So the only thing I learned last night was something about bears and DNA and paternity, and I was like, uh, bears?
I suppose people take this shit very seriously; me, I don't see how you can. Consider our situation. Barack Obama won last night's debate by speaking clearly, fluently, and like an adult about things that were palpably untrue, while John McCain kept implying that I am his friend. Obama terrifies me: an intelligent, thoughtful, well-prepared, capably extemporaneous man ascribing a future holocaust to some sort of non-existent, fantastical, steroidal Iran; talking about unsanctioned cross-border incursions into Pakistan because we found bin Laden, or some such, and must "take him out"; warbling around about "main street" while, in a lawerly, circumlocutory way signaling that he's ultimately going to get behind hundred-billion-dollar cash bailouts to institutions that ought to be dismantled, destroyed, scattered to the wind. He wants GM to make electric cars. He wants the American people to know that he will appear before them to make extravagant xenophobic declarations in order to assuage their insecurity about the rise of other competing economies. He does this all in a calm, perfectly reasonable manner, with a convincing boardroom demeanor, and judging by the reactions of my liberal friends, with whom I listened, this was basically pleasing to them.
McCain is of course out of his mind: forgetful, vicious, reactionary. And his ideas are even crazier than BO's, but there's a certain comfort in the fact that their insanity is laid so plainly and mercilessly bare by the grinning psychopath's delivery. He provides no quarter for those who want to convince themselves that by Killing People for Their Own Good we are not actually killing them, or that by suborning corporate malfeasance we are combating it, or that by desperately seeking to maintain the geography of radial sprawl and the automobile we are seeking "energy independence."
Saturday, September 27, 2008
So the only thing I learned last night was something about bears and DNA and paternity, and I was like, uh, bears?
Friday, September 26, 2008
Jonathan Lee Riches: "Master of the Fivolous Prisoner Lawsuit". My buddy just sent this to me via emailz. Highlights include:
Riches v. TysonI also advise reading the suit against Wolfgang Puck. Just, read everything.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Mike Tyson threw him on the ground, bit his ear and kicked him in the ribs after plaintiff declined defendant's invitation to dance.
Riches v. McVeigh et al.
Plaintiff sued Timothy James McVeigh and Terry Lynn Nichols for blowing up his life. He alleged that defendants had a responsibility and duty to notify him how the Department of Justice worked. Had they warned him about the injustice, he would not be in prison nor would he be writing celebrity lawsuits against Americans who pay federal tax money to support his illegal incarceration. Plaintiff blamed defendants for metal detectors at courthouses, limits on the amount of fertilizer that American farmers can purchase, as well as higher sentencing guidelines. He further moved for GPS drone fighting forces to guard McVeigh's grave in case he re-rises like the Messiah and plays games with him like Patrick Swayze did to Demi Moore in Ghost.
Riches v. Willaims et al.
Plaintiff sued Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Richard Williams, the U.S. Open and Poltergeist. Plaintiff alleged that defendants are reaching through the television set to grab him during the U.S. Open, defendants took Van Gogh paintings from him, he taught Venus how to play table tennis in county jail, Senator Larry Craig uses the FCI Williamsburg bathroom, and defendants want to learn identity theft from him.
Riches v. Imus
Plaintiff Jonathan Lee Riches claims that he is a professional entertainer who specializes in music, identity theft, computer hacking, yoga, equestrian mule riding, coal mining, time travel and skeet shooting. He alleges that defendant Don Imus hired him for weekly performance shows at defendant's ranch for $3.5 million per year. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant would secretly record plaintiff and broadcast him without hiss consent, called him "A white nappy headed ho-mo," and fired him.
You know, we should probably thank the gods that John McCain airbust like an atom bomb all over whatever godawful fire sale they were cooking up in Washington before Senator TheSoup'sTooHot ballsed the whole thing up. Still, shit, dude can't even put together a statement of noncommittal support. He and his homeboys bomb into town, rile everyone up, fuck up whatever negotiations are actually occuring, then get up in front of a whole gaggle of panicked pressketeers and say, basically, "We'll get back to you." Now between this and the fact that Sarah Palin was brought to her knees by the titanic intellect of Katie Couric, last seen buying TV Guide and a box of Clairol, you begin to wonder just who wrote this script, anyway.
