Saturday, January 05, 2008

Having To Tell The Truth Posted by olvlzl.

Around the turn of the millennium, Brian Lamb asked Molly Ivins a predictable and banal question, what was the most important book of the previous century. After about a half-minuet of thinking she said, "Hiroshima" by John Hersey, which is probably the most intelligent answer ever given to that question. It was “Hiroshima” which began the process of holding up to our eyes what dropping a “small” atomic bomb did, what it meant in terms of peoples’ bodies evaporated, burned, lives altered down to their sliced and distorted molecules. Other people nominated the book as the most important, I found out later. If there is something as presently contingent as a literary history in the future, that judgment is as secure a one as could be made.

This particular spot, he thought always would be peaceful, for it was off the beaten track, distant from any possible target of atomic war. Except for the remote possibility of some ancient and unrecorded, long forgotten minor conflict in prehistoric days, no battle ever had been fought here or ever would be fought. And yet it could not escape the common fate of poisoned soil and water if the world should suddenly, in some fateful hour of fury, unleash the might of its awesome weapons. Then the skies would be filled with atomic ash, which would come sifting down, and it would make little difference where a man might be. Soon or late, the war would come to him, if not in a flash of monstrous energy, then in the snow of death falling from the skies.

Way Station, Clifford Simak, 1963

Sometimes you are reminded just how old you are, how the world you grew up in has become alien territory for children you know. That’s what happened reading this to my nieces, 12 and 13, last week. Of all the many things I’ve ever read them, of all the dark and dangerous things in different novels, this is the only one which has really scared them. They wanted to know if it was true.

If you have never been in that situation before, of having to tell children that age that what you just read them was a real possibility, that it was possible for a nuclear war to kill everyone including everyone they knew and that the death, if not immediate, would be horrific, it is a singular feeling. Being responsible for telling them something like that, something I must have assumed they knew already. They grew up in a family of inveterate news junkies and political activists who constantly discuss what's going on.

People my age grew up knowing that we lived under the threat of nuclear death and something of what that could mean. I don’t remember what it was like to be too young to know it. Being about their age during the Cuban Missile Crisis it was something we discussed on the playground like Ralphie and his friends talked about tongues on frozen metal. Older children gave us lurid details of radiation sickness, some of it turning out to be accurate. Apparently it’s not discussed on some playgrounds today.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto and what could happen if Pakistan falls apart, what happens if Pakistan’s bombs are used, should refresh our memory to talk about this again. How did the topic of nuclear war fall from notice? The cold war was declared over but there are more nuclear powers in the world than ever before, one or two of the “minor” ones have enough bombs to kill hundreds of millions of people if not set off the end of life on the planet. It isn’t a problem that has been solved or even diminished. Policy wonks are pursuing new generations of nuclear weapons and setting things up for a new round of arms racing. You get the feeling that the issue of what it would mean in terms of the possibility of their actually being used is seen as being something from a quarter of a century ago. Like those ridiculous “duck and tuck” messages, only too unhappy to be campy. It doesn’t help to have members of the Bush regime using it as just one more lie told to justify the illegal invasion of the non-nuclear Iraq. Condi Rice has probably done more to discredit talking about nuclear dangers than anyone in the past decade. Nuclear weapons are too important for falsely crying wolf over or to be undiscussed due to their being deemed to be trite.

Today, it is only the United States that did use atomic weapons on a human population. The only possible explanation in defense of dropping them on cities was that it might not have be certain of what they would do. You wonder if Truman had known if he wouldn’t have decided to demonstrate their use in an unpopulated area, but that chance is gone never to come back. We know. Entertaining the possibility of that not being the last time they are used is criminal insanity, criminal insanity engaged in by national leaders and the most respected members of societies around the world.

In 1902 Natsume Soseki, on the death of the poet Masaoka Shiki, wrote:

See how it hovers,
In these streets of yellow fog,
A human shadow.

Forty three years later, the shadows were seen written on pavement. They need to be written indelibly on everyones mind.

