Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Auld Original Favourite Grande

It's American Street day, my friends.

The Passing of the Torch

Today's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting will show how much clout Team Hillary really has. Conversely, it will also show to what degree Team Obama will concede to her demands under the pretense of party unity. This is merely a power-play designed to show the influence of the Clintons within the Democratic party and a way to force her way onto the ticket as Obama's Vice President.

You can't really blame Team Clinton for going to this extreme; they don't have any other choice.

Much of what will transpire today will be largely ceremonial and heavily scripted, as are many of these sorts of affairs. In an average year, this would be a matter only for party insiders, media, and extreme policy wonks. It's a unique way for newbies to the political scene like yours truly to observe the pomp and circumstance and the inner workings of the system.

If there were any such thing as true fairness in life, then both Michigan and Florida would re-vote. Yes, it really is that simple. Yet, at this point in time doing so would clearly benefit Hillary Clinton, at least in Florida, so this won't come to pass.

You can analyze this situation from every perspective imaginable and still be no farther towards understanding what a fair resolution should be. This is also meant to be a corrective measure, to prevent state legislatures from moving primaries up farther and farther up in the calendar. Team Clinton set the parameters and front-loaded a super Tuesday, a near-national primary that was meant to establish her nomination as soon as possible. As we all know now, that did not come to pass and instead created the delicate, confusing situation we are dealing with right now.

Democratic weariness with the current Bush administration created this situation. This is a way for the national Democratic party to re-assert its control over rebelling state Democratic parties. It is also a bit of a pep rally to reinforce major Democratic talking points.

Saturday Video

In which I am getting extremely obscure.

Jale were comprised of four Canadian art students from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Part of a burgeoning Halifax scene that was hyped up in the music press to be Canada's answer to Seattle, the movement didn't quite get off the ground.

But that didn't stop a few melodic grunge bands like this one from releasing quality music. This song, "Not Happy", was released in 1993.

Notice, if you will, the Kids in the Hall influence in this video.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Rise of Obama, in a Neat Package

As much as I, in true Big Lebowski fashion, hate the fuckin' Eagles, man,

Dear Hillary and Barack, take this as advice.

There's talk on the street;
it sounds so familiar

Great expectations,
everybody's watching you

People you meet,
they all seem to know you

Even your old friends treat you
like you're something new

Johnny come lately,
the new kid in town

Everybody loves you,
so don't let them down

You look in her eyes;
the music begins to play

Hopeless romantics,
here we go again

But after awhile,
you're lookin' the other way

It's those restless hearts
that never mend

Johnny come lately,
the new kid in town

Will she still love you
when you're not around?

There's so many things
you should have told her,

but night after night
you're willing to hold her,

Just hold her,
tears on your shoulder

There's talk on the street,
it's there to

Remind you, that it
doesn't really matter

which side you're on.

You're walking away and
they're talking behind you

They will never forget you 'til
somebody new comes along

Where you been lately?
There's a new kid in town

Everybody loves him, don't they?

Now he's holding her,
and you're still around
Oh, my, my

There's a new kid in town
just another new kid in town

Ooh, hoo
Everybody's talking
'bout the new kid in town,

Ooh, hoo
Everybody's walking' like
the new kid in town

There's a new kid in town
There's a new kid in town

I don't want to hear it

There's a new kid in town

I don't want to hear it

There's a new kid in town
There's a new kid in town
There's a new kid in town

I Love This!

Building the Perfect Analogy

As we well know by now, Barack Obama is a new kind of politician who defies immediate characterization and easy pigeon-holing. This is why a plethora of op-ed columnists, talking heads, political pundits, amateur policy wonks, and their ilk have been seeking desperately to stumble across the best and the most adequate means of comparison. The comparison they seek would tether him most effectively to past Presidential contenders, with the hopes that even those not actively involved in politics on a day-to-day basis could have an easily understandable point of reference.

This is a very human response, but it's also motivated by personal gain.

Since Obama is such an unknown commodity, the press is also diving into the historical record to find policy decisions made by Presidents and political figures past in the hopes that they'll stumble across some kind of blueprint that reveals his overall mindset in this contest, his campaign strategy, or other revealing personal traits which might give us all some kind of idea as to how he would govern if elected President.

I too have been involved in such pursuits. And in doing so, I have dived back into a study of the past.

History has a way of revealing inherent truths that paint Republicans and Democrats in the same light---the light of the truth, that is. So in contemplating the McClellan tell-all, the underlying theme I pick out is two-part:

a) the hubris of the Bush administration is beyond excessive

b) the President and his advisers entertain a deluded notion that Democracy is some sort of exportable commodity that can be outsourced to other nations, even nations with absolutely no prior history of American-style government.

If one contemplates idealism as policy, the name of Woodrow Wilson must be uttered. Elected because the Republican party effectively split itself into two wings: the Progressives led by Theodore Roosevelt and the GOP loyalists under William Howard Taft, Wilson was a figure elected essentially by default and then re-elected on the promise to keep us out of a war that we inevitably entered under the pretense of "keeping the world safe for Democracy."

A new round of historical research continues to demystify many sacred cows. Scholarship before had venerated Wilson, romanticizing his struggles to establish a League of Nation (the precursor to the United Nations) as some kind of valiant lost cause, while at the same time overlooking his blatantly racist attitudes and policy, as well as his prickly, often smugly patronizing attitude.

This is just one example of how hindsight and changing times will strip away the veneer and allow us to observe the true nature of our political superstars.


When we contemplate Wilson's legacy, my question to you readers out there is exactly what public figure does this kind of hard-headed, uncompromising idealism best remind you?

Look beyond the obvious.

...Wilson favored a settlement [after World War I] that would promote international stability and economic expansion. He recognized that the Allies sought "to get everything out of Germany that they can." Indeed, after their human and economic sacrifices, Britain and France wanted tangible compensation, not pious principles.

Convinced of the righteousness of his cause, Wilson decided to attend the Peace Conference in Paris, although no President had ever gone to Europe when in office. But Wilson weakened his position before he even set sail.

First, he urged voters to support Democratic candidates in the November 1918 elections to indicate approval of his peace plan. But the electorate, responding primarily to domestic problems like inflation, gave the Republicans control of both houses of Congress.

This meant that any treaty would have to be approved by Senate Republicans angry that Wilson had tried to use war and peace for partisan purposes. Second, Wilson refused to consult with Senate Republicans on plans for the peace conference and failed to name important Republicans to the Paris delegation. It was going to be Wilson's treaty, and Republicans would feel no responsibility to approve it.

