Monday, January 31, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Don't Want To Be An American Idiot
My friend Mark Kleiman is a smart guy and a fantastic blogger. His take on the SOTU speech is so good that I've included this whole post:
Sometimes your opponents can see what you’re doing more clearly than your friends can. Some progressives were put off by the rather Reaganesque rhetoric of the State of the Union address, but Mark Thiessen of AEI recognized it for what it was: an attempt to harness “American exceptionalism” to pull the plough of activist government. When Wes Clark tried the same thing either Andy Sabl or I called it “the liberalism of national greatness.” I thought it was a winner then, and I think it’s a winner now.
And – contrary to the more conventional Reaganite rhetoric – Obama’s message is fully consistent with one strand of the Founding. One of the striking features of The Audacity of Hope was Obama’s identification with the thought of Hamilton, carried into the second generation as Henry Clay’s American Plan. From the Louisian Purchase, the Erie Canal, and the transcontinental railroad to land-grant colleges, homesteading, rural electrification, the GI Bill, interstate highways, and the Internet, the Federal government has again and again been the agent of crucial economic innovation. The Springfield Armory was turning out mass-produced rifles when Henry Ford was still in diapers.
Of course the feds have also sponsored boondoggles from manned spaceflight and coal gasification to the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and corn ethanol. If you take risks, you sometimes fail, and if you make stupid decisions under political pressure you’re that much more likely to fail. But the notion that the gummint ought to keep its nose out of the economy – or, for that matter, that a monopoly granted by a patent is somehow not a governmental intervention in the market – accords with neither logic nor history.
Indeed. Thiessen is usually awful, as are most at the American Enterprise Institute, and tries to spin his conclusion in a predictable right-wing manner. But Kleiman gets it exactly right, IMHO.
Monday, January 24, 2011
But I always thought that I'd see you again
In between times she and I moved a thousand miles apart, she got married, I got tours, she got un-married and I got her. And we dated and lived together and stuff, and fought.
Over the years I proposed to her twice. Years apart. She was right to turn me down, I ain't, or at least wasn't, husband material. Smart girl, smart woman. I probably broke her heart more than she broke mine, but I never forgot about her. Years later, when I lived 3 thousand miles away I heard she got married again and moved a thousand miles away.
In the last few years I've been trying to contact her, mainly just to apologize for being a jerk, but kinda maybe hoping somehow in the back of mind that maybe she was un-married again. Hell, I even joined FaceBook just in case she ... but it's hard to find your friend on FB if you don't even know her last name.
But then I got a call from a mutual FB friend that she had died 3 years ago in an accident. I called that person a liar. Then I got angry at that person. The Kubler-Ross steps aren't quite as defined as they look in print. But if this a joke, it's a pretty fucking elaborate one to put a headstone in the ground.
Of course I'm handling it in the mature way that I've now grown up in. Fist sized holes in the wall, and "I ain't drunk, I'm just drinkin'" For my friends who are tempted to call me? Please don't, I don't feel like talking. I'm OK, just going thru the shit we all do.
For Debbie, I'm sorry, you deserved better than me for years, I hope you found him. "But I always thought that I'd see you again"
Friday, January 21, 2011
Take my whole life too . . .
Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows that musically for me it's all about the melody. And one of the loveliest melodies I know is this song, about which I wrote before: I Can't Help Falling In love With You when I was contributing to Kevin Hayden's American Street. Here's the post:
Certain melodies sound timeless: classical, pop, doesn’t matter. How many of you felt, when you heard “With or Without You” by U2, that you had heard it before . . . it somehow reminded you of something.
What it reminded you of is a classic melody, reworked enough to be different, yet standing on its own as a unique, wonderful song.
Another such melody is “Can’t Help Falling In Love“, first recorded by some guy named Elvis:
“Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, is a pop song based on “Plaisir d’amour” by Jean Paul Egide Martini. It was rewritten for the 1961 film Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley.
I won’t bother posting any videos of Elvis singing it. Like all of his repertoire, toward the end he did it too fast and jivey. But several other artists covered the song, including some unlikely ones.
Pearl Jam recorded the song for a fan club CD, and played it live often. Here’s a live recording of them respectfully covering “Can’t Help Falling in Love”:
Here’s the original version, not a real video, but still…:
And for those who want the most beautiful recording of the precursor, “Plasir d’amour”, here’s the great Greek singer Nana Mouskouri singing her timeless version of the song from her 1976 “Passport” album. Melody is the most important part of music to me. Oh, and this song is from the afore-mentioned Martini’s opera “Annette et Lubin“, written in 1789:
And just for fun, here’s my friend Liona Boyd playing a version of “Plasir…” on the “Super Dave Osborne” show . . . why, I’m not sure:
It swells my heart that people keep finding this wonderful song, and it humbles me that I find older versions that do it justice.
In the first category, here's Ingrid Michaelson:
In the latter category, here's the late Klaus Nomi:
More about that version in a minute.
