Thursday, January 31, 2008

quote for the day

When Democrats give away money, people call it a hand-out, when Republicans do it, it's called a subsidy, but when they do it together it's called a "stimulus".

quote from Uncle Jay

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

reprise

I got nothing to say today. I'm sleepy, they're doing fund-raising (again) on NPR, and quite frankly the usual bitching and moaning on this blog just hasnt been doing it for me lately.

So, instead, I'll reprint some bitching and moaning that I did on someone else's blog. Afterwards, head over to Pooby's blog. He writes better than I do anyway.

I suspect that this country has been doomed since the service portion of the economy became more important than the industrial part, sometime in the 80’s.
Capitalism is great for making money, but it’s not good for everything, which is what the Republicans have managed to drive the country into embracing. Sometimes I think that the collapse of the Soviet Union was one of the worst things to happen to the U.S. because it convinced people that Capitalism Was The Best. Now we’re stuck with a sort of Amway Government run by a bunch of people who exhibit all the social consciousness of spoiled teenagers.
Am I the only one who’s noticed that the Republican answer to
any economic situation is “tax-cut”, and to see that this can only lead to a starved government and under-served nation?
As for the Rebate (aka: “bribe”), yeah, it’s a crock of shit, but it’ll get done because who’s going to say no to some cash? Not me, even as I think that it’s a bad idea.
Truth is, this nation, collectively, has made some real dumb-ass financial decisions, and ultimately we’re going to
have to pay for them. All this frantic running about by pundits and politicians is nothing more than slights-of-hand trying to hide the blame and move it someplace less painful to those in charge (and just as painful, if not more so, to us regular folk).
In the end, the painful lesson will come home: you borrow money, you gotta pay it back, unless you’ve got some
very understanding lenders - and I dont think anyone here is going to garner much sympathy, any more than the teenager who whines that he couldnt pay on his credit card because he just had to buy a new X-box instead. Tough shit, buck up, pawn the x-box, and next time think before you wave that piece of plastic around, because, in the end, it’s only a valuable as you are, and we’re looking more and more like worthless, deadbeat shitheads.
Time to grow the fuck up.


Blah blah blah, right?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i-pod tag

Okay, so the other day I responded to a tag from Sh3rrie Lydia (I may never get used to that), and darned if it wasnt a nice change (dont get any idea, you taggers out there). So, I thought I'd do it again, mostly because I love my iPod and her semi-tag was about iTunes. Rules this time: Turn on your iTunes (or iPod). Set the player on “Shuffle” (always). Write something (a sentence, a paragraph, a story, a word,) about the first 5 songs that come up. Can you handle that? It’s really not as hard as it might sound… as music, no matter your taste, is what makes the world go round.

1. George Jones : The King is Gone (and so are you)
Um. Well, it was an entertaining song, and the first time I ever heard it, as far as I can recall. This would be from one of my wife's CDs. Still, you gotta love Jones and any song that uses the phrase "yabba dabba do".
2. Lightnin' Hopkins : Gambler's Blues
Sigh. Another new one. It might have helped were I not listening to the "Newstuff for testing" playlist (a general playlist which all new entries go into so I can sort the wheat from the chaff). Love the blues, though.
3. Steely Dan : FM
Ah, here we go, familiar territory. High school, and I loved me some Steely Dan. I've got all the old LPs, and I played the magnetism right off of my Greatest Hits cassette. "Nothing but booze and Elvis, and sombody else's favorite song". Well, maybe not Elvis, more like Phil Collins (or, God help us, Heart, one more time, since it was the 80's). But always, always, somebody else's favorite song. That's what you get for liking the alternative stuff in an age of corporate radio (yes even then). Funny now that much of what is considered "classic" 80's stuff are things you never heard on the radio (or at least, not where I lived).
4. James Moody : I'm In The Mood For Groovin'
Another new one.
5. Brooks and Dunn : You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone
And the wife's stuff again.

So, that's my five. Didnt go so well, huh (blog-wise, anyway)? Just for a feel of the rest of the night (I was working while I grooved), here's the next 45 songs I heard...

