Wednesday, February 29, 2012

one more way of looking at a blackbird

I'm not sure if this fourteenth way of looking at a blackbird is a nod to Wallace Stevens' essential poem, but this rumination on blackbirds from Milan Kundera may help you put the Romneys, Santorums, Fox Newsies, and Tea Partiers in their insignificant places. 
"Over the last two hundred years the blackbird has abandoned the woods for the city -- first in Great Britain at the end of the eighteenth century, then several decades later in Paris and the Ruhr Valley. Throughout the  nineteenth century it captured the cities of Europe one after the other. It settled in Vienna and Prague around 1900, and journeyed eastward to Budapest, Belgrade, and Istanbul.
"Globally, the blackbird's invasion of the human world is beyond a doubt more important than the Spaniards' invasion of  South America or the resettlement of Palestine by the Jews. A change in the relationship of one species to another (fish, birds, people, plants) is a change of a higher order than a change in the relationship of one or another group within the species. The earth does not particularly care whether Celts or Slavs inhabited Bohemia, whether Romanians or Russians occupy Bessarabia. If, however, the blackbird goes against nature and follows man to his artificial, anti-natural world, something has changed in the planetary order of things.
"And yet nobody dares to interpret the last two centuries as the history of the blackbird's invasion of the city of man. We are all prisoners of a rigid conception of what is important and what is not. We anxiously follow what we suppose to be important, while what we suppose to be unimportant wages guerrilla warfare behind our backs, transforming the world without our knowledge and eventually mounting a surpise attack on us."
-- The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
(trans. from Czech by M.H. Heim, pp.196-197 of 1981 Penguin pbk)

Go out and watch the chickadees and cardinals by your bird feeders, or the pigeons on your stoop. There are truths there.  (There are probably none in anything you might find on TV tonight, or in a blog).

"The youth of America depends on you to show the way." -- F. Zappa to D. Jones in "Head"

I just heard that Davy Jones of the Monkees has died at the age of 66 (12/30/1945-2/29/2012)

Here's the True Blue Liberal dot org video tribute to one of the pop stars of our youth, along with the late Frank Zappa walking a talking bull and dispensing wisdom:
Frank Zappa: That song was pretty white.
Davy Jones: Well, so am I. What can I tell ya?
FZ: You've been working on your dancing though.
DJ: Oh yeah, yeah, well I've been rehearsing it. Glad you noticed that.
FZ: Yeah, doesn't leave much time for your music. You should spend more time on it, because the youth of America depends on you to show the way.
DJ: Yeah?
FZ: Yeah.
The Talking Bull: Monkees is the craziest people.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Write a Right-Wing Blog Post.

How hard is it to be a right-wing blogger these days? I can write one of their posts for them.
How dare the President of the United States waste his time having an obvious ball hanging out with Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Trombone Shorty, Warren Haynes, Booker T Jones, Jeff Beck and friends singing "Sweet Home Chicago"?

If the President of the United States is to sing in public, it should not be a song first recorded by a man who famously sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in Rosedale, Mississippi. Has this been reported with an appropriate amount of bile by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News yet? What's taking them so long? Were they watching the Daytona 500 last night rather than PBS's presentation of "Red, White and Blues" from the White House?
If the President of the United States must sing (and he really shouldn't), then it should not be a song by Al Green or Robert Johnson. It should be Francis Scott Key's "Star-Spangled Banner" (with his/her hand glued to his/her heart), or Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," or Katherine Lee Bates' "America the Beautiful":

It's even better if it's sung off key like a real American (and like everything else that comes out of Mitt Romney's mouth).

(It's not too late for GOPper BLOGgers [or music lovers] to watch the entire "In Performance At the White House" here if they need to acquire more evidence to discredit our singing President.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

The quote of the day comes from Cold War Czechoslovakia

"... People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past. They are fighting for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched and biographies and histories rewritten." 
-- Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting 
(trans. M.H. Heim, p.22 of 1981 Penguin paperback)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Once again, George Carlin sums up everything, in this case the difference between a Romney and a Santorum (and the bullshit that goes by the name of religion)

George Carlin sums up the battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the first sentence of this 10-minute video, but watch the whole thing.
"In the bullshit department, the businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman..."
-- George Carlin

Wedge Issue Update: Birth Control?

