Jingo Killah

I am not a pacifist. I am Jingo Killah.

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We explore the eternal question: What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

Dangle Blago

December 10th, 2008

It’s funny how you can wake up here, on Earth, not knowing a person, and go to bed despising that person.  Blajegovich, welcome to your 15 minutes of infamy.

It’s a foregone conclusion that he’s guilty.  There’s not too much to say about the heinous statements caught on tape.  For me, it’s treasonous.  I’m not throwing that word around.  I really do think that his actions indicate a serious undermining of our federal government and our democracy.  String him up.

The amazing twist –  this might have been a potential new guilt-by-association tar pit for Obama to struggle up out of – Blajegovich being a Democrat from Illinois – but good fortune and Memorex captured the “motherfucker!  Fuck him!” moment, directed at Obama, in response to Obama’s by-the-book, principled stand.  It’s like those cool moments in the movies where the hero almost splats on the ground, but is suddenly and spectacularly swept to safety.  Breathtaking.

My first thought was “oooh, opportunity!”  Obama can let this man hang high.  And he ought to.  It seems like a win, win, win… One, O gains credibility as an honest non-partisan politician.  Two, he gains public confidence as someone tough on corruption.  Three, he satisfies some of the blood lust that Americans are feeling toward their politicians, and demonstrates to all other politicians that there’s a new Sheriff in town.  Money in the bank, and no down side that I can see.  And really, we’ve been waiting to see the righteous anger of Obama in some context.

Then I saw Obama on TV, sidestepping any substantive comments.  Expressing sadness, not anger.  Deferring to the system.  No drama.

Of course, I’m realizing now that O’s not going to be declarative in any form about the guilt or innocence of BJ , Obama has too much of that ‘respect for due process’ thing going on.  I’m sure he’ll encourage the full force of law to investigate, obviously, but he’s not going to let his Presidentiality have any undue influence on the trial of Blajegovich.  However, after BJ’s found guilty, I expect a stirring speech from Obama, at the very least.

In some ways, this incident was gift-wrapped and placed under Obama’s tree.  I hope he finds a use for it.

UPDATE:  Of course, just after I publish, Obama’s made a statement calling for Blajegovich’s resignation.  So it begins.

Also, nice discussion over at Obsidian Wings.

How dare you speak the obvious

December 5th, 2008

My favorite Shakespeare play is King Lear.  This is not just for its heartbreaking and very human story, but for its incredible relevance to political discourse today.  Now.  And every day since 1963.  Short form:  King Dad is retiring, and seeks assurance that he is loved by his family – three daughters, Regan, Goneril, and Cordelia.  The first two daughters make a huge show of their (false) love and (overblown) affection for the King Dad.  Cordelia, who actually loves her Dad, cannot lie to him, and presents a moderate and truthful worldview, which falls far short of the pure sycophantia of the elder daughters.  Offended, King Dad banishes the one true ally he has in his corrupt family.

Deepak Chopra has gone from a feel-good, new-agey Andrew Weill-type medical pundit, to a man who speaks his mind on the subject of war and peace in our age.  King America doesn’t care for his kind of rhetoric, and repays him with ridicule and death threats.  Cordelia, do not stray too far.  Your country will call for you again.

Here is the lowdown on the recent flap(s) in the press about Chopra.

Assume the Assumption

November 13th, 2008

I have to admit, I have a thin skin.  I occasionally get a little exposure to the septicemia over on the right wing, and it gets right under there, quickly forming a blister that can only be excised by writing about it.  This is especially true when the assumptions made by right-wing pundits are about me, the majority voter of 2008.

One assumption made about my character by such righty twits as Rush, is that I voted for Obama because he’s a black man and I enjoy giving myself a false sense of hope, because I’m brainwashed.  It usually bores (and occasionally sickens) me to see the right continually set up the same old strawmen and knock them down in the usual artless and bellicose way, but this assumption of my intellectual ability and political preference is just offensive.  How dare you speak for me.

