Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Some nostalgia for my eldest...the first rock show I took him to (though not the first one where he was taken backstage, oddly enough) and he thought Rob and the boys were the bomb - Myself of course setting a negative parenting example sharing some fat home-rolled cigarettes with my friendly biker gang pals while waiting for those nice fellas Slayer to take the stage...outdoors...in daylight.
Monday, July 26, 2010
On the heels of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee's complaint last week over the grief he has received for authorizing the so-called "torture memos," Alberto Gonzales himself appeared on CNN after the Justice Department's verdict had been handed down.
Instead of expressing the relief he surely must feel at having dodged a federal criminal indictment, Gonzales said instead: "I feel angry that I had to go through this. That my family had to suffer through and what for?"
Of the scandal itself, Gonzales repeated his long-held story. "I made the decision based upon what I thought was best for the department and for the American people. All these investigations have now confirmed that this was not to influence improperly any ongoing investigation or to punish anyone for political reasons."
Oh, Alberto, you wild funnyman...Frankly, I'm surprised that you can even remember how those pesky decisions were made. Have you been taking Gingko? What a kidder. Keep up the angry shtick babe, they're rolling in the aisles.
What those investigations have confirmed in actuality, is that truth is for the little people and one can have as much justice as they are willing to spend on for time to run off the clock, and payoffs for the witnesses to...um...um...'I don't recall'. Same as it ever was.
Of course, it helps when no one wants to look back, too. That might lead to a disruption in chummy comity. Why, some people might give the game away by getting cranky and asking too many favors in return for their votes. Nothing funny about that. Gosh, no.
For a bit of back story and review, let the knowledgeable bmaz at emptywheel have the final post mortem.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Raw Story/AP - Obama: Vilsack ‘jumped the gun’ because of YouTube culture
In an excerpt of an ABC News interview broadcast Thursday night, Barack Obama said (Agriculture Secretary Tom) Vilsack had been too hasty in pushing Shirley Sherrod out.
"He jumped the gun, partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles," Obama said.
The president said he has instructed "my team" to make sure "that we're focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and think these issues through."
It's intriguing to me that, of all the things to blame for the latest bit of 'Now you jump-how high, sir' as performed by a gaggle of fools, the one that got picked out of the hat this week was 'media culture'.
I worked (in a minor capacity) for a large online news and opinion disseminator during the 2008 primary season.
As a result of that employment, I was constantly steeped in news and reaction to the various chess games and sausage making machinations of the American electoral process, and there was no more media aware ('new' or otherwise) candidate at that time than Barack Obama. No one else came close.
Even the set-up job that was 'Bittergate', a series of candor-driven observations regarding the heartland delivered to mildly sympathetic left-coast donors - and one hostile reporter 'plant' - was swiftly steered away from the reef and deflected publicly before opponents (who privately shared the same sentiments) could use them to gain an advantage without seeming too opportunistic.
The machine that packaged and processed the candidate was smooth and ruthless in its pursuit of electoral viability. Gaffe control was in full effect.
So what happened?
Obviously, the candidate became the elected leader of a country that was rather divided over many issues, one of which was - believe it or not in the 21st fucking century - whether a person of color should even hold that office.
Frankly, in some ways Team Obama owes a debt to George W. Bush, for without his ill-starred presidency as precedent it's quite possible that many who voted for someone who appeared diametrically opposed to what came before would never have done so if the situation and prognosis were different - i.e., whiter (in flesh tone) and brighter (in financial terms).
Since the prize had been obtained, there was no need to maintain the lineup of media pros who could counteract the spin and optics of dedicated negativity merchants and put their man in the best light possible at all times...And when they left, Team Obama went on defense with a crew far less obsessed with taking the high ground and more with positioning their leader for an inoffensive far-off electoral suitability.
The problem with playing defense in this game is that it is a reactive position - and that in the modern era one's opponents have dispensed with such quaint niceties as 'rules' and 'morals' in an attempt to streamline a massive victory over those they believe utterly to be their inferiors. Thus, they can say and do anything they please with no ethical compass save 'Just win, baby', and dismiss the consequences with an airy wave of the hand, while their target is left to sputter and fume in the media spotlight.
'Media culture' is not to blame here - Andrew Breitbart (who commissioned a selectively edited version of an otherwise innocuous video for broadcast to assail his ideological enemies) is to blame for creating the situation (as he has been before), and he and others like him will continue to do so until they are stopped...One way or the other.
