October 29, 2004

I look in the mirror and everything's funny

Three Poems by James Tate

The President Slumming

In a weird, forlorn voice
he cries: it is a mirage!
Then tosses a wreath of scorpions
to the children,
mounts his white nag
and creeps off into the darkness,
smoking an orange.

A Pretty Girl Like That

Now in a shabby raincoat
along the pier, now her flaming hair;
her blood is a noise
and makes the window tremble.

Her movement is bewildered desire,
she has no coverings for her eyes:
now a dry hand rockets forth,
and dies. She might never

be seen again: aquamarine lies,
damned aria-- she holds
her black gloves as if the sea
had just proffered them.

Is she drunk or is she asleep?
Thrilling loons cry
in the cloudless air.
There is no answer anywhere.

Dark Street

So this is the dark street
where only an angel lives:
I never saw anything like it.
For the first time in a lifetime
I feel the burgeoning of wings
somewhere behind my frontal lobes.
So this is the dark street
Did his lights come on,
or do I dream?
I never saw anything like it.

Even the trees' languorous leaves
look easy to touch.
So this is the dark street.
Here he comes now:
good afternoon, Father --
your handshake is so pleasing.
Brush the shards from my shoulders,
what lives we have ahead of us!
So this is the dark street.
I never saw anything like it.

October 28, 2004

Subset of history, I lose my identity, start bumming at parties

* Pictures from this years high heel race in DC. [via bob moulds blog]

* The NORML player streams songs that have been donated by musicians who care about marijuana law reform. If you're feeling a little 4:20 ish, fire up the NORML player, listen to the tunes, read the latest news headlines, and get active!

* American Rhetoric lists 100 great speeches.
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black

* Maureen Dowd on Dr. Cheneystein. excerpt:

"He yanked America into war to preclude that chilling bloodbath. But in a spine-tingling switch, the administration's misbegotten invasion of Iraq has let fearsome munitions fall into the hands of evildoers. It's also forged the links between Al Qaeda and the Sunni Baathists that Mr. Cheney and his crazy-eyed Igors at the Pentagon had fantasized about to justify their hunger to remake the Middle East.

"It's often seen in scary movies: you play God to create something in your own image, and the monster you make ends up coming after you.

"Determined to throw a good scare into the Arab world, the vice president ended up scaring up the swarm of jihadist evil spirits he had conjured, like the overreaching sorcerer in 'Fantasia.' The Pentagon bungled the occupation so badly, it caused the insurgency to grow like the Blob.

"Just as Catherine Deneuve had bizarre hallucinations in the horror classic "Repulsion,'' Mr. Cheney and the neocons were in a deranged ideological psychosis, obsessing about imaginary weapons while allowing enemies to spirit the real ones away.
"President Bush is like one of the blissfully ignorant teenagers in 'Friday the 13th' movies, spouting slogans like 'Freedom is on the march' while Freddy Krueger is in the closet, ready to claw his skin off.

"Mr. Bush ignored his own experts' warnings that Osama bin Laden planned to attack inside the U.S., that an invasion of Iraq could create a toxic partnership between outside terrorists and Baathists and create sympathy for them across the Islamic world, that Donald Rumsfeld was planning a war and occupation without enough troops, that Saddam's aluminum tubes were not for nuclear purposes, that U.S. troops should safeguard 380 tons of sealed explosives that could bring down planes and buildings, and that, after the invasion, Iraq could erupt into civil war."

* Inconsistencies in the CRCR reissue booklet. [via tim o thompson]

* Cozytone interviews pink nasty. excerpt:

Please introduce yourself:

"My Christian name is Sara Beck. I rock under the God given moniker Pink Nasty. I was born and raised in Wichita, KS. in the early 80's. In the late 90's I picked up a guitar...and the rest is Quirky Female Folk Rock History!"

I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing you perform with Will Oldham over the summer. You have an amazing stage presence to say the least. How was that tour for you? What were your feelings towards its end?

"The tour was seismic! The band was all boys so I flirted with them, pitted them against each other, played mind games, made empty promises, c*ck teased -- real Stevie Nicks kinda stuff. So fun! And I love those songs so much that it wasn't hard to get up onstage every night and sing my bonnie loving guts out...even though I was smelly, sweaty, tired, hungry, PMSing, half drunk on Jagermesieter, gassy and in overalls. the end of the tour was like the end of summer camp. I cried and told them I would write them all everyday. I haven't heard from them since!"

Tell us a bit about your album Mule School? This is your debut album, correct?

Mule School is my first album. It has fast songs and slow ones and story songs and scary songs and pretty, sparkly ones. It has one song with bells and a rocking guitar outro that I really like. One song sound like the Monkees, one like the Go-Go's and one like Believe-era Cher. All the boys that played on it are really cute. It's very poppy and skitso so it's perfect for car rides or when you're cleaning your house or downing a 12 pack with your dawgs.

What is next for Pink Nasty?

I have already begun recording my next album and it's mellow and pretty and was inspired by all the herbal ecstasy I've been doing, it's called Mold the Gold and it sounds like moonlight and hot chocolate. Black and I are moving to Austin, Texas soon -- I'm gonna get a band together and we're gonna get vicious! I hope I am successful, I want people to hear my music and I would eventually like to support myself through the power of song.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?

"I have all the bongs from every boy I ever dated."

What is your guilty pleasure?

"Guy butts. Cookies."

If you could contact a much younger version of yourself, what would you tell yourself?

"You ain't got no pancake mix."

James Lipton wants to know: "If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?"

"Um, you get that big cloud on the right. By the way, I loved Mule School and Mold the Gold and you were great on the Bonnie Prince Billy tour. You got a hot ass too."

October 27, 2004

To my dog on wheels I'll tell my secrets and more

* Hunter S. Thompson: Fear and Loathing Campaign 2004. excerpt:

"Did you see Bush on TV, trying to debate? Jesus, he talked like a donkey with no brains at all. The tide turned early, in Coral Gables, when Bush went belly up less than halfway through his first bout with Kerry, who hammered poor George into jelly. It was pitiful. . . . I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him "Mister President," and then I felt ashamed.

"Karl Rove, the president's political wizard, felt even worse. There is angst in the heart of Texas today, and panic in the bowels of the White House. Rove has a nasty little problem, and its name is George Bush. The president failed miserably from the instant he got onstage with John Kerry. He looked weak and dumb. Kerry beat him like a gong in Coral Gables, then again in St. Louis and Tempe -- and that is Rove's problem: His candidate is a weak-minded frat boy who cracks under pressure in front of 60 million voters.

"That is an unacceptable failure for hardballers like Rove and Dick Cheney. On the undercard in Cleveland against John Edwards, Cheney came across as the cruel and sinister uberboss of Halliburton. In his only honest moment during the entire debate, he vowed, 'We have to make America the best place in the world to do business.'

"Bush signed his own death warrant in the opening round, when he finally had to speak without his TelePrompTer. It was a Cinderella story brought up to date in Florida that night -- except this time the false prince turned back into a frog.

