Friday, November 28, 2008

Why I Love Apple

I love my MacBook. Between blogging, news gathering, ongoing research projects, fantasy leagues and my screenplay project, my computer gets intensive use -- at least 10 hours a day every day.

I take reasonably good care of it (OK. When I get overly fired up I do tend to bang the keys a little harder than necessary). My only complaint is a largely cosmetic one -- my MacBook was part of the cracking plastic case batch. Other than that I've never had a problem with it.

A year and a half of constant wear and tear on my MacBook resulted in a broken hinge. This never happened to me before with any laptop. Oh, and one of the shift keys cracked two weeks previously. Fortunately, I had invested in AppleCare. Unlike most extended warranties, AppleCare is worth every penny.

So I call Apple. Less than 24 hours later the pre-paid pre-addressed next-day shipping box arrives. (Is there no limit to the number of hyphens I can cram into a sentence?). This past Monday I pack it up and ship it off to Apple.

AppleGuy calls Tuesday afternoon with bad news. My hinge repair is not covered by AppleCare. I have three distinctly distasteful options:

  1. Apple repairs my MacBook to factory standards for $500.
  2. They ship it back to me. I trek to TekServe to see how much they'll nick me knowing full well it may be neither cheaper nor faster than Apple. (Natch).
  3. I hit an unauthorized service dealer and void the 16 months left on my AppleCare warranty.
Cue the pregnant pause that always accompanies this kind of downer AKA the **Gulp**. There's no way we Forester's can scrape up 500 bucks to fix a laptop that is probably worth like $850. Fuck me. I am now officially and totally screwed.

I lay a few facts on AppleGuy. I typically spend most of my day writing and doing research so my computer use is unusually high. Any "damage" occurred through normal use. For real. I never had this problem with my G4 or other iBooks* I had owned. I said all of four short sentences.

AppleGuy: "You sound like a truthful person. And you're obviously a MacFan. I'll tell you what, we're going to take care of it."

I was like, "Excuse me?"

AppleGuy: "Apple will cover the cost of the repair."

Me: "Thank you."

Despite the holiday, my computer showed up today. It's better than new. Looks like Apple swapped out my old hard drive and put it in an entirely new case. New hinge. New disc drive. New Screen. New keyboard. New track pad. New everything. Nice!

Compare my Apple experience to how Dell still handles their customers or how spend $150,000 and still suck. Not one of those folks, their friends or their families will ever buy another Dell.** It's simply not enough to make affordable computers, Mike.

Apple fosters their famously fierce buyer loyalty by coupling fantastic, frequently cutting edge gear with superior customer service. Add Mac's intuitive, often effortless operation and I'm convinced I'll never buy another brand's computer.

Yep, I'm a MacFan and a MacMan.***


*iBooks did have a nasty tendency to blow logic boards. Apple always fixed 'em.
**My mom has a Dell -- Absent the hell they put her through, I'd nonetheless think they're total crap.
***With no apology whatsoever to the late Harry Carey.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Robert Reich

What can I say? The guy's busy...

How Obama is Already Taking Charge


YHTBFKM: Follow-Up

My now notorious "You Have To Be Fucking Kidding Me" post raised a few eyebrows, hackles and gorges. If it made you stop and think, so much the better. We need more of that.

Look. We got our wish. The MSM now does pay attention to blogs. When they strike a current of discontent, they seize on it. Worst of all, our petty grumbling serves to further energize and validate the opposition.

We have to trust that Obama knows what he's doing until he proves otherwise. Or at least wait until he's sworn in to start petitioning for impeachment hearings.

Segue to today's AFP story, Obama's cabinet -- change or Clinton era retreads? The RNC & The NY Post reliably sputter their patented anti-Dem/anti-Bill Clinton vitriol. Ignore them as per usual. This story offers both an important reality check and a history lesson:

But are these anything more than predictable political attacks, and is it fair to brand Obama's picks as retreads?

No, say many analysts, who argue that there is a limited pool of Democratic operatives with government experience qualified for top cabinet jobs.
Obama's personal brand is so strong, after two years campaigning on change that his cabinet picks may be less important than his own actions and rhetoric.
That's the money graph. Picks not nearly as big as Obama's deeds -- Pool of qualified candidates small. Brriiiiiing! Class dismissed.

For extra credit, please keep reading:
Such are the myriad crises facing the nascent Obama team, the president-elect may have concluded that while some officials may hark back to a previous era, he cannot afford to snub the best Democratic brains.
And had he sent a group of neophytes to Washington, he would surely have been pilloried for picking people short on experience.

Former president Bill Clinton, who came to power in 1993, decided not to stack his administration with veterans of the Jimmy Carter administration, which was seen as a failure.

But he soon hit trouble and had to call in Washington hands like veteran White House operative David Gergen.

