Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Saturday Musical Tribute; or, as Seal once put it: "It's Loneliness That's The Killer"

Lazlo Bane.

Some Readers may not be aware of Harrogate's recently emergent obsession with Scrubs. But, as the show plunges into its final season Harrogate has been Nexflixing seasons in order, taking in each episode as though he never knew about the show until this summer.

But, the song is really great, regardless of what ye think of Braff and company. Who has never experienced the mood at stake in this song. The loneliness of it verging on despair, and yet somehow, the song manages to retain a fundamental faith that things will work out.

Yea, one might even say that thematically, the song hits the same chord as the Beatles' Masterpiece, "With a Little Help From My Friends," appropriately situated in their appropriately titled stroke of effervescent genius, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Musical Tribute; Or, Tears on My Sandwich

During my lunch break this afternoon, I put Johnny Cash's American V on the deck. I always enjoy it. And I'm always moved by his cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind."

The sparse arrangement--lightly picked acoustic guitars; single bass notes struck on the piano; the moan of the organ; the cry of strings. Cash's voice--so much texture; fragile; hurt.

I feel his pain at every moment.

And this is where my emotions get the best of me:
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you wont read that book again
Because the ending's just too hard to take

Take 'em off

The old news: McCain and Obama both missed the deadline to be put on the Texas ballot. The secretary of the state has, nevertheless, decided to let them on. The only candidate who filed his paperwork on time is libertarian Bob Barr.

The new news: Barr is suing the office of the secretary of the state to have McCain and Obama taken off the Texas ballot.

I'm with Barr on this.

Quote of the Day

"Of course, it's a fungible commodity and they don't flag, you know, the molecules, where it's going and where it's not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it's Americans who get stuck holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It's got to flow into our domestic markets first."- Sarah Palin in response to a question at a town hall meeting.

Does it really matter what the question is? Even Wolf Blitzer admitted it was, "not exactly easy to understand what she was saying."

It get's better and better.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Listen to Samantha, people!

As Supadiscomama, Megsg-h, and I have known all along, all of life's problems can be solved by watching "Sex and the City." Ok, so not all of life's problems, but Samantha does offer up a really great reason to vote for Barack Obama over John McCain.

"The country runs better with a good looking man in the White House. Look what happened with Nixon... no one wanted to fuck him, so he fucked everyone."

I actually think the Obama campaign should contact HBO about using this on some campaign posters. . .

Thursday Musical Tribute: God Bless This Mess

Once again, Sheryl Crow says it better than I ever could. Here's to not creating any more messes that we need God to bless. . .

The McCain/Palin Candidacy as a Metaphor for "Finding" a Fish in Your Penis

At what point do we just shut down and let them lie themselves out of the room because asking them for the truth just feels like we are trying to embarrass them and is too embarrassing for us?

Have they reached that point in lie-telling where they will forever misremember this campaign as what they purport it to be and not as it objectively was?

Eve Ensler on Sarah Palin

First, I want to thank one of my incredibly bright students (and I say that without any trace of irony; these ladies quoted Homi Bhaba to me the other day in class and the quotes improved my understanding of the text we were discussing) for directing me to this piece by Eve Ensler.

Second, Ensler makes a clear argument for why the McCain/Palin ticket is a bad idea and why Palin herself shouldn't be allowed to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. What I especially like about this argument is that Ensler writes without out rancor or ire. Her argument is clear and concise--and truthful.

Here is one of my favorite passages:

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I highlight this passage because Ensler does what many feminists have been unable to do since Palin's nomination was announced. She discusses the problems with Palin's take on things without relying on sexist language (yes, as Bitch, Ph.d. recently pointed out it is possible for feminists to also be guilty of sexism or at least using sexist language). Rather she emphasizes why she is a feminist and points out how Palin contradicts that ideology--an ideology that Ensler describes in overwhelmingly positive terms. And frankly, this is what we need--nay, have to d0--focus on why McCain and Palin are a bad idea rather than getting caught up in the culture wars and identity politics.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Unimitigated Joy

This should amuse everyone familiar with The Rhetorical Situation.


Taking Time for Unmitigated Joy: Double Decker Wednesday Musical Tribute

Two Great songs by Cracker. Harrogate's been listening to a lot of them lately.

The first song he dedicates to the continuing canonization of Andrew Marvell. Who perhaps more than any important male poet ever, would have appreciated the following lines:

What the world needs now is a new Frank Sinatra
So I can get you in bed.
What the world needs now is another folk singer
Like I need a hole in my head.