And to show that younger people still appreciate the beauty of great music, here's the best version I've heard in a long time, by the French group Revolver:
Notice the music at the beginning of the Klaus Nomi performance? It's probably the melody that was the precursor of both the aforementioned songs. One of the finest melodies of all time, its' Beethoven's Pathetique. This music grabs my heart every time I hear it:
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Psycho Killer, Qu'est-ce que c'est?
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book,” but was unable to gain access to them.These are just the incidents where someone died. I guess they could all be just lone wackos, but their speech and writing have an awful lot in common with that broadcast by Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Ruch Limbaugh and Michael Savage to name a few.
December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming, 29, a resident of Belfast, Maine, find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal dervice and other explosives in his home. Cumming's wife, who shot him to death after being abused by him repeatedly, explains, "His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our moter home."
April 4, 2009—Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on its way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” Perkovic also commented that Poplawski carried out the shooting because “if anyone tried to take his firearms, he was gonna’ stand by what his forefathers told him to do.”
April 25, 2009—Joshua Cartwright, 28, a member of the Florida National Guard, shoots and kills two Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies attempting to arrest him on a domestic abuse charge. Cartwright is killed in an enusing gun battle with police. Cartwright's wife reports that he was "severely disturbed" that Barack Obama had been elected president. Okaloosa County Sheriff Edward Spooner states that Cartrwight was "interested in militia groups and weapons training."
May 31, 2009—Scott P. Roeder shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI lists Roeder as a member of the Montana Freemen, a radical anti-government group. In April 1996, he had been pulled over in Topeka, Kansas, for driving with a homemade license plate. Police found a military-style rifle, ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder, and two 9-volt batteries in his car.
February 18, 2010—Joseph Stack of Austin, Texas, flies a single-engine plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, killing one and wounding 13. In a suicide note, Stack lays out his grievances with the federal tax agency, stating, "The law 'requires' a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that's not 'duress' than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is ... Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer."
March 4, 2010—John Patrick Bedell, a California resident, travels to Arlington, Virginia, and opens fire on police officers at the entrance to the Pentagon. Bedell is armed with two semiautomatic firearms and "many [ammunition] magazines." Bedell injures two officers before he is killed by return fire. Reports reveals Bedell to be a Truther who believed that the U.S. government had been taken over by a criminal organization in a 1963 coup.
May 20, 2010—Jerry Kane, Jr., 45, and his son Joseph Kane, 16, fatally shoot two Arkansas police officers with AK-47 assault rifles during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 in West Memphis. The Kanes are killed during an exchange of gunfire with police in a Walmart parking lot 90 minutes later. Jerry Kane, an Ohio resident and anti-government activist, had a long history with police and had recently spent three days in jail for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt. Kane considered himself a "sovereign citizen" and ran a business that centered on debt-avoidance scams.
July 18, 2010—California Highway Patrol officers arrest Byron Williams, 45, after a shootout on I-580 in which more than 60 rounds are fired. Officers had pulled Williams over in his pick-up for speeding and weaving in and out of traffic when he opened fire on them with a handgun and a long gun. Williams, a convicted felon, is shot several times, but survives because he is wearing body armor. Williams, a convicted felon, reveals that he was on his way to San Francisco to "start a revolution" by killing employees of the ACLU and Tides Foundation.
July 30, 2010—Camp Hill prison guard Raymond Peake, 64, is charged with robbery and the murder of Todd Getgen. Peake allegedly shot Getgen to death at a local shooting range and stole Getgen's custom, silenced AR-15 rifle. Investigators follow Peake to a storage unit when they find three firearms: Getgen's AR-15 rifle, a scoped Remington rifle that had been reported stolen from the range in May, and a second AR-15 rifle. Thomas Tuso is also arrested and charged with conspiracy, receiving stolen property and other crimes. Peake tells police that he and Tuso had been stealing guns "for the purpose of overthrowing the federal government."
August 17, 2010—Patrick Gray Sharp, 29, opens fire on the Department of Public Safety in McKinney, Texas, and unsuccessfully attempts to ignite gasoline and ammonium nitrate in a trailer hitched to his truck. Sharp is armed with an assault rifle, a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, and a 12-gauge shotgun. He is killed after an exchange of gunfire with police arriving on the scene. Miraculously, no one else is hurt. Sharp's roommate, Eric McClellan describes him as "a great guy" and states, "We're Texans. We have a right to bear arms."
January 8, 2011—Jared Lee Loughner, 22, shoots U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others at a "Congress in Your Corner" event at a Safeway supermarket in Tuscon, Arizona. He kills six, including federal judge John Roll, and wounds 14, including Giffords, who is shot in the head. Loughner has an extensive history of mental illness and substance abuse, yet is able to purchase two handguns and a high-capacity ammunition magazine legally at Sportsman's Warehouse on November 30, 2010. In a YouTube video posted in December 2010, Loughner states, "You don’t have to accept the federalist laws ... Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws."
It's also very similar to that by Republican candidates and office holders.
