Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Fact That Depresses Me

Not one of my students knew Yertle the Turtle.

Odd Songs

The lead singer plays the sax and they all smile manically.

A related mashup

Having nothing to do with anything

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Was It Ever Thus?

The other day, I mentioned Taft and the treaties of arbitration. Today marks the 100th anniversary of a TR op-ed dealio denouncing Taft. In it, he argues that the Spanish American war was one of many incidents in which the US put "righteousness" ahead of "peace." Plus, he argues that the US would never push around smaller countries, like Cuba or Columbia, just to get what it wants. Furthermore, what if those danged foreigners told us we couldn't discriminate via immigration policies and laws? Outrageous idea he fumes.

Clearly, TR was a loon, whose ability to ignore reality was quite stunning and whose bizarre notions of masculinity meant more and better killing of things in the service of peace, prosperity, and environmental protection. Still, it's worth asking if today's morons any worse?

Or is it the case the cumulative errors, fibs, self-deception, lies, and the terrible policies that result have created a situation in which more of the same means we're doomed?


Tonigh, Obama will give a speech. Lots of Republicans won't be there. Below is a list. DeMint (professional crackpot) gives the best or, in any event, most revealing, explanation. He told the Obama just exactly what to and Obama didn't do therefore, DeMint won't be there. Why, it's almost as if Obama thinks he is a co-equal who won a national election the temerity he shows by failing to take a Southern white gentleman's advice.

These folks aren't showing up:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.): The Hill says he wanted the president to present the plan in writing before giving the speech and that he wants to draw attention to people who make jobs instead of talking about them. He’ll meet with Boeing officials and employees.

● Rep. Joe Walsh (R., Ill.): The Tea Party–allied representative will host a forum on small businesses. He said he doesn’t want to be a “prop,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

● Sen. David Vitter (R., La): He’s having a Saints–Packers watch party at home with friends, and he’s emphasized that his decision is based on his football fanaticism rather than his political views. But he told Fox that he expects the speech to be “more political than substantive.”

● Rep. Paul Broun (R., Ga.): He plans to watch from his office so he can tweet about it –– representatives aren’t supposed to use their Blackberries in the chamber. He did the same thing during the State of the Union address.

● Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas): Spokesman Gary Howard said yesterday that he doesn’t plan to attend the speech. Paul has made a habit of skipping primetime presidential speeches, including State of the Union addresses, dismissing them as “a bunch of fluff.”

● Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.): He probably won’t be there, but not for political reasons –– Yahoo reports that his mother is ill.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Here In Wisconsin: Paul Ryan is a Horrid Little Man

Via we learn that unhappy that regular folks crashed his 15 dollar a head town hall meeting, Paul Ryan had  them arrested:

Meanwhile in Missouri, the GOP wants to
pay for a business tax cut by eliminating a tax credit that benefits more than 100,000 senior citizens and disabled people.

What in the world is happening to us?

Via everyone in the know universe.  Over 41 death row prisoners in Texas have been exonerated, which is the most in the nation. Last night professional vampyre and general threat to western civilization Rick Perry had this to say about that, while the crowd, like howler monkeys, roared their approval:

See also:

There you go.

Forgotten Mistakes

On July 28, 1945, a B-25 crashed into the side of the Empire State Building. Until reading this, I'd never heard of the event. How many other tragedies like this have we forgotten? And, as 9/11 memorialization draws ever nearer, how does our decisions about what to remember and what to forget determine how we move forward?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Good God

For some longish time, say thirty years, our representatives have agreed to deregulate industry and capital and, on the basis of the world outside my window and in my professional life, the results have been the opposite of the promises. Rick Perry, the Republican front runner, promises that should he become President:
The EPA officials we have an opportunity to put in place, they’re going to be pro-business, and there’s not going to be any apologies to anybody about it,” he said. “Those agencies won’t know what hit ‘em.”
Great, having destroyed any countless number of jobs and basically succeeding in recreating the 19th century, the neoliberals promise to destroy the environment so that not only will there be no decently paying jobs there will be no liveable world on which the poor can, like fish thrown on the river's bank, gasp for breath while they await their for their miserable lives to end.

Let's all raise a glass to St. Ronnie the Great Communicator and the triumph of the market.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pick 'Em

If you're interested grating tomatoes actually does make a great sauce. Now then, who, as it were, are you? This

Or that:

How 'bout this?


Or this:

Not Really a Contradiction

In today's NYT book review:
Gabrielle Chanel — better known as Coco — was a wretched human being. Anti-Semitic, homophobic, social climbing, opportunistic, ridiculously snobbish and given to sins of phrase-making like “If blonde, use blue perfume,” she was addicted to morphine and actively collaborated with the Germans during the Nazi occupation of Paris. And yet, her clean, modern, kinetic designs, which brought a high-society look to low-regarded fabrics, revolutionized women’s fashion, and to this day have kept her name synonymous with the most glorious notions of French taste and élan.
This is the kind of silliness that drives me nuts. To give a headline: Evil Wretches Still Capable of Artistry. The idea seems to be that if an individual can create something of lasting aesthetic value the fact that he or she was a horrific person ought surprise us despite the fact that the history of the world is filled with precisely those kinds of people.

In a similar fashion, and no doubt equally as surprising, louts with mongoose's aesthetic appreciation of fashion struggled against the evils with which Chanel collaborated. They might, of course, have appreciated something else and yet left nothing of "lasting" value behind but a well bred pig or neatly written ledger, or whathaveyou. Why, it's almost like the objects aesthetic appreciation and ethical actions have nothing whatsoever  to do with one another.