This next song, of course, has got to be one of the five greatest beer drinking songs to emerge from the 1990s. With all deference, Harrogate sends it out to Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.

For Amy Reads; or, Breaking News: Sarah Palin Has a Style Team (In Other Breaking News, The Sun Came up Today, Once Again)

Ahhhh, ye can always count on the vaunted Page Six of the New York Post to do you right in the clutch. The link Harrogate hath provided, provides a link to photos illustrating the work of Palin and her designer team.

Fun facts and sly rhetoric:

Insiders tell Page Six Palin has a secretive circle of stylists who dress her for events. For her big speech in St. Paul, where she accepted the GOP's vice-presidential nod, this fashion-conscious team encouraged the Alaska governor to splurge on a $2,500 jacket from Saks Fifth Avenue designed by Valentino Garavani [News Alert!!!!! Down home country people prepared to "splurge on a $2,500 jacket from Saks Fifth Avenue designed by Valentino Garavani" really, really hate elitists!!!!!!]

Palin, shunning the pantsuits favored by Hillary Clinton, wore the top during her first big speech.....


The Orwellian View of the 2008 Election

The Paranoid Style in America Politics, edition 2008.

Here is an argument as to why John McCain picked Sarah Palin and will win the 2008 election. It has nothing to do with Palin as a woman and something to do with Palin as an Evangelical. However, Palin will not energize the base enough to win the election but it will be enough to provide cover for Republicans to steal the election.
Otherwise there is no evidence of any large-scale movement toward McCain and Palin--who have to trek to theocratic enclaves, like Colorado Springs, in order to draw cheering multitudes, while Obama/Biden draw them everywhere they go. With Democrats all in a panic, let's recall how few Americans turned out to vote in the Republican primaries, and how few new voters the Republicans have registered to date. Compare that feeble record with the vastly larger numbers who came out for Obama (and for Clinton), and all those whom the Democrats have registered to vote. Since then, the prospects for McCain have not improved, regardless of the spin on Sarah Palin--for this economy is in the crapper, and he has said repeatedly that he just doesn't know about such things. That issue, and his wild commitment to a war that most Americans oppose, make his victory in November quite improbable, to say the least

And there you have the reason why the GOP must, once again, deploy its giant criminal machine: to cut the Democrats' vast popular advantage. And it is happening right now, as you sit reading this, as each day brings in new reports of voters purged, machines "malfunctioning," ballots slyly misdesigned, and other measures meant to benefit McBush's party. (The fraud is not occurring "on both sides.") Such evidence is far more solid than the nervous speculation that Americans might vote on racial grounds--or the fantasy that Sarah Palin's co-religionists could really win it for McCain.

Assy McGee Award® for Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

As Matthew Yglesias notes, this is the death of irony.

Today's Assy McGee@ Award goes to Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a former Clinton supporter and fundraiser who recently endorsed John McCain on anti-elitism grounds:
"This is a hard decision for me personally because frankly I don’t like him,” she said of Obama in an interview with CNN’s Joe Johns. “I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.”

Translation: While I may not like Senator Obama, this is about class. And since my name is "de Rothschild" and not "Rothschild" or even "Roth," McCain gets my vote. And, well, McCain will not tax me as much as Obama will.

In visual form, here is the tax breakdown for "de Rothchild." This is not about elitism, is Lynn. Where are you on this chart?

Fox Reports, You Decide. Or, Heh: Cindy McCain not Happy with The View

Yesterday Cindy McCain cried out at the myriad injustices committed by the Media against her husband's campaign, and especially those committed by the ladies on The View.

Look, Readers, at the combination of Fox's staff writing and of Cindy McCain's quotes. It is really quite artistic:

"In spite of what you see ... in the newspapers, and on shows like 'The View' — I don't know if any of you saw 'The View' yesterday, they picked our bones clean — in spite of what you see, that's not what the American people are saying and what they are believing," Cindy said at Saturday's 119th annual Oakland County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, ABC News reports.

"In spite of what you see ... in the newspapers, and on shows like 'The View' — I don't know if any of you saw 'The View' yesterday, they picked our bones clean — in spite of what you see, that's not what the American people are saying and what they are believing," Cindy said at Saturday's 119th annual Oakland County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, ABC News reports.

