Saturday, November 12, 2005

Deja vu all over again...'s seemed like this but, well, I guess Bill Murray really has got that "saving the child" down pat at this point. Well, I have this little graduate degree thing to finish up, probably will have to cut into the blogging regularity for a all three of you will have to go easy on the comments...not sure if I can keep up....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Them Damn Cheese-eatin' Surrender Monkeys

I was reading the LA Times’ op-ed page today and was (not really) astonished to read the vitriol emanating from the conservative commentators there, crowing about the righteous comeuppance France is undergoing during these dreadful riots. While the critics may have been a little more subtle than that, it was not by much. Even more worryingly, there was no reasonable defense of liberal explanations for the rioting. In fact, to call the explanations liberal or conservative is really unfortunate given the widespread nature of the riots and the fact that poverty and inequity will always lead to unrest, it is really unconscionable that instead of having someone offer this fairly obvious reading, the Times runs out two of its conservative jackboot the-darker-skinned-people-in-Paris-are-endangering-our light-skinned-fréres-coffee-drinking-quiet. In two myopic pieces, the authors claim that the generosity of the supposedly out-of-control French welfare system is to blame for the unrest in France. Basically, the two columnists say, the young men responsible for the rioting are indolent roaches taking inevitable advantage of the generosity of the French welfare system. This of course does not address the inequity, fear, and racism that have combined to limit the choices of some of these young men, to say nothing of the ever-increasing merging of companies whereby jobs are eliminated in the interests of a more efficient business model.

Conservative dope pundit Max Boot, quite unintentionally, opens his editorialwith a quotation that accurately describes the social inequity in the United States.

”Back in 1992, when cars were burning in Los Angeles, not Paris, French President François Mitterand thought he knew why. It was, he explained, because of the ‘absence of social legislation and protection’ in a ‘conservative and economically capitalist’ country.”

“It is precisely because of France’s high level of ‘social protection’ that it is now experiencing its own version of urban hell. The welfare state that is the pride and joy of postwar France has become a ball-and-chain hobbling its ability to keep up economically with the despised Anglo-Saxons. In the United States, the government spends 35.9?% of gross domestic product; in France, it’s 54.5%.”

Generous unemployment benefits, free housing and healthcare and other goodies make life cushy even for those without a job.”

Ah sooooo, we can’t have any of this “generous” financial support to those in society a little less fortunate than everyone else. How then would we lord it over the downtrodden? It’s hard to lord it over people who are not quite as unhappy and unhealthy. Geez, how silly to have thought it.

And also, it would seem that there is too much being spent on social concerns. What we need are more guns. It’s obvious that with our military waging such a deadly, efficient, professional, not too mention successful-war in Iraq…oh wait, it's not successful? Really….hmm…..well, shoot, we still need weapons and arsenals to protect us from a raised terror alert.

Yeah, them Frenchies just have it so easy. Positively cushy eh. Right, so people who are on welfare and have cushy lives just go around rioting? Oh yeah, conjures up the famous Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan inspired riots of ’04. They just couldn’t find the right upholstery for their convertible Benzes and they were very unhappy that they weren’t accorded prime places at the bar the other night also. No wonder they started those brutal Beverly Hills riots. They did get some nice Christian Dior and Versace swag for free….and shoot, they gotta stick it to the man-it’s not like they could have bought that otherwise…wait…they could have? Hmmm…oh details details. Well, if the kids rioting were living comfortable lives, what is an alternative explanation for his explanation for the rioting? It’s just that the Arab kids are prone to it eh? Wait, you say it is the unfortunate social position. OK, we’ll take it then….

Later on in the article Boot claims that in France, people define themselves in religious and cultural terms that may leave young Islamic Frenchmen feeling alienated. Hmmm….alienated young religious and cultural outsiders? That wouldn’t refer to those crazy rap musicians who honkies just don’t understand would it? Oh no, this country is fully integrated and functional. No alienation here, old white people, po’ black folks; everyone gets along just fine here. Hurricane Katrina? Nope, oh, there were plenty of rich white folks hurt by that-why ol’ Trent Lott lost his (second) house. Yeah, it’s just amazing (well, actually not really that amazing I guess given….well, it’s Max Boot) that Boot tries to demonize the French….while he does seem to know, at least a bit, of French-he probably still vacations there-it sucks to be proved wrong by Froggies. Hmm…maybe I’ll get round to countering the other op-ed tomorrow but suffice it to say, it’s really just a bunch more ol’ neo-con junk. Not much there. Really pretty pathetic that there is no point/counterpoint element to the Times comment on the rioting in France. The very fact that wealthy countries attract needy immigrants trying to better their station in life…as in the United States…and of course one of the nation’s biggest newspapers doesn’t even recognize it. And from what I’ve read, the Very Old Grey Lady and the Post don’t take this issue into account either. It hurts to look in the mirror I guess…but for the grace of God…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

don't know much about history, don't know much about....anything

Good to see the Repubs have their priorities straight as usual. They're not worried that there are clandestine prisons in Eastern Europe known as "black sites" because they reflect the color of Republican leaders hearts....well, not really, but because they're below the radar, virtually unacknowledged outside the highest ranks of CIA leadership, congressional leadership and Satan......nope, those Repubs just just don't want anyone knowing. Yup, that's your Republican leadership. Their black hearts are in just the right places, it's quite clear.

