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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dickwatch

The Big Dick

Cheney is just the gift that keeps on giving. On the deceased donor of a (now clearly lonely) heart:
"... the way I think of it from a psychological standpoint is that it’s my new heart, not someone else’s old heart. And I always thank the donor, generically thank donors for the gift that I’ve been given, but I don’t spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person.."
Of course you don't, Dick. I mean, you've already "generically" thanked the Aristotelean donor archetype.

I'm going to be very sad when Dick Cheney dies. Unless we get to have a few days of rage in his memory, that is.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Secret History of Sarin - H.P. Albarelli & Ran Daniel

A Secret Order
[Crossposted from The Secret History of Sarin]
Over the past several months the world has witnessed the heinous and lethal effects of sarin gas as deployed in Syria, yet virtually unknown is the long history of this deadly chemical compound. Especially abhorrent in this history are sarin’s entangled roots in Nazi Germany and its subsequent exploitation by the United States government. This history also graphically underscores the brutal byproducts brought on by international conflicts and the insane subterfuge that frequently accompanies the aftermath of war.
Read more >>

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Parable, Short And Bitter

Dead Man's Hand
Image from fine art america

Some people are sitting at a card table, playing cards. The card table is set squarely over some railroad tracks.

Because I want it that way.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oh, You're Just Against Everything!

21st Century Schizoid Man
Image snatched from Andy in Oman

Why dissent?

This may seem a silly question to many people (particularly to those of you who wander here,) but I am querying the psychological roots of contrariness. Additionally, there is a great deal of evidence that many - if not most - of us are content to "go along to get along" as long as some basic needs are met.

What is up with those of us who aren't willing to let the machine run the way it's running? It's easy to see how people who are suffering the consequences of an unjust social system might revolt against it, but what of those of us who would do just fine if we would simply sat down and shut up? Indeed, those of us who create negative experiences for ourselves by speaking out or acting against the status quo?

Certainly the hubris of Ego can be a part of the answer. That's what S. thought.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Learned Helplessness / Learned Despair

Despair - Edvard Munch
Despair - Edvard Munch

(A quick note: While doing my standard cursory "research" to make sure I have my terms right, I ran across the Wikipedia entry on Learned helplessness and was reminded once again of the despicable nature of Behavioral Psychology research. What Seligman and Maier did to those poor creatures, in order to gain insight on what a simple fucking thought experiment will accomplish, disgusts me.)

"Learned helplessness," as applied to the state of political apathy here in the United States, is a meme I've been running across with increasing frequency here in cyberspace. The idea is that we - those of us who are not in that special class of uber-wealth - have become so disconnected from the mechanisms of power, so disenfranchised from the influence of our representative democracy, that we shrink from contemplation of, let alone action against, the insults heaped upon us by "the system," much as like Seligman and Maier's battered dogs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Immoral Embrace: The Sickness Is Deep

Wage Slave
Image liftted from Patriot Acts

I am personally offended by some comments made by a Portland "newcomer," as quoted in Jon Talton's Sunday column in the Seattle Times, Check of Portland’s vitals shows signs of life. On Portland, Taz Loomans says:
...this place seems to lack a work ethic. There are too many loafers here unfortunately, too many people satisfied with doing service jobs and enjoying the time off, without developing themselves into something more.
and
...the key is to attract weird people who are motivated and ambitious and want to contribute to society and the economy, not weird people who are satisfied living on the edge of homelessness.
Well.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

So You Wanna Work For The CIA / JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary / Signed Book Giveaway

A Secret Order
[Update 08/07: All 15 books have found happy owners. Offer closed for now.]

This November 22nd will mark 50 years since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. I was less than two months shy of my seventh birthday...

One of the most fascinating narratives in A Secret Order, for me, was the story of the "femme fatale enigma," June Cobb. An attractive woman with clearly a great gusto for life, she sets off for Colombia with a pair of wanna-be druglord twins and winds up working for the CIA. Or so she figures, since apparently they don't always tell you who you're working for.

