Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

29 March, 2006

Positively Steinbeck-ian

We spent the morning at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, flinging around money we don't have like it's nobody's business. Funny, but when I was reading this particular Steinbeck novel, I don't remember any mention of the kitschy, overpriced shops. Anyhoo, the wee wobs loved looking at the fish swimming around, and had a blast splashing around in the kiddie area. I've gotta say, this aquarium is all that it's cracked up to be.

So there was no drunk airport blogging. As I mentioned previously, I was watching the plane sit there, not leaving. Apparently it sat so long past its scheduled departure time, people begged to get off, freeing up a space for me (apparently a cranky and screaming wee wobs helped make some folks decision for them). So literally the second after I posted my last entry, they called my name and badda-bing, badda-boom, I'm on the plane. So, it all worked out, plus they had free beer on the flight (thank you Alaska Airlines!).

So we're staying with ms. wobs' father in Marina, CA, which has been pretty nice so far. I had to duck out and steal down to the Corporate Coffee Chain to filch a halfway decent cup of coffee and their wifi for a spell (which is emphatically not free!). Anyways, I'll try to check in with y'all again soon. Also, be prepared in a few days for some awfully cute pictures of the wee wobs!

27 March, 2006

This sucks

Well, I've had a pretty shitty couple of days. Major familial blowout yesterday, causing us not to have our shit together for our trip down to California today. We mis-read our flight information, and thus missed our first flight out of PDX.

Now, I'm sitting looking at a plane with the rest of my family on it getting ready to be pushed back, while I'm still sitting in the terminal (obviously).

Can it get much better?

But, lucky for y'all, you'll be treated to some high quality airport blogging, courtesy of the PDX free wifi - especially after I start getting drunk.

26 March, 2006

Random headlines

From the NYT:

"Christ the King Lives Up to National Reputation."

That he does. But I wasn't expecting to see that in the sports sections...

25 March, 2006

Am I the one who should be teaching women about their bodies?

Well, I'm finishing up the grading for the term, my first teaching an introductory women's studies course, and as I read the exams, I'm a little disappointed to find that most of my students didn't "get it." That is, I don't think they really grasped the power dynamics that buttress all of the different and interrelated forms of inequality. In the best tradition of self-reflexivity, I have to ask myself why that is. The simple answer? I held back.

I suppose there's a number of reasons for this. I approached the course this term as a job I was just trying to muddle through, with very little passion for the whole project. For a course that relies upon fostering self-discovery as a pedagogical tool, I suppose it's a little problematic if the guide for the whole affair is a bit detached from the process.

I also think I was somewhat cowed by the political environment in which "we" academics (I'll include myself for another few months) are teaching. I think I was overly careful not to offend students who may have been a bit more conservative, and that might have blunted my ability to get them to really think about power.

Both of these things are fixable. I'm actually looking forward to next term - probably my last term of teaching ever! - and organizing the class, rather than teaching them.

That doesn't deal with all of the issues. Frankly, it's hard for me to square helping young people realize that there are structures out there which put them at a significant disadvantage to white, heterosexual, middle-class men when I myself am a white, heterosexual, middle-class man. I mean, we won't even discuss the absurdity of me trying to sort out all of the myths about the female orgasm in a class on sexuality - while I might have some, erm... technical understanding in that respect, hell if I know what's actually going on. But who am I to tell them that they are being made to feel bad about their bodies by mass culture, and that they shouldn't buy into it, even though it's true? Why should they believe me? Some have tried to tell me that maybe they'll take it more seriously since it's coming from a man, which really, is even more fucked up. Why should they believe me? What it boils down to is I'm up there teaching feminist principles in which I honestly believe (even if I fall short in their actual implementation), but I feel like a giant fraud who's going to be found out. It's a very bizarre place to be, and I definitely didn't have to deal with this teaching medical sociology.

Okay, now that that's off my chest, who's up for some beer and football?


I've resisted the temptation to join the blog pile-on of Ben Domenech this week, just because it seemed a bit overkill (the NYT has a nice summary for those who missed it - or, if you want the full effect, scroll back through Eschaton for a few days). Yeah, he's a partisan hack. Yeah, he obviously doesn't know the rules for proper citations and what constitutes plagiarism. Yeah, he's a privileged kid who obviously hasn't been challenged to understand the insidious natures of racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality. He's an overly-bright, under-educated 24 year old who made good because of family connections and being a team player. All true, but the tone of the Ben bashing was a little cruel for my tastes.

That is, until I read this quote from Ben, taken from his not quite mea culpa at Red State:
To my enemies: I take enormous solace in the fact that you spent this week bashing me, instead of America.
So, he is, in fact, a smarmy prick who got everything he deserved. What is it with those on the far-right and their Jesus complexes? You are not a martyr. You are a HACK.

Who isn't a fucking Scientologist these days? Part II

Sigh. My capacity to enjoy popular culture is diminishing by the day. The Guardian lists lists and names names - all of these people believe in a religion based on really bad sci-fi novels. Bizarre.
Just as depressing as the news that Bart Simpson is a Scientologist, or more accurately Nancy Cartwright who voices him, is that some of the group's more unlikely acolytes are much-respected musicians. Advocates of the creed include the until now impenetrably cool Beck, funk pioneer Isaac Hayes and, at one stage, lovers' favourite Van Morrison, who devoted an album to founder L Ron Hubbard in the 1980s. Hip-hop pioneer Doug E Fresh, Chaka Khan and Courtney Love, who thanked the church in the sleevenotes of her America's Sweetheart album, are also followers. Even Leonard Cohen flirted with the alien creed when he was feeling even less sunny than usual in the 1990s.
Leave it to George Clinton to kick the absurdity up a notch:
In the 1960s, Funkadelic's George Clinton promulgated for the kookier end of Scientology, specifically its British offshoot The Process Church Of Final Judgement. The Process Church, who worshipped both God and Satan and believed in imminent Armageddon, were enlisted by Clinton to pen the sleevenotes to his Maggot Brain album.
I'm not sure what bothers me more, that these folks are Scientologists (which is strange), or that these people are somehow involved with Tom Cruise, who, as you all know, I find to be a horrible waste of skin.

Help me L.Ron, help, help me L. Ron!

Impeachment: the accountability that dare not speak its name

First the good news: the word "impeachment" is featured on Saturday's (March 25, 2006) front-page of the WaPo - "Near Paul Revere Country, Anti-Bush Cries Get Louder:"
Window cleaner Ira Clemons put down his squeegee in the lobby of a city mall and stroked his goatee as he considered the question: Would you support your congressman's call to impeach Bush? His smile grew until it looked like a three-quarters moon.

