Archive for January, 2006


Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Q: You’re a rancher, a lot of us here in Kansas are ranchers-I just wanted to get your opinion on Brokeback Mountain, if you’d seen it yet?

Bush: I hadn’t seen it–I hope you go back to the ranch and the farms.

I don’t quite know what that means. Is George W Bush making a cryptic reference to the “Exodus” groups committed to “Reforming Homosexuals” back (or over to, as the case may be) to good Christian Heterosexuality? Or is he simply concerned for the future of American ranching and farming, the homo and hetero sexuality not really factoring into the equation?

Ah well. There is a backlash against Brokeback Mountain, both against its homosexual theme and against a sort of “Afterschool Special” mentality. I muse on this comment:

If it WASN’T about gay cowboys it would get no attention.

My much belated response: If Moby Dick weren’t about a whale hunt, it would be the Old Man and The Sea.

Actually, the comedy comes from right wing radio discussing the matter of the movie, and that darned constant supply of lie-beral themed movies. Good Night, and Good Luck — and you know, Joseph McCarthy gets a bad rap in history… ’cause, He was a good, patriotic American who was mostly right, you see.

I note a genre of nonfiction tossing up unapologetic defenses against the sometimes one-sided culture war battles. (There’s one about the 1960s, another one for the Baby Boomer Generation, and…) Progressive Hollywood. Take it for what it’s worth. I say one-sided because, in the end, I do not believe that there are many people in the nation who wake up in the morning, foaming at the mouth, thinking and breathing “Culture War”.

I note that whenever social conservatives see a movie with a generally conservative message, they clutch their hands around it and wave it as a weapon on how triumphant they are in society. So you have Mel Gibson and The Passion of, and you have Narnia. The effect with Narnia is that I can’t see it, because it doesn’t matter how much I respect CS Lewis, to see Narnia is to throw a victory to the cause of right wing Christianity, and the Right in general — and I say the “Right In General” because, yep, there it is, on the cover of The National Review.

But I can’t go too far with that. Consider Mozart and consider South Park. Here’s the cover of last week’s Weekly Standard:

I looked to the Weekly Standard, hoping the cover feature would be something worth skewering, but… what the heck can I say against Mozart? Everyone gets to claim Mozart, I suppose. Lyndon LaRouche blasts The Beatles and gives his devotees a “classical” education — I don’t know if Mozart fits into the picture, but he probably does.

Meanwhile, a few years ago, some conservative ideolouge discovered that South Park had a generally libertarian bent, and proclaimed that a generation of conservatives were “South Park Conservatives”.

Clutch onto it, and maybe it’ll be true. But I doubt it.

State of DeUnion

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Gerald Ford is credited with giving the most negative State of the Union speech in history — that being the first when it was assumed he would not run for president in his own right. The conceit that came out of Ford’s speech was that no matter how bad the state of the Union may be, a president needs to hammer home a message that America’s brightest days are ahead of us.

Hence, Bush gave this clip at his State of the Union speech in 2002:

As we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. Yet the state of our Union has never been stronger.

I imagine a scenario where America is falling apart at the seams. And the president — let’s call him President Arthur H. Smith — gives us this recitation:

Today, America’s agricultural economy has been decimated by large swarths of locusts. Our drinking water has been destroyed by a strange brew of Acid Rain. Famine has killed off one third of our population. Rape and pillaging are common from coast to coast, in our cities as well as our countryside. Race riots abound, and throughout the country the “New KKK” is doing guerilla battle with the “New Black Panthers”. Three nuclear bombs have utterly destroyed Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — and we have no idea who did it or how to respond to these attacks.

I’m here to tell you all: the state of America has never been stronger! (Applause)

I wonder what the Other Party’s Response would be to President Smith’s declaration.

Keeping Major League Baseball Out of Portland

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Actually, in the end I could care less. Even if building a stadium collides into general tax payer funds, there are worse wastes of money out there (say… The Tram), even if, as I’d expect, the team languishes into revenue-not-generating mediocrity. But I laugh at it, because I tune in and out of “Sports Radio” and it’s become their crusade… and to just listen to them is to become someone who wants to create a bumper sticker saying “Keep Major League Baseball Out of Portland”. In pondering the political situation of Portland, Oregon and what anyone can focus on — we have a boondoggle of a useless Tram sucking up money — the ghost of previous regimes and a show-trial of Public Input; and Potter makes the headlines by proposing Temporary Tax for the purpose of funneling some money into “saving” public education; the supposed blight the city faces as its late 90s perception of moving into a bright tech-job providing city runs through a dark recession and emerges into a sort of low-class deepest bohemia (a constant focus in Oregonian editorials and letters to the editor, but they use different phrases than I just did)…

Let’s consider the plight of bringing baseball into Portland.

At his “State of the City” address, Tom Potter was asked by a ten-year old about major league baseball. It was really a very minor part of the day’s proceedings, but Tom Potter answered that he’d love to have major league baseball or major league football , but not one cent of tax payer money (or voter money, theoretically two different constituencies?) will be spent on such a project, and… Hey! Hey! Hey! … We have major League LaCrosse!