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Acid Trip Is An Extraordinary Rendition / JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary / Signed Book Giveaway

A Secret Order
[Update 08/07: All 15 books have found happy owners. Offer closed for now.]

This November 22nd will mark 50 years since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. I was less than two months shy of my seventh birthday...

My anger often surprises me - my rage, on the other hand, always catches me off guard. I suppose that's true for most people who don't find anger - and its big green cousin, rage - particularly useful or helpful.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth Of July Post - Look Behind The Logo

Happy Fourth

Aww - it's our "birthday," again.

I'm going to do my bit and meditate on the idea that is "The United States of America," and some on identity and ritual and coercion, collusion and self-delusion. Yes, you should go elsewhere for parades and fireworks...

Disgraced politician (but I repeat myself) John Edwards made famous the idea of there being "two Americas," Bobby Kennedy (taken down before he had the opportunity to disgrace himself) limned a similar meme when he dared to be photographed with poor folk in his brutally truncated Presidential run. We have the "1%," the "99%" - the social Darwinish "rugged individual" Americans, the barn-raising Socialisty communitarian Americans, post-Enlightenment secular humanism America, hell-and-brimfire God-bothering America, public library, transportation, and education America, and home-schooling get-off-of-my-lawn America.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jason Bourne With A Carcano Rifle / JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary / Signed Book Giveaway

A Secret Order
[Update 08/07: All 15 books have found happy owners. Offer closed for now.]

This November 22nd will mark 50 years since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. I was less than two months shy of my seventh birthday...

The highly entertaining Bourne novels and movies tell the tale of an intelligence asset who begins, in disconnected fragments, to recall committing a dark deed, or deeds, on behalf of interests other than his own. This begins a spell of self-loathing that animates the riveting drama of a man who simply will not be left alone, and who turns the black arts that have been soaked into his very DNA against his tormenters.

He "goes rogue."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary / Signed Book Giveaway / Author's Recommendations

A Secret Order
[Update 08/07: All 15 books have found happy owners. Offer closed for now.]

This November 22nd will mark 50 years since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. I was less than two months shy of my seventh birthday - nonetheless, that day is seared in my memory as it is in most peoples' who were alive on that day.

At my age, it was the trauma of the adults around me that marked it, of course. The tearful school principal announcing the event on the intercom - of a K-6 grade school. My Irish-Catholic mother's grief when I got home. The endless dirge of television coverage in the days following, including the oft-looped footage of Lee Harvey Oswald's murder by Jack Ruby, two days later.

A seven-year-old became a very serious person that day, and it irrevocably fixed his attention on the cornucopia of upheaval that characterized the current events in the years that followed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hunger In America: What You Really Think

Soup Line
Image from Feed our Vets

In the May 30th broadcast of Democracy Now!, Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman interview Smita Narula of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, co-author of "Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States" (pdf). The interview begins at the end of that day's broadcast, at around the 47:00 minute mark.

Amy introduces a clip of Congressional Republican Steve King:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Necessary Distinctions II: Being Better Vs. Being Good

Running Towards The Goal
You're doing it wrong (Running Towards The Goal - Erland Sibuea)
Don't let the pure be the enemy of the good.
- Any asshole with an agenda
You can only be a better (or worse) person in relation to something else.

Being good, however, is only on its own terms. Indeed, a "good" person is often considered to be quite "bad" to his/her contemporaries.

Necessary Distinctions I: Self-Knowledge Vs. Self-Reflection


Perhaps its because I am of a generation that was raised on the romance of science! that I have such a violent reaction to the techno-fantasists of today. No, not perhaps... of course, that is it.

I cannot express the amount of loathing that rolled through my being as I watched this Lifeblogging documentary.

May I also note the sweet irony that it is those who gaze into the mirror of narcissism who are the least able to see themselves. The lack of self-awareness of these people in their own pettiness staggers me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Comin' Atcha, Sheriff Joe

Pink Underwear
Pink pants for the Sheriff's inmates
[Update 2013/05/25: In light of the recent ruling (Judge rules against 'America's toughest sheriff' in racial profiling lawsuit,) I thought I'd percolate this post from four years ago (February 13, 2009) up to the top. Incidentally, while he is "toughest" on those placed under his care, there is nothing tough about this cowardly bully.]

