Saturday, May 12, 2007

If only it were so

Alas, it was not to be.

My all-time screen capture favorite, though, is this one from early September, 2005:

No argument there: Bush is one of the worst disasters to hit the US.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Don't you just hate bloggers?

Glenn Greenwald offers up the primo quotes.

Shorter John Yoo:
"We would have gotten away with torturing whomever we pleased had it not been for those meddling bloggers."

Shorter Joe Klein:
"Bloggers say mean things and hurt my feelings. I wish mommy would make them stop."

Shorter Jonathan Alter:
"I keep telling bloggers, 'don't try this at home.' But do they listen? No. They go out and do our reporting for us any way."

So much for the snark. As Greenwald duly notes, unlike the victims of the White House policies that Yoo was instrumental in crafting, bloggers talk back. Alter can try to whine about how we're not "professionals" like mass media journalists, but let's face it, one can hide behind the curtain of professionalism for so long before the excuses for laziness wear thin. Some of us are primarily opinion bloggers (that's my thing), whereas others such as Greenwald, Neiwert, Jamail, and Riverbend either break stories that would never have been broken or cover unique beats that the "professionals" refuse to cover from their cushy Time and Newsweek offices. As for Klein, he's just pissed because too many bloggers call bullshit on his drivel. The dude just needs to get over it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blair quits as UK Prime Minister

And there was much rejoicing. Lenin's Tomb has a fitting post-mortem. The Socialist Worker has its own post-mortem, including Respect Party leader & MP George Galloway's assessment of a decade's worth of "New Labour."

Blair's "New Labour", much like the Clintonites' "New Democrats" were little more than reconstituted Anglo-US imperialist dogma presented in sufficiently techno-wonkish terms to make the average aspiring elitist giggle like a schoolgirl. From my side of the "Pond" Blair will be remembered as Junior Caligula's buddy who helped pave the way for the Iraq Debacle. The folks that live in the UK, of course have been given a good stiff dose of the increased socioeconomic inequities and decreased civil rights and liberties that the US has experienced to an even greater extent during the Bush-Clinton-Bush II years.

Good riddance!

Brad Henry: The Lou Dobbs of Democrat Governors

Henry signs immigration bill:
Gov. Brad Henry signed House Bill 1804 today, putting into law one of the country's toughest and most sweeping immigration reform bills.

The bill will set criminal penalties for knowingly and willingly harboring illegal immigrants. No public benefits will be allowed to people who are in the state illegally, except in cases of medical emergencies or emergency aid. Businesses will need to run all workers through a federal verification system or risk penalties and legal action.

The legislation also cuts off in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students unless they can verify they have applied for citizenship or plan to within one year.
J. M. Branum puts it best:
Think about this for a second. If a church provides housing for a battered woman who happens to be undocumented, they’ve committed a crime. If a good Samaritan gives a ride to an elderly person who needs a ride to the doctor (who happens to be undocumented), they’ve committed a felony. What kind of fascist state are we living in when the works of mercy become crimes?!

[snip]

I agree with LULAC. This law must be resisted but I think it is time to go a step further. I will be asking my church to issue a statement of intent to defy this law and I hope many more churches will do the same. Certainly the law should be respected but not when it violates the higher laws of God. Jesus to love your neighbor and to take care of those who need help. He didn’t say to check their immigration status first.

I also think that those state legislators (like my own State Senator Andrew Rice) who voted for this bill as supposedly a means to water down otherwise bad legislation need to come out and say so publicly. I understand that legislative compromises are sometimes necessary but when it comes to straight up racist legislation that sends a message of hate, I think at the very least they can explain themselves publicly and better yet apologize to the people for giving into the haters.
I'm guessing the next time Gov. Henry (or the apparent darling of OK progressives these days, Andrew Rice, the dude who's going to rescue the state from Inhofe in next year's US Senate race) sees Lou Dobbs, he'll be sayin', "yo - what up ése." Makes me kind of glad I don't vote for these folks.

