Saturday, October 18, 2008

I've Got Five Minutes . . .

Last night I had a wedding reception to DJ. The bride had wonderful, eclectic taste in music. The fist two videos were songs she requested I play during the dance portion of the reception. Suffice it to say I don't get a lot of requests for these, but I was happy to do so.

That was Blur with "Song 2". The next is Orgy's "Blue Monday":

I had to keep a hand on the faders for the garter-removal song. This is a great one, although it might offend some readers with tender sensibilities. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails (the bride confessed she would have Trent Reznor's baby). The thing I love best about this video is how much it reminds of German surrealist films of the silent era. It really is brilliant:

Today's wedding reception does not promise nearly as much fun . . .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Music Post

Will be away today and tomorrow, and was inspired by ER to go somewhere I rarely go. The Beatles. This is not only my favorite Beatles song, but I think it is the most beautiful love song of the rock era.

A close second - another George Harrison song, "Here Comes The Sun". Appropriate on the verge of an Obama blowout, I think. . .

And a bonus, Richie Havens did the best cover of this song. I wrote the above before I discovered the following video. Synchronicity does exist!

Sitting and watching the vid, with the faces of Americans of all kinds celebrating the possibilities presented by an Obama Presidency silenced for a moment my own hesitancy at his conventional politics. This isn't about him, ladies and gentlemen. This is about us. He might just make us almost as good as we can be.


The endorsement of Barack Obama by The Washington Post has led David Broder to pen a column that is odd in tone, fun-house-mirror looking-glass in its reflection of the candidates, but has the virtue at least of being in line with his newspaper's editorial position.

The opening of the official endorsement by the Post contains a line that is out of place, having been proved quite wrong by events. Yet, it is part of the insiderism of the Post - a paper that takes its coverage of the town business seriously, even if it ends up looking like a booster for idiots on occasion - that has rendered the paper less and less relevant on an editorial level in recent years.
THE NOMINATING process this year produced two unusually talented and qualified presidential candidates. There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain. Yet it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president.(emphasis added)

While it might be true that the paper's personalities have admired McCain, this campaign has shown that there is little to admire about him. He has run a shoddy, erratic campaign, filled with the most despicable nonsense, race-baiting and rumor-mongering using themes concocted by ignorant radio blabbers like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to play on the darkest fears and hates of the American people. More important that this kind of nutty pandering, however, has been his almost total lack of understanding for the seriousness of our current situation - he tried to ride his white horse to the rescue of the markets, only to have it throw him to the ground as events outpaced his heroism. He and his running mate have become, a bit less than three weeks away from the election, more of a punch line than anything else. We will have to endure him for eighteen days, and then Barack Obama can thank him for running against him and McCain and Palin can then become silent, a sound I long to hear.

Now, as far as Broder's column is concerned, I can only say there is something wistful and sad about it. He tried to salvage something from the wreckage of the debate on Wednesday night for Sen. McCain, with the following consolation for the elderly Senator from Arizona:
[R]eal-world events are driving politics far more than politicians can affect the course of events.

I believe this sentence to be true to a certain extent. Yet, how a person who is either in a position of leadership, or aspires to such a position, reacts to extraordinary events, is also important. McCain's odd "suspension" of his campaign (I still would like to know what, exactly, that meant and what he suspended) was, as I said above, an attempt on McCain's part to look heroic. Its failure was due in part to the refusal of any of the other parties involved in the discussions in Washington to take him seriously. Its failure was also due in part to hisown ignorance of the scope of the problem, and his own limited understanding of what was necessary (from a political point of view) to address it.

Obama's reaction was to appear detached at first, and to work behind the scenes with people, finding out what was going on, and which ways the prevailing political winds were blowing. As McCain sucked all sorts of oxygen from the room with this attempt to save the day, Obama's cool detachment served him well, because nothing McCain did, in the end, mattered.

In other words, Obama acted like a leader, he acted Presidential. McCain acted like Theodore Roosevelt, except for the whiny, high-pitched voice. We do not need Theodore Roosevelt right now, though, but his younger second cousin. Whatever doubts and fears Obama may have about the state of the country he is about to assume leadership of, he seems all calm and assurance. Broder's column has the virtue of recognizing that these qualities - a calmness and assurance that can appear like he is aloof and, to use Broder's word, "professorial" - are much more in demand in the public mind than McCain's Tartouffe-like "heroism".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Don't Let The Door Smack You On The Way Out

Please read and laugh:
Perhaps we need to move to cabada and let the United States of Obama implode upon itself. Then, we can move back and pick up the pieces.