"Why not? The man's been lying from Jump Street on the war in Iraq," Clemons said. "Bush says there were weapons of mass destruction, but there wasn't. Says we had enough soldiers, but we didn't. Says it's not a civil war -- but it is." He added: "I was really upset about 9/11 -- so don't lie to me."


A Zogby International poll showed that 51 percent of respondents agreed that Bush should be impeached if he lied about Iraq, a far greater percentage than believed President Bill Clinton should be impeached during the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal.
However, only 33 Congresscritters in the House have so far signed on for any sort of investigation that may lead to impeachment. Many Dems seem squeamish about the prospect:
"Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain't therapy," said Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts liberal who declined to sign the Conyers resolution. "Bush would much rather debate impeachment than the disastrous war in Iraq."
I disagree with Rep. Frank. President Bush isn't going to debate anything with anyone. We know the president's plan: Stay. The. Ever-so. Disastrous. Course. And then attempt to smear the opposition with the taint of your own incompetence. The more dangerously aloof and uninformed the president is reavealed to be, however, the less effective arguments of undermining his credibility and leadership seem. There's no appealing to modesty when the emperor has no clothes. People won't buy it anymore - especially if the Dems show some signs of trying to hold people accountable for their lethal incompetence.

Now, will he be impeached? I honestly don't know. But if Dems don't start acting like they take seriously the abbrogations of Constitutional power perpetrated by Bushco - that is, start acting like they have spines - why should I believe that they'll be any more effective in standing up to the massive assault on the New Deal that has been the last six years?

And more importantly, more leadership needs to be shown, in this respect. Feingold's made an admirable start of it, and a few Senators have had his back. Precious little is coming from the House (John Conyers and Louise Slaughter being notable exceptions - Majority Leader Pelosi is a disappointment in this regard...). But really, all anyone has to say is "Talk of censure or impeachment may be a little premature, but there are constitutional questions to be investigated about the president's conduct in office, and he should be held appropriately accountable for any violations of his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States." Make the GOP refuse to investigate him! Make them embrace the President's astonishingly inept performance in governing and brazenly unconstitutional power grabs!

Meanwhile, all is not well in Norman Rockwell country:
Here in Massachusetts and Vermont, though, in the back roads and on the streets of Holyoke and Springfield, the discontent with Bush is palpable. These are states that, per capita, have sent disproportionate numbers of soldiers to Iraq. Many in these middle- and working-class towns are not pleased that so many friends and cousins are coming back wounded or dead.

"He picks and chooses his information and can't admit it's erroneous, and he annoys me," said Colleen Kucinski, walking Aleks, 5, and Gregory, 2, home.

Would she support impeachment? Kucinski wags her head "yes" before the question is finished. "Without a doubt. This is far more serious than Clinton and Monica. This is about life and death. We're fighting a war on his say-so and it was all wrong."
These sentiments aren't just bubbling up in New England...

[updated March 25, 2006 2:20 PM]: Armando weighs in, favoring censure over impeachment and makes some very legitimate points. I suppose my riposte is that criminal acts against the Constitution are criminal acts against the Constitution, and that politics shouldn't play a role in this. He is, of course, right, however, in saying that impeachment is fundamentally a political process. While normally a pragmatist, I guess I'm feeling like going whole-hog with removing the crooks from office.

Great group blogs that don't yet exist

gtff_X_presidentz - I was thinking, why be an underrepresented caucus when we could be overbearing and obnoxious bloggers? Some of us may use this platform to meddle in affairs of which we have no knowledge. Still others may use it to decry our loneliness. But no matter, the common thread of our shared experience binds our stories together...

24 March, 2006

And no fucking brown M&Ms®!

Ah, the neuroses of Dick Cheney:
Now the White House's own rock star can be added to the list of demanding divas. Dick Cheney, the vice-president, demands that all lights be turned on prior to his arrival in a hotel room. He also insists that all televisions be tuned to Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel. While watching the White House being praised on Fox, Mr Cheney would like to guzzle four cans of Diet caffeine-free Sprite.
Not mentioned in the Guardian: all employees who enter the veep's suite must wear white gloves and surgical masks; the veep requires at least 2 industrial size bottles of hand sanitizer; and the four cans of Diet caffeine-free Sprite must be disinfected under UV light for 15 minutes, and then rinsed with distilled water.

These accomodations can be made at fine undisclosed locations worldwide.

[updated March 24, 2006 9:12 PM]:You know, somewhere in that article is a "shoot someone in the face" joke, and I was too dim to pull it off. Help me out here!


This is wrong on so many different levels:
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"Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston," believed Pro-Life's first monument to the "act of giving birth," is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.

The monument also acknowledges the pop-diva's pin-up past by showing Spears seductively posed on all fours atop a bearskin rug with back arched, pelvis thrust upward, as she clutches the bear's ears with "water-retentive" hands.
A certain segment of the Right to Life movement actually is bat-shit insane.

From a commenter at EARVOLUTION:"But... she had a C-section..."


Wow, if there's one thing this illness has done to me, it's made me awful slow. It's amazing how much this bug has impaired me. You can definitely see it in my blogging. All of my thoughts hit a big old wall of snot before making it into my forebrain, and only a slimy fragment makes it through to be communicated.

But I'm generally just slow picking up everything. Reading slow. Comprehending slow. It really sucks. My thinking is definitely not nimble right now. Nope, it's slow, plodding, and thick. Bah.

So, dear readers, I apologize for the dearth of quality writing for the past couple of weeks while I've been ill. As for the dearth of quality the rest of the time, you'll just have to live with it.

23 March, 2006

B- Playlist

In the midst of grading finals. I'm giving a lot of "B-"s - not by design, have you, but I thought certain readers might find it amusing. I'm thinking of calling it a term and giving 'em all B-s.
  • Cyanide Breath Mint - Beck
  • You Won't See Me - The Beatles
  • Race for the Prize [Remix] - Flaming Lips
  • Unsquare Dance - Dave Brubeck
  • Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac - Dizzy Gillespie (this one keeps seeming to "randomly" pop-up...)
  • Home Is Where The Heart Is - Old & In The Way
  • Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob Dylan
  • JC - Sonic Youth
  • Pueblo Nuevo - Buena Vista Social Club
  • Take Meta Mars - Flaming Lips
And your bonus track #11...
  • House Fall Down - Yo La Tengo

Management material

It seems that wee wobs is a prime candidate for a management position. Or for a job in the GTFFSU...
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Gore v. the world

The American Prospect has a great piece about Al Gore's re-emergence as a public figure following the 2000 debacle, titled "The New New Gore."