Just in case you hadn't heard:

Militia planned attack on Mexicans:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Five members of a self-styled militia were denied bail Tuesday after a federal agent testified they planned a machine gun attack on Mexicans, but a judge approved bail for a sixth man.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Armstrong said he could not grant bail to the five because of the agent’s testimony and the amount of weapons — including about 200 homemade hand grenades — that were seized in raids Friday in northeast Alabama.
This bunch call themselves the "Alabama Free Militia" - a sort of MinuteKlan wannabe group. With all the hatred aimed at Hispanics from such fine upstanding pillars of society like Lou Dobbs, I reckon I'm not really surprised. All the same, whoever keeps seeing brown faces when they ponder terrorism are barking up the wrong tree. They really need to be looking at the white ostensibly "Christian" folks who are arming themselves to the teeth and aiming those munitions on the flavor of the month political scapegoats. Sickening.

Some street protest art

Pic found at Brian Haw's site. Click the pic for full-sized image. Don't forget to give his site a look-see. Protest as art? You betcha!

Must be nice

Over at Newshoggers, fester sez:

I unfortunately had to go through the Kaus Files for a couple of minutes this evening and something just stuck out that emphasized how different the economic realities of some members of the elite pundit class can be from more common realities.

My anecdotal sense parallel's [Ezra] Klein's--with the exception that all the good $45/person once-a-week restaurants on my side of L.A. seem overnight to have become $65/person restaurants,... But I may have to go back to do some now-tax-deductible field research.
Okay, a $45 meal per week works out to be roughly $2,300 per year for 52 meals. If one is to assume that Mickey Kaus is not a complete anti-social loser who actively seeks to eat expensive meals alone, he probably spends $4,000 to $5,000 on 52 meals.

Wow... my wife and I enjoy eating out, and we do have the occasional big meal for events such as our anniversary, or to celebrate a promotion at work. His weekly normal meal is one of our bi-annual big meals. We are an over-educated, dual income family with no kids, so we have truly disposable and discretionary income, but wow!
Wow, indeed. I can't even begin to fathom spending $45 - $65 on a single meal just for myself. If my wife and three kids and I go out, we can end up spending about $45 for the whole crew (and even that is highly unlikely to happen more than once per year). In our case we're over-educated, single-income, with kids, so the notion of disposable or discretionary income is quite alien to me in a good month. Don't even get me started on the bad months!

Must be nice being part of the privileged class.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Creating problems where there were once none

I'm sure this will make its way to the latest "Governments Gone Wild" DVD (just don't try to sell your used copy later).
Record shops: Used CDs? Ihre papieren, bitte!

There are a few things lawmakers have decided really ought to be handled with the "care and oversight" that only the government can provide: e.g., tax collection, radioactive materials, biohazards, guns, and CDs. CDs? No, I'm not talking about financial Certificates of Deposit, though that might make more sense. I'm talking about Compact Discs.
New "pawn shop" laws are springing up across the United States that will make selling your used CDs at the local record shop something akin to getting arrested. No, you won't spend any time in jail, but you'll certainly feel like a criminal once the local record shop makes copies of all of your identifying information and even collects your fingerprints. Such is the state of affairs in Florida, which now has the dubious distinction of being so anal about the sale of used music CDs that record shops there are starting to get out of the business of dealing with used content because they don't want to pay a $10,000 bond for the "right" to treat their customers like criminals.
The legislation is supposed to stop the sale of counterfeit and/or stolen music CDs, despite the fact that there has been no proof that this is a particularly pressing problem for record shops in general. Yet John Mitchell, outside counsel for the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, told Billboard that this is part of "some sort of a new trend among states to support second-hand-goods legislation." And he expects it to grow.
In Florida, Utah, and soon in Rhode Island and Wisconsin, selling your used CDs to the local record joint will be more scrutinized than then getting a driver's license in those states. For retailers in Florida, for instance, there's a "waiting period" statue that prohibits them from selling used CDs that they've acquired until 30 days have passed. Furthermore, the Florida law disallows stores from providing anything but store credit for used CDs. It looks like college students will need to stick to blood plasma donations for beer money.
Prediction: recorded music merchants in these states will end up even more financially strapped than they were already. Expect indie merchants to be hurt the worst. Expect that more of the used CD business will go to Ebay, and that even more used content will be trafficked on peer-to-peer networks as customers get disgusted with this extra layer of government restrictions.
If you thought CD sales were already bad...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

