Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why Is Beck?

photo "Roswell Main Street" (c) Bill Hicks

Brief note today. 

Limbaugh spent a lot of time yesterday talking about President Obama's religious views.  Of course he accused Mr. Obama of changing them to suit the moment.  In Limbaugh's universe, absolutely nothing Obama says is as it seems.  Yet--at least to me--Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, the rest of these ranters--seem fundamentally to be a mystery.  Why are they ubiquitous.  Why and how are they convincing anyone at all.  Where did this reality come from--a world where right-wing commentators dominate the radio and one whole TV network, where you have a choice of pretty bad music or Limbaugh, et al.  It's no wonder they've gotten some traction--repetition is an effective tactic, and repetitious they certainly are.  Still.  Why are they there?

Give a listen to Mr. Seaton.  This particular link is a good starting place.  More recent posts of his develop the theme.  We all should try to get a handle on what's going on.  It's a useful thing to have.  And a hat tip to James Wolcott, who put me on to Mr. Seaton this morning.  Wolcott writes for Vanity Fair. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


photo Rbt. Miller, NY Post

There's been more than enough discussion about how Fox News is a propaganda arm of the GOTP.  NPR, on the other hand, has a pretty decent reputation as being a serious news outlet.  I was riding home yesterday from work and listening to some chat and analysis about the state of the New York governor's race.  I'm not sure who the conversationalists were--one was the usual NPR anchor in the afternoon, the other was either a GOP pol, or a supposedly "neutral" political analyst.  The names don't matter.

The analyst (let's call him Analyst) said that this year the social issues are not of interest, e.g., "no one" cares about abortion or gay marriage (his two examples)--nope, it's all about economics.  Then the two fellers lit into a conversation about the GOTP gubernatorial candidate, Paladino.  Andrew Cuomo, his Dem opponent, is suddenly realizing that he's got a serious challenge, precisely because Andrew Cuomo has been in government and is thus in the cohort of folks "they" want to toss out.  Our intrepid NPR guy (Guy) agrees.  Conversation continues along those lines, and possibly even as we speak.  I cut off the radio and told myself never to send another dime to NPR.  It was after work.  My feet hurt.  Who knows, I might reconsider.  Or maybe not.

Seems to me Guy's job is supposed to be journalism.  Perhaps you're familiar with the GOTP candidate for Governor of one of the top three states in the United States, not to mention the home of Ground Zero?  This character, a Tea Party favorite, has sent around racist emails featuring photo-shopped race jokes about President Obama and his wife Michelle.  His defense?  "I'm in construction."  He's also promising to stop the "Mosque at Ground Zero" if he's elected.  Well, how convenient, then, that all social issues are "off the table," as the Analyst has previously stipulated in the conversation.  Apparently that means that Guy can't point out to NPR's listeners that this GOTP candidate is a radical racist who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the levers of power (and possible he shouldn't be running a bulldozer either).

How can it be that Guy let's this contradiction stand?  On the one hand, no social issues allowed.  On the other, GOTP'er is actually running on social issues, with only a thin icing of economics to mask what's really going on.  The social issues are, for the still unaware, that there's a "N****R" in the White House, and that the muslim religion has a "foothold" in the United States.   This is the social program the GOTP is running on generally, by the way.  Here's how Paladino campaigns on the "social issue" of "Muslims At Ground Zero": 
It's not rocket science, this here "journalism." 

So where's Guy.  Where's NPR?  I don't know, but I thought this was a journalist's job, to see through the "frame" and help us out.  What we get on this particular interview is just puff.  Poor Cuomo might get defeated by this populist champion of sensible economics.  It's actually very depressing.  And that's a political act too, isn't it?  Depressed folks tend to stay home in November.   You have to wonder.  I think it's time to put the wallet in the front pocket, like I do when I go to the State Fair.

