Friday, August 31, 2007

Is everyone alright?

(photo of Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez during Chavez’s 1968 hunger strike)

When I lived in Chicago, I once tried to unionize the restaurant where I worked. I called the Service Employees International Union, and was really surprised when they set up a meeting between me and the head of the local chapter. I remember that he worked in a very posh, if somewhat old-timey office, with a large wooden desk that looked like it weighed about a thousand pounds. It was polished to a mirror finish. I remember he was impeccably suited in a navy chalk stripe, with his red hair slicked back and wearing a gold pinkie ring. I remember wondering if the ring might be new, as he frequently appeared to be admiring it as he turned a cut glass tumbler of water around and around in his hand. I could tell he lost interest in my cause once I told him how small the restaurant was, but he continued through the rest of his spiel for my benefit.

Some weeks later, I was killing time in that same restaurant, waiting at the end of the evening for the last diners to trickle through. I was standing in the waiter’s station and reading a beautiful and heartbreaking memoir/history written by a labor lawyer in Chicago, called Which Side Are You On? The hostess walked by and told me she had seated my section, and when I looked up, I saw a single man sitting at a two-top. He looked to be in his mid-30s, with blue eyes, blond hair, and that unmistakable simultaneously pale & ruddy Chicago Irish complexion. His face looked familiar to me. I turned over my book, and god damn if it wasn’t his face on the back cover.

I approached him while holding his book behind my back and asked him if he was who I thought he was. When he said yes, I said “I’m reading your book right now. It’s wonderful.” He thanked me. He seemed really flattered. I pulled the book out from behind my back and asked him if he wouldn’t mind signing my copy. He said “You weren’t kidding about reading it right now, were you?”

Later, after he had paid his bill, he walked into the bar area where I was watching television while waiting to close down the dining room. I was watching a PBS documentary about Robert Kennedy. He stood next to me and commented that he was taping the show so he could watch it later. I told him that one of my prized possessions is a photo I have of my mother at a rally for Bobby in my home town in Indiana. He said “Oh, yeah?”, and so I described the photo to him. The photo was taken right before the state primary, when my mom was working his campaign. In the photo, Bobby is standing on the back seat of an open convertible, speaking and gesturing toward the thousands of people filling the city square, and my mother stands right beside the left rear door, with her arms outstretched as if to hold back the crowd. Her face is uplifted toward Bobby, with an exhilarated smile and an adoring look in her eyes.

Bobby Kennedy went on to win the Indiana primary. He would be dead in less than a month.

At that moment, the documentary on television turned to Bobby’s assassination in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. They showed that famous photo of him lying on the floor as a uniformed kitchen employee kneels beside him. Kennedy’s last words before he succumbed were “Is everyone alright?”

I couldn’t help it. Tears sprang to my eyes. I grabbed a bevnap off the bar and tried to dab them dry as nonchalantly as I could. I could feel him, the author, staring at me, and I turned to look at him and rolled my eyes in an “I’m a dope” kind of way.

He said “Can I have your phone number?”

We saw each other a few times, but there was not really any kind of spark there. I wish, however, I had stayed in touch, because sometimes I really need to talk to someone like him.

Someone who is as sad as I am for what our dreams have become.

Unions have made millions of lives better, but it’s hard to defend the unions that have become as corrupt and as evil as the industries in which they operate. It’s hard to imagine that we are headed for anything other than a union-less future, where workers will be about as protected and well-cared for as the serfs in Russia under the tsars.

When I was growing up, a friend's father was in the UAW, and if he hadn’t been in the union, he would’ve been fired after his first heart attack, and without his job and his insurance, he wouldn’t have survived the second one. He would be dead now, if not for his union. Of that I am sure.

And it’s hard to listen to the stories of those miners trapped in Utah without wondering if they wouldn’t be alive if they had worked in a union mine. The UMWA opposes retreat mining, and perhaps they could’ve prevented it from being hastily approved for the Crandall Canyon mine by BushCo’s industry crony-run Mine Health and Safety Administration. Would those six men be alive right now if they’d been union, I wonder?

I dunno. I guess I’m a little depressed this week, listening to the news stories of people in New Orleans still struggling two years after Katrina. We could’ve used that opportunity to mobilize a government workforce, like FDR did in the depression, and given the residents a good job and decent paycheck for rebuilding their own city. But no, that kind of massive operation is reserved only for people outside the United States of America, people who live in countries with large oil reserves. If we had spent 500 billion to rebuild the Gulf Coast instead of Iraq, think what we could have done.

The slogan for Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign was “These are not ordinary times.”

No, they were not, and as tiresome as our times are now, they are not ordinary either. And just for the record, I do try, I really do, to resist the urge to wonder where we would be if we had chosen our leaders a little more wisely. We can make things better, I think to myself. We can. I don’t know how, though. I just don’t know how. And right now, I’m a little tired of trying.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Burn, baby, burn!