-The American Journey

A high level of secrecy and a lack of transparency has doomed the plans of many a President. Be it Wilson's utopian League of Nations in 1918 or Bill and Hillary Clinton's health care plan in 1993. Let this serve as a lesson to future leaders, if they are willing to listen to it and set their towering egos aside for a moment.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Blessings of Companionship

I've been doing some thinking recently.

Here in the blogosphere, I can, if I so choose, get a Greek chorus at all times of everything wrong with the world. It doesn't matter what site I access or where I set down my words on the internet. If I want to be reminded of the awful side of human conduct, it will always be there for me.

As a member of Generation X, when I speak to my contemporaries, I can always find fear, distrust, and anger no matter where I go. I hate to think this is our legacy. I would rather be inclined more to borrow from my little sister's generation, which has embraced a new spirit of idealism and the ethos of live-and-let-live.

But I've lately begun to wonder, due to the proverbial existential crisis that we all have at some point in our lives, if this kind of doom and gloom laden perspective does much good at all. Not just selfishly for me but for everyone else in the world.

Indeed, would it hurt us to laugh more? Would it do us much harm at all to give ourselves credit for the good things and focus less upon the negative? The Bible tells us there will be wars and rumors of wars so long as there are people who walk the Earth.

So I've contemplated these words of Soloman today. These days, my belief in a Providential authority is strong and whatever passage the book falls open to seems more than just synchronicity personified.

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he's in trouble.

Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

It is better to be a poor but wise youth than to be an old and foolish King who refuses all advice. Such a lad could come from prison and succeed. He might even become king, though born in poverty. Everyone is eager to help a youth like that, even to help him usurp the throne. He can become the leader of millions of people, and be very popular. But, then, the younger generation grows up around him and rejects him!

So again, it is all foolishness, chasing the wind!

These words could be described as empty, futile, and hollow but also truthful. We can choose to embrace this particular mind-frame if we so choose. I, however, would rather not. I would rather look for the silver lining than be content to dwell on the negative side of existence.

Life is too short. Our time here on Earth too time-limited. What is the point of living if we devote every waking moment towards pointing out every flaw in every place?

New Punk Name!


I was feeling especially sardonic.

The Perlious Tight-Rope of Negotiating with Our Enemies

Yesterday, I reached a point which many of us come to during the course of our lives. In short, my idealism suffered a severe hit and I came to a kind of epiphany that there really is no fairness in life. It's a tough pill to swallow, friends, particularly because in this country we perpetuate an ideal of fairness and justice that often does not come to pass in reality.

I'm still an Obama supporter and will be from now until November, but I am no longer the starry-eyed true believer as I once was. In my opinion, support for a candidate must be tempered by constructive criticism of said candidate when justified.

And in that spirit...

At the prompting of Republican friends, I have recently been studying up on the history of JFK's presidency. If Obama will draw the JFK comparison to himself, I figure I ought to follow the connection and entertain a major GOP talking point. Obama's willingness to negotiate with terrorists is seen by the right as foolish and counter-productive. The obvious snafu they allude to parallels one of the major mistakes of the Kennedy Administration.

Kennedy followed the Bay of Pigs debacle with a hasty and ill-thought-out summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June of 1961. Poorly prepared and nearly incapacitated by agonizing back pain, Kennedy made little headway.

Khruschev saw no need to bargain and subjected him to intimidating tirades. "He just beat the hell out of me," Kennedy told a reporter. Coming after Kennedy's refusal to salvage the Bay of Pigs by military intervention, the meeting left the Soviets with the impression that the President was weak and dangerously erratic.

To exploit Kennedy's perceived vulnerability, the Soviet Union renewed tension over Berlin, deep within East Germany.

-The American Journey

This action led directly to the establishment of the Berlin Wall by the Soviets.

So yes, I have done my homework. I know the right is afraid Obama will lack the experience and the judgment to know how to properly deal with Ahmendinajad at the bargaining table. Yet, in saying this, I believe that Obama has the ability to handle a delicate situation like this one admirably. Throw out the Kennedy comparison all you wish--Kennedy had a variety of hidden health problems that, had they been brought to the public consciousness before his election, could have easily resulted in his defeat in 1960. Nor is Obama a Kennedy clone.

In conclusion, those two ancient variables are in play again: trust and fear.

Do you trust Obama or to do you fear Obama?

The choice is yours.


Election 2008: Alabama Presidential Election

Alabama: McCain 60% Obama 32%

There are no surprises in the first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Presidential race in Alabama. John McCain leads Barack Obama by twenty-eight percentage points, 60% to 32%.

George W. Bush won the state by twenty-five points in Election 2004 and by fourteen points four years earlier. The state’s Senate Race is also looking good for the GOP.

More here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Synchronicity or Providential? Choice is Yours

(click to embiggen)

The Great Twitch versus The Great Sleep

Robert Penn Warren talked about two major concepts in his novel All The King's Men. Through the character of Jack Burden, we the reader are introduced to both: The Great Twitch and The Great Sleep.

The Great Twitch is the opposite of The Great Sleep. Whereas the great sleep is used to avoid all responsibility or knowledge of the sinister side of politics and human nature, the great twitch is the knowledge of the fact that humans are no more responsible for anything then any of us are for a random twitch on a stranger's face. It just happens. And knowing this, we can say or rationalize away whatever we do, stating we aren't responsible for anything that may be caused by our actions. That's well and good, friends, but I'm not that cold, callous, and calculating. I have a conscience and lately people have been telling me I ought to rid myself of it from now until November.

You see, I've come to some conclusions in recent days that many of you may have realized years ago. Chalk it up to youthful idealism. Namely, I've come to understand the sad fact that one has to be borderline sociopathic to make it in politics. Even our candidate's campaign isn't immune from this sort of behavior. Obama runs on a ideal based upon hope, kindness, and simple decency, but his inner circle and his top-level political operatives have resorted to some Machiavellian tactics which will progressively strike McCain farther and farther below the belt.

Many of you out there no doubt are wondering how I could make such an obvious statement with a straight face--presenting it as though this is some truism I've stumbled across which is meant to be pithy and profound. It's just politics, you say. Don't tell me you're surprised. What did you expect?

Suffice it to say, I've seen some major nastiness in this Presidential campaign already, and now that the first round of the Obama/McCain bloodsport is underway, the gloves are fully off. This contest is going to get far uglier than I ever dreamed and I may not have the stomach for it. Testicular fortitude aside, one has to be able to sleep at night. I've seen a kind of nastiness already that I know will only grow and swell in stature.