Update.  Here's my basic premise--no one, in either major party, should find racist themes acceptable--and if a major party candidate is using race or xenophopia, he or she should be called on it.  It's a journalist's duty, and it's not partisan.   Apparently, for the GOTP, the "Southern Strategy" is still quite acceptable. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is That All There Is

Noam Chomsky
Peggy Lee

I ran into Chomsky in graduate school, in a class on something called "deep linguistic structure" that was the second hardest class I took in grad school, after one that I just audited and dropped out of eventually whose subject matter was set theory.  Chomsky was sort of a more practical Wittgenstein, attacking the problem of looking at your microscope with your microscope, so to speak.  I got through the course, taught by the remarkable Dr. Richard Zaffron, then went my way. 

Much later I ran into Chomsky again, in his writings on American politics and the kind of categorical structure of politics.  He was as deep and complex a thinker as ever.  Once in the late '80s or early '90s Libby and I went to hear him give a talk over in Chapel Hill.  His view of things was, of course, that America was pretty deeply fucked up, no matter which party happened to be in control of Congress or the White House.  During the questions afterwards, some kid stood up and said, "Well, so what would you do if you were President?"

The kid thought he'd really nailed Chomsky.  The answer was exactly what you might have predicted, had you (or the kid) actually listened.  I paraphrase: "Why I'd do nothing if I was elected, because to be elected means to hold such positions."  That is to say--getting elected President has a bunch of deep implications about the person elected--there's no such thing as starting out with a nice blank slate, with a plan to just "Change Things."  It's contradictory--that's how serious the problem is, if you're wanting to actually Change Things I mean.  It's a veritable paradox. 

A better question, a question not asked, would have perhaps been, "So, Noam, does anything happen?"  Not that he wouldn't have had some interesting response, some wry questioning rejoinder which would have lead to further puzzlement, and at this moment, to a possibly different bit of writing.  Still.  

The thing is, as co-opted as the poor Democrats are right now, with the people who believed in them the most having as a whole the worst time of it, with all the beautiful rhetoric of the Inauguration having faded to a classic pile of legislative compromised crap called the Health Care Reform Act, with two wars still on-going, with a continuing of creepy Bush era policies such as the current "legality" of assassinating even American Citizens not to mention anyone else--there's still a difference, still a sensible hope. 

Mrs. Palin used to like to taunt, "So how's your hopey changey workin' out?"  I was surprised she was willing to do that, given the implications--which are nhilistic and bleak indeed: There Is No Hope, No Change.  That's the Republican message these days, and with the current crop of spokesmen they're finally saying it out loud.  That such a taunt can be cheered is only further evidence of the mist of hate, fear, and anger that drives the Republican Base out of their redouts and into the streets. 

The fact remains--a majority of voters reasonably chose Mr. Obama and a majority of Democratic Party legislators in 2008 over the alternatives.  Imagine the world with McCain as President.  I'm shocked, really, that he managed to defeat the radio jock who ran against him this year in his primary--must be yet another testimony to the power of money.  Yesterday the GOTP offered up it's vacuous pledge, another variation of There Is No Hope.  That's absolutely all they've got.  It's not much, is it? 

The GOTP has no awareness of paradox.  Democrats, on the other hand, surely are capable of both seeing the paradox, and still working to move forward towards a better world.  That is, unless enough Democrats just get depressed by the eternal paradox of being inside a system to the extent that they don't get out and vote at all.  It's happened before--it happened in '68, when the Democratic Party was split into smithereens by the betrayal of the Vietnam War and the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy--not to mention the remarkable events in Chicago during the Convention itself (see Steve Goodman's wonderful song on the subject).  We're not in 1968 thank God.  But we're not going to escape the paradox of living inside a system either. 

