30 September, 2006
Out of the woods
L'il wobs is on the rebound after a rough night. I can't begin to tell you how indescribably bad you feel telling your child he can't have water, which he desperately wants, because he'll throw it back up in 15 minutes. It was especially difficult when he refused his Pedialyte (it tastes bad, although I do hear the popsicles taste better). Additionally, this went on all night, so by the morning, I was dead tired and a little frazzled.
ms. wobs worked her heart out nursing the l'il wobs back to health today. Lots of sips and TLC - it wore her right out. But when I got home tonight, the wee one was smiling and running around like nothing happened. His mother, on the other hand, could barely move.
Thanks to all those who asked about him today. He'll be terrorizing us all again tomorrow.
29 September, 2006
The l'il wobs is sick - can't keep anything in his poor little stomach, and he's really thirsty. We've got him sipping on pedialyte, but it ain't satisfying his need for water. He's unhappy.
Gonna be a long night.
Labels: l'il wobs
Having it both ways
When there was money to be made writing hagiographies about the "war preznit," Bob Woodward was there.
Now that the tide has turned against Commander Codpiece and his merry band of neocons, Woodward's ready to spill the beans on how it all went to shit.
You're four years too late, asshole.
So certain events have got me down.
I wonder how the average German felt when they realized that Hitler was out of control. They all just wanted to feel safe and secure, to feel good about themselves, and one day they woke up and were in a world they could no longer control, realizing they were powerless against the most efficient regime of brutality ever seen. Did the average men and women collectively reach that point? Or did they sleepwalk their way into calamity?
Our elected officials just had a debate on some of the fundamental principles upon which this nation was built. The right to a fair trial, to be judged by a jury of one's peers. To face your accuser. To see the evidence against you. To not be tortured. These things were up for debate. And then 65 of our elected officials - including 11 Dems - voted against these fundamental principles.
I, of course, have known for a long time that we as a nation have never lived up to these principles, but I always thought they were worthwhile ideals for which we should strive. Now our government has given up even the pretense of striving for these goals.
So much taken away; so little will be gained.
28 September, 2006
If you thought Horowitz was crazy, check out his readers!
Crazy Dave posts letters from his readers responding to the "routine betrayal of our country's secrets," readers who may be just as crazy as he is!
I`ve been a member of the Intelligence Community (IC) for just under 30 years. I too noticed the fact that individuals from the IC put their personal political views before the oath they took when the were hired.Now I have no idea whether this person actually works for any sort of intelligence agency, but using the term "member of the Intelligence Community (IC)" a) sounds really dorky and b) is suspiciously vague. For all we know, this person's membership in the "IC" consists of a subscription to Soldier of Fortune magazine.
From 1993 through 2001, there were issues I was aware of that might have been embarrassing had they come to light. I did not feel compelled to find a reporter (but then again (facetiously)where might I have gone?) and it no one else did.It's a huge step to go from "embarrassing" to "unconsitutional" and "harming national security," as the latest leaks allege. It's not just politically embarrassing to the Bush administration that the war in Iraq is creating more terrorists - it obliterates one of the (many) pretenses for invading Iraq and shows that George W. Bush is demonstrably making this country less safe. It's not about scoring political points, it's about exposing a massive dereliction of duty.
Were I D/CIA General Hayden, I'd take a page from the Left`s book and conduct a rather exhaustive purge.Only "the Left" conducts purges, eh? Must be news to General Hayden's predecessor and right-wing ideologue Peter Goss who conducted his own purge upon arriving at his post (scroll down) after Tenet was sacked (and subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor). But then, I tend to pay attention to nasty little things called "facts."
I think there are large segments of the CIA that cannot see the threats our country faces, primarily because of their left wing and I dare say, anti-American bias.I'm willing to bet a hefty sum of money that Horowitz's reader is going to turn around and rah-rah the
These biases are carefully concealed in intelligence publications, but they show up in discussion databases. Perhaps the most telling way to gauge the bias is by what reports are not written i.e. which subjects are taboo to address.