"Immediately after the first debate ended I called Muhammad Ali at his home in Michigan, but whoever answered said the champ was laughing so hard that he couldn't come to the phone. 'The debate really cracked him up,' he chuckled. 'The champ loves a good ass-whuppin.' He says Bush looked so scared to fight, he finally just quit and laid down.'"
"Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush -- Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain -- all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it."
"Back in June, when John Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, I had a quick little rendezvous with him on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet with a harem of wealthy campaign contributors. As we rode to the event, I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him. His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't. Kerry quickly suggested that I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972.

"That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president's lawn.

"We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.

"That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House."

* From the Thompson article:

"War is an option whose time has passed. Peace is the only option for the future. At present we occupy a treacherous no-man's-land between peace and war, a time of growing fear that our military might have expanded beyond our capacity to control it and our political differences widened beyond our ability to bridge them.

"Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war."

--Richard M. Nixon, "Real Peace" (1983)

* Banana Republicans. [via shut up already]
The type of memories that turns your bones to glass

* "I am not quite sure what the advantage is in having a few more dollars to spend if the air is too dirty to breathe, the water is too polluted to drink, the commuters are losing out in the struggle to get in and out of the city, the streets are filthy, the schools are so bad that the young perhaps wisely stay away, and the hoodlums roll citizens for some of the dollars they saved in the tax cut." ---John Kenneth Gailbraith

* These Things
-- by Charles Bukowski

these things that we support most well
have nothing to do with us,
and we do with them
out of boredom of fear or money
or cracked intelligence;
our circle and our candle of light
being small,
so small we cannont bear it,
we heave out with Idea
and lose the Center:
all wax without the wick,
and we see names that once meant
like signs in to ghost towns,
and only the graves are real.

* The Miracle
--- by Charles Bukowski

To work with an art form
does not mean to
screw off like a tape-worm
with his belly full,
nor does it justify grandeur
or greed, not at all times
seriousness, but I would guess
that it calls upon our best men
at their best times,
and when they die
and something else does not,
we have seen the miracle of immortality:
men arrived as men,
departed as gods--
gods we knew were here,
gods that now let us go on
when all else says stop.

October 26, 2004

I'd like to invite you to a taste of my chalice

* From a 1988 Paris Review interview of philip levine:

Do you feel a split between your life as a political person and your life as a poet?

I'm cowardly. I should stop paying my taxes. I know that the government in Washington is full of terrible people with terrible plans. They will murder people here and abroad to gain more power. Those who have dominated our country most of my adult life are interested in maintaining an empire, subjugating other people, enslaving them if need be, and finally killing those who protest so that wealthy and powerful americans can go on enjoying their advantages over others. I'm not going to do a thing about it. I'm not a man of action. It finally comes down to that. I'm not so profoundly moral that I can often overcome my fears of prison or torture or exile or poverty. I'm a contemplative person who goes in the corner and writes. What can we do? I guess we can hang and encourage each other, dig in, protest in every peaceful way possible and hope that things are better than they seem. We can describe ourselves as horribly racist people, which we are, as imperialists, which we have been and are, but we can also see ourselves as bountiful, gracious, full of wit, courage, resourcefulness. I still believe in this country, that it can fulfill the destiny Blake and Whitman envisioned. I still believe in american poetry.

* John Peel has passed away. RIP to one of the greats.

"Born 1939 in the Wirral, John Robert Parker Ravenscroft adopted the surname Peel during his pirate radio days. Since then he has become a broadcasting legend, promoting acts as diverse as The Smiths, Pulp and Jimi Hendrix. He helped introduce the nation to drum 'n' bass and hip hop, but is perhaps most notorious for giving his listeners in 1970s their first taste of punk.

"However, Peel's love of music's cutting edge has put him on a collision course with the Radio 1 management and fellow DJs alike. He famously called the mainstream output of the BBC's pop music station as "incredibly predictable porridge". His hatred of "mediocrity" did not stop with just the playlist. Peel held Radio 1's stars such as Tony Blackburn and "Diddy" David Hamilton in equally low regard.

"In the studio, Peel was just as willing to break the rules. One of Radio 1's only fans of punk, he became the first DJ to play a record twice in a row. Peel, now a holder of the OBE, hosts a late-night show three times a week. His straightforward style, and occasional blunders, have seen him voted Melody Maker's top DJ 11 times in a row."

* Great Tom Tomorrow cartoon.

* the smoking gun shows that the mafia supports bush/cheney.

October 25, 2004

Life's just a cocktail party on the street

* Wollcott is fantastic:

"Forget it. Fineman will never obtain a lasting clue about anything. His translucent shell of professional narcissism is impregnable.

"This morning I saw him on Chris Matthews' weekly show--the one where Matthews doesn't sound as if he's bouncing off the walls of his own brain--and Fineman was talking about the excitement on the Democratic side. He said that thousands were turning up at rallies all 'pumped up.'

"'Are they pumped up about Kerry?' he asked. 'No. His job is to come across as normal and acceptable to--'

"At which point I changed channels.

"First of all, how does Fineman know the crowds aren't pumped up for Kerry? Did he attend these rallies? Did he ask anyone? No, he's assuming, as most of the media elite do, that no one could possibly be "up" for a Kerry event because the media narrative is that Kerry is a stiff hunk of bark.

"As reflected in Adam Nagorney telling Charlie Rose that heck he has more charisma than poor Kerry.

"Really, Adam? You think you could hold the interest of 12,000 people, as Kerry did at a recent rally in Reno, Nevada?

"You're the kind of putz people walk away from at cocktail parties!

"Forgive me for shouting, but this stuff burns my waffles. It's the same junk we heard from Chris Matthews' crew and all the other clique queens in the press about Al Gore as Gore was wowing crowds and closing in for the kill in 2000.

"That's why Jon Stewart's takedown of Tucker Carlson was greeted with gratitude and joy everlasting."

* Toronto's NOW talks with Art Spiegelman, among other things, author of In the Shadow of No Towers. [via maud newton] excerpt:

"His latest book, In The Shadow Of No Towers, contains his response to the events of September 11, 2001. The hefty, oversized tome includes 10 broadsheet-sized plates depicting his impassioned, insightful and horrified reactions both to the terrorist attacks and to what he calls 'the hijacking of the hijacking' by the Bush administration.

"One of the most controversial images in the book consists of Spiegelman in a Maus mask, two figures hovering over him one a bin Laden type brandishing a scimitar, the other a Bush-like character wielding a gun. Referring to that image in simultaneous reviews, Time magazine called him a moron while Newsweek labelled him a genius.

"It was Spiegelman's shrill tone that frightened editors of many left-leaning magazines and newspapers that previously had courted and published him. After 9/11, no one, not even the New Yorker where he was a staff artist and writer for 10 years would touch the work.

"'Shrill?' he shouts. 'Listen, if I had been making Maus in 1943, it would have been pretty fucking shrill!' He calms down. 'At the time, I honestly didn't feel I was going to be around to see any sort of book made at all. You can't say 'The sky is falling!' while wearing a monocle.'

"The fact that he couldn't find a mainstream American outlet for the work saddened but didn't surprise him.

"'In the wake of September 11, at least on these shores, the news media abdicated their responsibilities. They either wanted access to power or were guilty of misguided patriotism or were afraid of being seen as unpatriotic if they were critical. As a result, this was a lonely place for a while.'