"With the economy in such critical shape, to not choose people with experience would be foolhardy," said Martha Kumar, a political scientist with Towson University.
Be mindful we are watching a work not in progress but in gestation. The canvas is on the easel. The palette stands at ready. A brush flashes blocking in the foundation over the underpainting. When we can't possibly know what this sucker will look like, it's pointless to harp on these earliest of hues.

So let's be cool, babies. Breathe.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Robert Reich Drops Some Science

Ex-Bill Clinton Secretary of Labor & ex-Harvard prof explains Why We're Rescuing Wall Street and Not the Auto Industry.

Shorter version: Paulson & Bernanke's Street pals scream "'You let Lehman burn so you screwed our economy. Detroit deserves what it gets. Nothing."


It's Over

I've worked on this for a couple days 'cuz I'm positively bereft. Yet another dagger is thrust into the heart of my youth.

I'm a reasonably rational person. I realize as I grow older beacons of my formative years will inevitably dim or die out altogether. But I was not prepared to bid adieu to Out of Town News.

It may be a National Landmark but to call Out of Town News such is to tag the Pyramids a pile of rocks. (Similarly, I believed OOTN to be there for eternity -- Wrong-em Boyo.) Few "landmarks" impact our daily lives. I lived on the NYC waterfront for 13 years. I can tell you with certainty nobody gives a rat's ass about Grant's Tomb.

To quote the great sage Homer [Simpson], "But I digest." **burp**

Out of Town News was an icon. It was a cultural institution. It was a genuine meeting place.+ It defined Harvard Square. Hell, it was the heartbeat of The Square. So much so that OOTN is featured prominently Harvard Square's Wikipedia page, get it now kiddies?

As the Page Fucking 1(!) Boston Globe story tells it:

John Kenneth Galbraith bought a copy of Le Monde there every day. Julia Child searched for obscure Italian and German cooking magazines, and Robert Frost once stopped by - it actually was a snowy evening - to get directions to a reading. Over the years, pretty much anyone looking for news from far and near, be they eminent professors or the masses rushing to work on the Red Line, found it at Out of Town News.
Yes, Out of Town News was that important. Seattle Weekly pinpoints it as the newsstand where Microsoft founder Paul Allen picked up Popular Electronics, had his eureka moment and ran to find Bill Gates. (I hear they both did pretty well after that). Name me any other kiosk to reach this millennium that boasts such a diverse and occasionally historic constituency? Stop now because you can't.

Hub Arts' Joel Brown, whose father used to work there, nails it:
Out Of Town News was second only to Harvard in securing the Square's reputation as an international crossroads of learning and weirdness. You could get anything there, and it was a great relief to many that the newsstand survived the various "improvements" to the Square over the years. It maintained an eclectic clientele even as most of the Square's once-eccentric businesses gave way to the toxic blandness of chain retailing. Now it will probably turn into a f*ing Starbucks. This is heinous news. At least Charlie's Kitchen still serves a cheap martini.
True dat. Even though (and later because) I lived at the very opposite end of the Red Line, I frequented Harvard Square. My mother brought me there early on to experience that "international crossroads of learning and weirdness." Still in elementary school, my first unchaperoned trip on The T was to Harvard Square. (I think we got banned from The Coop -- maybe that was later on). Regardless, it was impossible to go to Harvard Square without a glimpse of OOTN.

Now I'm certainly not a John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul Allen or Robert Frost (I swing more Julia Child-like w/o the dress. Natch.), but Out of Town News played an important role in the ongoing development of my musical sensibilities. When I ventured from the 'burbs to "The Square" to taste its "weirdness",++ I could pick Melody Maker and NME without the ball-breaking double-back to the original Newbury Comics. OOTN was also a Ticketron outlet.

This was key. Back in the day, tickets weren't electronically printed at a terminal as you bought them. Concert tickets were much smaller. Unlike today's generic tickets replete with bar codes, old school tix had a color and maybe a font distinctive to each show. Tickets for every seat at every concert were printed ahead of time. Just before on-sale tickets were physically distributed to various individual ticket outlets. Very quaint, I know.

Most music fans preferred the closer, Boston proper ticket outlets. They hit Out of Town as a last resort once the good seats were gone in town. Armed with this knowledge (gleaned from extensive trial & error), I'd split school for a short ride on the old Mattapan trolleys to Dorchester's Ashmont Station. From there it was a long trip to the end of the Red Line, Harvard. I'd pop out of the station, grab some of the best seats available in all of Boston (maybe a Brit music mag or two) and hop a train to the bus back to my safe suburban home. It was ritual.

