Friday, August 31, 2012


The Degrassi franchise still presents an unflinchingly honest look at teen life.

Although I haven't kept up with the show for about a year because it's become too melodramatic and convoluted.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Elvis Presley: "Kentucky Rain"

Thirty-five years ago today Elvis Presley slipped the surly bonds of Earth. In tribute to the King of Rock n' Roll, I present one of my favorite Elvis songs, "Kentucky Rain."

Fifty Shades

Monday, August 13, 2012

Could Oil Prices Spike if Israel Bombs Iran?

Kunstler: Pure Americana

Pure Americana
By James Howard Kunstler
on August 13, 2012 9:30 AM

At the core of the manifold paradoxes swirling around American governance is the harsh reality that we just can't keep running our shit the way it has evolved to run. Neither candidate for president is honest enough to spell this out and indeed both act as though easy work-arounds exist for sustaining the unsustainable.

In the case of Mr. Obama, it's paying limitless TBTF ransom money to overgrown banks to avoid the constant threats of collapse that they whisper in his ear - essentially a hostage racket. A policy of managed contraction is probably the only way to avoid unmanaged and uncontrollable collapse, and would include dismantling all the TBTF banks, but Mr. Obama won't acknowledge the imperative of contraction and the difficulties it represents. So he stands by hoping that Fed Chair Bernanke will keep shoveling ZIRP privileges, "twist' ops, bail-outs, and bond buying interventions to the "primary dealers" - a line-up of flimflams so abstruse that all the Paul Krugmen-type economists who ever lived might puzzle over them around the clock until the end of time and never unravel their inner workings.

Mr. Romney subscribes to a set of fantasies out of the Chamber of Commerce playbook that all the familiar activities of status quo wealth generation could easily continue via the marvelous invisible hands of unfettered corporatism, if only the deadweight of government restrictions and the squandering of borrowed public "money" were swept away. His choice of running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is meant to embody all those notions -- but more than that appeal to the inchoate mob of Tea Partiers who want to get the gubment's hands off their goshdarn medicare. Anyway, the net effect of Mr. Romney's business fantasies are so inadequate to the contractive forces underway that they would amount to pissing up the massive rope of history in a hurricane of events.

So, as the election race sets up for its terminal lap, expect a completely incoherent debate over the fate of the nation from a couple of characters who personify all the hapless contradictions of the public they will be pandering to. Romney's story appeals to me a little more in its strange psychological dimensions; Obama's role as a living, breathing wish-fulfillment of the liberal imagination is too obvious in comparison.

First there is the issue of Mitt's family. His Dad, George Romney, was among many avatars of big business (it used to be called) in its post-WW2 heyday, as CEO of American Motors, the car company that was a clownish fourth to the "big three" of that day (GM, Ford, and Chrysler). American Motors produced joke cars for losers, foremost the Rambler, featuring seats that folded down flat with the implied use as a rolling bedroom. George Romney got himself elected governor of Michigan at a time when the state was so flush with revenue it would have been impossible to misgovern - though he set up the conditions for a later spectacular collapse into the ash-heap of broken dreams it represents today. He battled Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1968 and became a laughingstock by claiming he had been "brainwashed" by US officials and generals into supporting the Vietnam War on a visit there in 1967. It was an unfortunate remark, coming only a few years after the release of a popular movie called The Manchurian Candidate, about a Red Chinese plot to use brainwashed Americans to subvert a US presidential election. Game over for George.

So, in this age of creeping dynastic ambition, of Kennedys, Bushes, Browns, here we have another case of a son reenacting the family ambition. You'd think the American public would be getting a little sick of this routine, that is, if we were really the independent and "exceptional" people we pretend to be. But, alas, here you just get the worst natural human tendencies to institutionalize social hierarchy amplified by the idiotic celebrity culture of mass-media, pointing to the conclusion that we supposed lovers of "freedom" and "liberty" crave domination by hereditary rulers. The cheekiness of it all by such "regular guy" phonies like Mitt would be enough to provoke a real political upheaval in a nation less medicated than ours.

Then there is the question of Mitt Romney's so-called faith, the preposterous fairy tale called Mormonism. Nobody in the news business today really wants to state plainly what a laughable package of childish incongruities this belief system is - though Adam Gopnik came close recently via a scholarly disquisition in a recent New Yorker that left out most of the comedy - because it is a cardinal rule of our anemic culture that any and all belief systems are equally valid. But the story of Mormon "prophet" Joseph Smith is so rich with inane occult hustling that the Coen Brothers would be hard pressed to satirize it. Of course, it is the perfect religion for a man who now vehemently denounces the very same health care reform policy that he championed a few years ago as governor of Massachusetts.

Anyway, bear in mind that, whatever else is going on out there right now in the three-ring circus of presidential politics, events are in the driver's seat, not personalities, and the seeming quiescence of things on the late summer scene is an illusion that will soon dissipate.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

T. Raumschmiere: "Monstertruckdriver"

Israel Apocalypse

by Max Blumenthal, is to be released in April 2013.