Alkeos : O Sirtis
Bob Marley and the Wailers : Roots, Rock, Reggae
David Bowie : Changes
Annie Lennox : No More "I Love Yous"
Brian Setzer Ochestra : One More Night With You
Alabama : If You're gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle In the Band)
Memphis Slim : Walking Blues
Guy Clark : Comfort and Crazy
John Lee Hooker : Boogie Chillun
Weezer : Island In The Sun
Santana : Oye Como Va
The Byrds : Psychodrama City
Blink-182 : Mutt
Big Bill Broonzy : In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down
Africando : Yaye Boy
James McMurtry : Talkin' At the Texaco
Eddie and the Show... : Mr Rebel
Steve Miller Band : Space Cowboy
The Killing Joke : Eighties
Chet Baker : All Blue
Rolling Stones : Paint It Black
Johnny Cash : Field of Diamonds
English Beat : Twist and Crawl
Beastie Boys : Boomin' Granny
Ella Fitzgerald : The Lady Is A Tramp
Freddy Fender : Corina, Corina
Los Lobos : Peace (live)
Billy Joel : She's Always A Woman
Romantics : What I like About You
Screamin' Jay Hawkins : I Put A Spell On You
Lightnin' Hopkins : Found My Baby Cryin'
System Of A Down : Needles
War : The Cisco Kid
Guy Clark : Fool On The Roof Blues
Tom Waits : Barcarolle
Stéphane Grappelli : It's Only A Paper Moon
Oingo Boingo : Private Life
Nirvana : Milk It
Blind Lemon Jefferson : See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
Peter Case : It's All Mine
Agepe : Ela Não Gosta de Mim
Pete Yorn : Turn of the Century
Screamin' Jay Hawkins : Constipation Blues
The Dropkick Murphys : Skinhead on the MBTA
Lightin' Hopkins : The Last Affair

The highlight of the evening? Stéphane Grappelli doing Paper Moon, or maybe John Lee Hooker (so cool), or Africando's Yaye Boy. Low point? Definitely the Beastie Boys doing Boomin' Granny. Seriously, what a bunch of sick freaks.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

sunday funny

bottom sniffingThese are from a strip done in my hometown University's paper, a very long time ago. The strip was called "Moonbeam" and was done by a guy I went to high school with named Lon Tweeten. These days he works for Time Magazine (last I heard) and I think he may have won a Pulitzer (with a team, lest you be too impressed). Below is a play on a logo famous in Oklahoma and perhaps known to many of you. I hear he made some t-shirts, but was asked by the owner of the real logo to cease and desist. We'll see if I get in trouble.
not on my leg

Thursday, January 24, 2008

2007 booklist

Yes folks, it's time! Finally. Not a terribly long list, compared to years past, but what are ya gonna do, huh? As usual, the good stuff is linked, the rest you read at your own risk (this is not to say that those are bad books, just that I didnt fancy them enough to say, "You must read this!").

Fiction:

Aidan, Pamela : These Three Remain
Banks, Iain M. : Against A Dark Background
Banks, Iain M. : Excession
Cherryh, C. J. : Finity's End
Cherryh, C. J. : Tripoint
Fforde, Jasper : The Big Over Easy
Fforde, Jasper : The Fourth Bear
Fforde, Jasper : Thursday Next
French, Wendy : Full Of It
Garcia y Robertson, R. : Firebird
Gavalda, Anna : Hunting And Gathering
Gliori, Debi : Pure Dead Batty
Gliori, Debi : Pure Dead Frozen
Grossman, Austin : Soon I Will Be Invincible
Grimes, Martha : Dust
Grimes, Martha : The Old Wine Shades
Harmel, Kristen : The Blonde Theory
Herbert, Brian + Anderson, Kevin J. : Hunters of Dune
Herbert, Brian + Anderson, Kevin J. : Sandworms of Dune
Herge : The Adventures of Tintin, vol 4
Hiaasen, Carl : Native Tongue
Hiaasen, Carl : Nature Girl
Hiaasen, Carl : Strip Tease
Hogan, James P. : Voyage From Yesteryear
Lennon, Robert J. : The Funnies
Lutz, Lisa : The Spellman Files
Marsh, Katherine : The Night Tourist
Martin, George R. R. : A Feast For Crows
Moore, Alan : The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, vol 2
Moore, Christopher : You Suck!
Moran, Daniel Keyes : The Long Run
Morris, Gerald : The Quest of the Fair Unknown
Murdock, Catherine Gilbert : Dairy Queen
Nix, Garth : Lady Friday
Oppel, Kenneth : Skybreaker
Powers, Tim : Earthquake Weather
Pratchett, Terry : Going Postal
Pratchett, Terry : Making Money
Rajah, Susi : The Gospel According To Sydney Wells
Rice, Anne : Pandora
Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Rucker, Rudy : Postsingular
Russell, Sean : The Cloud Gatherer
Russell, Sean : The Initiate Brother
Scalzi, John : The Android's Dream
Scalzi, John : Old Man's War
Waterford, Giles : The Hound In The Left-Hand Corner
Zevin, Gabrielle : Elsewhere