This too is the ugly underbelly of politics. I realize now even more fully that there are people who would sell their own mother down the river for fifty cents if they thought it would pad their egos, their resume, and allow them to leap frog over other people to get a book deal, their name in lights, or the white hot spotlight of the camera eye.

You might say: shelve your ideals, kid, the world is what it is. That may be so, but I've seen this universe of dubious ethical standards, backstabbing, and tit-for-tat and it absolutely sickens me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Progress


A Gentle Reminder

[The disciples] began to argue among themselves as to who would have the highest rank in the coming Kingdom.

Jesus told them, "in this world the kings and great men order their slaves around, and the slaves have no choice but to like it! But among you, the one who serves you best will be your leader. out in the world the master sits at the table and is served by his servants.

remember that song?

serve the servants
oh yeah

i think it was kurt cobain but at any rate and so on and so forth out in the world the master sits at the table and is served

oh wait I said that already
no matter

but not here! For I am your servant. Nevertheless, because you have stood true to me in these terrible days, and because my Father has granted me a Kingdom
for a horse
my kingdom


The Idea of Celebrity

in this culture
is utterly insane.

insane that we would
lift up these people who
end up largely from wealth
and the luck of the draw
being incorporated into a cult
of celebrity

the likes of which most of us
and me certainly
could never tolerate
without either falling into
or a callous disdain for the
human race
the intrusive nature of fame
I know I personally
could not take the intrusion
though I certainly am
privy to being a voyeur
to some degree

but not nearly as
much as most.

It Will Change You in the Middle of the Day

CLICK and drag

the words.

All the sailors
with their seasick mamas

Hear the sirens
on the shore,

Singin' songs
for pimps with tailors

Who charge ten dollars
at the door.

You can really
learn a lot that way

It will change you
in the middle of the day.

Though your confidence
may be shattered,

It doesn't matter.

All the great explorers
Are now in granite laid,

Under white sheets
for the great unveiling

At the big parade.

You can really
learn a lot that way

It will change you
in the middle of the day.

Though your confidence
may be shattered,

It doesn't matter.

All the bushleague batters
Are left to die

on the diamond.

In the stands
the home crowd scatters

For the turnstiles,

For the turnstiles,

For the turnstiles.

What Vice Do You Like Better?

CLICK and drag

the words.

So you be good to me

and I'll be good to you,

And in this land of conditions
I'm not above suspicion

I won't attack you,
but I won't back you.

Yes, that was me with the doves,
setting them free

near the factory

Where you built your computer,

I hope you get the connection,

'cause I can't take
the rejection

I won't deceive you,
I just don't believe you.

-Neil Young, 1974.

Blueberries, blueBerries, blueberries

The Evolution of the Obama Campaign

During the summer of 2007, I, like most of us, was completely convinced Barack Obama was going to run a distant second place to Hillary Clinton. My admittedly minor role as a volunteer for his campaign did little to assuage my feelings. He seemed doomed to run a respectable, but nonetheless inevitable second place. I was again more than willing to serve my time-honored role as the supporter of the Patron Saint of Lost Causes.

The means by which he won the nomination will be a benchmark in political science and history for years to come; I'll let hindsight speak for itself when the right time comes and I'll not dwell too heavily upon the against-all-odds nature of Obama's run for the White House.

Having plowed through both of Obama's books and two biographies written about him, many of my questions have been answered. What makes this campaign fun is that it is not heavily scripted as it would have been if Hillary had won the nomination fight hands down--- as we all expected a year ago (or less).

The media has been thrown into an often-amusing kind of disequilibrium with Obama's rise to power. Had Hillary Clinton won the nomination, the media and the blogs would have run off a heavily choreographed script. Having known what eight years of Clinton looked like, this election cycle would have been very routine, hum-drum, and perfunctory.

I, in my usual role, would have waddled down to the polls and cast my vote for the latest dull as dishwater Democrat, not feeling particularly good or inspired by it, but desirous of a Democratic president no matter in what package in which it arrived.

I have to say that I enjoy the kind of flying-by-the-seat-of-the-pants ethos of this campaign. It's exciting, but the word I keep coming back to is new. In my humble opinion, Obama is the first candidate of the Twenty-First Century. This is why he is not easily understood by the politicos, the media pundits, and the op-ed columnists.

How odd it is that we must have a Presidential election to be able to correctly gauge the progress we have made as a country or a society. In an instant, we see a snapshot of how we have been slowly, slowly moving forwards or backwards, evolving or de-evolving. It seems overwhelming until one recognizes that every day we are changing--but only in election years are we bombarded with realizations we are either too obtuse or too busy with our own lives to want to come to terms with.

The ironies and counter-ironies are compelling.


Men of good fortune,
often cause empires to fall

While men of
poor beginnings,

often can't do anything at all

The rich son waits for
his father to die

The poor just drink and cry

And me
I just don't care at all

Men of good fortune,
very often can't do a thing

While men of poor beginnings,
often can do anything

At heart they try to
act like a man

Handle things the
best way they can

They have no rich daddy
to fall back on

Men of good fortune,
often cause empires to fall

While men of
poor beginnings,

often can't do
anything at all

It takes money to make
money they say

Look at the Fords,
but didn't they start
that way?

Anyway, it makes no
difference to me

Men of good fortune,
often wish that
they could die

While men of poor beginnings
want what they have

And to get it they'll die

All those great things
that live has to give

They wanna have money
and live

But me, I just don't care at all

Men of good fortune
Men of poor beginnings

Lou Reed, 1973

Monday, May 26, 2008

You're All Just Pissing in the Wind (You Don't Know It, But You Are)

Back in the old folky days
The air was magic when we played.
The riverboat was rockin'
in the rain
Midnight was the time
for the raid.

Oh, Isabela, proud Isabela,
They tore you down and
plowed you under.
You're only real
with your make-up on
How could I see you
and stay too long?

All along the Navajo Trail,
Burn-outs stub their toes
on garbage pails.
Waitresses are cryin'
in the rain
Will their boyfriends
pass this way again?

Oh, Mother Goose,
she's on the skids
Shoe ain't happy,
neither are the kids.
She needs someone
that she can scream at
And I'm such a heel
for makin' her feel so bad.

I guess I'll call it
sickness gone
It's hard to say
the meaning of this song.
An ambulance can only
go so fast
It's easy to get buried
in the past
When you try to make
a good thing last.

I saw today
in the entertainment section
There's room at the top
for private detection.
To Mom and Dad
this just doesn't matter,
But it's either that
or pay off the kidnapper.