Last night on the History Channel I watched a fairly silly piece on how the sun was going to explode in 10 billion years or so, so we'd better be working on a system for moving the planet out to a Jupiter-distant orbit or something.  Ergo, why bother to vote at all.  I have to say, in reply, "Look, the water's rising, just keep bailing, I'll pass your bucket on up to the next guy, you're falling behind."  Not that Peggy Lee doesn't always have a point, mind you.  I wish she'd asked her question of Chomsky that night at Memorial Hall.  But I know what he'd say:


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Walks Bud/Exit Zahra

photo (c) Bill Hicks

Aside from politics, the acorns are hitting the tin roof like the start of a hail storm right now.  We live in an oak and hickory forest--I tell people, when I built my house I thought I was pitching a tent for a week or two, and basically found a nice space in the forest rather than clearing anything--I think I cut down one big hickory that seemed obviously threatening (it was hollow as it turned out).  Now all the trees are twenty feet higher, and Hurricane Fran took some of them down, fortunately none hitting the house itself.  But it was damn close.  So anyways--having no rain in the region for several weeks has caused some aspects of fall to press forward, including the leaves turning yellow and falling (particularly the poplars), and this acorn thing (possibly aided by squirrel foraging in the cool dawn).  I ought to get out the old 4-track and put up an mp3 for you.  I got a great rain-on-the-roof track like that one time.

Fall's the best in NC--a long drawn out meditation with many facets.  We can have a hurricane or two, a cold west wind, an Indian summer at Thanksgiving.  The trees, depending on their species, treat us to color from now until November, the oaks usually waiting till last, and the sweet beeches, ancient relics from a very different epoch, holding their light tan arrow-leaves all winter and heralding spring by dropping them in late March or early April.   Now we're in the bombard phase, and I've put off painting the tin until the leaves and acorns won't let me--it would be stupid, wouldn't it, to let the drying paint capture dozens of acorns.  Dang!  Where's the head-slap key.

I'll go out and take some pictures for you.  These, truth be known, came from a fall a couple of years back, a wetter fall.  I was walking up the driveway and this bouquet lept out at me from the side that drops off and down to the creek.  Never have seen these guys again, but I do keep an eye peeled.  Maybe some rain in October will bring them back for a repeat performance. 

photo (c) Bill HIcks
(c) Bill Hicks
(c) Bill Hicks
I don't think I'd try eating these, if'n I was you.  They're as pretty as Christine O'Donnell tho, ain't they.  Speaking of which, here's a rather fine post, revealing some of the deeper truths about this woman who wants to be a star so bad she's put the rest of her life entirely on hold to get 'r done.

& Furthermore.

This link goes to one of the most beautiful elegies I've ever read.  It makes many points, has many facets.  Today I have to read it in the context of these people--including people as supposedly exalted at former Speaker Newt Gingrich--who seem quite pleased to be villifying nearly a billion of our fellows on the basis of their religion.  How sad.  Let's look a bit closer, shall we.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drive He Said

Photo Credit: Michael Romanos

Robert Creeley wrote one towering poem, and they even made a movie of it I believe, it was so good.  If Shelley Winters was cast in it, life would be even better than art. (Jack Nicholson did direct, and Karen Black plays the Winters role--not so bad, really.)

People who believe that the Obama Administration has just putzed away its moment, or created a mess where there might have been a real solution to the health care system's train wreck--which still looms over most all of us--or believes Obama should have just closed down both of the reckless military adventures our previous Administration set in motion like the man with the bomb vest in Hurt Locker, those people ought to just buck up and like Creeley's voice in the poem, "fer christs sake, watch where yr going."

It's not like this is something new, this intransigent reality.  America did elect George Bush, twice.  And Ronald Reagan.  And Richard Nixon.  We've been a culture of confusion and contradiction for as long as we've been a nation.  We accepted human chattel slavery for nearly 100 years after the country's founding, fer christs sake, then fought a horrendous war about it that many people still deny was even "about it."  And then we destroyed most of the gains made in blood, and let that continue for yet another 100 years.  Americans live in denial and contradiction.  That's reality.  It might even be the transient nature of Reality, the Ontological Structure buried under the Epistemological skin, as it were.  Heisenberg.  Or is it ...burg.  (That's a Heisenberg joke, by the way.)

Right now we're watching people winning primary elections who are so remarkably unqualified to hold any office that we have to wonder if America is even capable of being the at best flawed democracy that it strives to be.  What are people thinking?  Do they not imagine what someone like Sharon Angle or Christine O'Donnell or Rand Paul would be like if they actually achieve power?  Do they--these people who pulled the lever for these characters--imagine that reality will forbid the confusion and disaster implicit in the views of these characters to actually become the world in which we have to live?  If so--I give you any number of recent historical counter-examples: take your pick.  How could the culture of Goethe, Beethoven, and Kant evolve into Nazism.  For one example.

