Archive for August, 2006


Thursday, August 17th, 2006

I passed by the local — um — Hip Hop, I suppose — station — “Portland’s Party Station”, and paused to hear what was perhaps the most remarkably horrific song I have had the displeasure/pleaseure to hear in the last — probably decade and a half, actually. Sang to the tune of that old Summer Camp campfire song “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”, We get this chorus:

Do yo chain hang low
Do it wobble to the flo
Do it shine in the light
Is it platinum, Is it gold
Could you throw it over ya shoulda
If ya hot, to make ya cold
Do your chain hang low

And then we get such further elaboration as this:

Is that your chain!?
Bout 24 inches is how low I let it hang
How bout the ride n let the diamonds smoke off the range
Just by the chain you can tell the big kid do his thang
You know the name!

Is that your chain!?
Bout 24 inches is how low I let it hang
How bout the ride n let the diamonds smoke off the range
Just by the chain you can tell the big kid do his thang
Im off the chain!

I realize that a lot of hip hop is about the “bling bling”, somewhat sadly enough — an encouragement of the worst sort of consumer habits — and I’ll just have to let that pass. But why is a “chain” “hanging low” — and oh so low–, which I suppose fits under the category of “bling bling”, though I’m not entirely confident of that — something worth singing about?

And can we next hear someone appropriate “My Bonnie Flew Over the Ocean” into a hit hip hop number? Perhaps it can be about Big Kids sucking on Pacifiers.*

*rememberance of the most bizarre spectacle from my sixth grade.

Those Rebels

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

I find myself getting sick of these political sloganeering stuff, as though the makers of such are Rebels in a Totalitarian State, stuffed in newspaper slots, telephone poles, or graffiti-ed about.

Today, stuffed in a Willamette Week box, I notice a paper with this written over it:

“The US Used to Be Run by ‘We the People'”.

A very simple retort, and even if I believed that, yes, we’re moving a little bit in the direction of the plutocratic around these parts: WHEN?

In a public restroom, above the lever to flush the toilet, is the graffiti:

“Push This to see where the USA is heading”.

And to scribble that out is to do what about it?

You Cannot Mind Your Manners

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

So, I’m riding on the Tri-Met, I am seated, and it is pretty full. There is nobody sitting next to me.

The train stops. A couple walks in, presumably married. They’re older, but I would not say they’re elderly — the man’s hair is graying, the woman’s hair is gray. I’d estimate they’re in their late 50s. I don’t really think twice about it, and continue to sit.

Until the man points to her to the seat next to me — she looks a little tired. The man continues to stand, a good number of yards away — enough yards that to have a coherent conversation with her, it would entail a bit of yelling. So, I stand up, and give up my seat.

The man is slightly apoplectic, and waves his hand a bit. “No. No. No. That’s okay. That’s okay.” Then he grumbles and takes the seat, and says to a couple across the aisle from where I was and he is now, “Boy, this makes me feel terrible.”

I sigh, and listen in to the ensuing conversation about the perils of aging, and feel a little aggrivated because I’m now cast as an insensitive whipper-snapper that lumps everyone over 40 into a wide net of OLD, and I know I cannot say a word about how I stood up to let a couple sit together.

Now that I think about it I’d have done the same for 30-somethings and teenagers, but for some odd reason not for twenty-somethings — unless maybe explicitly asked, which is a little odd.

Which Republican is in the sorriest shape?

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Case #1: Katherine Harris in Florida.

Sorting through the imponderabilities and damning mis-leading lies Katherine Harris has in her campaign literature — up to and including the indiscreprency between Jeb Bush “endorsing her” and the truth that Jeb Bush said “She cannot win”, and beyond the non-stop soap opera where her campaign workers quit en masse, the one detail that pops out in this story to me:

Finally, Harris’ fundraising letter cites a Zogby International poll that shows her trailing Nelson by only 3.9 percentage points. That poll, however, is at least 10 months old. Since early this year, a series of independent polls have shown Harris trailing Nelson by more than 20 points. Most recently, she has been down by more than 30.

That’s not a very good trend-line.

Case #2: Alan Sclesinger, polling at 6 percent in the 3 way Connecticut race between Ned Lamont, Democrat, and Joseph Lieberman, now of the newly formed Lieberman Party (and that is not much of an exaggeration). When asked if George Bush would support Alan Sclesinger, Tony Snow answered:

“The President supports the democratic process in the state of Connecticut, and wishes them a successful election in November.”