But after reading it, it's a re-introduction to the Al Gore I grew up with when he was the junior senator from Tennessee. Gore single-handedly made me interested in environmentalism when he gave a phenomenal speech at my high school auditorium when I was a sophomore in high school.

Reading the article really makes me wonder what his campaign handlers were thinking when they tried to tone down his populism during the 2000 campaign (not to mention asking Joementum to be his running mate). I'll admit that I bought into the narrative about Gore's drift to the right during 2000 (a big mistake, in retrospect), but I never bought into the "wooden" or "uncharismatic" meme.

That said, I like where Big Al is headed these days, and the implications for communications and politics. Given the extent of media consolidation, it's downright inspiring to see what Gore is doing to begin to bypass the corporate filters and democratize information. Hopefully, Gore will inspire a new generation of media activists as he once inspired me.

22 March, 2006

Notes on a show I emphatically do not watch

Just a few:
  • Mandisa - smokin'!
  • Bucky - methinks this'll be the last we see of him
  • Paris - daaaaaaaaamn!
  • Chris - the post-grunge earnest rocker thing is wearing kinda thin
  • Katherine - hot.
  • Taylor - not his best week, but he gets a thumbs-up for his nod to the Dead
  • Lisa - meh.
  • Kevin - I hate him, but as long as he keeps appeasing the pre-pubescents, he'll be around
  • Elliot - meh.
  • Kelly - cute and charismatic, did a great Patsy Cline, but a few fries short of a happy meal
  • Ace - gag.

Bush to nation: STFU

You know things are bad for the White House when Karl Rove thinks it's a good idea to trot Bubble Boy out for a press conference - not that any of us were actually expecting any real, what are they called... oh yes, answers to the questions that were posed. But the whole affair touched on the surreal (C&L has links to video excerpts), beginning with the WaPo's description of the whole sordid ordeal:
The news conference was vintage Bush, a mix of playful banter, stern glares and defiant assertions.
Ah yes, nothing says presidential like making lame jokes when discussing a war which has killed over 2300 American servicemen and women and orders of magnitude more Iraqis. And why does the White House press corps feel obliged to laugh at Bush's attempts at "humor?"

Other telling quotes:
But Bush rejected the notion that his Iraq policy is based on wishful thinking. "I say that I am talking realistically to people," he said.
That's priceless. My policy is reality-based because I say so. Of course, he may mean that he is talking realistically to people like Dick, Rummy, and Condi, who are so far out in sycophantic la-la land as to render the meaning of "realistically" entirely irrelevant.
Asked if a day will come when there are no U.S. troops there, Bush said "that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."
Translation: To whoever gets this job after me - it's hard work! Sorry 'bout the mess! Oh, and fuck you.
[H]e said the reason U.S. forces went to Iraq was to "make sure we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy."
That's a reason (#83, but who's counting?) I hadn't heard before! Wasn't Iraq already a safe haven to an enemy? And hasn't it become a safe haven for terrorists? Now I'm confused!
Bush said he disagrees with former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi, a man who had been handpicked by his administration, and others who say that the country is already engaged in a civil war in which dozens of people are killed each day. "The way I look at the situation," Bush said, "the Iraqis took a look and decided not to go to civil war."
Huh? What does that mean? "Look at that, Abdul. Civil war? Let's not even go there, sister!" What the fuck is this man talking about?

I have no idea what the White House was trying to accomplish with this stunt. Maybe the watched Sunday's West Wing and decided that the strategy used by the GOP presidential candidate, played by Alan Alda, of holding a marathon press conference and actually answering all the questions would put the whole sordid ordeal of Bushco's bungling behind them. Unfortunately, people actually like Alan Alda, and the West Wing is, of course, fiction, but hey, I'll give 'em props for creative, if plagiarized, thinking.

20 March, 2006

Youth resistance

I mentioned the student strikes in France a few days ago. I just ran across this blogpost from Jerome à Paris - who has a front row seat to these events - which he (rightly, I believe) frames as a defense of labor and union rights against an Anglo-American model of corporate supremacy.

The continuing adventures of Bubble Boy

I think the WaPo headline aptly sums things up: Bush Still Upbeat on Outcome In Iraq [emphasis mine].

So who are we going to believe? A man whose only trip to Iraq involved smuggling in a plastic turkey in the dead of night?
Bush, who spoke on the White House South Lawn after returning from a weekend at Camp David, said that he is encouraged by Iraq's continuing steps toward democracy, and that he is urging Iraqi leaders "to work hard to get this government up and running." Bush said he spoke by phone yesterday to U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, who he said remains encouraged by the political progress being made in Iraq.
Or, I dunno, someone who was actually the head of the Iraqi government in the past couple of years?
[Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad] Allawi contradicted Bush's progress report, saying the country is edging toward "the point of no return."

"We are losing a day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more," Allawi said on BBC's "Sunday AM" program. "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney (you may remember him - he was the traumatized victim of someone stepping in front of his shotgun blast) continued his "if-I-keep-repeating-it-someday-it'll-be-true" routine:
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer bluntly challenged Cheney on his own string of prognostications, such as his pre-invasion assertion that U.S. troops would be welcomed in Iraq as liberators and, 10 months ago, that the insurgency was in its "last throes."

Cheney replied that those statements were "basically accurate and reflect reality," but that public perceptions of Iraq's progress are being skewed "because what's newsworthy is the car bomb in Baghdad."

Again linking the war in Iraq to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Cheney called the conflict part of "an aggressive, forward-leaning" strategy that has prevented terrorist incidents in the United States since then.
In the meantime, outside of the bubble, no one is fooled:
Meanwhile, a growing majority of Americans believe the effort is not worth the cost both financially and in lives lost. A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this month found that two-thirds of Americans questioned whether the United States has a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq.