DeadSpot had a funny post yesterday about what a lame-ass “news” program Marketplace is, and I have to say that I agree. I mostly listen to it because it’s good to know what the capitalists are up to. Well, that, and I’m WAY too lazy to change the station for 10 minutes every morning.

But DeadSpot’s point is a good one. Frequently, their “news stories” are pretty much straight copy from the press releases of giant, evil corporations. And then sometimes, like this morning, they run a story so infuriating in its pro-business bias that I have no choice but to start screaming at the clock radio. And that really throws off my schedule. See, I gotta get out the door in, like, twenty-five minutes in the morning. Screaming at the clock radio just does not fit in my active a.m. lifestyle.

But here, check out the story for yourself:

Stacey Vanek-Smith: California is asking residents to conserve energy this week. But there's not much of a reason to listen, says Jim Bushnell with the University of California energy institute.

Jim Bushnell: When we get to these tight electricity situations, the rates paid by customers don't change.

Not that energy comes cheap these days.

Bushnell says companies like PG&E that sell electricity to consumers, buy it from wholesale suppliers and wholesale prices have been skyrocketing.

Bushnell: And, yes, that is actually a good thing because prices tell us we're running out, and when we're running out, we want to reduce consumption.

But Bushnell says companies like PG&E can't pass wholesale prices onto consumers because of regulations that cap electricity costs, and that stifles innovation.

He says energy-saving technology would become profitable a lot faster if people could save money by using it.

That’s the whole story. I’m not kidding.

First of all, right now, in Southern California, it’s about a hundred and eleventy-six degrees, and it has been for days. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that for some reason, it’s not cooling down at night like it usually does. We normally go down to seventy during the evening in the summer. But last night, at 11pm, it was STILL NINETY-THREE DEGREES.

Not that I’m complaining. Dry heat, blah, blah, blah. Hey, I know I have it good, overall. But my point is that the temperatures are driving power usage very high.

So, usage is high. Therefore demand is high. Therefore supplies are “limited.” Now, they’re not really all that “limited,” because of course the supplies have been artificially lowered by all sorts of means. Watch The Smartest Guys in the Room if you need more info there.

So, when supplies are “limited,” the price goes up.

Hey, whatever the market will bear, baby.

And the point of that lame-ass Marketplace story is that consumers should pay for this jacked-up system.

Notice that, although businesses are by far the largest consumers of energy, that Bushnell guy isn’t really talking about making businesses use energy more efficiently. Because hey, businesses are energy-efficient already, right? Because it’s cheaper, right? I mean, businesses never adopt practices that waste money, do they? No way. Businesses are never short-sighted like that. They much prefer to risk a drop in the price per share and go for those long profits.

And it’s not like businesses can influence public policy and drive innovation. I mean, it’s not businesses who contribute to politicians, is it? It’s not businesses who employ the overwhelming majority of lobbyists, right? It’s not businesses that invest in and build those very technologies that we need so desperately, is it?

Naw, it’s those damn “people” who are falling down on the job, turning on their air conditioners when it gets over a hundred degrees because hey, it’s just as cheap as running it when it’s only seventy-five out, which I guess is what I should be doing, because the energy supplies are more plentiful then.

His logic is mind-boggling, isn’t it? I mean, electricity isn’t like strawberries in January, I can’t just decide not to splurge because the price is too high. I can’t just buy electricity in the spring, and put it in the freezer and take it out when the price for fresh electricity goes too high. Of course the usage is high!!! It’s hotter than fucking hell outside!!!!!

But, according to that Bushnell guy, it’s our pansy-ass consumer protections that have “stifled innovation,” not, oh, say, corporations with a stake in the status quo. And yes, according to the geniuses at Marketplace, the benevolent power of the open market will watch over us and protect us like a soft, downy blanket. If only we would let it.

Yeah, where have I heard that before?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sister gal, Chanel don't even make sunglasses big enough for THAT press conference

Look at that poor woman.

Not only does she have to live with that hypocritical right-wing asshole, but she has to stand next to him while he makes his bogus protestations that he did not solicit gay sex in a public restroom when he most certainly did.

And everyone who is listening to him is either thinking:

1. If my wife looked like that, I would have anonymous gay sex too, or
2. That woman clearly has not been fucked in a really long time. And that's just not good for a gal.

Me, I lean toward the second. Also, I would totally take her out for a little shoe shopping and girl talk. Later, over margaritas, I would confide in her that I, too, once had a relationship with a closeted homosexual, and how good it felt to finally face the truth. And then, perhaps, if I've had too many margaritas, I might even let a gal know that periwinkle is really not her color.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sometimes a microphone is just a microphone

Are all religious conservative homosexual-rights-opposing Republican legislators secretly cruising for anonymous gay sex in public restrooms? Or does it just seem that way?