GOP love affair with the KKK continues

What's worse than quoting a founding leader of the KKK? Quoting him incorrectly. The lowdown:
Roll Call reports today that a House Republican delivered a foreign policy speech yesterday in which he quoted Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the KKK.
On Monday, Rep. Ted Poe took to the House floor to discuss foreign policy matters. To make a point, the Texas Republican invoked the words of Civil War Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest: “Git thar fustest with the mostest.”
The quotation got some floor watchers’ attention pretty quickly. Forrest is a controversial figure who was one of the Klan’s first grand wizards. Although the Civil War hero (if you were a Confederate, that is) ultimately abandoned the Klan for its violent tactics, he continues to kick up dust.
“Controversial figure” doesn’t quite cut it. Most lists of the worst Americans in U.S. history include Nathan Bedford Forrest near the top. That’s what happens when someone creates the KKK to terrorize freed slaves and their allies, after taking up arms against the United States. What on earth would possess a GOP lawmaker to quote Forrest on the House floor?
Poe’s spokesperson told Roll Call, “The reference to Forrest was used in an historical context comparing the request to Congress for support of the Confederate troops to the request that is being made today by our Generals in Iraq.”
First, the comparison doesn’t make any sense. Second, when one bolsters their argument with the words of one of the most controversial Americans ever, rationalizing it as a historical comparison is unpersuasive.
Shouldn’t this be a bigger deal? Given all of the racial problems of the Republican Party, isn’t it rather scandalous for a Republican lawmaker to rely on the words of the founder of the KKK?

Post Script: And, just as an aside, the quote Poe used was wrong.
[A]ccording to historians, Forrest didn’t really say the line that’s so often attributed to him. “Do not, under any circumstances whatever, quote Forrest as saying ‘fustest’ and ‘mostest’,” Civil War scholar Bruce Catton wrote in his 1971 book, “The Civil War.” Catton wrote that Forrest actually believed the essence of strategy — and the proper quote — was “to git thar fust with the most men.”
What’s worse than quoting the founder of the KKK on the House floor? Quoting him incorrectly.
Update: ThinkProgress has the video.
I've occasionally mentioned the apparent love affair between Republican politicians and white supremacist hate groups. Add this goon to the list.

Left I sez

Beware the big lie(s) about Iran:

Iran, which of course is developing nuclear power, not only has not "vowed to become a nuclear power" (which means, to everyone in the world, to have nuclear weapons, not nuclear power plants), but it has repeatedly vowed that it does not intend to do so. Indeed, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has even issued a Fatwa stating "that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons."

Iran has never "vowed to wipe out Israel." It has predicted that the state (that's the political entity) of Israel will "vanish from the page of time"; at the same time, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has explicitly stated that "Iran is loyal to its commitments based on the U.N. charter and it has never used or threatened to use force against any country."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Strange headline

This is just freaky: Lou Dobbs Becomes Lifetime Member Of Hispanic Journalists Association. Read the whole article. These are indeed strange times in which we live.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Quotable: Nathaniel Mackey

In describing a piece called the Toupouri Wind Ensemble's Harvest Song (performed by an agrarian tribe in southwestern Chad):
The diagram pretty much speaks for itself I think, with the possible exception of the Yawning Flock, which is only a more accurate way of referring to the "crowd's roar heard from a distance." The apt unlikeliness of such a "roar" confirms a dreamer's agenda: feathered sleep, vicarious flight, night's trunk of thunder under flammable cloth. The alarmed, allergic outbreak of sound - conceptually a shout but in actuality muffled by the padded impact of runaway hoofs - carries all the illusory nonchalance of a sculpted sigh. The question this brings up is the by now familiar one: How do we activate the wings implicit in so deceptive an air of resignation? The haunted side of which is this: To what extent does circumambulation tend to co-opt rather than cultivate a collective "roar" whose weariness borders on revolution. The very fact that one puts "roar" in quotes, of course, loads the question, but from a deaf perspective the line between yawn and roar tends to disappear. The position the jaws assume, that is, is the same in either case, as is the shape to which the mouth conforms - an oval, ellipselike extremity which all but indicts the elasticity of the skin. How, then, do we awaken or unlock the roar so apparently sedated by a shepherded ennui? How do we harvest (i.e., mobilize) the lion?
From Bedouin Hornbook (published 1986), my emphasis added. This of course is the question that those agitating for social change have been asking. Food for thought, indeed.