I`m not surprised that our fighting Islamist terrorists has made us more enemies. Seems to me that Islam`s 11 September 2001 attack on the United States brought a lot of fighters to our country`s side. If the pinnacle of the IC`s analysis is trumpeting discovery that our fighting Islamists creates more enemies, perhaps it`s time to find some better analysts.Really? Because Americans were sold on Iraq because it would be a key piece in achieving victory in the War on Terror™. If achieving victory means creating more terrorists, well then, I have no argument for you. However, for those who expected a right and just war to bring more people to our side (the Iraq War didn't) and reduce the number of terrorists (the Iraq War is apparently creating them faster than Bushco can "eliminate" them), Iraq has been nothing but an unmitigated disaster.
One thing does perturb me (and a friend who is in the process of deserting the Left) is that no one on the Conservative side (in politics)is articulating the extent of the threatterror (suicide and remote-controlled) bombings, continued "random" murders by "disturbed" Muslims, and culmination in a (series?) of WMD attacks in the United States and how we should deal with it. We should not be waiting for these attacks to come to have a dialogue on how we should respond.This person should be concerned. The vaunted Bushco was set to handover port security to (the vapors!) a company owned by a foreign - nay, Arabic! - government. And we've seen the conservative response plan for a catastrophe in its response to Hurricane Katrina. Conservatives have fucked up just about everything having to do with the security of Americans. Maybe the friend who is in the process of leaving "the Left" (what the fuck does that even mean?) should reconsider.
I considered cutting and pasting this person's last paragraph, but I believe Joseph Conrad put our writer's sentiment much more eloquently when he wrote, "Exterminate the brutes."
27 September, 2006
Menage à Screech
Let's try a little thought experiment here. Remember Screech?
Imagine this image in this context:
Everyone who remembers Diamond as a lovable putz is in for a shock once they see a 40-minute video in which he engages in a kinky three-way with two women, sources tell us.May it haunt you as it's haunted me. And to top it all off:
We can't get too graphic here, but word is that the action includes some bodily functions and an act known as a "Dirty Sanchez."
The sex vid's working title is "Saved by the Smell."Now it's just a matter of sitting back and counting the hits from people Googling "three-way" and "Dirty Sanchez." Pervs.
Stand by your man
I'm not a big fan of Hillary! as a politician, but I do like hearing her say this:
In unusually blunt terms, Senator Clinton questioned the current administration’s response to an intelligence briefing President Bush received about a month before the 9/11 attacks. It mentioned that Al Qaeda was intent on striking the United States using hijacked planes.An example, indeed. We don't have to take the GOP's bullshit.
“I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team,” she said during an appearance on Capitol Hill.
In her remarks, Senator Clinton also suggested that Bill Clinton’s animated defense of his own national security record as president, delivered only a few days earlier, provided a powerful example for Democrats, whom Republicans have sought to portray in recent national elections as too weak to lead the country in such perilous times.
26 September, 2006
In further news from HappyBubbleLand...
From the WaPo:
President Bush on Tuesday said it is naive and a mistake to think that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism, disputing a national intelligence assessment by his own administration.Naïve and a mistake?
It's delusional, bordering on insane, to believe that Iraq has been anything but an unmitigated foreign policy disaster for the United States. But those are the "grown-ups" in charge.
25 September, 2006
Punk Rock Monday
In honor of that odd hazing ritual known as "moshing." Or, the way in which my parents still describe it, "slam dancing."
The Circle Jerks - "Backed Up Against A Wall":
Bad Religion - "Bad Religion":
BTW - every band should have a badass theme song like that.
Labels: Punk Rock Monday
Will someone pay me if I make shit up and rant like a loon?
I've found myself wondering what inner workings compel David Horowitz to act like Pat Buchanan on acid. Perhaps the psychological torment of seeing his beatnik parents, reciting bon mots from Mao's Little Red Book, in carnal embrace? I sometimes feel bad that he is so completely and utterly disconnected from any semblance of reality.