That we have Major League LaCrosse placates nobody. I am sure that the San Diego Padres, operators of the AAA Portland Beavers franchise, are happy he didn’t mention that we have AAA Baseball, as that may aggrivate and certainly wouldn’t placate the relatively small swarm of Sports Radio listeners whose main political beef is that there is no political will to negotiate with the Florida Marlins for a major league baseball deal… indeed, Tom Potter has placed a not unsubstantial amount of political chips in a giving the Florida Marlins the back of his hand platform. (Consider, if you will, his campaign promise to give a cursory ride with “Critical Mass”, one of the very few campaign promises he made, and a campaign promise he followed through on — to the chagrin of the Oregonian, which isn’t necessarily in conflict with tying yourself to efforts to build a stadium for a lame Major League Baseball team to transfer to Portland, but nonetheless gives a tell that they that brought him here differs from the average Sports Radio listener.)

Did I mention that Portland has a Major League LaCrosse team? Haven’t you seen the side-of-the-wall billboard right near the Rose Garden, a cute tart-looking woman with an oversized “Lumber Jax” shirt on, and only an oversized “Lumber Jax” shirt? Only two ad campaigns removed from the “Party like a Rock Star” bikini model — meaning that is the spot for sex-fused advertising. (Well, I guess nobody’s getting hot off of the “U of O versus Illinois Basketball Game” ad which stands in the middle of the RockStar Energy Drink ad and the Lumber Jax ad.)

Meanwhile, there’s the basketball team. “Ready or Not — Here we Come”. Nate McMillian’s head as the sun, and a bunch of the basketball players as the constellation of planet. I think that is what they are going for… with a knowing nod that… um… the team’s not ready for primetime. Thus… “Ready or not”. Charming idea it is to place low expectations into your ad campaign.

Unfortunately, Tom Potter is never going to have the opportunity Vera Katz did in addressing a large crowd before a big playoff game with the Los Angeles Lakers. Or maybe fortunately, as Potter doesn’t seem to be able to fake a fanship with sports. So I wonder: why was there a ten year old asking the mayor questions about his interests for city government (Major League Baseball) at the “State of the City” address? Potter answered him in a pandering and condescending manner, but that’s what always tends to happen when a politician comes up to a youngster like that in front of a group of adults. And it’s not going to be a terribly mature question… frankly, I listen to the hosts of Sports Radio, and see… they careen back to being the ten years of age wanting a baseball team in the city. Something that is supposed to be a virtue — nostalgia for when you loved sports as a young tyke. (Myself, I can trace my small modest interests in the professional sporting worlds to… maybe age 15. Well, except I was a good Recess soccer player.)

There’s a AAA baseball team in Portland. I hear that it’s good cheap family entertainment. A minor league team for a city that has little interest in being a major league city. (Oh wait. The city has no families in it anymore. It’s becoming “Deepest Bohemia”, whose mayors ride in “Critical Mass” functions. Maybe we oughta drive the minor league baseball team out of the city as well?)

Because It’s been a while

Friday, January 27th, 2006

… it’s about time I gave a Lyndon LaRouche update.

You do realize there’s a possibility these two blogs are describing the same happenstance?

It was a voice. It was a loud, amplified voice. It echoed off the sides of buildings and down the street. I peered down from my perch and could see a mini-van inching its way through traffic. A large, gray loudspeaker was mounted on its roof. A sign, which I could not read from my vantage point, hung on the door. I could hear the voice clearly up six stories and through sealed windows. The booming voice touted the virtues of Lyndon LaRouche.

Politics aside, this noise pollution, parading as “amplified free speech,” apparently is legal in Washington, D.C. How would our world be if everyone placed a loudspeaker on their car or on their corner? And what about the free speech rights of those who cannot afford an amplified loudspeaker?

Compare that description with this other description of LaRouchite outside a building with a bullhorn.

Also there’s a Lyndon LaRouche supporter in a minivan circling our office’s block with a mounted loudspeaker, encouraging all the powerless drones in these buildings to “Filibuster Alito”. Which, incidentally, should be an Italian Sandwich shop franchise name.

Both are in Washington, DC. So do we have two bloggers peering out their window at the same LaRouche supporter with a loudspeaker? I think we do!

And Alito with a little help from his Democratic friends.

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Those are the three Democrats who have gone on record saying that they will vote for Samuel Alito.

We may as well toss in:

Who have come out opposed to a filibuster, thus assuming a united Republican front assuring the votes necessary to make a filibuster impossible.

I’ve covered Ken Salazar enough times. I’ll mention that Mary Landrieu’s political base blew away in a hurricane. I’ve covered Ben Nelson enough times.

So I focus on Robert Byrd and Tim Johnson. And mostly just Robert Byrd. I do not understand Robert Byrd. For all his speeches during the run up to the Iraq War and beyond, waving the Constitution that he keeps in his shirt pocket, and running his mouth about the President’s usurption of authority… a performance that makes it easy to forget that he is basically a pork-hound of a politician (it is no accident that Senator Stevens of Alaska — he of the “Road to Nowhere” fame, in his melodramatic exhortations that if he doesn’t get his money he will quit the Senate — singled out Byrd as someone he goes swimming with on a regular basis), with an… um… shaky past (google image search Byrd, and you will see legions of homages to his stint in the KKK), for he was on the right side of history at a time when somebody needed to be on the right side of history.