How can the Republican Party believe that their path to electoral success in 2012 could possibly involve alienating every woman in America by holding an all-male congressional hearing on contraception today? When I asked last October which wedge issue would win the Republican Primary in this election cycle, I suggested some normal suspects: Birtherism, Guns, "In God We Trust", the Dirty Filthy Hippies in the Occupy Movement, Abortion, Flag Burning, Evolution, Gay Marriage and Illegal Immigration. But never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that anyone in the GOP might actually be stupid enough to make run-of-the-mill garden-variety birth control an issue, supporting the all-male hierarchy of the Catholic Church in their demand to deny birth-control insurance to their female employees, and doing so with an all-male congressional panel telling why the rights of a foreign patriarchal power structure trump those of their American wives and daughters.

And not only that, but they have made the one candidate with the strongest record of speaking out against birth control their new front runner in their race to lose to Barack Obama in November:

"I'm not a believer in birth control ... artificial birth control."  
-- Ex-Senator Rick Santorum

With unemployment on the way down again today, "Government Motors" announcing record profits, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearing 13,000 (up from 8,000 at President Obama's inauguration), all the Republicans will have in the general election are wedge issues supported by millions of SuperPac dollars, but taking a stand against birth control is probably not their best choice of tool when choosing a winning wedge.

"The Mutt Romney Blues" video

Here's a Ry Cooder song explaining the story behind the new meaning of the word "romney":

"I didn't know there was anything wrong with that ... in terms of the law."
--Willard "Mitt" Romney needs your submissions in redefining 'gingrich'

Newt is playing catch-up with "romney" (canine defecation in terror) and "santorum" (that classic frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter), and now there's a contest to come up with a definition for "gingrich" by the people who are developing  You can make your submissions by clicking here.

Here's my first crack at one:
gingrich (v.) Get going when your spouse gets old or sick (from the German, ging [past tense of gehen, to go] + rich [archaic abbr. for Zurich, the quickie divorce capital of the medieval germanic world]).
These webmasters need to hurry though and pick a gingrich definition and get their site up and running, because the GOP primary contest is quickly becoming a two-man race.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Enough's Enough. There Are No Liberal Republicans. Period.

Today the nonsense reached a crescendo in the Republican Primary campaigns (again), so as a self-appointed guardian of liberalism, I have to speak up and proclaim that liberals do not "heart" either Romney or Santorum.
A production of "Newt 2012" - 14 February 2012

Newt 2012 launched a splash page under the URL on which you can mouse over cartoonish representations of representative "liberals" to see what their out-of-context dialog bubbles say: Glenn Beck's bĂȘte noire Saul Alinsky ("He Likes My Book!"), SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson ("Thanks for the Endorsement!"), Barack Obama ("Obamneycare!"), George Soros ("Same as Obama!"), Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards ("Thanks for Romneycare Funds!"), and Al Gore ("He Believes Me!"). Five of them should sue and the ghost of Saul Alinsky should haunt Newt Gingrich and the rest of the GOPpers who have been distorting and defaming his community-organizing legacy.

It's bad enough that the Newt is calling Mitt Romney a liberal today, but it's no surprise because he's been beating the Massachusetts Moderate/Liberal label as his main line of attack since it brought him short-lived success in South Carolina.  But now the Party of No has  gone too far.  Romney's mouthpieces and his SuperPac are trying to pin the "liberal" label on Rick Fucking Santorum, their new major competition, and one of the least liberal GOPpers who has ever drawn breath. "Mitt Romney has a much more comprehensively conservative record than Rick does," says Romney surrogate Jim Talent (former Missouri Senator) who argued that Santorum's Senate voting record "shows he's been in the liberal wing" of the GOP.

Neither Romney nor Santorum has a liberal bone in his body, they have not earned the label, and I'm using the power invested in myself to revoke their right to use and abuse it.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Enjoy your candy and take a day off from worrying about income inequality and the working conditions of those who make all your inexpensive crap.

Really.  Have fun. Don't choke on your chocolate or candy hearts. No one in a developing country spat or shat in any of the ingredients. Really.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"... if a sperm is wasted, god gets quite irate ..."

Welcome to a preview of President Santorum's America where the only acceptable reason for sexual contact is procreation.

As I've said before, every Republican issue can be explained by a clip from a classic movie.

Finally, a pickup truck I WOULD be caught dead in!

SAMO and a Radiant Baby! 
Spotted in a parking lot in Kingston, New York, on Saturday, February 11, 2012. but it looks like it could have been tagged on the streets of Soho sometime in 1978.