Oh yeah, something else that truly appalled me also, and of course, is not nearly so highly publicized a story as the corruption of Kofi Annan-which of course is itself somewhat overstated-many UN committees had signed off on the arrangement which facilitated the corruption, so Annan was by no means solely to blame-and let's compare just how much money has been spent on an illegal war as opposed to the corruption at the UN. It's no contest. But the untold story is how many corporations participated in the exploitation of the Iraqi people in response for some oil. This has been much less reported because many of these companies, as Josh Holland explains so well in the Alternet story, have supported both American political parties. Of course the Repubs are worse, as usual, but this was by no means a one-party pork-barrel party. If the two party political system didn't seem corrupt before, well, frankly, that's hard to believe really, but given this story, well it's all very well for the crazy wingnuts to whine and complain about Kofi Annan's corruption, but of course the malfeasance of so many large corporations goes completely unexamined. Go ahead, try and find much serious discussion about the corruption of these corporations and the hypocrisy of the wingnuts in conservative media. You'll need a very strong (non-existent) search engine. Pathetic.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Everything's just swell.

Well, now that The Man With the Most Irish Name In The World has completed his investigation, all the woes of governance have been eliminated, right? Right? So that detention camp (just call it a gulag) will prove to be an untrue allegation, Snarl will be cleared of any involvement in authorizing policies that led to the torture and illegal detainment of prisoners in Gitmo and elsewhere; presumably Rummy will stop saying things to the effect of hunger strikers are in effect, just


in rotation. Just dieting.....yeah....Bobby Sands et al. just couldn't stand any more freakin' potatoes, right? Same with all those other IRA prisoners in the Maze prison back in the '80s. You know those Irish folks have always had weight problems, going right back to the 1840s when they had to leave, in order to escape the wealth of potatoes......thanks for the perspective as usual, Mr. Democracy Is Messy; Mr. I Should Have Used That Quote As The Title of My Website. Yup, I see Fitzy put everything in order and now Repubs have vowed to commit to a more ethical, straight-forward approach to government from now on. Yup, I think I just saw a pig fly.....

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Was gonna say something about the Queen concert a short time ago but....well....I haven't. Anyway, probably better I had a bit of time to reflect on my thoughts about the gig. When I saw them I literally had to pinch myself to convince myself that I really was seeing Queen live. I actually didn't know that John Deacon wasn't involved in the tour and even in spite of my binoculars (though I was quite happy with my seats) I didn't realize it for a while-mainly coz I wasn't expecting that he wouldn't be there. Still, it was great to see Roger and Brian who really seemed, well, just what you'd expect from them. They seemed very energetic and Brian's solo guitar, well, I believe he is very under-rated, let's just say that. He was incredible and all his solo runs, perhaps most energetically his heavy though fairly simple solo in We Will Rock You, really resounded with the crowd and the crowd was definitely open to being entertained. Roger pounded the skins passionately and his song "Say It's Not True" is a gorgeous ballad, in the mold of Love of My Life or The Days of Our Lives, at least musically. The song was written in response to the tragedy of AIDS and for Nelson Mandela's organization working to eliminate, or at least address it. It was also a lovely surprise to hear I'm In Love With My Car, an ode to Taylor's love for cars, and plays on the sexual language that writing about cars can allow ("with her pistons a-pumping", "with my hand on her grease-gun"). Paul Rodgers was totally inadequate as Freddie's sub. I don't know if I would have had this reaction to anyone, but I really don't think so. He was a poor tele-prompt reader. Obviously he had to learn a lot of songs and he was a game participant, but really, while he may be a Queen fan, he didn't seem to have any color or any of Freddie's verve. I know Dave Grohl is a huge Queen fan and I don't think I would have been unhappy with him filling in, but then again, perhaps more than any other band, Queen, in spite of the co-operative nature of the group and the fact that Brian and Roger did lead vocals on more than a few songs and that they all wrote significant numbers of songs, the band's public face was Freddie. Although I enjoyed the concert, it just wasn't Queen.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

oh Fristy I do dee-clay-uh

Aww, the Democrats are showin' some backbone (pity it takes so long in Iraq to prompt this, not to mention virtually all important Republicans in national politics charged with something, and Hurricane Katrina) and Bill Frist and Senate Repukes don't like it. Oh dear, they're sullying the revered Senate protocol. Oh Heaven forbid Billy Frist is not consulted over an investigation into the grounds for a freaking illegal war. Dear me, someone get the man some smellin' salts and a warm towel. I do believe he's goin' into a faint. Oh Scah-lett, I do declare, Heavens to Betsy, can we not just have ourselves a nice little war overseas without everyone gettin' into a tizzy? Dear me, someone loosen Fisty's tie, he's a touch on the warm side. We must be able to obscure honest investigation into the grounds for an illegal war whilst adhering to long-held gentlemen's rules of conduct on prop-ah be-hav-yuh. Let's not let global polarization and an increasingly dissatisfied populace (Worst. President. Ever.) hinder our manners at our formal dinn-ahs and cocktail pah-ties. Dear me Fisty, I do dee-clay-uh, such dreadful manners. And let's not get started on those Iraqis and their frustration at out attempt to make life better for them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

ya big girl's skirt

That's what we called chickens in Britain sometimes. Well, surprise surprise, our chickenhawk Preznit has returned to those who own support him. Just what this country needs right now; a nice mainstream candidate whom everyone can agree on...and I love the now fawning words of support from a mollified base calling for a quick "up-and-down" vote. Why didn't Harriet Miers have that right? What gives Alito that right? Like the saying goes, we're all created equal, but soe are more equal than others. The reason she didn't have that opportunity is because she isn't entitled to it.....just more right-wing smokescreen to try and convince Democratic voters that their Senators need to back this wacko. Geez.