I rarely wasted time with The Orpheum+++ box office. It was Out of Town where I bought my tix to see The Clash London Calling Tour (3/9/80), Devo Freedom of Choice Tour (7/17/80 - a veritable sauna & 17th row floor!!), Pretenders (5/81 - original line-up & The Jim Carroll Band too!), U2 October Tour (11/14/81 - 3rd row balcony++++), The Jam The Gift Tour (5/20/82 - 1st row balcony!)...I could go on and on.


I'm not alone in my despair.

Out of Town News tributes pour in here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.


+Countless hordes of people have said to one another, "Meet me at Out of Town News."
++In this context probably means smoking pot -- Shocking I know.
+++For Boston-area high school kids (underage by definition), The Orpheum was the prime place to see our heroes. Boston's best club, The Paradise was impossible to sneak into tho' we did get for an early R.E.M. show.
++++The first rows of The Orpheum balcony were fave seats -- unobstructed view and still surprisingly close to the band.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Have To Be Fucking Kidding Me

...Or Look At All The Chickens Little Run.

The scale of the hand wringing and rending of garments I'm seeing over each and every one of Obama's cabinet picks is unbelievable. This is the shit we liberal/progressive/Democrat-types do every fucking single fucking time. I hate it with the force of a thousand suns.

I'm all about individuality, critical thinking and what have you. But just this once could we show the same unity, discipline and sense of purpose that's proven so effective for conservatives? Fuck no. We run around crying, "Maybe Hillary could bring in Michael O'Hanlon! The sky is falling The sky is falling!"

It's predictable. It's pointless. It's stupid. It's embarrassing. It makes the wingers rub their hands together with glee. It's well past time we ditched this chicken little act.

I'm only gonna say this once: Barack Obama just ran the smartest, most effective, most transformative political campaign in American history! Do you honestly think Obama's picking these candidates impulsively? He's not throwing darts. He's had 2 fucking years to put together his cabinet wish list. Chill the fuck out already.

Much of this angst seems focused on Hillary Clinton's Secretary of State nomination. Stupid. Stupid. And more stupid. I will genuinely miss Hillary Clinton as my Senator. Because she's done overall an exceptional job for NY, I selfishly didn't want her to win the Presidential nomination.

But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton puts her squarely on the world stage. Short of being President, this singularly prestigious cabinet position offers her the opportunity to make history like few before her. Do not underestimate the importance of this. It's Hillary's best and possibly last chance to silence years of muttering about the Clintons' "legacy".

We used to say in the music industry, "You're only as good as your last record." Let's face it, this could be Hillary's last go 'round in public service. At the end of Obama's first term, she'll be 64 years old.

Yes, she'll still be plenty young enough to serve her country but Obama will be running for re-election. The Senator replacing her will be running for re-election. For Secretary of State Hillary Clinton any office below Prezzie or Veep would be a serious come down.

Then there's those of you who persist in kvetching over potential ego clashes blah yak blah yak. Hillary will not fuck this up. She has demonstrated her honor of and sense duty to her country. Furthermore, Hillary and thus Bill's "legacy" is now inextricably, permanently tied to the Obama Presidency.

Her success depends on Barack's success and vice versa. There's no chance in hell that Hillary Clinton will be anything less than outstanding in her execution of Obama's foreign policy. The ego-thang is overblown. She will defer to him.

Get it? Got it? Good. Get over it.

Let's get back to the hard work of fixing our country. This includes showing great support for our and confidence in President-elect Barack Obama and his cabinet nominees.

Fer crissakes the guy hasn't even been sworn in yet.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

My MacBook Is Illin'

The "lap" is in mortal danger of disconnecting from the "top." Before I ship thus sucker back to Apple tomorrow, I do have a few topics to address. After that posting will be more erratic than usual.


Monday, November 17, 2008


I was well off the mark. CNBC tracks the bail out toll to date: $3,800,000,000,000+.

"Oversight" looms. The American people are impatient and growing more pissed. The piggies go to full feeding frenzy mode hoping to score pieces of that sweet bail out pie before it and their bonuses are reduced to crumbs.

(HT: ThinkProgress)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Months Ago

I said the bailout cost was going to top out at around $5 trillion. That doesn't sound so crazy right about now.


Canada's Banks Good. Our Banks Baaad.

Time tries to explain why the Great White North's financial system is on solid footing as opposed to our all rabid howler monkeys clawing to the front of the bail out line to secure their massive bonuses, Dionysian spa retreats and thus relaxed resume fucking the rest of us.


Blogger Crash

Me unhappy.

Lose many posts.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Gimme A Break

I'm recovering from spending my birthday with AC/DC at MSG last night. It was the loudest, biggest, stupidest rock show. NYT's Jon Caramanica sorta gets it:

It was all, of course, glorious, in the way most uncomplicated pleasures are.
But then he goes all Major Buzzkill on us unnecessarily complicating his review with criticism and thoughtful analysis. (Natch, this is the Times). You don't go to an AC/DC show to split atoms or cure cancer! Be cool, Johnny.