During the McCains' appearance, they were asked about everything from Gov. Sarah Palin to their houses to the separation of church and state.

Ahhhhh. Such a wonderfully figurative turn of phrase, "picked our bones clean," and it made it into the headline of the piece. And then Fox "substantiates" Cindy's claim by pointing out that she and her husband were (GASP) asked all kinds of questions on the set.

Gee. Isn't that something candidates for office should be inviting (Palin)? Even if you wanted to cede the claim that too much is being made of how many houses they own--the McCains seem to be doing pretty well coming out and saying tha too much is being made of it. Of course, some might make a connection between the McCains' class status and John's claim that the economy is sound. But again, they are free to rebut this. It is called a free press and an accountable government.

Now, Readers here know that Harrogate is no fan of The View. More often than not he finds it banal and even insulting to thinking people everywhere. And Whoopi Goldberg (Harrogate's least favorite of them) certainly sounded dumb when she asked McCain whether his view of the judiciary's relationship to the Constitution meant that she might have to go into slavery. Technically at least, adherence to the Founders' intent also means you are in favor of the electorate's right to amend the Constitution. There are so many things noxious and wrong with McCain's attitude towards the judiciary--why not focus on them, Whoopi, instead of going for a feelgood line empty of substance?

But overall, Harrogate was pleased to see how well the View ladies did. Indeed, Harrogate would like to see the Hard News Media learn a bit from what those ladies did. They appropriately grilled McCain on a number of fronts, including Roe.

And, come on. Joy Behar may as well have been saying the sky is blue when she said that McCain's Ads have been lying. This doesn't stop Fox from making it seem like Behar's words were scandalous:

At one point, co-host Joy Behar told McCain that two of his campaign ads are "untrue ... they're lies"


OMFG. Or, One Man and His Parrot Take on the Empire

The recent Nader Ad. Harrogate just noticed that Andrew Sullivan also has this up on his blog but--SURPRISE--all Sully has to say about it is, it's "weird." So no Tip of the Hat for Andrew "Reagan Was Awesome But Gays Should Have Rights" Sullivan.

But, friends. Here is the unvarnished crux of the matter. Nader continues to make noise on his web site and in Ads and in his fundraising, about the "Media Blackout" on his candidacy.

Honesty demands first of all that we acknowledge that there has been a Media Blackout on his campaign. Reality would dictate that as close as this election is, the fact of his candidacy (and Barr's, for that matter) would be getting serious play.

Harrogate has made arguments in the past that this is also an issue of respect. 6% of the electorate nationally is a lot, and Nader's power in swing states looks to be huge.

But there is something else. Harrogate calls it the People Like To Pretend To Be Surprised factor. During the 2000 campaign Nader was also blacked out by the corporate media. But then, after the cataclysm known as Election Day 2000, media pundits couldn't get enough, talking about Nader. They went on and on about how he torpedoed Gore in New Hampshire, for example.

So here's a prediction that really shouldn't be necessary. Right now Nader doesn't exist as far as Barack Obama and the corporate media are concerned. But following election day, if Obama loses in a squeaker. And Nader carries between 4-6% in places like New Hampshire and Michigan, and McCain has won those states.

Then people on television will talk a lot about Nader.

Really, how stupid is that? Why not address the issue now when something can perhaps be done about it?

So here ye go, Readers. One very Assy McGeee kind of man, and his parrot, take on the corporate media behemoth. Ignore this at thy peril.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Moment of Zen

Finally! Someone explains why feminists are such hypocritical bitches!

Cathy Young, in her editorial for the Wall Street Journal, explains "Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin." Thanks, Ms. Young, for clearing that up.

Bitch, Ph.D. posted a response.

Read, then discuss amongst (y)ourselves.

Hockey Moms Against Sarah Palin

Don't f@ck with women in charge of sticks...Seriously.

"She doesn't know the difference between icing and off-sides."

Carli Fiorini and her sexism...

Oh the irony. The sad irony. According to Politico, Carli Fiorini stated that Sarah Palin, and John McCain, lacks the necessary experience to run a major company, like HP. On the McGraw Milhaven show on KTRS radio in St Louis, Fiorini was asked:
"Do you think she has the experience to run a major company like Hewlett Packard?"

"No, I don’t," she replied. "But that’s not what she’s running for. Running a corporation is a different set of things."

I just cannot take the sexism by Fiorini. On behalf of those who are against Palin/ McCain, I think she should issue a public apology. And then continue her stumping for John McCain.