Of all the reasons I voted for Obama, race was NOT one of them.  It was irrelevant to me.  I saw that Obama was for the rollback of the Bush doctrine, which I think is the greatest stain on American honor of these past eight years.  I identified with his methodological thinking – nothing dogmatic about it, for me.  I like the way he organizes his thoughts into coherent ideas that hang together.  And I have liked most of the resulting ideas.  I see that he’s  an excellent listener, and delegator, and organizer.  I believe that he’s not truly partisan, but has a prime interest in what works.  I’m very impressed with his focus and his ability to let dumb shit slide, so that he’s in control of the dialogue – I think this will bode well in his international diplomacy.  I believe him when he says he’s going to go after Bin Ladin, and look forward to the day he’s captured.  I think that his political cache of enthused and energized citizens will be a formidable asset for the country.  I like his sense of humor.  I like that he’s a rock star.    I would enjoy having a beer with him.

So, yeah, fuck you if you tell me that I voted for him cos he’s black.  I don’t believe in affirmative action for the Presidency.  It’s one of the prime reasons I didn’t like GWB from day 1 of knowing him.  Academic Legacy and parental influence are the right wing’s affirmative action, and it should be forthwith abolished on all levels.  You should succeed on your own merits.  And Obama did.

What got me started on this rant, though, was (as usual) Sarah Palin.  In a recent interview, she slammed bloggers as pajama-wearing basement dwellers with no jobs and nothing better to do.  Of course, I resemble that insinuation.  (Actually, I’m wearing pants today, in case you were thinking about it.  Sorry.)  But I think that the comment falls into the same category as the ‘fruit fly research’ comment from back in the campaign.  Sarah Palin is relentlessly anti-creative, and therefore in my eyes an anti-American (snark, snark).  Don’t you think that Thomas Edison, on my personal list of 10 Greatest Americans, would want to invent a machine that would snap her in two?  Edison is the epitome of the American Basement-Dweller.  He was the kind of thinker who’s willing to go out there on the fringe, risk failure and ridicule, to bring back something useful for the masses.  Not motivated by money, or boss, or fame, but by truth and vision.  What about all the great American writers who are by nature reclusive?  Thoreau, Dickinson, Salinger?  They never woke up in the morning to say “Well, back to work on this writing that will influence millions.”  They did it cos they were compelled to.  Apple Computer, started in a garage.  Bill Gates left Harvard before graduating so that he could focus on writing software.  I think in her heart of hearts, Sarah Palin would have had contempt for all these people at the outset of their creative lives, and will continue to have contempt for the creative class.

Yes, bloggers fall into this category.  Scoff all you want, but I think history will show that the influx of new writing into the ossified industry of journalism will be seen as transformative in a mostly positive way.  Yes, there’s a lot of shit writing out there, and false and incendiary writing, and I agree with Palin that sifting is necessary.  I don’t agree that she’s the right person to do the sifting.  But by and large, the best writing on this campaign, and on politics in general right now, comes from independent sources and independent minds.

Sarah Palin has shown that she is hostile to independent thought, in all creative realms.  It is one of the primary reasons I voted against her, and I will remain a vocal critic of her political career for this reason.  Her pathetic whining about her first amendment rights can rightly be interpreted that she does not care for anyone else’s first amendment rights.  Remember this.

So here’s my point, after all that:  the right wing will continue to make big broad assumptions as to why the election was lost, and big broad assumptions about the active parts of the electorate (such as the fact that I’m supposed to be wearing pajamas while blogging).  Let them assume.  The more they allow themselves to be delusionally wrong about the electorate, the less chance they’ll have of re-capturing it.

The Post-Electum

November 5th, 2008

It’s hard to not start this post with “I’m overjoyed with the election of Barack Obama”, but you may have already gotten your fill of pundits now forced to state the obvious, endlessly.  Americans are all thrilled and excited, to be certain.

But what about all the emotionally exhausted people?  Please, let me give a shout out to all those who have woken up this morning with the mental engine going pushpushpush once again, as it has for the last X months, and having nothing to push for today?  Obama won.  Now what am I going to do with all these open tabs on my browser?