As I used to tell the odd crank calling my radio shows, you're listening waaay too hard.


"He Brought America New Hope"

We sell you cheesey tchotckes!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Non Sequitur

The more I read others' shitty spelling and grammar online, the worse my spelling and grammar get. I just caught myself using "their" for "they're." WTF? That's so unlike me.


Woke Up Feeling Some Cynical Today

I'll shake it off before lunchtime. After all, it is my birthday. 'Til then it's...

The Godfathers - "Birth, School, Work, Death"*

Been turned around till I'm upside down
Been all at sea until I've drowned
And I've felt torture, I've felt pain
Just like that film with Michael Caine*
I've been abused and I've been confused
And I've kissed Margaret Thatcher's shoes
And I been high and I been low
And I don't know where to go

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death
(Sony fucked me on the embed. Watch the clip here).

Although diminutive in stature, guitarist Kris Dollimore makes a big noise -- searing stuff. One of the most extraordinary players I've ever known. His "BSWD" riffs & leads cut like a hot knife through butter. Singer Peter Coyne spits, spews and snarls. The rock solid rhythm section kicks up a racket. Super-sonic genius the late Vic Maile (Live at Leeds, the seminal Ace of Spades, Guns 'n Roses EP -- everybody from The Vibrators to Hendrix) puts it down on tape. Rarely does perfection sound so furious.

I caught one of the 'fathers' first US gigs on a Sunday nite at T.T. the Bears'. Maybe 20 people joined me. They were touring to support their debut Hit By Hit. Man, they were awesome. ("This Damn Nation" fucking slew me!) This band had the chops. They had the songs. They had the look down pat: gangster suits, skinny ties & haircuts to match. Nice guys as well. The Godfathers weren't at all dark as their music.

Sadly, The Godfathers landed 5-10 years too soon. Their smart, bleak, crunchy brand of rock was out of step with a nascent rave culture. I did my job by making 'em big in Boston. Like played on KISS 108 big. Elsewhere most folks were scared to spin it on-air.

The Godfathers were a great, great band while they lasted.


* Initial import pressings of "BSWD" 12" came in a nifty black shopping bag.
**I'm kicking myself for never asking which film. Get Carter would be in keeping with The Godfathers' image, I think they're referring to The Man Who Would Be King.
Now playing: The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death

After He's Left, Bush Could Still Block Subpeonas

Harry Truman set a precedent. NYT's Charlie Savage has the skinny.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Why Do Bigots Smell?"

"So that blind people can hate them too."

A very lame joke. It was spontaneous -- the best I could do under the circumstances. I was standing in Sully's (no, not that Sully) BC dorm room twenty-seven years ago. Sully had just moved in. Upon learning throwing furniture out the window was punishable by expulsion, we were considering bringing furniture outside and throwing it back in through the window. You know, just to fuck with the RA.

Sully stepped outside to consider logistics. I cracked a brew with our friends Jay and Chuck. Sully had just introduced his room mate, "G", who was also present. Just four white guys hanging out. Drinking.

About a minute in, "G" tells what is colloquially known as a "nigger joke." (As if any "humor" characterized by such an ugly, hateful word could be a joke). Jay, Chuck and I ignored him. "G" told another one. Now I was officially fucking pissed. But I said nothing. Chuck was a wimp, Jay was confrontation averse and I really didn't want to slug it out with Sully's new room mate his first weekend at school. Did I mention that "G" had twenty pounds on me?

"G" told his third and final "joke."

What came next:

Me: "I have a joke for you."
"G": "Great!"
Me: "Why do bigots smell?"
"G": "Why?"
Me: ""So that blind people can hate them too."
Silence. Jay and Chuck immediately flinched. Two or three beats later it dawned on "G" that I was fucking with him, attacking him for his racism. What ensued was predictable -- "I'm gonna kill you!" vs. "Give me your best shot, cracker!", etc. Chuck and Jay kept us from mixing it up. "G" split presumably to find a more sympathetic audience. Every subsequent visit to Sully, "G" left before I arrived.

Here's what I learned from this incident:
  1. People often choose to ignore racism in their friends, family, co-workers, etc.
  2. If you ignore bigotry, it won't go away.
  3. Ignoring bigotry is read as tacit approval thus encouraging more of the same.
  4. Confronting racism is a tricky, sometimes dangerous, business.
  5. Bigots are bullies. Stand up to them and they usually back off.
  6. Less confrontational techniques might prevent me getting my head kicked in.
Enough for now. I'll pick this up again tomorrow.


