Dissolve into Evergreens
Obama At House Republican Retreat In Baltimore: FU...
AIG Loses Exec, Wins TARP Comp Ruling - Regulatory...
Man v. Nature
not why, but why not
Tea Party Zombies
Squishy Mice Pumpkin
Star Trek Pumpkin
Star Trek Follow Up
The Flaming Lips
The New Radicals
Death Cab for Cutie
Badly Drawn Boy
Coheed and Cambria
Atom Site Feed
I feel safe saying that MY BLOG IS MAKING AMERICA SAFER.
I mean.. hell, if Bush can push that crap uphill while Enemy #1 is on TV making fun of us, I feel pretty safe making that claim as well.
Once you've gone through the gates of Loonyland you really CAN say whatever you want.
To answer your question,
Bin Laden's Potential New Role Is Cause for Concern:
"'He has injected a political element into his work, and has tried to appeal almost on an intellectual level,' said Cressey, now a counter-terrorism consultant. 'He's saying, 'I'm here and you better factor me into your calculations, political and otherwise.' '
I'm sorry if I am able to look at this issue with greater clarity than you. Its really not my fault that you threw reason out the window on this one.
freakishly prompt - She's armed and dangerous
grrrrr... what I want for Christmas!
Host: Thank you for tuning into the Libertarian Broadcast Network, broadcasting on every frequency across both the AM and FM dial... let's take a caller"
Caller: "Um... I tuned into to listen to my classical station and I got your guys!"
Host: "That's right, we don't believe in government regulations so we set up the biggest tower and just drowned everyone else out, you don't like it, take some personal responsibility and set up your own tower, don't let the government tell you what to do!"
Caller: ".. but I don't have the time or money to start my own station..."
Host: "See there's your problem, you have become dependent on big daddy government to take care of you, you need to get weaned off that tit and we're fighting to give you more of your own money back by bankrupting the government! Once you get all your money back from a big wasteful bureaucracy then maybe you can have your own radio station too!"
Caller: "But I don't mind paying a little taxes to keep the roads in good shape, regulate the airwaves, educate the kids..."
Host : (groans) "Take some personal responsibility!!! I keep a shovel, gravel and road tar in the back of my pickup and repair potholes on my way to work every morning!! I homeschool my own kids, organize my own militia and run this radio station. Do you hear me complaining?? Next caller.. line two."
Caller: "Hello, I thought this was NPR...???"
Host: (shouting) "We're not some government propaganda network telling you how great big government is, we're here to free you from the tyranny of Washington and force you to take some responsibility for yourself!! Once you see how great the unregulated free market is you'll wonder how you ever thought your slavery was so great... you'll get better programming and more variety under the market!!!"
Caller: "But... you've taken over the entire spectrum??"
Host: "We're only delivering what the public wants, if they didn't want it we wouldn't be the only station on the air..."
Caller: "But you just used your money to block everyone else out.."
Host: "Bah.. if they don't like it they can build a bigger tower and beat us at our own game... next caller, line four."
Caller: "But isn't our government run by the people? If you bankrupt it aren't your denying people the right to have government provide the services we want from it? If we didn't like what the government was doing we can always elect new people, you're taking away our freedom to govern ourselves... besides, you guys never get more than five percent of the vote anyways... isn't that a bit telling?"
Host: (yelling into the microphone) "Slaves all of you, we will free you!!! You're too brainwashed to see the real problem. You only think you want public education, you only think you want Social Security, you only think that you want labor laws and safety regulations, but you'll see, once we get rid of all these things we'll be so much better off, richer and more responsible!"
Caller: "Didn't we try this all before... and isn't that why we supported all these programs in the first place, because companies were overworking people and kids... and people had no protection from getting injured on the job... or if banks stole their savings they had no legal recourse... or anything to fall back on.. we had people losing everything they owned to corrupt officials in the pay of wealthy business and landowners.. there were long lines of people looking for work??"
Host: (in a whisper): "Look bub.. I get paid really good to push this crapola ok? Quit looking for a handout and take some personal responsibility like I have. Find your own rich person, get down on your knees and get to work...
Ok, that's all the time we have for callers... now back to some music, up next.. twelve straight hours of Ted Nugent!!"
"I'm Osama, and I approved this message"
So it seems that OBL has gotten a little peeved that he isn't getting the media coverage he feels he deserves. So we have another tape...
"blah blah blah... destroy America!!!"
Well not really. As much as we try to pigeonhole Osama Bin Laden as a nutjob, he's not. He's a politician. One with millions of suicidal followers. He's spinning events in a way that he believes will benefit his cause.
I think its nonsense to second guess what he wants us to do on November Second. Obviously we should just vote for who we want to win, based on our own convictions.
Bush and Kerry have both responded to the tape.
"We'll invade Iraq as many times as it takes to win the war on terror!"
"We'll put together an international coalition of celebrities, musicians and Mary Cheney, who is gay, to do first rate remixes of the Osama tape and then we'll sell copies to pay down the debt and keep the promise of Social Security to our senior citizens!"
A little bit of politics, if you don't mind.
"He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake," Herskowitz said. "That was one of the keys to being a leader."
Mickey Herskowitz was the George W. Bush biographer who started what would later become "A Charge to Keep". Karen Hughes and the campaign later took the book from Herskowitz and polished it up to make Bush look better.
The reporter now says that Bush had plans to invade Iraq as early as 1999 as part of a strategy to build political capital for his presidency.
According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars.
I'm confused though, if a leader never admits mistakes then who takes the blame when things go wrong? The underlings of course.
Rudy Guilini today (via atrios), regarding the FU over the unsecured explosives:
The president was cautious the president was prudent the president did what a commander in chief should do. No matter how you try to blame it on the president the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?
Yes, blame the troops.
Nielson Hayden says we should think of Bush in terms of the PHB (the Pointy Haired Boss from Dilbert):
I’ve long wondered whether PHBs have any sense that the real importance of team effort is that it’s the only way their plans get carried out. This is illustrated by that basic sitcom plot where Chuck walks in dressed as a giant slice of pie. (laughtrack) His assistant Leslie expresses surprise and disbelief. (laughtrack) Chuck groans, and explains that this is part of his boss’s latest brainstorm, and that he’s been assigned to implement it. (laughtrack) The rest of the episode will consist of Chuck and Leslie, helped by a couple of other employees in that department plus their crony Lee down in Systems, trying to make the boss’s insanely stupid idea work so that Chuck can keep his job.
The plan was to successfully invade Iraq, giving Bush a little "War Bump" heading into his re-election. And they would do so cheaper, faster and better than anyone has ever done before. The Pointy Haired Bush would then "land a four-seat S-3B Viking [..] marked with 'Navy 1' and 'George W. Bush Commander in Chief'" and announce victory in front of a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished".
That was May 1, 2003.
Except that the mission was not accomplished and the Iraq invasion took a turn for the worse. The plan went awry. So who was to blame for the premature celebration?