"In the end, he ended up publishing the work in a German weekly called Die Zeit, as well as an American Jewish publication called The Forward. Jews and Germans together: talk about ironies. Other European publications eventually picked up the work.

"'They were my own coalition of the willing,' he smiles. 'The funny thing is, in Europe my opinions weren't on the fringes.'"
"'The whole incident made me re-examine what was permanent,' he says thoughtfully. 'We thought those stupid towers would be up there forever. And here were these comics that were created by people who figured they would be fish wrap 24 hours later.'

"For the book, he singled out specific images that carry sinister or ironic implications for a reader today. In one, a boy named Nemo and his racial stereotype of an African companion are manoeuvring through a tiny version of Lower Manhattan, chased by another boy who knocks down several towers. In another, a character named Abdullah the Arab Chief accidentally causes a tower of acrobats to collapse.

"'Look!' he exclaims. 'That could come from the pen of Susan Sontag.'

"It's not a coincidence that his book tour for No Towers coincides with the lead-up to the American election. At an interview and book signing at Washington Square Park, he doesn't hold back his anger at Bush, although he won't call it Bush-bashing.

"'That makes him sound like some gay guy who got caught in an alleyway a victim as opposed to a victimizer,' he tells the crowd.

"'The thing is,' he says the next day in his studio, 'we're living in an incredibly dangerous moment that requires a regime change. If going out and talking to people can change things, great. It sure feels better than yelling at my TV set on a nightly basis. That's why the tour intentionally goes up to November 1.'"

* David Berman will be doing a reading (not a musical performance)Wednesday, October 27 in Bloomington, Indiana at the Rose Firebay Theatre at John Waldron Art Center. Please contact the Art Center directly for the time of the performance.
no one serves coffee, no one wakes up

The 10 year anniversary edition of crooked rain crooked rain is released tomorrow.

* Top Ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

4. George W. Bush

"Pat Robertson appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now recently and gave us all an interesting insight into the administration's lack of post-war planning in Iraq. Robertson said that he warned George W. Bush of casualties before the invasion, and Bush blew him off.

"'I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' said Robertson, 'And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' Robertson said Bush then told him, 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.'

"Not going to have any casualties? Let me get this straight. God told Pat Robertson that the war in Iraq would cause heavy American casualties. But it appears that God told George W. Bush the complete opposite. You have to feel a bit sorry for fundamentalists - considering how easily confused they already are, their heads must be exploding after these comments.

"The White House, for their part, said, 'The president never made such a comment.' Right. And the president never said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

See also: Bush Relatives for Kerry: Because blood is thinner than oil.

* Former colleagues come clean (almost) on why Bush was at Project Pull. excerpt:

"President Bush often has cited his work in 1973 with a now-defunct inner-city program for troubled teens as the source for his belief in 'compassionate conservatism.'

"'I realized then that a society can change and must change one person at a time ...' Bush said in a video shown at the 2000 Republican National Convention about his tenure at P.U.L.L., the Professional United Leadership League, whose executive director, John White, had played tight end for the Houston Oilers in the early 1960s.

"But former associates of White, who died in 1988, have disputed in recent interviews much of Bush's version of his time at the program.

"'I was working full time for an inner-city poverty program known as Project P.U.L.L.," Bush said in his 1999 autobiography, 'A Charge to Keep.' 'My friend John White ... asked me to come help him run the program. ... I was intrigued by John's offer. ... Now I had a chance to help people.'

People "associated with P.U.L.L., speaking on the record for the first time, say Bush was not helping to run the program and White had not asked Bush to come aboard. Instead, the associates said, White told them he agreed to take Bush on as a favor to Bush's father, who was honorary co-chairman of the program at the time, and Bush was unpaid. They say White told them Bush had gotten into some kind of trouble but White never gave them specifics.

"'We didn't know what kind of trouble he'd been in, only that he'd done something that required him to put in the time,' said Althia Turner, White's administrative assistant.

"'John said he was doing a favor for George's father because an arrangement had to be made for the son to be there,' said Willie Frazier, also a former player for the Houston Oilers and a P.U.L.L. summer volunteer in 1973.

"Fred Maura, a close friend of White, refers to Bush as '43,' for 43rd president, and his father as '41,' for the 41st president.

"'John didn't say what kind of trouble 43 was in - just that he had done something and he (John) made a deal to take him in as a favor to 41 to get some funding,' Maura said.

"'He didn't help run the program. I was in charge of him and I wouldn't say I helped run the program, either,' said David Anderson, a recreational director at P.U.L.L.

"A White House spokesman, told about the interviews, denied Bush had been in any trouble or Bush's father, who was ambassador to the United Nations at the time, had arranged the job at P.U.L.L. He acknowledged, however, Bush was not paid for his work there. Bush's father declined a request for an interview.

"'It was incorrect to say he was working there,' spokesman Trent Duffy said. 'He was doing volunteer service and getting paid by the Guard.'"
"Turner, who said she has avoided reporters for years, agreed to be interviewed only after phoning her pastor for advice.

"When she hung up the phone, she turned to a reporter: 'My pastor says if you found me, I should tell the truth.'

"Even then, Turner was hesitant. About 15 minutes into the interview, she asked if the reporter would accompany her to her pastor's home because she needed her support. Once there, she talked in detail for the first time while her pastor, Theresa Times, of Bless One Ministries, and five people who had been attending a prayer meeting listened.

"'George had to sign in and out - I remember his signature was a hurried cursive - but he wasn't an employee. He was not a volunteer either,' she said. 'John said he had to keep track of George's hours because George had to put in a lot of hours because he was in trouble.'"

* If you are in DC be sure to head over to 17th street in Dupont Circle tomorrow night for the annual high heel race. Parade starts at 8pm, race at 9pm. Get there early if you want to have a good viewpoint. This is an event not to be missed.

October 22, 2004

I am tired, I am weary I could sleep for a thousand years

Three Poems by Denis Johnson:

The Heavens

From mind to mind
I am acquainted with the struggles
of these stars. The very same
chemistry wages itself minutely
in my person.
It is all one intolerable war.
I don't care if we're fugitives,
we are ceaselessly exalted, rising
like the drowned out of our shirts...

i would like to be just an old man with my gin
retiring even from these leaves into
my big, gradual silence beyond the wood
and it will be good,
wife, because i have pointed to you,
and you have become real. within

this darker stillness my eyes grow too wide.
it must be that seeing you in the trees
becoming softer than i ever dreamed
has made it all seem
a multitude of nonsense, all the seas,
the planets, all i wrote, i lied,

i swear to you i lied, becoming old and so
very drunk, when i did not lie to you.


The world will burst like an intestine in the sun,
the dark turn to granite and the granite to a name,
but there will always be somebody riding the bus
through these intersections strewn with broken glass
among speechless women beating their little ones,
always a slow alphabet of rain
speaking of drifting and perishing to the air,
always these definite jails of light in the sky
at the wedding of this clarity and this storm
and a woman's turning -- her languid flight of hair
traveling through frame after frame of memory
where the past turns, its face sparking like emery,
to open its grace and incredible harm
over my life, and I will never die.

