Friday, December 30, 2011

Just auld

It wasn't new years until Bill Graham said it was new years.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Voting rights

Jeffrey Toobin praises Eric Holder's defense of the right to vote for all Americans, including non-Republicans.

This is a chance for Holder to define his legacy as Attorney General—as something more than the guy who tried, and failed, to have Guantánamo Bay detainees tried in federal court in New York. There is a purity, a simplicity, about the voting-rights fight that is sadly absent from many modern civil-rights battles. This is not about special privileges, or quotas, or even complex mathematical formulae. It’s about a basic right of American citizenship, which is being taken from large numbers of people for the most cynical of reasons. The laws are, quite literally, indefensible—so Holder ought to make the states that have them try to defend them. That would be a legacy that would make any Attorney General, and any American, proud.
Read, as they say on the Intubes, the whole thing.

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Ron Paul cares about some civil liberties for some people

Yes, Glenn Greenwald has just pushed it to 11 on his amp of assholeness.

And, yeah, this just depresses the shit out of me.

Oppel’s suggests these “clean-up” rules were inspired by the recent experience of Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, whose youthful orange-hatted pierced-and-tatted volunteers allegedly freaked out Iowans. But the best precedent actually goes a lot further back: the “Clean for Gene” slogan of student volunteers for Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire in 1968.
If I were advising the Paul campaign, I’d suggest a few other rules for their kiddie corps, such as hiding their dog-eared copies of Atlas Shrugged and learning to change the subject when voters ask about the candidate’s views on foreign policy. But in any event, it’s interesting, and a bit depressing, too see the experience of yesterday’s youthful lefties being put to the service of a cause in which both McCarthy and Dean would be thought of as among the Slavedrivers of Collectivism.

I know, Dear Reader, you know this, but just in case someone came in here via the Google:  In Ron Paul's world, pot should be legalized, vaginas should not, and slaveholding is just ok as long as The State isn't involved.

Please go back to what you were doing.  Over.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pity our gaultian overlords

A new feature we're considering for this arid wasteland of a blog:  The weekly "Those Who Should be Shunned."

This week's nominees -- The Mortgage Bankers Association.

Paying your debts is, as a rule, a good thing. But the double standard here is obvious and offensive. Homeowners are getting lambasted for doing what companies do on a regular basis. Walking away from real-estate obligations in particular is common in the corporate world, and real-estate developers are notorious for abandoning properties that no longer make economic sense. Sometimes the hypocrisy is staggering: last winter, the Mortgage Bankers Association—the very body whose president attacked defaulters for betraying their families and their communities—got its creditors to let it do a short sale of its headquarters, dumping it for thirty-four million dollars less than the value of the building’s mortgage.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The unbearable lightness of the 1%

Doesn't Vlad Putin sound familiar?

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin said Tuesday that the protest movement mobilized this month by angry voters is directionless and lacks competent leaders, summing up the protesters’ mindset with a phrase coined by squabbling Marxists: “The movement is everything, the ultimate goal is nothing.” 
 Maybe he should link up with the "pinstriped Pinochet of Zuccotti Park" and form a third party.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Calling Mittens on it

We all have seen just how easily lying comes to Mitt Romney.  It is nice to see the Obama campaign call him on it.  Take it away, Joe.

Romney appears satisfied to settle for an economy in which fewer people succeed, while the majority of Americans are left to tread water or fall behind. His proposal would actually double down on the policies that caused the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression and accelerated a decades-long assault on the middle class.
Romney also misleadingly suggests that the president and I are creating an “Entitlement Society,” whereby government provides everything for its people without regard to merit, as opposed to what he calls an “Opportunity Society,” where everything is merit-based and every man is left to fend for himself.
The only entitlement we believe in is an America where if you work hard, you can get ahead.

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I dunno. Seemed festive.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things I learned today listening to NPR

House Republicans take their marching orders from President Obama and they are very concerned that we've hurt the feelings of the Prime Minister of Canada.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Blue Monday, Tom Waits edition

Friday, December 16, 2011

The great gig in the sky

Christopher Hitchens, RIP.

And Paul Campos captures the irony beautifully.

That Christopher Hitchens died on the very day that marked the official end of the U.S. war in Iraq is the kind of coincidence that would have led the ever-ironical Argentine to remark upon the mysterious ways of the God with whom Hitchens so famously quarreled.

Read the whole thing about Hitchens' meeting with Jorge Luis Borges.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Charlie Savage contracts a case of journamalism

I generally admire Charlie Savage's reporting, but this is a classic -- and egregious -- example of "he said/she said" false equivalency.