On a serious note. I understand Fiorini relies on an a fortiori argument (if you can do the simple, you can do the complex; if you can't do the simple, you cannot do the complex) but what does this say about the American Aristocracy, er, American Republican. Presidents are okay but they are not CEOS... even as most major CEOs like Fiorini get paid an enormous amount of money, and wonderful severance packages, to watch their companies tank. MBAs of the world, unite.

I want to call this post "Sarah, Palin and Tall"

Though it has nothing to do with the video.

This just makes me happy. Not tickle-fight happy, but it reminds me why I hide from politics in the arts.

Cold War Kids - "St John" (live and moving)

Was John McCain "Born to Run"?: New Jersey Spells More Bad News for Obama

Unfortunateness abounds.

No longer dreaming of Virginia and Colorado. Beginning to worry substantively about New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania. Are even Oregon and Washington in play?

What is happening to this country?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Electile Dysfunction

Apparently McCain is computer illiterate because of his war injuries. Yes, his injuries prevent him from raising his arms to a keyboard.

The Obama campaign has sunk to a new low in their attempt to capitalize on this disability. Disgusting.

Assy McGee Award®: Ann Althouse. Runner-Up: Carly Fiorina

Today's Assy McGee Award® goes to Ann Althouse, earned by this response to the new Obama ad that rightfully highlights the ever new depths of sleaze and cynicism to which John McCain has sunk. The Althouse post embeds the Ad, in case people would like to see that too. One thing Harrogate will give Dr. Althouse. She's got her talking points down pretty good. For the last several days Repugs have been defending McCain's sleaze and dishonor by calling Dems whiners. Althouse takes the baton seamlessly:

This ad strikes me as a big whine: Hey, no fair. Your ads work better than mine. Quit it. Or I'm telling

Meanwhile, the Runner-Up goes to Carly Fiorina, who accuses the SNL Palin/Clinton skit of . . . Wait For It . . . SEXISM.

SNL, asserted Fiorina while talking to Andrea "Too Many Balloons" Mitchell, was. Drumroll.

dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin

UPDATE: Harrogate here would like to add that the SNL Skit did not deny there is substance to Palin. Au contraire (Harrogate and oxymoron got As in a Graduate Level French Class), SNL did a great job of pointing up the nature of Palin's substance. "Please, ask this one about dinosaurs" identified her red meat, extremist substance.

Monday Musical Tribute; Or, Fourth Straight Video

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Sunday Musical Tribute

In Case You'd Forgotten About This Movie Scene.....

So Awesome

Wrong on so many levels

Read the latest on Palin's tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska and tell me you don't agree.

Bush Redux

The New York Times examines Palin's governing style and it makes the Bush Administration (43) look competent and open.

It is too early to revisit the failures of the Bush Administration. The United States does not need another polarizing, authoritarian government committed to self-interest and secrecy.

Palin/ McCain is a threat to democracy.

The Failure of John McCain

New information is available about Sarah Palin's desire to ban books from the library. For the Evolution and Intelligent Design "Debate" Palin wants schools to teach "both sides." Yet, for homosexuality, she would prefer to ban books on behalf of her church in a quid pro quo for being elected. From The New York Times:
The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.

“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”
This pick represents your Presidential judgment. Consequently, it reveals you lack the judgment necessary to be an elected official let alone POTUS.

At some point Mr. McCain, you should read the First Amendment to the Constitution. When elected representatives seek to subvert it, they show how unfit they are for office.

Ike and its aftermath

As someone who lived in the wide path of destruction left by Ike until a few weeks ago, I've been following the storm very closely. I've been reading stories like this online all weekend in an attempt to stay informed and to make sure that the many friends I have in that area are all right. I also want to add that my father is a retired firefighter, which means that I tend to follow stories about emergency workers and firefighters very closely.

That said, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I am so angry at the people in the storm's direct path (i.e. those in the outlying areas of Houston and Galveston Island) who decided to stay. It may be their right to stay and put their own lives at risk, but their decision to stay affects every single emergency worker in their town--people whose jobs necessitate that they put themselves in danger in order to save people who stupidly stayed.

Heed the warnings people. When you're told to leave, just do it. There is nothing in your home--no photograph, no memento, no nothing--that is worth your life, your loved ones' lives or the lives of any emergency worker who will have to put his or her life at risk to save you when you call 911 because you've suddenly realized you made the wrong choice.