Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Stainless Steel Broom

Holy Joe Lieberman castigates all those bad boys and girls who exercised their democratic rights and voted against him:

Foxnews asks "Will Connecticut senator's independent run help embattled GOP candidates?"

Joe's response? "Well, they should have thought of that before they had the primary."

What a loyal guy. At least Joe stands for something; he stands for Joe.

But we're just getting started. Another Democratic primary in Maryland is starting to heat up, and it looks like another Lieberman-style Demolican is about to get hoist on his own petar.

Long-time congressman Al Wynn is now seriously challenged by a newcomer who came out of nowhere, Donna Edwards. And now the race has tightened, and the Washington Post has endorsed Edwards.

Wynn is the worst kind of Demolican. He supported repeal of the estate tax, and supported the bankruptcy bill. He supported the administration's energy bill in 2003 which gave subsidies to the big energy companies (like they need them), and has opposed increasing fuel efficiency standards and campaign finance reform.

In a recent debate, Edwards, an attorney who as an apprentice clerked for Wynn (in 1980), tore the Congressman from stem to stern and left him, in the Post's words, "out of sorts and on the defensive."

Worst of all, he voted for the war, although he now claims he regrets having done so. Too late, chum.

Personally, I'll never vote for anyone who voted for the war. I won't vote for Feinstein this time around.

It's time to get out the broom and sweep out these Demolicans, and put together a party that actually stands for something.

There's no use expending a lot of anger on Republicans. We all know what they are, and you don't get mad at a garbage can for smelling bad.

However, sleazy politicos like Lieberman and Wynn who call themselves liberals and then try to have things both ways, to protect their shady sources of revenue and influence, have outlived their usefulness, if they ever had any.

And before we take the country back, we're going to have to take our own party back.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Last Time

It's always been my favorite rock 'n' roll song, now over 40 years old.

I looked for a You Tube version of the original, but all I could come up with was this one-minute version from "Shindig," recorded the same year the Stones wrote it. It's OK 'cause it's not lip-synched; it's just too short.

Actually, "wrote it" isn't quite accurate. The Stones adapted "The Last Time" from an old African Baptist hymn. It had been recorded by the Staples Singers and Five Blind Boys of Alabama, but nobody in those groups wrote it either.

It's one of those "way back" songs -- origins murky. Richard Wright mentions it being sung in the church of his childhood in "Black Boy."

And of course, the intent of the gospel tune is much different than that of the Stones' version, which is an ultimatum to an uncooperative or combative girlfriend. But the two versions sound very similar, with a small sample of the Blind Boys' version on Amazon yielding few lyrics, but a familiar sound:

This may be the last time (be the last time; may be the last time);
Last time we're together (be the last time; may be the last time).

Keith Richards said of this tune, "When you start writing, the first batch of songs is almost always puerile ballads, for some reason - I think they're easier to write. To write a good rock and roll song is one of the hardest things because it has to be stripped down so simple, to that same basic format shared by rock and roll and rhythm and blues and Irish folk songs from thousands of years ago.

"It's a very simple form, and yet you have to find a certain element in there that still lives, that isn't just a rehash. It can REMIND you - and probably will - of something else, but it should still add something new, have a freshness and individuality about it. The rules on it are very strict, you see (laughs).

"I think The Last Time was the first one we actually managed to write with a BEAT, the first non-puerile song. It had a strong Staple Singers influence in that it came out of an old gospel song that we revamped and reworked. And I didn't actually realize until after we'd written it because we'd been listening to this Staple Singers album for 10 months or so. You don't go out of your way to LIFT songs, but what you play is eventually the product of what you've heard before."

You can read all the straight poop on this wonderful old chestnut of a song at the excellent "Songfacts" site.

Friday, August 25, 2006


So Pluto is no longer a planet; it's a planette.

I'm glad. It never really seemed like a planet. It was always more like an isolated convenience store on the far outskirts of 29 Palms.

