Archive for December, 2008

overheard conversations, yesterday.

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Outside a bar.  One woman, one man.  The woman, with Rising Indignation:  “So what you’re saying is, because that girl slept with that guy at that party, I should sleep with you?  Is that what you’re saying?”

Man:  Well, yeah.

There has to be a story behind that, right?  No word on whether they hooked up at the end or not.

Outside a supermarket.  One man, mid-20s, runs up to greet a man, mid-30s…

older:  “Yep.  Just got back.  So, what did you do?”

younger:  “Oh, I don’t know.  Sat around.  Masturbated.  Got high.”

older: “Sounds good.”

… Hm?

Obama to be sworned in on a Rushmore President’s Swearing-in Bible

Friday, December 26th, 2008

There is a bit of a brohauhau over Barak Obama’s use of Abraham Lincoln’ bible in his inauguration ceremony.  Or, supposedly there is.  Actually mostly what I see is that Obama’s use of Lincoln’s bible is a jumping off point to trump up Lincoln as a “War President” and Obama as a Copperhead — bleh them and bleh him.  Well, it will be interesting and portentious to say the least to see how Obama winds through policies to Afghanistan (and the Pakistan border region) and Iraq, I suppose.  (To appease the Weekly Standard writer, I am sort of pleased to see that in my search, I did find one of those “Bush Hitler” postings that you can find if you look.  Don’t worry… the Obama Hitler postings are surfacing about — I encourage you to tie them down with that image, even though there’s complications with that one.  Maybe it’s a good time to switch models for overwrought dictator comparisons … it’s all about Mussolini!)

Presidents tend to evoke presidents who history has judged well.  The Mount Rushmore Mafia and a handful of figures surrounding them.  For instance, Reagan’s Coolidge fetish was largely in private or amongst sympaticos — he didn’t much quote Coolidge in his public speeches.  Or maybe he did… all eight of the Reagan years were all eight (minus a few months) of my most formative of years … I wasn’t paying attention at the time.  But here in the honeymoon period, Obama is paralleled to Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, detractors reach for Carter, as detractors of Bush now reach for Hoover.

So the incoming Obama Administration’s high faluting press release notwithstanding, Obama could very easily have just gone with … Jefferson’s Bible (or Keith Ellison’s Quran).  But the “Team of Rivals” theory which is being injected into Obama’s admistration — an item which, truth be told, worked badly for President Lincoln would not be meshed in with the “triumph over slavery” history.

Obama should have surprised and stumped everyone and released a high faluting press release announcing that he is going to be swearing in with the same bible used by President Chester Arthur.  The idea here is that he is, I don’t know, that even as a man who came out of Illinois politics, he is making a clean break from the corruption of the Blagoeviches of the world, just as even though Arthur was a Stawlart, he reformed Civil Service?  That and they both have funny names, so there’s that legacy to continue.  As good a message to send as any, I say, albeit probably a tad too obscure.

Overheard Space Shuttle Conversation

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

A man walking with his son, who I’ll just randomly say was … seven years of age.  The child says, “Dad.  Would you rather live in space?”  The dad pauses slightly, though not dramatically — a function of trying to figure out two steps in advance more than trying to come up with anything profound — “No.  I don’t think so.”  The child asks, “Why not?”

I didn’t hear anything beyond this.  I assume there’s a chapter in “Parenting for Dummies” which covers how to answer these questions.  I assume dad can go any number of directions — maudlin, grimly humourous, sentimental, irreverant.

and another thing about James Bevel

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Reading the wikipedia article on James Bevel, I have to wonder if maybe something isn’t grabbed from something which amounts to a Legacy Project, in brushing up the noted accomplishments of a man who was later convicted of Incest.

Skip to the “1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade” and some editorializing sneaks in.  Leaving aside for a moment that just about every sentence in these two paragraphs needs to be sourced — surely the back and forth with King and Kennedy have turned up in either accounts by the actors involved or in released Presidential papers — the last sentence strikes me as particularly galling in making an analysis beyond the scope of an encyclopedia’s domain:

Just as the “threat” of the children marching along the highway from Birmingham to Washington led directly to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the threat of the 1941 march led President Franklin Roosevelt to sign the Fair Employment Act, and neither march was actually held.