And then I remember that Horowitz is being paid handsomely in wingnut largesse so that he can continue publishing his delusional drivel:
Nearly thirty years after the onset of the AIDS epidemic and several hundred thousand mainly needless deaths, the US government is finally adopting a testing policy, which would have provided a frontline defense against the spread of the disease. Testing is the standard and proven way to fight epidemics and contain them. Testing for AIDS is especially important because the retrovirus lurks in the body without visible symptoms for long periods of time. Hence an AIDS infected person will not know they have the disease and can infect others. According to the NY Times report on the new testing policy, more than 50 percent of new AIDS carriers don't know they have the disease. That's 250,000 individuals, mainly Hispanic and Black. And that's mroe [sic] than 25 years after the first cases were identified and despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on AIDS "education."So now we're supposed to believe that culture warrior David Horowitz is standing up for the health of fornicating sodomites because "the Left" let them down? (Apparently, we are.)
The hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths that have occurred since the onset of the epidemic were not accidents. They were caused by a political campaign mounted by the left to prevent standard public health policies -- testing most prominent among them -- from being implemented. In the name of political correctness the left has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of mainly young, mainly gay men. The left's argument -- testing will stigmatize AIDS victims and the government will put them in concentration camps -- was as hysterical and insane then as its its argument that the Bush Administration has created the terrorists and if we give them what they want they will go home. But it was persuasive enough to liberals and the Democratic Party and public officials like C. Everett Koop, that hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on education campaigns that didn't work,and unsuspecting gays were left to die.
The consequences of the left's murderous propaganda and policy demands were known at the time. Peter Collier and I sounded an alarm in 1983. Michael Fumento and other conservatives followed in an attempt to counter the left's campaign to disarm the gay community in the face of this threat with reasoned argument and evidence. But to no avail. The leftwing juggernaut was too powerful, and the grim result is now there for anyone with eyes to see. Let's hope that the left's current campaign to disarm America in the face of the Islamic threat will not succeed the way this one did.
I suppose Horowitz was pushing these "standard public health measures" twenty years ago while his hero, über-president Ronald Reagan refused to publically acknowledge [pdf] the skyrocketing rates of HIV infection until 1987 - six years after the first inklings of the epidemic - effectively refusing to commit the resources of the federal government to fighting AIDS.
I also find it telling that Horowitz singles out gays and minorities in his piece (the NYT article says that the CDC recommends that HIV screening become part of routine medical care). Why single these groups out? Isn't "the Left" also waging a war against the 35% of HIV+ individuals infected by heterosexual partners?
And why bash on education when there are plenty of credible studies which clearly demonstrate the efficacy of HIV education?
Let's step back for a moment and follow Horowitz's logic: HIV education has clearly failed; that is, warning gay men (exclusively, in his fevered brain) of a disease that can kill them and giving them the tools to prevent infection has not stemmed the rate of infection. Out at the Freedom Center, one can imagine Horowitz holding forth about how AIDS education just empowers the gays to keep having libinous gay sex, which is, of course, the cause of AIDS. If those men would just stop having hours and hours of well-oiled, manly gay sex, AIDS would just go away.
And how would testing solve the problem? In Horowitz's house of mirrors, mandatory HIV screening is the first step towards criminalizing HIV transmission: containing the epidemic by compelling infected individuals to adhere to a regime which eliminates the risk of transmission (which could lead to the outlawing of homosexuality as a "public health risk, you know, like smoking"), or by containing the epidemic in our jails (where, incidentally, sticky, musky gay sex never occurs). Bigotry all tarted up in the rationalizations of the law.
Yes, crazy Dave - it's "the Left"'s fault that there is still the AIDS. It's "the Left" who has gutted inner-city public education funding, ensuring that the minorities Horowitz sees fit to defend when it serves his (wildly outlandish) rhetorical points may never have an opportunity to receive proper HIV education. And I doubt he'll savor - or even notice - the irony of his "mandatory screening during routine exams" regime failing to dent the transmission rate for exactly the same reason: the ideological anti-tax hostility ("drowning government in the bathtub") towards any sort of public health policy which would allow people from disadvantaged social milieu access to medical care.