I was never that comfortable with Uranus and Neptune either. The former was not discovered until 1781, and the latter in 1846. I don't trust anything discovered in modern times, except Spandex.

Why can't we just go back to the pre-Copernican universe? Things were better then, because the earth was at the center of everything, as it appears to be when you stand outside at night, and there were seven planets, which is the right number, and only four elements, conveniently arranged into two pairs of opposites.

The planets were the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. It was an arrangement that made astrology a lot easier.

The elements were earth and air, fire and water. No periodic table to memorize, and they contributed to a nice, neat, symmetrical/astrological way of looking at things as well.

In those days, when the king died his son became king. You didn't have to worry about some guy from Texas stealing the election.

I suppose the heliocentric universe and representative democracy wouldn't be so bad if we hadn't got hydrogen bombs along with them. And there's no going back, so welcome to Uranus.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The Rolling Stone's Matt Taibi energetically skewers the Democratic National Committee (DNC), its snotty and timidly centrist spokesman Rahm Emmanuel, Republicrats and Demolicans, and the hijacking of Democratic politics by pros, hacks, and bean counters obsessed with "respectability."

Taibi homes in on Emmanuel's answer to a reporter's question regarding the importance of bloggers in Lamont's primary victory over Lieberman: "Do I think the [bloggers] and Al Sharpton alone are the future of the Democratic Party? No! Welcome in, contribute, but it's about winning in November and moving the country forward, not about a firing squad in a circle."

Yah sure! Welcome in and contribute -- especially money -- but don't think for a minute we're actually going to let you decide anything.

Taibi nails Emmanuel's condescension: "What Emmanuel appears to be saying here is that 'bloggers' -- by which he really means 'people who voted against Lieberman' -- are welcome to 'contribute,' but not welcome to actually decide elections. In other words, we'll take your votes, but we'll decide who you vote for."

But he doesn't stop there.

"The unspoken subtext of this increasingly bitter debate between the Democratic Party establishment and the supporters of people like Ned Lamont and Hillary Clinton's antiwar challenger, Jonathan Tasini, is a referendum ordinary people have unexpectedly decided to hold on the kingmaker's role of the holy trinity of the American political establishment - big business, the major political parties, and the commercial media. The irony is that it's the political establishment itself that has involuntarily raised the consciousness of its disenfranchised voters.

"The surge in support for Lamont initially came from people motivated by two simple things -- a desire to protest the war in Iraq, and physical revulsion before the wrinkled, vengeful persona of Joe Lieberman. But the party, in fighting back, attacked not on the issues but on the means of protest -- blogs, grassroots activism, Lamont's independent wealth. In doing so it threw into relief the essential parameters of the problem, which is this; the Democratic Party has been operating for two decades without the active participation of its voters."

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

I'm with Taibi. Sooner or later the Democratic Party either has to stand for something other than amassing money, looking respectable (in blue suits, just like those respectable Republicans), and hating Michael Moore, or die a slow and agonizing death.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Ominous Year

Summer is nearly done. Officially, it won’t end until September 30, but our collective perception is that the now fast-approaching Labor Day weekend marks the end of the season, and the beginning of the end of the year.

The troubled and sour year 2006 is on the wane; and the ominous figure of 2007 comes into view.

2007 Is a number whose digits add up to nine, the number of endings. We’ll see the end of the hot housing market, as thousands who suckered themselves into the foolish game of interest-only mortgage payments and drew loans against equity find themselves stuck holding property worth less than what they owe. Their cries of self-inflicted pain will echo throughout the land.

The price of crude oil, presently on hold at slightly over $70, will rise again, all the way to 85 or 90 dollars this time, and the price of gasoline will ratchet up another buck, to four. People will chatter about alternative sources of energy – electricity, or hydrogen, or biomass, or unexploited forms of oil such as tar sands and asphalts – subjects upon which the oil monopoly will remain mute and inscrutable as the stone heads on Easter Island. There’s no acceptable way for them to announce that they’re making too much money from things arranged just as they are to tolerate the prospect of any sort of change.