But, one of the geniuses at Firedoglake argues, Game Theory tells us that we should never be so compliant that the powers that be, e.g., the Democratic Party, simply take us for granted.

Yes, well, that's a great theory.  Meanwhile, the GOP is playing a very long-view sort of game in my opinion.  Even if all the particular candidates I happened to mention above go down in flames--and that actually is unlikely given Kentucky's conservatism and the fact that Harry Reid is probably hated in Nevada--small devolutions keep being made.  Already I'd guess that close to a majority of American voters believe Social Security is a ponzi scheme, and Medicare a government mistake that should be abolished.  After all, we are subject to nearly 24/7 political advertising for these Randian views, with almost nothing in the way of a sensible rejoinder except the evening slots on MSNBC.  The so-called right wing pundits are salesmen of the highest order, put in place at considerable expense by that top two percent who stand to actually lose a bit of change should tax rates be raised back to Clintonian levels (oh the horror!!).  This sales crew has been toiling on the job for decades now.  Is it any wonder that they have made considerable progress.  It is more remarkable that incompetents of the order of Christine O'Donnell actually managed to get any support from the people who are actually pulling the levers--and Karl Rove is publicly not at all happy about it, to mention but one of the intelligencia behind the politics of stupid.

It's not that stupid doesn't eventually defeat itself.  It's that the long run can be too long.  Some of the global climate change deniers, for example, make the very true point that the planet is bigger than us, and that if we do mess the climate up enough to make a hostile environment for human beings, that doesn't mean the planet will disappear, or that other species won't come in and fill "our" niche.  Well.  Yeah.  That people who are human assisted climate change deniers offer this as an argument is, at the least self-defeating, is it not?  Hitler did lose, yes.  Saddam did get removed.

It concerns me that these racist, classist, warmongering incompetents get any greater foothold in the government than they already have.  What's the upside?  Does Game Theory offer any guarantees?   In 2006 reason won a small victory when Congress came into the hands of Democrats.  In 2008 the Presidency also came into Democratic hands.  Reality is an incremental thing of baby-steps and compromises.  If I was you, I'd go out and vote for your Democratic Candidate in November.  Our system is, for better or worse, just like electricity--it's either a D or an R.  Any other "choice" is just fantasy football. 

And if you want to see a stark version of the insane world the Grand Old Tea Party wants to build--a jury-rigged contraption of nonsense that will fall apart in the first breeze and collapse on all of us--why just watch "The Fountainhead."  It ran the other night on Turner Classics.  That's the playbook the yammerers are operating out of.  They're just doing it in color, with a pretty girl in a tight sweater standing in an inviting pose at the front gate.  But keep in mind that the Fountainhead was all the rage in the early '50s.  There's nothing that new going on.

Update.  The dissonance from Carl Rove on the O'Donnell nomination is remarkable.  Nearly all elected Republicans have fallen in line on the "issue" of her competence, and the chatter on the talk shows defends her to the death.  Rush Limbaugh, a close associate of Mr. Rove, was driven to sputtering yesterday when callers attacked Rove--a rare listening experience.  Limbaugh is salesman of the epoch, and salesmen do not sputter--bad form.  Rove is being attacked on character, the only line of attack available to his critics on this issue.  But in fact, Rove is for once seeing the world aright--it's an Emperor's Clothes situation, and an obvious one.  It's a strange situation to have the feeling of relief that, yes, someone else sees the obvious--when that feeling is generated by Carl Rove.  After all, Mr. Rove sold the country G.W. Bush.
And yet another dissonance is generated by Alan Greenspan:

Update 2.  Re my general point, consider the following, from alicublog in the comments, by one josephina:

Thanks for that Jackie Robinson link, Jay B. The notion of seeing "a television Conservatism panel which included Bill Buckley, Shelley Winters, and [Jackie Robinson]" fascinated me strangely. I'll go to the MTVR to see if they have video but the website Archival Television Audio has a listing for the Les Crane Show, August 4, 1964. Here's the site's description:

It's a heated discussion about Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater with guests Jackie Robinson, Shelley Winters and William F. Buckley Jr. The program is interrupted for 8 minutes by an ABC News Bulletin from the White House. President Lyndon B. Johnson talks to the American People concerning the Gulf of Tonkin attack and USA intervention. Prior to resuming "The Les Crane Show," the network plays "The National Anthem," a patriotic gesture of the era.  