Is One Of The Dark Lords’ Horcruxes On The Verge of Death? Posted by olvlzl

While it’s not the most dangerous of the guardians of the soul of aristocracy embedded in the American system of government, the days of the Electoral College might be dwindling. Maryland has become the first state to adopt what is called National Popular Vote or NPV. The idea, invented by a computer scientist named John Koza, looks like a brilliant means of doing what couldn’t ever be done by constitutional amendment, ensuring that the presidency can’t go to the person who loses the national vote. States are given the ability to control how the electors cast their states’ electoral votes by the constitution. In NPV the electors are required to cast their votes for the winner of the nationwide popular vote instead of the winner of the state’s popular vote*.
If a majority of the states adopt this idea it would effectively destroy the possibility of the Supreme Court selecting a member of their party to rule against the will of The People.

That is if the Supremes don’t use their power to prevent democracy flowering here, the epicenter of the cult of “democracy”, where democracy is prohibited by rule of law. The federal and state courts again acting as a roadblock to democracy is another of the horcruxes provided by the aristocrats who wrote the constitution. But we won’t do anything about changing that until we have people in elected office who are answerable directly to the voters instead of those best at gaming the corrupt system we have today.

The article linked to above, by Martha Biondi goes into some detail about how the Electoral College disenfranchises the majority of voters who live in “safe” states which can be ignored and dilutes the power of minority voters. The blather about its genius from those tedious souled, leaden-eyed college teachers who made the Electoral College their specialty, which is heard every four years as the broadcast news covers up for the shameful system, is a series of lies. The Electoral College ensures that the direct democracy which we demand in every other election around the world can’t happen here, at least until now.

The anti-democratic structure of the Senate, life tenure for Supreme Court Justices, the Electoral College and, most dangerous of all, their child, corporate personhood, these are the greatest dangers of a dictatorship here, they are the active means by which the rich lord it over us now. Changing them will take an enormous effort against the entrenched power of the most wealthy and their stooges in the media and elsewhere. We need to support NPV and to look for means short of the impossible reform of the constitution. Gaining democracy through the courts has proven to be a short-term illusion, something easily overturned by those opposed to democracy by stacking the courts through our most anti-democratic elected body, the Senate. Whatever rights have been wrested from the hands of the aristocrats has been taken by The People, not granted by the courts.

The peculiarity of the “states-rights” provision in the Electoral College might prove to be its downfall, we need to look for other weak places in the wall of aristocracy. But most of all we have to change the culture of sycophancy to the “Founders” and their supposed wisdom. Oh, they were wise, that isn’t the trouble. What they built they built to last, it’s just that they didn’t build a democracy, they didn’t intend to. But even the worst provisions of our undemocratic constitution are in place only as long as The People tolerate them and accept their mystique. The only secure gain we make is by changing the publics’ mind and through them the elected officials.

* In some states the elector has been able to cast their vote for whomever they choose. I seem to recall in that in the early 70s that accounted for the Libertarians receiving the one and only electoral vote they’ve ever gotten, not that you would guess that from the fuss that is made about the Kinky Republican Coalition all the time.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Voting Your Gender in the Iowa Democratic Primary

This is an interesting post on the topic by Virginia Rutter, especially interesting given the concerns Chris Matthews has aired about women possibly voting on their gender than on the issues. What Rutter argues is that men were more likely to have voted their gender in Iowa than women, though perhaps both did:

Given that distribution, here's what we know about "voting one's gender" in Iowa: Out of all the men who voted for either Obama or Clinton, 60% of those were for Obama--that is men voting for a man. Men voted their gender 5 percentage points more than we would expect if their voting weren't influenced by their gender. Meanwhile, out of the women who voted for either Obama or Clinton, 46% of those were Clinton supporters--that is women voting for a woman. This means that women voted their gender more than we would expect—but only by 1 or 2 percentage points.

Her argument goes like this: About 61% of the votes went to either Obama or Clinton, and if we now regard that 61% going to the two candidates we have singled out as 100%, then the inside split of those votes was roughly 55% to Obama and 45% to Clinton.