So all you critics sit alone
You're no better than me
for what you've shown.
With your stomach pump and
your hook and ladder dreams
We could get together
for some scenes.

I never knew a man
could tell so many lies
He had a different story
for every set of eyes.
How can he remember
who he's talkin' to?
'Cause I know it ain't me,
and I hope it isn't you.

Well, I'm up in T.O.
keepin' jive alive,
And out on the corner
it's half past five.
But the subways are empty
And so are the cafes.

Except for the Farmer's Market
And I still can hear him say:
You're all just pissin'
in the wind
You don't know it but you are.

And there ain't nothin'
like a friend
Who can tell you
you're just pissin'
in the wind.

I never knew a man
could tell so many lies
He had a different story
for every set of eyes
How can he remember
who he's talking to?
Cause I know it ain't me,
and hope it isn't you.

Neil Young, 1974

Showing Rather than Telling

Here, my dear.

Happy Memorial Day

But what's one human life, more or less?



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Presented Without Comment


I hardly ever allow myself to be this sweetly introspective, but having said that, do you ever feel this way sometimes?

Spring, Part Two

(Click to embiggen)

Inner Purity

A particular passage of scripture speaks to me this morning. When one takes into account the John Hagee/John McCain controversy of the past week, I am reminded that the pure ideal of Christianity or, for that matter, any spiritual movement can easily be co-opted and corrupted by human hands.

We on the religious/spiritual left do not easily or eagerly articulate what we believe, which is why the Hagee flap does not resonate nearly as well with the American public as the Reverend Wright controversy. I sincerely hope we will take this opportunity to expose the double standard and articulate our faith, no matter what denomination or faction we hold dear to our hearts.

This general idea has found its way into many denominations. The buzz words vary from faith group to faith group, but the main idea is the same. God talk will always make certain people uncomfortable. Open displays of faith in these secular time are not easy to brave, but in my opinion, we simply do not have any other choice.


Some Pharisees and other Jewish leaders now arrived from Jerusalem to interview Jesus.

"Why do your disciples disobey the ancient Jewish traditions?" they demanded.

"For they ignore our ritual of ceremonial handwashing before they eat."

He replied, "And why do your traditions violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God's law is 'Honor your father and mother; anyone who reviles his parents must die'

But you say, 'Even if your parents are in need, you may give their support money to the church instead.' And so, by your man-made rule, you nullify the direct command of God to honor and care for your parents.

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy of you, 'These people say they honor me, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is worthless, for they teach their man-made laws instead of those from God.'"

Then Jesus called to the crowds and said, "Listen to what I say and try to understand: You aren't made unholy by eating non-kosher food! It is what you say and think that makes you unclean!"

Then the disciples came and told him, "You offended the Pharisees by that remark."

Jesus replied, "Every plant not planted by my Father shall be rooted up, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and both will fall into a ditch."

Then Peter asked Jesus to explain what he meant when he said that people are not defiled by non-kosher food.

"Don't you understand?" Jesus asked him. "Don't you see that anything you eat passes through the digestive tract and out again? But evil words come from an evil heart, and defile the man who says them. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile; but there is no spiritual defilement from eating without first going through the ritual of ceremonial handwashing!"

By contrast, Mark has a much harsher, far more forceful version of this same tale.

One day some Jewish religious leaders arrived from Jerusalem to investigate him, and noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the usual Jewish rituals before eating.

(For the Jews, especially the Pharisees, will never eat until they have sprinkled their arms to the elbows, as required by their ancient traditions. So when they come home from the market they must always sprinkle themselves in this way before touching any food. This is but one of many examples of laws and regulations they have clung to for centuries, and still follow, such as their ceremony of cleansing for pots, pans, and dishes.)

So the religious leaders asked him, "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old customs? For they eat without first performing the washing ceremony."

Jesus replied, "You bunch of hypocrites! Isaiah the prophet described you very well when he said, 'These people speak very prettily about the Lord but they have no love for him at all. Their worship is a farce, for they claim that God commands the people to obey their petty rules.'

How right Isaiah was! For you ignore God's specific orders and substitute your own traditions. You are simply rejecting God's laws and trampling them under your feet for the sake of tradition.

For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: 'Honor your father and your mother.' And he said that anyone who speaks against his father or mother must die. But you say it is perfectly all right for a man to disregard his needy parents, telling them, 'Sorry, I can't help you! For I have given to God what I could give to you.'

And so you break the law of God in order to protect your man-made tradition. And this is only one example. There are many, many others."

Then Jesus called to the crowds to come and hear.

"All of you listen," he said, "and try to understand. Your souls aren't harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!"

Then he went into a house to get away from the crowds, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the statement he had just made.

"Don't you understand either?" he asked. "Can't you see that what you eat won't harm your soul? For food doesn't come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the digestive system." (By saying this he showed that every kind of food is kosher.)

And then he added, "It is the thoughtlife that pollutes. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts of lust, theft, murder, adultery, wanting what belongs to others, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, pride, and all other folly. All of these vile things come from within; they are what pollute you and make you unfit for God."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On The Way Home

When the dream came

I held my breath with my eyes closed
I went insane,

Like a smoke ring day
When the wind blows

Now I won't be back
till later on

If I do come back at all

But you know me,

and I miss you now.

In a strange game
I saw myself
as you knew me

When the change came,
And you had a
Chance to see through me

Though the other side
is just the same

You can tell my dream is real

Because I love you,
can you see me now?

Though we rush ahead
to save our time

We are only what we feel

And I love you,
can you feel it now?

Two Songs in One Day? Oh me, oh my.

My name is Jonas.
I’m carrying the wheel.

Thanks for all you’ve shown us.
This is how we feel.

Come sit next to me.
Pour yourself some tea.

Just like Grandma made
When we couldn’t find sleep.

Things were better then.
Once but never again.

We’ve all left the den.
Let me tell you ’bout it.

Choo-choo train left
right on time.

A ticket costs
only your mind.

The driver said,
“Hey, man, we go all the way.”

Of course we
were willing to pay.

My name is Wakefield.
Gotta box full of your toys.

They’re fresh
out of batteries.

But they’re still makin’ noise,
makin’ noise.

Tell me what to do.
Now the tank is dry.

Now this wheel is flat.
And you know what else?

Guess what I received,
In the mail today.

Words of deep concern
From my little brother.

The building’s not going
as he planned.

The foreman has
injured his hand.

The dozer will not
clear a path.

The driver swears
he learned his math.

The workers are going home.
The workers are going home

The workers are going home.

My name is Jonas.