Most ominously, the war will continue lurching along, going nowhere, going in circles and leaving bloody footprints, like a headless monster. Without aim or purpose, objectiveless, meaningless, and lethal, it will eat up lives and fortunes, mostly those of the innocent. Ordinary Iraqis of all persuasions will remain nailed to the cross, while our young “volunteers” are left hanging in the desert wind, to be picked off one by one by roadside bombs, for no reason except that the fighting of the war, the daily carnage and destruction, has become its own purpose.

There may be a change in the country’s political configuration, as the other party wins back one or both houses of Congress. But if people believe the Democratic Party has the spine for real, fundamental confrontation, or would countenance real changes in the order of things, I think they’re leaning on a very frail reed.

Altogether, the year 2007 promises to be a momentous, slow moving, and mind-numbing increment of time. Like the ancient Hebrews in the Book of Ezekiel, who drank water “by measure and with astonishment,” we will pump gasoline and shop for increasingly expensive groceries with dumbfounded looks on our faces.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bouncy Bouncy

The latest news on the AOL front page is that the prez is "surging" in the polls. He's all the way up to 42 percent!

And to think that just a few months ago his competency rating was just a mere 31 percent. What a comeback!

Bouncy bouncy. I think we should celebrate. Let's all go out together and have a drink of formaldehyde, or whatever. I think I'll have the hemlock.

Also, don't believe this "Bush is an idiot" thing that started with Droolin' Joe Scarborough. It might be nothing more than a clever inoculation strategy.

The way it works is that when impeachment-minded Democrats threaten to get rid of Bush for gross incompetence, the opposition says, "Oh, yeah, Bush is an idiot, but everybody has always known that. Do you really want to impeach a guy who didn't know what he was doing? These were just innocent mistakes."

I might be repeating a paranoid fantasy. On the other hand, there could be something to it.

However, I will say for certain that I think generally we concentrate too much of our attention, energy, and anger on George W. Bush.

He's just the figurehead on the prow of the fascist vessel. Replacing him with Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden won't really solve anything, and will in fact simply prolong our fundamental problems with government in this country (government by defense contractors and oil giants).

We really need to start thinking about ways to torpedo the vessel.

Fascism, if it's to be brought down, has to be attacked at its root, in the skyscrapers and board rooms of the corporate oligarchy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Embiggenning Suiciders

In remarks he made about "the enemy" on Friday, the president used the word suiciders a couple of times.

Some might say this is not a word. However, if a laborer is one who labors, then a suicider is one who suicides. It's a perfectly cromulent word.

For "cromulent," see Wikipedia:

When schoolteacher Edna Krabappel hears the Springfield town motto, "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man," she comments she'd never heard of the word embiggens before moving to Springfield. Miss Hoover, another teacher, replies, "I don't know why; it's a perfectly cromulent word".

Later in the same episode, while talking about Homer's audition for the role of town crier, Principal Skinner states "He's embiggened that role with his cromulent performance."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

We Tried to Warn You

Dear Sam:

Yes, it's true. Many Americans still think Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. As Fiddy Cent famously said, "That shit ain't right."

However, don't you think that anybody who believes such stuff at this stage of the game is kind of hopeless anyway?

It doesn't seem to me that it's Oliver Stone's job to relieve the ignorant of their ignorance. He set out to make a movie about the visual, auditory, and tactile sensations those who lived through the WTC disaster experienced. Like any good director, he had limited, well-defined objectives.

Remediating the foolishness of fools was not one of them.

The Buddha said, "Learning only makes a fool duller; knowledge cleaves his head."

Morris Berman in his book "The Twilight of American Culture" cites an educational survey which reported that twelve percent of adult Americans think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

If Oliver Stone made a movie about Joan of Arc, would he be obligated to tell his audience that the protagonist was not Noah's wife?