I call it post-electum depression.  Regardless of the fact that we’ve given birth to a healthy nine-pound baby landslide, there’s a feeling of “uh, now what” in… well, my mind, anyway.  The well-wishers will be there in droves for the next 2 1/2 months, happy Barack President happy can’t wait happy.  Yes, as it should be.  But I fear that I will be pulling the blanket higher over my head as CNN struggles to provide even half of the substantive news it was churning out a week ago.

Get a grip, Jingo.  Clearly this is all about you.  But I think I feel slightly alienated from the triumphant candidate.  He’s announcing his transition team today.  Not even a day off.  What I would like to have seen him say was “Thanks so much.  Please don’t expect to see very much of me for like a week, I’m gonna sleep for three days and then go to my favorite Hawaiian spa.  And, you know, maybe do some shopping for the new White House.”  But he’s gonna keep up his pace.  I’m exhausted, and all I’ve really done this election is drink a lot of coffee.  Why can’t my candidate be exhausted?  I don’t know you anymore!

On a slightly more serious note, I do hope that Obama does take some time to mourn his grandmother, and process this emotional challenge.  Perhaps he’s a resilient guy, but ultimately this isn’t the sort of thing that resilience helps.  Please, take a long weekend.  Shut off your cellphone.  Cloister yourself.  Reflect.  Let your voice be silent for a time.  You need it, you deserve it.  Barack!  Put down the cell phone!  I mean it!

BTW, how cool is it that Hawaii is the new Crawford Ranch?  Rather than chopping wood, he’ll be getting lei’d.  That cheers me up some.

To be certain, we’ll be watching Obama’s Presidency with great interest.  And by that point, anyway, the post-electum depression will have passed.  Presently, though, it’s time for us to form our own transition teams.  We need to determine what hobbies we might get back to, what websites we can read now that fivethirtyeight.com is out of data to process.  Maybe we can find other organizations to volunteer for.  Give our money to other causes.  Throw parties without a political theme.  It’s a big, beautiful, non-political world out there.  Get un-involved.

Metaphor U

October 30th, 2008

Ok, maybe I was a little hard on metaphor in my last post.  Metaphor is one of the most potent ways of demonstrating a new or difficult to explain phenomenon.  They are meta-stories.  “Once upon a time, there was a pig.  And some weird guy decided he didn’t like the look of that pig, and so he put lipstick on it.  It didn’t make much of a difference, and other people saw him for what he was – a fool.  The End.”  Or, the shorthand – lipstick on a pig.  It evokes a lot more than just using the word ‘pointless’, cos it provides characters, good visuals, and a heavy dose of hyperbole.

In some cases, metaphors become real life, as in Joe the Plumber.  I have not followed or cared about this ‘news’ story at all, but I do like how he was conjured from a metaphor.  Did he even exist before the third debate?  From the intensity of metaphorical political debate springs real sentient life.  Impressive.  Thomas Haden Church summons ‘Joe Six-Pack’ here, but as he is a professional actor, it seems less than magical.  Couldn’t we have a REAL metaphorical Joe Six-Pack to kick around?

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to throw down this other metaphor, cos it may actually fall into the ‘useful’ category, as in understanding the political process a bit more.  It’s technical, as in scientific, so some may run for the hills.  But it’s also about audio, so, like, some might find it really rad cool.

Phase cancellation (don’t run!) is a phenomena in stereo recordings.  It is bad.  Audio engineers work hard to make sure there is none of it in their recordings.  However, the phenomenon itself is mind-blowing.  It is a way to make audio disappear.

In stereo recordings, there are left and right channels of sound.  This allows recording artists to create a panorama of sound across a 2 dimensional space.  You know it, you love it.  It’s been in vogue for 40 years.  The ‘pan’ allows the engineer to take a single (mono) sound source (say a guitar) and have it biased left or right, or straight up the middle.  This is easily controlled, and rarely produces problems.