God, the more I think about the case Horowitz makes here, the more boggled I become. It doesn't make sense on so many different levels. So the trick is to stop thinking about it.
24 September, 2006
Are we out of rationales yet?
22 September, 2006
I was ashamed before. Now I'm angry. Sitting around waiting for the GOP to "tear itself apart" over the issue of
Silence was not the right move. This was a fight that should have been fought, and could have been won.
It's chilly tonight
Around midnight, I saw two men hunkering down in front of the Labor Ready. One, at least, had a sleeping bag. The other sat with his back against the wall, head cushioned by the hood of a white, puffy jacket.
It looked miserable, and I wrestle with the fact that even at the lowest points in my life, I was never there.
My advisor for the first two years of grad school was gracious enough to really act as a great mentor for me - despite the fact that I had only a fleeting interest in quantitative analysis and general non-chalance about being a student. He brought me in on a paper looking at the growth of temporary labor agencies (I think my initial response was "labor sharks?" - yeah, labor sharks.). His thesis was - if I were to paraphrase it in a manner far removed from the language of hypotheses that he'd use - certain social and organizational relationships exist in certain environments for certain reasons. A parasite and a partner will both occupy any hospitable niches made available to them. Labor sharks are hungry for those who are desperate for work. And fortunately for them, our current configuration of social relationships offers them a very hospitable environment.
But apparently, not for their prey, trying to sleep on the cold pavement.
21 September, 2006
So torture is about to be enshrined as official government policy.
I'll show you fucking rock and roll!
Flotsam and jetsam
In no particular order:
- For the longest time, I've considered myself loyal to "the movement." However, recent events have made me re-realize that any sort of reified movement is only as good as the people in it, and that my loyalty is to those people, not any abstraction. And dammit, I'm loyal to some good peeps.
- The l'il wobs and I were cooking some shrimp on the grill this evening when he turns to me and says, "Dada, you're the coolest." I can't tell you how indescribably cool that is.
- I watched people who I've worked with - some as long as four years - go out and sign-up 81 new union members today. Not only sign them up, but in many instances, get them excited about the GTFF. I can't tell you how indescribably cool that is.
- If wendy g doesn't keep up at least semi-regular blog and comment maintenance, I'm going to have to go out to Iowa and occupy her couch. I'm willing to be a militant couch occupier - I was once a hippie, you know - so don't make me.
- This is not only disturbing, I think it's child abuse (via echidne):
- I also love how they set up the "secular feminist" as some outlandish extremist who somehow serves as a counterbalance to the wingnuts.
- Pattyjoe is very nearly homeward bound, and we can't wait to have him back. Here's to Saturday and hot gossip action. Pajo also gets the thumbs-up for providing a new sub-title to spruce up ye olde medulla noodle, and gets the extra bonus points for the "I Know You Rider" reference in a recent post
- I'm plowing through Krakatoa, but I gotta say, Winchester's prose is maddeningly baroque and digressive at points. Still, a fascinating read.
- The funniest blog on the internets. Seriously, I laugh out loud at most of these posts, especially his running commentary on Mary Worth. Bloggy genius that you should bookmark and read everyday.
- I'm planning on getting back on a more consistent blogging schedule next week. Until then, you'll have to content yourself with...
18 September, 2006
Jumpin' into love
There's nothing like a day of organizing to get you feeling good about yourself (especially when the balance of said day involved twice picking over a spreadsheet with 1148 names in order to make sure everything was on the up and up). Uncle's got the numbers. A few observations from one day:
- Surprisingly, Asian and business school GTFs are in the early goings breaking our way; Scandinavians, oddly enough, not so much. I don't get it.
- I have a theory that we may be seeing a cohort effect in membership, based on making people sign up for union membership and health care in the office - over 71% of returning GTFs are members
- I had my first 100% department sign-up, going 12 for 12 at the Creative Writing orientation with NM - that was pretty rockin'.
This post produced with at least 80% of the content blatantly stolen from Dave
Punk rock Monday - Birthday edition
Because who else are you going to showcase on your birthday? I give you the Ramones:
"Have the Rolling Stones killed..."
And last, but certainly not least...