Senator Larry Craig of Idaho has pled guilty to lewd conduct charges after being arrested in an airport restroom by an undercover officer after Craig engaged in a mating ritual not unlike that of Florida State Representative Bob Allen’s, who was arrested earlier this month under similar circumstances.

Allen claimed that he was forced into offering oral sex because he feared that the black men in the public park restroom might harm him if he did not.

With that excuse taken, Senator Craig has merely offered that his actions were “misconstrued,” and that he should not have pled guilty. He further lamented that, even though he is a United States Senator, presumably familiar with the U.S. Constitution and other legal-type documents, he did not think to consult with an attorney before pleading guilty to the charge, even though he entered his plea two months after the event for which he was arrested.

I mean, is anyone buying this? Seriously, what is that point of offering up such lame and unlikely excuses? But, I guess when you’re a religious conservative homosexual-rights-opposing Republican legislator who secretly cruises for anonymous gay sex in public restrooms, lame and unlikely excuses are pretty much your stock in trade, huh?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Good night, Gonzalez. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning.

BushCo has declared itself an Express Administration, that is, they are not making any stops between here and 1/20/09, so if you’re going to get off, you got to do it now, or else ride it all the way to the end.

I call bullshit.

Of all the brazen, unlikely, manufactured reasons given why disgraced Bushies are jumping ship, that one is the unlikeliest.

First of all, I don’t think the “rats off a sinking ship” metaphor is very apt, because it implies that the former BushCo employees are merely saving themselves. I think we can more accurately look on them as ballast being tossed overboard in the hopes of keeping their decrepit and moldering ship of state afloat. Firing, or resigning Gonzalez might not exactly be akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; it might be more like firing the ship's navigator who dismissed the dangers of icebergs by referring to them as "quaint," or "obsolete."

In any event, the end result is the same.

So far, the coverage I’ve heard of the Gonzalez resignation has come remarkably close to intimating that AG the AG was a fine public servant, until his loyalty to the Bush administration done did him in.

Again. I call bullshit.

AG was a private attorney until he was tapped by then Gov. Bush of Texas to join his administration, and he proved his loyalty right away, by conspiring to keep W’s D.U.I. from becoming public knowledge, and by making sure W needn’t worry his pretty little head with any of the sordid details of death row clemency considerations.

Gonzalez was an eager toady from the get-go, and everyone knew it. The silence from prominent Latinos about the criticism of the AG has been deafening, in spite of Chris Matthews’s musings about the probable humiliation level of “the Hispanic community.” Geez, Chris, do you feel humiliated every time some lily-white talking head with a hard-on for men in uniform and a deep abiding love for the sound of his own voice gets his ass handed to him when the facts of the story finally come to light? I’m going to guess not, so why don’t you quit prodding Latinos about their humiliation level and take a good hard look at your own humility mechanism? Because I think yours might be broken.

As for Gonzalez, well, you live by the sword, you fall on the sword. I can’t imagine that someone who has kept quiet about so many crimes would mind choking back on the truth one last time. Even if the truth is that you were chewed up and spit out, just like all the rest.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sorta like Octoberfest. Only in August. And instead of beer, um, tofu.

Last weekend Spooney and I went to the Los Angeles Tofu Festival.
I am not making that up.

See? Tofu Festival.

It has to be real. They have t-shirts! Adorable Japanese-inspired cutsey girlie-art t-shirts!

Here's one admission stamp you'll want to keep on your hand for a few days. Gives you mad street cred, dog.

Mostly, when at the LA Tofu Fest, you eat tofu.

Lots of tofu.

Some more tofu.
Oh, and they do try to sell you miscellaneous festival crap too, of course.

If I was an asian chick, you KNOW I'd being rockin' this shirt.

More tofu eating.

And some more.

Oh, some tofu cheesecake. And unlike every other tofu cheesecake I've had in my life, it was actually pretty good. You can see Spooney's digging it.

It's amazing how walking around in the 95 degree heat can really work up your appetite for tofu. No, really.

You know what doesn't taste good in 95 degree heat?

Fortunately, there's plenty of Thai beer to take the taste away.

As if eating tofu all afternoon weren't emasculating enough, Spooney was so dehydrated that he drank some French water "for women." I warned him that there might be some kind of female hormones in there, but he was too thirsty to care.

Then when he got home, he started watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on cable.

Coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Spooney's encounter with HOT LAVA!

So Spooney goes to a job interview last week. Once he got there, he found out that the company is called Diskeeper, and they make a defragging software that is included in many versions of Windows.

What he notices immediately is that there are copious amounts of Scientology literature posters, calendars, etc. placed EVERYWHERE throughout the offices.

