Archive for December, 2009

Three Buffoons in the midst of the silly season: Michael Moore, Tom Coburn, Ralph Nader.

Monday, December 21st, 2009

We are approaching some final bouts of the silly season before the Senate passes its … er… Insurance Industry Racket Protection Act…

… Okay, you know what?  I have a bit of a thought process on the acceptance / unacceptance level for that electorate segment that’s supposed to be aligned behind Obama, the Democrats, and this bill.  It goes back to a discussion I’ve seen splitting the difference in definitions of “LIberal” and “Progressive”.  I’ll have to… urm… blog on it.

But that’s beside the point here.  We have a few buffoons that need to be mentioned.  Michael Moore, for one.  Michael Moore “tweeted” out a call for a boycott of the state of Connecticut if the state doesn’t pull together a serious Recall effort for Joseph Lieberman.  I am not that much a fan of blind, undirected political rage.  There is no such thing as a Serious Senate Recall Effort — there are no legal provisions for such a thing.

Rolling into the Senate Filibuster Cloture vote, Tom Coburn — the Junior Insane Senator from Oklahoma (Inhofe is the Senior Insane Senator from Oklahoma) asked for prayers that a Senator might not make it to the vote for cloture.  Naturally, this was speculated not to be so much a general call, but a specific reference to the wheel chair bound 93 year old Senator Robert Byrd.  I am one that does not think Coburn necessarily had Senator Byrd in mind when making his statement.  While it just happens that Byrd is in position to fulfill Coburn’s scenario, I still think Coburn was being a general-directed ahole as opposed to a specific-directed ahole.  But just for the heck of it, I’ll pull all in to the speculation: maybe he was calling for a lone activist to push Senator Byrd’s wheel chair down an icy hill?  That’s the ticket!

Something worth noting, though: my inflamatory and mildly irresponsible speculation about references to lone nuts tossing down Byrd’s wheel-chair would be moot if not for a Republican Whip job that set three Republican Senators ready to stray over to the cloture vote.  I don’t know if these three were the “Moderate” Republicans — and, frankly, I don’t know who the third figure of such a triumvarite would be alongside the two Maine Senators — or if there’s this ideologically but not necessarily partisan conservative with his or her own rules of Senate Decorum.  Something pops up in my mind about this one, though.  If they had come to that spot earlier and more definitely, the ugly pork politics of the so called “Louisiana Purchase” and the “Cornhusker Kick-back” would not have fallen into this bill.  I think it is fair to blame these contortions of Health Care policy on the sheer force of the strategy that holds a firm 40 vote Filibuster block — ergo, a portion of the mildly exasperating items in this bill are the Republicans’ faults, notwithstanding the statement that “The Democrats own it!”

One last curious item, one final buffoon in addition to Michael Moore and Tom Coburn I need to mention.  Ralph Nader threw himself into a bid for relevance with his two cents, lining himslef up somewhat though in supercharged manner behind statements made by Howard Dean.  That’s alright, so far as it goes.  The more disturbing item from Ralph Nader, and it is not his first time in stating this, was making the racial reference to Barack Obama as an “Uncle Tom”.  This is sure to endear himself with someone or other, everyone and anyone — right?

Three Elliotts

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

The low point in the low point laden history of Saturday Night Live just have been the 1995-1996 season.  It was a season between two “epocah” casts — or to put another way, two Bill Clinton impersonators.  The lowest moment might have been this single sketch — Jeff Daniels was interviewed on a movie review show, and a single clip from “Dumb and Dumber” — where Daniels is on the toilet — is shown over and over and over again, and over and over and over again, and over and over and over again.

Chris Elliott was a cast member that season.  I read parts of the oral history Live from New York, so know Chris Elliott’s thoughts on his stint at Saturday Night Live.  It was the low point of his career, and he was out of sorts there.  He and a couple of other mismatched cast members formed a bit of a bond to endure the season — Jeanine Garaolo managed to get out of the last few episodes, something which I am sure Chris Elliott would have done if he were able to do.  Years later, the obviousness of just how mismatched Chris Elliott was becomes ever more acute.  Why did Lorne Michaels, or anyone else on the show, think he fit this show?