[Update 2011/09/21: Some questions and elaborations on my Tent City experience at Rogue Columnist's place.]

Looks like the House Judiciary Committee is going to have a look-see at the goings on here in Arizona:
Sheriff Arpaio has repeatedly demonstrated disregard for the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Under the guise of immigration enforcement, his staff has conducted raids in residential neighborhoods in a manner condemned by the community as racial profiling. On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his "tent city" jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and "ritual humiliation." Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, "Smile… You’re Under Arrest!", Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On The 50th Anniversary Year, H.P. Albarelli Releases JFK Research

A Secret Order
From the Forward:
H.P. Albarelli and others like him are indispensable to understanding the totality of the Truth of America, for she obscures her history in the service of an idealistic narrative that is becoming increasingly difficult to abide.
- Michael J. Petro
From my review at Amazon.com:
...We come upon the 50th anniversary of the most controversial assassination of the most visible man in the world this November. One must draw one's own personal conclusions regarding this mystery, especially those of us of a certain generation. It would be short-sighted to do so without this volume.

It is a peculiar history indeed that the author of "A Secret Order" has preserved for us. These stories are about much, much more than the mystery of a Presidential assassination, and this book should be found on the shelf of any serious student of history.

Monday, May 20, 2013

It Can't Be Done: Rise Up To No Effect

Big Rock

To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil.
- Chris Hedges
Please forgive the provocative title of this post - it is insincere. While I can't directly address the actual truth of the matter, it is a personal feeling of mine that we can, of course, "rise up." However, it does serve a purpose aside from being provocative (and inviting gross misunderstanding.)

I say it to highlight an elegant point that Chris Hedges makes in a recent truthdig essay. It is one that he has made many times before, and I never tire of being reminded of it.

In spite of the title (Rise Up or Die,) there is more to Mr. Hedges' ironically provocative* prose than just a call to survival:

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 11 - National Train Day

Phoenix Turbo Train
Phoenix, 1972 - Image purloined from The Rogue Columnist

[Update 05/11:
Take the underground railroad from the depths of our shared pain to the light of a better day.
- soleri
]

The Rogue Columnist (Jon Talton) has brought it to our attention that tomorrow is National Train Day.

I can't stress enough how beneficial it would be to expand our national train system. Mr. Talton lays out the benefits nicely (bullet pointed teaser after the fold,) and besides those, I'd like to add only that we could sure use a WPA-like stimulus system to reinvigorate the country. Talk about a direct injection into the economy - employing loads of people to build railroads that will bring economic benefits for decades to come (paychecks mean spending money, businesspeople.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

You'd Better Free Your Mind... Instead?

Wisdom, Set To A Beat - From The Eponymous "The White Album"

No, not "instead" - only "first." Because it's a necessary step in the business of freeing all minds. Because what our minds create, and tend to, is a commons, too.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The American Way: Nixon's In China

Nixon/China
Drink up, you Commie.

"Only Nixon could go to China" was the line, as the old red-baiter himself traveled to the Far East and "opened up" China.

Similar, if unspoken, sentiments must be prevalent on Wall Street, as the ostensible emissary from our minority populations takes on the dismantling of Social Security.

Of course, what Nixon accomplished was more of a death blow to Communism than a thousand "domino-theory" Vietnams could ever be. Today the political philosophy in China is clearly a State Capitalism, with the vestigial slogans of Communist policy serving only as a logo of identity, like the Nike "swoosh."

It is rather instructive to note that the transition to Capitalism in the totalitarian state was not only swift and relatively turbulence-free, but also that China actually was able to model what our country is more subtly becoming without the messy transitions that have had to come to pass in our "democratic" society. The wedding of business and government has been more difficult here, but it is coming to resemble what China looks like. Another "democracy," Japan, got there decades ago.