October 21, 2004

here we are on this planet taking everything for granted

POTLUCK setlist

Daylight Till Dawn -- All Night Radio
I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better -- The Byrds
Holland Tunnel -- John Phillips
Femme Fatale -- Big Star
Room Games and Diamond Rain -- Silver Jews
New Partner -- Palace Brothers
Terrible Sunrise -- Bobby Bare Jr.
If Not For You -- Bob Dylan
Like a Monkey in a Zoo -- Vic Chesnutt
All Up the Seething Coast -- Mountain Goats
Blue Red & Grey -- The Who
Motion Pictures -- Neil Young
Not Proud of the USA -- The Mice
The Spaces in Between -- PSOI
Stratford-on-Guy -- Liz Phair
When Will You Come Home -- Galaxie 500
Ash & Earth -- Velvet Crush
Fantastic Disaster -- Sebadoh
Bay Shallows -- EZ-T
Government Flu -- Dead Kennedys
Snake Eyes -- New Radient Storm King
Kentucky Cocktail -- Pavement
Tally-Ho -- The Clean
London Girl -- The Jam
How I Wrote Elastic Man -- The Fall
Wide, Wide River -- The Fugs

October 20, 2004

Take in one symphony now, we've just begun to battle

* Schwarzenegger claims Shriver "cut him off" following RNC speech:

"'There was no sex for 14 days,' Schwarzenegger told former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in an on-stage conversation in front of 1,000 people. "'Everything comes with side effects,' he said, drawing laughter from the crowd."

* Wolcott:

"Last night's tension-packed Red Sox-Yankees game was not only thrilling but inspiring. Inspiring not only because Curt Schilling gave one of the great hang-tough performances ever on the mound. Not only because the Red Sox once again refused to buckle in enemy territory. But because the umpires did made you believe there were still men of integrity to be found.

"First, they reversed themselves on Mark Bellhorn's leftfield drive, first called a double even though the ball had clearly sailed the leftfield fence and smacked a fan. The umpires conferred and was Bellhorn awarded the home run he deserved.

"Then they reversed the original safe call of Alex Rodriguez at first base, calling him out for slapping the tag out of the pitcher Bronson Arroyo's hand. (On replay, Rodriguez's guilt was so blatant--you could see him looking at the ball before slapping it--his professions of innocence earned him a guest spot on Inside the Actors Studio.) This was the decision that provoked missile debris raining from the raging stands and prompted Red Sox manager Terry Francona to pull his team off the field until security could be tightened.

"Twice, the umpires set aside their professional egos, practiced true collegiality, erased a mistake, and did the right thing, risking the wrath of the Yankee fans. Think how rare that's been in the Bush-Cheney years, admitting error and correcting it--taking the right stand after making the wrong stand. Last night the umps reminded me of a better America I'd almost forgotten we'd had, where reason every once in a while prevails."

* Tonight is [let's hope] the last POTLUCK of the Bush presidency. Be there.
A diamond crucifix in his ear is used to help ward off the Fear

* Errol Morris directs shorts of people who voted for Bush in 2000 but who won't vote for him this year.

* Estonian women tries to get out of DWI by stripping for the arresting officers. excerpt:

"Police spokeswoman Jana Zdanovits told the AP on Tuesday that the woman, who was not identified, was pulled over Monday night in the capital's Mustamae area. Zdanovits said that after the woman took, and failed, a breathalyzer test, she suddenly bared her breasts to the two officers. The police spokeswoman confirmed a tabloid report that the woman then offered the pair of officers a private performance.

"Zdanovits said a police camera caught the incident on tape.

"The woman faces charges of drunk driving. If found guilty, she could be fined $478 and lose her license. The average monthly salary in Estonia is around $519."

* A conversation between Kurt Vonnegut and Kilgore Trout. [via chromewaves]

Following the conversation "Trout committed suicide by drinking Drano at midnight on October 15 in Cohoes, New York, after a female psychic using tarot cards predicted that the environmental calamity George W. Bush would once again be elected president of the most powerful nation on the planet by a five-to-four decision of the Supreme Court, which included '100 per-cent of the black vote.'" excerpt:

TROUT: I’ve never voted in my whole damn life. I didn’t want to be complicit. But is it time I did?

KV: The planet’s immune system is obviously trying to get rid of us, and high time! But sure, go vote for somebody. What the hell.

TROUT: Everybody’s so ignorant.

KV: The overwhelming popularity of President Bush, in spite of everything, finally shows us what the American people, whom we have so sentimentalized for so long, a la Norman Rockwell, really are, thanks to TV and purposely lousy public schools: ignorant. Count on it!

October 19, 2004

nothing frightens me more, than religion at my door

* From the November 2004 Harper's Index:

-- Ratio of Americans killed by lightning since January 2002 to those killed by terrorism: 7:2

-- Days after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that Dick Cheney married, securing a draft deferment: 22

-- Minimum number of customers trampled to death in September at the opening of a Saudi Arabian Ikea: 2

-- Estimated chance that a classified document is "over-classified," according to a Pentagon official this year: 1 in 2

-- Price charged n Amazon.com this year for Lynne Cheney's out-of-print lesbian historical novel, sisters: $1,000

* Cool picture of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Pink Nasty.

* Derrick Z. Jackson on Bush's Bad News On Black Wealth. [via americasblog] excerpt:

"Bush probably does not really want America to judge him. The small positive hides a huge negative. According to Census Data, 48.1 percent of African-American households own their own home. That is only a slight statistical improvement over the 44.4 percent a quarter century ago. Worse, there has been no closing of the gap between black and white households. In 1979, black home ownership was 24 percentage points behind white households. Today, it is still 24 percentage points behind white households.

"Worse still, the wealth of African-American households is actually in decline, according to a new Pew Charitable Trusts study. Despite the recent recession, white household wealth has increased by 17 percent since 1996, to $88,651. Black household wealth dropped by 16 percent, to $5,988. Latino household wealth increased by 14 percent, but only to $7,932, not even 10 percent of white household wealth.

"Even though white household wealth has gone up, there is plenty to think about, meaning that black folks might be more a warning sign for all Americans than an aberration. In a speech this weekend, Bush said, 'To help families and to get this economy going again, I pledged to reduce taxes. I kept my word. Because we acted, the recession was one of the shallowest in American history. Over the last three years, our economy has grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation.'

"What Bush really meant was that the economy for CEOs has grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation. The average CEO compensation has risen to $8.1 million a year according to Business Week, creating a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 301-1, according to United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies."
"On the stump, Bush says, 'To create jobs, we've got to be wise about how we spend your money and keep your taxes low.' The Century Foundation's review says, 'The lurch into massive deficits represents a profound reduction in potential American-owned private investment.' In two weeks, Americans will lean into the voting booth to accept or reject the rhetoric that promises average Americans the equivalent of a free school lunch, while the rich unfold their napkins for a five-star tax dinner."

October 18, 2004

friends of mine who must have sunlight they say a suntan never fails

* Top ten conservative idiots (third debate edition). excerpt:

"2. Spittle and Smirk
There's no question that Bush seemed somewhat calmer during the third debate than he did during his two previous encounters with Senator Kerry. There is, however, a question which needs answering: what the hell was so funny?