At the time I watched a bit wearily, and had the vcr ready to record.  All in all, there were three or four sketches that struck as belonging to Chris Elliott.  Tellingly, in Central Central’s shortened re-runs, they were cut out.  I’m not entirely sure if one of the bits survived the rerun redactions — George Foreman reading to Chris Elliott “Good Night Moon” — was that one ran?  (I guess now we’ll never know.  Comedy Central has moved on from stacking its schedule with SNL reruns.)

I’ll mention two other other sketches — I suppose to be inserted into the long-delayed “Best of Chris Elliott” edition of a SNL collection.  There’s this one where Elliott is taking a survey at the new Denver Airport to guage opinions on a possible new opinion — a Penis Extender.  This is not an especially remarkable sketch, except that it’s basically a set up for Elliott to break the fourth wall, declare that he’s quitting the show to work on such devices for “The Future” — and walks out… Lorne Michaels and — um… John Connaly (?) in tow.  To the groans of the audience who knows where this is going, with Chris Elliott being assassinated.

The other sketch, I am a fan of, and quite possibly the only fan on the face of the Earth.  It is a bit which was the perfect display and demonstration of just why Chris Elliott probably should not have been on Saturday Night Live.  Chris Elliott is a novelty gag store owner, and so has one customer after another coming in to ask for a classic novelty gag or other — Chris Farley comes in asking for some fake vomit, for instance.  Chris Elliott has to forlornly explain that his store does not carry such things — that this is a “Funny Strange” store, and not a “Funny Ha Ha” store, but they do have — say, a file full of Insect Vomit.  When asked then where they go to get fake vomit or a whoopie cushion or chattering teeth, Chris Elliott has to wearily give directions to a different store across town.  In the end, Chris Elliott closes up the store, groaning about how lousy business is, and in walks his identical twin brother to gloat about how terrific business is going at his “Funny Ha Ha” business.  Angry, Chris Elliott strangles his more successful and mainstream identical twin brother to death, next there’s a dramatic close up of chattering teeth, and a pointless add on from Kevin Nealon and his identical twin.  I think the studio audience was more puzzled by this than anything else — though I guess it could fit as a highlight on an SNL collection of sketches of the sort inserted as the second to last bit, ready to be cut if need — right next to your “Big Ear Family”s or whatnot.

It should be noted that the infamous Dumb and Dumber toilet clip sketch was on the Comedy Central reruns.  But I suppose there’s not too much confusion on the bit.

Today, Abby Elliott is a Saturday Night Live cast member, and the New York Times Magazine ran a story about the Elliott Comedy family tree.  Some things pop out in this NY Times article.  It appears that a secret to Abby Elliott’s success lies somewhere with the fact that she has made a relative break from the comedy traditions of Bob and Chris Elliott.  See:

What Chris did on Letterman’s show “wasn’t an attempt at a mainstream type of comedy,” Adam Resnick, who wrote with Chris in those years, told me. “Chris on Letterman was abrasive. That was part of the joke. If you weren’t smart enough to get it, you’d hate him.”

Of course, the price a performer pays for causing part of the audience to hate him is reduced popularity. “I think he has a really powerful legacy to live up to,” says Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of “Saturday Night Live,” where Chris worked as a writer and performer during the 1994-95 season (he and Abby are the show’s first parent-child cast members). “When you grow up around show business and you’re determined to have some notion of integrity. . . .” He paused, then finished the thought: “There are so many easy ways to hack out. I think he was so rigorous that he would quite often not want to do things that might have made the audience like him more, because he would have thought it was false.”

Chris acknowledged the audience’s ambivalent feelings toward him every time he walked out on Letterman’s stage. He’d take huge sweeping bows and blow kisses to the audience as if he were a Judy Garland impersonator at a gay-pride concert instead of a guy whom half the audience found simply puzzling — making a joke of the fact that some people didn’t think he was funny.