A challenge occurs when a stereo microphone setup is put into play.  In one typical setup, a drumset has a pair of microphones above the kit, to capture the entire range of the instrument.  These mics have to be at least 90 degrees opposed – in other words, if one mic is facing 45 degrees to the left, the other must be facing 45 degrees to the right.  But let’s say our engineer is ignorant of that, and both mics are facing in the same basic direction.  Then we pan the left mic left and the right mic right in the mix.  Boom, suddenly in the control room, lots of audio has disappeared.  What has happened?

phase cancellation!
(from Wikipedia)
Because the two mics have picked up basically the same audio, we have two very similar waveforms being processed.  But they are not EXACTLY the same.  The left figure shows that if they are exactly the same, the effect is mostly benign, and the sound gets thru.  But, if the two waveforms peak and trough at diametrically opposing times, the sound literally disappears.  This is in the air, mind you, out of the speakers, not somewhere in the electronics.

You may be able to experience a practical demonstration right now – if you have a pair of headphones handy, get ’em out.  Browse to this page.
(from audiocourses.com)

This is an audio recording with the stereo phase problem described above.  If you listen to it in headphones, you’ll be able to hear a tone.  You can hear it because the opposing waveforms are isolated by your big fat head.

Now remove the headphones and allow it to play thru your laptop or desktop.  On my MacBook, the track is fully cancelled (inaudible), cos the speakers are symmetrical.  If you have external speakers, you might still hear something, but if you move the speakers close to each other, parallel, the sound will disappear.  It’s actually more fun with external speakers, cos the movement really demonstrates the canceling waveforms.

Wow, ok, wasn’t that fun?  If you got this far, now you can enjoy the metaphor that took this long to set up.

Obviously, left and right will represent the political spectrum in a pretty direct way.  You can have radically different audio (representing media and news and local punditry) on the left and right channels.  If you situate yourself closer to the left source, only listen to the left source, you’ll hear everything from that side loud and clear.  Same on the right.  Purely partisan politics are not affected by phase cancellation.  Each channel is essentially a mono recording, since the listener is only choosing to listen to one side.

I believe most people try to situate themselves closer to the middle, to better hear the full spectrum of sound.  One would rightly think that this is the best place from which to survey the political spectrum.  However, if there is such a thing as political cancellation, those denizens of the middle may have as large a problem as those on the left or right.

Let’s say Candidate L is experiencing problems with his connection to lobbyists.  He can prepare to defend his reputation, which sends out a reactive and unique signal that shines out loud and clear no matter where you are on the political spectrum.  A candidate does not want this.  However, if he can connect Candidate R to lobbyists, and then they both put out the same basic “My opponent blah blah lobbyists”  sound bite, the chances are that the entire problem will disappear thru the middle of the spectrum.  It will cancel.

This may have been patently obvious to you before this lovely essay, but here’s the thing about this metaphor – it allows us to see more visually how this phenomenon is actually working.   We wring our hands and we wonder where all the outrage is, why the mass of the people aren’t seeing what we’re seeing, when we see corruption, lying, theft, and general calummny and evil.  Well, first, let’s say a third is biased right -they’re closer to the right sound source.  And then, the middle third aren’t hearing anything cos the cancellation has taken all the punch out of the sound.  So 2/3rds of constituents are not hearing what is potentially the truth.

The cancellation metaphor also helps us to understand the types of political manipulation that are now standard practice.  One-upsmanship has been around for a while, but we are now in the age of anticipatory cointelpro.  The Kerry Swift-Boat phenom demonstrates that a significantly weaker opponent (in this case, in regard to their personal military service record) is wise to hit first with a slander.  The partisan third eats it up, the middle third hears it for a full day or so, and by the time the opposing party gets its cancellation on, it’s too late.  And in a situation where the truth is on the side of the reactive party, it’s doubly frustrating.  Significantly less than half of the political constituents will conclude on the side of truth.

The McCain campaign has been over-using this technique throughout this whole election season.  Obama has used it judiciously, but I think this is because he is choosing to be fully in charge of his signal, whereas McCain has been far more reactive.  The fact that ‘Change’ is the catchphrase of both platforms is playing to the middle.  The co-opting of this word works as such – the left is outraged at the hypocrisy and theft (and no one cares), the right doesn’t really care about the rhetorical use of the word, and the middle is cancelled, as no matter which way they vote, they’ve been promised change.  The challenge to Obama is to make this word resonate in a unique way, not buckle under to the attempt to cancel it.