This was in response to the following:
In this morning's paper I read that :

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the first major world leader to face voters since the global financial meltdown, led his Conservative Party to victory Tuesday, Canadian media projected. It was predicted the Conservatives would win enough Parliament seats to at least form another minority government."

Italy, Germany, France and now this. Cool. Seems our foreign friends are beginning to reject what some in this nation strangely think is a good thing.

I say we raise a fund to ensure they get their wish.

More Ugly, Stupid, Racist Americans Who Happen To Be Supporters Of The Republican Ticket (UPDATED WITH MORE EXAMPLES FROM MORE REPUBLICANS)

Should anyone find an equivalent video of Obama/Biden supporters calling Palin a bitch, or speculating on how the Naval Observatory (the official residence of the Vice President) will be overflowing with the clashing of chintz and moose-head hunting trophies, I will certainly post it.

Still not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Lest anyone think I believe this is phenomenon restricted only to the rabble, feast your eyes on this:
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.

And, of course, there's this (including a reference to the previous story):
Sacramento County Republican leaders Tuesday took down
offensive material on their official party Web site that sought to link Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden and encouraged people to "Waterboard Barack Obama" – material that offended even state GOP leaders.

Taking credit for the site ( and its content was county party chairman Craig MacGlashan – husband of Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan.

The Bee asked MacGlashan about the content after seeking his reaction to hate-filled graffiti that was spray-painted over an Obama display on a fence at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Garfield Avenue.

In recent weeks, MacGlashan, an attorney, joined local Democratic party officials in condemning vandalism to political displays.

The vandalism to the Obama display appeared to have been done overnight Monday. A racial epithet, profanity, "KKK" and the words "white power" were clearly visible from the roadway. Six of the nine fence panels were defaced.

"What you are describing to me is not free speech, it's vandalism. We don't condone it," MacGlashan said.

But he defended his Web site. "I'm aware of the content," he said. "Some people find it offensive, others do not. I cannot comment on how people interpret things."

Are there any questions now?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Inciting Violence

I would like to be clear about what I think is a very dangerous road the McCain/Palin campaign is traveling, and how it is stirring up the sludge at the bottom of the barrel of American political discourse. I do this in reference to Cameron's objections that I am missing equivalent cases of Obama supporters being nasty. There is a qualitative difference here, and I want to make that difference as stark as possible.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have never once said that John McCain is "different", "doesn't see America as we see America", or that either McCain or Palin "pals around with terrorists". In speech after speech after speech. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have not raised the question of "Who is the real John McCain?" or "Who is the real Sarah Palin?", even though the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republicans has not been running for two years, gone through numerous debates, press conferences, speeches, and primaries where voters actually expressed their support after hearing what she and others had to say. She was rather unceremoniously plopped before the American voters in August, and we all had to scramble to figure out who she is.

Cameron wants us to equate the trashing of Gov. Palin's personal life to the kind of nasty, racist, hateful stuff going on at Republican rallies. I refuse to do so for this simple reason - the McCain/Palin campaign is running on the assassination of Barack Obama's character and playing in to the multiple fears he brings out in people who are either bigots, just plain ignorant, or both. It's that simple. Obama and Biden are actually discussing issues. McCain and Palin have no isues they can use, so they are going after Obama because he is "different". And that difference is at the root of the kind of mindless insanity that is not only on the fringes of American political discourse, but is becoming far more clearly heard in more mainstream discourse as well.

The simple reality is that the Republican base, for a quarter century or more, has been rooted in this kind of thing. It's always been there, the success of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and other borderline psychopaths is evidence enough of that. No Republican in office, of whom I am aware, has ever publicly distanced themelves from the fact-free rantings of these lunatics, as people are demanding Obama do in regards to Bill Ayers. The Limbaughs and Coulters are, in fact, modern-day exemplars of a right-wing tradition that stretches back to the 1930's, and was nurtured through the bitterness of the 1960's and considered itself triumphant in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Back then, there were enough "respectable" conservatives that these fringe voices were still relatively mute. Over time, however, as top-tier conservatives have been silenced by the ravages of time, the cork on the bottle has become more and more loose. Not, the genie is out of the bottle, and there are all sorts of horrors unleashed.