And compare that to the Abby Elliott’s approach to comedy…

After 35 years, the humor of “Saturday Night Live” has long since become the norm, and Abby has not had the opportunity, or inclination, to display the kind of audience-confounding humor that her father and grandfather often favored. “I want to make people laugh,” she says, “and making a lot of people laugh on TV is amazing. If I want to do something superweird and out there, I’ll do it for an audience of 30 people drinking beers at U.C.B.”

And really the “Funny Strange” sketch resembles nothing but a metaphor for his own frustrations on SNL.  Subconscious or not , I do not know.

………………………………………

One odd last note about this quasi-accusation — somewhat worth mentioning from the NY Times article by way of suggestion:

By this time, Chris was ready to enter show business himself. “I can’t remember wanting to do anything else,” he told me (he did toy briefly with the idea of becoming a professional hockey player, he said, “but I never learned how to skate”). Seeing no need for college, he got a job as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, where David Letterman, before “Late Night” but already a successful comedian, showed up one day with his mother to show her the observation deck. Because he was with a parent, Chris sold Letterman a reduced-price child’s ticket. “He giggled,” Chris recalls, “and walked to the back of the elevator. That’s the cool part of the story. The uncool part is I blurted out who my dad was. He said, ‘I’ve always tried to get your dad on when I host the “Tonight Show” for Johnny Carson.’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, he doesn’t do the show unless Johnny’s hosting.’ ” Which, according to Chris, “kind of weirded Dave out.”

Chris Elliott was hired as a gopher at the start of Late Night with Letterman’s run — which morphed into his reoccuring appearances.  And it is worth mentioning that Bob Elliott was a guest on Letterman within the first two weeks.  Add two and two together, and perhaps Chris Elliott was in the position of doing Letterman a favor with that one?

Awkward Overheard Conversations

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

“So, I turned in a paper about Slavery from women’s perspective, and”

I did not quite catch the next line or so, as I was not evesdropping per se, paying no rapt attention or mind.  But I thought I caught “and in the margins, he wrote ‘[blah bleh blah].”

“[Loud Gasp].  He wants you SO BADLY.”

If I were drinking anything at that moment I would have done the classic spit take.  That was not a response I was expecting to hear to the rather quiet discussion of a college student’s essay response.  I turned my head over, wondering about the protocol for inappropriate sexual advances from college professors or student aides, and saw — to my relief, that there were two conversations going on between two different pairs of undergraduate late teen early twenty something year old women, and the horrifying possibility of a suggestive  s and m comment to a paper regarding  to a “woman’s perspective on slavery” could respectfully be shoveled out of my head.

When I passed by a few minutes on my way out, the two who were discussing sex were doing so in hushed tones, evidentally aware loudly gasping “He wants you SO BADLY” cannot help but draw attention.

Wait. Is this banner proclaiming itself Soviet?

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

I linked to a page and pointed out this banner in my last post, but these things will be wasted unless I point to it a bit further.

enemiesofthepeople

Huh?

What does this mean?  This thing is confusing to me.  When I hear the phrase “Enemies of the People”, I think of the Soviet Union’s dissidents.  Which, generally speaking, would be a good thing.  That would seem to suggest that the original source for this image — Republican or conservative activist — is viewing themselves and his/her movement as a Soviet, sharpening discipline, and calling out Obama, Pelosi, Holder, Napolitano, Rangel, Reid, Frank, and Dodd as “Enemies of the People”.

Or is s/he implying that the eight headed Soviet Politboro of Obama, Pelosi, Holder, Napolitano, Rangel, Reid, Frank, and Dodd are listing out the “Enemies of the People”?  I guess that would make some sense — but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to double back to thinking of them as the “Enemies of the People”, which leads to perhaps a commentary about the double-edged sword — we become the enemy we fight — or something about projection — or perhaps a statement that we choose sides and really only have one choice because both sides are the same.

That flavorless gum I just chewed on? Worse than Hitler.