A way that Obama sought to use cancellation was in his VP pick;
Biden brought foreign policy experience directly to the table, in an attempt to cover for a perceived weakness in Obama’s campaign.  Biden was essentially McCain Jr.  It’s a way to say “Fresh – AND wise!” to McCain’s “wise”.  It seems that in that moment, Palin was a play to cancel out Obama’s freshness.  Her selection may not have been the PUMA thing at all – more simply, she had the right energy to cancel Obama’s personal magnetism.  Her pick has been disastrous, to be certain, but I think ultimately she has kept McCain in the race.  If he’d picked ‘other weird old ineffectual white guy’, his ticket may have collapsed under its own dullness.

And even the apparent ‘experience’ cancellation that was suffered by the McCain camp in their VP pick might have had a unique twist under this filter.  Defending oneself from the epithet ‘inexperienced’ is not so terrible – I believe Obama could have found a nuanced way of saying ‘Nothing succeeds like success’ and argued his way back out, the old-fashioned way.  He didn’t want to, being aware of ‘protesting too much’ working against him.  But I believe in my own naive way that Obama still had options on this front.  However, when Palin entered the race, a false equivalency was fostered in the middle – “Ah well, he’s inexperienced, she’s inexperienced, I guess there’s just a whole lot of inexperience going on.”  It became way too convoluted for any argument to get through.

Forget pushback – this metaphor reveals the location of the battlefield in this war of words between the two campaigns.  Tit for tat is too simplistic.  This is more like the rock paper scissors of the political landscape.  We’d like to believe that we’re taking the fight to the other side, but the real goal is to play the middle, to capture the middle.

Here’s the one to anticipate – ACORN is in the right-wing news on a daily basis, hyped up and primed to be a breaking scandal.  They don’t have anything direct yet, cos there’s been no voter fraud, just some bad forms that mean nothing.  If a guy can show up to a polling place with a government ID that says “Mickey Mouse”, and he gets to vote as registered voter Mickey Mouse, then we have a problem.  However, this trumped-up story has legs, cos when voter fraud begins to happen against the democrats on election day, the story will immediately be juxtaposed against the ongoing ACORN stories, and people will shrug, and bemoan the fact that we have such corrupt elections.  This is what I meant about anticipatory cointelpro.  They’ve manufactured this story early in anticipation of the traditional liberal “They stole my vote” screed.

Yes, I am biased.  I will admit this readily.  However, we have no system by which to isolate and verify the claims of the left and right without falling prey to accusations of bias.  Journalism’s mission at this point in history is to find a way to describe this left-middle-right phenomena in a way that satisfies everyone.  We’ve covered the left and the right endlessly, and we’ve let them engage each other, but with only a few rare exceptions, no one has ever been converted from one side to another.  These are constants.  We’ve described the middle as ‘dull’, but ironically it’s the other way around.  The science, the sociology is happening in the middle.  The potentiality is all in the middle.  Arguments are lost in the middle.  Contests are won in the middle.  And as I’ve been trying to explain here, cancellation happens in the middle.  The path toward eliminating it is to give a voice to the middle again, and listen up when they say “I’m not hearing anything.”

(Thanks to Scott for demonstrating Phase Cancellation to me back in our old recording studio.)

Losing it just a little

October 20th, 2008

Surfing, surfing, surfing… I came across a McCain quote from a rally yesterday, on MSNBC:

“Sen. Obama is more interested in controlling who gets your piece of the pie than he is in growing the pie,” McCain told a crowd of several thousand.”

YOU DON’T GROW PIE!!!!!!!!

I yelled this at my computer.

Yes, it is reminiscent of the Bushism “We ought to make the pie higher.”  So what I think they’re trying to suggest is that we should all get high, and just see that pie in the sky, growing ever larger.  Huge, spinny pies, dozens of them descending from a clear blue sky.  Oh shit, they’re not pies, they’re alien spaceships!! RUN!!!!!!1

I think metaphor is the most dangerous political weapon we have.  Satire is our only defense.

Meta-review of W.

October 19th, 2008

Luke:  (indicates the tree)  What’s in there?
Yoda:  Only what you take with you.