Non Fiction:

Bryson, Bill : I'm A Stranger Here, Myself
Cooper, Alice : Golf Monster
Dean, John : Conservatives Without Conscience
Jacobs, Karrie : The Perfect $100,000 House
Miller, Larry : Spoiled Rotten America
Smith, Rich : You Can Get Arrested For That
Sullivan, Andrew : The Conservative Soul
Wallis, David (ed.) : Killed Cartoons - Casualties From the War on Free Expression

Past lists: 2006, 2005, and 2004.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

tagged

"Lydia" has tagged me. Ordinarily, I'd ignore this, being a member of the Omnipotent Poobah's Anti-Tagging League*, but the primary reason I declared myself such a member was so that I wouldnt have to do these things unless I felt like it.
Today, I feel like it, or rather, I've grown rather bored with blogging lately, and I'm hoping that this might act rather as a metaphorical pair of handcuffs and licorich panties, so...

Six non-important things/habits/quirks about myself:

1. Given the choice between a station wagon and a convertable, it's 50/50 that I'd choose the station wagon. Unless you were to give it to me outright, then it's about 80/20 for the convertable.
2. I prefer pie over cake, anyday. Even on birthdays.
3. I still have my childhood Lego collection. It's rather large, and contains not one of the little people figures. I built stuff with Legos.
4. I use Crest "Cinnamon Rush" toothpaste.
5. I have always lived in a state containing Interstate-35. For all but the first 13 years, I've lived within 20 miles of it. For a couple of years, I lived within 2 blocks of it.
6. My favorite color is blue, no, greeeeeeeeennnnn...

Are those unimportant enough?

The rules say that I have to pass the tag on, but I believe I will resist that rule. Chain letters are for suckers.

* Mention of which has disappeared from both Pooby's blog and, oddly, mine.

Monday, January 21, 2008

quote for MLK day

Here's some excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr. on "The Domestic Impact of the War", a speech delivered on November 11, 1967 to the National Labor Leadership Assembly for Peace:

"Now what are some of the domestic consequences of the war in Vietnam? It has made the Great Society a myth and replaced it with a troubled and confused society. The war has strengthened domestic reaction. It has given the extreme right, the anti-labor, anti-Negro, and anti-humanistic forces a weapon of spurious patriotism to galvanize its supporters into reaching for power, right up to the White House. It hopes to use national frustration to take control and restore the America of social insecurity and power for the privileged. When a Hollywood performer, lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the Presidency, only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events...

"In the past two months unemployment has increased approximately 15%. At this moment tens of thousands of people and anti-poverty programs are being abruptly thrown out of jobs and training programs to search in a diminishing job market for work and survival. It is disgraceful that a Congress that can vote upwards of $35 billion a year for a senseless immoral war in Vietnam cannot vote a weak $2 billion dollars to carry on our all too feeble efforts to bind up the wound of our nation's 35 million poor. This is nothing short of a Congress engaging in political guerrilla warfare against the defenseless poor of our nation.

"Thank God we have John Conyers is Congress. I only wish that we had more like him.

"The inflation of war cuts the pay of the employed, the pension check of the retired, and the savings of almost everyone. Inflation has stopped creeping and has begun running. Working people feel the double impact of inflation and unemployment immediately. But Negroes feel its impact with crushing severity because they live on the margin in all respects and have no reserve to cushion shock. There is a great deal of debate about the nation's ability to maintain war and commit the billions required to attack poverty. Theoretically the United States has resources for both. But an iron logic dictates that we shall never voluntarily do both for two reasons. First, the majority of the present Congress and the Administration, as distinguished from the majority of the people, is single-mindedly devoted to the pursuit of the war. It has been estimated by Senator (Harkey) that we spend approximately $500,000 to kill a single enemy soldier in Vietnam. And yet we spend about $53 for each impoverished American in anti-poverty programs. Congress appropriates military funds with alacrity and generosity. It appropriates poverty funds with miserliness and grudging reluctance. The government is emotionally committed to the war. It is emotionally hostile to the needs of the poor.