If anyone could find me an example - a serious, explicit example - of Obama or Biden playing to some imaginary "left-wing" nut cases, I would post it up here and criticize them for it. I do hope you won't think me holding my breath, however . . .

Weird "Christians" On The Election

Sadly, No! tracks some really weird people. In this post, they note somebody named "Pastor Swank". They even excerpt a few of his "pieces" of "writing" (which, for someone whose profession is effective communication, are pretty awful).
B. Hussein betrays Christ
B. Hussein Obama betrays Christ.

Christ said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

B. Hussein does not keep Christ's commandments.

First, B. Hussein enthusiastically applauds killing womb boys and girls, even saying that if his daughters became pregnant "by mistake" he would not want them punished with a "baby."

Christ is the Author of Life: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." When sperm and egg join in the womb to spark life in a human being, it is Christ who lights up that life. The Bible states that Christ is the One who "lights everyone" born into this world.

B. Hussein without apology endorses slaying those lives any time a female wants to slice-and-dice those womb infants. In that, B. Hussein betrays Christ maximum.

B. Hussein also endorses homosexual match-ups per his "Christian ethos," a twosome he used in New Hampshire when assuring homosexuals that he would support their "marriages."

Would someone please explain to me what "Christian ethos" as related to homosexuality means? I have been a Christian theologian for half a century and have yet to come upon a definition for those two words in that context.

Christ opposes homosexual activity. Christ stated that a man shall leave his father and mother, cleaving unto his wife to form one flesh.

Further, in the Old Testament when God prohibits homosexual practice, it is the three-person godhead speaking, thus including God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Note that in that godhead is the Second Person of the Trinity — Christ. Therefore, Christ prohibits God followers from engaging in homosexual activity. However, B. Hussein sidelines Christ's prohibition by stating the ambiguous "Christian ethos" to placate New England homosexual activists.

In addition, B. Hussein testifies as an evangelical would testify that he had a conversion experience at Chicago's United Church of Christ under the pastorate of Jeremiah Wright. B. Hussein states that he even went to the front of the sanctuary to witness publicly at the altar to that alignment with Christ as personal Savior.

All that is fabrication.

How do we know that? Answer: The Bible states that "by our fruits we are known." B. Hussein's soul fruits point to rotten fruit, obviously. He says He loves Christ Savior while betraying Christ Savior; therefore, B. Hussein lives out the role of Judas Iscariot.

Did you like that? Here's more:
Young evangelicals for Obama? Never!
Yet there are young evangelicals who are fed up with the Republicans.

Their choice come November is to sit out the vote or go for B. Hussein Obama, known to scores as a mask Muslim.

The former choice is to give up our democracy in action. The latter is to vote for The Boy who has countless ties to Islamics, even hiring those on his campaign and Congressional staff as well as buddying up to scores of Muslims in the Nation of Islam.

It is abhorrent even to imagine that any evangelicals would vote for B. Hussein. It is unthinkable.

Those of us who are genuinely evangelical, knowing our Bibles, knowledgeable concerning biblical doctrine, could never think of casting a ballot for the left-of-left abortion-approving, pro-sodomy Democrat candidate. It would be not only horrific but considered by many of us as sin.

To sin is to know to do good and do it not. That is the paraphrase of biblical counsel.

Therefore, to know that B. Hussein is pro-evil and still vote for him could be concluded as sinning against what is biblically ethical.

How could anyone who is biblically aligned be in favor of the anti-Bible, anti-God B. Hussein? Yet there are those young evangelicals so confused about the present political situation that they are willing to do that.

Per The Washington Times: "We did what they said to do. We elected all these people, we got conservative justices appointed at the bench, and nothing happened,' said Tony Jones, the 40-year-old leader of Emergent Village, a national group that often speaks for more liberal Christians from an evangelical background.

"Those evangelicals are suffering from 'fetus fatigue' and want to 'give up,' said Douglas Groothuis, a philosophy professor at Denver Seminary."