A memorable opening to a classic oedipal scene, in a movie about evil empire.  But I’m not referencing it to allude to the main theme of W., but to warn you and all reviewers that when you go see W., you have to check your expectations and presumptions at the door.  What you take in with you may be your downfall.

Oliver Stone’s W. is a fictionalized bio-pic of our sitting President, spanning 40 years of his life, selectively choosing snapshot moments that bolster Stone’s view of the man.  It’s not a true biography, or a documentary, or a historiography, or an exposé.  You likely won’t learn anything much new, unless you’ve completely avoided reading anything about GWB, ever.

In some ways, the film’s throughline echoes a common question heard in the current campaign – “Who is Barack Obama?”  What that question begs is “What is the character of the man?  What can we glean from their experience?  How did they get to where they are today?”  This film is nothing more and nothing less than Stone’s interpretation of W.’s life and persona.

This doesn’t mean that you get to dismiss it.  It is scrupulously detailed and balanced, it doesn’t go out of its way to demonize its subject, nor to let interpretation run away with the film (well, ok, other than the daddy stuff.)  It does tweak history a bit, as you would expect from a fictionalized bio-pic.  These are the things that the Bush apologists will be all over – “That quote from GWB was said in front of a press conference, not in a private cabinet meeting.  And how does Stone know what happened in those top-secret cabinet meetings?  And what about the dream sequences?  How does he know what’s going on in Bush’s head?  And between him and Laura?  And this never happened, and they never said that… and what’s up with the jumpy narrative?”

Drama is a lie that reveals the truth.  This movie is self-consciously up front about its license, so why haggle about the details?  You’ll only end up looking like a petty crybaby, so save yourself the effort.

This is what I mean about carrying your own projections into the screening room.  So many critics have already gotten it so wrong, based on what they expected this movie to be.  In this particular case, it’s not just the hype, it’s the knowledge of the subject, and the known feelings that he evokes.  We can’t escape it.

And we haven’t even really begun to hear the explosion of negativity from the right – many of the current reviews are by centrist or left-leaners, and they reveal their bias when they talk about their expectations, or their own subjective opinions.  A review in the Observer references a scene where W. is conversing with a spiritual mentor.  The reviewer speaks of ‘the cameras’ inability to keep from laughing as the characters pray.  This reflects on the reviewer, and not on that scene. The ‘observer’ may find the idea of a theocratic administration horrid or laughable, but the camera just watches.

Some critics have said “Too soon”, that we can’t know this President until, oh, five years out of office.  At least.  I say bullshit.  If this were a historiography, they might have a point.  This film barely reaches 2004, historically, so it has its own form of historical closure.  Others wanted pure evisceration and are disappointed.  Still others wanted more ‘depth’, and I don’t know if they meant historical or character.  Again, you’re looking in the wrong place.  Get a fucking book if you want to pore over the minutiae.

This is a fine film, with an excellent performance by Josh Brolin.  There are very very few scenes without him in it, so it is fortunate that he carries the film so well.  The film is simple.  It does not work too hard to persuade, or demand our ideological fealty.  It keeps its focus on the man, and not necessarily his works.  It ends when Stone has finished saying what he needs to say about the man, and not his Presidency.

I’ve tried to say as little as possible about this film, cos it will just be contradicted somewhere else.  The main thing I wanted to persuade you of, dear reader, is that this film cannot be reviewed without a bias, so fuck all the noise and go see it for yourself.

Last parting shot – I can’t help myself.  For all those who bitch about the pretzel scene, and why it is included… this moment was the epitome of the fragility and improbability of the whole of W.’s endeavor.  What I mean is, this was the most powerful man on Earth, and he was nearly felled by a pretzel.  Rather than it being a gratuitous shot, it humanized the moment.  This absolutely kept in line with the themes of the film.  I’m glad it stayed in.