Chess Pie (no relation to the game)

Sally Go Round the Roses

I'm at The American Street today, with a new performance video.

Saturday Video

The Breeders, originally a vanity project led by identical twins Kelly and Kim Deal, are best known for this playful indie rock anthem. "Cannonball" graced the airwaves for the first time in the late summer of 1993.

Notice, if you will, the early to mid-90's motif of three women on stringed instruments and a male drummer. That was quite the rage for a while.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are invited, but few are chosen.


The basic point of the Parable of the Two Sons is that doing is more important than saying, and while the tax collectors and prostitutes were repenting of their sins, the Pharisees were not. In their pride, they thought themselves to be sinless. The Parable of the Tenants speaks to how the prophets of the Old Testament had been treated by the Jewish authorities, who murdered them (see Luke 11:37-54 which addresses both of these truths). Jesus further emphasizes all of this with the telling of the Wedding Banquet Parable, and while this Parable provides a vivid message for the Pharisees drawn from current events and Jewish history, it is also prophetic in nature.

In Jewish society, a marriage contract was generally made between the parents of the betrothed. The bride and groom would meet, perhaps for the first time, when this contract was signed by the involved parties. Although considered married at this point, they would then separate. The bride would remain with her parents and the groom would go off to prepare their home. This could take quite a while. When the home was finished and all was ready, the groom would return for his bride without notice. The marriage ceremony would then take place and the wedding banquet would follow.

The wedding banquet was one of the most important and joyous occasions in the Jewish life and could last for up to a week. Christ compares Heaven to the wedding banquet that a king had prepared for his son. Certainly a royal wedding would far surpass that of a commoner. The mention of the oxen and fattened cattle having been butchered in vs. 4b indicates it is being prepared and will be fresh, a royal feast where the best of everything is available and plentiful. Indeed Christ first public miracle was at the wedding feast of Cana in supplying an abundance of the best wine (see John 2:1-11).

To the Pharisees, the sending of the first servants would have spoke of the Old Testament prophets, while the sending of the second set of servants is representative of John the Baptist, the first prophet in over four hundred years, and also Jesus’ disciples mentioned in the tenth chapter of Matthew. It is also representative of God’s long-suffering nature toward man. The invitation is an invitation to salvation, first offered to the Jews, who, for the most part ignore it, and then to the Gentiles.

Note that it is not because they could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come to the wedding feast, that some of the guest failed to respond to the invitation. This speaks not only the Jews, but to mankind in general who fail to seek out God. Everyone at one time or another wonders about the big questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Everyone at one time or another wonders about the question of God, but we become so enamored with ourselves that we fail to seek the answers to these questions where they can be found, the Bible. We become so involved with the everyday practice of life that we fail to find its meaning. We take the path of least resistance and seek comfort. We answer those questions with what will please us, only to find that after a lifetime of trying to satisfy ourselves, we are never satisfied. That is because we live in time, but were made for eternity (see Ecclesiastes 3:11).

The rest of the invited guests who failed to respond to the invitation took it upon themselves to mistreat and murder the servants. While this describes the Jewish ruling class of the day, it also represents mankind at various places and times throughout history, Mankind who has made God into its own image and will not tolerate the truth. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (see John 14:6).

The Pharisees and others throughout history have wanted people to believe that they were acting for their good while trying to achieve their own agenda; more often than not, an agenda that would place them above all others, an agenda that actually sought out wealth and power while the people they governed came in a distant second. John 11:45-53 is a most revealing passage pertaining to true concern of the Pharisees. It concerns the plot by the Pharisees to murder Jesus because of His popularity. Note verse forty-eight; note their primary concern; that the Romans would take away “their place.” For these type people, both then and now, murder is preferable to losing “their place.”

The city of both types’ people is destroyed. This speaks to the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation in A.D. 70 and to the destruction of the cities of the world mentioned in the book of Revelation. God is long-suffering and patient, but He will not tolerate wickedness forever. His judgment is well-earned by mankind, and it will come to those who have ignored His offer of salvation. Considering what that salvation cost Jesus, is not this judgment well deserved (see Hebrews 10:29-31)?

The invitation is then taken and given to everyone at the crossroads, to strangers both good and bad. This refers to the gospel being taken to the Gentiles. The Gospel message is available to everyone. This message was certainly not lost to the Jews, who considered Gentiles beneath their contempt (see Romans 9:30-33).

Now, when the king enters the wedding feast, he sees a man without a wedding garment. This would be a gross insult to the king. Considering the fact that no one invited from the street corners would have been expected to have had a wedding garment with them, it is evident that the king himself provided the garments for the guests. To refuse to put this garment on is insulting to the one who provided it.

This insult of refusing proper attire for the wedding feast would have been obvious to the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking, but this also refers to apostate Christianity. It speaks to those who are Christians in name only. To those who are depending on their own works, their own self-righteousness, to make them acceptable before God. This will not work (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Just as the king provides the wedding garments for the guest, it is God who provides salvation for mankind. To refuse this salvation is insulting to God because in this refusal you are treading on the very blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. When you strip away everything from all the religions of the world, except for its basic tenant of faith, you with either find man working his way towards God, or the cross of Christ. The cross is the only way to salvation. Our wedding garment is Jesus Christ Himself, and unless we put Him on, we will miss the wedding feast.

For his crime against the king, the improperly attired guest was thrown out into the darkness. For their crimes against God, there will be many who will be consigned to the darkness. That darkness is existence without God for eternity. Christ concludes the parable with the sad fact: “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” This deals with salvation and its offer being available to everyone, but only a few accepting it.

Friday YouTube

Kay Kendall was a promising British actress during the 1940s and 1950s. Regrettably, her career was cut short due to her untimely death from Leukemia.

This role in the film Genevieve made her a star, though sadly she passed away five years later.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stuff Black People Hate

A fantastic site.

Totally Voluntary Semi-Meme

Of these fifty snooty art films, which have you seen?

Use bold faced text to indicate films you have viewed.


THE 400 BLOWS (1959)
HÄXAN (1922)
IKIRU (1952)
M (1931)
IL POSTO (1961)
LA STRADA (1954)
THE 39 STEPS (1935)
UGETSU (1953)
UMBERTO D. (1952)

This Ain't Me

This will never be me.

Same Old Thing Happen Everyday

A Few Thoughts on Memorial Day

Even when I was a child, I've never been filled with anything resembling a swelling sense of national pride when Memorial Day rolls around. Even before I became a Quaker I remember focusing a skeptical, cynical eye upon the rhetoric, the pageantry, and the pomp and circumstance that characterizes this holiday.