To make matters more complicated, John McCain said that he would consider a pro-abortion personage for Vice President running mate. That too is abhorrent to the biblically true. It is simply something that can't happen.

For McCain to select a pro-abortion person is to compromise the pro-life position. There is no other conclusion that a true Christian can reach. So McCain is going to be in one big trouble if he follows through with a Veep name who is in favor of murdering womb infants.

As we proceed closer to November, the political choice becomes all the more blurred.

No wonder Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family originally told media that he was going to sit out the election. Then he changed his mind, saying he could vote for McCain.

But if McCain continues to move more in the direction of anti-Bible values, there are hosts of us who just may move in the direction of Dobson's original stance.

With crap like this calling itself "Christian writing", is it any wonder there are atheists out there who make fun of Christians? I realize that ER will probably take me to task for this, but the reality is this is just garbage and bears as much resemblance to "Christian theology" (I think Swank uses the term without understanding it actually refers to something) as The Lord of the Rings does to history. The major difference, and the limit of this particular analogy should be clear. The latter at least has the virtue of being readable.

I have to go wash.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On Obama, William Ayers & Bernadine Dorn, And Nonsense

It's really simple, folks. Sarah Palin (in particular) has called William Ayers a "terrorist" with whom Barack Obama "pals around". Ayres, and his wife Bernadine Dorn, were both members of the Weather Underground, a radical splinter group from the Students For a Democratic Society (SDS) back in the late-1960's (which only shows that conservatives are now showing their true colors and are just mad that liberals had the better arguments during the Vietnam era). I will put the following in quotes, big and old and italicized so that you can be clear on a simple, factual point:

To call him a "terrorist" is to stretch the word beyond all recognition. Is it true that he supported violent means to stop the Vietnam War? Sure. Is it true he was a member of a group dedicated to using violent means to stop the Vietnam War? Yes, it is, although there is no evidence that he was ever involved in any of the bombings the Weathermen actually undertook (most famously dropping one in a trash can in a men's bathroom in the Capitol). Bernadine Dorn was convicted on a conspiracy charge, unrelated to any of the groups more notorious activities, for which she received probation. Since that time, Ayres and Dorn have become not only model citizens, but active participants in bettering education for under-privileged inner-city children. They adopted the orphaned daughter of one of their friends (a Weather member killed when their bomb-making factory blew up in New York City). They, along with Barack Obama and others sit on a panel funded by the trust of ultra-right wing publisher Walter Annenberg, who also funded another notorious terrorist, Ronald Reagan.

Obama and Ayres are acquaintances, two well-respected Chicago citizens who have dedicated their lives to public service, after each had a shaky youth and young adulthood.

Does Ayres fell bad about the things his associates did? I have no idea and couldn't care less. It was a long time ago, and he has demonstrated a solid commitment to making Chicago, of all cities, a better place to live for African-Americans and others who have been historically left out of that city.

Now, I realize that facts are of little interest and less value in political discussions. But, I think these facts are important. More important than Ayres' and Dorn's past actions, for which Barack Obama bears no responsibility, is the fact that the current "relationship" between Obama and Ayres consists of them sitting together on a board. Period. End of story.

In a sane universe this wouldn't even be an issue.

Music Monday

Last week was AOR-sex songs. I couldn't help but remember my youthful shopping days in record stores (you remember those, don't you?) and the discovery of the Ohio Players album covers. Like this one . . .

While such an album photo might be considered way too sexist today, at the time (mid- to late-1970's) what these and their other album covers did, at least for this rural-living white boy, was teach us about the beauty of the African-American woman. I would probably be a bit concerned about some of the imagery should something like this happen to pop up on a CD cover of a major artist, but at the time there was something liberating and radical about this. This is "Black is Beautiful" taken to an erotic extreme; it was also the kind of education that was necessary for many a young male, black and white, to have.

The good thing is, they had some awesome music, too! The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered this one, "Love Roller Coaster":

They seemed to channel Stevie Wonder a lot musically, even as they channeled James Brown and P-Funk lyrically. This song, "Skin Tight", reminds me of some of Wonder's best work, with the lyrical directness of George Clinton.