They Got It From Their Parents

What's racist, red and white all over? Rexburg, Idaho. That town's children chant "Assassinate Obama" on their school bus." BYU, Rexburg Psych prof sez:

"I think the thing that struck us was just like, 'Where did they get the word and why would they put that word and that person together?'"
This is a job for Captain Obvious!


It's Been A Year

I started this lil' writing exercise a little over 12 months ago. Writing isn't something that comes easily to me. So I'm that much more grateful to you who stop by.

Much thanks.


PS Just cracked 10,000 visits too.

Andrew Sullivan's Misogyny On Display. Again.

kosnomore@MyDD notes that "Andrew Sullivan Never fails To Disappoint":

Discussing lesbians who stuck with Hillary, and voted in lesser numbers for Obama than Kerry, Sullivan says "Maybe there was a particular lesbian bond with Clinton, which may have led some lesbians to pick McCain (they're susceptible to a little Alaskan boobage as well)."

Can you imagine if a conservative referred to "a particular lesbian bond" with Hillary, with all implied by that sentence, or said lesbians voted for Palin's "boobage"? I somehow think they'd be tossed from Matthews' "panel of experts".

P.S. - Seriously, Sullivan writes that lesbians were inclined to vote for McCain because they like Palin's boobs, and he's invited on legitimate Sunday morning talk shows? That's THE most sexist thing I've read from an MSM talking head in years. Sullivan really has issues with women.

Sully has issues with anyone who disagrees with whatever position(s) he's taken at the moment. Always somehow winding up at the top of that list, women most frequently become the target of Andy's lame, misogynistic attempts at humor.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Center-Right" Is The New Black

...among many pundits. They cannot accept an electorate that has completely rejected their Weltanschauung. To cope these pundits comfort themselves by substituting this silly "the US is now center-right" fantasy (here, here, here, here) for our mutual reality (i.e. not so much).

A CNN poll out today shows:

59 percent of those questioned think that Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches will be good for the country, with 38 percent saying that such one-party control will be bad…

The poll also suggests that the public has a positive view of the Democratic Party, with 62 percent having a favorable opinion and 31 percent an unfavorable opinion…

That is not the case for the Republicans, with a majority, 54 percent, having an unfavorable view of the GOP and 38 percent holding a positive view.

"The public has a positive view of the Democratic Party, while the GOP 'brand' is hurting. Overall views of the Democratic Party have gone from 53 percent favorable in October to 62 percent favorable now; the GOP overall has seen a 5-point drop in its favorable rating," Holland said.

The 62 percent figure is the "the highest opinion of the Democrats in at least 16 years, since before Bill Clinton got elected," said Bill Schneider, a CNN senior political analyst.

"When has the Republican Party image ever been that bad? Answer: when the Republican Congress impeached President Clinton at the end of 1998," Schneider added.
The incomparable Digby spells it out:
This can only be interpreted to be a mandate that the new administration needs to bring as many of these unpopular Republicans into the administration and enact as many GOP priorities as possible.

And, by the way, the country hasn't been "center-right" for quite some time. This is yet another example of the villagers thinking they are the representatives of Real America --- just as they did when they staged the world's biggest hissy fit over Bill Clinton's zipper. It's all about them.
It always is.


Monday, November 10, 2008

RIP: Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba - "Pata Pata"

The singer may be gone but her song lives on.

The NYT:

Miriam Makeba, a South African singer whose voice stirred hopes of freedom among millions in her own country though her music was formally banned by the apartheid authorities she struggled against, died overnight after performing at a concert in Italy on Sunday. She was 76.
Makeba's voice was as singular as she was brave.


Makeba tributes from around the world.

Dems Renting Joe Like Dodgers Did Manny?

Obama sez "Joe can stay." Hell, even Bill Clinton's joined the action. I've gone back and forth and back and forth all over again on this. My knee-jerk response is to disagree with this play 'cuz it smacks of weakness. But perhaps we're much closer to getting those 59 Senate seats than we thought. It's tough to get a read when the "conventional wisdom" seems to change every day twice a day. Like the Dodgers did with Manny Ramirez, the Dems may be renting Lieberman's 60th filibuster-proof vote for Obama's first term. Because barring some sorta spectacular "come to Jesus moment", Lieberman will not be re-elected.

Forgiveness puts Joe on the shortest possible leash too. He'll have to toe the line or start packing. Switching parties is not a realistic option. If his ego would let him (and it won't), it would be tantamount to political suicide (see re-election). McConnell doesn't even have a ranking position to offer Lieberman let alone a chairmanship. God knows Holy Joe's done a piss poor job as Homeland Security Chair.

can give Joe Veterans Affairs and tell him to shut the fuck up.

(HTs: Digby & TPM)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lies, Lies, Lies, Yeah...