Perhaps I've always maintained a child's sensitive, literal view towards armed conflict: what a waste of life, money, and energy. How does killing other people solve our conflicts?

As I have gotten older, subsequent study of wars and military endeavors do not fill me with a kind of adrenalin joy. The reality of the situation is not a particularly beautiful notion. Unlike many, I do not need wars to feel better about myself. Indeed, wars make me feel worse about humanity and human nature. On the other hand, however, I enjoy reading up on military strategy. I enjoy second-guessing the decisions made during wars prior and I relish contemplating and charting the narrative progression of how previous conflicts have unfolded and resolved themselves.


It's interesting to contemplate how we incorporate often nonsensical, or at best dubiously logical rationalizations into our thoughts and judgments.

Wars are just. Wars are necessary. Wars unite us. Our enemy deserves to die. Wars thin out the population. The end justifies the means. It's either us or them. Carnage is justified. God is on our side.

These statements fly in the face of reason. If you'd believe the rhetorical flights of fancy perpetuated not just by our leaders, but by leaders throughout history, our enemies are devilish, 100% evil, and evidence of everything wrong with the world. We are supremely right, they are supremely wrong, and there is no in between.


I just don't buy it anymore.

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

e.e. cummings, 1926

My Very Own Froodle

(click to large-ify)

Freida Bee made me a Froodle!

I love it!

*the Froodle makes fun of hipsters.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

To The End

Football Season is Over

No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 27. 27 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 27. You are getting Greedy. Act your age. Relax — This won't hurt"

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?

Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.

I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires.

Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.

The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.

I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches? -

Its snaky acids hiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

An Open Letter


I didn't used to be this angry, this skeptical, this cantankerous. There was a time before I got sick where I was trusting, naive, shy, and innocent.

Then I had my first breakdown and over time I got very bitter. As the argument goes, underneath every cynic there is a romantic in disguise. And so it is that I am one as well.

I won't excuse my behavior. I won't excuse my anger. I won't excuse my bad qualities. I'll own up to them.

But underneath it all I really do care deeply. My illness keeps me miserable, but I don't care to romanticize it away as I did when I was in my angst-ridden teens.

It would certainly be nice to relax once in a while. It would be nice to take something, anything at face value. And maybe with time I'll reach that state.

Don't Let It Burn, Don't Let It Fade

Victory in Oregon

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ambivalence on Siegelman

As a resident of the state of Alabama, I cast my vote for Don Siegelman twice: once in 1998 (a winning campaign) and again in 2002 (a narrow defeat). Let it be further known that in this largely GOP controlled state, I have never cast a single vote for a Republican in either a state general election/primary/runoff, a local election/primary/runoff or a national general election/primary. I do not regret casting my vote for Siegelman either time because he was the lesser of two evils running. In this state, one often has to cast a vote for the Good Old Boy on the left or the Good Old Boy on the right, and I always opt for the former.

As a matter of fact, I even registered to vote at a Siegelman for Governor campaign office when I was a senior in high school. Siegelman's successful 1998 run for Governor coincided with the very first election cycle in which I was eligible to exercise my civic responsibility by voting.

So, having set my credentials, please kindly allow me to proceed.

Don was, at best, an inefficient Governor. He was routinely lambasted in the press for lacking a spine and for being entirely beholden to the Democratic party establishment. He passed no real reforms during his four years in office, which contributed to his defeat and inability to achieve re-election. Until he was sentenced to prison, he was best known for a failed state-wide Education Lottery plan that went down to defeat, sabotaged by an unholy alliance of the Christian Coalition and the Mississippi gambling bosses.

Don was the kind of man who was ruthlessly politically ambitious and whose desire, first and foremost was to be Governor. What he lacked in intellect he made up for in drive and determination. By no means the sharpest crayon in the box, he was a notoriously poor judge of character and surrounded himself with corrupt underlings who cut a variety of underhanded deals. Whether he was aware of this, I know not.

What I do know is this: Siegelman rose up through the ranks of Alabama politics methodically, one rank at a time. He won election to the highest office in Alabama not necessarily because of his own merits, but because he ran against a highly unpopular good old boy whose real first name, was, believe it or not, Forrest. As an aside, I'm not sure what sounds more ignorant or down home: Forrest or Fob.


To provide a bit of perspective, in the early 1970's my father was elected as an independent to the Student Government Association of the University of Alabama. He recalls Siegelman as an arrogant, nakedly ambitious Greek who ruled with an iron fist. Siegelman was the President of the SGA during his college years in Tuscaloosa and was the consummate political puppet. Greek concerns came first and independent concerns were treated with caustic disdain and summarily dismissed.

In those days, Alabama's future political leaders were groomed by a Tammany Hall-like operation known as The Machine. The Machine's power over the University of Alabama's Student Government was legendarily corrupt and not above resorting to intimidation to accomplish its aims. Ironically, The Machine's power was largely undermined by the crusading reforms of one Joe Scarborough, lately of MSNBC talking head fame.


When charges came down against Governor Siegelman, I remember thinking to myself that the prosecution had a rather weak case. I wasn't sure it was going to hold much water. In fact, the only reason the Feds' case held up at all was because a top Siegelman aide turned state's evidence and pointed the finger of blame squarely at his former employer. And having said that, I do not disagree with the jury's verdict. I do believe that Don is guilty, though I am almost positively certainly the harshness of his sentence was, indeed, politically motivated.

However, if by chance he isn't guilty of this particular offense, I'm sure there are many others far worse which would easily result in a guilty verdict. Don is just another corrupt politician of the sort we seem to produce in excess here in Alabama. If the GOP was responsible for putting him away on bogus charges, they need to be punished just as severely as he was. But that doesn't excuse the fact that Governor Siegelman has a tremendous amount of political baggage and is no innocent.

Such a Perfect Day

Just a summer's day
Drink Sangria in the park

And then later
when it gets dark

We go home.

Just a summer's day
Feed animals in the zoo

And then later
a movie too

And then home

Oh, it's just a
perfect day

I'm glad I spent it
with you

It's just a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a summer's day
Problem all left alone

Weekends on our own
It's such fun

Oh, it's just a perfect day
I'm glad that I spent it with you

I thought I was someone else
Someone good.

Oh, it's just a summer's day
I'm glad I spent it with you

Oh, just a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on

You just keep me hanging on

You're going to reap
Just what you sow

You're going to reap
Just what you sow

Dear Sister in Oregon

Thank you for registering to vote and casting your vote for Barack Obama.