Now, do the same exercise as above, but look at how men and women voted in two separate goes. For example, 58% of all men in the Iowa Democratic caucus voted for either Clinton or Obama. Now set that 58% as the new 100% and see how the male votes were split between the two candidates. The answer is that roughly 60% of those votes went to Obama and 40% to Clinton. So compared to the overall split, men were more likely to vote for Obama and less likely to vote for Clinton.

The percentage of women who voted for either Obama or Clinton in the Iowa Democratic caucus was 65. Out of that total 54% of the votes went to Obama and 46% to Clinton. Compared to the overall split women were very slightly more likely to vote for Clinton and less likely to vote for Obama.

The Huckabee Mirror

Kos has a post which compares those who support Mike Huckabee for president with the progressive gate-crashers:

One thing that's fascinating about the Huckabee victory in Iowa is that the movement that propelled him to victory -- his Evangelical base -- is truly a cousin to our very own people-powered movement.

Think about it -- these are people that have been taken for granted by the Republican establishment, exploited and overworked, only to receive crumbs and empty rhetoric in return. Sick of being marginalized except when needed (election time), they have taken matters into their own hands and -- without money or "professional" organization, propelled their candidate (one of their own) to victory.

I think the Evangelists have received more than just crumbs, though, including lots of funding through various Faith Based Initiatives, and lots of important posts in all the parts of the government which the social conservatives wish to use to change the society. But it's certainly true that the Republican Party hasn't given them the things they really, really want, such as a total ban on abortion, because then the voting carrot wouldn't pull the Evangelists to the polls any longer. It's a tricky thing to keep the Evangelists on the outrage edge, and that may have finally failed.

Kos is right that both parties would prefer to ignore certain segments of their core supporters. Where the Huckabee comparison fails, though, is in what those segments desire from their respective parties. As far as I can tell, the Evangelists would like to change the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to reflect a theocracy, whereas the gate-crashers tend to want to preserve the First Amendment and the other amendments which are on the way to the garbage chute right now. It's sort of sarcastic that the conservative stance is taken by the progressives and the radical stance by the conservatives.

Your Comfort Reading Suggestions

Would be most welcome. I've had this thread before, I think, but I can never have too many suggestions for comfort reading. The term, by the way, refers to books which are like mac-and-cheese or mashed potatoes or whatever you associate with the kind of food that is comforting when you don't feel particularly great.

I'm going to read Bill of Wrongs (by the late and great Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose) this weekend, but though I might feel inspired after finishing it I'm unlikely to feel comforted. And sometimes we all need that.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Obama and Huckabee Win in Iowa

The youth vote seems to have been crucial for Obama's victory, and the slogan that worked was "change." Huckabee is the candidate of the fundamentalist wing of the Republican party and an awkward winner for the rest of the party (though they should have anticipated a fundamentalist takeover, given their own policies over the last decades, as Digby points out). He would be a disaster as the president, of course, unless one yearns to live under the Taliban.

On Choice Feminism

The first time I heard the "feminism was all about women's right to choose whatever they wish" theme was some time in the 1990s when Kathy Gifford was razzed by Regis Philbin on morning television for coming back to work after the birth of a child. He was blaming her for being a bad mother for not staying at home, and she responded with that choice argument.

I remember the incident because even then I was pretty sure that I had never read a feminist book where the goal of feminism would have been stated as "to give women more choices". The goal was usually framed as getting women equal rights and opportunities with those men had. That this would automatically give women more choices in most fields of life goes without saying, so Gifford's way of framing the feminist message wasn't that far off.

Or so I thought. But later I learned that this particular way of viewing feminism had odd consequences, consequences which did not follow from the original definitions of feminism. One of those was the commercial use of feminism in a form which equated women's liberation with the "right" to consume and spend more.