It's like a potlatch, my gift to you.
Labels: Punk Rock Monday
17 September, 2006
I've had better Sundays
I can name at least 3500 things I'd rather have done on my day off than go into work and (as the quantoid sociologists euphemistically say) "clean data." That said, I got my spreadsheet up and running after 6 grueling hours of clicking, cutting, and pasting.
Luckily, pattyjoe got me into the mood to listen to another band named after a narcotic, Morphine. 'Twas a nice trip back to the early-to-mid-90s for me.
16 September, 2006
According to the, ahem, "world's best newspaper," the reason that more men reach the top of their fields than women is because, get this, the women are stoopider.
Two leading scientists - both men - say male IQs are 3.63 points higher than females.Comparing mean or median scores is, of course, the same logic used by the geniuses who wrote The Bell Curve and ignores the remarkably similar distributions of IQ scores between the sexes.
Psychologist John Philippe Rushton said this explains the "glass ceiling" phenomenon why men get promoted over women.
He said the study proves more men reach the top of their careers because they are smarter - and not because of sex discrimination.
As Vanessa at feministing points out, the real travesty is the academic called upon to criticize the study:
But the study was slammed by top psychologist Prof Alan Smithers.That's right, ladies, you choose to be losers! Social science proves it!
He said: "Intelligence is hard to measure. The fact women have not progressed so far in their careers is down to lifestyle choices. I strongly disagree with Prof Rushton's conclusions - he is reading wrongly and too far into the figures."
Prof Rushton, professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, admitted his research had come up with "unpopular conclusions". But he added: "People should not be made to feel afraid to study controversial issues.Like I'm sure Professor Rushton did - because looking at purely demographic variables constitutes the known universe of what may affect any individual's chances in life. I'm willing to bet Professor Rushton, or anyone else, for that matter, that if you included an individual's IQ in the panopoly of variables used in trying to explain the difference between male and female earnings, it wouldn't matter a lick in explaining that difference.
"We have to find the truth about the normal distribution in society.
"It's not right to simply say: 'It must be discrimination and don't dare say anything else'. One should really look at the facts."
And don't you think that when discussing the pernicious effects of discrimination - or simply discussing that women are stoopider - The Mirror would've tried to find a woman academic to comment? Well, it is The Mirror...
Covering who's ass?
From the NYT:
The CIA believed it was operating lawfully in detaining and interrogating 96 suspected terrorists at locations from Thailand to Europe, until the Supreme Court this summer demolished that legal foundation.Two things: You're a despicable human being if you engage in torture. "Lawful" or not.
The CIA is now squarely in the middle of election-year politics as Congress tries to write new definitions that could reshape the intelligence agency's program.
"At the end of the day, the director -- any director -- of the CIA must be confident that what he has asked an agency officer to do under this program is lawful," CIA Director Michael Hayden wrote employees on Thursday.
President Bush was more blunt: "They don't want to be tried as war criminals," he said at a news conference Friday.
And "they" don't want to be tried as war criminals, Mr. President? Bush has never given two shits about the people who work for him - even if they are his type of scum. He'll trot out "concern" when he thinks it's to his political advantage, but let's make no bones about it: George W. Bush has never thought that he'd be tried as a war criminal, despite the fact that he either approved of the torture regime used in these secret prisons, or, once he knew about it, didn't find it necessary to stop it.
George W. Bush needn't worry about it. The man has spent his life lurching from failure to failure, and he's never been held accountable for any one of them. He always seems to fail upwards. Why start worrying now?
Preventing him from being able to do more damage, however, is an important start.
15 September, 2006
What Pam said
What's that they're saying about always fighting the last war?
Henninger Premium Beer
The label for this claims it is brewed in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. If that's the case, I'm guessing that law doesn't make it illegal for a beer to taste really bad.
I've got five more tall-boys of this crap.
This is your brain on crack. Any questions?