19 March, 2006

Musical notes

How about a Sunday posting on what's interesting me musically these days? Why? Why not?
  • Early 80s Dead - It must've been about a year ago when ez mentioned his preference for Dead shows of this era. I was sceptical. I'm not a big Brent fan, and I mostly associate this period of shows with Jerry nodding off on stage. However, I've come across quite a few shows that kick just about every other era's ass in terms of intensity and improvisational genius. I have a phenomenal '83 Halloween show from Marin County (although, really, are there any bad Bay Area Dead shows?), and a surprisingly good '85 show from Richmond, VA. I suppose my biggest complaint from this era is a lack of consistency - the highs were oh-so-high, but when the Boys were off, my god, it was awful (and no catty comments from you, Dave) [btw, ez, we should get together and compare bootleg collections]
  • David Bowie's "Life on Mars" - Probably the most eloquent statement of banality this side of Dark Side of the Moon. I can listen to this song over and over again.
  • Meat Puppets - ever since PattyJoe brought them up a few weeks back, I've had a powerful hankerin' to immerse myself in their bizarro mix of psychedelic-country-punk. Unfortunately, all that has survived of my collection is a hissy cassette of Huevos and a CD of the exceedingly lackluster Forbidden Places. Help a brother out?
  • Country Blues - I've mined the UO library, which has a phenomenal collection of Depression-era country blues music on CD. There's something incredibly haunting about these bluesmen, usually only accompanied by an acoustic guitar, that was lost when the blues went 'lectric. Also, these bluesmen have the best names - although it's staggering how many were "Blind something-or-other." My favorite name? Barbecue Bob from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Beach Boys - I've been grooving on them for a few months now. I regret thinking that I was too cool for them, and that all of their music was "California Girls" style surf-pop (which isn't to say that "California Girls" isn't a great song - it is!). Pet Sounds is one of the most brilliant albums, ever. And after hearing Brian Wilson's release of SMiLE, it's impossible to argue that he doesn't belong in the pantheon of songwriting and production geniuses.
  • Sufi prayer chants from North Africa - I dunno, I just find them to be ethereal.
  • Music City Swing - Another find from the UO library, Nashville has always been known as the citadel of country music, but from the mid-40s to the early 70s, it had a lively Black swing scene that combined the down-and-dirty Delta blues with country swing in a sound that anticipates the R&B explosion of the mid-1970s. Good stuff.
  • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - I'd put this album away for awhile. When it was released about four years ago, I was blown away by it. In the past few weeks, I wondered if my amazement at the time had more to do with the dearth of innovative music in the fin de siècle era. Nope, it truly is a masterpiece.
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but that's for another blog-post.

18 March, 2006

You mean not everything Bush says is true?

How novel. The press starts fact-checking Bush's speeches.

Where the hell have y'all been for the past five years?

Half better?

Well, I thought I'd turned a corner yesterday, and I even ventured out into the big scary world for maybe an hour or so, but when I woke up today, it looks like I took a Great Leap Backward. I suppose I should take some comfort in the fact that my head is only half-filled with snot (judging from the way it sloshes back and forth when I roll from side-to-side).

I swear, I'll stop whining about how sick I am, but I'm never this sick, and I guess I just want the world to share in my misery.

17 March, 2006

The Great GOP Walkback

With apologies to hunter

Are we really supposed to believe that the Congressional Republican's sudden willingness to stand up to the Bushites had it's germ in the first days of the Bush administration?
President Bush's troubles with congressional Republicans, which erupted during the backlash to the Dubai seaport deal, are rooted in policy frustrations and personal resentments that GOP lawmakers say stretch back to the opening days of the administration.

For years, the Bush White House and its allies on Capitol Hill seemed like one of the most unified teams Washington had ever seen, passing most of Bush's agenda with little dissent. Privately, however, many lawmakers felt underappreciated, ignored and sometimes bullied by what they regarded as a White House intent on running government with little input from them. Often it was to pass items -- an expanded federal role in education under the No Child Left Behind law and an expensive prescription drug benefit under Medicare -- that left conservatives deeply uneasy.
Boo-fucking-hoo. The Rubber Stamp Republicans feel underappreciated, ignored, sometimes bullied. But that didn't stop them from gleefully signing on to policies which have royally screwed our nation. But wait, get this:
Most Republicans voted to authorize the Iraq war after the White House assured them that Saddam Hussein posed a threat with weapons of mass destruction and that the United States had an effective military strategy. Many now harbor serious doubts about the war's prospects.
So now Congressional Republicans are claiming they were misled about the war? Bull. Shit. They had no problem supporting the war when it was a political gravy train for them.

Now that Bush's numbers are down the proverbial crapper, Congressional Republicans are fleeing the ship like the rats they are. But make no mistake about it - the problems that have been foisted on this country were pushed upon us not just by Bushco, but by a GOP bent on establishing one-party rule. And no amount of posturing to put some distance between them and Bush is going to change that.

Light at the end of the tunnel playlist

Well, Blogger's finally back up and running, and I can honestly say that I think I've turned the corner on this wretched bug that's been plaguing me [knocks on wood]. So, to celebrate, a playlist now that things are lookin' up:
  • That's Not Me - The Beach Boys
  • Revolutionary Generation - Public Enemy
  • Dear Landlord - Bob Dylan
  • They Can't Take That Away From Me - Charlie Parker
  • Dinner and a Movie - Phish
  • Way over Yonder in the Minor Key - Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • The Last Straw - Widespread Panic
  • She Fucks Me - Ween
  • Joy - The Minutemen
  • Belong - REM
And, of course, your bonus track #11:
  • I - Bad Brains
Hopefully I'll be getting back to more substantive and less snot-filled posts in the coming days.

16 March, 2006

Shout it out, yo! Raise the roof!

Taking a page from my man pattyjoe, here's a shout-out to some outstanding peeps:
  • To ms. wobs, for taking care of my sorry ass this week. Honestly, I've never felt more miserable in quite some time, and she's tended to me with a smile and some awesome homemade chicken soup. I owe her big.
  • To the wee wobs, who, despite being as sick as I, has been fairly charming and quite nice these past few days.
  • To the GTFF bargaining team (Julian, Anna, PattyJoe, and our man on the scene, Davey C), for stickin' it to the Man. Almost makes me wish I was sitting with y'all at the bargaining table... almost, but not quite.
  • To Jen E. who has been über-awesome in covering my classes the past couple of days. I owe her beer.
  • To ez and Dave, for making the longest comment thread yet on this blog... god, that's embarrassing.
  • To the random readers who keep popping in and checking out what passes for writing here - be dears and say hi every now and again.
Okay, that's all the shouting I can do right now. I am sick, remember?