He was also informed that because office hours end at 3:30, employees are expected to attend “classes” after work, on their own time.

Classes in being a Scientologist, of course.

He was also given a copy of the infamous “free personality test” and asked to complete it in order to be considered for the position. He got 20 questions into the 200 question “test” before asking himself "What the fuck am I doing?", and left.

What I am curious about is how a company like this, albeit a privately-owned company, is allowed to impose a “religious” test upon their employees. I’m going to be generous here and allow that they truly are a “religion,” and not a “crazy cult,” or a “criminal organization.”

In a cached version of the Wikipedia web page on Diskeeper, a statement that 95% of the corporation’s employees are Scientologists, and that new employees are required to read the “Scientology bible,” is still visible. A more recent version of the page has the statement scrubbed, I going to guess by one of the faithful.

What is not disputed is that the company reneged on a service agreement with a drug company once they found out that the company manufactures Ritalin, a drug they oppose, and that they do not offer support services to any companies connected with psychiatry, which is a field I’ve heard the Tom Cruise is very well versed in.

In Germany, where they’re still a tad touchy about cults that traffic in paranoia, doing business with Scientology-owned businesses is illegal, and the government conducted an extensive investigation into whether the Diskeeper software could transmit user data. They concluded that it did not, but the dispute was resolved when Microsoft allowed for Diskeeper to be removed from their OS by users.

Sure, it’s easy to conclude that Germany was overreacting, but don’t say that to Jon Atack, a former member whose life has been ruined by Scientology and their policy of “Fair Game,” wherein their enemies, or “suppressive persons” may be attacked any number of ways with impunity. Or in the words of L. Ron himself, a suppressive person: "May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."

Dang. And Spooney thought his last boss was a pain in the ass.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Taxes & Death

Oh, Leona. I'm so disappointed in you. You always said death was something only the little people do.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In absentia

My fine local daily, the LA Times, was criticized yesterday by many bloggers for burying the lede in a story on the progress of “the surge” in Iraq.

28 paragraphs into the article, which suggests that Petraeus will recommend repositioning troops rather than decreasing their numbers, this little nugget can be found:

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.


The White House will definitely be getting inputs from the military. Definitely inputs from the military.

It’s no surprise that the LA Times, or the “Los Angeles Dog Trainer,” as political satirist Harry Shearer frequently calls it, might bumble a story. After all, this is the paper whose corrections page is frequently so unintentionally hilarious that Shearer devotes a feature of his radio show to it.

And if I can digress for just a moment on that point, take a look at these two items from the August 8th LAT online corrections posting:

Immigration legislation: An article in Friday's Section A about new immigration legislation introduced in Congress identified Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. as an Ohio Republican. He is from Wisconsin.

Um, how do you get that wrong, exactly? If you’re a political reporter, you have to know where Sensenbrenner is from. He’s been in the House since 1979, and was, until recently, the Chairman of a little thing called the House Judiciary Committee. And jeez, if you didn’t know what state he’s from, wouldn’t you look it up? Wouldn’t your fact checker look it up? Cripes, even Wikipedia got it right.

Anyhoo, error number 2:

Spy agency operations: An article in Saturday's Section A on the scramble to pass legislation before Congress' summer recess referred to the Foreign Intelligence Services Act. It should have said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Okay, I know it was the Saturday paper. NOBODY reads any Saturday edition of any paper, anywhere, let alone the Saturday LA Times, but c’mon! FISA is all about surveillance! That’s why it was controversial, because it was concerning the surveillance of Americans. How can you be writing about FISA, and not know that the word “surveillance” is in the freakin’ name of the stupid freakin’ thing? Jeezy Creezy, you ask my cat, she could tell you what FISA stands for, for fuck’s sake.*

But I digress.

My point, I believe, was that the LAT is no stranger to journalistic lapses.

But they’re hardly alone in that. Even today’s Washington Post article on the September report of the surge, while acknowledging that it is a HUGE DEAL that the surge report will be coming from the same chefs that cooked the intelligence that got us into the war in the first place, and while reporting in-depth on BushCo’s machinations to keep the “on the ground” people from speaking in public on their findings, still managed to hide this morsel of choice towards the very end (emphasis mine):

Petraeus and Crocker have said repeatedly that they plan to testify after delivering private assessments to Bush. U.S. military and diplomatic officials in Baghdad appeared puzzled yesterday when told that the White House had indicated that the two may not be appearing in public. They said they will continue to prepare for the testimony in the absence of instructions from Washington. "If anything, we just don't know the dates/times/or the committees that the assessment will be presented to," a senior military official in Baghdad said in an e-mail yesterday.


Words fail me.

I guess I’m not the only one.

*Okay, I’m talking about my more intelligent and politically aware cat, Violet. The Banana only reads the real estate listings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Now, get out of my face. Hey, look, over there! Is that Morrissey???