Ho. Lee. Shit:
One of a rare breed. Rick Santorum is straight, blunt, ethical, brave. Out there in the battle against militant Islam and wrestling with an out of control, nuclear armed Islamic Republic of Iran, his courage to take a firm stand has left him vulnerable in his upcoming Senatorial race.Does Pamela bother to get news from anywhere other than the right-wing wurlitzer? The man is still hawking the myths that the military has turned up WMDs in Iraq and that the president is actually doing a decent job leading the fight against islamonaziwhatever. And the Democratic smear machine? Takes one to know one. I'll let y'all make the joke about the Santorum smear... ew.
He is a thorn in the eye of the far left and has been targeted by George Soros and his Shadow-party-usurp-American sovereignty machine. He’s facing an uphill race for re-election in 2006 against Democrat Bob Casey Jr and frankly I don't know how Santorum battles a guy who doesn't show up. Casey hides - thats his strategy. That and the Democratic smear machine.
Listen, Pamela. Rick Santorum is facing an uphill re-election battle because he is a corrupt loon and a religious wingnut. He certainly wants to get his war on - which I can tell revs your motor - but that, along with all of his other repugnant views, places his firmly outside of what most people in Pennsylvania seem to want in a U.S. senator.
By golly I think s/he's got it!
14 September, 2006
Profiles in douchebaggery
Michael Savage has always fascinated me - he stands out as one of the most retrograde and bigoted members of the right-wing punditry, but chooses to live in "one of the bastions of lawlessness in this country," San Francisco. I dunno.
At any rate, he's been a barrel of monkeys of late. On Iraq:
SAVAGE: Well I got news for you, [caller], I'm the first to have said it, but I'm not the last to have said it. I said it a year ago. Maybe we should bring back Saddam, a Sunni, because he knows how to control the Shia.I'll let your head stop spinning for a moment. Done yet? Okay, I'll wait.
CALLER: Yeah. Could be. And you got Syria --
SAVAGE: No. You can laugh all you want. He knew how to control them; he knew how to keep these maniacs under control. And he was also a counterbalance to Iran. This is a gigantic mistake. Something is wrong.
On the Senate:
Weren't we told before Barbara Boxer became a U.S. senator, before Dianne Feinstein became a U.S. senator, before Hillary Clinton became a U.S. senator, that when women became senators, we'd have a kinder, gentler Senate, a more compassionate Senate? Well, I think the results are quite clear. The Senate is not kinder and gentler or more compassionate. In fact, it's more vicious and more histrionic than ever, specifically because women have been injected into the Senate.I don't suppose anyone pointed out to Señor Savage that the increased viciousness and histrionics of the Senate can be traced back to GOP ascendency? No? People like Rick Santorum? Nothing?
Labels: Profiles in Douchebaggery
A lot going on
A lot's been going on in my head as of late, but I don't really have much to write about. We're prepping for the fury of Orientation Week at work, and at home, I'm temporarily forsaking the internets for a good, old-fashioned bound book - I'm reading Simon Winchester's stilted prose about Krakatoa. I love a good explosion.
At any rate, the content's going to be hit and miss for the next little while. I actually do have a little personal blurb that I'm going to get out there soon, and I sometimes can't avoid commenting on the absurdities of pop culture, but other than that, there's gonna be slim pickin's for the next little while.
13 September, 2006
Punk rock... uh, Tuesday
So I'm a day late. Punk rock Monday will be featured on its normal day next week. In the meantime, have a heapin' spoonful of some Transmissions era Flaming Lips performing "Mountainside". Ah, back in the day...
Labels: Punk Rock Monday
08 September, 2006
Treasure and lives
That sound you hear is our children's future and our peers' lives being flushed down the toilet:
The Senate agreed Thursday to spend an additional $63 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as it passed a bill to finance military spending.$500 billion.
The bill now totals $469.7 billion. It grew more than $16 billion during a debate that began in July and was suspended during lawmakers’ four-week August recess.
Lawmakers expect $7 billion to be added during House-Senate talks on a compromise bill. The House passed its version of the Pentagon budget bill in June.
With the latest infusion of money, Congress will have approved about $500 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other antiterrorism efforts in the five years since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service.