"Not I" said the President:
The "Mission Accomplished" sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed some how to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way.
The Whitehouse made the sign for the Navy.
Never admit a mistake.
Should we be doing more things "Longhorn Style"?
The Red Sox are winning?
Ashley Simpson made an ass out of herself on LIVE national TV?
And there's this?
Are there some planets aligning, or what?
I only have one more wish.... a resounding Bush defeat. One so bad that there is NO CHANCE that the Supremes or Congress can make a mess out of it.
There are times when I miss praying. But honestly, when I did pray I would always just pray for sick people. I could never muster up the ego to pray for myself. I thought, "If I'm taking up God's time I might as well ask for something worthwhile."
Thanks to a local pub that gives away beer glasses on Mondays I now have a Guinness glass, from which I drink my Diet Coke.
Sadie linked to an interesting article, from Townhall even:
The Christian who has a bent to the liberal left needs to understand something: while he is skipping around the maypole with his rose-colored glasses on, if it were up to the modern, secularized liberal establishment, he would be more restricted than Bill when Hillary?s in town.
Intellectually void, this article does nothing more than state its thesis in twelve different ways. But then again, I would never accuse anyone on Townhall.com of having an original thought.
But, I tend to agree with Doug Giles, the author of the above quote. Simply because liberalism is a way of thinking, an evidence based approach to the world.
I am not a liberal because I subscribe to a set of ideologies; high taxes, big government, welfare, etc. I am a liberal because I use a method of thought to approach problems.
What the right usually fails to understand is that liberals (by my definition) are liberated in their thought, this runs counter to the idea of authority, dogma and strict ideology.
People who believe in big government as a principle are not liberals in my eyes, they are conservative in their thinking, but in an opposite way than small government conservatives.
Doug Giles refers to liberals as a lazy shorthand for people on the political left, namely democrats; a confusion of terminology perpetuated by the talk show blowhards. By his own definition I think it seems perfectly reasonable to be a Christian and be a democrat; a big government advocate etc.
But, if you are a liberal, a free thinker, you are less likely to be a Christian, simply because the Christian God of the Bible, and the belief in supernatural beings, are so easily disproven by reason.
For the naïve Christian voter who thinks he can toss a ballot in the Nuevo liberal direction, please know that a vote toward the secular left could leave you bereft of sacred liberties.
I believe in religious liberties. I acknowledge that you cannot control what people believe, you can only provide an atmosphere in which education, reason and science are valued. But if you want to believe in the tooth fairy, fine with me.
But Giles is right, I would work to get Christianity out of government. It has no place there. Neither does Islam, Buddhism or Easter Bunny-ism. A government, and its courts, have to be secular in order to be fair to people of all faiths.
If you can't see the connection between that and religious freedom then you are a dingbat.
Speaking of dingbats...leave a comment!
The New York Times > International > Middle East > Tracking the Weapons: Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq:
"As a measure of the size of the stockpile, one large truck can carry about 10 tons, meaning that the missing explosives could fill a fleet of almost 40 trucks."
Holy Freakin' Oops!!!
But the question... is: Will this administration take responsibility for not securing this massive cache of explosives that have probably already been used to kill U.S. Soldiers in Iraq?
Have they taken responsibility for any number of screw ups in Iraq? The looting, the lack of power, the lack of security, Abu Ghraib?? Is anything their fault?
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
In the Baghdad attacks, a trio of nearly simultaneous explosions killed three Iraqi civilians and wounded nine others, including six civilians and three Australian soldiers, the U.S. military said.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan played down the threat posed by explosives missing from the Al Qaqaa military installation. He said there was no threat of nuclear proliferation, and preferred to concentrate on weapons destroyed, not those lost.
We'd rather not think about it?
Although she'd initially blamed her band, Ashlee Simpson took full responsibility Sunday for her lip-synching snafu on "Saturday Night Live," saying that her voice was ragged from too much work.
You can see the clip here. It really seems llike they had a basic click track with a vocal track overlayed to "aid" the singer. She had planned to just sing along but got caught by a glitch.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan played down the threat posed by lip-synching from the Saturday Night Live Perfomance. He said there was no threat from further Simpson siblings, and preferred to concentrate on the beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by James Taylor at last night's World Series instead, not those lip-synched.
Of course I made that last part up.
Got a nice little email from the Bush people, I wanted to pass along a quote:
All the Monday morning-quarterbacking and armchair-generaling in the world by John Kerry won't make up for the fact that he does not have a vision, a strategy or a plan to fight and win the War on Terror.
Plan to fight and win War on Terror®: Bush version
Step 1) Make up shit about Saddam
Step 2) Invade Iraq, leaving country in shambles
Step 3) Fail to secure weapons and bomb making material
Step 4) Pretend like everything went great, Osama who?
® "War on Terror" is a registered trademark of Bush Inc.
When a nation borrows money, who owns that debt? If its a brutal tyrant that victimized his own people do those people then inherit the debt once the leader is deposed?
Can a nation then borrow more money even if the new government is not duly elected by the people? What about if that country is occupied by a foreign army?
What if you are loaning money to a nation and then another nation goes in and topples the government that you were doing business with? Do you lose that money? Or does it transfer to the people of that nation? Or does it transfer to the nation that now occupies that country? Even if that leader was a tyrant?
Governments, like corporations are just entities that represent a collection of people. They are really just hollow shells, immortal in theory, but sometimes short lived. And I often wonder just how it is possible that these entities can own things and borrow money.
All seems well as long as governments are stable and democratically elected. The government represents the will of the people, at least in theory, so it seems fair that the people share the responsibility of assets and debts owned by that government.
So yes, even though I did not vote for him, I still own the debt that Bush has been racking up in the last few years. And we will own more of it if he is re-elected.
But Saddam was a different story. Even though there were elections in Saddam's Iraq, I doubt few of us would contend that they were anything other than show elections. The populace was coerced by the threat of violence to vote for their leader. So I would think it a bit unfair for the people of Iraq to be saddled with the debts imposed on them by Saddam.
But the debt holders have a different idea. Some countries like Russia and France were opposed to the war. Their opposition was due in some part to their business dealings with Saddam.
Russia is owed about $9 billion.
France is owed about $5 billion.
Germany is owed about $5 billion.
The United States is owed about $4 billion.
The total Iraqi debt owed to outside creditors is estimated to be between $60 billion and $130 billion. The creditor nations are pushing for a "restructuring" of the loans, much like you get when you go to credit counseling. They argue that since Iraq has such oil wealth that some of that wealth should be used to pay them back.
I say, what a great way to get Iraq back and on its feet, by siphoning off some of its oil revenue.
The United States is pushing to get creditors to forgive the Iraqi loans out of concern that American money spent on the assistance will be used instead to pay off debt.
So why are the Iraqis taking out new loans from the IMF?
