March 9, 2006

fell into an ancient age

gordon parks (rip), ella watson

* Abramoff talks with Vanity Fair. excerpt:

"The piece makes much of many prominent Republicans' denials of having worked with Abramoff. Abramoff reminisces about jokes President Bush, who now claims not to remember him, made about his weight training program. Abramoff also recalls discussing the Bible, opera, and golf with Tom DeLay.

"Abramoff also alleges that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman provided Abramoff political favors--including aiding in the removal of a State Department official."
"The article is supported by images of Abramoff with everyone from Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich, and is prefaced by a two-page spread of the lobbyist golfing with Tom DeLay. The Gingrich photo is signed, 'Your friend, Newt Gingrich.' 'I have more pictures of Newt than I have of my wife,' the fallen lobbyist tells the magazine.

"The article also notes that the photographs taken with President Bush, which are in Abramoff's possession, are the lobbyist's sole 'potential source of funds.'"

"Abramoff says it would be 'stupid' to send him to prison, saying he'd rather sweep floors at an Indian reservation.

"'Let me teach English, history, music,' he quipped. 'Or let me sweep floors at the reservation. Instead you’ll be paying to feed me to sit in a jail."

-- PDF file of the interview here.

* Clusterfuck Nation on the housing bubble. excerpt:

"What these pimps and geniuses don't get is that America's future is all about discontinuity. Virtually everything you see out there will not keep going. We will discontinue granting interest only, adjustable rate mortgage loans for half-million-dollar McHouses to schlemiels one paycheck away from bankruptcy -- because the practice will prove to be reckless and ruinous not only for the schlemiels, but for the financial system as a whole. Americans will stop moving to the Sunbelt when they discover what life is really like in Phoenix and Houston without cheap air conditioning. After the suburbs implode financially from a pandemic of defaulted mortgages, we will see how well they operate on $5-a-gallon gasoline (or higher), and how carefree it is to heat a 4000-square-foot McHouse in a permanent natural gas crisis. We'll also discover that telecommuting over the Internet is not so 'cool' in brownout nation.

"Obviously these clowns are whistling past the graveyard as the air audibly hisses out of the housing bubble, and the very appearance of these fatuous reassurances in America's chief enabling organ of popular delusion ought to be a signal to the still-alert out there to run shrieking for safety. It's interesting to note, by the way, that the New York Times ran an editorial last week titled 'The End of Oil,' by Robert B. Semple, stating starkly that the global oil production peak was for real. The catch was that the chickenshit Times editors only ran the piece on their Web edition, not in the printed newspaper. The next day, in the print edition, they ran a big display ad from Exxon-Mobil saying that peak oil was just a shuck-and-jive by a claque of alarmists. Of course, one of the wonderful things about democracy is that people are free to believe whatever they like."

* "I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams." -- Susan Sontag

* Review of Silver Jews' 'secret' Nashville show.

"The way Nashville was buzzing last week with news of the Silver Jews’ unannounced pre-tour warm-up gig, you would have thought Elijah the Prophet was finally showing up at the Seder table. Hell, even that legendary indie-rock tastemaker Brad Schmitt was in on it. Given lead Jew David Berman’s notorious reclusiveness, the excitement was understandable. And even with all the hubbub, there were still doubts whether the dirigible would ever get airborne.

"All such worries were for naught—the Red Sea parted, as Berman, his wife Cassie and the rest of the Jews led a packed house to the Promised Land Monday night at The End, with a ragged-but-right set that began with American Water’s 'Random Rules,' highlighted material from last year’s Tanglewood Numbers and included old faves like 'Trains Across the Sea.'

"Trial run or not, it was a festive atmosphere—Berman even looked up and smiled at the crowd a couple of times. The rest of the Jews likewise seemed to be enjoying themselves, perhaps relieved to have dusted off the first-show jitters. (It was good to see guitarist William Tyler onstage—there had been whispers that he had slipped below his eight-bands-at-one-time quota.) To close the night, Berman and crew did their best to correct one of modern music’s great oversights—a dearth of T.G. Sheppard covers—with a ripping version of 'I Loved ’Em Every One.' The Jews kick off a five-week U.S. tour Friday at the 40 Watt in Athens, then head to the U.K. for a few shows in late April."


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