I don't tell you this enough, but I am proud of you. :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blogging About Blogging

I'm going to take a step back this morning.

I'm going to refrain from commenting upon the latest raging political controversy. Instead I'd like to take a fast moment to reflect upon the role of bloggers and the blogsophere in this day and age.

Our numbers are small, certainly, but we've quickly been transformed from a triviality to a novelty in the eyes of the MSM over the past four years.

That being said...

I often wonder if we are as important or as influential as we think we are. Let's try to keep our egos and our ids at bay if we can, friends. After all, if you believe a few overzealous bloggers, our combined voices and keystrokes on a monitor were the sole voices directly responsible for electing a Democratic controlled House and Senate two years ago.

Not quite. We had a role, certainly, but we're not that influential. At least not yet. Our journals and blog entries merely mirrored the deep sense of dissatisfaction felt by a majority of Americans. So do they now.

The last batch of statistics I've read put our numbers at roughly 5% of the American population.

Blogging can often be a deeply cathartic exercise but I hasten to over-exaggerate our impact on any large scale. I am merely one person and one voice among many often disgruntled souls. As a netroots activist, I often express deep frustration at those who do not share my passion for agitation and rabble-rousing. This is, of course, the quandary of every hyper-political being.

My point in writing this is to remind us all that we shouldn't let a grandiose sense of self-importance distract us from our real role as citizen journalists and amateur op-ed writers.

As for me personally, I'm not interested in being a social climber or a name dropper, nor am I out to impress anyone.

I am grateful that we have an ability to speak our minds in a public forum such as this without being censored or thrown into jail. Though I am a thin-skinned individual who does not take criticism well, I recognize that a few of my opinions have touched a nerve with readers, although that outcome was never my goal. I'm not out to inflame or incense anyone.

In saying that, I do feel a sense of satisfaction that some of my words and ideas have made such a deep impact upon total strangers that they've felt compelled to respond. In my mind, if I've accomplished only this, then I have succeeded: I have been heard.

For Those of You for Whom Autovehicular Sex Isn't an Abstraction

You could call me a car lover
'Cos I love it in a motor

And the way it feels
To ride around on new wheels.

I hardly know you
But I think I'm going to

Let's go siesta
In your Ford Fiesta

Here we go again
I'm riding in your car

Let me count to ten
'Cos it's gone way too far

Up my street to nowhere
You know what detours are

Here we go again
And it's gone way too far

Sometimes I just can't function
My heart's spaghetti junction

Every shining bonnet
Makes me think of my back on it.

I just can't escape the feeling
That I'd rather be free wheeling

In every little Honda
There may lurk a Peter Fonda

Here we go again
I'm riding in your car

Let me count to ten
'Cos it's gone way too far

Up my street to nowhere
You know what detours are

Here we go again
And it's gone way too far

-Elastica "Car Ride"

No, I never have. Always seemed a bit cramped to me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Newest Baking Excursion

Orange cookies with orange icing.

Why I Don't Want to Have Children

The Bipolar Child

Realigning Election in Progress

With Senator Obama now the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, the old coalition of red states and blue states is due for a major shift. Exactly how this will occur and to what degree it will occur is a purely a matter of debate. I simply will not make sweeping predictions with six months to go before Election Day.

That being said, I've noted many optimistic forecasts, all proposing that even solidly red states here in the South might very well go blue in November. With Obama the first African-American candidate with a serious hope of winning the Presidency, I understand their rosy perspective, though I am inclined to discount it a little. Make no mistake, it would certainly be fascinating to speculate as to what 90% black turnout would look like on a major scale. However, whether that alone would be the deciding factor in the general election this November is a matter of conjecture and speculation.

As Obama himself pointed out in The Audacity of Hope, even many solidly red states routinely register 40% Democratic turnout when all the votes are counted. He's right. My home state of Alabama is a classic example of that old cliche: so close and yet so far away. A 60/40 split, according to the conventional wisdom, is about the best a Democratic candidate can ever expect here in a Presidential election. With Obama on the ticket, the inevitability of this usually sage bit of advice seems less certain. If the Black Belt counties (whose population are overwhelmingly African-American) turn out in record numbers then I believe that the GOP margin of victory will be far less than it usually is but I doubt it will be enough to overcome the votes of rural whites, who almost always vote Republican, no matter who the candidate is.

That being said, I think it is possible, although not likely, that usually reliable GOP states here in the Southeast could turn blue this November. It will be a daunting challenge for any Democratic candidate.

However, this time a year ago I would have never believed Barack Obama would be in the position he is in right now. Consider me cautiously optimistic but not holding my breath. Alabama is a state where President Bush still has a tremendous amount of popularity, due to the deluded notion of many residents that anything with an R after his or her name must automatically be purely good and anything with a D must automatically be purely evil.

If any southern state has a chance of ending up in the Obama column, it is, in my humble opinion, Georgia--because of its large population of African-Americans who reside in the city of Atlanta. The dynamics of rural vote versus urban vote are always in play during every election cycle and this time around we'll see it with a slightly different permutation than ever before.

I don't know how the general election will shape out in the end. Too many things could transpire between now and November, but what I will certainly stand behind is my belief that we are due for a shift in political polarity the likes of which we haven't seen in decades.

The Quaker Testimonies

In which I tell you a bit about what I believe.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Justine Frischmann interview.

'I just thought it was better to be Pete Best than Linda McCartney,' she explained with the hint of a grin, as she raised a cup of tea to her lips in a Camden caff. 'Apart from anything, I couldn't deal with being the second guitarist and having this strange, Lady Macbeth role in it, along with being general mother to four blokes.'

She'd been studying music and writing songs since she was 11 and went on to lament the fact that 'as soon as a bloke gets a guitar in his hands, he's unbearable,' which is something that even most men will struggle to argue with.

You Say Today is Saturday?

Yes, and I'm at The American Street.

Saturday Video

in which I am showing my age.

Justine Frischmann was the de facto leader of this mid-90s Britpop band, Elastica. This song, "Connection", was the group's biggest hit, although but they were never able to fully capitalize on its success for any long-term impact in the public consciousness. "Connection" drew controversy in the music press because the opening riff was rather flagrantly stolen lock, stock, and barrel from the art-punk group Wire.

In the U.S., Elastica were a one-hit-wonder. In their native Britain, they were a brief sensation with a tremendous amount of unfulfilled promise.

To provide a bit of back story, Frischmann dated Damon Albarn of Blur for many years. Their breakup was documented in the latter band's album 13, which was released in 1999.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Beyond Offensive

This simply isn't funny, Governor Huckabee.