And what do we have to show for it? No Osama. A new theocratic regime in the Middle East that's hostile to the United States. A resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. We could go on and on about foreign affairs, and we haven't even touched the catastrophe of the GOP's domestic policies.
An awful lot of good could've been done with that money in the right hands. Instead, we got stuck with a lot of awful...
Yet another playlist
I have no idea why I do these - but seeing as how I've got a touch of the writer's block, I'll post one up (yeah, content for content's sake) and hope it primes the creative pump.
- Can't Truss It - Public Enemy
- Beginning to See the Light - Velvet Underground
- April the 14th, Pt. 1 - Gillian Welch
- Go With Me to That Land - Blind Willie Johnson
- Rosebud - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
- Hoodoo Voodoo - Billy Bragg & Wilco
- Naptown Blues - Wes Montgomery
- Street Fighting Man - The Rolling Fucking Stones
- Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
- Flock of Words - Trey Anastasio
- Woody Woodpecker - Big Joe Williams
07 September, 2006
Maybe that ABC "docudrama" I'm hearing so much about will set them straight
06 September, 2006
The Shat weighs in
The gang over at The Bellman is on the lookout for who is going to fill the gargantuan cultural hole to be vacated by William Shatner when his appointed time comes. But that time is not upon us, no siree, not by a long shot, so please enjoy the wisdom of the (still of this mortal coil) Shat:
I'm interested in man's march into the unknown but to vomit in space is not my idea of a good time. Neither is a fiery crash with the vomit hovering over me.Grok that shit.
Heh - two posts having to do with sociology on one day. Some part of me must be having pangs of regret. Or the lived annual cycle of academia just revs up that part of my brain this time of year.
The political-economy of hipsterdom
The venerable Monthly Review must have been doing some market research on its target audience (i.e. uh... us), because they published this gem of a review of Richard Lloyd's Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Post-Industrial City. When I was in love with sociology, when I thought I was reading really earth-shattering work, it was when I was delving into the workplace ethnography. Starting with Braverman, with lots of Burawoy, and following the labor process literature as it recognized the shear breadth of experiences that constitute "the workplace." It's fucking fascinating stuff. And it looks like this book follows nicely in that tradition.
A few choice quotes from the review by Forrest Perry - which is in and of itself worth the read:
The understanding Lloyd’s interviewees have of themselves in the world of work is not without its blind spots and tensions, however. Many of the people Lloyd interviews fail to see that the life of risk and instability they take themselves to have freely chosen is a life they (and most Americans) are more or less forced to choose. As Lloyd explains, with several decades of deindustrialization and the decline of Fordism has come the dominance of a new, “flexible” mode of capitalist accumulation, which generates insecure jobs in the very sectors Wicker Park’s artist types find employment. The artists in Wicker Park are like their bohemian predecessors in “insist[ing] upon their opposition to an imagined mainstream,” but they rely on an “imago of the mainstream [that] is anachronistic, as the old promises of career and social security under the terms of the Fordist corporation and the welfare state have increasingly evaporated.”The book is now on my "when-I-have-disposable-income" wish list. A point of [cultural] production analysis of hipsterdom? That's the sort of shit that would've kept me in academia!
Far from mounting resistance to capitalism in its neoliberal incarnation, Wicker Park’s neo-bohemians, precisely because they are bohemian, contribute to its reproduction. What counts as the artist lifestyle nowadays, Lloyd argues, has been deeply influenced by the legacy of bohemia, and bohemia has always been associated with urban spaces. With most artists being bohemian and all bohemians living in densely populated urban areas, spaces like Wicker Park become home to a reserve army of labor that the service and design industries benefit from having flexible access to. However, Chicago’s neo-bohemia does more than just concentrate an ample source of so-called creative labor in one area. As Lloyd points out time and again, it also fosters dispositions and attitudes particularly useful to capitalist accumulation in its post-Fordist form. For example, like bohemians in the past, Wicker Park’s artists take pride in tolerating material scarcity, thus constituting a pool of labor particularly well adapted to the needs of the neighborhood’s design firms, whose hiring (and firing) fluctuates in accordance with the volume of piece work they happen to have contracted out to them by corporate clients.