Friday, February 10, 2012

If I were religious, I'd be thinking that my prayers for chaos were being answered.

Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, a leading Tea-Party group, sent out an email last night asking for people on their mailing list to express their preferences for candidates like Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush and Mitch Daniels and Christie Christie and Jimmie de Mint if the Republican primary process were to fail to produce agreement on one of the final four and devolve into a brokered GOP Convention situation where the delegates were free to ignore the ignorant primary voters. As Matt Kibbe states in the first paragraph of the email:
As the Presidential race heats up, the GOP Establishment is trying to control the process and tell you that this race is all over with only few states and a miniscule number of delegates already decided. That is simply not true. It is still very likely that no candidate receives a majority of the delegates heading into the Republican National Convention. If this happens and you were a delegate to the convention, you would have the opportunity to support ANYONE, whether they are currently in the race or not.
If you want to add to their chaos, you can vote at And if you are more religious than me, you can start praying now that this comes to pass in late August in Tampa (Tampa in August? Sounds like hell to me, even without Republicans smelling up the joint).

Sunday, February 05, 2012

George Carlin Puts Football in Context in 4'49"

Happy Superbowl Sunday everyone. I might have watched it if it weren't up against Bill Moyers and Downton Abbey. On this faux holiday, here's George Carlin reminding us about the differences between our national sports:

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Why should I let the GOP ruin my weekend?

You can let your soul die by watching Republicans speak during tonight's Nevada Republican caucus or you can choose to let your soul shine.

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Devil's in the Details

If you have any love for the creative process or the nineteen sixties (and if you're a liberal reading this blog, you have tons of love for both!), please watch these two videos of the Rolling Stones recording Sympathy for the Devil in 1968, from the bare outlines of the song being sketched by Mick Jagger and Brian Jones on acoustic Gibsons, with the addition of Keith on a third acoustic and Charlie Watts. Then the experimentation with new instruments and drums and backup singers begins, and in the second video you slowly but surely start hearing the final lyrics, rhythms, and musical building blocks of the final (in)famous recording. Unfortunately we don't see Keith create what has to be one of the most recognizable guitar solos in the history of rock, but I still find these video documents from June 1968 hypnotizing.  I hope you do too.
Thanks to the Guitar World website, where these were posted earlier today.

Now I need to put on Beggars Banquet and listen to it with new ears.

The Charity Arms Race

If it comes down to a shooting war, does Planned Parenthood have a light blue gun to counter the pink Walther P-22 Hope Edition pistol in this listing?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

"...I'm crazy ... and I'm right ..." -- Bad Lip Reading Santorum

The Quotation of the Day About Liberals

Lawrence O'Donnell will be talking about this viral quotation on the Rewrite segment of his MSNBC show, "The Last Word" later tonight:
"What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. 
"What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." 
-Lawrence O’Donnell Jr.
This could have been posted as my mission statement when I started this blog and John Kerry was pissing me off by running away from the liberal label, and handing the White House (and the meaning of the word) back to George Bush and the conservatives.

So I'll do my small part to spread this virus, as it is appearing around Facebook and blogs:
And as O'Donnell's words were delivered from the mouth of Jimmy Smits on The West Wing:

Tom Morello on Bob Dylan, Amnesty International, Clear Channel, and more

And a great Wobbly hat.

"...the forces of reaction... you have to always be on guard for. They're always trying to steer history in the direction of the ruling elites and our freedom of expression is one of our best ways to fight back ..."
--Tom Morello at the end of this video from Spin

As with this weekend's Superbowl, the real message is in the paid commercials.