It saddens me to realize that many of my countrymen and women are fat and stupid. But I'm afraid there's not much either I or Oliver Stone can do about it.

If you believe that vigorously and repeatedly supplying such people with truthful information will cause them to wake up and smell the scorched flesh in Baghdad, you're more idealistic than I.

The people I associate with -- people who have their shit together -- had this war doped out before it started. Without exception.

To this day, the best commentary I've seen on the Iraq War is this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow, which he published the day before the big clusterfuck began. Nobody's topped it yet.

I've shown this cartoon to people who believe that Saddam Hussein was in on the 9/11 attacks, and believe me, it made as significant an impression on them as a marshmallow hitting a cast iron anvil.

I'm gonna go ahead and post this email on my blog. Just this part of it I mean.

With Good Will Toward All,
Smokin' Slim, the prestidigitator of percussion

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Can't Do It, Man

A federal district appeals court in Detroit has ruled that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program is unconstitutional.

"In this case," said Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, "the President has acted, undisputedly, as FISA forbids. FISA is the expressed statutory policy of our Congress."

Case closed. You can't do it, man.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Inflation is back. Consumer prices are on a pathway ever onward, ever upward.

The Associated Press, an objective source by the way, doesn't mince words about the cause: "Consumer inflation accelerated in July, reflecting a big jump in gasoline and other energy prices. In evidence that the economy is slowing, industrial output in July slipped to just half the June pace."

The price of oil has been hovering around $75/barrel for weeks now, and the result has worked its way all the way through the economic pipeline.

The economics experts who post on the Yahoo stocks page keep nattering about how wonderful things are because of stock market gains, employment levels (yeah, all those people working for seven bucks an hour is really helping) and other irrelevant trivia.

Get it straight, geniuses. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, the price of oil isn't the most important economic indicator, it's the only important economic indicator. Absolutely everything depends on it, and it's not going to get better until the folks with the money -- Exxon, Chevron, B.P. and R.D. Shell -- stop sitting on the cash and invest the billions that will be needed to develop tar sands, asphalts, and shale oil.

So far, they've shown no willingness to do that. They're profiting too handsomely from the way things are. They're profiting, and we're suffering.

Of course, it would be totally wrong for the government to try to tell them what to do, because government is bad and private enterprise is good.

Suggested reading: Deffeyes, Kenneth S., "Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak". Deffeyes is now a geology professor at Princeton and was a petroleum engineer at Shell Oil for 30 years. This is not a political book, but an engineer's book. He just lays out the facts, deadpan, and lets the reader draw his or her own political conclusions.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Joe and the Volcano

Senator Joe Lieberman's failed bid in the Connecticut Democratic primary has been the subject of constant and continuous buzz on the most popular left wing blogs for weeks now. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say Lieberman has been the bloggers' obsession.

Why is this? Are Lieberman and his senate seat so important as to justify the crowding out of other events and political developments? The fighting in southern Lebanon has received cursory coverage on these sites, and other Congressional races have been mentioned only in passing. The Iraq War has all but disappeared.

Has Lieberman become a symbol of a larger conflict that's brewing, and a lightning rod for progressives who hope to wrest control of the Democratic Party from its moderate, Democratic National Committee (DNC) wing?

Hollywood producer Jane Hamsher's blog has posted 250 entries under the subject "Lieberman," and 225 under "Lamont" this year. Only the subject of "Bushco" has more. Ten Lieberman posts have gone up in the last three days.

The latest, posted by Hamsher, is drawn from the August 15 transcript of Don Imus's MSNBC televised radio program, in which Imus threatened to ban all Democrats from his program who "bailed on Lieberman."

"Well, they ALL bailed on him," Imus said. "But what we’ll also…I mean, we have a lot of information about—uh, and maybe we can even dig up some old footage on Chris Dodd, who’s trying to run for President, and a bunch of other people and uh, you know, this could get ugly."