Another was the idea that feminism somehow made all choices any woman made into feminist ones or at least immune from feminist criticism. If a woman chose to stay at home, that was a feminist choice. If a woman chose to be employed, that was a feminist choice. If a woman chose to relinquish all her rights and to subject herself to her husband's authority, well, even that was a feminist choice! (No, I'm not making that last one up.) The very definition of "feminist" became identical with "some woman has chosen it" and that "some woman had chosen it" became identical with "feminist." This is circular thinking, but what is worse is the usual addition that these choices cannot therefore be criticized or discussed. After all, wasn't feminism all about giving women more choices?

The impetus for this post lies in an earlier comments thread, long buried now, where one commenter asked why feminists criticize women who choose to become strippers or housewives. Wasn't feminism all about giving women more choices?

What is fascinating about those two choices: being married to a man as a housewife or working in a sex industry for men, is that they are the two occupations that women have always been offered (or required to hold), in all historical time periods and places. No feminism was needed to open the doors to these lucrative careers for women. Astonishing, really. And a little suspicious.

That may provide some necessary background information to understanding why some (actually very few) feminists criticize these choices today. Most feminists do not make such criticisms, and others criticize not the choices themselves but the poor security, pay and working conditions of those traditional occupational "choices" for the majority of world's women. Yet others criticize the societal arrangements which require that women have to make choices between having an occupation and having a family.

My own observations suggest that feminists criticizing housewives or strippers for their occupational choices are less common than non-feminists criticizing employed mothers, say. But in any case feminism never promised the total lack of any questioning about the choices people make.

No discussion of choice feminism would be complete without discussing the concept of choice itself. It is often used to imply that something was voluntary, the decision of only the person affected and that therefore the consequences, both good and bad, are hers to endure. Sometimes it has the additional flavor of being "frivolous" or "optional", and all these meanings play together in the way the term is used in "choice feminism".

For example, if women "choose" to stay at home with their children, the society is then freed from the need to provide any assistance to those women, either with the children or with the women's own later return to the labor market. After all, it was the women who made the choice. At the same time, nobody should interfere with that "choice" because doing so would be unfeminist. See how interesting this all gets?

Add to that all the layers of constraints that actually limit our choices in the real world. Nobody makes choices in some state of complete freedom. A woman who has children and no access to good daycare may "choose" to stay at home if she can afford it, but the reason she did so may well have more to do with that lack of alternative care than her preferences. A daughter of a very wealthy family has a different set of available choices than the daughter of a very poor family. Which of them is more likely to "choose" to become a stripper?

Choice always takes place within constraints, and it is those constraints which have not completely equalized between men and women. As a subtle example, societal and religious norms sanction different behavior from women than from men, even in the most feminist of current societies, and it is women, in general, who are seen as responsible for the hands-on care of children. It is women who are castigated when a child is assumed to suffer and it is women who are expected to adjust to the changing needs of the children. All this means that when women "choose" a particular occupation, including that of a stay-at-home mother or spouse, they are choosing within the female constraint set. This is something that the pure form of "choice feminism" ignores.

Ron Paul on Immigration

An interesting YouTube video where the selection of pictures gives a message more racist and fearful than the words indicate.

Shakes On Feminism

Shakes has written a thoughtful essay on feminism as one solution to the question how women react to the message of themselves as "less than." She mentions several different coping strategies (other than feminism which I find the healthiest), but I'm not sure if her list covers denial. It's not just a river in Egypt but a major coping mechanism for many women.

Another coping strategy is the "honorary man" device. It goes something like this: "Sure, women are harebrained and over-emotional and untrustworthy and sly and weak and sinful and... But I'm not! I'm just like the guys! In fact, I AM a guy!"

The Hillary-Meal-Deal for $6.66: 2 Fat Thighs, 2 Small Breasts...

This piece of political humor about Hillary Clinton is making its rounds. It appears to have been on the Drudge Report on 1/2/08 and also was shown in the British Telegraph, where it was associated with the Obama campaign. I don't see any evidence which would suggest that someone in that campaign created it, though.