The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved an emergency loan of $436.7 million for Iraq, the first assistance it has provided to help the country rebuild its wartorn economy.
Who is responsible for this loan since the U.S. is the government in Iraq for all practical concerns? Why is Iraq borrowing money when we are spending over $100 billion dollars there?
And why is Iraq paying money for reparations, with some of that money going to U.S. and British corporations like Halliburten and KFC?
Since Saddam was toppled in April, Iraq has paid out $1.8bn in reparations to the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), the Geneva-based quasi tribunal that assesses claims and disburses awards. Of those payments, $37m have gone to Britain and $32.8m have gone to the United States.
Its all so confusing. Aren't we rebuilding Iraq?
Despite the $18.4bn of US tax dollars allocated for Iraq's reconstruction, the Washington Post estimates that only $29m has been spent on water, sanitation, health, roads, bridges, and public safety combined.
Interesting. Don't you think?
Things to do on a Friday afternoon/night:
Very similar to a picture I took on Feb 10, 2004 at about 7 P.M.
This picture was taken on Oct. 22, 2004 at about 7 P.M.
Initial assumption: I could use the guardrails of the bridge as a support to keep the camera steady.
I did not, however, realize that passing cars would cause the bridge to vibrate.
"The third reason why an individual takes on the group perspective is that the group encourages conformity through both continuous socializations and social sanctions. We are socialized to believe what the group does. We learn its perspective through listening and watching others and through intentional acts of teaching by others. Orientation to college life, basic training in the army, on the job training, and spring football practice are but a few examples of social sanctions (rewards and punishments) from the group. When we use the group perspective, others in the group accept us, and we come to feel part of something important. If we do not use it, we are not rewarded, and sometimes we are punished. All social organizations want loyalty, and loyalty is tested through showing that we believe in the ideas and principles of the group." - Ten Questions
I do lots of pretending. Funny thing is though, as long as I keep my mouth shut people will assume that I believe just like they do. I've had people tell me racist jokes, spew right wing hate, and generally act like an asshole without even once stopping to ask if I agreed with them.
- I am bad at small talk. Unless there is an agreed upon subject at hand I don't know what to say, because I don't know the person, and I don't like making assumptions about them. The more you are socialized into mainstream opinion the more common ground you will find with other people. Small talk becomes easier. I have lost friends as they have been socialized into cultural groups while I have remained outside. We quite literally, had nothing to talk about anymore.
In Oklahoma, watching football helps, especially when you have to avoid conversations about politics and religion. And there's always movies and music?
- I am bad at my job. Not in any technical sense. Most people I work with agree that I am one of the most knowledgeable people there, but they also know that I don't "try hard enough" when it comes to achieving the company goals. Rather than internalize the company mindset, I pretend. I say the right things when asked, and go through the motions. But really I could care less if we reach our goals. I'm not a team player and you can only fool people for so long.
To successfully become part of a group you have to internalize the values of that group. I wouldn't call it brainwashing, "socialization" sounds nicer. The punishment for resisting the values of the group is always the same, exclusion. In the professional world this can have devastating results, including the death of your career. In the social world it can mean losing friends or even making enemies.
Freedom of thought. Once you have become socialized into a group, you defend their values even to the point of being willfully ignorant. Remaining outside of social groups allows you to look on reality with less bias.
Yes, in exchange for accepting and defending the values of the largest and most powerful groups you can reap tremendous benefits, material wealth, social advancement... phone sex.
Most people, in fact walk a line between staying an individual and being absorbed into social groups. Many people join smaller, less demanding sub-cultures where the rewards are smaller but the sacrifices to your individuality are smaller as well. Other people have drawn very definite lines between their professional lives and their personal lives, where they might adopt the mindset of their profession but keep that from affecting the decisions they make in their personal lives.
My favorites are the people that have adapted the mindset of their chosen social environment so completely they will even deny that they have done so. This, you may have noticed is my particular pet peeve with religious people that claim that despite believing in the dominant religion in which they were raised will always say that they did so because of the "rightness" of that religion, not its social convenience or its rewards.
Such self delusion is often well rewarded.
Ground Control to Major Tom
For some reason I keep a copy of Joel Charon's Ten Questions around.
Maybe its because I always find insight whenever I page through it:
"The first step in liberation is understanding: it is really impossible to think for oneself or to act according to free choice unless one understands the various ways in which we are controlled. For example, it is only when I begin to see my ideas of what it means to be a "man" have been formed through a careful and calculated process throughout society that I can begin to act in a way I choose. Only when I begin to understand how powerful advertising has become in developing my personal tastes as well as my personal values can I begin to step back and direct my own life. And even then, and important sociological question continuously teases the thoughtful person: Can society exist if people are truly liberated? If people question everything, can there still be the unity neccesary for order?"
I can't pinpoint when it started or why, but I've always taken pleasure in avoiding the roles assigned to me. There is a tremendous amount of freedom in questioning everything, but it can also be terribly isolating.
Hold your nose and be counted. Sounds like an Oklahoma rallying cry if I ever heard one.
When life in the twilight zone becomes too much to comprehend, just put your head down and run for the light. Of course, you might end up in another state, but hey, that's the chance you'll have to take.
Badly Drawn Boy, October 23rd, Cain's Ballroom. This Saturday.
I'd hate to have to go by myself, but I will. I've just picked up the new BDB cd, One Pus One is One and its pretty damn good, not as good as From a Basement on a Hill, by Elliott Smith, which I also just purchased, but still well worth going to see.
Its so great to find new music. Its an addiction.
I need to find a support group for people with good politics, and good taste in music.
The Pound and the Fury: An answer, Maybe, to Myself, or Something
Jack has been pounding away on the nature of Wal-Mart.
My conclusion to my dilemma is not that Wal-Mart can't do what they do or that capitalism is bad; rather, we have to be better, more demanding. Why allow corporations into convincing us that buying a particle board desk that LOOKS like an antique is somehow the equivalent of owning a real deask (sic) made with real wood.
I think we should cut a piece of paper into a round shape, draw a smiley face on it and tape it to the nose of the vicious pitbull that is tearing off our leg.
I obviously disagree with his conclusion even though I think he makes some valuable observations. People don't just purchase cheap particle board desks because they don't appreciate quality. They are faced with a constant need for material goods with an ever-diminishing buying power.
The cheap and easy answer is "Don't buy it if you can't afford it", and while I try to follow that advice its easier said than done.
In many ways, Wal-Mart is both part of the problem and part of the solution. The demand for cheaper goods has risen due to a stagnation in wages over the past thirty years. Adjusted for inflation, most workers have seen no net gain in their buying power. At the same time, the rise of Wal-Mart illustrates the changing reality of work. The service industry has ballooned even as the manufacturing industry has declined. If you go from a well paid, unionized manufacturing job to a low paying non-unionized Wal-Mart job you are going to need any cost savings you can get.
Either way, you still need a desk.