It's a neoliberal world.

Monday, May 6, 2013

We All Take Care Of Each Other, Whether Badly Or Well

Cooperation
Photo: Harlan H.

The title of this post is the Deconstructing The Manifest sub-tag (see the header of this blog) that has been there from the beginning. I find it to be a statement of revealed truth, as opposed to a manifesto, or to an aspirational sentiment of some kind.

Like most sane people, I've an aversion to vain protests against the nature of reality, and to the subset of that genre that involves the overly-romantic hopes of a certain kind of progressive - those that hold to a vision of transcendent evolution that pumps the hopes of New Age or Singularity acolytes. This is not to say that I'm in the that's-just-the-way-things-are camp, either - between these two straw-poles (see what I did there?) lie a place where one can see where one is going wrong, and make the appropriate adjustment without invoking the need for mystical transformation or, on the other hand, pleading for the return of an idealized baseline of traditional nature.

We may not be Übermenschen-in-waiting, but we are also not doomed to be Hobbesian red-in-tooth-and-claw primitives, either.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Solutions: Public Banking And The Robin Hood Tax

Robin Hood Tax
Image borrowed from The Guardian

[Update 5/8: I missed the first two parts truthout.org posted last month, but Part III showed up today:



Alternet put up an article By Les Leopold a couple of days ago (The Rich Have Gained $5.6 Trillion in the 'Recovery,' While the Rest of Us Have Lost $669 Billion ) that, as can be gleaned by the title, should be a discomfiting indictment of the behavior of the wealth class in this country and elsewhere in the developed world.

There is plenty there to grumble and shake one's fist at, like the wealth class itself...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Cold Dead Fingers?" If You Insist (An Unhinged Rant)

Inquisition
Cartoon from Sodahead

[Resurrecting this post, in "honor" of the AZ Governor's asshattery, signing this into law yesterday. It's an insult, and it's open, cynical war against the wishes of the populace. The buyback program was not intended as some sort of statewide inventory clearance sale. They should be so rigorous in the disposition of the creatures at the animal shelters.]

Pardon me, if I am "unreasonable."

But this! The NRA and Koch-Backed ALEC Have Fought Gun Buyback Programs Across Country:
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is threatening legal action if the Tucson Police Department tries to destroy the guns it acquired through a voluntary gun buyback program -- thanks to legislation advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and then passed in Arizona.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Don't You Dare Cry

Crocodile Tear
Is this you? How dare you. Image from Survivors' Network

I'm too disgusted for words. There have been far too many of you who have advocated for extra-Constitutional treatment of the "other," for far too long. And far too many more who remain silent. Your bleatings, or your neglect, have reached a critical mass, and you've "othered" your own government, and it now has all the permission it needs.

Good luck turning this barge around.

Stick a fork in it. Stick it somewhere else, too, while you're at it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blessed By The Curse Of Disruption: Feeling Fine

Cheery, acoustical change

Change, or the disruption of habit, causes anxiety. Anxiety is a "bad."

Habit is a "bad," too - but not because its disruption causes anxiety. It's a bad in and of itself, as any enjoyed behavior always has "More!" stamped on it, and before you know it you're ensconced in the metaphorical armchair, alcoholic with metaphorical beer and fat with metaphorical pork rinds.

So, habits should be regularly disrupted... but there's that bugaboo of anxiety, and the tension of anxiety kills - and that's not a metaphor. So, in the human animal kingdom, a healthy aversion to death means that habits are more often than not broken involuntarily.

If you're not an extra in the mediocre-but-unavoidably relevant film Idiocracy and are cursed with the imperatives of an examined life, then it seem that one is trapped in a damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don't situation. Calm the heart with the armchair of familiar culture and lifestyle and experience the slow spiral of death-by-disengagement and irrelevance, or shake things up regularly and opt for the good-looking-corpse brought on by the quick heart-attack of anxiety.