The humor it shows is very sophisticated, linking Hillary Clinton via the price to Satan, a horned bad guy in Christian mythology, and making fun of Clinton's body as not quite what we want to see in our chicken dinner (or in our women). Too much thigh and not enough breast.

I leave the deeper analysis to my able readers.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Gearing For The Primaries

Do you have a hard time deciding how to assign your vote in the Democratic Primaries? Don't worry, you can ask Maureen Dowd about the details that might matter. Here she explains whether you should vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama:

Has Hillary truly changed, and grown from her mistakes? Has she learned to be less stubborn and imperious and secretive and vindictive and entitled? Or has she merely learned to mask her off-putting and self-sabotaging qualities better? If elected, would the old Hillary pop up, dragging us back to the dysfunctional Clinton kingdom? She is speaking in a soft, measured voice in these final days, so that, as with Daisy Buchanan, you have to lean in to listen. But is she really different than she was in the years when she was so careless about the people around her getting hurt by the Clinton legal whirlwind that she was dubbed the Daisy Buchanan of the boomer set?

The underlying rationale for her campaign is that she is owed. Owed for moving to Arkansas and giving up the name Rodham, owed for pretending to care about place settings and menus when she held the unappetizing title of first lady, owed for enduring one humiliation after another at the hands of her husband.

Oddly, Barack and Michelle Obama also radiate a sense that they are owed. Not for a lifetime of sublimation and humiliation, but for this onerous campaign, for offering themselves up to save and uplift the nation, even though it disrupted their comfortable lives.

It may be interesting, especially if you live inside the Beltway and live your life in those little social circles, but it offers nothing about how Clinton and Obama would govern, what their policies are and which of them (or of the other candidates) would be best for a particular voter. I know that some think we live in a post-modern era, but maybe we could at least deconstruct the candidates' policies instead of their private lives or the gossips about their characters?

Easing The Pain

A new study suggests that hospital emergency rooms under-treat pain in black and Hispanic patients. This matters, not only for humanitarian reasons, but because recent theories in medicine encourage early pain control for good recovery.

What causes this difference? The articles I linked to above offer several guesses, ranging from racism to the fear that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to ask for stronger drugs in order to sell them or to abuse them. Of course the latter belief might itself arise from racism if the person's skin color or ethnic group is the only indicator used in that decision-making. Access to health insurance (and therefore income) and educational differences may also explain some of the difference.

That the under-treatment exists for patients under twelve and for those in severe pain appears to disprove the drug-abuse explanation, at least as the only explanation.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Will You Have My Back?

An odd aspect of writing both on liberal politics and on feminism is that I tend to think of certain male liberal bloggers as in my team. Some of them I admire and respect and some of them I'd even want to have as friends. Then I read something like this blog post. And I make a mental note that the post is written as some trivial entertainment, in-between the more serious posts, so that what it reveals is most likely not something even intended to be revealed. It's a trivial post about a trivial gender, just a little bit of fun among the guys. Some ideas how sex could sell ice-hockey games better. To men, of course.

I have to keep reminding myself that those* guys will not have my back. Unless it's naked.
*To clarify: "Those guys" refers to only the ones who reveal themselves not to be on our team, not all liberal guy bloggers.

Archive Research on My New Year Wishes

Sort of interesting, especially when my muse has gone out somewhere, probably to get a new tattoo. He's really into body-piercing, my Erato. So instead of writing I have read through my old New Year's wishes. If you want to do the same, here they are:


Monday, December 31, 2007

The War Against New Year. Or: Happy 2008!

Would make more sense than Bill O'Reilly's attempts to argue that there is a secular war against Christmas. I don't like the idea of a New Year. Nobody knows exactly when the new year starts and the old year ends, and it's been plugged into the bumhole of Christmas for a reason: Everybody still has booze and food left. Or many people do.

In any case, I don't feel like "new beginnings" and "ten things to change" this time of the year. I feel like curling up in a little ball inside a large feather quilt. If anything, I feel like kicking the idiotic old year in the ass on its way out, and I really don't want to even think about the next horrible year to start. There are 385 days, 8 hours, 26 minutes and 19 seconds left of the Bush Reich as I write this.