The sociological observations of the ill

Judging from the commercials I saw this morning, the demographic being targeted by FOX-TV from 10 AM to noon (Seinfeld reruns) is lazy, obese folks in the market for a new home.

Who knew?

Sick me + sick kid + overworked mom = no fun

This post has been brought to you by the numerous pharmaceutical corporations that have kept me doped within an inch of my life.

15 March, 2006

Who isn't a fucking Scientologist these days?

I had no idea Isaac "Chef" Hayes was a Scientologist:
But the singer, previously best known for the soundtrack to the 1971 movie Shaft, drew the line at an episode in which a central character, Stan, is hailed as the successor to L Ron Hubbard, who started the cult in 1952. The episode was pulled in the UK [wobs notes: it was pulled thanks to the efforts of world-class douchebag Tom Cruise]. "There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends, and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," Mr Hayes said in a statement. "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

"This has nothing to do with intolerance and bigotry and everything to do with the fact that Isaac Hayes is a Scientologist and that we recently featured Scientology in an episode of South Park," said Matt Stone, who created the series with Trey Parker. "In 10 years and more than 150 episodes Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Jews. He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show. To bring the civil rights struggle into this is just a non sequitur. Of course, we will release Isaac from his contract and we wish him well."
Trey Parker and Matt Stone's fuck-you brand of libertarianism can grate on me at times, but they've got a point - Isaac Hayes never had a problem cashing a check from disrespecting someone else's beliefs and practices.

Besides, Scientologists really do seem to be a bit batty.

Wouldn't want him behind the wheel, much less running a war

I'm sure I'll get a few nasty looks about being ageist, but really, I don't think Donald Rumsfeld is all there. Via Crooks & Liars:
...I think until I've had a chance to think more about it and-and-uhh-I-I will say I don't think it'll look like-ahh- the United States's civil war.

Look, we've all seen elderly people behind the wheels of cars who, for whatever reason - physical impairment, the slowing of cognitive functions, whatever - shouldn't be there anymore. Given the fact that Donald Rumsfeld hasn't said anything that's made any sense or had any particular connection to the real world for the past three years, I think it might be time to take away his keys to the military machine. I mean, really - an Iraqi civil war won't look like the U.S. civil war? That's an answer from our top civilian at DoD?

My only fear is that Rummy will be replaced with Republican in Democrat's clothing, Joementum.

This is why teenagers aren't allowed to vote

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Why someone this soul-less and whitebread was allowed within 100 feet of a Stevie Wonder song is beyond me.

14 March, 2006

Sick blogging

I'm home illin' today - honestly, I don't remember the last time I felt this shitty. I've got that nasty "sick" taste in my mouth, you know, the kind that seems to coat your tongue and refuses to go away no matter how much you brush your teeth or drink juice. Yuck.

Luckily, the wee wobs, who also has a touch of the icks, has been an absolute delight today. So he's not really a tasmanian devil - although he does have his moments...

Evil twins en vogue

Josh has more on Claude Allen's evil twin. And apparently, this theory is so plausible, Rep. Jean "Cowards-cut-and-run-Marines-never-do" Schmidt (R-OH) has decided to employ it herself for comments she allegedly made back in 1984.

Why does the GOP seem more and more like a really bad 70s crime show?

"An unbelievable mess"

According to memos written and delivered to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in May, 2003, and uncovered in The Guardian, re - The U.S. Occupation of Iraq: "No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis."
The mistakes include:
  • A lack of interest by the US commander, General Tommy Franks, in the post-invasion phase.
  • The presence in the capital of the US Third Infantry Division, which took a heavyhanded approach to security.
  • Squandering the initial sympathy of Iraqis.
  • Bechtel, the main US civilian contractor, moving too slowly to reconnect basic services, such as electricity and water.
  • Failure to deal with health hazards, such as 40% of Baghdad's sewage pouring into the Tigris and rubbish piling up in the streets.
  • Sacking of many of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party, even though many of them held relatively junior posts.
Translation: A complete clusterfuck.

SusanG has more over at dkos.

Could things get any weirder?

The other day I blogged about Claude Allen, the president's former domestic policy advisor who'd been picked up for allegedly targeting department stores in a fraudulent return scam.

Well, things just got far, far weirder:
Now, I take it I'm not reading too much into this [NPR story] to think that the idea here is that this is a case of mistaken identity in which the virtuous Claude Allen has been nailed for the crimes of his evil twin.

I have to tell you this new story seems so insane and ridiculous that I have [to] suspect it's actually true. And, no, I'm not entirely kidding. Who could come up with such a story?
I can't wait to see how this one pans out.

Wee wobs

Meet our 20 month old son:
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He would've been sold to gypsies today had he not wowed us (at 6:45 AM) by counting from one to ten all by himself. Later, we tried to get him to repeat the feat by counting with them. Upon reaching ten, he told us, "Good job!" Pretty cute, for a little barbarian!

13 March, 2006

What digby said

Digby types. You read.

Seriously, digby is one of the most eloquent writers on these here internets.

Parenting, GOP-style

Via tbogg:
Republicans: They hate their children and will cheat when playing Candy Land so that they can go back to drinking, cleaning their guns, and watching Fox news.

Yet another re-run

The front page of tomorrow's (March 13) WaPo looks to be a re-run of mistakes made right about three years ago. Let's take quotes from the article and make snarky statements, shall we?
The internal administration debate that raged in the first term between those who advocated more engagement with Iran and those who preferred more confrontation appears in the second term to be largely settled in favor of the latter. Although administration officials do not use the term "regime change" in public, that in effect is the goal they outline as they aim to build resistance to the theocracy.
Translation: Now that Colin Powell's been tossed out on his ass, we'll kick whoever's ass we want, when we want. And wouldn't it be grand if the Bush administration was dedicated to building resistance to the theocracy of the Dobson's and Robertson's right here at home? Surely the WaPo staff writers had a little giggle when they penned that line. Right? Right?!?
"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Senate testimony last week. "We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. We want the Iranian people to be free. Our problem is with the Iranian regime."
Wow, substitute a few "q"s for "n"s, and these guys could've just copied an article from about 3 years ago.
But as the administration gears up, the struggle with Iran remains shadowed by Iraq. The botched intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons has left a credibility challenge in convincing the public and the world that the administration is right this time about Iran.
Oh! I've read this story to wee wobs! "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf!"
The focus on Iran inside the administration lately has been striking. Bush, according to aides, has been spending more time on the issue, and advisers have invited 30 to 40 specialists for consultations in recent months.
The advice of these specialists will, of course, be promptly ignored when Bush tries to rescue his sagging poll numbers with yet another invasion.
In the past week, the State Department created an Iran desk. Last year, only two people in the department worked full time on Iran; now there will be 10. The department is launching more training in the Farsi language and is planning an Iranian career track.
So let me get this straight - Iran has been a member of the "Axis of Evil," our arch-enemy, for well over four years, and we just got around to creating an Iran desk at State just last week? There's only two possible interpretations of that little nugget: a) they needed a fig-leaf to try to pretend that diplomacy was going to be attempted before turning old Persia into so much glass or b) the fuckwads are extra, extra incompetent. Given what we know of Bushco, my money's on the latter.
"Every year that we wait, the risk increases," said former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. "I would hope that the administration would decide to do something decisive. . . . We have the military power in the region if we need it. It's a question of whether we have the will."
Wait a minute, who let this hypocritical douchebag back into the halls of power? Someone pull Gingrich's head out of his ass so we can kick it back to the curb. "We have the military power in the region if we need it???" Oh, you mean the forces that are bogged down desperately trying to extricate themselves from a civil war in a neighboring country? I'm sure our service men and women will be overjoyed to know that the road home from Baghdad goes through Tehran. What a fuckstick.