Or perhaps you're more Zen-inclined, and would more passively let life deal you its blows - it's quite good at wrenching you out of the comfy chair all by itself, and if you eschew defensibly clinging to your comfort zone you can be naturally battered by the forces of change. "Natural" is good, after all...

Well, this doesn't seem to be working out well at all, so far.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garlic And Crosses: Keeping Functional Stupidity At Bay

Safety Earrings
These weapons are well-placed, tactically speaking

I've titled this post exactly backwards, since vampires are culturally symbolic of freedom (perverted symbols, of course, because actual freedom is a fearsome thing and it's important to make the "outsider" a blood-sucking monster), but I wanted to get your attention (pretty cool earrings, huh?)

Now that that's out of the way...

Dmitry Orlov has come across an article in Journal of Management Studies called “A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations” (no online links, contact info is included in Orlov's post,) which he is kind enough to meditate upon for our benefit. In his post Understanding Organizational Stupidity , he writes (I've brutally excerpted here, of course, go read the whole thing):

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dickwatch

The Big Dick

Same old paranoid Dick: Dick Cheney Warns GOP On North Korea: 'We're In Deep Doo Doo':
"...you never know what they're thinking."
(Feeling a little nostalgic, in a dark kinda way.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Moved By Maron Again

WTF with Marc Maron
Image found at WTF! with Marc Maron
Moved, that is, by Dean Delray, whom I'd never heard of before. Dean was drawn out, of course, by Marc, in my opinion the single best interviewer working today, in any medium. And this time you will be moved into the direction of joy.

I may be able to look back and find one better, but this is arguably the most "fun" interview I've heard on WTF (this is episode 376). Not only does Delray have one of those enviably interesting lives (teaser: Harley Zep Scorcese quesadillas Stones bootlegs Devo and bears), but the dude is having a party recounting it, and you're soon partying right along with him. Infectious. Effusive. Joy. And he turned Mick fucking Jagger on to a "new" Bob Marley boot.

Hey, I enjoy mostly all of Maron's interviews, but I rarely link to them from here - so this means I think this an especially good one. What, you still hanging around here? Go have fun: Episode 376 - Dean Delray

Clinton Presidency Redux Redux

Hillary

[Hill's "campaign" is in the news again, so I'm re-posting this one from 2012/12/04.]

Update 02/09: ‘Generalissima Clinton’ Expands the Empire

Hillary is Running: A Dispatch from the Saban Forum, posted by David Remnick atThe New Yorker:
Hillary Clinton is running for President...
It's now less than four years before Election Day (I know, it just runs up on you!), so it is of course incumbent upon us to get deep and serious about the fielding of our next Presidential candidate. (Democratic candidate, of course, since the Republicans are pretty much toast - at least in the short run, right? - and Hisself must pass the baton.)

Sarcasm aside, the seeds of "conventional wisdom" are indeed being sown, and the probability of another Clinton run at he presidency is a (long-) germinating meme, and it deserves some consideration, certainly, at least, in the throwaway forum of faux-journalism that is the blogosphere. It is getting such consideration, so here we are.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Making Sense Of Kim

Death
Cartoon by Mike Keefe
[Update: 2013/04/04: A well considered opposing viewpoint from The Rogue Columnist here.]

Yes, I said "making sense." Stop laughing. This has to make sense somehow. Everything does, right?

So, North Korea is threatening a nuclear strike on United States territory.

I'm scribbling on the back of an envelope here. I only know what you know, what's "out there" on the Internet, what the media is feeding us, etc. I am just beholding what is, to me, this bizarre spectacle. Can this guy be serious?

Near as I can figure, Kim Jong-un needs to do some stuff domestically. We have become, here in the U.S. of A., all too familiar with the tactic of consolidating popular consensus by promulgating fear, so it is not too hard to comfort oneself with the idea that the Supreme Leader is doing pretty much the same thing.

But... why in the hell is the United States government responding to this nonsense?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Death And Death And Death And Death And...