The fact that this trivia was posted on a major blog, as well as both the bloggers' and the media's obsession with one politician's loss of one primary, show that it has already gotten ugly, and that the larger issue is a fight for control of the Democratic Party.

At, which has posted 199 entries on Lieberman in the last four weeks, one of today's several posts about Lieberman/Lamont (August 15) carried a transcript of CNN Anchor Chuck Roberts's on-air apology directly to Lamont for having referred to him as "the Al-Qaeda candidate:"

"You know, I owe you an apology. Last week, I led into an interview with a guest analyst and really botched the set-up. The guest had wanted to discuss the Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman statements suggesting that terror groups -- Al Qaeda type, to use Cheney's words -- would be buoyed by your win, but I posed it badly, stupidly ad-libbing about 'some saying Lamont is the Al-Qaeda candidate.' No one, in fact, used that construction. Anyway, I wanted to correct the record, and I'm glad we had this chance to do it."

Kos front-page writer SusanG followed the quote with her own analysis of bloggers' clout: "Shows what concerted pressure from the little people here at Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Media Matters, Think Progress and Crooks and Liars can do, doesn't it?"

At Duncan Black's "Atrios/Eschaton" blog, which has become so consumed with Lieberman that it could conceivably be renamed "The Lieberman/Lamont Blog," the proprietor has begun taking material directly from Ned Lamont's site and reposting it, as he did today (August 15) with:

"A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week.

"If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides..."

However, the final word on Lieberman, and the sudden support he is receiving from Republicans and conservatives have suddenly embraced him in the wake of his loss, is provided by the cartoonist Tom Tomorrow.

"Affable Joe Lieberman was the victim of an online Jihad," says Tomorrow's prototypical blue-suited conservative. "It was a liberal inquisition conducted by far left blogofascists who will accept nothing less than complete ideological purity! This is a disaster of unprecedented proportions. The very legitimacy of our democracy has been thrown into question."

"In other words," Tomorrow's penguin replies, "a majority of Connecticut Democrats voted for the candidate they preferred."

The Connecticut primary really was as simple as Tom Tomorrow's penguin describes it, but the fallout from it is just beginning. It was a close vote, but in the end blue-state voters showed a decided preference for ending the Iraq war and jettisoning those who would waffle on the war question.

In the days following the primary, House and Senate Democrats lined up almost unanimously behind Lamont, a political newcomer now suddenly and unexpectedly thrown into a ready-made role as a leader, spokesperson, and weather vane. A few, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, refused to commit to him, hesitant to abandon their old friend Joe.

In the next few days and weeks, the stars of the Democratic Party, many of whom have tried to walk a tightrope in regard to the war, and maintain an ambiguous position in order to try to please everybody, will suddenly find themselves having to decide which way to go -- to the right, toward the DNC and the old coalition-and-compromise ideology, or toward the left, the direction Connecticut voters have pointed.

The battle for the heart and soul of the party is about to begin.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bill's Bag

Things are very quiet here. The population of this valley is about half what it will be three months from now, after all the snowbirds come back from B.C. and Washington and Oregon to dry off in the sunshine.

There's very little traffic. The price of gas is keeping people off the roads. Business is slow, even at WalMart.

The sun comes up and warms the shoulders of the silent old mountain, Saint Jacinto. A few cars move drowsily about the valley floor until another sleepy, slow-moving day ends. The sun goes down and the coyotes come out from their holes and sing.

I spend my days taking clothes out of bags, hanging clothes, steaming clothes, racking clothes, taking clothes off the rack, untagging them and putting them in bags to go back out. I wait for customers who never come.

Bill the Cat sleeps on the porch all day. After dinner he begins to move, preparing for the hunt. I'm not sure what his bag total is this week, but it includes one dove, one sparrow, and one baby rabbit. Like our purported temporary semi-legal de facto leaders, he's a natural born killer.