One of the reasons I like selling cameras is because they are a non-necessity item for most people. I don't have to deal with people who feel like they are being forced into a purchase against their will. I've also sold appliances and that sucks! You get people that just scan the tags, find the cheapest one they can and say "this one". They need a washing machine but don't really have the money for it.
People aren't stupid, they react to the market any way they can to survive. So what happens when wages stagnate but you still need to make a purchase? You look for the cheapest prices and you charge what you cannot afford. Hence the rise of Wal-Mart and the nearly doubling of unsecured debt held by Americans since 1992.
"? the recent decade of economic growth and falling unemployment has featured a perplexing phenomenon: personal bankruptcy rates in the late 1990s (peaking at 1.4 million in 1998) soared to nearly ten times the rate of the Great Depression."
hmm.. its not perplexing really. The new jobs being created are lower paying, and consumers are using debt to fill the growing gap between the cost of living and stagnant wages. While offshoring has lowered the costs of many consumer goods (you priced hard drives lately!) some costs are still rising, health care in particular.
(pssssstt... read my comments at Jack's site. I didn't spend half and hour typing it out for nothing!)
Of course, I have a old wooden desk I bought at a thrift store for seven bucks. All real wood, heavy as a dump truck.
Congrats to the Red Sox on winning fame six.
Note to CGHill of Dustbury: When I criticise fundamentalist Christians it DOES NOT mean that I want a band of fundamentalist Muslims moving into the spare bedroom. There may be some lefties that fall victim to the absurd logic that our fundies are bad and their fundies are good, but this isn't one of them.
I have a problem with people whose religion tells them to treat others like second class citizens, be this Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.
... and as the author of that Frontpage article should realize, once you open the door to teaching ANY religion in schools, you will have to teach all religions, not just yours. You can't have it both ways.
Exiting off of Highway 169 at 71st Street heading south you might see a sign that says "Brad Carson is a Liberal.com"
You see, what we have here is a problem being defined in terms of its solution. If I Brad Carson and I saw that sign, I might mistake it for a supporter. Because some of us actually consider being a liberal A GOOD THING. At least, those of us that have avoided right wing radio for the past decade think so.
How else can you see a Democrat opposing President Bush as a condemnation? He does belong to the opposition party after all. One can only assume that the solution here means outlawing the Democrats.
I consider opposing Bush to be a sign of sanity.
Again... more liberal than Hillary Clinton? Only a problem to people that think Hillary Clinton is the answer to all that's wrong in the world. Which, if you listen to the dittoheads on AM talk radio you might think was actually the case.
(My Seventh Day Adventist friend used to preach about Hillary being the anti-christ working to turn the United Nation into a One World Government that was coming for our guns! Weaving as many paranoid delusions into one cohesive conspiracy is a hallmark of real intelligence if you ask me.)
The problem is liberalism. That is all you need to know. So much so, that merely being a liberal is considered problematic. I would rather we debate the merits of solutions to specific problems based on their likelihood of solving an issue of say, Education, instead of merely saying liberals are the problem and tax cuts are the solution.
Of course if you were to read the Democratically leaning website Dailykos.com you would see there that the problem with Brad Carson is that he is too conservative, too close to Bush on many policies and not strong enough in his support of liberal issues.
Its almost enough to entice one out to that offramp with a handwritten cardboard sign that says "Brad Carson is a Conservative" to put on the backside of the existing one.
Oh, the irony. I would say "poor Brad Carson" except that he is running against a guy that can't seem to keep his own foot out of his mouth. The Coburn campaign is so desperate that they are hoping that linking Coburn and Bush together on their yardsigns will be enough to push people into their camp despite Coburn's antics.
I wonder how many voters will be surprised to find that Tom Coburn is not George W. Bush's running mate?
"Brad Carson supports John Kerry for President?" This might be an issue if Brad Carson wasn't a Democrat and John Kerry wasn't the Democrat's nominee for president. Otherwise this seems like a statement of the obvious.
Here's a newsflash. Carson is a Democrat!
Here's a favorite quote from the Brad Carson is the Devil website:
In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the most comprehensive welfare reform law since the program was created. This law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193), finally ended welfare as a lifestyle by enacting time limits on benefits and requiring work of welfare recipients. Even liberal Massachusetts Senator John Kerry voted for this common-sense welfare reform law (Roll call #282, 8/1/1996).
Poor people were FREED? Is that like how we are freeing the Iraqi people? Personally, I thought the Welfare "Reform" (ack, spit ugh ugh...) was the biggest stab in the back that Clinton ever undertook while in office, in an obvious attempt to woo away corporate givers to the Democrats. Selling out people stuck in poverty.
Hmm.. I'm sure the people kicked out of their homes thank Bill Clinton every miserable night they spend huddled out on some loading dock.
Brad Carson is a liberal, plain and simple, and this website respectfully and fairly outlines that record. If you are a liberal, then Brad is your candidate for the Senate.
Well, thanks for your approval, I will be voting for Carson, because
Last night I was watching something on TV and in the background the Rolling Stones were playing. Then a truck commercial came on and I realized just why I don't like the Rolling Stones.
Their music has become the cheap, tug at the heartstrings, music for the boomer generation. As such, their songs have littered truck commercials, pushed software, made a cameo in about every movie ever made about the Vietnam era and been pummeled into our heads by every marketing exec without a shred of imagination (yes, that's all of them).
The songs of the Rolling Stones have become so symbolic that any heart they ever had has been yanked right out of them.
Advertising's chief aim is to steal the soul of real experience and transfer those emotions to products. So it is without shame that advertisers will plumb whatever reservoir of experience available to dig into our psyches, be it music or images, or icons or sports figures or movies.
New products have no emotional impact on us other than what can be rubbed off by connecting it to a song, or a scene of domestic bliss or even positive emotions we have about a celebrity.
Art itself is a manipulation of our emotions. Sad songs can bring us down, happy songs can get our blood pumping and bad songs can make us want to run away yowling in pain. Its that power over us that causes many of us to love music so much. Its like a drug. You dose yourself with the songs that you want to control you. The perfect song can make an experience even more significant. Over time we begin to associate memories with songs, smells, weather and our other senses.
Just a few seconds of Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" is enough to send us back to eighth grade, the state fair, the smell of corndogs, farm animals and memories of a cute girl with bangs that stood straight up.
Or maybe that's just me?
Its a silent tragedy that most artists lose control over their own creations. I have to laugh at the protestations of the record labels who claim to be battling for the "rights of the artists" when the first act most undertake is to seize control of an artist's songs for any and all future use. It would be far less common to see great musical works of art paired up with cheap-ass products if the artists were the arbitors of such use. Not that it wouldn't ever happen, but I would like to think it would be with a greater sense of moderation.
I can expect that in another ten, twenty or thirty years we will see the music of my youth pimped day in and day out for the sake of usurping my good nostalgic feelings to make me desire a product.