Those two paragraphs above are a sufficient explanation for my eternal status as a minor blogger. The Goddess of Glooom. To enjoy that is an acquired art.

That so many of you did acquire that art is something I'm eternally grateful for. You have brought so much excitement and ideas and just plain reality to my life. I value you all very much, even the trolls, and I value this connection, the learning and the warm emotions and the interesting debates, all of it.

I wish you a very happy new year.

Some Good News and Some Housekeeping

The Pretty Bird Woman House, a shelter for the victims of domestic violence, got enough money to open! And largely this was due to those who gave on various blogs. Thank you all who donated. This shows some of the good the netroots can accomplish, and it is also very good news at the end of a year which has mostly not been full of them.

I promised in some earlier comments threads to write a post on choice feminism today, but when promising that I forgot that it's New Year's Eve. Not the best time to put up something I'd like lots of people to read and also not the best time for me to write it while also trying to find something to wear for tonight. The topic needs and deserves a little more time, and I'm going to delay the post two three days. My apologies to anyone who clicks here today for nothing.

Huckster On Women

What does Mike Huckabee think about the role of women? This guy wants to be our president so his views might matter. It could be that they have changed but once he believed this:

Mike Huckabee, a Republican relying on support from religious conservatives in Thursday's hard-fought presidential caucuses, on Sunday stood by a decade-old comment in which he said, "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."

In a television interview, the ordained Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor made no apologies for the 1998 comment made at a Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Salt Lake City.

"It was a speech made to a Christian gathering, and, and certainly that would be appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists," Huckabee said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

He gave the speech the same year he endorsed the Baptist convention's statement of beliefs on marriage that "a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ." Huckabee and his wife, Janet, signed a full-page ad in USA Today in support of the statement with 129 other evangelical leaders.

He would fit right in with the Taliban.

Bill Kristol and the New York Times

Bill Kristol, a conservative writer and editor, has managed the astonishing feat of being wrong on most every prediction about the Iraq war. For this he gets a reward: A contract as a columnist for the New York Times.

So delicious, isn't it? I've laughed so hard my tummy hurts. It's a version of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the Times. One conservative pundit moves a seat to the right (John Tierney who was sent to write about sciences which is natural because that's not his area of expertise) around the table and another one takes the chair thereby freed. And Bill Kristol is just about perfect: Not only has he been wrong on everything important but he also hates the Times. Thus, it's natural and obvious that he should be hired there as a columnist.

That was mean of me. All true, of course, but still mean. Do you think that would qualify me for one of those contracts, too?

The answer is a cold negative. I'm not a conservative, for one thing, and I don't have a penis for another thing. And besides the Times NEEDS to hire white guy conservatives. That shows everyone that they are not really liberal at all but impartial. Never mind if Maureen Dowd represents the lonely apex of the female brain for them; they must hire more guys who hate their guts.

To ridicule any of this just shows how intolerant I am:

Times' editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal defended the move. Rosenthal told shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand "this weird fear of opposing views....We have views on our op-ed page that are as hawkish or more so than Bill....

"The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that's a bad thing," Rosenthal added. "How intolerant is that?"

I don't know. How intolerant is it? Is it as intolerant as the total lack of liberal pundits at any of the conservative newspapers? They have zero of those, you know. Only the so-called liberal newspapers feel the need to hire more conservatives than liberals. The conservative newspapers no longer hire any liberals. This doesn't seem to be problem in intolerance. Very confusing.

So why did the Times hire Kristol? For his scintillating language? I doubt it. I think the Times is scared of the right-wing establishment.