Walking out in the desert in the cool early morning people listen to the silence. The bats find a place for repose; the hummingbirds come out to search for blossoms. Terror plots, Baghdad, and Beirut seem not to exist.

It would be pleasant to sit here all day watching the hummingbirds, and to avoid thinking about the world beyond. But think about it we must. The blood of the innocent cries out from the ground for vengeance.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Bidness of This Nation is Bidness

So saith Calvin Coolidge. It's one of the few things Silent Cal ever said, and the only thing he said that's widely remembered.

As the editor Lewis Lapham points out in this month's Harper's (September '06 -- sorry, there's no link; Lapham's stuff doesn't generally appear on line), Operation Iraqi Freedom isn't going very well. Baghdad looks like a smudge pot and a bloody smear, and when our troops come out of their bunkers and holes they get blown apart with I.E.D.'s.

But if you look at it as a business proposition, the Iraq War is a roaring success. Lapham cites the figures: Halliburton is $12.3 billion richer thanks to the war, Parsons Corp. has raked in $5.3 billion, Fluor Corp. has made $3.7 billion, and Bechtel is better off to the tune of $2.8 billion.

Freedom and democracy are on the march.

Likewise, stock prices for firms contributing to our idealistic effort to spread the blessings of democracy and free-market capitalism to the primitive backwaters of fatwas and sharia have risen as well in the last three years. Lockheed-Martin is up from $52 per share to $75, and Boeing stock has gone from $33 to $77 in the same period. Here again, Halliburton is the big winner, having gone from $22/share three years ago to $74 now, although Fluor Corp. is competitive with a run-up from $34 to $87.

Obviously, war is great business. I'd strongly suggest you invest your kids.

Which reminds me, if your kids don't feel like going as underpaid, overextended National Guard recruits, they can always apply to one of the private companies that has about 50,000 personnel in Iraq right now, making up to $150K a year for driving trucks and serving as "discreet travel companions" (English translation -- "bodyguards") for the various field-grade officers and corporate middle-managers unlucky enough to be in country.

It looks as if we've returned to the age when knighthood was in flower, and war was a for-profit business engaged in by professionals. This continued during the Renaissance, when a professional captain of mercenary soldiers wrote, "Our manner of life in Italiy is well known -- it is to rob, plunder, and murder those who resist."

At which point we do well to ask, what exactly has Iraq gotten from Halliburton et. al. for all those billions? Electricity? Sewers? Schools? Hospitals? Security? Or just the opportunity to maybe, if you're lucky, survive one more day?

Geoff Chaucer knew about this "chivalry" business. He'd been there, in the 100 Years' War. The protagonist in his "Knight's Tale" is more likely to rob a church and sodomize a nun on any given day than he is to protect any poor innocent person.

And even though I haven't been to Iraq, I've seen it on t.v., and I know all about GW Bush's "democracy" business.

And it is a business, conveniently located offshore. It would be way too messy if that money was being made here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

This Shit Ain't Right

The main reason George Bush should be impeached is because he's gay. We can't have a homosexual in the Oval Office, instructing the nation in homosexuality!

How do you suppose this looks to our allies? What will THE CHILDREN think?

And despite all this talk about Islamic fascism, it's been all too obvious for a very long time that George has a thing for Arab guys.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

BP Stands For...

...British Petroleum. Also Bull Pucky.

Isn't it strange that BP's pipeline shutdown due to corrosion problems they've known about for years comes at the height of the summer driving season?

Or maybe not so strange. As usual, Greg Palast has the story.

BP's suddenly discovered corrosion necessitating an emergency shut-down of the line is the same corrosion Dan Lawn has been screaming about for 15 years. Lawn is a steel-eyed government inspector who has kept his job only because his union's lawyers have kept BP from having his head.