The odd thing about this sentence is that the primary subject is not even the “Children’s Crusade”, but a 1941 march — which seems to suggest a hodge-podge job of pecking from various items into a narrative.  Though, even there, it would make more sense to put in some contemporanious criticism — and you wouldn’t have to go too far to find some — and directed at James Bevel personally even.

While I’m on the subject of editorial bias and entangled articles at wikipedia, the William Gibbs McAdoo article has a pretty strange “POV” problem — witness in the “political career” section on his work as the Secretary of the Treasury, these sentences:

#1:  McAdoo’s actions at the time were both bold and courageous.
#2:  The wisdom and historical impact of this action can not be overemphasized.

I assume these assessments are the consensus views of historians and economists, but those value judgements should be able to come through without stating them.

continuing coverage of HELLSTORM ’08

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The snow has altered, likely unofficially and off the books, the rules and regulations of the road.  I think this is understood by all, and if the sight of people cross-country skiing in the middle of downtown streets doesn’t bring that home, nothing will.  The sledders in various neighborhoods I think have had the common decency to quarantine off their streets.  Sidewalks exist sparodically in various forms — cleared, partially cleared, not cleared, snow stacked up where it wasn’t before thus obliterating a bare minimum.

Which is why it was odd, walking just to the side of the street, sometime after one car had passed, the driver for a small truck slid their window open and uttered to me, “Use the Sidewalk.”  It took a decent second for me to process that that just happened, which meant my response went un-heard by him — a shame — there are times when you don’t really want curt responses to be heard, and there are times when you do — this fit the latter.  “There is no sidewalk.”

The comment puzzled me.  He’s driving as per road conditions, like, three times as fast as I’m walking.  This might make sense if I were unusual in my middle of the road walking,  but I wasn’t.  So I can only guess this was an element of low-boiling very low-key road rage.

Sometime later I enter into downtown proper.  I see plastered to a pole a sticker reading “Bring The Troops Home and Put them on the Mexican Border”.  Read further down the sticker, and I’m familiar with this — as seen here — “National Alliance.  Hillsboro.  Call blahdeblah # for radio schedules”, which I suppose means some neo-nazis are broadcasting on short-wave radio during half hour intervals.  The next post over and I see “Call blah de blah to Report fascist and racist activity”.   Activity as far as I can tell is sort of confined to a handful of stickers in the dead of night and your random assortment of graffiti in public places… and the occasional Elks Club Lodge “rock band reunion” “please go away” meeting.  Well, a white christmas for them, I suppose.

James Bevel, dead

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Within a massive jabbing dump on the part of “revenire” in April, there was this:
i love the bevel stuff, sort of reminds of of the murder of martin luther king and how he was accused of having sex with women…
This was followed up immediately with:
lol, keep on trying jumper brigage
Which in the context of this weird ordeal meant a suggestion that I was slandering the good name of Lyndon Larouche with my “slandering” of the good name of James Bevel.  (Or, as the case was, simply re-posting the news accounts of the testimony from his victims, and I suppose tying it to Bevel’s rationale for working with Larouche — eccentric ideas on education, apparently.)

His legacy in the civil rights movement was clouded when he was convicted in April by a Loudoun County, Va., judge for having sex more than a decade ago with one of his daughters, Aaralyn Mills, who was a teenager at the time. Prosecutors said the assault occurred in Loudoun County, when Bevel was working closely with the Virginia-based organization led by LaRouche.

The four-day trial divided members of Bevel’s large family, with relatives testifying for both the prosecution and defense. He was sentenced in October.

At that time, prosecutors revealed at least four other daughters had made similar allegations against him. The victims hoped for an apology and some reconciliation, but Bevel mocked the notion of an apology.