Well, I'm still feeling flu-ish, but venting all that bile certainly felt refreshing.

12 March, 2006

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

Okay, so this post is for myself and Patty Joe, since we both seem to have spent a good portion of the mid-1990s obsessing over Pavement's gem. If you haven't given this masterpiece (and it truly is a masterpiece) a spin, by all means, go out and find it (or borrow it from me). Twelve years later, and the album hasn't aged a day. I could still listen to it repeatedly and still find joy in the album's many nooks and crannies. (BTW - I need to borrow the 2004 re-issue from you, Mr. Hayden - the 0s and 1s on my original CD are slated to be burned off at any moment!)

I remember the day my friend Nathaniel ambled into my dorm room with his brand new copy. Okay, that may be a stretch - my memory of those four years in sunny Florida are addled by $8 cases of Natty Light, $30 quarters of just-off-the-boat Mexican schwag, and enough psychedelics to kill a horse - but hearing 2xCrooked Rain for the first time... wow. I'd been a big fan of the defiantly lo-fi and obtuse Slanted and Enchanted and had a small collection of their more esoteric singles (I'd kill to know what happened to my 7" of "Debris Slide," my favorite Pavement song ever - but I'd settle for borrowing someone's copy of Westing by Sextant and Musket), but I was completely unprepared for what I heard when Nathaniel slipped the new disc in and pressed play. "Silent Kit" began, a chaotic jumble of entangled hooks coalescing into a gloriously lush, if off-kilter, pop masterpiece that set the tone, both thematically and musically, for the rest of the album.

I remember the naysayers during that first listen, claiming that the album was too sloppy, too "off-key." Honestly, I've never heard something so sloppy or off-key sound so perfect. The supposed sloppiness was meticulous in its craftsmanship. Haters notwithstanding, I was instantly hooked.

I have so many memories of this album, which seemed just as appropriate a listening choice for playing hacky-sack in the anarchy circle on a brilliant afternoon as it did for late-night bong-rip sessions with Loafy. The sullen moodiness of "Stop Breathin'" could only be followed by the ebullient almost-hit-song pop of "Cut Your Hair." The last third of the album in particular, the warped country-rock of "Range Life," the late-night sway of "Heaven's a Truck," the disjointed and cranky "Hit the Plane Down," and the confused and desperate sounding "Fillmore Jive," seemed to be the perfect soundtrack to my finally figuring out who the hell I was (even if that sort of self-revelation is constantly unfolding as we speak).

It's amazing how many memories I have of this album. Road trips to NOLA with Nathaniel. The latter half of my sophomore year living with Costa. Late night driving shifts on Phish tour in 1996 and 1997. My first desperate, rainy winter in Eugene. This album pulled me through them all.

It's in every way a classic.

The Man Who Fell to Earth says it's "deeply allegorical." Okay.

I don't get it.

11 March, 2006

Beautiful Day

Unfortunately, I'm stuck inside grading papers. At least I have this playlist to lighten the mood:
  • Autumn Nocturne - Sonny Rollins
  • Stop Breathin' - Pavement
  • Gumboots - Paul Simon
  • The Word - The Beatles
  • Venus de Milo - Miles Davis
  • Lounge Act - Nirvana
  • God Don't Never Change - Blind Willie Johnson
  • She Belongs to Me - Bob Dylan
  • Don't Look Now - The Minutemen
  • Thank You for Sending Me an Angel - Talking Heads
And your bonus track #11:
  • Op Hop Detonation - Stereolab
I hope the day is as pretty in your neck of the woods as it is here, and I hope you can at least go out and enjoy it.

A taste

Just found a link to the first single from the new Flaming Lips album here (scroll down for links to the music). I'm now officially super-stoked.

We got the power, muthafuckas.

Just desserts

Wow. It's hard to think of a better metaphor for the past five years:
Claude A. Allen, who resigned last month as President Bush's top domestic policy adviser, was arrested this week in Montgomery County for allegedly swindling Target and Hecht's stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scheme, police said.
They really are nothing more than a bunch of common criminals.

Groundhog Day

Haven't we heard this before?
President Bush plans to begin a series of speeches next week again explaining the administration's strategy for winning the war in Iraq, as the White House returns to a familiar tactic to allay growing public pessimism about the war that has helped keep the president's approval rating near its historic low.
A loose translation: Iraq is ablaze, approval ratings are downright Nixonian, time to make a speech about how great things are!

The Bush administration has a strategy for spinning the abyssmal mess we all knew this misadventure was going to turn out to be from the beginning, but none for dealing with the destruction and loss of countless Iraqi and American lives. Bush continues to butcher the English language while Baghdad burns.

10 March, 2006

Neck deep in sleaze

If you don't read Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, you really should. He's sleuthed out the frayed threads that may unravel the entire GOP. And the corruption that he's uncovering is making Nixon's folly look like utter child's play.

It's truly staggering. All of the major Republican scandals are beginning blur at the edges and overlap. We've been taken for a major ride, and the extent of the shakedown, in treasure and lives, is only starting to become clear.

Vive la Résistance!