Indeed, it's pretty darn hard for BP to claim it is surprised to find corrosion this week when Lawn issued a damning report on corrosion right after a leak and spill were discovered on March 2 of this year.

What's the payoff for BP? It's pretty huge, and Palast has that end of the story too.

A precipitous shutdown in mid-summer, in the middle of Middle East war(s), is guaranteed to raise prices and reap monster profits for BP. The price of crude jumped $2.22 a barrel on the shutdown news to over $76. How lucky for BP which sells four million barrels of oil a day. Had BP completed its inspection and repairs a couple years back -- say, after Dan Lawn's tenth warning -- the oil market would have hardly noticed.

For those who would discredit Palast's reporting because he's a radical liberal commie faggot pinko peace creep, his contentions in this article are pretty much echoed and vindicated in a report from a much more mainstream source, NBC News.

The problems inflicted on this society by monopoly capitalism are legion, ongoing, and nothing new. But it's been 100 years since we've been in thrall to the "trusts" to the degree we are now.

I'm not sure these bastards are aware of how close to the edge they are, or how much trouble their shennanigans will eventually get them into.

It's a good thing the executives of companies like BP and Exxon are living in gated, walled communities. They ought to think about making the walls a little higher and thicker, and reinforcing the gates.

Jihad Jerry

Gerald V. Casales, one of the Akron natives who along with Mark Mothersbaugh co-founded the great rock/pop/social satire group Devo in the late 70's, has a new web site, Jihad Jerry.

It's a terrific site with excellent graphics, sound, animation, and writing.

It's political, sort of. Actually it's more social. He covers a lot of the same subjects we do here, plus others more ephemeral, like Kevin Federline.

Be sure to check out his Manifesto, a rant against (among others) "evil SUV drivers who wear their baseball hats backward" in celebration of what they don't know. Always the pessemist, Jerry says they're going down, but they'll take the rest of us with them.


It's probably not too good an idea to make fun of Ann Coulter. According to several sources I've seen, she has a lot of what used to be called "personal problems."

She's obviously not right in the head, it's unseemly to beat up on the village idiot.

However, some are still doing it, and according to this writer, Coulter is a cocaine-addled, alcoholic nymphomaniac who spends a great deal of time acting out her illnesses in public.

She and Lindsay Lohan are both a couple of Titanic-sized publicity disasters on the verge of happening.

Memo from The Boss

Here's a little item that's been making the rounds on the blogs:

According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President’s political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: "The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do."

The boss indeed. Nothing shows better than this where Lieberman's true loyalties and true friends are.

And he has the nerve to call himself a Democrat.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Worried Sick

I've been sick for a couple of days, and didn't feel much like posting anything.

The biggest trouble with being sick, at least for me, is that I always imagine it's worse than it is, or may become so. It was especially true this time because at first I didn't know I was sick; I thought I was just having very bad indigestion.

So I'm lying there feverish and about half delirious thinking, "I wonder if this is it. I wonder if my guts have shut down completely and they're never going to start working again. I wonder if I'm going to have to have a colostomy."

"And I've been feeling so good, too. But everything catches up with sinners eventually. Oh, well, like Mark Twain said 'If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.'

"So let me see, this person gets 20 percent, that person gets 20, this other person gets 40...savings should cover the Neptune Society. I want to be cremated wearing all denim -- shirt, jeans, jacket, hat -- except for my underwear and socks and Birkenstocks. Funny, but I'm not scared at all, except I'm sorry to have to take such a hasty and unexpected departure from those people who (for reasons only they understand) love me and like having me around."

Next night, same thing. I actually even thought about calling a Catholic priest for baptism and last rites. I knew this was very, very serious. I hadn't had a cup of coffee for two days.

After floating around in the miasma of such cheerful thoughts, I woke up this morning hungry, and wanting coffee.

Time to get up and go to work. Another day, another dollar.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where's Hojo?