Lately, I had to groan when I saw a Swiffer commercial set to the tune of Devo's "Whip it". I'm not sure anything can cause as visceral a reaction than to see some surburban housewife running around in a fit of cleaning frenzy singing along to Devo.
It occured to me today, that defining a problem can be just as tricky as looking for a solution. One person's problem may be another's solution. But you can hardly agree with another person's solution you don't even agree on what the problem is in the first place.
I bet most of you can get these right.
Dear Aliens Posing As Caring Sympathetic Human Beings,
---- I am on to you.
People are delusional.
Take for example two quotes, snatched from a blog that gets way more comments than I do.
I mean, if we were 250 million George and Laura Bushes, would they have even bothered to try to take us on? Would they've DARED ?
Today I went to Lowes. There we got a rod to hang a ceiling fan. Whilst heading out to the parking lot I turned to my sis and said, "You know, I should carry this around at all times, I feel bad ass. I mean, if everyone had one of these pipes to carry around we'd all be safer."
The error of this logic is so self-evident, until that is someone makes the claim that we would all be safer if every nutball was packing the ability to send another human to the grave at the wink of an eye.
It boggles the mind. Moving on...
If Kerry-Edwards manage to pass Bush-Cheney in the polls, then the Islamo-Fascist Terrorists need only to quietly sit by and watch Kerry win election.
Can you follow the Freeper logic? It becomes more convoluted every time you read it.
Right now, on the television behind me there is one station that's claiming that you can eat more, excersize less, and lose weight. Another is attempting to show me the high resolution and clarity of a Digital Projector by projecting an image on a wall and showing it on a TV screen.
Watching late night infomercials is like excersizing your bullshit detector.
The goal of terrorism is to change the actions of its victims by the use of fear.
But when Americans stand at the polls and punch the cards a majority will know, without knowing how or why, that George Bush must be reelected. It is at this point that primordial self-preservation takes over.
Fear = Impotence.
War = Erection.
I believe that if President Bush were to go on nationwide television and announce that he understands that people are afraid and that it is ok to be afraid, he might see significant gains amongst the population. Fear is ok, as long as you saddle up anyways.
Action trumps inaction. Lashing out in anger is always preferable to impotence. If you made the wrong decision at least you acted... right?
Consequences be damned.
We understand that primordial instinct. Guided by our guts. Trust our fear to lead us on to our victory over the monsters under the bed. We'll get up and turn on the light. And when we find nothing under the bed we'll puff out our chests and go beat up our little brother or sister.
A bully is born.
We CAN eat more, excersize less and still lose weight.
We CAN spend more, tax less and still win the war on terror.
"Those who take the risks deserve the rewards" - Old Capitalist saying circa 2004
Those of you from outside of Tulsa have no idea what the Towerview Apartments are but I can bet that you know about something similar in your community.
Maybe tomorrow I'll head downtown and take a picture for you?
The Towerview Apartments are a dilapidated building downtown that looks like it should have been condemned years ago. Yet, someone is still charging people rent to live there. Recently a reporter did a story on the deplorable living conditions there and as a result the city has gone in a condemned the building, forcing all the tenants to move out.
Many of the people being forced out have nowhere else to go, so they face the prospect of becoming homeless.
Its hard to suss out where the blame lays here but its pretty obvious that it should not be with the tenants who were paying rent and getting horrible housing in return. In this case there is some confusion over who is being the bigger asshole, the owner or the city.
Word is that the city wants to run in and condemn the building to get rid of it. They have a plan to build a nice hotel there to serve the new arena being built downtown. So they are more than eager to get the building torn down, and in the process they have said "too bad" to the people living there.
The irony is that within the same downtown area the city is putting up a $1 million in public money to convert the top floors of the Philtower into loft apartments. Which is fine, as long as you don't turn around and kick real people out of their homes with no compensation.
So since the building owners did not maintain the property, the city will have to shut it down? The renters will be the ones hurt, not the city, not the owner.
Since they are renters they have no rights. Who said there no such things as serfs anymore?
I don't watch much TV. So I was skeptical when others said that the Mary Cheney is a lesbian flap was getting media attention.
I mean... its not like it was a lie.
Mary Cheney is a lesbian.
The only reasons this is an issue, and John Kerry was in the right bringing this up, is because the Republicans want you to think of gay people IN THE ABSTRACT.
As soon as you put a face on a gay person they stop being a demon.
Why would Mary Cheney make a choice to be a lesbian in such a openly hostile environment? She wouldn't.
You see, I could CHOOSE to go out an have sex with another man right now. But that doesn't change the fact that I am attracted to women. Some gay people have chosen to stick with the opposite sex even though they are not attracted to them.
That's their choice. I'm cool with that.
But, I know who I am attracted to, and so do gay people. Its not a choice, even though something like 30% of people on a CNN webpoll said it was.
When asked directly on whether he thought being gay was a choice Bush waffled. He said "I don't know" when his real answer was, "I know, but I can't say because it would alienate my white evangelical base."
This is a campaign built on hating others in an abstract way.
Mr. President, how can you say that the terrorists hate us because of our freedom when you work to deny equal rights to gay people?
Mr. Kerry, why can't you take a real stand on this issue? Why must you pander to the religious bigots, they're not going to vote for you anyways. Preachers across America are lined up against you for even suggesting that gay people should acknowledged in public like you did with Mary Cheney.
OK, that's enough received wisdom from me, go play in traffic.
After thinking about this some more it only made me more angry. Why? Because these assholes think that they can get away with this passive aggressive self righteous judgmental attitude.
They never want to say it to your face because they like the mask of civility.
The problem with religion is that no matter how tasty the bait looks "God loves you, Jesus loves you" you always end up taking the hook as well, "Gays are immoral", "Everyone else is doomed to hell and suffering".
No matter how you try to paint it, at the root of religion is discrimination.
You can't have your shit smell clean without wiping it on someone else.
I rejected that.
For that I'm going to hell? Yeah right. Says who, you self appointed stuck up assholes with crosses stuffed up your asses?
Mind you, there are lots of good people that are "spiritual" who do not subscribe to the rhetoric of hate. I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about the self serving schmucks that use religion as a way of patting themselves on the back. The ones that move out to the 'burbs to get away from the undesirables and wall themselves off from reality. The ones that see their religious superiority to justify their own greed. Ones that lie and cheat and steal all day long but feel that as long as they park their minivan in the church parking lot every week nobody will notice.
Ones who turn on their friends who dare question their smug attitudes.
If I'm going to hell, I'm taking you with me.
While Iraq has been the dominant issue of the Presidential elections it seems that in the Senate races around the country the big issue is homosexuality.
The other half of the War on Terror? What should we do if the terrorists and the homosexuals join together? Gay Terrorists? Try for a second to imagine that...
You're laughing aren't you?
Because when I think of the gay people I've known, I don't think terror. Aside from the occasional scary butch lesbian, I can think of few other groups that instill fear in me LESS than homosexuals.