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Wait.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Briefed on Monckton’s findings‚ American statesman and physical economist Lyndon Larouche charged‚ “What this 180-page document represents is a policy worse than Hitler‚ which is the policy behind the Copenhagen summit

When last I heard that… was that then?

Whatever.  Last night I heard the Phil Hendrie Show for the first time in a while.  I haven’t bothered listening to the man of late, because when I heard the latest version of his radio show, he was rolling out his character (parodies of various political and societal  foibles) without any callers, and was doing his straight and tedious political commentary.  He’s apparently gone back to his old formula, baiting callers with incedinary comedic fake guests.

… which was “Conservatives of Kern County” head (for a short time in the last administration, had a converstion to “Democrats of Kern County”) Larry Grover.  Who defended the Dachau sign — which made the rounds last month for “Offense of the Moment”, baiting callers “If we pass Obama Care, this is what we’ll see right outside Dick Durbin’s office” — and the obvious baiting comment from Phil Hendrie “Now, do you claim to represent the Tea Party movement as a whole?”  (Enter Conservative callers disclaiming him.)

What we saw here was it lumped it to Larouche — which, I still don’t believe to have been the case — jusst a lone enterprising individual, mucking up the scene .  Organic and understandable enough, lest you witness the latest “outrage of the day” directed to the right wing radio host Laura Ingraham’s recitation of the “First They Came” poem

But you know.  To that link, I do find the bottom banner for “Mustang Man’s” “Enemies of the People” kind of interesting, in its ahistorical charge if you consider the “Enemies of the People” would be the expressed opponents of the Soviet state — or, if you, will: the “good guys” fighting tyranny.  Unless this poster is coming from the point of view of the Soviet State?  It’s all so very confusing.

I don’t know what’s going on with the CEC in Australia — to what extent we just see a dumping on an Australian politician.  I do want to try to work some further explanation or other on “Russia Today” — here, it occurs to me to mention that Igor Panarin ‘s doomsday prophesy received more attention in American media than Larouche in the after-effect of the Economic Fall in 2008.  That must have been due to his general freshness and novelty — he hasn’t been visibly spouting stuff off for 40 striaght years.

Continued link dumping here and here.  Though, the only two real worthwhile articles there are this one and this one.  Oh, and a special endorsement from Salt Lake radio host — whatever his name is , the guy Larouche was talking to when 9/11 happened.

Which finds me over to this one particualar interesting attempt to convert the Ron Paul supporters with “common cause”.  My basic question: is this royal “we” reference an admission of organizational strategy?  It seems to be.  Jay Giallombardo — his job description is to leave comments in Internet message boards and blogs to bring up the name “Larouche”.

Jay Giallombardo:  By the way, we are on the Ron Paul site because he is in a position to abolish the FED which is what we want. […]

You are right to support Ron Paul, as I do, to abolish the FED; but, not all governments are immoral. There have been a few in American history that did well. Washington – JQ Adams…Lincoln-McKinley… FDR, and JFK, and Reagan, somewhat.

Yeah, that’s going to go over well with the hardcore Randian Mises wing of the Ron Paul crowd.

I am unconvinced by your assertion that not all governments are immoral though: Since man runs them, they are immoral by definition; It’s just a question of varying degrees.
Personally, I believe FDR and JFK’s policies rank pretty high on the immoral.

AND

The USA was formed as a bullwark against tyranny and oppression through economic control. If practiced as intended, like FDR, JFK, and a few others did, American Economics can beat the British oligarchy every time.  AND HERE’S A HOOT AND A HALF.

One more word on FDR…if you read the history from Lincoln to the assassination of McKinley, and then the actions of the President’s that followed…you will see clearly that from Teddie Roosevelt through Hoover…we were under the direct corruption of the British Empire.

After the defeat of the south in the Civil war (that was initiated by the British as a last ditch attempt to destroy the US), the British gave up direct overthrow of our country and went into subterfuge-mode to destroy America through war-monger and corruptions of economic principles.