Rumor has it that Joe Lieberman may be cancelling some events today (or not — he may be filming it on the bus) to film a new campaign ad — which is said to be a mea culpa on his support for George Bush and the Iraq War.

...from a lively post by Christie Hardin Smith at Firedoglake. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

So it's beginning to look like HoJo is born again, and ready to admit he was wrong about Iraq and supporting Bush and all that cal.

No more "time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years."

No more "we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril."

Ain't it awesome how the likelihood of losing a primary election causes massive tectonic shifts in the ideology of a politician like HoJo Liberman?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dirty Pool

This fall the Green Party will field a candidate in Pennsylvania's Senate race. Senator Rick Santorum saw to that.

The Republican incumbent Santorum is badly trailing Democratic challenger Bob Casey in the polls. So he convinced a significant number of his wealthiest supporters to generously support the Greens' petition drive on behalf of Senate candidate Carl Romanelli.

According to stories in the Associated Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer, Romanelli has acknowledged that Republican contributors supplied most of the $100,000 he spent collecting the signatures he needed to qualify for the Nov. 7 ballot.

The doe-eyed Santorum innocently says he will welcome another candidate on the ballot, adding in a more sinister tone, "This is politics."

But a Casey spokesperson accused the Senator of "trying to steal the election."

So how should progressives respond to this blatantly underhanded divide-and-conquer tactic, characterized by at least one observer as "a Nader"? Do we bet the bankroll on the creaky old Democratic Party, accepting it warts and all, and keep hoping it will grow a spine? Or do we "vote our conscience," as the saying goes, and support the Green candidate, even though up to this point he's been in bed with the enemy?

IMHO, it depends on the Democratic candidate. And the Democratic candidate in this case, Mr. Casey, is less than useless.

According to the same AP story, "Romanelli...supports abortion rights, while both Santorum and Casey oppose them." Also, Casey refuses to endorse the necessity of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

If he's not pro-choice and doesn't recognize the necessity of leaving Iraq ASAP, what good is he? Pennsylvania might as well keep Santorum.

The lesser of two weevils is just a smaller and less obnoxious pest.

And on the agenda for 2007 is the breathless question of whether the Democratic Party will nominate something human. Or will we get Hillary?

At an absolute minimum, I would expect a viable Democratic candidate to support a) an unconditional pullout from Iraq; and b) a 60-billion dollar (15 percent) cut in the defense budget, and the re-allocation of that money to social, health, and educational programs.

If it fails to unite behind this or a similar platform in 2008, the Democratic Party will finally consign itself to what Leon Trotsky called "the dustbin of history."

And then we'll have to vote Green, or Peace and Freedom, or the New Social Democratic Party which doesn't exist yet, because there won't be anybody else.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Not too surprisingly, there's been a sharp drop in illegal immigration over the past few months. The border isn't sealed, but it's tighter than it was due to a combination of increased manpower (National Guards) and pressure on the INS ("Migra").

Also not surprisingly, an association of Santa Cruz County farmers announced yesterday that they're short of pickers right now -- way short. The radio story (sorry I can't provide a link) said that the farmers have only about two-thirds of the help they need to get the August crop in.

Picking strawberries is one of the hardest jobs there is, and to do it effectively and quickly enough to make money requires real expertise. I couldn't do it; I'd only get in the growers' way. The experts are people who have been doing it since childhood, and are physically fit enough to perform the job in an awkward, uncomfortable, not too healthful squat.

It's hard, honest work, and deserves respect.

It really should pay more, and due to the labor shortage, it soon might. But with fewer experts in the field, production will fall despite the higher outlay. Get ready for expensive strawberries.

Obviously we had to do something to get the illegal immigration situation under control, but we also really need to look closely at the laws, and ask ourselves how we can streamline the immigration process. We haven't determined carefully enough how many people we want coming here, where we want them to come from, and under what circumnstances we want them to come.

As it is now, it's becoming painfully obvious that we need the Mexicans and the Mexicans need us.

California does anyway.