Dubya spent the entire debate with a shit-eating grin on his face that frankly seemed quite out of place considering the seriousness of the subjects brought up for discussion. While Kerry spoke, George stared across at him with a strange, twisted smirk on his face - and if the smirk was a plot intended to reassure voters by reminding them that their president wasn't a) the stumbling buffon they'd seen during the first debate, or b) the PCP-enhanced turbo-prez they'd seen during the second, the plot failed.

When it was George's turn to speak, he answered every question with the same bizarre grin. Bin Laden? Chortle. Abortion? Beam. Unemployment? Simper. And as the New York Times reported, 'Yet even his smile was askew for about half the debate, marred by a glistening light dot at the right corner of his mouth. Viewers could be forgiven for losing track of his answers and imagining Laura Bush in the front row in frantic semaphore, wiping furiously at the corner of her own mouth.'

"If the voters tuned in to this debate hoping for some inspiration from George W. Bush, it must have been something of a disappointment to witness the spectacle of a drooling president whose response to the devastating failures of his domestic policies was 'don't worry, be happy.'

"Perhaps that's why CBS's scientific poll of undecided voters showed Kerry the winner by 39% to 25%, CNN's showed Kerry the winner by 52% to 29%, and ABC's showed Kerry the winner by 42% to 41% (which isn't quite so impressive until you find out that ABC's polling group was 38% Republican, 30% Democratic)."

* Montreal Gazette on how the ipod has changed listening habits.
[via largehearted boy] excerpt:

"If you're among the tens of millions of North Americans who've decided that music doesn't end when you get out of college, the iPod is a little revolution. The ability to pack a truckload of sounds into a gizmo smaller and sleeker than a deck of cards offers avid students of music a treasure trove of possibilities. Because it compresses great swatches of musical time frames and eras, 1944 or 1964 or 1984 are as close at hand as 2004. In comparing styles and demarcation points, the iPod is a musical time-travel fetishist's dream come true."
"The deeply interior personalization of the iPod experience can lead to a strange kind of concentration, fostering an appreciation of the ways musicians touch, stab at, shape, bend, caress a note, phrase or riff. The test of a great piece of music: The more you listen, the more you find. There are only so many hours in a day, but the iPod (and supporting media) offers the illusion that you can hear it all wherever you are.

"Too much of a good thing? For chronic-obsessive short-attention spans? The fetishization of music? It's all in what you make of it. It might be fairly said that when music becomes a convenience, its power is diminished. And there is nothing like experiencing live music in the here and now. But music doesn't need defending - only hearing - and there's no one way to hear the music. To prescribe perimeters to listening is to fall into the kind of elitism the iPod was invented to vaporize."

* 10 things you should never buy used. 10 things you should never buy new. [via freakgirl]

October 15, 2004

with a voice like Ella's ringing out there's no way a man can lose

As Planned
-- by Frank O'Hara

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweeden
for they are words you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
of what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don't you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

The Office in Wartime
-- by Tina Brown Celona

When the war started the words started
They melted like snow
On the cloth of war
In the midst of the avalanche
The fax machine printed a menu
And one of the potted palm
Turned brown and died.
Someone wrote a poem.
Someone else tried to hit a fly
With a rolled-up magazine and missed
And was relieved.

She is the personal trainer.
By the pool they hit each other.
Everyone wonders if
There will be a war. If God will
Help us. The pool sparkles
Like freedom.

The Big Day
-- by Tina Brown Celona

Helplessly in the bright air
Dreaming of war
The President wakes. The camera's are ready
And waiting. The President climbs into the cab
Of a big green tractor and
Waves to the angry populace.
He honks the horn and flashes the lights
to applause. "New-cular," he whispers
Happily. America is a great country.
Everyone else had better
Watch out!

October 14, 2004

a paper tiger can't tell you where he stands

* Excerpt from Kristine McKenna's April 2002 interview of Jaques Derrida:

Q: Have you made peace with the inevitability of your death?

A: So far I haven't and I doubt I ever will, and this awareness permeates everything I think. It's terrible what's going on in the world and all these things are on my mind, but they exist alongside this terror of my own death. And it's not just death -- one struggles with aging as well, because it forces you to make decisions about the future. Yesterday I had lunch with a librarian at Irvine; then I had dinner with the dean, so we could discuss the future. I left my archive here, so during this lunch we had to consider events referred to as 'beyond my lifetime,' in terms of my papers. And with the dean, I plan to return next year, but the following year I'll be 74, and it would probably be wise to reduce my schedule at that point. These decisions must be made now.

The New York Times published an op-ed piece on Derrida today.

* Bill O'Reilly slapped with a sexual harassment suit. A must-read.

* Retrocrush lists the top 100 scariest movie scenes of all time. [via heck's kitchen]

October 13, 2004

* Brilliant video: Superdubya -- he's here for your protection (probably not safe for work due to verbal content but keep it low and watch it anyway).
The spirit fights to find its way

* Rude Pundit states what Kerry should say tonight. excerpt:

If, at tonight's 'debate,' when Kerry is asked, 'How do you answer the charge that you are one of the most 'liberal' members of Congress?,' he doesn't answer, 'Bob, let me begin by saying that what you are asking is a stupid goddamned question that only has meaning if you've been busy wolfing down chowder from Karl Rove's boner. Holy shit, what the fuck does that mean? No, seriously, ask anyone in the audience if they even understand what it means, 'liberal.' And you know what? Not a motherfuckin' one of them will know or they just know some goddamn lies. 'Cause they've been taught to react to the word like a bull that gets an electric prod shoved in its nuts whenever it wants to wander off in another direction. So fuck your goddamn label. And don't you smirk at me, you Bush bitch, you little corporate whore, so painted red by pharmaceutical companies, with your little slit mini-skirt and no panties, ready for Merck or Exxon/Mobil or Carlyle to negotiate a price for your sweet policy pussy. I'll come over to your fuckin' podium and force feed you a bowl of mercury emissions and we'll watch you twitch and dance, motherfucker, dance as that toxic shit eats away your fuckin' brain man, makin' you seem like more of a retard than ever.'

* Daily Kos has set up a voter registration fraud clearinghouse. The voter registration fraud described is disgraceful. And it only took seconds to link these actions to the RNC.

* President or Prophet? An analysis of 70 years of presidential rhetoric reveals the radicalism of Bush's religion concludes:

"Contrast these petitionary statements, in which presidents spoke from the posture of one humbly asking for divine guidance, with Bush’s claim in 2003 that 'Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.' This is not a request for divine favor; it is a declaration of divine wishes.