March 21-22, 2009—Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”I'll ignore Sarah Palin, as everyone should, but this is not an isolated incidence, it is a trend.
July 15, 2009—Katherine Crabill, a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the state’s 99th District makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally, Crabill quotes a 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then states, “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right.
September 28, 2009—Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), the Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution” at a health care reform town hall meeting.
May 30, 2010—Sharron Angle, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator in Nevada, tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that a recent increase in gun sales nationwide "tells me that the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn't that they are so distrustful of government? They're afraid they'll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.
October 21, 2010—Pastor Stephen Broden, the Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in Texas' 30th Congressional District, tells WFAA-TV in Dallas that the violent overthrow of the government is an "option" that remains "on the table."
November 9, 2010—U.S. Representative-Elect Allen West of Florida's 22nd Congressional District hires conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman as his Chief of Staff. On July 3, Kaufman told a crowd of Tea Party supporters, “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendments rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will."
November 29, 2010—U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, circulates a PowerPoint presentation to his colleagues in which he compares the Obama administration to the Nazi regime in Germany and likens himself to Gen. George Patton, bragging, "Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it."
June 12,2010-Jesse Kelly, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opponent wrote "Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly"
Do I think such speech should be illegal? No.
But if a high school student had put cross hairs on their opponents and continually wrote about revolution and 2nd Amendment solutions, they'd be arrested. If an American Muslim had done it they'd be in GITMO, if they weren't targeted for death first. If the New Black Panther Party had showed up at political rallies carrying assault rifles, they'd be in prison and have congressional committees saying they should be in GITMO.
So let's please be consistent when we apply the Constitution and the PATRIOT Acts?
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Do you know what's worth fighting for?
Really? Can we just stop all the macho posturing and fantasizing about how guns help? When was the last time anything decided with a gun ended well?
Yes, I know police, etc., need to be armed. In a civilized society they wouldn't have to be. In England, even today, only specially trained police officers are armed.
I don't know what Jared Loughner's issues are, and I don't really care. That's for psychologists to decode. But I do know to a certainty that had he not had easy access to a gun, 6 people wouldn't have died today.
And please, any commentors that are 'concealed carry' fans. go the fuck away. You would NOT have prevented today's tragedy. All you might have accomplished would have been to kill Loughner, and then we might never know what was wrong with him. I think that will be useful knowledge.
And last, to every person who ever told me they bought a gun for protection, that's bullshit. You bought a gun because you wanted one. And that scares the crap out of me.
Friday, January 07, 2011
Come on baby, eat the rich
There are death panels, no, not the "death panels" lie Palin & other republicans used, (the 2009 Lie of the Year), but actual death panels. The death panel? It's Jan Brewer. (Donner, party of one? [/snark])
Gov. Jan Brewer has sentenced 100 people in Arizona to die. What was their crime? They were sick and needed a transplant. 2 have already died. The money was already allocated, AZ already was ready to receive 2x as much Fed money as they would have to provide, and reneged. Brewer and her Republican legislature said the state couldn't afford 1.4 million dollars. They were willing to spend that much to save 5 squirrels (I'm not kidding.)
But she still wants the Medicare money from the Federal coffers, (that would be our tax money) even tho she and AZ repubs reneged.
And she's not alone, 33 other republican governors also want our tax dollars to also renege on their duty to their fellow citizens. Somehow these bastards that ran on fiscal responsibility and states rights (like Gov Christie of NJ who was vacationing in Disneyworld during the snowpocalypse) suddenly think the Feds should bail them out.
And right now, the US House of
Do you need any more proof that these people are trying, and succeeding, to kill us?
The majority of Americans say increase the taxes on the rich to help balance the budget. The majority of Americans don't want health care repealed, they just think it didn't go far enough.
But republicans are ignoring the will of the people.
I have a modest proposal; If you're out of work? If your family is hungry? EAT THE RICH.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
So Tell Me, Who Are You?
Yet somehow he gets the free speech to declare there shouldn't be free speech. Hmmf again, because no one just gives me the right to have a giant megaphone like the NYT, because it's only wittle fwoks who can't afford a GIANT MEGAPHONE.
In related news:
The Queen of Liars, Judith Miller, who helped drive a nation into war with her stenography and lies gets all upset that someone who revealed the truth is getting more press than her:
Reporter behind WMD claims calls Assange ‘bad journalist’I think that's the definition of a stenographer.
A former [Judith Miller] New York Times reporter assailed for her incorrect reports about Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction is criticizing Julian Assange for being a "bad journalist."
Miller once defended her reporting with the argument that it is not a journalist's job to verify -- only to report inform readers of what they had been told.
And just for facts sake, Wikileaks has vetted the leaks; when the US MIL and State dept refused to help, they went to the NYT, The Guardian and other papers. It was not a dump of 250,000 US State Dept cables, it's been a very careful release of only 2500 cables ... so far.
Judy, Judy, Judy, has more excuses, but that's a tale for a different day.
[insert The Who footage here]