There was quite a lot happening at that moment, n'est pas?  As Shelley Winters is one of my favorite actors of all time, I really have to wonder what she was saying in this panel discussion.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To Be Stuck Inside A Mobile

Park: Appomattox Court House NHP
Photographer: Gurney, Hubert A.
Description: Clover Hill Tavern (visitor center and park office). Slave Quarters -- right used as rest room. Tavern Guesthouse at left now restored.
Credit: National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection.

At the end of the Civil War there was an actual "moment", when Robert E. Lee sat down with General Grant in a house at Appomattox, Virginia, and they signed some papers.  The initial understanding of the concept of the "End of the Civil War" is that "it" occurred in that moment in Virginia.  The fact that there are other significant moments, such as the surrender of Johnson to Sherman at Bennett Farm near Durham, NC, and for that matter, the murder of Lincoln, are typically viewed as still somehow "after the fact."  The war was over when Lincoln was assassinated is viewed as true, not false in a world where degrees of truth are not considered.  However, I went to Appomattox a few years ago (and I recommend such a visit to all).  It's an eerie sort of place.  Because Appomattox is actually not there.  The town moved a few miles down the road, ostensibly to where the railroad station was located.  But that's only an alibi.  The house where the surrender took place was actually dismantled and moved to the Smithsonian in DC, where it resided in storage for decades.  The Courthouse was abandoned, and many records burned in a fire (if I recall the placard correctly).  In short, the perceived disgrace of surrender at Appomattox was culturally denied and erased by the local citizens of Virginia.  And although much later, in the 20th Century, a National Monument was established on the spot, and the old farm house was returned and rebuilt, and the place was spruced up, with a concrete parking lot and no doubt a budget for grounds keepers, I wonder if many of the citizens of Appomattox still view the whole thing as a disgrace.  Do the locals, I wonder, go up to visit the Monument?

The history of Appomattox subsequent to the surrender of Lee speaks to something in the culture, that's all I'm suggesting.  I'm not sure exactly what.  It must be balanced against other features of Virginia history, including the story of the 29th Division, and the closing of public schools in some Virginia Counties during the period of reaction to Brown V.  It raises questions about whether any big historical "thing" is really an event of the moment, and whether any such thing is ever over. 

It occurred to me last night, watching our local news from Raleigh, that we are living in the new end of the new Reconstruction.  This is of course probably not news to many people, and I'm sure one could cast President Reagan's election as the doppelganger of the Presidential Election of 1876, as an historian's appointed "moment."  There's a reason that only history majors know anything much about the years from 1868 to, say, the advent of Grover Cleveland.  I mean besides the well-known Native American genocide occurring in the Plains Territories and States during that time--the depredations of General Custer, the Strategic Error of the Little Big Horn (a victory similar to our current "victory" in Iraq possibly).  But basically those years are a blank spot, aren't they?  Too complex, with too mysterious a message or moral.  You have the eloquent end of the Civil War, the Assassination of Lincoln, then pretty much silence beyond some regional myths about how the newly-freed black folk had a hard time dealing with responsibility.  Birth of a Nation they show in film history classes, but though it may still be a living myth to many, it has passed from our official American History.  Now there's mostly just nothing there.  A few old photos of Civil War Vets meeting at Gettysburg 50 years later.  "Slave quarters used as a rest room"--even the Federal Government unconsciously appeases the denialists. 