Once again I am amazed that come election day there will be people heading to the polls thinking "must stop the gays!"
My life is pretty simple. I get to avoid such sticky conundrums.
Some people claim that God has an interest in the upcoming presidential elections. Some claim that god is working for George W. Bush. If you believe Pat Robertson, a self-appointed spokesman for God, Bush is blessed to win this election "in a walk".
Trying to figure out what God wants makes my head hurt, it all seems so ... random.
Which fits with my theory. That God doesn't care about elections, or even meddling with people's love lives, or directing footballs through the air to land just out of reach of a fourth quarter win by the East Central Cardinals.
The only other alternative is that God is a sadistic bastard.
If you have a chance to watch the Frontline special on the two Presidential candidates. Watch it. Its a great rundown on the two candidates and the paths that led them to where they are today.
Back in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina, Massey got a job as a furniture salesman, then lost it after speaking at an antiwar rally. Two or three times a week, he puts on his Marine uniform and takes a long walk around the nearby town of Asheville carrying a sign that reads: “I killed innocent civilians for our government.” The local police now keep an eye out for him, he says, because people have tried to run him over.
This made me cry. Read the entire article.
I'm not a macho type guy.
Damned if I know why, but I'm in a good mood today.
This despite witnessing some girl crying into a payphone outside Quiktrip. I can honestly say that the only time I've had a girl crying on the phone, it wasn't because of anything I said or did.
And just for fun, some lyrics.
I have looked all over the place
Song and artist? I'll let you tell me.
I love it when customers hand me their business card. I respect their ambition but really, what am I going to do? Its like just handed me a live frog, or a gold jewel-encrusted sceptre. I'm poor. And I sure as hell am not going to be pimping other businesses while I'm working.
But hey, thanks.
Maybe I'm happy because I've seen people buying up Farhenheit 911. I wasn;t too impressed with the film, mainly because it stated the obvious. But for normal, non-political-junkie types, this was news. It was something that reflected reality. Unlike "Heir Bush's Rosy World of Happy Fun Iraqis Dancing Through Oil Fields of Daisys."
(Michael Moore is FAT and HE NEEDS TO SHAVE!)
That's all for now.
TiCW, America's Fun-Loving Blog!
ZNet |Iraq | Democrats and WMD:
"'Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real...'
ZNet illustrates why this election is such a heartbreaking affair. Without real election reform, we are faced with a choice between two parties that were both wrong about that threat Saddam posed to America. The reality was, of course, that we had no evidence to confirm that Saddam was re-developing his weapons. We had nothing but speculation and Bush when to war on speculation.
For that he deserves to be booted out. Its one thing to talk tough on speculation, its another to send people to their deaths on a hunch.
The new conventional wisdom pushed by Bush and his posse is that "September 11th changed everything" but when you stop to think about it, the attacks on September 11th did not change the simple fact that you need proof of a threat before you send people to die and before you plunge an entire country into chaos.
I think people are waking up to that fact.
A superhero represents hope in the face of certain defeat. He swoops in from out of the sky and grabs our hand as we fall to our deaths below. The Superhero holds on tight and never lets go, pulling us to safety, up from our demise.
But there are no real Superheros, just ordinary Human Heros, whose grip eventually fails and whose defeat of death is limited and brief.
Goodbye Christopher Reeve, we could not hold on any longer.
Do you see this in any other place but Broken Arrow, Oklahoma? An old feed store has been converted into "Holy Joe's Christian Night Spot".
The sign on the right reads:
7:30 to 10:30
I have to wonder..
Googling "Holy Joe's" turns up a little information:
Holy Joe’s Christian Nightspot at 423 South Ash in Broken Arrow also ministers to the needy in downtown Tulsa. Offering free hot dogs, clothes, music, and counseling founders Ernie and Sherry Anthamatten continue a long community tradition of helping those in need.
Atrios has a wonderful link up where you can hear Tom Coburn, Senate Candidate for the State of Oklahoma say:
You know, Josh Burkeen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they?ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that?s happened to us?" -
Rampant Lesbianism? In Oklahoma? Is it something in the water? Runoff from old abandoned mining operations?
Nah... we all know what causes lesbianism.
That's right guys, your ugly penis is scaring women to the dark side of lesbianism. All the lesbians have to do to recruit is put up posters showing what horrors the heterosexual women will have to face once the zipper has been navigated.
(Except for Kilgore, who keeps his penis spit-polished with nightly rub downs)
Or Rep. Burkeen may only be speculating that women are engaging in lesbian acts in the bathroom. I mean, why else would they go in pairs? They never do that unless they are intent on squeezing in some sweaty lovemaking in a smelly bathroom stall whilst in the middle of taking a Geometry quiz.
Lesbianism is an addiction more powerful than heroin. It all starts so innocently, combing each others hair. Its like gateway petting. Then they go on to french braiding. From there its a slumber party away from a full blown girl on girl addiction.
But now that we're armed with hearsay and bold assertions we can act accordingly. Twelve new churches must be built immediately! Printers will work overtime to churn out millions of new Bibles! We'll increase the evangelical TV stations from three to five, the radio stations from five to seven. We'll burn all the textbooks!
There's just not enough God being pumped into our kids.
We better bomb the Isle of Lesbos, just to be safe.
Jesus General writes Coburn a nice little letter with some advice:
The first step is to find a way to hide a woman's beauty so that men and other women wouldn't be attracted to her. I've designed a modesty dress to do just that. It covers a woman head-to-toe in a drape-like fashion. Nothing shows--no, hands, no eyes, no curves. As a Senator, you could pass legislation mandating that every woman wear a modesty dress when they're out in public.
If God wanted women to rule the world he would have given them penises.
Bush Drives The Nation Towards Bankruptcy:
From the American Conservative:
"Under his administration, the national debt has gone up a stunning 24 percent, to $7 trillion. A chief reason for that increase is that Bush has enthusiastically promoted an explosion in government spending. In 2004, federal government outlays are expected to exceed $2.3 trillion, which is $500 billion more than in 2000. At nearly $500 billion, the budget deficit is close to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product, the sort of ratio usually seen in developing countries that are about to implode. Contrary to the White House's absurd projections, private economists expect annual deficits of between $400 billion and $600 billion over the next 10 years."
oooo.. and a nifty chart as well.
Mr. Bush, when the lines go up that means spending has increased.
Rob from Emphasis Added asks the question I've been wondering myself.
As we come down the home stretch of this campaign, Republicans should look to Bush and soberly assess where he stands on the issues that define the Party:
So when Bush says : "Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent, because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control."
.. and its simply not true, what do we have? Well, I like what David Neiwert says about "Movement Conservatism".
Its whole purpose being the acquisition of raw power through any means necessary, the discrete "conservative movement" and its dealings can at times be extremely disorienting. The proliferation of Newspeak as a political propaganda strategy by the American right, in particular, has created a milieu in which up is down, wrong is right and ignorance is strength.