Paul Ryan Stiles

13 August update: Paul Ryan more closely resembles Reagan, especially with his hairstyle. And one can imagine him as a crooner from the thirties or forties.

David Barton: Pseudo-Historian

Fact-Checking" David Barton.

According to this press release, Barton, and his son Tim, will speak at events on Maui and Oahu.

A national news organization [Which one?--P.Z.] has described him as “America’s historian,” and Time Magazine called him “a hero to millions –including some powerful politicians.” In fact, Time Magazine named him as one of America’s 25 most influential people.

Despite promoting himself as an historian in his official biography, Barton admits he doesn't consider himself one.

NOT to be confused with hip fitness impresario David Barton.

12 August update: Barton's latest book, Jefferson Lies, is removed from shelves and returned to the publisher because of extensive errors found by Christian scholars.

Crystal Waters: "She's Homeless (Red Bone Club Mix)"

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

When the Wind Blows

Tomorrow is the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. I just found out about this movie, When the Wind Blows.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Same as it Ever Was

Monday, August 06, 2012

Anti-Sikhism in America

Sikhism is the world's fifth largest religion. In
America, Sikhs have often been targeted
by Islamophobes who mistake them for Muslims. But as Vijay Prashad writes, Sikhs, especially earlier in the century, were persecuted simply because they were not white.

(Of course, there are white converts to Sikhism.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has known about the shooter, Wade Michael Page, for years.

The Sepia Mutiny blog is no longer being updated, but its writers maintain a Twitter feed with news about the Sikh Temple shooting.

Fatuous CNN headline (heard during a promo spot for Piers Morgan Tonight: "What Could Have Pushed Wade Michael Page Over the Edge?"

The portrayal of Islam, let alone Sikhism, is abysmal in American media. See
The Good and Bad Muslims of ABC


This guy gets Sikhs and sheikhs confused.

Kunstler: End of the Pretending

This is the last month of the Great Pretending over on that lovely continent of exquisitely preserved towns and the corniche winding down to the crashing green sea, and the lunch table under the grape arbor... I mean, compared to, say, the universal slum vista of tilt-up, strip-mall America along the deafening highways, with the wig shops, tattoo dens, pawn shacks, dollar stores, parking lot swap-meets, and supersized citizens waddling through the greasy 100-degree heat of a new climate regime. When things blow, as you may be sure they will, at least the Europeans will sink amid all that loveliness while the American experience will be more like getting flushed down a toilet.

Over on this side of the Atlantic, the question arises: where are the good guys? Why is there not one national political figure in the USA who has a comfortable relationship with truth? Perhaps the elimination of truth in our banking and governing affairs is so complete now that there is no truth left to have a relationship with. Or perhaps no American person of integrity believes in the system enough to defend it. Which raises the corollary question: where are the brave persons who would oppose this baleful culture of lies, swindles, and rackets?

I never tire of reminding readers that life is tragic. Individuals and groups in societies make bad choices or fail to meet a challenge that history presents. When persons fail, events take over and lead all persons where events will. Hence, events will take over the election clown show between an errand boy and a horse's ass. The distracted, degenerate public of tattooed soccer moms and men wearing baby clothes have no idea how quickly the supermarket shelves can go empty. The banking system is headed over Niagara Falls and it will take all our comforts and conveniences with it as it goes over.

Generally people prefer order over chaos, so don't be too surprised if some general in the Pentagon reluctantly decides that there is no choice but to step in and become the government. This would be an awful and momentous thing in our history, but it is exactly what we've asked for with our pornographic politics of lying, grifting, swindling, and racketeering. What I describe, of course, is the flip-side of martial law. Once civilians declare it, things have a tendency to get martial real fast - meaning that the feckless and hesitant civilians who allowed the situation to develop get swept out of the way in favor of anyone who can get something done. And what will have to get done in short order is the reorganization of a banking system to get money flowing again and the reopening of supply lines for food and medicine in particular.

This is not an outcome I promote, you understand, but it is the scenario that a foolish people in a depraved nation are sleepwalking into. Take away the pizza pockets and the Pepsi and anything can happen. We may even live to see Mitch McConnell roasted on a spit in some Kentucky parking lot.

On a related note, what would a TEA Party dystopia be like? Glenn W. Smith asks, and tries to answer.

Friday, August 03, 2012

L.A. Daily Mirror

From the sidebar of Hattie's Web: L.A. Daily Mirror. I think I might add it to my list of links.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

"Hey, Eugene!"

Fussell, Cockburn, now Vidal.

David Ehrenstein remembers, and does justice to the memory of, Gore Vidal.

For me, Vidal was really prominent in the fall of 1992, when he released his satire Live from Golgotha and appeared as the courtly Senator Brickley Paiste (modeled after Claiborne Pell) in Bob Roberts.

He's not Vidal Sassoon, but he knows him.