In the '60s I thought we got to the end of this period of history.  I was then of the age of most of the members of the 29th Division, who willingly died on the beach to bring peace to the world.  Kennedy was assassinated, and then they passed the Civil Rights Laws out of guilt and fear, and fifteen years after Brown V, the public schools of the South were more or less integrated.  In NC we had this Piersall Plan thing--contrived foot-dragging that stayed just one step from the barbed wire of closing public schools which our two mountains of conceit to the north and south of us had managed to cross.  Nonetheless, when I left Dear Old Needham Broughton in the spring of 1961, it was entirely white, and when I picketed the State Theatre in Raleigh in '63, with a group of black students from Shaw University, one of my favorite teachers crossed the picket line and gave me a "look," and walking back to Shaw, an old high school buddy of mine tried to run the group of us down as we crossed a gas station entrance.

Getting past all that stuff was a bitch.  Just when we got a bit of traction, Johnson tossed gasoline on Vietnam, and all the good will and hope evaporated with the bullets and blood on TV every night.  The tentative little baby steps white America was taking were not helped, either, by the eventual exasperation with nonviolence as a tactic on the part of black people--no matter that it was easy to understand, and not up to well meaning white boys to give sensible advice.   Then there was the "Southern Strategy."  Less than four years after the Civil Rights Laws were passed, and the same year that Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, the country elected Richard Nixon.  Thus endeth the Second Reconstruction, not with a bang, but with a whimper.  One could even view the succession of winning Democratic Party candidates for President since Nixon as mostly efforts to appease the cultural objections to Brown V.  Two nice white southern boys, Jimmie Carter and then Bill Cllinton.  Carter remains reviled (and by many of those who at the same moment profess a public Christianity), Clinton marks the moment when the Impeachment Lever was seen as but another political tool to use, as needed, against a President of an opposing party assuming that party was the Democratic Party. 

I'm discussing trends.  There have indeed been significant strides made in the status of black Americans, compared to, oh, 1955.  But these days in Raleigh, the citizens have elected a school board which claims all the efforts to achieve diversity in the public schools are no longer "necessary."  This board--which is probably made up of a majority of folks who were not born either in Raleigh or the South--has been fed on WPTF hate radio for two generations.  They imagine that the Civil Rights Movement is as historic as the Civil War, and as conveniently over.  They're not going back to governmental segregation, just the de facto kind which comes with "neighborhood" schools.  It's all so very reasonable.  The fact that the heart of the Brown decision is an assertion that racial and cultural diversity are essential to an equal education--well, that just falls under the "activist judiciary" problem, and never mind that Earl Warren was a Republican Governor or than Ike was President.

So I'm thinking that we're now in the heart of a new post-Reconstruction era, that this is just what it felt like in 1880 or so.  We have a black President, and that creates an argument of,  "So what do you want, you have a Black President!"  Among those who moved the town down the road to the railroad station, I mean.  To an audience which finds Mr. Obama's election more deeply suspect than the "election" of George Bush in 2000, one must consider different explanations. "In his heart I believe he's a Muslim," one of 'em says to a reporter with a microphone. 

I don't know what Mr. Obama thinks about all this.  He's looking at an avalanche, maybe, in November.  I've noticed that Michelle has kinda vanished from public view entirely.  I'm wondering if, because she has a background more typical of American black people, she's a bit more acutely aware of the trend.  What are we going to get in '12 I wonder?  Hayley Barbour looks a lot like Taft.  He's saying the "Southern Strategy" was a method of assimilation.  Is it wise to hope for blatant absurdity in the form of a Presidential Candidate, on the grounds that "they" would never vote for--Her. 

Why is it we Americans persist in burying our unpleasant memories in the closest earthen dam?  Over and over again.   Ahh, them old Memphis Blues.  That's where they killed the Civil Rights Movement, on a second-floor motel balcony at 5 in the afternoon.  Another clear historical "moment."  April has always been the cruelist month I guess.  You have a holiday named for him, what more do you want?