Modern day movement conservatives follow Bush because he represents a path to power, not because Bush represents any kind of idealogical consistency. I find it disturbing when a Bush supporter says that they "support small government and lower taxes" when its blindingly obvious that Bush has not made any attempt to reign in spending under his watch. This, despite having party control over both houses.
MC's get on the Bush Bandwagon for a limited numbder of reasons. Most important are the wedge issues: abortion, religion, gay marriage and gun rights (to name a few). You can see how important thes votes are to Bush by the way that he pushes these issue to the fore; by supporting a completely unnecessary constitutional amendment banning gay marrrige, or fighting embryonic stem cell research.
I can understand wedge issue voters. Its a means to an end. You will vote for an immoral man with a track record of deception because you believe that your goals will be met.
If there's a phrase that sums up the mental attitude of the movement conservatives its "the ends justifies the means".
So what if Bush has to lie to the American people if it means geopolitical advantage, or the outlaw of abortions, or loosing the restriction on gun ownership?
Saddle up that pony... let's ride.
Its cynical, I can understand. Is it not what I am doing by voting for Kerry. The ends: defeating Bush, the means: voting Kerry/Edwards? (Realizing of course there is no way that Bush will lose Oklahoma)
The second faction of the MC's are the corporate bosses. They support Bush because they feel he will deliver the goods, and he has. Tax cuts targeted at high income earners, and people with investment wealth and looser regulations from the government. Agood number of people will go to the polls on November 2 and vote to put a little cash in their pocket... short term.
Long term, this current course only leads to disaster.
There are two converging realities that MC's are choosing to ignore:
1) You can't keep spending and borrowing without either raising taxes or going into a period of runaway inflation.
2) You can't maintain a foreign policy of "keeping on the offense" without drastically increasing the number of troops in the military.
Its all about short term thinking. Get power now. The reality is though that each faction of the conservative movement expects to have their ends met once power is obtained. But that is a misreading of the real agenda.
The real agenda is the acquisition of power.
Why would yuo ever give people what they want when they are voting for you to get what they want? Its political suicide to take away your own wedge issues.
The conservative movement is entirely based on undoing the "evils" perptrated on us by the "liberals" But now with the presidency and both houses under their control.. what do they do? Squat.
Some tax cuts that will "be made permanent" if we re-elect Bush.
A partial birth abortion ban that will be struck down, so we better elect Bush to get some new judges in there!
But this is the nature of politics. IN a few years, if not already we will be marching to the polls to rectify the ills of "conservatism".
back and forth we go...
washingtonpost.com: Second Presidential Debate -- President Bush and Sen. John Kerry:
"Need some wood?" - George W. Bush
Ladies and Gentleman... the leader of the free world!
I own a timber company?
Most small businesses are Subchapter S corps. They just are.
I had to make the decision to destroy more life, so we continue to destroy life.
The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.
Put a head fake on us.
I have made a lot of decisions, and some of them little, like appointments to boards you never heard of, and some of them big.
That answer almost made me want to scowl
I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft.
You tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Tony Blair we're going alone.
My opponent's right, we need good intelligence.
And what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada, and it might be from a third world.
We've got battling green eye shades.
You looked at me like my clock was up.
Cheap shots? Yeah.
Out of context? Yeah.
Am I a journalist bound to any standards other than my own amusement? Nope.
Ouch, MY head hurts and I know the facts on the issues.
I cannot imagine watching any of these debates without a bevy of knowledge at my disposal. Had I not spent WAY to much time sittng at my computer researching the details on everything, I might believe what these guys are saying.
- So Mr. Kerry, why do you insist on pushing tax cuts? It undermines your case for why Bush is wrong, namely, paying for what we want.
- So Mr. Bush, capping damages will cure our health care problems?
- So Mr. Kerry, Why do you say we will KILL the terrorists when liberalism would dictate that we abide the rule of law and order by engaging in due process even with people we hate?
- So Mr. Bush, When Kerry attacks you on being soft on an issue your response is "Well, I spent X dollars!" when you and I both know that you spent money you didn't account for?
- So Mr. Bush, why can;t you ever admit a mistake?
- So Mr. Bush, why do insist on making issues seem more simplistic than they really are?
- So Mr. Kerry, why don't you just state the obvious and eviscerate Bush? I could have, why didn't you?
Bush has sewn up the uneducated vote. Anyone with a head on his shoulders is scratching it everytime Bush opens his mouth.
The Oklahoma Senatorial campaigns of Tom Coburn and Brad Carson are getting nasty. Here's the latest accusations.
Brad Carson is a Liberal.
Tom Coburn is a right wing fanatic.
Brad Carson wants to spend billions on abortions.
Tom Coburn wants to secretly sterilize all Oklahoma women.
Brad Carson is digging a secret underground tunnel from Mexico to Oklahoma to funnel in illegal immigrants to take away our jobs.
Tom Coburn stood outside of tornado victim's homes taunting and them and calling them homeless losers.
Brad Carson is using a secret compartment in his blue pickup to smuggle millions of dollars in government money to pregnant illegal women on welfare who are breeding children to take our jobs.
Tom Coburn is building a mountaintop device that will use sonic waves to alter the brain patterns of Oklahomans to turn them into brainwashed zombies who hate government programs.
... and then there's the Club for Growth's ad.
I wish my life were more like Y tu mamá también, but, only the first part of it.
Watch Conan tonight.
The Wizard of Oz:
Mr. Bush: "If I only had a brain!"
Mr. Cheney: "If I only had a heart!"
Mr. Rumsfeld: "If I only had a soul!"
(Note: Rilo Kiley will be on Conan O'Brien Wednesday night)
Each of the campaigns have sent out their emails filled with the talking points that they expect their subordinates to spread.
From the Democrats:
Dick Cheney is totally out of touch with reality in Iraq and totally out of touch with the struggles of the middle class. This is nothing new to a man with a lifetime record of protecting the powerful and well-connected. He came across as smug, arrogant, mean and defensive -- but his trademark distortions and scare tactics didn't work. John Edwards refused to let him play the politics of fear and forced Dick Cheney to confront his administration's record of failure.
and from the Republicans: (who were even so kind as to put the talking points in bold face for me)
Even as one of the nation's best trial lawyers, John Edwards failed as a credible advocate for John Kerry last night and Dick Cheney proved that substance will always trump spin. In Edwards' defense, he was put in the position of defending the indefensible. He didn't get to pick John Kerry; John Kerry picked him. Despite this loss, the Kerry team will claim a victory. Go online and set the record straight by taking action in the ways outlined above.
Well, here's a little bit of a flashback for ya'll. Why did we go to war with Saddam?