"Second, the government will resist committing adequate resources for domestic reform because these are reserves indispensable for a military adventure. The logical war requires of a nation deploy its well fought and immediate combat and simultaneously that it maintain substantial reserves. It will resist any diminishing of its military power through the draining off of resources for the social good. This is the inescapable contradiction between war and social progress at home. Military adventures must stultify domestic progress to ensure the certainty of military success. This is the reason the poor, and particularly Negroes, have a double stake in peace and international harmony. This is not to say it is useless to fight for domestic reform, on the contrary, as people discover in the struggle what is impeding their progress they comprehend the full and real cost of the war to them in their daily lives.

"Another tragic consequence of the war domestically is its destructive effect on the young generation. There cannot be enough sympathy for those who are sent into battle. More and more it is revealed how many of our soldiers cannot understand the purpose of their sacrifice. It is harrowing under any circumstance to kill but it is psychologically devastating to be forced to kill when one doubts it is right."


I have to wonder if George Bush (or his puppetmasters, whatever) read this one day in 2002 or so and said to themselves "What a great idea!"?

quote stolen outright from The Rude Pundit

Sunday, January 20, 2008

sunday funny

I love Doonesbury. I've been reading it since I was in elementary school, my mornings spent with a bowl of cereal and the old Des Moines Register (pre-Gannett). Does that explain anything?

Friday, January 18, 2008

a couple of questions and a chart

Republicans, when faced with economic woes, demand tax cuts. Republicans, when economic times are good, demand tax cuts. Republicans will not support anyone who calls for a tax increase, ever. Does this make sense to anyone besides a Republican? Because it seems to me that if the only thing that you are allowed to do with taxes is cut them, eventually you will have no money coming into the government at all, which tends to make it impossible to have a government. Is that what Republicans want? And if they want an absence of government, what do they propose to in order to keep the peace and for making decisions on a collective level?
where your tax dollars go, visuallyAnd take a look at this thing! I mean, we knew the military got a big piece of the pie, but sweet merciful jeebus! Each branch of the military is bigger than any other non-military appropriation.

Maybe our taxes are too high. Certainly they're going to the wrong place.

In the last decade or so, during the "credit bubble" that seems to be coming to an end, a few people have made an enormous amount of financial gains. The rest of us? Not so much. Now that things are starting to look like they may be un-bubbling, doesnt it seem fair that those who gained the most from the bubble should be the ones who lose the most? Does anyone think that it will actually work out that way? Does anyone even suffer from the illusion anymore that our government will even try to soften the blow for us, if it must be at the expense of those lucky few?

Do you want to become really angry?
updated!

Watch this movie, called Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers. It's currently showing on one of the Starz movie channels, or you can rent it, or something. But watch it, and be sickened by the waste and the duplicity and the corruption.

But most of all be angry, because all of this could have been prevented had the American public not had its head so far up its own ass that practically disappears.

You know, if anything shows the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party, it is that conservatives (which the Republican Party supposedly represents) are not leading the charge against this kind of waste. We dont even have to bring the rightness or the wrongness of the Iraq War into the discussion. Regardless of how you stand on the War, you ought to be firmly against wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on what are, truly, War Profiteers.

Oh, hey! There's a website, too. With a trailer!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Scott in the Antarctic


My friend Scott Nutter is a physics professor, and for the second time has had the opportunity to go to Antarctica to do some research. You can read all about this trip, and his previous trip, at his blog, Scott of the Antarctic


You can also watch a video from "Snow School" here on YouTube.

quote for the day

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin

Monday, January 14, 2008

a thought about health-care

There is a difference between providing government-run health care, and in forcing everyone to pay for health insurance; the first involves paying taxes which go directly to health care (however "inefficiently", as conventional wisdom would have it), while the second involves paying taxes to a middle man who skims off some cash/profit before providing some kind health care (and by now we all know how well that system works).

The primary objection that Republicans have to government health care is that, like any tax-supported enterprise, the wealthiest citizens will pay more for the same service as the poorer ones do. This is why Republicans are trying so hard to push school vouchers (the true goal of NCLB), and why they support so enthusiastically the building of toll roads. If they could figure out how to charge per use on everything the government does, they would do it. See, if health-care is insurance-based, then everyone pays "equally" for it, whether they make $20,000 or $20,000,000. Change to a tax-based system, and your medical payments will be based on percentage of income, not raw dollars. Poor people will "get something for (practically) nothing", while the Rich will pay much more than they currently are for the same care.
Never mind the hidden benefits of such a system, America thinks only in terms of the ledger book these days, and it takes vision to see beyond the numbers and courage (or morality) to believe that there is something beyond the money those columns of numbers represent.