And yet… he is casting his vote for the, quote-in-quote, “Unitary Executive”.

Et tu, Byrd? Et tu? So, fade to black Byrd.

Tim Johsnon? Back-bencher from South Dakota. Won his last re-election in 2002 by three-digits full of votes, late in the night as some Native American precints came through for him (standing atop Tom Daschle’s thin mantle, if you can believe that). The Republican Response to his victory was to accuse the Democrats of stealing the election and to subsequently work to repress the Native American vote. Make of him what you may. This makes no sense:

Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota said he had concerns about Alito on such matters as his “narrow interpretation of certain civil rights laws.”

“Even so, I cannot accept an argument that his views are so radical that the Senate is justified in denying his confirmation,” Johnson said in a statement.

But it’s the kind of silly putty you will hear these six Senators, save Nelson who’ll be whole-heartedly behind his vote, speak. Fun times ahead!

contemplating the Eaters and Eatees of Society

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Zenman: I’m not sure if the Freestaters would take him in. Interesting issue–issue being: did he initiate force when he killed the guy before eating him. True, it was consensual, but I’m not sure there still wasn’t initiation of force.

If, for example, someone requests that you beat the holy hell out of him, and you proceed to do so, have you not initiated force, regardless of consent?

For extra credit: what if he asks you to beat the tar out of him and he tells you not to stop even if he tells you to stop?

How about if someone specifically asks you to initiate force against him. Are you violating his rights if you honor his request?

MOI: I’m thinking: is there really such a difference between the following two scenarios?

(1) Man walks up to a guy, and asks “Do you want to be eaten?” Guy replies, “Sure.” In this case, the eater initiates force, I’d think.

(2) Guy walks up to a man, and says “I want to be eaten.” Man replies, “I’ll oblige.” In this case, the eaten iniates the force, right?

Is that the difference that you’re getting at? If so: why split hairs, and are we going to go before a judge and argue the matter of who came up with the idea that it was a good idea for Guy to be eaten first?

A German cannibal is taking legal action to stop the release of the horror film “Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story,” which he claims is based on his life.

Keri Russell (“Felicity”) stars as a graduate student researching imprisoned cannibal Simon Grobeck (Thomas Kretschmann). Russell is drawn into Grobeck’s world and becomes obsessed with the Internet cannibal community. “Butterfly” is scheduled for a March 9 release in Germany.

But not if Armin Meiwes, who was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for eating a man he met over the Internet, has his way. In a statement Monday, Meiwes’s lawyer, Harald Ermel, said the film is a “slavish re-enactment” of the real-life events and his client did not give permission to producer Atlantic Streamline to fictionalize his story.

“I feel used,” said Meiwes, who filmed the killing and confessed to the crime but denied it was murder since his victim volunteered to be eaten.

Berlin-based distributor Senator Film said it had no plans to pull “Butterfly,” which was directed by Martin Weisz.

Meiwes goes before court again Thursday in the second stage of his trial. He faces life imprisonment. His lawyer said Meiwes wanted to prevent “Butterfly” from depicting a “false and stigmatized” version of cannibalism that could adversely affect the trial’s outcome.

Meiwes also is suing German rock band Rammstein, claiming its song “Mein Teil” (My Piece) refers to his case.

Meiwes has given Hamburg production company Stampfwerk the rights to his story. Stampfwerk is producing a 90-minute documentary on Meiwes and his trial.

Sassy: i am just puzzled that someone would “volunteer to be eaten”

Zenman: Which position would you be more freaked out in–being in a room full of people who want to eat other people, or being in a room full of people who want to be eaten by other people?

Hmm.. I’ve just given this a little thought and it seems that the obvious answer might not be as obvious as it might seem. Even to a vegetarian.

I think as long as there were no utensils readily available, I’d rather be with the eaters. There’s something so pathetically revolting about the others that I’d just rather not have anything to do with them even if consorting with cannibals was my only other choice.

I guess I’d just clack my teeth a little if anyone were looking at me funny. You probably wouldn’t want to do that with the eatees. You’d be making friends.

From Afar: Zen, I think you’re onto something, should that ever happen but you’re also leaving something out.. It depends on the AGRESSIVENESS factor in each group.

FA, for instance, would rather be among the eatees (as long as there was extreme security against a break-in by the eaters). AS LONG AS the eatees were non-aggressive. I mean, not forcing their arm into your mouth if you made the clatter sounds. I’d be too afraid of being among the eaters, lest they detect that I was insincere, if you catch my drift. Wouldn’t want to trigger a pack response.

Remm: I think I’m with Zenman. I’d prefer the predator bunch. The ones who would want to be eaten would scare me.

We live in the vicinity of Truckee. The Donner Party headlines have really shaken up this area. For some reason people find it difficult to question something they’ve heard from Professional Educators every year of their life. It’s like suddenly finding out that George Washington was really a woman. Shock!