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." - Dick Cheney, speech to VFW National Convention, Aug. 26, 2002
I think we underestimate the influence that our outer reality has on all our decision making. Our mental environment is shaped by our daily choices. My gut wrenching reaction to the worldview of Bush comes from my observance of my own work environment. For example, at the company I work currently, its commonplace to invoke the spector of the "guys down the street" as a means to motivate the employees to work harder. We are reminded on a near constant basis that there is always someone waiting in the wings to take our job, put us out of business or smack us in the head and take all that we have.
Dog eat dog.
Survival of the fittest. Which is fine up to a point but when it comes to world affairs this mentality only leads to constant strife. Have you ever noticed that we always have to have an enemy at the door? Remember Ghaddafi? In the eighties he was just about to come eat our children, or so it seemed from the mass hysteria.
One of the reasons that I fell in love with George Orwell was because he made a very conscious effort to connect our daily lives with a larger view of the world. When you read a book like "Down And Out In Paris And London" or "Keep The Aspidistra Flying", a couple of his lesser apprectiated novels, Orwell is making a broader observation about society but diong so by giving us, in great detail, the daily trials of the characters he follows. A reader that makes an effort to see through the eyes of the character slowly builds up the bigger picture needed to re-think their own preconceptions. Sometimes, if you are willing to let go and empathize with the characters you might see yourself in a new way as well.
I experienced this recetly when I was reading "Age of Reason" By Sartre. I couldn't help by hold my own life up in parallel to Mathieu's as he examined his own life choices. When he thought "If I died today, no one would ever know whether I was a washout or whether I still had a chance of self-salvation." I recognized that same emotion; looking at the future in dismal optimism. Mathieu believed that as long as he never took responsibility there was always the hope in his friends that he eventually would. Instead he takes only the smallest steps needed to minimize the prospect of any long term responsibility.
"His past was in continual process of retouching by the present; every day belied yet further those old dreams of fame, and every day had a fresh future; from one period of waiting to the next, from future to future, Mathieu's life was gliding - towards what?
Every day you see life through your own eyes. You live the life of your own story. You empathize with what you expereince. Day by day you build the big picture that you use as a template for your own decision making.
In what can only be proof that you can find insight in the most obscure places.. I came home late to find that Saturday Night Live was still on. The skit was about a group of people trapped on an escalator. Not an elevator, an escalator! A friend of my sister's was staying with us and amidst the laughing she was saying "Why don't they just walk down!?"
The key to good comedy is pointing out our own absurdity in a way that can bypass our defenses. Its why people love watching the Daily Show, or reading The Onion.
The absurdity of the SNL escalator skit is that the people trapped there cannot see past their own assumptions. They are trapped and they act accordingly. They scream and slap each other and one guy even leaps over the edge in despair. But from our perspective sitting at home we wonder why these people can't just rethink what they know and free themselves.
What I fear is that many of us are trapped in a mental framework that is not of our own choosing. I say this because we spend a considerable amount of time in the workplace. There we must adapt the mental attitudes of the company or else risk not fitting in or worse, getting fired. In may ways, adapting the company mindset is essential to promotion. When our overall goal is financial security we do what needs to be done to succeed. Day after day we might live the life of a character that is not ourselves. We suit up every morning and live the story of someone else.
The list of Those Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken has grown. You might have noticed that during the debate on Thursday night no mention was made of Ahmed Chalabi.
You remember him? Seated behind Laura Bush at the State of the Union Speech?
Much like Saddam has replaced Osama, we now have Allawi as the great founding father of Iraq.. ixnay on the Ahmedway Alabichay. Allawi is just the next contestant to play "Last Prime Minister Standing." Last we saw of Chalabi his home was being raided to search for evidence that he was passing information to Iran.
Oh... I'm sorry Mr. Chalabi you've been kicked off the island.
The game is simple to play. You bet your life that once Iraq either has an election or becomes a benign dictatorship you will be the last guy sitting on the throne. If you are, you get a country rich with oil reserves and a brutal police force trained by the United States. If you lose... well, you're dead.
The cynic in me refers to is as a game of "Pass the Target."
In the last four years the Cynic has built a commanding lead over the Optimist.
Cynic: 4,987 pts
Optimist: 1 pt (granted one pity point by the Cynic)
The Cynic expects to be uncorking champagne on election night as record numbers of politically bamboozled people march to the polls to re-elect George W. Bush, President Blinky of Pac-Manland.
Another shining moment:
"I reject this notion -- and I'm suggesting my opponent isn't -- I reject the notion that some say that if you're Muslim you can't free, you don't desire freedom. I disagree, strongly disagree with that." - Bush
How's that for a backhanded compliment?
I think I'll try that the next time I'm chatting up some girl. "Hey, you know some guys say you're crazy and ugly, but I reject that, I STRONGLY disagree with that! You're not the least bit crazy."
This is at least the second time that Bush has used this line. I found it astonishing that he said it the first time. I chalked it up to a slip. I give him slips. But he said it again?
"Fool me twice... Won't get fooled again".
The Cynic gets another point.
Did Bush really say that he needs to put a leash on his daughters? Yes, he did. And while this may have created some pleasant mental images for some of the young men watching, others may have remembered that whole Abu Ghraib prison mess.... involving leashes.
(Note: I swear.. I swear.. I swear I did not read this post by Claire before writing this. Its one of those freaky bizarro coincidences that embarrasses the hell out of me.)
It was a day of ups and downs.
Days like this you sit down at the end of the day and you're confused. You're not quite sure if you've had a good day or a bad day. It went both ways.
Up: Waking up at 5 AM to "the sound of pouring rain." Having the window wide open and the cool air made me feel alive and refreshed. Having plenty of time to go back to bed.
Down: Getting to work and realizing that my supervisor and friend "was not coming back" (resigned). Watching one co-worker cry on her birthday, and having another tell me about a couple of friends having just died in a motorcycle accident, leaving three kids without parents.
Up: Getting a chance to talk to an absolutely wonderful girl that I've been trying to meet for some time and realizing that we have alot in common and thinking that I made a good impression on her.
Down: Asking her what she was doing tonight and finding out that she had other plans, but not following up on letting her know that I want to spend time with her.
Up: Talking myself into believing that despite my dunderheadedness I still let this cute girl know that I was interested in her and realizing that she didn't run screaming in terror from my attention.
Down: Not eating any breakfast or lunch.
Up: Getting to hang out with Sadie and her Irish Lad, drinking some great tasting beer, talking about thongs, Jerky Notes, and the Uniform Code of "Conduct". Getting to finally eat some ketchup.
Down: Not getting to see the cute red haired waitress for two hours.
Up: Getting to see the cute red haired waitress for about two seconds.
Down: Realizing that I have an unproductive obsession.
Up: Having Hugh Grant hair.. flippity flippity. "Bloody fookin' 'ell" Getting a postcard from Kilgore Trout.
Down: Being really bad at comforting the co-worker having a bad birthday.
Up: Still having great weather. Getting to wear one of my new two dollar thrift store shirts.
Down: Admitting that everyone is a better, more creative writer than myself.
Dissolve into Evergreens