Foodie Friday: That's not a recipe; that's just a list of ingredients with instructions for how to prepare and combine them Edition
It's fall, or nearly so, and the temperature is dropping at night, and it's dark at dinnertime again, which means that you should be eating squash. This recipe uses acorn and kabocha squash, but works with any combination of one sweet and one savory variety. Like melons and other fruits and vegetables with hard rinds, smaller squash often have more intense flavors.
Roast squash soup
for the stock
carcass, bones, and leftovers of a whole roast chicken, plus its reserved organs and neck
1 mid-sized yellow onion, quartered
2 large carrots, very roughly chopped
for roasting the squash
1 kabocha squash, halved
1 acorn squash, halved
3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
To make the broth, place all of the ingredients in a medium stock pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, skim any scum or foam off the surface, then simmer, covered, for several hours. Strain once through a strainer/colander, then again through a cheesecloth.
To roast the squash, preheat the oven to 425. Place the halves in a large roasting pan and rub the exposed flesh with olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until flesh can be easily pierced by a fork.
Remove the squash from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Bring the stock to a gentle boil and add the potatoes, salt to taste, and a bunch of whole sprigs of thyme, bound with twine so as to be easily removed later on. Remove the rind from the squash and cube the flesh, adding it to the stock as you do so. Cook until both potatoes and squash are soft enough to be mashed with the tines of a fork--just a few minutes.
Remove from heat. Remove the thyme. In a food processor and working in batches, purée the soup to a smooth consistency. Return to low heat, stirring well for a few minutes to even the texture. Serve garnished with gruyère, parsely, and cracked black peppercorns.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
OMGLOLWTFLMAO. Dear semisweet chocolate Jesus, this is truly the greatest election season ever. Senator Senility is going to drop out of the debate, the Democrat who sprang fully-formed, clad in helm and shield, from the forehead of Dave Eggers is going to do one-on-one questioning with Jiiiiihhhhhhhhhm Leeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhrreeerrrr, and the vice-presidential debate is going to be relaced with a televised duel, with Palin and Biden respectively choosing their spirit animal (Moose and Squirrel) as Seconds.
Imagine if you are Vladimir Putin. You do not drink or smoke, and aside from occasionally fucking your gymnast nymphette into catatonic submission while a 10,000 piece orchestra plays Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza outside your window, you do not carouse. Your life is occupied with grim, atavistic fantasies, which are just now coming to fruition, and as you nurse your bloody dreams in the Siberian expanses of your glittering, Satanic soul, you flip on the teevee and see the only force on earth with any capacity to foil or retard your ambitions rapidly consuming itself in an orgy of abject ridiculousness, a Marx-brothers comedy of political ineptitude so baroque in its Vaudevillian slapstick that it melts, for just one moment, the crimson popsicle that is your KGB heart and from your mouth, for the first time since you traded your soul for life eternal and a thirst for blood one thousand years ago, you let out one brief, delicious: Ha!
Uh-oh, looks like Kudlow's back on the Train:
I don't like it, but sometimes you just have to stop the financial fear. When I spoke to Alexander Hamilton last night about this, he told me it was the right thing to do. Like he did in the 1790s.Actually, it's like he's off the Train, but on the Love Bus. I mean, the last time I talked to Alexander Hamilton in 1790, I'd eaten a bunch of acid, drunk two bottles of tussin, and mainlined a baggie of ketamine. As I recall, we discussed why that lizard was trying to feed a llama crème brulée, but banking may also have come up. Then Calsutmoran started discharging a firearm, the neighbors called the cops, and Alex and I booked out of there to hide in the park. Haven't seen the dude since.
Seriously, though, Kudlow can't really be such a fucking moron as this, can he? Does he really believe that the government is gonna buy all this ephemera at bargain-basement prices and then resell it at a profit next year? Talk about hallucinating. What fucking mechanism is supposed to drive up the market value of debt-backed pseudoassets that were written off without loss because the government airdropped suitcases of cash?