My Latest Culinary Endeavor

Oatmeal Muffins

There was lots of extra oatmeal, so I thought, why not muffins?

What Fools These Mortals Be

Ship of Fools

(click to enlarge)

Friday YouTube

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Dear President Bush,

People who do not understand history have no business making it.


Comrade Kevin.

Weighing in on Appeasement

I didn't want to write this post, but after seeing the shouting match on Hardball earlier this afternoon, I feel compelled to speak.

The Neo-Con right will always resort to the Neville Chamberlain/ Munich Agreement appeasement argument when they talk about the supposed War on Terror we are currently waging. Many like John Hagee see the struggle between radical Islam and Western Civilization as fulfillment of biblical End Times philosophy.

Good guys versus Bad guys.

White hats versus Black hats.

Anyone who deviates from this line of thinking is, in their opinion, wrong. Not just wrong, but doomed.

That's the Neo-con argument for Pre-Emptive warfare. Period.

Making a comparison between Radical Islam and Nazism is a dangerous one, mostly because they don't have much in common. Nazi Germany was a pervasive police state led by a sociopathic dictator who led a motley band of mafioso, knee-cap breakers, and assorted thugs into power. It was a well-oiled machine with a chillingly precise and uniform manner of conducting business.

By contrast, Radical Islam has no allegiance to a single state or a single philosophy. It's a movement that does not coalesce around any single nation or single manner of conducting business, regardless of what W and the rest of his followers would like you to believe. Fascism was certainly a potent threat in its day and age, but Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco played by different rules of conduct. What was true in 1939 is not true in 2008.

Comparing Fascism to Radical Islamic Terrorism is a lot like comparing apples to oranges. It just doesn't wash.

Radical Islam cannot be attacked by conventional tactics, because its membership cannot easily be defined. We're still arguing over why terrorism is created. The right has its own hypothesis. We on the left have our own.

By comparison, the reasons why the Nazis came to power are pretty much defined and agreed upon by historians. In short, the entire nation of Germany was in a state of depression and economic devastation so profound that it makes what we suffered in the Great Depression pale in comparison.

Radical Islam is comprised of a fringe element of determined followers, but it has no wholesale support among the greater community. The right peddles fear of the unknown very skillfully, as the right always will do. The right assumes that this threat will grow and spread until it infects the entire Middle East. We on the left believe differently.

The struggle we now face is that of trust versus fear and terrorism is just the latest variable in the ideological fight. Do you trust that we can negotiate with our enemies? Or, do you fear that doing so is not only dangerous, but will inevitably backfire?

Do you believe that radical Islam is like a cancerous growth that must be assaulted with massive doses of chemotherapy treatments, or do you concede that perhaps we had a hand in creating the mass division of cells in the first place?

That's where the argument has stalemated. The truth is somewhere in between.

How Do You Take This?

Macabre and incredibly naive? Or does it have something to say?

It seems like teen angst to me, circa 1970.

Disquieting Ironies

The human condition is often not a comforting notion.

The gift of being self-aware is a double edged-sword, and the life of the manic depression alternates drastically between insane self-confidence and neurotic apprehension of the self. I have destroyed myself with excesses and also built myself back. I have risen from the ashes many times but I never forget the error of my ways.

We get what's coming to us in the end. I certain reap what I've sown.

I call for the shape I'm in.
I've been first and last

And hypocrisy is also part of the human condition---it can be a tit-for-tat game of keeping score and usually that prefaces the end of any relationship, romantic or platonic. I admit my imperfections and I strive to make new mistakes, next time.

If there is a next time.

Can You Lend Us Fifty Quid to Mend the Shed?

I Don't Mind

If the rain comes they run
and hide their heads.

They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes, if the rain comes.

When the sun shines
they slip into the shade
(When the sun shines down.)

And sip their lemonade.
(When the sun shines down.)

When the sun shines,
when the sun shines.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the weather's fine.

I can show you that
when it starts to rain,

(When the Rain comes down.)
Everything's the same.

(When the Rain comes down.)
I can show you, I can show you.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the weather's fine.

Can you hear me,
that when it rains and shines,
(When it Rains and shines.)
It's just a state of mind?

(When it rains and shines.)
Can you hear me,
can you hear me?

sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.




Edward's Endorsement Speech

I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Dada Art Show Presentation


Political disasters Eaten by gut.

Why West Virginia Doesn't Matter

I'm not surprised by Hillary Clinton's sweeping victory last night in West Virginia. Not only did she deliberately play the gender card by imploring women to vote for her even when she cannot win the nomination, she injected race into the minds of potential voters as well. In doing so, she ran up the score.

What we saw last night was a backlash against the media and a few notable pundits, who painted working class white voters as racist and hopelessly backwards. Indeed, the media spoke the truth. It is notable that when a person is wrong and will not admit it, he or she will often become angry. White working class anger is what we saw in yesterday's primary.

The voters of West Virginia lashed out and made their voices heard in the same way that voters of New Hampshire lashed out against the conventional wisdom back in January--handing their votes to Hillary Clinton rather than Barack Obama.

As an Obama supporter, I do not find the results troubling or upsetting, regardless of how the media would like to spin this out. Yes, West Virginia was, at one time, a Democratic stronghold but over the years it has become a conservative bastion, solidly red and solidly conservative. The last realigning Presidential election in 1968 turned the solidly Democratic south solidly GOP and the same dynamic is at play in West Virginia.

I don't fault Obama for not putting resources into West Virginia. We forget that these candidates are human being sometimes. Barack is, lest we forget, the father of two young girls and husband to Michelle. I would prefer he preserve his sanity, his marriage, and his peace of mind than to exhaust himself campaigning for a state he had no chance of winning. If he had gone into West Virginia gangbusters, he might have narrowed the gap, but he would not have won the Mountaineer state. The dynamics simply do not favor him, and no matter what the media says, most people will vote for the GOP come November in that state.

Hillary Clinton is not going to go away because her strategy now appears to be to make a compelling case why she should be Obama's Vice President. I would caution him strongly before putting her on the ticket. Indeed, she and Bill will likely use their strong hand with pledged delegates and super-delegates to directly influence the Cabinet of a presumptive Obama administration. The Clinton ego signals to me, at least, an uncomfortable marriage where he will be largely hamstrung by the whims of two egomanics: Hillary and Bill Clinton.

With Hillary Clinton on the ticket, the rust belt states that compromise Appalachia might be in play, but I strongly question whether Senator Obama should take the risk. The Clintons would not delegate responsibility well and I see them attempting to hijack his power and his administration for their own gains.