Archive for August, 2008

thought of the day

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

You know… it’s hard not to like Ray Nagan right about now.  He comes up to the microphone, and — compensating for Hurricane Katrina and making sure to underline the point, making sure he can not be called out for lack of warning – tells everybody, essentially,  “YOU.  ARE.  Royally.  F###ed.”

The voo-doo mind trick of the Sarah Palin pick

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I’m fishing around, looking up “Sarah Palin” on google images.  The first thing that pops up is a cover for Vogue, which is one clue of what I’m pondering.  After that there are a mass of understandable photographs of campaign related and even related occurences, a photograph of Bush, a “Beauty Contest” photograph pops up a few times.  Get a few more pages in and you will see a couple old newspaper photographs from her high school basketball days.  (And a few more pages in and you learn that during her tenure as mayor of that four-digit population town, her municipality was named one of those “Tree City USA”s.  No kidding.  The town I grew up in was a Tree City a few times too… I sort of think it is something you sign on the dotted line for.)

And then, there on page 2, there’s a faux-photograph of someone who looks kind of like her, and enough like her to do a spit-take as you pass over the images – but which cannot possibly be her, but can be used as much by someone piggish enough to pretend it is the case, which I suppose has to be why it is imaged so high.  A self-described “sophomoric sports’ radio show”, from out of Seattle, and in a list of “past guests” is the Governor Sarah Palin — politicos regularly surface on sports’ radio programs for the same reason more national politicos surface on late night talk shows.  The faux-photo shows a saucy looking red head in a cut off Seahawks shirt and no pants bending over — leaning against a Seahawks helmet.

Proceeding apace, the photograph that was used on the front page of today’s Oregonian is placed, shirt skirt at her office or home next to a stuffed bear — with the caption “Nice Gams”.

And you can buy this.  And why is it that when I watch the video on youtube, it looks as if John McCain’s attention keeps gravitating toward her butt?  Skip to 2:53, 4:04, 5:19, 5:44, 6:30 and at around 6:53 it looks as if he is completely unaware that Palin is even talking… but maybe if I looked for that, the same seeming effect would turn up with the Obama / Biden introduction as well?

There may be method to this madness – and let’s just leave aside that sneaking suspicion that McCain just wants to get into Palin’s pants.  By picking Sarah Palin (as opposed to, say, Kay Baily Hutchinson), McCain has ensured two popular culture memes — Palin is a (look her name up on youtube and this video will show up)  “VPILF” and the other one  that Palin is a light-weight (replete with possible hits at the task of raising multiple children and going about her career), both of which are insulting to those unreconciled Hillary Clinton supporters (and perhaps a few seemingly fully reconciled Hillary Clinton supporters) upset about media and cultural and campaign sexism through the Obama versus Clinton campaign.


Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Overheard conversation blip yesterday, from a couple.  The woman said the phrase, “Yes, but not in such a tokenistic way.”  And I knew exactly what topic they were discussing.

The bottom line seems to be that John McCain bought the media narrative, backed up by some polling somewhere over-studied to an nth degree, that a significant number of disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters ready to be picked up with pure simple Identity Politics.  Such was the situation with the advertisement endorsement from a former Clinton delegate, and such was the floating of a “pro-choice” candidate — generally accepted as softening up a possible Joseph Lieberman (reportedly who he wanted to pick, reportedly nixed by Rove) or Tom Ridge pick.

But McCain had to pick someone “pro-life”, “solidly” so mind you.  So, Woman.  “Pro-life”.  Sarah Palin.  It seems to be as simple as that.  This is supposed to excite the base and skim off the margins of not totally reconciled Hillary Clinton supporters.  Sarah Palin was not a total surprise, and yes a total surprise.  Which is to say she was at the end of all those “wild card” picks in candidate listings, but at the end for a reason.  And, more importantly, she was featured in the recent “jib jab” animated web-video, which was a semi-prominent news-story in the generally parochial Alaska media.

In a past life, I heard the argument from Clinton supporters, at the end of the nomination, rumored to be a demand from Clinton herself to Obama but such was one of those rumors that looks easily transferred from one’s butt, that Obama could not pick a different woman because the message would be something to the effect of: America is ready for a female president, just not that one.  This struck me a pity, probably electorally a sort of strait-jacket for Obama — as such some fairly substantial qualified Democratic women were never really seriously considered.  But if this logic is at work, what am I supposed to make of Sarah Palin?