At one point, Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio) pleaded with them to explain the crisis in terms a factory worker relaxing on his couch could understand.Man, the reason that, uh, "factory worker" is slamming Buds on the couch in the middle of the day is that he already lost his job. Do we have factories in America? It seems to me like our entire working nation exists principally to justify the continued existence of MS Office Suite. Meanwhile, our existential meanderings seem forcefully diminished, don't they? Who are we? Where do we come from? Can he buy a car?
"In order to accept this plan, he needs to be more scared," LaTourette said. If Congress doesn't act, "I need you to tell this guy on the couch what happens to him. Is he going to be out of a job? Is his credit card going to work? Can he buy a car? Is his daughter going to go to college?"
Paulson replied that the guy on the couch should be scared. "But I think right now he's angrier than he is scared.
I was in the bar last night and caught most of the President's Fugue in Whee, looking somehow both puckered and agape, like . . . well, I'll spare you the sodomy simile. Suffice to say that he looked like he just got fucked. I don't suppose many Americans look to the President for comfort or wisdom these days, but my god, it's a wonder people didn't flee into the streets. I read this bit about nostalgia for the Taliban among Afghan commoners, and it called Clinton to mind. Sure, I hated the guy, but still. And hell, I support a collapsing economy.
Fortunately, John McCain is on the case, kickin' ass and takin' names. Can you imagine how much his Republican colleagues hate him right now? He's like your company's do-nothing senior VP, you know, the dude who always shows up late for meetings, never brings so much as a mechanical pencil or a notepad, takes calls on his cell without leaving the room, even though you're trying to have a meeting, and then somehow leaves with less to do than when he came in. Thanks to the bottomless dumbassery of their own bedrock constituency, they lost the grip-and-grin, conference-room acceptability of Mittens Spock Brigham Romney XIV and instead have to run with Grandpa Forgetsalot and Natty Bumppo in drag. People keep saying that it's amazing Barack Obama hasn't put it away already, given the "fundamentals," but from where I sit, the extraordinary thing about this election is that Senator Senescence may yet lose even after having convinced 93% of voting America that Barack Obama really is a Muslim nigger from outer space.
Plan’s Mystery: What’s All This Stuff Worth?Dear Headline Writers,
-The NY Times
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Okay, via Yglesias:
Katie Couric: If this doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?Uh, what?
Sarah Palin: Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're gonna find ourselves in another Great Depression. But there has to be action taken, bipartisan effort – Congress not pointing fingers at this point at . . . one another, but finding the solution to this, taking action and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.
1. What is the economy?
The economy is a complex system of nested, concentric, transparent crystaline shells. By offsetting the deferent with the equant, it is possible to predict the flow of capital.
2. How fast is the economy?
The speed of the economy in a vacuum can be calculate by dividing Centrino by Plank's constant and then adding $700,000,000,000.
3. What should I do to protect myself and my family from the economic downturn?
Tell your daughter that you will never sell her as a slave-prostitute to a roving band of cannibalistic petrol traders for comfort on their long migrations across the Midwestern Desert. Tell your son that you will never, ever eat him, not even when you and Mom run out of the food and bribe money you got from selling your daughter. Be convincing.
4. Which candidate is best for the economy?
5. What broke the economy?
The economy is a pale reflection of the true pluroma.
6. Can we fix the economy?
We tried, but no one can find the Allen wrench.
7. What's next for the economy?
The economy just needs to slow down a little and take some time for itself. Maybe it will do a little consulting, and its always wished it had more time to work on its novel. A little travel, maybe a cruise . . . that would do the economy some good. After always putting other people first, isn't it time for the economy to have a little time for itself?
Naomi Klein has lost her mind.
Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.Dozens of Bush and Rove "operatives." Baker's dozens! Scores! Bushels! Sarah Palin as Eva Peron as Adolph Hitler as Judas Iscariot, in earth tones, in the library, with a lead pipe. Where are you going, Col. Mustard? Come down here and eat chicken with me, beautiful. It's so dark.
What's the plan? It is this. McCain doesn't matter. Reputable dermatologists are discussing the fact that in simply actuarial terms, John McCain has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is the elephant in the room, but we must discuss the health of the candidates: doctors put survival rates for someone his age at two to four years. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them. If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future -- for a decade perhaps -- a puppet "president" for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.
How, you may ask, can I assert this? How can I argue, as I now do, that there is actually a war being ramped up against US citizens and our democracy and that Sarah Palin is the figurehead and muse for that war?