LA Times labels Rush & his fellow fabricators "shameless":

You have to give Rush Limbaugh a perverse kind of credit. At least when he is demonizing Barack Obama, fabricating Obama policies, blaming Obama for single-handedly causing the recession and the stock market crash, he doesn't pretend to be fair.
He just pretends to tell the truth.

(HT: ThinkProgress)

Friday, November 7, 2008

CBS Proposed Wingers Review Rather

I knew CBS screwed Dan Rather royally but I didn't know it was this bad.

Rather is suing CBS for a cool $70 million over the circumstances of his "Rathergate" dismissal. The NY Observer dug through papers Rather's legal team submitted last week. It learned that CBS' shortlist for Rather's "independent review panel" featured a long list of right-wing partisans. Some of them are even journalists:
William Buckley (TNR), Robert Novak, Kate O’Beirne (TNR & then @CNN!), Tucker Carlson (I'm starting to feel dirty here), Pat Buchanan (OK, I'm officially dirty), George Will (What? Pol Pot wasn't available?), Lou Dobbs (WTF? Right wing CNN anchor reviews CBS anchor?), Matt Drudge (Puh-leeze), Robert Kagan (PNAC + Papa do not make one worthy), Fred Barnes (Does anyone even read WS or watch FoxNews?), William Kristol (another Murdoch trust fund baby), John Podhoretz (Mama's Boy is to journalism what cinder blocks are to swimming), David Brooks (Soon-to-be banished to the farthest corner of the realm), William Safire (Wordsmythe, Nixonite & "libertarian conservative" whatever the fuck that is), Bernard Goldberg (FoxNews crank then@CBS News), Ann Coulter (don't even go there -- I said don't), Andrew Sullivan (Why, oh why?), Christopher Hitchens (depends on what he's drinking & for how long), PJ O’Rourke (depends on which PJ shows up & for how long), Christopher Caldwell ("No, my father-in-law did not get me this gig"), Elliot Abrams (like a cockroach, he'll never go away), Charles Krauthammer (a sad, delusional man), William Bennett (nicotine-addict/ex-Drug Czar/ homophobe/degenerate gamber), Rush Limbaugh (not qualified to fucking mowing Rather's lawn) and, written at the bottom, FoxNews' Dark Lord Roger Ailes (**shudder**).

Considering these stalwart wingers for their Rather “independent review panel” is sorta like Frank Perdue announcing plans to have foxes guard his hen house. Had CBS been truly interested in getting to the bottom of how Rather's report was sourced and erred aired, they wouldn't have considered a veritable murder's row of neo-con hacks and competitors! Shortly thereafter the Grand PooBah himself, lifelong Dem Sumner Redstone, conspicuously flipped Republican.

Please note that I chose to break two names out of the above pack as they have been unintentionally and undeservedly tarnished by association. One is NY Observer's own Nicholas Von Hoffman, who CBS fired for saying "Mr. Nixon is the dead mouse on the kitchen floor, and the American family, in slippers and bathrobe, is gathered around him arguing over who will pick him up by his tail and drop him in the trash" is as much a neo-con as you'd expect any friend of Gary Trudeau to be. The other is Robert (no relation to Gnarls or Charles) Barkley has been a tireless education reformer who penned the moving Grandfather's Apology two weeks ago.

(HT: ThinkProgress)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still Hate Rears Its Ugly Head

I really, really, really wish I hadn't seen this. Crooks&Liars has the skinny on all the racist shit that went down at Baptist Baylor University yesterday. I hope you're proud of yourselves.

You can take the Baptist out of Waco, but apparently you can't take the Waco out of these Baptists.


It's All About The Hope Babies

Hearing the angst, hurt and racial weirdness/bigotry emanating from losing side has really jarred me. I'm not talking about the pundits or the candidates. Nothing they say could ever surprise me. I'm talking about everyday people, McCain voters, like those in my View From The Ground series, Parts 3 & 4. (I can't even begin to wrap my head around the gay marriage bans).

I confess this all left me feeling a lot less hopeful.

Cue RS's Matt Taibbi. Matt is acerbic, sharp as a whip and funny as fuck. He's also a keen observer of human behavior. Amidst the post-election pain, confusion and fear of many voters he, well...Hope:

There are still a lot of mixed-up, terrified people out there who went to bed last night in a panic about what "those people" will do now that they have one of their own in the White House. When I finally got to watch a replay of Obama's speech in my hotel room late last night, it occurred to me that it's those people who were actually the big winners in this election. Why? Because a lot of them are going to wake up a year from now and realize not a whole lot has changed. And quietly, when no one's looking, they're going to relax a little.
That will be a bigger and more beautiful day than last Tuesday. Read it here.


Views From The Ground

"L." checked in from Raleigh, NC yesterday. Her coworkers were buzzing about the election. The hot topic was how "when Obama becomes President, he will help the blacks enslave the whites."