Republicans (not necessarily conservatives, but Republicans) are selfish and anti-society; they dont really care about society at large, just their own narrow portion of it. This is quite obvious not only by their actions, but often even in their words. Until the public figures this out and removes them completely from power (or at least puts a check on that power), America will continue to decline.

derived from a comment at Newsguy's blog
the more things change... no wait, they havent changed AT ALL!!!Bear in mind, this cartoon is from 1993!

Friday, January 11, 2008

quote for the day

That was how it had always been, he could see now. For thousands of years mean had bled and died so that others might be chauffeured to their mansions. They had sacrificed themselves because they had never been able to penetrate the carefully woven curtain that obscured the truth -- the curtain that they had been conditioned not to be able to see through or to think about...
The inverted logic that had puzzled him had not been something peculiar to the military mind; it was just that the military mind was the only one he had ever really known. The inversions came from the whole insane system that the military was just a part of -- the system that fought wars to protect the peace and enslaved nations by liberating them; that turned hatred and revenge into the will of an all-benevolent God and programmed its litanies into the minds of chidren; that burned and tortured its heretics while preaching forgiveness, and made a sin of love and a virtue of murder; and which brought lunatics to power by demanding requirements of office that no balanced mind could meet...
For the curtain that was falling away was the backcloth of the stage upon which the dolls had danced. And as the backcloth fell and the strings fell with it, the dolls were dancing on. The dolls were dancing without the strings because there were no strings. There never had been any, except those which the dolls had allowed the puppeteers to fasten to their minds. But those strings had held up the puppeteers, not the dolls, for the puppeteers were falling while the dolls danced on.

from: "Voyage From Yesteryear" by James P. Hogan

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

hump day happiness

"Dead Like Me" is one of my favorite shows, and like so many of my favorite shows it was cut off in it's prime. Well, MGM has made a feature-length episode of DLM, slated to be released direct to DVD sometime this summer. Rumor is, if it sells well, they may start the show back up again. I'll be buying one. The return of Dead Like Me would make me very happy indeed.

Oh, turn up the volume, the sound quality kind of sucks on this.

today's quote

“We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do,”
- Rudy Giuliani, March 1994.
Freedom is what?! This was the guy that was being touted as the Republican front-runner mere weeks ago?
"Freedom is about Authority", War is Peace, insert your Orwellian phrase here.
As hard as it may be to believe, Rudy Guilliani may actually be a worse choice for president than George W. Bush was, and that worries me.

Props to the Cranky Yankee for the quote

Sunday, January 06, 2008

sunday funny

It's been a while since I did one of these, partially because I've got no new material. So here is another Joey Waldon, which I promised once upon a time. Also, as informed by Anonymous last time I posted one of his comics, Joey is alive and well and living in Dallas, Texas and he has a Myspace page (I'll warn you, it takes forever to load) which you can enjoy (the films are pretty funny, er, odd).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

drive-by, mk.II

just a few more thoughts -

- Huckabee won the race in Iowa on the GOP side, using a much smaller amount of money than Mit Romney, who spent a lot of money. Which sounds more like a true conservative?

- I find myself thinking that elections would be a lot more interesting (and productive) if voting were done like on "Survivor". Instead of voting for the prom queen in one go, maybe we could watch our candidates in action for a while, then have a national vote to kick one of them out of the race. Start off with a large field, with teams, just like the show. I bet the results would be much different, and the public would get far more involved. I wish we had done that here in Texas for the last Governor's race, because I'll bet old Rentboy Rick wouldnt have made it to Austin that way.

Friday, January 04, 2008

drive-by

Just some quick thoughts...

- I googled The Dancing of Politics, and didnt find a blog of that name, which is a shame.

- When The Bush Administration talks to petty tyrants and dicatators, do they ask for tips?

- I dont think that the election of 2008 will result in a turn-around for America. I also think that if 2012 doesnt do it, we're finished here and the American Dream will be dead. It's almost dead now.

- I've been cleaning lately, organizing, sorting and getting rid of stuff. It's only round 1, though, and hopefully I'll get rid of a lot more stuff. It's time to pare down and start travelling light (see above).