Case #3: Bill Sali, running for a House seat in Idaho. More than likely he’s going to win, but he has the indignity of ending up in an actual competitive campaign in the state of Idaho, against a Democrat no less, where one could be excused for not knowing that there even was a Democratic Party:

With a sharp new website and an insightful column from the Idaho Statesmanís Dan Popkey, Republicans for Grant came out swinging this morning, the very day that Vice President Dick Cheney will be in town for a fundraiser for Grantís opponent, Bill Sali.

The race to replace Butch Otter in Idahoís 1st Congressional District between Democrat Larry Grant and Republican Bill Sali is the hottest contest in the political zeitgeist in Idaho, and the newest twist, Republicans for Grant, will likely fan the flames even higher.

The quotes are pretty entertaining.

“That idiot is just an idiot. He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body. And you can put that in the paper.” Bruce Newcomb, Republican Speaker of the House, Idaho Statesman April 8, 2006

Which, I heard last night on Public Radio, “recreated” for some reason or other. Try doing that, “recreate” that statement as though you wee Bruce Newcomb and put feeling into it. “That idiot is just an idiot” is a rather redundant sentence. I’d go with “That idiotic idiot is just an idiot.”

“If you want to debate this, I’ll put the House at ease and we can go back into my office and I’ll throw you out the window.” Republican Mike Simpson, Speaker of the Idaho House

“The third floor wasn’t high enough. You should have taken him up to the fourth floor.” House colleagues of Rep. Simpson, Idaho Statesman, April 7, 2006

Case #4: Tom DeLay. The indicted House Majority Leader who played that dicey game winning the primary, and then withdrawing from his race — to spend his campaign funds on his Legal Bills. The upshoot is that the courts wouldn’t allow a replacement for DeLay (always a slapshot and random proposition) — there is not a Republican on the ballot for Tom DeLay’s old seat.

Case #5: I’m tempted to mention George Allen of Virginia — but I can’t because he will probably win his seat, despite his recent controversy and the ensuing bizarre series of explanations on why he called an Indian-American “Macaca”, replete with the statement of “Welcome to America” — the two most amusing explanation being that it was a take on his haircut — a mohawk, except of course the man does not have a mohawk (it’s a — mullet)… and the second:

According to two Republicans who heard the word used, “macaca” was a mash-up of “Mohawk,” referring to Sidarth’s distinctive hair, and “caca,” Spanish slang for excrement, or “shit.”

Said one Republican close to the campaign: “In other words, he was a shit-head, an annoyance.”

So instead I’ll say Montana Senator Conrad Burns, who tried to score political points by dissing on out-of-state fire-fighters.

Sen. Conrad Burns’ verbal attack on a firefighting team for its work on a Montana blaze angered some firefighters, drew harsh criticism in newspapers and has left the Republican scrambling to repair the damage.

Burns, one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the fall elections, confronted members of a firefighting team at the Billings airport July 23 and told them they had done a ”piss-poor job.”

The Hotshot crew had traveled 2,000 miles to help dig fire lines and was awaiting flights home when Burns made his comments. The senator said he was expressing the frustration of ranchers who were critical of the way the fire was handled.

The report by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said Burns pointed to one firefighter and said, ”See that guy over there? He hasn’t done a g– damned thing.”

I cannot recall the name of Republican who lashed out on the highly non-partisan National Journal for calling him “loyal Bush Republican”. I think it was Mark Kennedy, but it may have been Jim Talent.

A Puzzle

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

From the Weekly Standard comes this curious sentence, recounting an early vote total on election night flashing on the tv screen that showed Lieberman ahead.:

Lieberman — who less than six years ago, as Al Gore’s running mate, came within one Supreme Court justice of being elected vice president — was about to be vindicated.

Okay, Matthew Continetti. How is this statement supposed to work while maintaining George W Bush as the rightful winner of the presidency? The Florida Supreme Court laxes and relaxes the standards of the Recount until all those dreaded hanging chads count too? Just… curious.

I oughta move away from Lieberman — Lamont now. Turn to Virginia, where developments have unfolded that either will or will not help Jim Webb. Or turn to Rhode Island, where all of a sudden Lincoln Chaffee himself looks as though he’d likely lose should he get past the primary. Or look inward and gain inner strength through Buddha. Whatever toots your horn.

A quick and pointless read if there ever was one

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

What could Seattle Seahawk running back, league MVP, 28 year old Shaun Alexandar possibly have to say about anything to warrant writing a book and to warrant anyone reading the book?

To be fair, he didn’t write it. Cecil Murphey did. I recall looking over my sister’s book case and wondering how many of the books (Tek War) allgedly written by William Shatner were really written by William Shatner. My sister would later say that the books written by “William Shatner With fill in the blank” are better than those written by “William Shatner”.