To the trio of Squeeze fans who sat directly in front of me last night at the Squeeze/Fountains of Wayne concert at the Greek last night in Los Angeles:


First of all, I get it, okay? You do not like Fountains of Wayne. This was made abundantly clear by your exaggerated fake “Ooh, aren’t they good?” hand-clapping and head-bobbing, followed, after an interval sufficient so as to establish your little skit of faux-fandom, by sullen eye-rolling and chair-slumping.

I get it. You think Fountains of Wayne is beneath you. Yeah, who the fuck do Fountains of Wayne think they are, anyway, with their jangly guitars and their awesomely funny lyrics and their infectious pop melodies? Why, they’re not fit to grace the same stage as the GENIUSES who gave us “Tempted by the Fruit of Another,” a song so amazing it was used in a BEER COMMERCIAL. And not domestic beer, either. Imported.

Actually, I’m not going to diss on Squeeze, because I mostly like them, and my Spooney LOVES them. I got no problem with the Squeeze, but listen, you pretentious little twats: Squeeze is a pop group, okay? They’re not fucking Tchaikovsky, so stop pretending that 40 minutes of Fountains of Wayne is akin to being strapped down and waterboarded by the CIA. You were not brought to the Greek by extraordinary rendition. You bought the ticket. You drove here. You paid $15 bucks for stacked parking to get to the venue early enough to catch the opening act, so shut the fuck up and – here’s an idea! Try enjoying a song or two. Can I recommend the lovely Hackensack, or if you prefer a more rockin’ song, how about Red Dragon Tattoo?

And don’t give me that “Stacy’s Mom” bullshit. First of all, every group, no matter how long they labor undeservedly in obscurity, deserves their Dead Skunk moment. Secondly, although I think Stacy’s Mom is one of their least interesting singles, it’s still pretty freaking funny and sweet, although I’m sure you’ve never stopped to consider that there might be something more to the song than the declaration that “Stacy’s Mom has got it goin’ on.” If I thought about music the same way, I could just as well declare that songs about shucking bivalves bore the shit out of me.

Seriously, my recommendation is that you remove that 80s Brit pop stick from your ass, clean it, whittle it down into some kind of utilitarian household item that you can then sell to buy some music that was written after 1995.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove resigns in order to spend more time with his severely underdeveloped sense of shame

Karl Rove is resigning effective August 31.

He is claiming, with a straight face, that he wants to spend more time with his family, that is, his wife and son. The son is in college, so I'm not sure how he's going to swing all that daddy face-time, but ours is not to question why, apparently.

And in the interview during which he declared his intentions, he couldn't resist making the assertion that he was sure Hilary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Because that's exactly what they want, of course.

And I can't help but feel like that's a good reason why Democrats should NOT want it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

And all of it so easily preventable

Okay, so I saw No End in Sight last night (god bless the Laemmle!) and it was really fucking well done. First of all, because it’s about the whole war: the lead up, the occupation, the insurgents, and the cost in lives and dollars. Secondly, in spite of its ambitious subject matter, the film itself never feels like a shallow or cursory exploration.

The people who participated in the invasion and occupation who agreed to be interviewed for this documentary are clearly there because the failures of our government have cost them dearly. They were invested in success, both personally and professionally, and they want to understand and explain, if they can, how it all went so wrong.

Clearly, the blame for the insurgency and the collapse of the rule of law in Iraq belongs squarely on our heads.

First of all, because we never imposed martial law. And after the Iraqi army surrendered, our forces were under orders NOT to act as police or law enforcement officials.

“Fine,” you say, “let the Iraqi police enforce order.”

Except, of course, there were no Iraqi police in the days and weeks following the surrender. We told them to put down their guns and go home. We didn’t allow them to do their job, and yet we refused to do their job, either.

As a consequence, the subsequent looting of their capitol broke the spirit and the hearts of the Iraqis, and became the first large brick in the wall that now irreparably separates us and keeps us from winning.

Think about it. If an invading force took over our country, let’s say for a well-intentioned reason, like, for instance, ridding us of a leader that was a danger to us and to the world at large? Try to imagine that.

Imagine that the US armed forces surrendered to that army, and all the civilian law enforcement officials disbanded, even though our former leader, as a last “fuck you,” to us and to them, had emptied all the jails of criminals. Imagine that the invading army stood idly by while our most beloved institutions were looted, largely by those same common criminals. They stood idly by while thieves carted off Stuart’s painting of George Washington, and the Star-Spangled Banner flag, and the hat Lincoln was shot in, and even the freakin’ Spirit of Saint Louis.

Then they burned down the National Archives, and our precious Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, and our Emancipation Proclamation were all gone forever.

While they stood by, doing nothing.