Nothing intelligent to say

October 8th, 2008

about last night’s debate.  Boooo-ring.  I just felt like 1)  I know Obama’s positions for the most part and did not think I would learn anything new there 2) don’t trust McCain to tell me anything, and did not feel like trying to summon benefit of doubt, 3) know that the debate format demands a dumbing down of policy discussion anyway – lots of vagaries and posturing to get in the way of real substance.  I was amused by the two mixed metaphors that bloggers have been pointing out – “cool hand at the tiller” and “green behind the ears.”  The first was McCain’s, the second Obama’s.  So for English majors, some ‘gotcha’ moments there.

At this point, private democratic citizens are playing the “Don’t jinx it” game.  Obama’s ahead, he’s excellent at keeping pace when he’s ahead, a rational person would say “Game over, but for the waiting.”  I am not rational.  I fear that as soon as -anyone- thinks it’s a done deal, it’s gonna get messed up somehow.

So this is how you can be bored and anxious at the same time.  I wish I could pull a switch and just have this damn election over with.  There’s nothing more to say or do or prove, so what’s the point?  Except for the fact that I’ll continue to go to electoral-vote.com and fivethirtyeight.com every day for the next… what is it?  27 days.

One small point on the recent Palin stumpings:  if there are people in her crowds that are shouting out “Kill him!” (presumably meaning Obama), doesn’t that mean that she’s palling around with domestic terrorists?  It disgusts me that she doesn’t make a statement against it.  Happy little fascist.

Muffins

October 3rd, 2008

Debate, blah blah blah.  Again, partisans claim victory, undecideds swing 2:1 for Obama/Biden.  I should be happy.  But I hate the discourse, I really do, and I’m as grumpy as I was before the debate.  Two comments –

Here’s Sarah Palin, buying a cheeseburger – “When I as an American are faced with the decision, in that decisive moment, to remedy a clear need or a determination of such a need, I will take that opportunity to make a decisive decision.  I will approach the appropriate parties who are there to serve, and I will lead them to so that we can have consensus – consensus – on what my needs are as an American in that moment.  I am hungry, and I know what to do about it.”

Two.  In the third act, Biden explains eloquently why he voted to give George Bush discretionary war powers in 2002 – the subtle demarcation between  ‘speak softly, and carry a big stick’ and ‘beat the ever loving crap out of them’.  Actually, it’s not so subtle.  It’s actually really easy to understand.  The Republican talking point has been ‘for it before they were against it’, which is essentially a ‘la la la I can’t hear your reasoning’ sort of statement.  This tactic works when you’re being a pundit far away from someone who might correct you.  It might have even worked if she had approached the topic first in the debate.  But she used it IN RESPONSE to Biden’s explanation.  “I don’t understand, Joe, tee hee…”  He JUST EXPLAINED IT.  JUST NOW.  Arrogant and stupid.  At best, the only point she made is “I don’t listen.”  This may be an appealing notion to the “I don’t listen” demographic, but as for me, it just makes my blood boil.  Do you really think people are that stupid?  (Don’t answer that, I don’t really want to know.)

In conclusion, Sarah Palin served America stale muffins.  I’m not going to explain what I mean by that, but I stand by it.

Movie Night

September 30th, 2008

I’d mentioned before that the ideal movie night for progs and anti-Palin activists would be this:

Election
-followed by-
Jesus Camp

Now, if it so happens that you have time for a second movie night, I would recommend a viewing (or re-viewing) of There Will Be Blood.  I saw this for the first time last week, and I was blown away – ten of ten.  Seriously.  I rarely get this enthused about a movie.  It took huge bold risks, and succeeded in every one.  And then there’s the cinematography, and then there’s the uniqueness of the story, and then there’s the performances.  And the conclusion.  I walked away a bit twitchy.  (Insert your own damn superlatives here, I don’t care, it’s that damn good.)

Why, though, recommend it in this context?  I think if you view it as as a historical fable, you can get a strong sense of the uneasy partnership within the Republican party, between the free-market capitalists, and the Evangelicals.  Frequently, they have the same agenda, or can tolerate the priorities of the other’s agenda.  I am certain that there are those in the party who can balance the dichotomy quite well, of course.  But then, this film is an amazing exemplar of how this partnership can turn extraordinarily bad.

Something to think about as the internal war in the Republican Party explodes into full view in the next week or so.