Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lowering the bar

The United States debating torture. A self-proclaimed God-fearing man, assumed leader of the nation, rallying for inhumane treatment of people who may or may not be guilty of a crime. I wonder how his god would feel about that.

He says this is a war for civilization, a war against evil and evil-doers. What sort of generalized anodyne is this? How can the American people be placated by such obviously ambiguous rhetoric? When have we not been against "evil"? Or terrorism? How do you conduct a war on the abstract? By bringing Baghdad taxi drivers to the brink of drowning to death?

This is the most disturbing conversation our country has ever had. How is it possible to claim the moral high ground while efforting to lower our own standards to those of the "evil-doers"?

The terrorists are bad, they behead white people, so we should be bad too to protect our goodness?


Monday, September 18, 2006

Mood: irritated

Have you ever noticed the day after you smoke pot you get agitated easily? That's how I felt today, only I didn't get high yesterday. Not on the sabbath, no sir.

All I could dwell upon was how uninspiring and useless my job is. How many people are passionate about their jobs? Surely not janitors, or Hollywood types. Most people? It's a comfoting thought -- that everyone's miserable and I'm not alone.

I watched a bull-riding competition yesterday while bored (obviously). Those guys have to love what they do. Why else put yourself in a position for such potential bodily injury?

It's fun to watch cowboys get stomped by bulls. Fox should start a show about ti: "When hamburger fights back". Now I just need some CGI special effect scene depicting the colonel getting henpecked (not figuratively) to death. My ears want painful screams with a southern drawl, the lily white suit blotched red!

Why is the big purple McDonald's character named Grimace? Because he's not entirely fond of watching ground meat rendered from cows enmasse, that's why.

Dr. Phil-good's presecription: new Yo La Tengo, xanax, and internet clips of people hurting themselves while skateboarding

Currently Listening to:
Yo La Tengo

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Very stellar, btw.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bad Dane Cook!

Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook in the same movie. Phillip brain bleed. Not just from all the substance abuse and usual life woes either.

Tomorrow starts the 2006 ACL fest, yet another year I'm unable to go. I foresee a weekend of encapsulated, insulated reality escapism. Someone find me a republican so I can ask them the best way to go about this.

Ann Richards, the only good thing ever to come out of Texas, died. She lost being re-elected governor because she legislated her principles instead of politics. And W. probably rigged that one too, because she was hugely popular. Also he's unelectable and a complete braying jackass phony liar crap nugget.

Could Norah Jones be more painfully beautiful? Leading scientists say no.

Currently Listening to:
I'm From Barcelona

Let Me Introduce You to My Friends

This borders on Polyphonic Spreeness, which I abhor, but stups short and does right by me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The sad and primal forces of nature

Yesterday I would have written a seven-eleven post but was working out of the office all day (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and frankly forgot that it even was seven-eleven. I should state outright that I don't give a fuck -- it's just another day on the calendar, made special by our own calendar year. Why is the 1,825th day after the event so much more significant than the 1,826th? Or the 1,000th? Or 2,000th? We have a strange habit of paying special attention to tragedies on their anniversaries and affording them none the rest of the year (unless you're a republican running for re-election and need people to be terrified so they'll vote for you, which ironically is the exact definition of terrorism). Also see: Hurricane Katrina.

We're no safer, more people hate and want to kill us, our country is broke, our military significantly weakened, the rich are richer and the poor poorer, evangelicals rule the roost, and I need coffee.

People: kill your television (Ned's Atomic Dustbin). You will find no truth in TV. Watch Network.

Currently Listening to:
TV on the Radio

Return to Cookie Mountain (2006)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Keith Olbermann, je t'aime

You can watch Keith read this commentary at the Countdown page, which is actually more stirring than just reading it. But I had to post his words.

Feeling morally, intellectually confused?

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

Comments? Email KOlbermann@msnbc.com

Lindsay Lohan: Fire down below? Fire in (around) the hole? I can't pick a title!

My bookie is going to knee-cap me. Lindsay Lohan does NOT, in fact, have a freckled firecrotch, with carpet matching curtains. DAMNATION! For me that was her one last possible redeeming quality. You can see the pictures on that link. Plain as tall Sarah.

Currently Listening to:
The Thermals

The Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shoot the sherriff?

A British documentary (mockumentary, docudrama, whatever) depicts the fictional assassination of President Bush while on a trip to Chicago in 2007 by a supposed Syrian sniper. As much as I loathe Bush and his administration I still gotta frown upon the premise since I don't believe in murder in any circumstance.

Occasionally I entertain the thought of murder in utilitarian terms, and consider that maybe many lives would be saved were it not for the continued life of one person or a small group of people. But here, killing Bush would accomplish nothing in the way of change, and probably arouse the same fuck-all-brown-people sentiment that propagated after 7-11 and lead to more carpetbombing and xenophobia.

Mostly though I don't want my utter malice for the guy to elicit a knee-jerk, hells-yeah-plug-that-nut-garbler response. I'm not an un-biased juror here so my opinion is just suspect, I think. Maybe I'll just go with "respect the office of the president" and say fie.

Currently Listening to:

Cansei de Ser Sexy

Friday, September 01, 2006

West Wing dialogue

This is an excerpt from The West Wing episode where Jimmy Smits, the Democratic presidential nominee, debates Alan Alda, the Republican nominee. It's spectacular.

"Some of our older airlines are having trouble meeting their huge pension obligations at the very same time when they're facing intense competition from low-cost airlines that are so new they don't yet have pensions to pay. Now, an unthinking liberal will describe the airline bankruptcies as the evil capitalists screwing the workers."

"I didn't say that Senator and I don't think you should put words in my mouth."

"No. Of course you didn't say it. You're not an unthinking liberal. Are you?"

"I know you like to use that word 'liberal' as if it were a crime."

"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have used that word. I know Democrats think liberal is a bad word. So bad you had to change it. What do you call yourselves now, progressives? Is that it?"

"It's true. Republicans have tried to turn liberal into a bad word. Well, liberals ended slavery in this country."

"A Republican President ended slavery."

"Yes, a liberal Republican, Senator. What happened to them? They got run out of your party. What did liberals do that was so offensive to the liberal party? I'll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator. Because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor."

Das verken suckens der balls

Buzzing about in Cameron Parish -- a 2-hour trip to and fro.

Wednesday was a 12-hour day, including a 4-foot fall off a loading dock while holding a 17-inch CRT (not flat-panel, i.e. heavy) computer monitor. I decided I'm not particularly fond of falling from loading docks. My pants ripped, I'm having a hard time writing -- half of my left hand is blue and swollen (masturbation... difficult. I'm a southpaw), and my diet has gone to shit because the only thing to eat in the utopian land of Cameron is fast food. Lots of McFried things.

Also I've had to imbibe copius amounts of beer after work (yes, just HAD to) every day to stay grounded and not go mental/postal and quit. So I'm a big fatass now.

Thursday was only a 10-hour day. I should change my Myspace moniker to Inch and the Angry Phillip.

We're off for Labor Day. I should thank Dog for small miracles.

Currently Listening to:
What Made Milwaukee Famous

Trying to Never Catch Up