But his reputation is probably by then a little tainted, or at the very least has a bit of a bifrocation in terms of “before” and “after”, by dent of moving from associating with Martin Luther King, Jr to associating with Lyndon Larouche, Jr. — the 1992 vice presidential candidate, in fact.  Incidentally, I may as well address revenire’s cries months after the fact (at the time, I was diverted in pondering the meaning of “I eat this blog for breakfast.”)  Allegations of infidelity on the part of Martin Luther King, Jr. with consenting women don’t much concern me and transplant me to 1960s America and I’d let them remain the province of Jay Edgar Hoover.  James Bevel and his incestual relations are a rather more serious infraction — in his case, done in the context of a supposed family “educational” program.  Ironically the biggest crusade, on behalf of “the children”, during his time in the orbit of Larouche was “exposing the Franklin cover-up”, or better to say perpetuating a hoax — supposedly a massive Republican child molestation ring based which stretched all the way to the White House — a conspiracy which had renewed circulation when the former Nebraska state Senator, collaberating with Bevel in this conspiracy theory, stretched the story of white house “correspondent” and at times male prostitute/porn star Jeff Gannon  back to the first Bush White House as a member of this pedophile ring (skip to “update 3/26/05).  It makes total sense?  I guess these things tapping into the conspiracy well of people who want to believe, people who want to believe the worst about presidents named George Bush on one hand and people who want to believe the worst about causes of homosexuality on the other hand — and most importantly people who want to find secret orders in the workings of the universe in connecting “forgotten” or “hidden” histories beyond all sane comprehension.  (Or, better still, fitting into this hypothesis.)

But these matters bring one part of his civil rights’ work in either stark relief or with an item of moral ambiguity — and in light of subsequent events, puts a rather bleak light on how he thought about these matters.  The “Children’s Crusade”, which is characterized in the comments section here:

I remember when Bevel put the children in the civil rights protests; he drew strong criticism for it. No one thought it wise to put the children in danger like that, and they were right, as history shows us.Bevel knew it would not matter to Bull Conner that the children were there, and THAT is what got the world’s attention! I guess it’s true that it takes one to know one.

So Bull Connor brings out his fire hose and moes down the children.  Public opinion turns a few screws more.  And … you have a bunch of physically pelted children.  At the hands of Bull Connor.  But they put there by Bevel’s strategizing.  Actually, I wonder if it would have worked best to cap the affair at high school students, who have a reasonable independence compared to elementary school aged to know what they’re getting into there.  Bull Connor’s faux “Law and Order” is exposed still.  Malcom X’s complaint “Real men don’t put their children on the firing line” is lessened.  Kennedy’s hand remains forced.  Well, it’s a thought anyway.

Unrelated, but I have to slide it somewhere:  frequent candidate for crap Gerald Pechenuk pokes his head up here regarding a trajectory I wondered when someone would get to from Blagojevich in the realm of Illinois politics — in this case from John Schrag.

Thoughts for “Hell Storm ’08”

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Everybody hums along to the song “Dreaming of a white Christmas”, asking for the delivery of a “White Christmas” and the presence of snow all around us at Christmas.  We now have a pretty good assurance of that “White Christmas” — a week long celebration of joy, it would appear.  And what do I hear?  A good deal of complaining.

Not least of which is that this is decimating the already shattered economy, retail sales on the most pivotal weekend of the year — the weekend before Christmas — dead. 

 So, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  Just like the ones I used to know.  Where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear their mother grating the government cheese and slattering it all over grade-d pig entails, a necessary meal substitution ever since daddy lost his job in massive lay-offs to his industry highly reliant on retail sales after the stores at the mall were unable to make payroll and went bankrupt.

Or is this just a little more snow than was hoped for?  Well, the devil’s in the details.  Try to slot the words more carefully into the song.  “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  But just Christmas.  With maybe an inch falling late Christmas Eve.  And a nice sunny day the day after Christmas.  A few good days of trees glistening.  And Enough to make a ski-trip worthwhile.”