The question does remain, though. What could Cecil Murphey possibly find in the life of Shaun Alexandar to illuminate anything you wanted to know about Faith, Football, And Pursuing the Dream?

Connecticut Remains Alan Schlesinger Country

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

I do not understand this. But there it all is, shifting past some more major points of the Lamont — Liberman — schlessinger (hee hee) story, I arrive back at this curious “send a message” theme.:

Lieberman also said Thursday that he believes Connecticut residents don’t want to lose him as their senator, but wanted to “send me a message” by voting against him in the primary. He said that voters felt comfortable doing this because they knew he would run as an independent if he lost the primary.

When asked what message he received from voters on Tuesday, Lieberman said he did not clearly articulate his position on Iraq and did not communicate the “special burden and responsibility” he feels having supported the war.

Bill Parcells, I think coaching the New York Jets at the time, was once asked after a game where his team defeated either the New England Patriots or the Miami Dolphins — one of his divisional rivals — if he was “trying to send a message”. Bill Parcells answered, in typical abrasive fashion, “No. We wanted to win the game. If I wanted to send a message, I would have sent out a Hallmark card.”

The message that Joseph Lieberman received, apparently, was that he needed to become more obnoxious, as he prepares his speech for the 2008 Republican Convention. As it were, I do not know what “communicat[ing] the special burden and responsibility” even means.

Party apparatuses are funny things. A party is obligated to support whatever candidate wins the primary, which in a generally two-party system doesn’t bump into any amount of controversy. The exceptions to the rule are — 1986: LaRouchites win the Illinois primary for Lietunent Governor and — another statewide seat I don’t recall. And Louisana and National Republicans had to throw the ki-bosh on David Duke in the early 1990s. Both senible reasons to deviate from this rule. The lower case version of this is, say, Illinois Republican Party in 2004 not including their Senate candidate — Alan Keyes — in their campaign literature, a tacit snub that the candidate on top is poison, but not toxic enough and indeed with a strong enough base to not disavow. I guess we can expect the same treatment with Katherine Harris in Florida this year.

In the case of Connecticut in 2006, we have this bizarre spectacle of the Alan Schlesinger’s lack of support, even nominal, and Tony Snow makes the odd statement that the President fully supports Democracy in the state of Connecticut. Lieberman is held on for dear life as a “sensible Democrat” to pivot against in what is a hostile climate for the Republican Party. Is his name even going to appear on statewide Republican campaign fliers?

(By the way: my chronic mispelling of Schlesinger has my page right near the top for “Alan Schlessinger” on google. Woo-Hoo!)

Local blogging?

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Blogging is overrated. When the “YearlyKos” meeting took place in Las Vegas, my snarky thought was “Yeah, I’d like to attend. But the schedule conflicts with the ‘Newspaper Letters to the Editor’ conference.”

Via Jim McCranium‘s blog I see this link, and reiteration of something I noted linked to dailykos a while back but quickly denoted as not particularly relevant to my thought process, which was something to the effect that the national has largely been cornered, and a good niche that political bloggers should be interested in is local. We now have had a series of election cycles that, due to the nature of non-first Tuesday in November in even year elections, where local bloggers have been prominent and, genuinely shown their muscle and influence: Connecticut has “myleftnutmeg”; Ohio had some Paul Hacket-blogs; Virginia had “Raising Kaine”, which also takes credit, though in this case undeserved, for the rise of Jim Webb to Democratic Senate candidate. And I wonder about the Democratic primary in Montana.

Okay. For the sake of Fighting the Good Fight, I will now do some local blogging and influence the Congressional elections in my state. I, in my time in Portland, have bounced back and forth between Earl Blumenauer’s district and David Wu’s district. I will now put in a good word for the two and completely reshape the political landscape.

We must re-elect Earl Blumenauer. To show how dire the situation is, I point to his Republican opponent, a loathsome creature if there ever was. His Republican opponent is an entity of no experience, seductive as that is to our political independents, and a literal blank slate.

And by literal blank slate, I do mean literal blank slate. The Republican opponent to Earl Blumenauer is non-existent. He, or she, eludes description and is difficult to grasp. Do not let this blank slate into office! Please, for the love of God, do not write out a name on this blank slate!!

Well. That felt good. I think I just bumped Earl Blumenauer past the finish line.

David Wu? I don’t know. He is the most indistinguished Congress-critter in the entire Oregon delegation. I can name the niches that every other Oregon House member has bobbed up, but David Wu is distinguished for being indistinguished. I guess in a chamber of 435 people, someone is just going to have to fall through the cracks, and that person’s name is… David Wu.

I hate this state’s politics. After November we will have had the same five members in Congress, and to come to think of it the same two Senators, for a full decade. Is there any end in sight?