The comparison is being made to Geraldine Ferraro — indeed, by Sarah Palin herself within her praise for Hillary Clinton and evocation of the “18 million dents in the ceiling” line.  This item of pandering strikes me as a misfire, not least of which nobody cares about Ferraro, but also historically even by the logic of Mondale’s selection — partially hope to rejumble the hopeless political picture but also a case of “If I’m not going to win I’ll at least make some history here”– Ferraro did not make any sense — a parody of affirmative action, and I don’t know what Democratic women there were at the time, but I do believe there were a few more substantial than her.

At the end of the day I see a lot of simply paternalistic attitude in the coming election cycle — if she were a man she would be treated like Dan Quayle, but now we’re just sort of going to be dismissing her, with a floating parade of jabs (not from the campaign, mind you) harking back to her beauty queen days and her status as “America’s Hottest Governor”.  Did McCain select her because she wants to get in her pants?  This cannot be good for the cause of women’s rights, as it leaves me wondering — When is the first seriously considered woman going to nominated to a presidential ticket?

The Democratic Party’s long swerving ride to nominating a Barack Obama

Friday, August 29th, 2008

In 1908, as Theodore Roosevelt had alienated black supporters (default Republicans) for his role in the Brownsville Affair, the Democrats were petitioned to include an anti-lynching plank in their platform.  William Jennings Bryan scuttled the thing, Populism rearing its ugly side and the Democracy starting with the fist-tight thirteen state Confederate “Solid South”.  Bryan was associated with the populism of Benjamin Tillman, and regularly the perjorative “Bryanism” placed next to “Tillmanism” — Benjamin Tillman came to fight on behalf of the Rural White Farmers of South Carolina against the n-gers and the Elitists, Jesse Helms’s “University of Ngs and Communists” sentiment was essentially stolen from him, as any number of Southern demogogic political themes over the years.  In the fighting between the politics of Grover Cleveland and William Jennings Bryan for what the Democratic Party — Bryan served as a king-maker in pushing forward the “Progressivism” that marked the Woodrow Wilson Administration.

WEB Du Bois would roll the dice in supporting Woodrow Wilson for president in 1912.  Wilson segregated the federal government past the previous Taft adminstration, and when Du Bois came for a visit to the White House to express his displeasure, was summarily dismissed and told to, in effect, shove it.

The Democratic Convention of 1924 was a protracted fight between Alfred Smith — Urban New Yorker Catholic “Wet” Tammany Hall Connected — against William Gibbs McAdoo, who considered himself in the sort of populist political lineage of William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson — and tied to the Klan.  While this convention is historically thought to have been fought over the issue of Prohibition, that was one of any number of cultural divisions which marked over deeper issues and concerns.  For one, the two sides fought over whether to condemn the Klan by name in the Party Platform — the even split in this voting showed the doom that pervaded the party no matter who they were to nominate — as so happened the rather forgettable conservative Democrat John Davis.

Franklin Roosevelt won the Democratic nomination by starting with the Democratic coalitions who had backed Bryan and MacAdoo, though cut through the lines in his political realignment and reversed this item with respect to the two party factions.   By 1936 he managed to have Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith of South Carolina flee the convention when a black minister gave the invocation, and when he looked out over the convention and saw that a bi-racial convention, or to quote him directly:

“When I came out on the floor of that great hall, bless God, it looked like a chckerboard: a spot of white here, a spot of black there.  But I kept going down that long aisle, and finally found the great standard of South Carolina.  And, praise God, it was a spot of white!  I had no sooner taken my seat when a newspaperman came down the aisle and squatted by me and said, “Senator, do you know a nigger is going to come up younder in a minute and offer the invocation?”  I told him, I said, “Now don’t be joking me, I’m upset enough the way it is.”  But then, bless God, out of that platform walked a slew-footed, blue-gummed, kinky-headed Senegambian!  And he started praying and I started walking.  And as I pushed through these great doors and walked across the vast rotunda, it seemed to me that old John Calhourn leaned down from his mansion in the sky and whispered in my ear, “You did right, Ed.”

During the Roosevelt administration, when a black leader met with the president to ask him to reform the Segregation of the American South, Roosevelt responded that “you have to make me do it” by way of providing him the space in public opinion and activism.  A difficult slug to be sure, and a rather cynical deal.