He certainly wasn't hired for some odd reason of balance, because the Times stables don't have any extreme left-wingers at all. Where is Noam Chomsky, for example? Kristol is certainly as right as conservatives of the non-fundamentalist type come these days, but the Times feels no need to balance him with someone the same ideological distance in the other direction. Given that the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post have long pursued the same strategy of affirmative action for the wingnuts we now have a politically biased system of writing on politics. It tilts to the right so badly that a wingnut who can write without making grammar mistakes is feted as ready for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

What's worse, this wingnut favoritism means that readers get many more conservative takes on every topic than they get liberal ones (all the major "liberal" newspapers are full of Republican writers and of course all the major conservative newspapers are chock full of them). The lessons learned from the marketing campaign of the Iraq war should have warned the Times of the serious consequences of this.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

La Bolduc Le Jour de L'an

Le jour de l'An

Préparons-nous son père Pour fêter le jour de l'an J'vas faire de bonnes tourtières Un bon ragoût de l'ancien temps

C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Peinture ton cutter Va ferrer ta jument On ira voir ta sœur Dans l'fond du cinquième rang

C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Va t'acheter une perruque Fais-toé poser des dents C'est vrai que t'a rien que moé à plaire Mais tu serais plus ragoûtant

C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Ti-Blanc à ton oncle Nazaire Doit venir au jour de l'an Montres-y ton savoir faire Comme tu dansais dans ton jeune temps C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Tâche pas de perdre la tête Comme t'as fait il y a deux ans T'as commencé à voir clair Quand t'avais plus d'argent

C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Y'en a qui vont prendre un verre Y vont profiter de c'temps là Aujourd'hui ça coût si cher Y'a tant d'monde qui travaille pas

C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Il y en a qui sentent la pipe Et d'autres qui sentent les oignons J'aime bien mieux le dire tout de suite La plupart sentent la boisson

C'est dans le temps du jour de l'an On se donne la main, on s'embrasse C'est le bon temps d'en profiter Ça arrive rien qu'une fois par année

Happy New Year, Everyone.

Meditation While Stacking Wood, New Year’s Eve 1982

I’m less of a snob every year,
I’m less of a snob every year,
My clothes and my shoes get me hardened cold stares,
I haven’t got Rolexes or Guccis or shares,
And Reagan is scum, it's the truth, yes I dare,
I’m less of a snob every year.

I’m less of a snob every year,
I’m less of a snob every year,
The years pass along in a dizzying race,
It’s harder and harder to keep up a face,
It’s more pleasant just to get used to disgrace,
I’m less of a snob every year.

I’m less of a snob every year,
I’m less of a snob every year,
You’re greedy and selfish and stupid as well,
Your soul is a cesspool, they think you’re a swell,
You’re rich, I’m a bum, you can just go to hell,
I’ve nothing to lose so I’m free and can tell,
I’m less of a snob every year.

UPDATE: Looking at the notebook the above comes from, it's necessary to remember that this was the end of the second year of the Reagan regime. The attempts to turn Americans from people who cared about other people into selfish snobs was in full swing, designer everything, expensive brand names, nasty, social-climbing Yuppies and people who mistook the Preppy Handbook as a how-to instead of a spoof. It was the nadir of the Me generation before Reaganomics really began churning out high unemployment in which greed was good. It was a really rotten time.

Man Bites Is News Posted by olvlzl.

It used to be a point of pride, NOT having grown up foolish enough to think the New York Times was the greatest newspaper in the world. That was before nyt corp bought the paper of my infancy, The Boston Globe, gutting it as they did to other once fine newspapers they parasitized*.

So I’m not surprised to see that Bill Kristol has been hired to lie on it’s op-ed page. Irv and Gert’s boy has a record of being entirely fact free and wrong but he has what it takes to get hired by the nyt. Sulzie is a real sucker for those who are allegedly intellectual but who will never cause him to be answerable to the oligarches at a dinner party.

Kristol’s hiring by the most pretentious rag in the English language is not news. As usual, The Good Roger Ailes says it short and sweet.

* I will never forgive them for taking one of the finest weekly newspapers in the country, The York County Coast Star, and turning it into a social column covering Kennebunkport during the Bush I regime. The New York Times corp, is in the business of destroying papers, running them into the dirt.