Death
High resolution wallpapers can be found at Layoutsparks.com
Just desserts:
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — James E. Holmes deserves to die for killing 12 people in a storm of bullets inside a packed Colorado movie theater one night last July, prosecutors said in a hearing here on Monday. “For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death,” the Arapahoe County district attorney, George Brauchler, said in court.
-
Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty in Colorado Shooting By Jack Healy, April 1, 2013
It's April Fool's Day, but this ain't no joke.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Violent Disorder

Goya Saturn
Detail from Francisco de Goya's Saturno devorando a su hijo
At around 4500 words or so, Richard Lichtman's essay at Truthout, The Violent Disorder of Our Public Mind, does a remarkable job of capturing both the forest and the trees of what constitutes the malady of modern collective Western thought. He calls it capitalism, and that is a good word for it. It is only a word, however, and what it has come to represent to both its detractors and its supporters has been through so much defamation and rehabilitation as to become the proverbial finger pointing at the moon.

In his article, Lichtman redirects our attention to the moon. I'll drop a few excerpts here, but the whole point of this plagiarism is to direct you to go and read the whole thing.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crime And Punishment, Steubenville And CNN

Grievous coverage?

[Update 2013/03/19: At the bottom, after the fold, a devastating Onion Sports News Network satire that eerily tracks the CNN report that is being criticized. Yes, consider it an argument against much of what I've written here. Thanks, Truthdig.com.]

The video of CNN's coverage of the Steubenville juvenile rape verdicts, featuring Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow (and legal analyst Paul Callan) is going viral as I write this. Accompanying most links to this video there is a great deal of outrage being expressed over the sympathy that is clearly being expressed by reporter/pundits.

There is, for example, the Upworthy post ALL KINDS OF WRONG: CNN Pays Touching Tribute To The Rapists Who Attacked A 16-Year-Old Girl, and a MoveOn.org email circling to urge us to sign this petition urging CNN to apologize.

I'm going to confess to a bit of moral cowardice on this one.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

47 Percented: They Do Not Represent

Mitt Romney, speaking Truth to Power

This last week, everyone was abuzz over the findings of University of Michigan graduate students David Broockman and Christopher Skovron. What they charted out was the gap between what politicians perceive as their constituents' politics (leaning conservative), and what their actual inclinations are (leaning liberal.) OK, not everyone.

Basically, the blogs were abuzz.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

R.I.P. Hugo

Venezuela Clinic

(Repost from 2009/07/01)

Susie Madrak, at Crooks & Liars (story from here, emphases Madrak's):
[...]

I walked out of the clinic with a diagnosis and treatment within twenty-five minutes of entering, without paying a dime. There was no wait, no paperwork, and no questions about my ability to pay, my nationality, or whether, as a foreigner, I was entitled to free comprehensive health care. There was no monetary value connected with my physical well-being; the care I received was not contingent upon my ability to pay. I was treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, my illness was cured and I was able to continue with my journey in Venezuela.

[...]
Ashamed yet?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do The Practical Thing

Spike Lee
Still from Spike Lee's 1989 classic, Do The Right Thing
'Tis madness.

This is to be, no doubt, one of my more narcissistic blog posts, so be forewarned, and be excused if you find yourself rightfully inclined to skip it (and this is the sort of disclaimer that depression brings.)

Dmitry has a provocative essay on long-term vs. short-term planning/thinking/acting - Monkey Trap Nation (all together now: Go Read The Whole Thing) - which sent me into melancholic reverie. I'm not going to extract from, or comment directly on, his post, as it is, or should be, self-evident that the long-term wins the day.

What is less self-evident is that being "practical" is almost always not the right thing to be. Now, this observation may be severely distorted by looking through the shit-stained glasses of this particular moment in history, but I find this eyewear to be difficult to shed in my current state-of-mind, so I am going to assign a universality to this observation, at least for today.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day: A Vignette

Broken Heart
Photobucket image by lollipops_n_icecream

(First published on Feb. 23, 2011.)