And then the guy who was in charge of their army went on tv, called us “Henny Penny,” and laughed at our losses and made fun of our misery.

Saying that we were just upset about a bunch of vases in a museum.

And then, while they refused to enforce the law, or claimed that their numbers were insufficient to do so, they disbanded our army completely and permanently. Hundreds of thousands of pissed-off and heavily-armed men and women, now unable to support their families, were told that they were no longer needed, even though huge stores of munitions lay all around our cities, completely unguarded.

And every single member of our former leader’s political party were told that they could no longer work for the government in any capacity at all, not even as a teacher or librarian, for the rest of their lives.

Sure, we’d be happy to be rid of our former leader, but how long do you think we’d remain grateful? How long would our good will last, as we suffered through month after month after month of no utilities, no security, and the installation of new leaders who encouraged the denial of our rights, depending on what political party we belonged to?

Okay, that last part we’re already experiencing now, but you get my point.

We would be rioting in the streets. We would rise against the forces of oppression and neglect, and assert ourselves.

Or, we would try. Mostly we would fail, because we are too fat and too scared and too selfish. Our Budweiser-swillin’, McDonald’s-snarfin’, Croc-wearin’, monster truck-drivin’ asses would try to fight the power, but because that would be too difficult, we would mostly be left to fight each other. Democrats would kill Republicans because of the crimes committed against them while the former leader was in power, and Republicans would kill Democrats because they were unhappy about being driven from power. Evangelical Christians would be killed because it was their faith’s fundamentalism that allowed the former leader to control us, Evangelicals would kill those of other faiths because, well, because some asshole would rise up and tell them that God wants them to.

And even those that were actually capable of fighting the occupying forces would not be able to make any real headway. They would take their beloved guns and their stockpiled ammo and make their way, like so many plump, waddling baby ducks, through the barricaded neighborhoods toward the centers of occupational power. But they would be gunned down on the streets before they could even do more than take out a few innocent civilians along the way.

Why? Because their numbers would be insufficient. Because the enemy would be more powerful. Because their position would have been given away by their bulky fluorescent rubber footwear.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

No End in Sight

For chrissakes, if you don't live in a major city where this movie is playing, (click the "theatres" link), go and reserve it for your Netflix queue or something.

Why should you see yet another devastating documentary on the war in Iraq? Sidney Blumenthal for Salon:

The release of a documentary on the administration's failures in Iraq, "No End in Sight," directed by Charles Ferguson, has the White House spooked. Bush's aides are not worried because the film is brilliantly shot and edited, or because it is compelling, but because of what -- or whose appearance -- it might augur to upset their September rollout.

The film features three former administration officials speaking on camera as unreserved critics of prewar and postwar planning: Powell's former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson; Powell's former deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage; and former U.S. ambassador Barbara Bodine, a senior member of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq, closely aligned with Powell.

Wilkerson and Bodine have spoken out before. But Armitage's debut in particular has the White House fuming and fretting that it somehow signals Powell's emergence as a full-throated critic in the middle of the September P.R. offensive. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, according to sources close to him, has voiced anger and concern about whether Powell will step forward and what he might say, and other presidential aides are wondering how to cope with that nightmarish possibility.

Armitage. Freakin' Armitage. I don't know how they got him or whether or not this really means that (his close friend) Colin Powell is really ready to spill it, but I gots to hear what that motherfucker has to say.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Quid pro quo

Since BushCo now has unprecedented expanded powers to spy on citizens of the United States of America, I hereby propose that the citizens of the United States of American demand the same powers to oversee the activities of BushCo. In particular, I would like to monitor communications between the White House and the administration of Pakistan’s President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Because I suspect that American lives might be at stake.

Musharraf has been playing both sides against the middle for quite some time now, telling the US that he is doing everything he can to roust terrorists (including a certain someone responsible for the deaths of 3000 Americans), while at the same time assuring anti-American militants in his country that he is actually not helping the US at all. Unfortunately, the truth is much closer to the latter than the former. And Resident Bush, The Decider, has decided to not only let him get away with it, but to actually support the two-faced, coup-lovin’ slyboots.

Why would BushCo so unfailingly support Musharraf? Good question, and one on which I hope the White House wiretaps will shed some light. Meanwhile, Musharraf continues to ass-kiss his benefactor by 1) canceling a trip to Afghanistan to attend a meeting on curbing cross-border terrorist movements, and 2) threatening to declare a state of emergency in Pakistan based on some remarks by a Democratic presidential candidate.

Yes, in a move that is clearly a big, gooey valentine to BushCo, Musharraf is pretending to be so alarmed by Sen. Barack Obama’s hypothetical remarks regarding Americans entering Pakistan to deal with terrorist targets, that he is asking us to believe that he not only doesn’t understand the difference between the president, and a presidential candidate, but that he also can’t comprehend that Obama is about as far, politically, from his buddy Bush as two mainstream politicians can get.