This year, more than a dozen states enacted new voting restrictions. For example, eight — Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — imposed new laws requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification cards. Previously voters were able to use other forms of identification, like bank statements, utility bills and Social Security cards.

Proponents of such restrictions — mostly Republicans — say they are necessary to prevent voter fraud that could cancel out the choices of legitimate participants. Opponents — mostly Democrats — say there is no evidence of meaningful levels of fraud and contend that the measures are a veiled effort to suppress participation by hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who lack a driver’s license.

My emphasis.

Really, Charlie.  You couldn't have done a little bit of reporting to see whose claims are actually borne out by the evidence.  Perhaps you could have looked to your own newspaper for some help on this.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Willard "Mitt" Romney takes a stand!

Two, in fact.  Channeling the KKK.  Offending a Vietnam War vet.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blue Monday, Jerry and Sara Garcia edition

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The panic of the "GOP elites"

Charles "national treasure" Pearce explains the sudden loathing for Newton Leroy Gingrich.

It did not begin with Newt, god knows. Edmund Burke is a couple of centuries astern, boys. Modern American conservative intellectual history began in the 1964 presidential election and in the organized white-supremacist resistance to the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. It is western and southern, not Oxbridgian, and it is the love child of Barry Goldwater and George Wallace. Small wonder that one of its presiding characteristics has been a decidedly un-Burkean nastiness, and a proud anti-intellectualism that would have made Richard Hofstadter wish he died as a trial. I'm old enough to remember the NCPAC campaigns, run by a vicious closet case named Terry Dolan. Will and Krauthammer were just coming into their glory then, and I don't remember them being particularly critical of the campaigns that rid the Senate of George McGovern and Frank Church. This was the precursor protein in the brain that eventually would become inflamed with Gingrichitis. It progressed through the work Lee Atwater did for the first George Bush and the work Karl Rove did for the second one, the former just as Newt was coming to power and the latter after he'd slunk away from it for a spell. It was all there, waiting for someone to put it all together in one place — namely, his wallet. Finally, the Hour of the Newt was at hand.
Where were the complaints about his intellectual shortcomings in 1994? Where was the concern that he was leading the Republicans down a dark and lonely road where monsters be? My god, go back and read the coverage of his ascension to the Speakership. Read what "the Republican establishment" said about his political savvy and his mighty intellect. Most of it makes the Gospel of John read like H.L. Mencken.

"This was going green 1949-style, bitch, believe that"

Ice Cube gives us a tour of Eames House in L.A.

Via LGM.

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Friday, December 09, 2011

This is the end


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Re-internment camps

It's a day to Nevah Fuget that 70 years ago infamous Asians attacked us at Pearl Harbor.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Howlin' for my darlin

Oh, why the hell not?

Hubert Sumlin, 1931-2011

Very few have been as influential.

Mr. Sumlin began appearing on Howlin’ Wolf’s recordings in 1953, first as a rhythm guitarist and then, beginning in 1955, on lead guitar. Mr. Sumlin’s eerie guitar counterpart to Howlin’ Wolf’s unearthly moaning on the 1956 hit “Smokestack Lightnin’ ” has lately been featured in a television commercial for Viagra. He also played lead on “Back Door Man,” “Spoonful” and “The Red Rooster,” all written and arranged by the Chicago blues trailblazer Willie Dixon.
“Dixon’s often astute novelty lyrics and shrewd arrangements were topped off by Sumlin’s imaginative, angular, taut attack, frequent glisses, maniacally wide vibrato and percussive chords, all drawn with an exaggerated brush,” the producer Dick Shurman observed of Mr. Sumlin’s relentlessly inventive playing in his liner notes to a 1991 boxed set of Howlin’ Wolf’s work for Chess Records.
“Back Door Man,” “Spoonful” and “The Red Rooster” were later made even more famous in versions released, respectively, by the Doors, Cream and the Rolling Stones. All three originally appeared on Howlin’ Wolf’s 1962 LP “Howlin’ Wolf,” which the critic Greil Marcus called “the finest of all Chicago blues albums,” largely because of Mr. Sumlin’s contribution.
Though at times tempestuous, Mr. Sumlin’s partnership with Howlin’ Wolf lasted until the singer’s death in 1976. Mr. Sumlin’s intuitive, empathetic accompaniment typically spurred his mentor to unpredictable and frenzied heights.
Speaking of their collaborations in a 1989 interview with Living Blues magazine, Mr. Sumlin said: “Hubert was Wolf, Wolf was Hubert. I got to where I knew what he wanted before he asked for it, because I could feel the man.” 

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Blue Monday, Neil Young edition

Friday, December 02, 2011

2012 stupid

We are obviously starting the informed discussion for 2012.

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