However, the blame for Shirley Sherrod's forced resignation lies strictly with a White House administration blithely seeking comity from dedicated enemies and seeking to appease those determined to destroy it without regard to cost.
With all the facts at their disposal and enough relative time to process them and respond in a decisive manner, they rushed the response...and blew it.
As a result, an honorable career lies in tatters and an executive's crafted reputation for sound, prudent judgment lies alongside.
If you're going to play this game, people...You'd better learn the rules.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Al Di Meola, Song To John, 1995.
Helen Merrill and Gil Evans, Summertime, 1988.
Brother Jack McDuff and Phil Upchurch, The Heatin' System, 1972.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, You Made Me Love You, 1957.
"I didn't want to do it"
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
The Headhunters, Here And Now, 1975.
The Horace Tapscott quintet(David Bryant, Walter Savage Jr., Everett Brown Jr., and Arthur Blythe), The Dark Tree, 1969.
Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns featuring Maceo Parker, Peace Fugue, 1977.
Miles Davis, In a Silent Way/It's About That Time, 1969.
Weather Report, Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz Medley, 1978.
Friday, July 02, 2010
'She had to be stopped, or she'd leave him forever'
Presidential scholars: Bush is the worst president of the modern era, bottom five of all time.
Today, just one year after leaving office, (George W. Bush) has
found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Pierce.
He may well have been the worst president ever, but he was exactly what America deserved.
For decades now, the United States has suffered under the impediment of a self-declared 'American exceptionalism', this exceptionalism having its roots in a highly self-flattering reading of world history.
To wit, that having been the last major world power standing at the end of World War 2 with borders, military strength and industrial capacity intact...That America had a rightfully ordained destiny of permanent global pre-eminence.
The fact that fate could have just as easily upended this rosy paradigm in favor of her enemies had they fortune with them instead, or the enemies of those enemies who became temporary allies in a common cause (only to become nemeses again later) is often ignored or discounted by those with a vested interest in maintaining the mythology on behalf of those who write their checks.
In order to foster this fiction, massive amounts of propaganda (or reality conditioning, if one prefers) are required for constant injection into the public discourse, and in order for that propaganda to do its work the masses have to be rendered ignorant and complacent - Offering them the illusory baubles and trappings of minor life success within a purported 'middle class', and reducing the true development of their subjective and collective intellect through the dismantling of a dedicated education apparatus.
This allows for a successful indoctrination of the approved weltanschauung to be performed and for questions involving the logical inconsistencies of same to be marginalized.
Concurrently, certain expectations needed to be lowered or done away with altogether, and one of those expectations was quality levels of government service.
Government, or at least the model of a representative republic, has always been an impediment to those who wish to continue this myth of exceptionalism - In their ideal, capitalism runs utterly unchecked and government is the tightly scripted enforcement wing of its desires, keeping the little people in their place yet staying out of the way of growing ROIs.
Occasionally, some troublemaker might come along and threaten to upset the applecart (or even worse, actually hold the system to its stated values) but the machinery exists to curb that sort of impudence.
One of the fundamental tenets of modern conservative thinking is that government (usually but not always the large variant), along with taxation is irremediably bad - of course, as is usual with such ideologues their words and deeds don't exactly match up (see above regarding logical inconsistencies).
Over the years politicians of a certain stripe have made this sentiment a daily featured part of their rhetoric, and the complacently indoctrinated nod their uninformed heads and pull their levers accordingly. The rationale for someone deciding that electing a person or group who states they hate government to elected office is a good idea has always escaped me - Presumably no one 'likes' government in the affinitive sense, even a well-administered one, but nobody hired George Lincoln Rockwell to run a synagogue daycare, either.
And yet...this is exactly what happens.
The earlier model for the presidency of George W. Bush was his father's running mate and eventual vice-president, J. Danforth Quayle, and the similarities are striking. Most telling, however is that the American people accepted this individual as potentially Executive material.
In reality of course, he provided exactly what was needed for his masters in the situation - an incurious non-intellectual reactionary, one bought and paid for from birth who could be trusted with a dull pair of ribbon cutting scissors and very little else.
And in closing, that returns us to the 'star' of this screed...In the end, another ingrown toenail on the American Empire's feet of clay - now passed into history, yet leaving his legacy like a burning tire around the neck of the world.
It is unlikely that in my lifetime I will see a less competent American President...But never was one more appropriately groomed for the end of the American Dream.