in 2004.
But there was virtually no change in the voters’ ideological self-identification: in 2008, 22 percent called themselves liberal, up only marginally from 21 percent in 2004; 34 percent were conservative, unchanged from the last election; and 44 percent called themselves moderate, compared with 45 percent in 2004.In other words, this was a good Democratic year, but it is still a center-right country. " (boldface mine.)
Huh? Look at the first graf again: self-described Dems over four years gained seven percentage points on self-described Republicans and it's somehow still a 'center-right country'? Whatever that means. These guys are going to need some time to realize that their entire schtick has been called out for the bullshit that it is. For eight years, they have governed from a place of divisiveness, fear, ignorance, hatred, greed, and barely-sublimated racism -- they have conserved nothing, not the economy, not the good name of our country, not our troops, not our cities, not the land, not our natural resources, not the truth, not honor -- nothing. They have pissed away anything and everything they could get their hands on. Why do we still call them conservatives?
At any rate, look for this trope -- the squalling of those who lost, about how, despite the results right before their eyes, what we REALLY want is more of the same -- to be tossed about in coming weeks and years as Obama (hopefully) takes the mantle the American people voted for him and takes us in a new direction. A new direction we, the people, voted for: anywhere but where we've been.
p.s. For a touch of sanity from the right, read this article by Dov S. Zakheim, a policy advisor to Bush on his 2000 campaign.
Monday, November 10, 2008
hooray! now you can celebrate your geekdom from the first moment you get up in the morning! this toaster is available starting in january, for a reasonable (for geeks) price of $55.
now someone needs to invent an egg poacher in the shape of boba fett and a light saber bacon-cooking wand and i'll be all set. :)
forgot to credit: this came from neatorama, a truly neat site. :)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Wow. Just when you think people can’t sink any lower. Here’s a comment from a fox news blog thread, via crooks and liars. (click for larger image)
And for what some would call a form of stomach-churning entertainment, scan some of the other 9,000 comments.
Talk about your hate speech--as they said on C&L, where’s O’Reilly when you need someone to call out the hate-mongers in that filthy blogosphere? I guess if it’s not on kos it’s all good…
As of 6:00 pm this comment was still up on the site, plus a lot of other ones equally foul.
THE END OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY? (PART I)
There will be plenty of people over the next few weeks and years talking about what McCain did wrong in this election. And there is plenty to think about there.
But what interests me at the moment is the idea that today, November 5, 2008, may not only be a watershed moment for the Democrats, but also one for the Republicans, in that while we may be witnessing the rise of a new movement on the Democrat side, we may also be witnessing the end of one on the Republican side.
Now, it is historically dangerous to extrapolate meta-movements from one election. That’s called bad polling--it’s not a big enough sample size. However, in this case, and using the decline of the hard right, power-hungry, uber-judgmental wing of the Republican party over the past few years, maybe it is possible to posit that the famous Big Tent of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich is no more.
Reagan brought them together -- war-hungry neocons, the extreme whack-jobs of the extreme religious right, and the anti-tax/pro-business radicals -- with a combination of charm and strength of leadership. But for Bush II, it was almost as if the disparate groups were grafted together -- barely. It was a Frankenstein’s monster held together by only the most tenuous of threads, surgery performed with duct tape and baling wire. At any moment the limbs threatened to splinter off and go flying into the horrified crowd gathered with its pitchforks and torches.
Look at the Florida debacle in 2000: Bush only ‘won’ the presidency with the help of a one-vote margin in the Supreme Court based on the flimsiest, most twisted legal logic. He didn’t even win a majority of the popular vote. Hell, we’ll never even know if he won Florida that year, or Ohio in 2004. There was no majority, there was no movement. There was no there, there.
The monster was artificially strengthened for a while after 9/11, which may have given some Republicans the sense that they were in a permanent majority that would last for decades, but again, the separate limbs that made up the coalition were individually too rabid, self-interested, and frankly had too many serious conflicting interests to last.
It’s possible to see the latest debacle -- let’s call her Sarah Palin -- as the moment the Republican Party jumped the shark with the culture wars hate rhetoric, the ‘I’m better than you, and you’re just dirty,’ wing of the wingnutosphere. It’s possible to envision the power of this wing declining in terms of its ability to dictate terms to the rest of the party -- and therefore to the nation.
Of course, these people aren’t going to go away quietly. Witness the sporadic boos and jeers at McCain’s rather poignant and humble concession speech last night. Still, it does bode well for those of us who prefer to just get into other people’s pants, rather than tell people what they’re allowed to do with the equipment they keep in there.
This may be the moment when we see the bifurcation of the Republican Party into two or three new entities. This bodes well in another sense, in that maybe, finally, at long last, the canard that the rich Wall Street fucks and the blue-bloods who are the true elite (i.e. those who attended Yale, and whose fathers were vice-president and president and head of the CIA, and whose grandfathers served in the Senate and founded multi-billion dollar corporations and sold materiel to the Nazis) are actually not on the side of the NASCAR/Wal-Mart/trailer park/guns & god crowd. Maybe those folks will finally start to see that, aw shucks, maybe that guy running Halliburton or AIG ain’t just like me after all.
The ‘fear card’ bugaboo, the tried and true Republican tactic of having very smart people say things they know aren’t true in order to scare the bejebus out of dumb people...well, maybe that isn’t going to work anymore. Maybe Rovian/Atwater tactics have jumped the shark also, in terms of their effectiveness. The outrageous, ugly, whack-job smears echoed throughout the right-wing nut-farms in the blogosphere and picked up dutifully by the corporate media and repeated have been mostly debunked. Or at least they haven’t been bought into on such a grand scale as they were with Kerry and Gore -- and not incidentally, with the run-up to the Iraq war. Maybe the people in the media are getting smarter along with rest of us--or if not getting smarter, at least getting wised up.
Fear. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to fear: the stock market had its biggest election day jump in 24 years. The nature of human beings is we would rather be looking forward, finding ways to improve our situation than cowering in darkness.