Hosmer is overhauling a vast heap of manure in the back of his barn, turning the ice within it up to the light.

Yet he asks despairingly what life is for..... H. D. Thoreau
Posted by olvlzl
Clearly the “ success of the Surge” in Iraq wasn’t what made George W. Bush’s 2007 so special. I read the tripe which supplies the cover story for today’s Parade Magazine in an act of supreme dedication to the readers of this blog. The word “Iraq”, never mind “surge” doesn’t appear to have survived the cut though “Afghanistan” is no longer a non-war and is once again mentioned. One suspects a movie tie-in. “

Knowing that the eldest scion of George H. W., out of Babbs, isn’t so good at the attention-span thing you might suspect that this, held by our media to be the greatest success in the history of war science, just slipped his mind. But knowing this, we also know that he didn’t write the thing. He might not even know it was written or published. This Parade Magazine ready garbage has the signs of a minor branch of the Bush PR operation written all over it.

One suspects that Parade noticed the unseemly omission of the “I” word in this fiction, get this:

It’s been a tumultuous year for President Bush. So when PARADE asked him to share his thoughts on the best and worst moments of 2007, we didn’t know what to expect. Would he talk about the war in Iraq, the housing crisis or the California wildfires? The President told us right away that he is “an optimist”

So you can safely go on to essential reading, Juan Cole’s “Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2007". Though they are all worth considering, I’ll post only three of them.

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart.

Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."

Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.

I’ll interject that I am with those who believe the various sides are just saving themselves for the all out civil war that is bound to come are correct. Why should they waste themselves on the Americans who will eventually leave when they've got to stay. All they’ve got to do is pretend for a while to have seen the light to get military supplies and training from them*. Americans generally have been brainwashed into thinking it’s all about us and our pretendedly idealistic goals but people in their own country are primarily concerned with themselves, not us. Until Americans learn this lesson we will be susceptible to the lies of the oligarchs who have repeatedly led us into one disaster after another.

10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue. The economy had become more important to them than in previous months (in November only 14% said it was their most pressing concern), but Iraq still rivals it as an issue!

As in the run up to the illegal war, The People have shown themselves to be more serious and more interested in reality than the corporate media. That is a remarkable fact, maybe even an encouraging, fact. Despite the constant lies and deletions of the American media The People show more interest in the disastrous occupation of Iraq than they are supposed to. Perhaps that’s due in part to the fact that The People here are the ones who know those who are getting killed whereas the elite are mostly wearing their white feather shields for this one too.

The media, who will be doing everything in their power to ignore what’s really coming in Iraq next year, aren’t keeping the lid securely on it. The Surge is going to be ending, the pretense that Baghdad has been pacified, and that it represents what is happening in the rest of the country is an ever thinner veil over what is really happening. I predict that before long you will hear Cokie Roberts talking about “Iraq fatigue” in the general public, she is a reliable bell weather of official election year themes. But the elite media is what increasing numbers of us are done with.

The American Enterprise Institute and the other oligarchic PR firms might come up with a successor to The Surge, another tactic of dragging out the inevitable conclusion until the election is over so it can be blamed, if their worse nightmares happen, on a Democrat. Look for members of the putrid Kagan clan on C-Span and NPR shows as an early sign of this, Diane Rehm has already started.

Read the rest of Juan Cole’s list. He’s got a far better track record in predicting what’s going to be coming in the mid-east than anything you will hear from the predictable stable of DC based news-liars and guess-pool experts.

* I’ve mentioned before the time I heard William Sloane Coffin talking about the possible problems that Reagan’s arming the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan could lead to. A callow young conservative in the audience chided him for not realizing that we were making friends with the “freedom-fighters” and they’d take our side now. Coffin predicted, with a 100% accuracy rate not enjoyed by the media consulted “experts” of the time, that they didn’t have to choose us or the Soviets, they could hate us both.

America’s establishment is again arming people who are going to hate us even more than those in Afghanistan because George Bush has given them so much more to hate us for.

But will Tom Hanks “be able to deal with” the role without a major revision?