"Such rhetoric positions the president as a prophetic spokesman for God rather than as a petitioning supplicant. Such certitude is dangerous -- even for those who share such views -- because U.S. presidents have the unique ability to act upon their beliefs in ways that affect billions of people worldwide. One is inclined to hope that Bush might recall the words of St. Augustine of Hippo to a student: 'I wouldn’t have you prepare for yourself any way of grasping and holding the truth other than the one prepared by him who, as God, saw how faltering were our steps. That way is, first, humility; second, humility; third, humility; and as often as you ask, I’ll tell you, humility.'"
chilly, chilly is the evening time Waterloo sunset's fine

* Allen Ginsberg told Kristine McKenna, in her new and excellent book of interviews, Talk To Her, that if he could own any single artwork it would be Brueghel's "The Triumph of Death," because "its so big and ingenious, and is such a masterpiece of black humor. It depicts thousands of skeletons bowing before a group of terrified living people who are pulling out their swords and struggling to battle down the skeletons. That was the first painting I saw when I was traveling through Europe in 1957. I went from Tangiers up into Madrid and to the Prado Museum, and bam, I saw that painting and it opened my eyes. Bosch's "Garden of Delights" is next to it, and both paintings are really terrific.

* Seymour Hersh spoke and Berkley last week and talked about a call he received from a lieutenant in Iraq, who had seen Americans massacring Iraqis. excerpt:

"I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers. He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First lieutenant, ROTC guy.

"It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was an agricultural area, and there was a granary around. And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that owned the granary... It was an area that the insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they were stationed there, they got to know everybody...

"They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, 'No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents.'

"You read those stories where the Americans, we take a city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...

"You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said: you've complained to the captain. He knows you think they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get through your tour and just shut up. You're going to get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And that's where we are with this war." [via war and piece]

* Scientists digging up the grave of the great Italian poet Petrarch, found in the grave a skull that was not his. excerpt:

"Instead the skull belongs to a woman who died before the poet was born, project leader Vito Terribile Wiel Marin said Tuesday.

"Marin wanted to use Petrarch's bones to construct an image of the poet.

"'Thank God we did not do it because we would have ended up with the face of a woman, much to everyone's amusement,' Marin said by phone from his home in Padua in northern Italy.

"Petrarch was born in Tuscany in 1304 and is considered second only to Dante in the pantheon of Italian poets. His tomb is in Arqua-Petrarca, a village near Padua where the poet died in 1374.

"Marin and his colleagues suspected in April that the skull was not Petrarch's, but sent a fragment to the United States for carbon dating to be sure.

"The results showed that the head belonged to a woman who died between 1134 and 1280."

October 12, 2004

Got on the bus half drunk again the driver glared at me

* From an interview of Daniel Ellsberg, the former marine who in the late 1960s leaked what became known as the Pentagon Papers, which described nearly three decades of institutionalized lying by top U.S. officials to the American public, and to each other.

Ellsberg: "Under the USA Patriot Act, the Houston plan [a plan put forth by Nixon aide Tom Houston that proposed the US coordinate our intelligence agencies and focus them on domestic dissent]. We're not a full police state yet, but the Patriot Act is moving us closer to it. There are provisions of the Patriot Act that Nixon envisioned, but he backed off from them.

"Here's the significant point: The succession of crimes that brought Nixon down are now legal under the Patriot Act. CIA operatives acting against an American citizen? No problem. Breaking into a doctor's office to steal information? No problem. Sneak-and-peak entry? No problem. Coordination of the FBI and the CIA [the CIA is forbidden by its charter from operating against American citizens]? No problem. Wiretaps? No problem. We have become less free. When the Nixon administration was caught doing these things, it had real problems. The resulting scandal helped remove Nixon from office. Today that wouldn't be the case. And if the Bush administration can legally do these things, what might it be doing that's still illegal?" [emphasis added]

The full interview can be read [a PDF file] at The Sun magazine website.

* Top ten conservative idiots.

" 7. Furious George
Karl Rove must have put George W. Bush in a world of hurt after his strange performance during the first debate. In Miami Bush was caught on camera smirking, grimacing, swaying from side to side, and molesting his podium. This time he was clearly under strict orders to show no emotion whatsoever while John Kerry was speaking. It worked pretty well. Apart from the frantic blinking and teethgrinding - which, to be fair, could be left over from his cokehead years - Dubya managed to stay relatively composed. For a while.

"Unfortunately, at the first debate Bush also ended up looking like a wimp, stammering, pausing, and staring blankly at the camera for several seconds before answering questions. So this time he was also under orders to be more forceful while speaking - to look more like a "leader" than he did during the first debate, where frankly he looked like a tranked-out sock-puppet."

* Krugman:

"By singling out Mr. Bush's lies and misrepresentations, am I saying that Mr. Kerry isn't equally at fault? Yes.

"Mr. Kerry sometimes uses verbal shorthand that offers nitpickers things to complain about. He talks of 1.6 million lost jobs; that's the private-sector loss, partly offset by increased government employment. But the job record is indeed awful. He talks of the $200 billion cost of the Iraq war; actual spending is only $120 billion so far. But nobody doubts that the war will cost at least another $80 billion. The point is that Mr. Kerry can, at most, be accused of using loose language; the thrust of his statements is correct.

"Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists who play it safe by spending equal time exposing his lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers."

October 8, 2004

and the wrong shall fail and the right prevail

Three Poems by Frank O'Hara

My Heart

I'm not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don't prefer one "strain" to another,
I'd have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulger. And if
some aficionado of my mess says "That's
not like Frank!," all to the good! I
don't wear brown adn grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart --
you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

Joseph Cornell

Into a sweeping meticulously-
detailed disaster the violet
light pours. It's not a sky,
it's a room. And in the open
field a glass of absinthe is
fluttering its song of India.
Prarie winds circle mosques.

You are always a little too
young to understand. He is
bored with his sense of the
past, the artist. Out of the
prescient rock in his heart
he has spread a land without
flowers of near distances.

Stag Club

A prickly beer's like
snow on your asshole --
all the asphodels farting
through a poem by Robert Burns.
Joys of interminable beers!
teeth green as grass, the kiss
under the table upside down
mushrooming and sweet sun
over the bitches, their pears.

October 7, 2004

Read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall

* Video of Japanese girls "bitchslapping" each other. [via screenhead]

* High Hat on the minutemen. excerpt:

"Their commitment to punk — which they, more than perhaps any other band to whom the word was applied, understood to mean not a musical style or an aesthetic, but an approach, a worldview — was deep. So thoroughly did they apply it in every aspect of their existence, from their relentless touring schedule to their intense emotional and intellectual explorations to their personal approach to self-promotion to their endlessly inventive music, that it got its own name: they called it 'econo.' They did things themselves, with efficiency and effort and thrift, and even if the audience didn’t always appreciate or even understand their message and their music, the Minutemen made sure they got it. Throughout their heartbreakingly short career, they were dedicated to the ideal of anti-elitism, to treating people with respect, to making songs for their idea of the working man: a person who wasn’t stupid but who had been stepped on a lot of times by the system, who deserved to have art and music and literature in their life, who should look at creators as allies instead of idols."

* George Bush's Debate Cheetsheet:
We are constantly on trial it's a way to be free

* Santa Cruz, California passed an ordinance that allows medical patients to possess 3 pounds of pot and keep a garden with a 100-square-foot canopy. excerpt:

"While the allowed amount may seem excessive to the non-user, patients said that, in some cases, 3 pounds was a minimum, providing about three marijuana cigarettes per day. Moreover, eating pot, in brownies for example, can take more of it than smoking it. [One pound joints seem excessive, no?]

"Jake Singleton said he was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago. The same medication that attacked his cancer damaged his taste buds and he began losing weight, he said.