Look at the RNC. This is supposed to be McCain's America. But you see the unmistakable theatre of Rove's S and M imagery -- and you see stages eight, nine and ten of the steps to a dictatorship as I outlined them in The End of America. Preemptive arrest? Abusive arrest? "Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing."
Klein, let's face it, was never a particularly bright bulb. No Logo was embarrassingly shallow, a goo-goo tome the Whole-Foods, Ad-Busters set who wish to cast themselves in revolutionary sympathy with the window-smashers of the Seattle battle, who were themselves not much more than skim-milk crypto-rebels. The real face of true insurgent conviction is not a twenty-something getting arrested for throwing a poorly-made Molotov; it is Timothy McVeigh. That's not crass. Getting pepper-sprayed or tasered for destroying public property is one thing; launching an assault on your own tyrannical government and then going stonily to execution quite another. I don't approve of bombing buildings, needless to say, but I also don't claim to be a revolutionary. Say what you will, though, about the world's McVeighs or Mahdi Armies--they are serious. Anyway, Klein should have stuck to reportage, because as she moved into the land of Analysis she showed her limitations even more starkly, and by the time she published The Shock Doctrine she found herself in the deep end of the pool without her swimmies on. It is true that the intellectual loci of both the "Chicago School" of economics and American Neoconservativism were in the same university, but therein ends the similarity. Neoconservativism is a modern take on Wilsonian liberalism; it promotes democratization, direct foreign intervention, "National Greatness," and imperial uplift of mentored races. Neoconsrvativism has no particular economic program. While generally "capitalist," it hews to no particular orthodoxy, and the central tenet of Bush administration economics, to take the most recent example, has been the total absence of tenets. What Klein perceives as the application of Chicago-school economic ideas in Iraq was nothing of the sort; it was good, old-fashioned, imperial plunder, dressed up in standard American political boilerplate about free societies and free markets. The "Bush-Cheney" cabal, Friedmanite disaster capitalists in Klein's goofy estimation, have in the past six months nationalized and socialized huge segments of the American economy. Klein would likely respond that such socialization is really just opportunism in the service of protecting extant concentrations of wealth, and in fact, I agree, but laying that sort of public-private plunder at the feet of an orthodox ideology is, to say the least, a stretch.
Now she appears to believe that John McCain is just a harmless, terminal old coot whose battle-weary face is somehow necessary to push Sarah Palin into the presidency, and that Palin herself represents simply a palatable face for a corporate putsch, or . . . something. Her prose hyperventilates, and she seems to believe that the RNC represents the first time that police have ever arrested a gang of protesters. I too would like to erase Henry Clay Frick and the Pinkertons from the history books, but alas, no. American authoritarianism has roots both deep and broad, and every American leader from Washington to Lincoln to Slick Willy has arrogated to himself powers far beyond the supposed scope of his civil office in times of emergency or, frankly, annoyance. (See again: Seattle, the RNC, the DNC, etc.) Klein:
Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.This once free and proud . . . Is she running for office? A chicken little in every pot. Cheney is a slick profiteer and Karl Rove is a mud-slinger of moderate ability (his deificationb by Progressives has got to be one of the most hilariously out-of-proportion elevations of middling ability to Genius I have ever witnessed), but neither of them is Hitler. Alas for all of us, the United States is not about to launch domestic pogroms and invade Russia in the wintertime; Palin and Todd aren't going to blow their brains out in a bunker. Whoever wins, our broke-ass empire will keep chugging along, graying and groaning into Soviet decrepitude, until at last, poof, we sell off the commemorative rubble and find twentysomething hipsters in Shanghai wearing American flags as statements of ironic nostalgia.
Update: Wolf! Damn.