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Uncle Ted Hangs By Thread

The NYT:

ANCHORAGE — Convicted of seven felony counts just nine days ago, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska held a narrow lead on Wednesday in his bid for re-election, though the race remained too close to call.

Mr. Stevens, 84 and a 40-year incumbent, led his Democratic challenger, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, by fewer than 3,400 votes with more than 55,000 absentee, early and questioned ballots remaining to be counted. If he wins, Mr. Stevens would be the first felon elected to the United States Senate.

The senator’s campaign said that such late-counted votes traditionally break for Republicans and that it was “almost mathematically impossible” for Mr. Begich to win. But Mr. Begich strongly disputed those claims, noting that his campaign had made a concerted effort to win absentee and early voters and that he had won absentee counts in his elections as mayor.

A final vote count may not come until next week or later.

And even if Mr. Stevens wins, he could still be forced from office.
Stay tuned...


Views From The Ground

Race wasn't nearly as big an issue in the election as the media built it up to be. Here's one indication that as far as we've come, we still have a long way to go...

"R." in rural Tennessee tells of an exchange as she left her polling station. A man a few steps ahead was approached for an exit poll. When asked "Who did you vote for?," he replied "I voted for the nigger."

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

"R." also reports being surprised months ago to learn most of her farmer-neighbors were ardent Barack Obama supporters. They put up Obama lawn signs and put Obama bumperstickers on their pickup trucks. These folks attended rallies and canvassed neighborhoods too.

Yet all throughout the campaign they referred to Obama by the same foul racial epithet.

This shit is so fucked up I'm speechless.


They Said It. I Repeat It.

"I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I fucking changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."
Barack Obama
On debates


**Damn. That Atrios fella beat me to it.

Straight Dope Inna Campaign Stylee

Newsweek reveals both camps' inner workings:

  1. McCain rarely spoke to Palin.
  2. Palin spent waaaaay more than $150k on duds.
  3. Before the final debate McCain advisers considered telling him he was toast.
  4. McCain and Hillary are much tighter than Obama and Hillary.
  5. Wingers' wet dream realized: At GOP Convention Palin met McCain advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter wrapped in a towel!
  6. Obama drops an occasional F-bomb.
There's tons more.


(HT: Mrs. Forester)

They Said It. You Watch It..

People were so worried about Obama being a Muslim and a Socialist that they forgot that he was black.
Larry Wilmore paints the White House black.
Comedy Central's Indecision ’08: Americas Choice


Views From The Ground

I meant to link to this post yesterday. The intro goes a little something like this:

On this the eve of the election, I'd like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.

I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it's a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker's doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world... if it wasn't a movie of course.
Good stuff.


It's About Time

(HT: Geeky)

Things Said While Barely Awake

I was up all night Monday night with a serious case of nerves. I cleaned the kitchen, spurted out a few blog posts, sipped a wee dram of Aberfeldy (or two). I did finally manage to get a few fitful hours of sleep.

Mrs. Forester awakened me declaring "Happy Obama Day!"

I immediately replied "I hope there's a black man under our tree."


More Views From The Ground soon come.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The New World

X's "The New World" has been running thru my head since I woke up. Perhaps more prescient now than it was upon it's release 25 years ago, it's lyrics are killer:

“Honest to goodness
the bars weren’t open this morning.
They must have been voting for a new president or something.
Do you have a quarter?"
I said yes because I did
“Honest to goodness
the tears have been falling
all over the country’s face.”
It was better before, before they voted for what-his-name.
It was better before, before they voted for what-his-name.
This is suppose to be the new world.

A Colbert Report Smarmfest

Last nite Andrew Sullivan was Stephen Colbert's guest. He went all out liberally dropping his calculated pre-scripted cheesey applause lines. Great to see Stephen nail Sully for being a Brit with the audacity to tell US how to vote.

As usual our namesake weather vane talks war. Atrios observes:

I don't read Andrew Sullivan very much so I'm not really aware of exactly how he's marched himself back from the days when he informed the Iraqi people, "You're welcome," but he just told Colbert that "invading countries without good reason" was not conservative. And in Andrew's world, conservative=good.
Sully has the memory of an NFL cornerback in that he has an innate ability to forget all of his worst plays. I seem to remember a time when Andrew Sullivan was one of the loudest beating the Iraq War drums.


Views From The Ground

Uncharacteristically, my uber-Red community polling place had no Republican poll workers in sight. McCain lawn signs are a rarity too. In fact, I've noticed many houses sporting multiple signs for Republican congressional and state candidates with McCain signs conspicuously absent.


Have You Voted Yet?

I'm going to miss these ole relics. There's a certain comfort inherent to the ritual of flipping the little levers and a deep satisfaction in pulling the big one.