Students have once again stormed and occupied La Sorbonne, this time to defy quite possibly the world's stupidest employment stimulation policy (and that says a lot, given the economic "miracle" that's been the Bush administration):
The prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, wants to force a measure through France's parliament designed to alleviate unemployment, paradoxically by making it easier to fire workers aged under 26 years. The measure would introduce a new form of work contract, le contrat de première embauche (first employment contract), which gives employers the right to let employees go after two years. The hope is it will spur employers to hire young people safe in the knowledge they are not obliged to retain them.
Take a second and read that again. De Villepin wants to increase youth employment by making it easier to fire young people. The macro-economic thinking behind this particular proposal ranks right up there with other pie-in-the-sky schemes like the Laffer Curve, but without the charming drawn-on-a-cocktail-napkin folklore to give scotch-and-soda swilling Republicans a good chuckle about their little con game.

Meanwhile, the youth desperately beg for work:
But the move has provoked a vigorous backlash. More than 400,000 people joined street demonstrations across France earlier this week, and by early yesterday about half of the country's 88 universities had been shut down by student sit-ins...


For more than a decade, France's overall unemployment rate has hovered around 10% - one of the highest in western Europe. But it is the punishing level of youth unemployment that sets the country apart. Nearly one in four young French people is out of work, and unemployment among the under-25s has persisted above 20% for a generation.

Although some EU countries in eastern Europe have higher rates, most of these are moving down. France's rate increased in 2002 and has grown steadily for the past four years.

09 March, 2006

To the irregulars

I can count them on one hand, but I have regular readers! And they rock! So I just wanted to give a shout-out to y'all, and to those who comment regularly - you know who you are, and you are appreciated. When you're howling into the e-wilderness, it's nice when someone howls back.

To you readers who lurk: leave a freakin' comment and say hi! Especially those of you who mosey over from Dave's blog.

If you enjoy what passes for political and social commentary, humor, and solipsistic navel gazing here, check out some of the links on the blogroll. The one's marked with a cute little spade(♠) are blogs I visit on a daily basis - they're definitely top-shelf. All the others are fine vintages as well. However, if you like your liquor from the well, keep reading ye olde medulla noodle.

My friends are all great bloggers as well, so check them out if you're interested in travelogues, more grad student angst, bodily functions, and... whatever the hell it is my brother writes about.

Okay, dear readers, enough meta-blogging madness for one day. Thanks for the warm, squishy feelings. I love warm, squishy feelings, unless they're in my shoes.

08 March, 2006 censors my Horowitz review

I must've hit a nerve with some peon at, because portions of my review have been edited out. My original review is posted here, and you can find the scrubbed version on here. Here's what it looks like now:
I'm familiar with a good number of the professors who are, erm... "profiled" in Horowitz's latest screed, and I'll agree with his assessment of many of them. Yep, they're radicals. They challenge sexism, racism, capitalism, U.S. foreign policy, etc., etc.

And this all occurs, shockingly enough, at a univeristy, where one expects a diversity of opinions. And luckily, this diversity is protected by the academy's commitment to academic freedom from [...] Horowitz and his ilk. And yes, I did have conservative professors in the University, in classes spanning a number of disciplines (and I earned my undergraduate degree from an institution that ranks right up there with the most liberal of them all). So there's radicals teaching on college campuses. Big deal. If universities are doing their job properly, an open-minded student will be able to sift through all of the studied opinions presented by faculty members (and yes, all of these opinions are arrived at after years of dedication to one's discipline) and draw their own conclusions.

Ah, but the sub-text of Horowitz's argument is that these professors are using the classroom as a bully pulpit to brainwash and indoctrinate unsuspecting undergraduates into accepting leftist ideologies. But a funny thing happens over the course of Horowitz's book. Not one instance of unprofessional conduct by these professors in the classroom is presented. NOT ONE. In fact, a number of these professors have been commended for their outstanding teaching. [...]

What Horowitz counts on to make his case is the general public's unwillingness to do their own research. Are the professors misquoted? Not at all. But Horowitz depends on the reader not searching out the context in which the statement is made. That makes it that much easier to twist a statement's meaning into some gross caricature of the "evil, anti-American communist professor who is out to brainwash your children and steal your tuition money." All academic writing is full of nuance and hair-splitting that most people don't have the time or the energy with which to deal. Horowitz uses this to his advantage in slandering the academy.


So here's my challenge. If you absolutely MUST read Horowitz's volume, take the time to read the writings of the professor that he cites as supporting his arguments. I guarantee you'll find work that is provocative (if not always correct), work that will raise certain questions and lead to some interesting discussions - precisely the type of discussions that Horowitz wants to shut down.
Apparently, "neo-McCarthyite" is a four-letter word. Was I wrong in my assessment here?

Anyways, this is mild, compared to what's happened to others, who've had whole reviews deleted. I won't be ordering anything from anymore, nor will I be linking to them, the link above notwithstanding.


Two for one book review

One of the nice thing about coast-to-coast flights, and not giving a flying fuck about grad school, is having the opportunity to read a quality book, or in my case, two quality books. So without further ado...

West-to-East: I sunk my teeth into Biju Mathew's Taxi!: Cabs and Capitalism in New York City (2005, The New Press). I can't recommend this book enough - it's compelling for both the casual reader and the seasoned academic. Mathew's uses his organizing with the Taxi Workers' Alliance as the point of departure for a fascinating analysis of the structures which have shaped New York's yellow cab industry.

Taxi! has much to offer, from the nuts-and-bolts of running a successful labor organizing campaign among a massive and diverse workforce (40,000 cab drivers from primarily Third World nations) in adverse times, to the changing ownership and regulatory structure within which yellow cab drivers operate, to the urban politics of New York's emergence as a global city, to the forces of globalization and neo-liberalism which have shaped the taxi workforce. All of these themes are woven together in a highly readable and inspiring narrative. One puts down this book sympathizing with the abusive condition under which cab drivers work, but also with a sense of awe as these men (and a few righteous women!) achieve some success against what seem to be overwhelming forces. Again, I can't recommend this book enough.

East-to-West: I breezed through Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga's Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics (2006, Chelsea Green Publishing). I've only recently returned to the world of Democratic Party politics, having wandered in the disaffected leftist wasteland for close to a decade. Had this book been available ten years ago, I might have changed my tune. Jerome and Markos emphasize building a broad-based progressive movement as a means to bolster the party's electoral prospects in the coming years.