Update II: Oh man, just to make this whole post even more hilariously embarrassing, here is the correct Naomi on that very same site just a very few days before. (Via Micha Ghertner in comments at Distributed Republic) What did we learn here today, kids, what did we learn.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
But in Adhamiya and in some other areas of Iraq, the patrols, hailed by many as heroic for making the streets safer, have posed increasing problems. Commanders quarrel and jockey for power and territory. Finger-pointing and threats are common. Some residents complain that the men, not a few of them swaggering street toughs, use their power to intimidate people. Sometimes violence erupts.I suppose you could be generous and call this some sort of variation on the law of unintended consequences. But it requires neither a great reserve of military knowledge nor any especial quantity of political acumen nor yet a particular understanding of Iraqi cultural specifics to recognize that alliances of convenience between otherwise inimical groups will end when their mutual enemy is defeated. This is so elementary as to be self-evident, and yet here we are, America!, thoughtfully wondering how the insurgent militias we helped to solidify and empower can be smoothly integrated into the inchoate Iraqi state. Hey, they can't be! Hummingbird!
“What you have is essentially armed factions, like mini-gangs, that operate in a certain set of checkpoints in certain territories,” said Lt. Erick Kuylman, a patrol commander in the First Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, which operates in Adhamiya. He said the Awakening Councils had met their original purpose, but he added, “They have outlived, I think, their service since then.”
Some American officers say it is no coincidence that the problems have worsened at a critical juncture for the Awakening movement and for American forces.
-"Friction Infiltrates Sunni Patrols on Safer Iraqi Streets"
What's quite remarkable is just how thoroughly the ongoing occupation of Iraq by hundreds of thousands of Americans (for in addition to "the troops" are the contractors and civil administrators and reconstruction workers and oilmen and truck drivers and various and sundry of the occupying apparatus) has slipped entirely from the public consciousness as we debate moose hunting and whether or not to run the sort of savage burn on the treasury that Hunter S. Thompson used to run on Vegas hotels. Notably, even prior to the latest public finance catastrophes, or the revelations thereof in any case, the subject had slipped into the ether, with McCain proposing, essentially, that the War is over and we've already Won, while Obama preferred to prove his imperial bona fides to the bloody mob by promising ever more bloodshed in Afghanistan, an even more preposterous target for our bumbling Churchillism than was/is Iraq.
Monday, September 22, 2008
-Oh my god!
-It's an emergency.
-We have to do something!
-We have to do it right now!
-What are we going to do?
-Announce a plan!
-What's the plan?
-To do something about the emergency!
-We have to do it fast, or else the emergency will become a crisis.
-And that would be a real emergency!
-Agreed. What have you got?
-Let's see. A Hershey's kiss wrapper rolled into a ball, a piece of string that i pulled out of my pocket, some gum, this half-drunk beer from last night, and $600,000,000,000.
-Okay, and I have this stale fortune cookie, this Philosophy Comic about Nietzsche, a Qdoba coupon, and Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson.
-Okay. I'll take the beer and the gum. You take Paulson. Give him the string, the Hershey's wrapper, and the money. Roll the comic into a cone and tell him to use it as a megaphone. Have you got any loose change?
-Uh . . . three pennies and a Canadian dime.
-Give Paulson the Canadian dime. That'll make up for the $100,000,000,000 shortfall.
-Now cover your ears, and don't look directly at the flash. Afterward, we can get a burrito.
So everyone's all like, Whoa, the government is totally going to take hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars out of the treasurey and use it to purchase the phony assets and bad debts of huge finance-sector firms, thus enabling them to go and sin, uh, some more. As an onanist, let me toot my own horn, for here I was, circa March of this year:
[T]he people who run all those "financial services" know that there's no such thing as economic escape velocity. That which goes up must come down. Anyone who knew anything, admittedly a vanishing category these days, knew not only that housing prices could go down on a national basis, but banked on the fact that they would. The run-up was all smoke, mirrors and profit-taking, and the downturn, even in these early stages, will be all about the massive transference of wealth from the public coffers into the so-called private sector.Hey Thoreau! There's room in the hot tub. Why don't you slip into something more comfortable and join me.
Prog-bloggers seem to believe that their legislators are getting steamrolled once again by a false sense of urgency, but just as their gang voted for the war in Iraq because they supported it, they're going to come to Jesus and throw cash at Finance because they support it. Who the fuck do you think they're talking about when they talk about restoring Confidence in the Market? You? Proggie please. Whose confidence? Yours?
How can I make this into a metaphor that everyone can understand? Remember in mob movies, how they'd set up a front business to launder money, run as much through as they could, run the business into the ground, torch the place, and then collect the insurance? Well. There it is.