Irony Alert: "Surge" Boosted Obama More Than McCain

Iraq "surge" success aided Obama by de-emphasizing Commander-In-Chief bona fides as a prerequisite for the next Prez. WaPo explains.


George Bush's Parting Gifts To US

Bush can't help but keep fucking us on his way out the door. Here's how. He'll attack our civil liberties, the environment, reproductive rights, give tax breaks for big banks' bad loans and keep Gitmo open.


Krugman Predicts

"Hard right" Republicans will get even crazier.


Kristol Is So Full of Shit

Bill sez we should be cheerful if McCain wins.

Yeah right.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Treats Just Dirty Tricks And Plenty of 'Em

The fliers they are a-flyin.

It's scary the amount of energy Republicans put into downright dishonesty and/or flat-out cheating. They whine and complain to distraction forcing the media to tilt at absurd windmills i.e. ACORN, Rashid Khalidi, William Ayres, etc. This strategy is doubly effective in that it steers the press away from a closer examination of the Republicans' sub-rosa actions. That they do this all the while both claiming the hide road and attacking the patriotism of anyone who questions them makes it all the more sickening.

McCain's supporters have been active indeed. The AP has this overview of the 2008 campaign dirty tricks pulled thus far. One point stands out:

Laughlin McDonald, who leads the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said he has never seen "an election where there was more interest and more voter turnout, and more efforts to suppress registration and turnout. And that has a real impact on minorities."

The Obama campaign and civil rights advocacy groups have signed up millions of new voters for this presidential race. In Ohio alone, some 600,000 have submitted new voter registration cards.

Across the country, many of these first-time voters are young and strong Obama supporters. Many are also black and Hispanic.
There's not a single example of any group distributing fliers in white neighborhoods targeting white conservatives. Funny 'dat. And just what would they say? "If you are more than one week late on Lexus or stupid big pickup truck payment, you cannot vote this year"?

Voter suppression efforts are a national disgrace. If the Democrats do snag the White House, they'd be smart to pass a law with some teeth to punish these assholes. It's the American thing to do.

**Fliers clipped from BradBlog.

Let There Be Rock

The Mighty AC/DC - "Rock 'N' Roll Train"
(From last Sunday's final tour rehearsal)*

Along with 2997 people I've never met, I was privileged to catch AC/DC's final US Tour dress rehearsal in Wilkes-Barre. It was outstanding. I've now seen AC/DC concerts in three different decades. God, I'm old. Take a gander at this VIP pass pic while I take my medicine...

OK, I'm back and fresher than ever. It may surprise you to learn that before I heard punk, I mean really heard punk, I was a suburban heavy metal kid. That's just the way it was back in der '70s. It was the law. And no one did the heavy metal boogie better harder or better than these Aussies.

Putting their muscianship aside, and make no mistake about it they are all exceptional musicians, AC/DC is a band like no other. They exist in a state of suspended adolescence and do so unrepentantly. You'll find the AC/DC v.08 little changed from the AC/DC of 1998 or 1988 or since I first saw them on Dec. 25, 1981. And that's a very good thing.

Now about that muscianship. Anchored by Cliff Williams' chugging bass Phil Rudd's pounding drums and Brother Malcolm's archetypal rhythm guitar, AC/DC the band is tight as balls. Brian Johnson chimes in with his patented growl. (Has there ever been a more clutch performance in rock history as when Johnson replaced the recently deceased Bon Scott only to write+ the bulk of & record the iconic Back In Black in a just few months time?)

And then there's Angus.

Sure, Angus is only 85% as spastic as he was back in the day. (He's 53 for chrissake). But even at 85%, Angus is 200% more spastic than anyone else out there. He remains a guitarist nonpareil too. His playing is fluid, his picking is crisp and his Scots folk-inspired pull-off arpeggios are a wonder to behold.

If the hard rock is your thang, you owe it to yourself to catch this AC/DC tour. You never know how much longer they will keep on kickin' it. Oh, and their stage production is completely over-the-fuckin'-top too.


Soon Come: We rewind to 1991 with an AC/DC edition of Uncle Anacher's Punk Rock Tales in which yours truly meets the band.

*I meant to post this Monday but the week quickly got out of hand.
+In the tireless Bon Scott vs. Brian Johnson debate there are those who believe Bon Scott wrote the bulk of Back In Black before he died. Johnson has long laid claim to the majority of the lyrics, most notably "You Shook Me All Night Long", without the band correcting him. This alone would lead me to believe him. Plus I know for a fact that out of respect AD/DC ditched any and all new Bon Scott tunes to start anew with new singer Brian Johnson.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Get Out The Vote!

What are you doing today to ensure our success this Tuesday? With all the muck a-flyin', hate a-spewing and dirty tricks abounding we must leave no stone unturned.