I'm very rarely home at 6:30 in time to watch one of the network news shows.  When I catch parts of them, I'm usually struck by the overwhelming mix of fluff and drug ads, so I thought I might liveblog any one of them. Tell me if I'm wrong, but CBS, NBC, and ABC seem interchangeable to me at 6:30 EST.  Here we go:
ABC World News With Diane Sawyer on WABC, Channel 7 in New York.
6:30 -- Teasers for Planned Parenthood, Donald Trump, Honda Hybrid, and a possible depression drug story.
First Story -- Diane Sawyer introduces story about Susan G. Komen Foundation  reported by Claire Shipman. The Pink Ribbon Group is withdrawing its financial support from the Republicans' bĂȘte noire, Planned Parenthood.  Was the Komen group bowing to pressure from the Right?  No conclusion here.
6:34 - David Muir talks to Donald Trump about his endorsement of Mitt Romney on the Vegas Strip earlier today. ABC does manage to point to some video where The Donald had earlier had some unkind things to say about Mitt. They also note that the multi-millionaire candidate who "likes to fire people" is being endorsed by the billionaire(?) who's tagline is "You're Fired!"
6:37 - A salmonella outbreak at Taco Bell THREE MONTHS AGO was just reported today after an independent investigator discovered that "restaurant chain A" in an FDA/CDC report was the national chain where the chihuahua runs the kitchen.
6:40 -- Nine American states are under winter weather advisories.
6:41 -- Winter weather in Central Europe causing problems.
6:41 -- US combat in Afghanistan could end in 2013 and Martha Raddatz is across the desk in the studio to discuss it with Diane. They also discuss a rumor that Israel may be planning to attack Iran.
6:43 -- Teaser for stories about  Honda Hybrid and a Supermodel supporting her Superbowl quarterback husband.
6:43 -- Commercial with karaoke-singing bald man for Geico Insurance
6:44 -- Centrum vitamin commercial
6:44 -- Eat Campbell's Chicken Soup
6:44 -- Chantix commercial. May stop you from smoking (may kill you and do other nasty things says the quick-talking voiceover).
6:45 -- Sad music commercial for Prudential Life Insurance
6::46 -- Back to the News. Heather Peters took Honda to small claims court in California and won in her suit about the mileage she received in her 2006 Civic Hybrid. ABC reports that Edmunds finds real-world fuel mileage tends to be lower for all brands.  (I took this story personally.  I have a hybrid Honda Insight and I get better than the advertised 43mpg -- I've averaged close to 45 over my first 50,000 miles).
6:48 -- Another teaser for an upcoming Supermodel/Superbowl Quarterback story before the second group of commercials.
6:48 -- Blond woman delivers Pro Fracking and Tar Sands drilling propaganda
6:48 -- Tax Act dot com wants you to use their software to fill out your 1040
6:49 -- Fancy Feast Cat Food is truly fancy!
6:49 -- USAA Retirement Planning for military families.
6:50 -- Glucerna Shakes for people with diabetes.
6:50 -- Ameriprise Financial is flogged by Tommy Lee Jones.
6:50 -- Stanley Steemer has a $99 special to clean your carpets!
6:51 -- Back to the News. A short story about people who will become Facebook millionaires when FB goes public, including Bono.
6:51 -- Supermodel Gisele Bundchen sent an email to her friends asking them to pray for her Superbowl husband, New England Patriot Tom Brady. The New York Post responded with a "Not A Prayer" headline.   The story was about as short as the two earlier teasers for it.
6:52 -- Angelo Dundee has died at 90.
6:52 -- Teaser for depression cure story before the third group of commercials.
6:52 -- Allstate Insurance commercial with slacker and old Republican having a fender bender.
6:52 -- Fancy Feast gravy lovers' cat food.
6:53 -- BP propaganda about how well they've cleaned up the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
6:54 -- 5% back with Discover Card
6:54 -- Gout?  It's caused by high uric acid. Check so we can sell you drugs.
6:55 -- T. Rowe Price understands our complex global economy.
6:55 -- Good Morning America will add to the Super Bowl hype tomorrow morning
6:55 -- Back to the News and there's a banner about "New Hope" for depression. Dr. Richard Besser talks to a young man, Chris Stephens, who has tried all kinds of depression drugs, but has found results from one dose of Ketamine, Special K.
6:58 -- Thank you for watching. Nightline will be coming later tonight and we'll be back tomorrow.
6:58 -- Credits.
6:58 -- Promo for an upcoming ABC show, The River, premiering soon.
6:58 -- Cadillac CTS can drive backwards as well as forward!
6:59 -- NYQUITS has emotional ad about woman diagnosed with lung cancer delivering the news to her children.
6:59 -- Tickets are available Anything Goes on Broadway
7:00 -- TD Bank time check informs us that it's 7:00.
I was actually very surprised that there were no ads for The Purple Pill or prescription sleep aids or erectile dysfunction drugs, and I was shocked by the fact that there were more than ten minutes without commercials at the beginning of the show.  It wasn't good, but it was better than I expected. However, I won't be trading the PBS NewsHour for ABC/NBC/CBS commercial news anytime soon.