She was an attractive young woman, although you couldn't be completely sure. Her face was obscured by a medium-sized baroque lampshade she had perched on her head, complete with tassels, which shook and danced along with her movements.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stupor Bowl Sunday(notTM)

Shoe Phone
Fridge magnet from cafe press

That is all.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Smile Of The Day: CIA "Busted"

Shoe Phone
"Missed it by this much!"

Judge Orders Government to Immediately Suspend Secret Censor’s Ability to Interrupt Military Commission:
It was later revealed by the government that the third party monitoring the hearings who was responsible for the interruption during Nevin's discussion about the secret overseas prisons where Mohammed was detained was the "original classification authority," likely a reference to the CIA.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pre-9/11 CIA Obstruction: Mere Infighting?

Spy vs. Spy
From Ché (What You Call Your) Pasa
(Good blog, BTW)

My interest is peaked, and my sensibilities tweaked, by this recent article posted at truthout.org by Paul Church and Ray Nowosielski, Ex-Army Officer Accuses CIA of Obstructing Pre-9/11 Intelligence-Gathering. Peaked:
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer joins a growing list of government officials accusing former CIA director George Tenet of misleading federal bodies and sharing some degree of blame for the attacks. Shaffer also adds to a picture emerging of the CIA's Bin Laden unit as having actively prevented other areas of intelligence, law enforcement and defense from properly carrying out their counterterrorism functions in the run-up to September 2001...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alex Jones, Piers'd Off And Scared


Jones - A paranoid rant?

After Alex Jones appeared on Piers Morgan's joint to delight voyeurs of unhinged polemic everywhere, he posted the above video to document his narrow escape from the "Bloomberg mafia." Compelling, yes. Is it nutty, though, or consciously mendacious? Is there really a cadre of scary elitists who are sufficiently threatened by this "truth-teller" to have unleashed their thugs on him? Or is what Jones is reporting here merely a credibly expected reaction from law-enforcement to a man who just went on CNN and spouted, with spittle-flecked force, the nouveau-revolutionary rhetoric of Tea Party discontent? I say perhaps understandably, since the context of this "conversation" revolves around the sanctity of keeping said discontents armed with semi-automatic weapons.

What the hell is going on with this guy?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Zero Dark Thirty" - A Review


Zero Dark Thirty is a ripping good yarn. And that's the problem with it.

A word about the torture sequences that begin the saga: I've noticed a somewhat lively debate over whether or not the film "condones" torture, and I find it a silly argument in this case. This film does not present torture to exploit the fantasies of reptilian machismo in the repetitive and adolescent way of Fox's mostly Bush-era 24 (and as, frankly, most cinematic and televised drama cartoons it.) It simply presents it to the viewer.

I would say that critics on both sides of this "debate" are merely projecting their own feelings on the matter. Reality, once again, as Rorschach inkblot. I was repelled by what I saw, and I felt as much sympathy for the haplessness and moral ambiguity of the torturers as I did for their victim. But I see no reason to indict the filmmakers for reaching for the steady gaze of realism (perhaps they did not adequately present the extent of such brutality, but I ask: Is that even possible? In a film? I think we sometimes ask too much of the silver screen.)

(Contains spoilers.)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Be Vigilant For Your Civil Liberties, But Remember That You've Always Lived Under Dictatorship

Inquisition

A friend of mine was just eliminated for consideration of employment because her background credit-check wasn't up to the requirements of the potential employer.

In America, the freedom-lovin' democracy, you must have a job in order to live. Oh, there are ways around that dictum, but these have their own consequences. One can suffer the contempt of family and friends - who are, after all, deep-steeped in the propaganda of our meritocracy themselves, and often are left to bear the burden of feeding and housing you. If you are of sterner stuff (or if desperation is your only companion), you can hit the streets and become a member of the "underground economy entrepreneurs guild," but most variations of that career choice will invite the tender mercies of our prison-industrial complex - even if your gravest crime is blocking a sidewalk. There is, of course, the "opportunity" of disability, but this does not wholly protect you from the pariah-status of "freeloader" from many of your fellow citizens, and frankly it is all-too-often a wearying task to remain jake with the bureaucracies set up to provide you with the stuff of life.