Reading material during Hell-Storm ’08

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Did you ever wonder, my poor young friend, what the human brian looks like? . . . The mechanism that makes you think?  Did you?  No.  Of course not.  That doesn’t interest you one bit . . . You’d rather look at girls.  So of course you don’t know.  Because the first honest glance would convince you that disorder, yes, my boy, disorder, is the quintessence of your very life!  of your whole physical and metaphysical being!  Why, it’s your very soul, Ferdinand!  millions, trillions of intricate folds . . . plunging deep down into the grey matter, complex, subjacent, evasive . . . limitless!  That’s Harmony, Ferdinand.  All nature!  A flight into the imponderable!  And nothing else!  Put your wretched thoughts in order, Ferdinand!  That’s where to begin.  Not with grotesque, material, negative, obscene substitutions, but with the essential, that’s what I’m getting at.  Are you going to assault the brain, correct it, scrape it, mutilate it, force it to comply with an assortment of stupid rules?  carve it up geometrically?  recompose it according to the rules of your excruciating idiocy? . . . Arrange it in slices?  like an Epiphany cake? . . . With a prize in the middle.  Tell me that.  I’m asking you.  Frankly?  Would that be any good?  Would it make any sense?  Heaven help us!  There’s no doubt about it, Ferdinand, your soul is overwhelmed by errors.  It make you, like so many others, a unanimous nonentity.  Great instinctive disorder is the father of fertile thought!  It’s the beginning of everything . . . Once the propitious moment has passed, there’s no hope . . . You, I’m afraid, will spend your whole life in the garbage pail of reason . . . So much the worse for you!  You’re a numbskull, Ferdinand, a nearsighted, blind, preposterous, deaf, one-armed dolt!  . . . befouling my magnificent disorder with your vicious reflections . . . In Harmony, Ferdinand, resides the world’s only joy!  The only deliverance!  The only truth! . . . Harmony!  Find Harmony!  That’s the ticket! . . . This shop is in Harmon-y . . . Do you hear me, Ferdinand?  Like a brain, mother nature nor less!  Order!  Rid me of that word, that thing!  Accustom yourself to Harmony and Harmony will reward you.  You’ll find everything you’ve been looking for so long on the highways of the world . . . And far more!  Many other things, Ferdinand!  A brain, Ferdinand, that’s what the whole lot of you will find!  Yes!  This Genitron is a brain.  Have I made myself clear?  That’s not what you’re after?  You and your kind?  An inane ambush of pigeonholes!  A barricade of brochures!  A house of the dead!  A Chartist necropolis!  No, never!  Here everything is in movement!  Swarming with life!  You’re not satisfied?  It stirs, it quivers!  Just touch it!  Put out your little finger.  Everything comes to life.  Everything trembles instantly.  Asking only to surge up!  to blossom!  to shine!  I don’t live by destroying.  I take life as it comes!  Do you take me for a cannibal, Ferdinand?  Never! . . . Bent on reducing it to my chickenshit concepts?  Pah!  Everything shakes?  Everything topples?  Splendid!  I have no desire to count stars 1!  2!  3!  4!  and 5!  I’m not the kind that thinks he’s entitled to do anything he pleases.  The right to shrink!  rectify!  corrupt!  prune!  transplant! . . . No!  where would I get it? . . . From the Infinite? . . . From life itself?  It’s not natural, my boy!  It’s not natural!  It’s infamous meddling! . . . I prefer to keep on good terms with the Universe!  I take it as I find it! . . . I’ll never rectify it!  No!  The Universe is master of its own house!  I understand it!  It understands me!  It gives me a hand when I ask it!  When I’m through with it, I drop it!  That’s the long and the short of it . . . It’s a cosmogonic question!  I have no orders to give!  You have no orders!  He has no orders! . . . Blah!  Blah!  Blah! . . .”

He got sore as hell, like somebody who’s definitely in the wrong . . .

Louis – Ferdinand Celine, Death of the Installment Plan