05 September, 2006
Happy days are here again
Shake at the bottom of the jar
Random notes from a weekend of camping:
- A head full of snot + high desert dirt = lots of fun-colored boogers
- Fun-colored boogers are not conducive to sleeping
- There's nothing quite so pleasant as jumping into to a snowmelt fed river to cool off on a hot day
- Many two year olds can say their "ABCs", but I'm imagining it's freakishly small minority who can sing their "ZYXs." Or identify conifer trees. I seriously credit They Might Be Giants
- Conventional wisdom has it that you should add 15 minutes for every extra person over four to the start time of your activity (in this case, floating down a river). For those of you keeping score at home, with 20 people, that's approximately four hours
- When 20 people leave for a long time, camp is very, very pleasant
- Small children seem to be dirt magnets. Very. Powerful. Dirt magnets
- Bowls, beers, and bawdiness around a campfire with your friends is nice. Snuggling into your sleeping bag next to a peacefully asleep little two-year old is even nicer
- There are plenty of dogs in the world. I would even say that there are some dogs that my world would be better without
Progressive, smart, capable
In an odd configuration of events, the preznit made these remarks to members of the Seafarer's International Union:
I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is a fantastic facility. It speaks to your leadership, and the leadership and the importance of your union. And so, here on Labor Day, I say to the union members who are here, happy Labor Day, and thanks for supporting leadership that is progressive, smart, capable, and has your best interests at heart. (Applause.)Huh. The progressive leadership referred to is one Michael Sacco, president of the SIU and a VP of the Maritime Trades division at the AFofL-CIO. That's right, say it with me, "brother." He introduced the president with these remarks:
The Seafarers International Union and our affiliated training center are tremendously honored to welcome President Bush for Labor Day. President Bush and his administration consistently have recognized the value of the U.S. Merchant Marine to America’s national and economic security. His leadership has created thousands of jobs in the U.S.-flag fleet.Bush's brief remarks are unremarkable and indistinguishable from any of his other economic speeches. What's the key to good paying jobs like those in the Merchant Marines? You start off with low, low taxes so you can keep more of what you make! And you end with a big ole helpin' of neo-liberalism!:
And finally, one of the ways to make sure that we're a competitive nation is to continue opening up markets for U.S. products. If I was somebody who was driving a ship, or an engineer on a ship, I'd want to hear a President say, we want you to be selling U.S. products -- transporting U.S. products around the world. See, we got 5 percent of the world's people here in the United States, which means 95 percent are potential customers. And therefore, it's important for us to be aggressive about opening up markets.I think that last sentence may have been a little more on-the-money than W. intended.
At any rate, in between, he lurches from job training programs to ethanol subsidies to nuclear power to international trade. It did get me thinking, however. If there's any group of trades who really benefit from globalization, it's the ones who work in shipping. And if there's a group of workers who benefit from providing a little "Reagan Democrat" cover for Bush - who wants to keep the wheels of free trade well lubricated - it'd be the merchant marines.
A cursory search of the 2004 campaign cycle shows that the SIU gave reliably to the Dems: they were into Gephardt, gave cash to Harry Reid, etc., etc. Huh.
Well there you go, a lot of hemmin' and hawin' about some minor remarks at a "low-key" Labor Day function. Here's to progressive, smart and capable leaders who have your best interests at heart. Whatever the fuck that means.
Punk Rock Monday
There is precious little in the way of documentation of the Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto fronting the band. Enjoy what you have here, in a somewhat contrived reunion of sorts at the unfortunately named Manchester Lesser Free Trades Hall - "I Can't Control Myself":
Labels: Punk Rock Monday
02 September, 2006
Something to chew on
From Kevin Drum:
But al-Qaeda won't be beaten by fighting a bunch of aimless proxy wars in the general vicinity of the Middle East. It will, eventually, be beaten when the non-terrorist population of the region decides to turn against al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies and deny them the support and shelter they need in order to function. Encouraging that to happen is the biggest foreign policy challenge of the 21st century...Have a nice holiday weekend, y'all.
See you Monday night.