When Henry Carey continued with Lincoln’s plans for the Inter-continental Railroad, the British were soundly defeated because our Economy shifted from Maritime trade to intercontinental development which they could not undermine so readily undermine.
Although they did so with the Robber-Barrons, JP Morgan and others (that’s another story). And they West remains relatively undeveloped until this day. Lincoln envision a US population of 500,000,000 by 1950 had the West been fully developed.

The America system flourished in the latter part of the 19th century not only in America but in the world, Germany, Russia, China. The British were losing control most everywhere.

They shot Garfield and McKinley. McKinley was a staunch “Lincoln” supporter and kept high tariffs on British goods. With these two great President’s out of the way, in came British stooge, Teddie Roosevelt, followed by a line of Presidents which included Woodrow Wilson, former KKK leader. British destroyed Germany in WWI getting France and Russia to ally against them.
The devastated the Germany economy (Weimar 1923) and gave rise to Hitler.

I would like to ask start picking at this, but I have the wonderment of “Where to Begin?”

One must admire LaRouche’s passion but the man is borderline insane. He’s much like Hamilton and FDR.

They’re seeking out the this Randian brand of Ron Paul supporters after a light bulb flashed when seeing  the shared emnity from Paul Krugman, right?

put on your partisan blinders and decry the loss of comity… for thee but not for me

Friday, December 18th, 2009

We’re in the “Hit a Day” period of Senate grandstanding, thrown out for the blogosphere’s dining enjoyment.  The Big item two days ago was Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, having the Bernie Sanders 767 page “Single Payer” Amendment read out loud.  It was a delaying tactic, and I suppose a good enough one — but really, I am thinking that there ought be a rule that when such a request is made, the Senator should not be allowed out of the room — if Coburn wants the Amendment read, he should required to have to remain in the chambers and listen to it.  Maybe this rule change should be put into effect at the start of the next Congress — play by ear in the current Era of Hyper-Partisanship, all these things go about in flux.

Yesterday, we had a great curfunkle between Al Franken, Joseph Lieberman, John McCain, and an assist from Carl Levine.  Lieberman over-stepped his ten minutes, Al Franken — presiding over the chambers– shut him down, Lieberman asked for an extra minute, and Franken denied the request.  McCain stepped in to proclaim outrage.

MCCAIN: I’ve never seen a member denied an extra minute or so, as the chair just did.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): If the chair would yield for that…I think the same thing did occur earlier this afternoon, for reasons which have to do with trying to get this bill going. […]

MCCAIN: I think it harms the comity of the Senate.

Curiously, I would have to think a surer sign of the comity’s demise was shown with the previous day’s antics.

In other news, “Tea Party”ers perking up when Lieberman held out to drop the Medicare buy-in proposal are angered that once that was done in, he’s spoken for the Bill.  They’ve now circled their wagons to Ben Nelson, and Jim Demint is buttering him up.  Also, the conservative blogosphere continues to use the name “Stuart Smalley” instead of “Al Franken”.

Time Magazine’s Conceptual Person of the Year Runner Up

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

In the Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” buzz about Ben Bernanke…

That kind of doesn’t interest me so much as the “Conceptual” slot into runner up – The “Chinese Worker”.

In China they have a word for it. baoba means “protect eight,” the 8% annual economic growth rate that officials believe is critical to ensuring social stability. A year ago, many thought hitting such a figure in 2009 was a pipe dream. But China has done it, and this year it remains the world’s fastest-growing major economy — and an economic stimulus for everyone else. Who deserves the credit? Above all, the tens of millions of workers who have left their homes, and often their families, to find work in the factories of China’s booming coastal cities — in plants like the Shenzhen Guangke Technology Co.’s, just outside Hong Kong, which sits amid a jumble of snack stands, cheap clothing stalls and old men dragging carts filled with candy to sell to workers on their day off.

Glory Be!

chineseworker

Then again, the laudatory Ben Bernanke piece has an odd ring to it itself:

bernankemao

… Hm.