In 1948, Hubert Humphrey came out shouting to come to the embracing the light of Civil Rights and shedding the dark of States’ Rights, and Southern Dixiecrats stormed out of the convention.  By 1956, the Democratic Party Platform tepidly walked back away from that “light” of civil rights and stated simply about the Brown versus Board of Education decision was historic indeed.  Such was the mark of Gradual Incrementalism promised by the Stevenson campaign, as against Eisenhower’s promise of Incremental Gradualism.

Adventures in Petty Crime

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

In the aisle of a grocery store, I spy  shifty looking man with a case of acne which seems to betray drug use of one type or another.  (My caveat being to reference one time where based on sunburned nose up against a pale face someone assumed a similar betrayal — false of course.)  The suspicousness of the man is confirmed when he strides past me, and out from under his coat drops a carton of chocolate milk.  He akwardly creeks and he picks the thing up to shift back under his coat, “Hi… Just… trying to… get some food… to eat.”  Good meal, I suppose, chocolate milk.  I roll my eyes around to see where we are in relation to the camera or security, but otherwise just walk ahead, muttering something either perceptibly or not perceptibly to the shop-lifter.  But I draw no attention to him.

So it is that I am an accomplice to petty theft.  And now so are you.


I walk up to a cross-walk, at the same time a bicyclist stops.  The streets are clear of traffic, which in the usual course means I will walk on and jay walk — unless there is a mommy/daddy/child unit, in which case I am obliged to be a proper stranger role model to the child to OBEY TRAFFIC RULES.  The fellow next to me stops, obviously waiting to see if I walk on — following my lead.  I have the power of decision in my hand, this bicyclist has opted to leave me with the decision — somewhat analogious to my Child Rule of strictly adhering to cross-walk rules, he encompasses it further to what society around him does.  It is an odd stand-off.  So, after a few seconds, I walk on — and he proceeds to do the same.  We are accomplices to each other’s petty jay-walking.  And now so are you.

Sooo… Where are they?

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

You can expect to see the LaRouchies out “in force” at Denver. Unfortunately (for them, not us), their “force” isn’t too impressive. And I imagine their singing hasn’t gotten any better either. Guffaw.

The question:  Where are they?  I cannot find the evidence admist the, quote-in-quote, “Citizen Journalism” which is the realm of Blogs.  This is contrast to 2004, where — off in the margins but since I key on this I could reframe the margins into a sort of central focus– I learned that they were there in Boston, singing choral slightly bemusing various people as they walked in and out of the convention center, and where I learned that they made odd hard to follow accusations at a press conference with Terry McAuliffe (sp?) about a grand conspiracy to keep them out of Youth Hostels.  This leaves aside their version of events, which was quite grand indeed.

It seems now that that was about where their mild success, such as that was, of the Bush Era reached its crescendo.  Now I can’t find anything.  Are they there?  If so, is anyone noticing them?  Have the small band of “PUMA” protesters managed to shake them away from globbing onto their cause?  The organization skeletal is becoming further emaciated.  This particular “fringe watch” is becoming harder and harder to grasp at.

I am tempted to suggest they don’t have as much an ostensible reason for being there as they did in the past, when — um — Larouche was a Democratic Presidential Candidate on the ballot and was feigning his cause of winning a nomination.  Or, as suggested last time, being Kerry’s “Secret Weapon” of a running mate… which, I admit, would have shocked the political establishment — to the point where the Democratic Party would have taken the unprecedented step of checking Kerry into an insane asylum and of finding another nominee to run post haste.  But they do have an obstensible cause to be there, as suggested in their “1932” video, the cause of connecting with the Clintons against the Soros-operated Obama clique.  A bust in the real world, yes, but that never stopped them in the past.  No, they are just a dissipated outfit compared to even 2004.

An eye toward his immortality, he has issued a statement that spiritually sets up Hegla.  (Linked to the factnet linking because I tend to avoid linking to “L-PAC” itself.)  Obstensibly a celebration of her sixty years, it actually mostly meanders around George Soros, Abraham Lincoln, and those neo-Malthusian Greens — the latter I’ve grasped is Hegla’s Pet Enemy Phraseology.  The Torch has been passed, The Dream Can Never Die, and… two becomes one… in the eye of the two dozen people left in the LYM:

“For that reason, my beloved Helga is, in fact, almost as precious to you, as she is to me.