"'I lost my appetite until I discovered the wonderful world of the munchies,' Singleton said.

"He uses pot in an edible form, eating it about three times per day. He noted three times a day multiplied by 365 days in a year is 'quite a bit of marijuana.'"

* Dowd. excerpt:

"W. has rocked the nation and the world as he gallops fast, frantically trying to avoid his dad's electoral fate.

"He no longer has to chafe at his father's imposing shadow. If he wants to go to war with Saddam without even discussing it with his dad, he can. If he wants to keep his dad from having a speaking slot at the Republican convention, he can.

"Even though the president, waving off any attempts to put him 'on the couch,' refuses to acknowledge any Oedipal sensitivities, John Kerry artfully drilled into the sore spot in the first debate.
"The Bushes get very agitated when confronted with the specters of fathers who made them feel that they never measured up.

"And even though Mr. Kerry is more of a stiff loner than Poppy Bush, they share enough - that patrician, dutiful son, star of the class and the playing fields, hero on the killing fields, stuffed résumé, Council on Foreign Relations, multilateral mojo - that he can easily get W.'s goat.

"It was a sign of how unnerved W. was that he had to rely on his own dark, foreboding and pathologically unapologetic surrogate Daddy, Dick Cheney, to clean up his debate mess and get the red team back in the game."

* Dean Warham's ten reasons for retiring Luna:

1. Rock and Roll is killing my life.
2. The Universe is Expanding.
3. There are too many bands out there, travelling around, singing their songs etc.
4. Too much time spent in 15-passenger vans. According to 20/20, these things flip over.
5. Too many hands to shake, that means germs.
6. Too many dinners at Wendy's.
7. People are dying in Iraq.
8. This is what bands do (with a few exceptions, like R.E.M. and Metallica, and the Rolling Stones). Those bands, however, are multibillion dollar corporations. You don't break that up unless the government forces you to.
9. Hotel Electravision.
10. Time to Quit.

[via chromewaves]

October 6, 2004

Ain't it fun when you're always on the run

* Wolcott. excerpt:

"In the closing statement of the vice presidential debate, Dick Cheney unveiled the terrifying prospect of terrorists smuggling nuclear weapons into major American cities inside Meals on Wheels wagons. This struck me as a dubious ploy to justify Cheney's vote decades earlier against providing sustenance to seniors and the infirm, but it was enough to satisfy Chris Matthews on MSNBC to the edge of wetness. Matthews, hopped up on Cheetos and Nehi orange, crowned Cheney the victor in the debate and within ten seconds of his fight-night wrapup was tossing out conspiracy theories as to why the liberal press would be too chicken to acknowledge that Cheney had crushed his opponent. The MSNBC panelists were as giddy as Matthews, Joe Scarborough claiming Edwards had been obliterated, Andrea Mitchell all aglow at this demonstration of raw authority, and so many references to 'the stature gap' that it was as if they were trying out a new catchphrase. But Matthews' record on catchphrases isn't the most stellar. After the Kerry Bush debate, he excitedly said that 'mixed messages' would be the 'fuzzy math' of this campaign, a bullseye painted on Kerry's back. Only Matthews could get that worked up about something that mundane."
"Cheney did look tired. Waxy. Crabby. Hunkered-down. Not to mention downright mean. (As when he didn't return Edwards' thank-you in the closing statement with a thank-you of his own, an act of old-fart pettiness from the veep.) But I don't believe Cheney is fatigued from the epic strain of keeping all of his lies straight as he schemes in darkness to consolidate power and undo the Republic. I think he fell into The Costanza Trap."
"Like Bush last week, Cheney only fed the beast of the Republican 'base.' He did nothing, less than nothing, to reach out to undecideds or swing voters or anyone who wasn't already committed to the ticket. Edwards did. That's why, despite some moments of shakiness and repetition and phony tough-guyism, Edwards won."

* Didn't take long: you forgot poland dot com.

* How many members of the Bush administration does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There's nothing wrong with that light bulb. It has served us honorably. When you say it's burned out, you're giving encouragement to the forces of darkness. Once we install a light bulb, we never, ever change it. Real men don't need artificial light. [via Jesus' General]
The devil fools with the best laid plan

RIP, Rodney Dangerfield, 1921 -- 2004

* "Lies written in ink cannot obscure a truth written in blood." -- Lu Xun

* Grammar Police has some thoughts on the Dan Flavin retrospective at the National Gallery of Art.

* The Caribbean is playing an early set (probably going on around 7:45pm) tonight at Pianos in NYC. Drop in if you are nearby.

October 5, 2004

We were in a small cafe you could hear the guitars play

The Phenomenon of the Right Wing Nut
--- by Ed Sanders, 1981

Many of the
National Security grouches,
the flame-mouths of secrecy,
the racists in high places
the men and women of crypto-kill
and their dull, unimaginative, paper pushing

subsumed beneath
the banners of the
Right Wing Nut

The Right Wing Nut in its heart of hearts wearies of the concept
of voting, and longs for a rigid boss with
powers of Total Spank

The Right Wing Nut itself is rigid, like a bazooka shell striking
a tank's side, never giving up, piercing,
ripping 24 hours a day, as eager to harm & to
loot in the dawn as it is in the dusk

The Right Wing Nut never knows itself wrong. Wrong is the Other.
Wrong is something in the Other. Wrong never
confuses it, for Wrong is a weaker mammal w/
a bullet in it.

The Right Wing Nut will slime its way into the confidence of
police and intelligence, ever seeking access
to, and input to, police information systems
and attitudes, offering its services as
crazed informants or provocateurs.

The Right Wing Nut is a voyeur of violent gossip and bad news.
The r.w.n. grovels in dossiers of dirt. It
Loves without reason the "slimy universe of pain."

The Right Wing Nut thirsts to kill, to fire a gun, to urge others
to kill, and to steal money from the oppressed
while in the act of injuring the oppressed.
The r.w.n. wants ironically to oppose and to
propose street-gore, but more than anything
to hear news about it.

The Right Wing Nut while haunted w/ an irrational hatred of blacks
& minorities, yet has an awe of the prowess of
the oppressed, and confuses its own hatred and
rage with an imagined rage and vengeance
from its victims.

The Right Wing Nut cools his fantasies on Sunday mornings in
church. Church is the calm-down ointment of
the r.w.n. Thus calmed, the right wing nut
look into the eyes another r.w.n., &
will know of one more thing to do at once:
"Acquire Pain-Mon!" That is, the money of
rent-gouging, of migrant workers junk-food
company stores, of mafia heroin protected by
government intelligence, of war profiteering,
of gun sales to muggers, of leg-breaking to
collect debts, of bribery for quick bucks, of
hurting those whom you rip off. Selling fake
cancer drugs to the dying is the triumph of
the right wing concept of "pain mon."

Open up a file
on your favorite right wing nut

& go one-on-one
with him or her
into the Abyss

And may the drool
dry forever on
the lips of
every right wing nut.

* In a drawing accompanying the poem (which is from his 1981 book "The Z-D Generation," Sanders calls religion the "covering rubric for rightist rapine."