Now BushCo gets to release statements in which they will cast themselves as a moderate force and the voice of reason, and talk about how ignorant the Democrats are on issues of terrorism & foreign policy. And the talking heads will swallow it hook, line, and sinker, never-minding Republican presidential candidate Tancredo’s recent remarks about bombing Islamic holy sites, which are at least an order of magnitude more idiotic than Obama’s could ever be construed to be.

And Hilary will move up in the polls.

If you would like to support my call for warrantless wiretaps of the White House, I suggest you contact one or more of the following Senate Democrats who voted for that piece-of-shit bill:

Bayh (D-IN)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Conrad (D-ND)
Feinstein (D-CA) – the bitch strikes again!
Inouye (D-HI)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Salazar (D-CO)
Webb (D-VA)

Oh, and let’s not forget Lieberman (ID-CT).

Also, you could contact one of the 41 Democratic members of the House who bent over their desks and took it up the ass on this one.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Thanks to The Simarco Letters for the link to this site.

Relax! Try the guacamole.

Keith Olbermann recently named Bill O'Fuckface the "Worst Person in the World" for the following remarks he made on immigration reform:
"Most Americans don't want to hurt any poor Mexican people. They want to know who they are. They want to know where they are, what they're doing. They don't want them clustering in neighborhoods and changing the tempo of the whole neighborhood."
Bill, look, I know you don't read my blog. Because first of all, I'm a small fry. A minuscule fry, in fact. Secondly, there's the whole "Fuckface" thing, which I probably should apologize for, and I would! I totally would. If you weren't such a fucking fuckface, I would TOTALLY APOLOGIZE.

But I feel bad that you're out there on a national tv news network, well, okay, it's Fox News, but still. A lot of people watch it, I imagine, when they're not patrolling their neighborhoods looking for brown-skinned people, or when they're not skimming the Bible for references that support the burning of homosexuals.

Oh, and of course when they're not cruising for BJs in the restrooms of public parks.

Anyway, like I said, I feel bad for you, because CLEARLY you misunderstand.

Because those Mexicans you're refering to? You know, the ones who are "clustering," and "changing the tempo"?

They're DANCING, you fucking idiot. Dancing.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Many of you are familiar with my sister's obsession with the Margarita Authentica. When my sister comes to visit, I make sure to have some good tequila on hand so she can make me one.

Similarly, my sister always wants me to whip up a batch of guacamole. And if I dare throw a party without making my guacamole, believe me, I hear about it from my guests.

So since sis has shared her recipe with you, I thought I might do the same.

First of all, you will need a molcajete. Oh, look, here's a good-sized one at a pretty good price. There are also some tips on the linked page for cleaning and seasoning your molcajete. While you do not have to pre-season your molcajete (using it will season it naturally), you do need to clean it as vigorously as possible before using it or the guac will come out gritty. A wire-bristled or other stiff brush will work.

Do not buy anything that is not made of volcanic rock, or is smooth inside. Unlike a mortar and pestle, the molcajete and tejolete (pestle) should be very rough textured.

I learned how to make real guacamole when a Mexican chef was kind enough to teach me. It is so simple, but you do need to use a molcajete or it just will not come out as good. Also, you really do need to make it right before you serve it. Guacamole just does not keep very well. If you do have to keep it for any length of time you should coat the top surface with a thin layer of lime juice and then put plastic wrap over it, pushing the wrap down into the surface of the dip, leaving no air in between.

The Recipe:

First, you take a big pinch of coarse salt and throw it in the molcajete. Coarse sea salt is good, but you can raid that little plastic sombrero you have in the back of your cupboard for some margarita salt if you have to. Add a good handful of cilantro leaves (some stems are okay), 4-5 scallions and one jalapeno (size is up to you), roughly chopped. Pulverize all with your tejolete until it is a gooey mush.

Now, what kind of avocados you want to use is up to you. Living in California, my farmer's market usually offers several different kinds, and to me they are all good. Ripeness is the only necessity.

Drop in the flesh of two large or three small avocados, one at a time. Use the tejolete to crush the flesh into your base mixture. Squeeze the juice of one good-sized lime over the avocados as you add.

Next, dice one medium ripe tomato. Add the flesh only (not the juice & seeds) to the mixture and stir gently. You may want to use a spoon for this part.

You're done. Eat a lot of it. Make it for your guests or eat it all yourself. Yum.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fear of a black BJ

So check it out. The above Florida State Rep., Bob Allen, was arrested in a public restroom in a park after soliciting an undercover cop for sex. Specifically, he wanted to pay the cop $20 to be on the receiving end of a BJ from Allen.