So, unable to find Larouche in Denver, I turn over to Webster Tarpley — who probably is better suited to be referenced in saying that the “Torch Has Been Passed to a new Generation of Wack Job Opportunistic Conspiratorial Demagouges,” albeit one with a different aim (not obsessed with the idea of a small collection of people chanting his name).   Webster Tarpley is interviewed on the Alex Jones show, no doubt in anticipation of next week when Alex Jones will be interviewed on the Webster Tarpley Show.  One final lunge into the realm of the dissipating and transitory “PUMA” movement before slightly adjusting his message for the duration of either the Obama Presidential Campaign or the Obama Presidency, depending on how things turn out, hoping his Obama Nation book will be regarded years from now by elements in our political spectrum in the same way his Larouche-era George Herbert Walker Bush is (complete with prominet blurb from Kevin Phillips).  It’s a racket, good work if you can get it.

Supermarket Tabloids make more sense than Bill O’Reilly

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

There isn’t too much to gripe about television convention coverage which does not come across a cliche, nor is there too much to gripe about the conventions that is not a cliche.  It’s also a cliche to gripe about Fox News.  But Bill O’Reilly festered up a special something, I noted flicking past.  Mr. O’Reilly intros showing a story covered where he… um… has his cameras running up to celebrities at the DNC Convention and… um… he’ll have the list of the good celebrities, who agreed to some time with O’Reilly, and the bad celebrities, who shoved away from these camera-critters.

It is worth pointing out that Bill O’Reilly came out of Inside Edition.  That’s what came to mind watching this game of “Celebrity Hunt”.  That doesn’t quite explain the presumptuousness in thinking they should pay O’Reilly the time of day, and at least the Tabloid newspapers have an understanding they are bumping in and out of the celebrities’ private spaces and aren’t entitled to Cooperation by dent of being … Bill O’Reilly?

Removing Spock’s Brain

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

“I saw an old episode of Star Trek a few days ago.  It was a little weird.  So, Spock’s brain was taken out,  and so Bones was having to put it back in.”

“Yeah.  That was the third season, and at that point the show became kind of stupid.”  (My brother’s Trekie past put a few useless trivial facts and opinions in my head after all.)

Actually, come to think of it, this would be a “Jump the Shark” Moment.  Spock’s Brain predating Happy Days’s Fonzie Jumping of a Shark, I think the phrase should be replaced to “Removing Spock’s Brain”, but there are probably countless pre-Star Trek examples which would trump that one.

Through Hack-Colored Lenses

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Flip around the am radio dial a bit.  Though, in most of the country, acreage-wise especially, it will be all one splot of Republicans talking, but if there is a “Progressive Talk Radio” station, or if it’s dark out so signals will bounce through from the Big City, the exercise will be possible.  Do the simple contrast of Alternative Existences.

Party Conventions reduce the political opinion-eisters to a concentrated level of partisan hackdom whicch is difficult to define.  If you are a Democrat, everyone is brilliant, the right notes have been struck, Unity is achieved, there’s that cheer-ful Kennedy Tribute which even his political opponents will mist up toward, the most brilliant speech from a political spouse EVER, and there’s a feeling in the air.  If you’re a Republican, the Obama Campaign is in a state of dis-array, and the Biden choice proves this, this convention is incoherent and message-less, under the surface the Clinton detractors are apt to air their discontent any minute now, Jim Leach is boring, and what are these amateurs doing?

I don’t know, and I don’t know what opinion to ascribe to the opinion-less who this is directed toward for viscarel effect.  After a while I don’t know if I should really play the charade at barking about “messaging”.  Speeches range from sing-songy to crisp, the proper babies appear to be in the process of being kissed, and emotional buttons are pushed with no real harm to you or I.

The greatest offender are actually non-attached.  The curmudgeons at Reason appear to believe this convention is a disasterous Hindenburg for the Democrats.  Nothing is going right for these Democrats, and they provide the snickering commentary over at their blog.  If they say so, and they are divested in mocking the media narrative of finding the Clinton-dead-ender drama, even while reporting that it doesn’t really exist, and thus perpetuating it.  But what hit me was their bluster against the Jimmy Carter tribute video, something that somehow shows the Democrats’ cluelessness.  Understand, in 2004 the Republicans had a minimalist tribute to Gerald Ford and another to George H W Bush.  So here it is in 2008… Jimmy Carter, Bitches!  I suppose if the Democrats wanted to be bold they might have portrayed him as a Prophet Without Honor in seeking alternative sources for energy (albeit in the Carter Administration speech of woe it was largely Coal that was referenced), but the safe hole is always the post-presidency Habitat for Humanity.  The bottom line for the quick flashing comment at Reason is a suggestion that the Libertarian Convention can honor all their elected Libertarian presidents in whatever way they choose.