Their best-known song was, and remains, "Fire", and with good reason. It's just about as funky and danceable as they come.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Planning For An Obama Administration

It seems that both the bureaucracy and the media are expecting an Obama win, if this piece by Matt Ygelsias and today's column by David Broder are any indication. What's most fascinating about these two pieces is the belief, unsupported by either history or law, that an incoming Administration is bound in any manner, fashion, or form, to the policies of the previous Administration. The most famous, and most relevant, case was the way Herbert Hoover believed Franklin Roosevelt bound by the limited-government approach he had used to address the burgeoning banking crisis in the last months and weeks of his Administration, and his on-going attempts, during the long, cold winter of our national discontent between the election in November, 1932, and the inauguration in March, 1933 (the date was moved ahead precisely because of the multiple crises of that winter and the recognized impotence of a lame duck President and a yet-to-be-inaugurated President-elect) to bind Roosevelt to any policy he, Hoover, might attempt.

In Yglesias case in particular, we find an interesting failure to recognize that, while the bureaucratic dust-ups within the high end of the military command structure are legendary, our country has a long history of generals, upon hearing their Commander-in-Chief's orders, simply saying, "Yes, sir", and getting on with it. Whether they like it or not matters little. Indeed, that there are exceptions to this rule (most significantly Douglas MacArthur and Robert E. Lee) prove their exceptional quality precisely by the ease of recalling them.

When Franklin Roosevelt took office on March 3, 1933, he was faced with a ballooning public bankruptcy crisis; even as the inaugural parade made its way from the White House to the Capitol, and Roosevelt's booming baritone uttered some of his most famous words, his aides were taking calls from governors reporting that whole states were now, officially, broke. What had started out as a credit crisis (much like our own) had become a liquidity crisis (much as ours might be if someone, somewhere, doesn't do something smart), and there was simply no money circulating in the economy. In the weeks between the election and the inaugural, economic activity in the United States, for all intents and purposes, stopped. Oh, people still bought and sold stuff (although barter was far more common then; my father told me about how his parents used eggs, milk, and meat to purchase consumer goods during the early 1930's); it was on a macro-economic scale that the wheels were no longer turning. Bank depositors had removed millions of dollars from accounts, sinking banks around the country. The money, hidden away in jars buried in the backyard, stuffed in to envelopes and hid away in drawers, or stuffed in to mattresses, was no longer available for the kinds of necessary work banks do.

Like then, the Bush Administration seems to flail around for an answer, the recently hotly-contested $700 billion bail-out now seems not only antiquated and quaint, but useless as the Administration has decided to take a wholly different approach (from buying distressed assets, which was a truly stupid idea, to buying up stocks in failing banks, which would be a far better idea if people with intelligence were actually in charge). The idea that an in-coming Obama Administration will somehow have its hands tied by this nonsense ignores the reality that, even if certain measures, including the bailout, are made law, laws are only as strong as any government's willingness to enforce them. If my guess is correct, not only will Obama win and win big, but Democrats in general will have a very good year this year. Should an Executive Branch and Legislative Branch of the same party be willing to work together on sound policies to deal with what is likely to be a worsening financial and macroeconomic mess, I see no reason in the world why either should feel bound by actions taken by the Bush Administration.

I read Broder's column, at any rate, as an attempt by the guardians of conventional wisdom to attempt to draw a restrictive circle around a potential Obama Administration, saying, "Thus far and no farther!" I am quite sure there will be column inches wasted on how the new Administration is "ignoring" legal restrictions "imposed" by the Bush Administration. This would be true only if there were any examples in history of a new Administration, run by a different political party, had ever honored the policies of an outgoing Administration. Indeed, to use a recent example, had Ronald Reagan left Jimmy Carter's last budget proposal alone - a budget passed by Congress for fiscal year 1981 which actually began before Reagan was elected - he would have inherited a slight surplus at the end of the year. Instead, one of the first acts of the Reagan Administration was to go to Congress with new spending proposals, including huge outlays for defense, coupled with tax cuts, that ballooned the federal deficit. Yet, one hardly hears a peep about this little historic fact - Reagan came in promising a balanced budget, had in fact inherited one, but destroyed it in his first weeks in office.

I would be surprised if a newly inaugurated President Obama would turn to the American people and say, "My Administration has developed policies to address our current crisis, but we are limited in our actions by the policy of the Bush Administration." Just consider that for a moment and you will see how silly Broder's column truly is.

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