Of course Allen, a pro-life Republican who is married and has a 90% voting record with the Christian Coalition, is claiming he is innocent. He contends that he only offered to pay the officer to receive fellatio because, well, let's let him speak for himself:
"This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park," Allen, who is white, told police in a taped statement after his arrest. Allen said he feared he "was about to be a statistic" and would have said anything just to get away.
Apparently, "anything" included twice peering at the cop inside a bathroom stall, entering the occupied stall without being asked, repeatedly remarking that the bathroom was too public and that they needed to go to another location, and inquiring about what the cop was "into."

Seriously guys, this story just made my fuckin day. Another fuckin religious asshat hypocrite bites the dust. Awesome. Happy fucking Friday, everyone.

The best things in life are free

For the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to whip up a little sympathy for all those lovers of the Wall Street Journal who are dreading the paper’s takeover by Rupert Murdoch.

After all, the WSJ is a revered institution of the fifth estate.

Yeah, and that and 2 bucks will get you a dozen donuts.

But mostly, I’ve come up dry. I mean, what is everyone so afraid of? That the WSJ will become a right-leaning newspaper? That they will make editorial decisions based on dollars instead of, you know, whatever vague, do-good notions about journalistic…ahem, integrity that the other big papers claim, with mostly straight faces, to be operating under these days?


The WSJ has always operated under one premise: money rules. And if money is what you love, then forgive me for not getting all misty-eyed when your journalistic baby ends up sacrificed on the altar of profit.

Besides, we all know what their little hissy fit is really about, anyway.

Murdoch’s not classy enough for them. And they’re afraid that he will take their baby and tart it up like he did The Sun and the NY Post. Maybe by this time next year the WSJ will feature big-boobed Page 3 girls, rendered in the WSJ’s trademark tasteful line drawings, of course.

The WSJ has always been the paper you simply must have delivered to your office, and tucked under your arm at lunch, and have carelessly flung upon the gleaming surface of your darling little Phillipe Starck coffee table, if you wish to be accepted as belonging to the ranks of the American nobility. How will the monied advance beyond nouveau riche, if Murdoch turns the WSJ into the ink-and-paper version of Fox News?

If you ask me, that’s what all the hand-wringing is really about. Yes, everybody on Wall Street wants to trumpet Murdoch as their favorite self-made tycoon, but nobody wants him actually picking out their china pattern.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gimme back my money, bitch

According to Salon and The Boston Globe, the party-neutral Congressional Budget Office is estimating that our current expenditures in Iraq (500 billion) will double before the war is over.

That will, of course, put the price tag at 1 trillion. One fucking trillion dollars.


If you can stand it, think for a minute about what we could have done with that money.

The security systems we could have improved in seaports, airports, power plants and public places.

The cops/FBI officers we could have put on the street. The raises we could have given our armed services personnel. The improvements made to the medical care given to our veterans.

We could have made ourselves so much safer from the attacks that would have been so much less likely anyway, because we wouldn’t have been off in the Middle East playing Lord of the Flies.

We could have funded education at decent levels in every state. We could have paid for universal health care several times over.

All that, and we could even have let those fucking rich selfish fuckers keep their fucking tax break, too.

We’d have money to spare in that Social Security lockbox that Al Gore used to speak of so lovingly in his campaign speeches.

We could wipe out the budget deficit, and perhaps experience the kind of boom in business and opportunity that we experienced in the 90s.

Yeah, the 90s. When that horrible immoral BJ-likin’ asshole ruined our country and dragged us through the mud with his LIES ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS, and his TAX AND SPEND ways, and his GENERAL OVERALL SLICKNESS.


This morning I was listening to interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. As seems to always be the case, their thoughts, once past the logistics of escape, turn inevitably to the providence of fucked up events like this.

It's natural for humans to search for meaning, otherwise...

Well, it's very frightening, otherwise, isn't it, and let's just leave it at that for now. I have no desire to criticize anyone who walks away from shit like that and is seeking a little psychic comfort.

But this wonderful poem popped into my head, as I was listening to them, and I thought I might share it with you. It's really a wonderful poem. It's called "The Post-Rapture Diner," and it was written by Dorothy Barresi:

A thought you cannot call back
and empty shoes like
exclamation points
on every road from here to Tuscon.

Who will knock their boots against the doorjamb
and enter shyly?
Who will peel the vegetables?
Pie domes cloud over. Old sugar

makes a kind of weather in there—
webbed, waiting.
Tiers of doughnuts go woozy with collapse.

We deed and we will.
We bow to what providence we understand
and cede the rest: our lies and doubts, our human,
almost necessary
limitations. Probably I should have,

we whispered more than once, shaking our heads.
Probably. Now what’s left of the past
hangs in a walk-in freezer,
fat-shrouded, bluing,

and all we know of the present
is a spatula in a coffee can
on a cold grill, pointing to heaven.