October 4, 2004

Something so hard to find, a situation that can casualize your mind

* Listen to Pink Nasty's cover of Bonnie Prince Billy's "May It Always Be."

* Read This. excerpt:

"George W. Bush is a man with two faces--- a public image of manly strength and a private reality of childish weakness. His verbal miscues and malapropisms are the natural consequence of a man struggling with internal contradictions and a lack of self-knowledge. He can’t keep track of what he is supposed to think and say in public.

"There is no doubt that whether it's a cowboy hat or a crotch hugging flightsuit, George W. Bush enjoys wearing the mantle of American archetypal warriors. But when he goes behind the curtain and sheds the costume, a flinty, thin-skinned, immature man who has never taken responsibility for his mistakes emerges. The strong compassionate leader is revealed as a flimsy paper tiger.

"On Thursday night, the president forgot himself. After years of being protected from anyone who doesn't flatter and cajole, he let his mask slip when confronted with someone who didn't fear his childish retribution or need anything from him. Many members of the public got a good sharp look at him for the first time in two years and they were stunned. Like that black and white image, the dichotomy of the real Bush vs. the phony Bush is profoundly discomfiting.

"Luckily for America and the world, a fully synthesized, mature man stood on the other side of that stage ready to assume the mantle of leadership, not as a theatrical costume but as an adult responsibility for which he is prepared by a lifetime of service, study and dedication. I would imagine that many voters felt a strong sense of relief that he was there."

* Papa M has a blog.
It's a waste of time if I can't smile easily

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"6. Crusaderiffic

"One of Bush's very last lines of the night was also one of his most interesting: 'We've climbed the mighty mountain. I see the valley below, and it's a valley of peace.' The simplest explanation for Bush's sudden eloquence can probably be boiled down to: 'Hey world, you listening? We're up here, you're down there. Suck on it.'

"But that doesn't sound quite right. A possible suggestion is that Bush was referring to Martin Luther King's 'mountaintop' speech, where Dr. King said, 'I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land.' But let's face it, the chances of Bush deliberately paraphrasing the nation's greatest civil rights leader are slimmer than a supermodel on a hunger strike.

"No, the best guess may be that the mighty mountain Bush was talking about is the Biblical mountain God took Moses up, just before Moses picked Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Incidentally, Joshua was a military leader who kicked a whole lot of nonbeliever ass, and the book of Joshua is widely cited as a justification for the Crusades. Oh yes, you know the fundies liked that one!"

* Halliburton's fortune's doubled.

"Halliburton Co., the company Vice President Dick Cheney headed for five years, vaulted into the top 100 defense contractors when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, according to a new analysis by a public interest group.

"Halliburton 'was not even on the list' until 2003 when it won $4.3 billion in defense contracts, including a no-bid contract for oil services in Iraq, according to the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.

"In 2003, it landed at No. 14.

"Until 2003, Halliburton and its subsidiaries Brown & Root Services and Kellogg Brown & Root never won contracts totaling more than $658 million a year. In the five years leading up to 2003, the company's total contracts amounted to only $2.45 billion.

"Cheney ran Halliburton as chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000, when he resigned to run for vice president. While Iraq was Halliburton's great windfall, having Cheney at the helm was almost as lucrative: In the five years he headed the company, Cheney doubled the receipts from the previous five years, according to CPI."

* An end to marijuana prohibition. excerpt:

"Never before have so many Americans supported decriminalizing and even legalizing marijuana.

"Seventy-two percent say that for simple marijuana possession, people should not be incarcerated but fined: the generally accepted definition of 'decriminalization.' Even more Americans support making marijuana legal for medical purposes.

"Support for broader legalization ranges between 25 and 42 percent, depending on how one asks the question.

"Two of every five Americans - according to a 2003 Zogby poll - say 'the government should treat marijuana more or less the same way it treats alcohol: It should regulate it, control it, tax it, and only make it illegal for children.'

"Close to 100 million Americans - including more than half of those between the ages of 18 and 50 - have tried marijuana at least once. Military and police recruiters often have no choice but to ignore past marijuana use by job seekers.

"The public apparently feels the same way about presidential and other political candidates. Al Gore, Bill Bradley and John Kerry all say they smoked pot in days past. So did Bill Clinton, with his notorious caveat. George W. Bush won't deny he did. And ever more political, business, religious, intellectual and other leaders plead guilty as well. The debate over ending marijuana prohibition simmers just below the surface of mainstream politics, crossing ideological and partisan boundaries. Marijuana is no longer the symbol of Sixties rebellion and Seventies permissiveness, and it's not just liberals and libertarians who say it should be legal, as William F. Buckley Jr. has demonstrated better than anyone."
"In 1931, with public support for alcohol Prohibition rapidly waning, President Hoover released the report of the Wickersham Commission. The report included a devastating critique of Prohibition's failures and costly consequences, but the commissioners, apparently fearful of getting out too far ahead of public opinion, opposed repeal.

"Franklin P. Adams of the New York World neatly summed up their findings:

"Prohibition is an awful flop.

"We like it.

"It can't stop what it's meant to stop.

"We like it.

"It's left a trail of graft and slime

"It don't prohibit worth a dime

"It's filled our land with vice and crime,

"Nevertheless, we're for it.

"Two years later, federal alcohol Prohibition was history.

"What support there is for marijuana prohibition would likely end quickly absent the billions of dollars spent annually by federal and other governments to prop it up. All those anti-marijuana ads pretend to be about reducing drug abuse, but in fact, their basic purpose is sustaining popular support for the war on marijuana.

"What's needed now are conservative politicians willing to say enough is enough: Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain each year. People losing their jobs, their property and their freedom for nothing more than possessing a joint or growing a few marijuana plants.

"And all for what? To send a message?

"To keep pretending that we're protecting our children?

"Alcohol Prohibition made a lot more sense than marijuana prohibition does today - and it, too, was a disaster."

October 1, 2004

Just a few well-placed words and their wandering hearts are gone

October 1
-- by David Lehman

If I'm invisible it's inevitable
but so is Johnny Hartman's voice
and John Coltrane's sax
which makes me think of sex
as something finer than the grapefruit
Jimmy Cagney of Stuyvesant High School
pushed into the face of his movie wife
one reason for dining at Le Gigot is
no one will push a grapefruit in your face
another is the waiter's excellent taste
in music & I'm wearing
sunglasses to hide bloodshot eyes
I woke up alone, with cuts on my forehead
who knows what battles I fought
in my sleep did I win well I survived

-- by Frank O'Hara

Instant coffee with slightly sour cream
in it, and a phone call to the beyond
which doesn't seem to be coming any nearer.
"Ah, daddy, I wanna stay drunk many days"
on the poetry of a new friend
my life held precariously in the seeing
hands of others, their and my impossibilities.
In this love, now that the first love
has finally died, where there were no impossibilities?

Sea Swallow Me
-- by Jeff Clark

This morning in an alleyway you were startled by a face
in a dormer above a white, vine-groped garage
I shall not appear
when my form has been erased
concealed like that in your inward scenery.
I'll return rather as would the ghost of an oceanic scent
in prairie air. I'll touch you briefly --
I swear to neither hurt nor lure you.
Let me touch you briefly, then destry me, for I assure you...