I think their analysis of a parasitic Beltway consulting class hits pretty close to the mark - why do we keep hiring Bob Shrum and his merry band of election losers time and again? I might quibble a bit with their characterization of "interest group" politics within the party - being a laborite myself - but I think their point is well taken: that these movements should exist outside the party, instead of being the party, and that insisting on a slavish adherence to a narrow agenda in order to receive an endorsement is a counter-productive strategy. A progressive majority, even with a few progressives who may not be 100% on some advocacy group's pet issue, will ensure a far better environment for the progressive agenda than current circumstances allow.

I found the section on the rise of the netroots to be a bit triumphalist and self-serving, and I'm not sold yet on the prospects of on-line organizing, but that's a minor beef with the overall message of "Organize, organize, organize!" Jerome and Markos lay out a compelling vision that lays the infrastructure for the development and transmission of progressive ideas and puts real people back at the center of a fighting, vibrant Democratic Party.

07 March, 2006

Have a magical fucking day

I spent the last weekend in balmy Orlando, FL at the AFT Higher Ed conference. Care to guess which vacation destination the conference was held at?

That's right, I spent three magical fucking days at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, paying outrageous prices for rum drinks and beer at the pool, all because they knew they had me captive for the duration. Three days of employees wearing over-sized cartoon hands telling - nay, ordering me to have a "magical" day. Three days of the happiest fucking place on earth.

And three days of wondering if Goofy was going to tap me on the shoulder for even thinking of saying the word "fuck," or any of its variants. God, is it nice to be away from that whitebread wholesomeness. Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck fuck. Fuck.

That said, overall, the conference was a worthwhile endeavor, even though it did provide moments of despair about the state of some faculty unions. As my partner in crime Dave mentioned, these events serve as a reminder of how far ahead of the curve graduate employee unions are in general.

The panel that I moderated went of with only a minor hitch, even if it was, as one attendee put it, "B-O-R-I-N-G" (discussions of mob tactics not withstanding). I particularly enjoyed a presentation on strategic planning. The other sessions I attended were notable for their general pooh-poohing of the concerns of graduate employees and other contingent faculty - which was to be expected, I suppose.

The real fun, however, was seeing our good friends from the midwest, AP and Kamper, who are rocking their respective state feds in Michigan and Illinois as field representatives, and visiting the Magic Kingdom with them - even if "Pirates of the Caribbean" was closed, "Space Mountain" was broken, and the "Enchanted Tiki Room" horribly modernized. A magical fucking time was had by all.

It makes it all the more difficult, after a weekend of doing something that I love, to come back and slog through the work that I don't really want to do. Blah. So there's my story for the weekend. Thanks for skimming.

Tuesday lunchtime playlist

Brought to you by, well... me.
  • Who Loves the Sun – Velvet Underground
  • Without God – The Word
  • Really, Pt. 1 – Johnny Jones & The Imperial 7
  • Death Trip – Bad Livers
  • Cotton Fields – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Ride the Fence – The Coup
  • Freedom Road – Josh White
  • Transporte Sans Bouger – Stereolab
  • Anatomy of a Murder – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra
  • The Overload – Talking Heads
And your bonus tracks #11 and 12:
  • Poem of Saadi – Golpayegani
  • Cinnamon Girl – Neil Young
The shuffle function never ceases to amaze me...

02 March, 2006

Kanye was right

Bush knew that the worst was coming on August 28, 2005. He just didn't care.

He strummed while NOLA drowned.
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Meanwhile, the wingnuts spin, spin, spin, and get, well, just plain ole silly (a doffing of the cap to TBogg - be sure to check out his snarky set-up).

Alito deep throats the Religious Right

Check out this love letter:
Dear Dr. Dobson,

This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support in the past few challenging months. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period.

As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force. As long as I serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.

I hope that we will have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future. In the meantime, my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how much we appreciate all that you have done.

Sincerely Yours,
Samuel Alito
Keep in mind how? Sending Christmas cards? Making sure that "Dr." Dobson and his merry band of zealots are on the invite list to all the A-list parties in Georgetown? Or cheerfully paving the way for the fundamentalist Right's Dominionist theocracy by shredding that silly obstruction of a Constitution and stomping women's rights back into the 19th Century?

Alito is what is known in teh pr0n business as a fluffer, and after he's finished blowing Dobson and his ilk, I have a feeling that the rest of us are going to be fucked.

BTW - an excellent resource for keeping track of the Dominionist movement can be found over at Frederick Clarkson's website (he now blogs at Talk To Action, but his website has a great list of links worth exploring).

01 March, 2006

Wrong side of the bed

Wow. Don't get on Duncan's bad side.

Ah, but his 'tude is why we love him so.

New month, new playlist

Straight from the shuffle function on WMP:
  • Mister Won't You Please Help My Pony - Ween
  • From a Buick 6 - Bob Dylan
  • Two Good Men - Woody Guthrie
  • Old Joe Bone - The New Lost City Ramblers
  • Dreaming - Yo La Tengo
  • Tread Water - De La Soul
  • The Eleven - The Grateful Dead
  • Slow Nerve Action - The Flaming Lips
  • Nightswimming - REM
  • Misunderstood - Wilco
And your bonus track #11:
  • Prelude to a Kiss - Duke Ellington
Just 'cause.

BTW - 35 days until the new Flaming Lips album arrives.

Stupid is as stupid does

The public reaction to the cascading scandals in Congress and the White House - slack-jawed stares - has suddenly become more understandable in that "oh-my-fucking-god" kinda way:
Americans apparently know more about "The Simpsons" than they do about the First Amendment.

Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.


It also showed that people misidentified First Amendment rights. About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected, and 38 percent said they believed the right against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment was a First Amendment right, the survey found.
You can listen in on our phone conversations, but you'll take my hamster when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

What's up with the French?

Okay, a few days ago I mentioned the poor French bloke who stumbled upon this blog after googling "huge real boobs." Which is okay, as I have used the words "huge," "real," and "boobs" at some point or another in the 100+ posts here.

So I check the Site Meter this afternoon, and yet another person has hit this blog looking for boobs, this time "Afro boobs" (which conjures up some pretty hilarious images that, had I any Photoshop/GIMP skills, I'd share with you). Okay, fair enough. Then I look where this person logged in from - you guessed it, France. I've had hits (not a lot, to be sure) from around the world, but the only two hits I get from France are looking for boobs? Odd, especially since I considered the French to be more about legs, for some reason.

Anyways, for mes amis en France, the author, manager, and sole proprietor of medulla noodle is happy to present you with - drumroll, please - Les Boobs:

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