I ran into a nice old southern lady from a very little southern town the other day.  She was driving a white Escalade, in a white dress, covering her white skin.  She told me she'd run over a pothole and busted her tire rim, and the dealer told her it was gonna cost her $400, so she went and bought a used one for $30.  I can't vouch for the truth of the figures, but that's what she said.  Then she said, "That Obama's gonna spend more money on fixing up the roads."  From how she said it, she wasn't telling me that the pothole problem was gonna be repaired, thank you Jesus.  Nope, she was saying that President Obama, like every other no good shiftless n****r, was gonna waste more of her hard earned money--the money that came every month in her social security check, and in the checks her late husband had created by sound investments in whatever it was he did for all of his adult life, so that in her '70s she could ride around the county in a white Escalade and an annoyed state of mind.

Dylan wrote that song several years before the murder of Martin Luther King.  It's no wonder he now says he doesn't know where those songs came from.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

I might go up on the roof later and install a piece of ridge cap so the squirrels won't get in via a little place up under the upper roof where I didn't originally install ridge cap on the lower roof, because at that time long ago I didn't realize that squirrels were like the fookin' Red Chinese Army in Korea with nothing but time on their little "hands" and a highly sophisticated, multi-dimensional ability to perceive the world and analyse an assortment of different ways to get under my roof and make themselves nice warm, winter abodes.  And also--they don't mind running around on the ceiling, or maybe chewing a wire or something if they get bored of a winter's day.  So anyways, that's my labor plan today.  I might also saw down a tree.  Meanwhile, I'm listening to the Dove Hunters bringing in the holiday.  In central North Carolina it has actually gotten nicely cool, particularly early in the day. 

A couple of other remarks--from Charles Pierce, the point that if they are actually going to put Roger Clemens in jail for "lying to Congress," surely this has the upside that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and even Gen. Colin Powell will also serve some time in the slammer.  Maybe Roger can show them all how to toss a curve-ball.  Or at least a broken bat.

And finally, there's this: 

Check it out.  It's a good explanation of the truth about buying gold coins.  You won't find this explanation on the Beck Circus.  I really can't imagine why.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

One of those "thought experiments"

photo by Richard Strauss

Paul Scott writes a blog called "No Warning Shots Fired," which I reccomend to all.  He makes an excellent point in a recent post on the Beck Event.  I think he's fine with me quoting it:

Can you imagine Sean Hannity holding one of his Freedom concerts at the site of the 1972 Wattstax Music Festival which commemorated the Watts Rebellion of 1965? Or do you really believe that Glenn Beck would hold an event on October 16 to commemorate the 1995, Minister Louis Farrakhan led, Million Man March/Day of Atonement and have a million white men gather to beg forgiveness for their crimes against non-white humanity?

Of course not. These events are pretty much off limits. However, the March on Washington is ripe for the pickin'.

It's about time to start realizing that the best thing sensible people can do right now is just try to keep the totally crazy right wing part of the population away from the levers of power, i.e., trying to keep some pitiful Democratic Party majority in the two Houses of Congress.  Of course the Democrats are muddled and really form a segment of The Rich Party more than anything else.  But it's a matter of compromise, which is just where politics tends to live anyway.  Over on the right they're talking about how Social Security and Medicare are "unconstitutional."   You scoff?  That's exactly what Heidi Harris said on the Ed Show this week.  She's not even a big time right wing radio pundit (which is why she bothers to appear on the Ed Show).

Update.  Gosh, those thought experiments seem to the all the rage this weekend.  Scott at world-o-crap blog quotes a character named Robert Meyer, then paraphrases his alleged argument on the mosque not at ground zero elegantly:

Muslim’s are certainly within their constitutional rights to build a mosque there if they desire. The question is whether they ought to. The issue is one of propriety, not religious freedom. Until pro-mosque apologists get past that fact they have yet to make a legitimate counter argument.
According to Earl Warren, Negroes are within their constitutional rights to attend the same school as my children if they desire.  The question is whether they ought to.  The issue is one of propriety, not equal protection.  Until integrationists get past that fact they have yet to make a legitimate counter argument.

I think Scott's "drift" here is accurate enough to get an astronaut to the moon.   I presume any readers who happen by here understand that Brown V. Board of Education is not under review under any circumstances, no matter what the current Raleigh, NC, school board might hope.