Friday, June 8, 2012

If Only

While true he ignores the actual fact that for everyone in power the you and me is 1% of the total population:

And You Thought I Was Nuts

Neil Young and Crazy Horse sing Oh Susanna:

A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift lives.

From Here to There

How do you go from vaguely Dylan incomprehensible poetry like this:

To full on political engagement like this

Or, for that matter, from comedic jazzy whatnot like this

 To the near madness of this

To the philosophical depth of this

And that is leaving aside one of the finest albums ever.

In other words, what seems today to be clear and certain will or might in the fullness of time become if not its opposite at least something both weird and wonderful. Or so I tell my self when surveying the current economy and my  place within it.

I May Be Inadequate But You Are Horrid

I was out on a not amble but now quite whiz-round of the Cap City today and was fairly far removed from habitation when I glanced to my left and saw a young man stripped to his boxers with his shorts on his head, no shoes on his feet, no shirt on his back, who was either passed out or sleeping. I called out "are you alright" two or three times while slowing down. He sort of sat up with a dazed look on his mug and some kind of a sore on his right temple.  I trundled back around and stopped the bike off the path and began to ask him some basic questions, do you know where you are? where are you going?, etc, the answers to which indicated that he was not a raving maniac.  I did not have a phone and he had no one to call. He was trying, he said, to get to a cul de sac by the Airport and had, he claimed, walked from Milwaukee. I tried to wave down a cyclist but, it would seem, the ride trumped a fellow human in clear distress.

 As for help he said  he really did not need any. I gave him a full water bottle, all the food I had with me, and 20 bucks and pointed him in the direction of the nearest set of building. As I rode away I was castigating my self for not doing more, giving him some kind of a lift, walking with him to somewhere and, just in general trying to figure out why I didn't do more or something more effective.

It occurred to me that the anti-good Samaritan cyclist, two city or county workers out mowing totally ignored the poor guy. And then as I overtook a jogger, who had run passed and turned back toward whence she had come, ask me what was going on. I slowed down and explained the situation to which she responded that the whole thing was creepy and by word and whathaveyou indicated that she wished the guy would just sort of disappear.

So I may be inadequate and will never qualify as an authentic good Samaritan and, this will come as no  surprise to those who know me, will always be a flawed human being but the rest of you are horrid little people and really need to rethink your relationship with those around you.

Ray Bradbury

is, of course dead. I read and enjoyed all of his books that I read, which is to say some small percentage of all the books that he wrote. I can, fairly vividly, remember the essential strangeness of the texts and the thrill of his use of language.  What I did not know was that Bradbury was huge in the USSR.  As an added bonus a recipe for dandelion wine:
Once we made a bottle of dandelion wine. (Our “micro-district” on the western outskirts of Leningrad was fairly overrun with dandelions in the summer.) Every Soviet teen-ager worth his salt knew how to make a batch of moonshine: You took a pharmacy-bought, five-litre bottle with a narrow mouth; you filled it with four litres of water, added a kilo of sugar, and a stick of yeast. Then you fitted a garden-variety condom over the bottle’s mouth. . . . You pricked a tiny hole through the tip of the condom. Then you left the bottle alone for ten days or so, in some dark, inconspicuous, reasonably warm space. While the process of fermentation was in progress, the condom on top of the bottle remained stiffly erect, held up by the steady stream of outgoing air. Once it was over, the condom fell limply to the side, which was how one knew that the moonshine inside the bottle was ready for consumption. To the initial mix, we added one kilogram of dandelion petals.
The result was
the most revolting concoction imaginable, yet we downed it in swift, greedy gulps, dead drunk while still in the process of drinking.
 The essay is really quite lovely.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Right Explained

Jay Nordlinger over to the NRO's Corner waxes egalitarian:
Some of us believe that America should stand foursquare for equality under the law and equality of opportunity. Equality of outcome, of course, is a different thing altogether.
Except, of course, for the whole marriage of men and women whose sexual orientation Nordlinger and Co despise or perhaps envy, women's pay, access to healthcare, education, and related etc which, as we all know, is the proper property of those with money.

Just below the above bit of dishonesty we find another example of how right-wing notions of equal access and equality under the law falls prey to the righ-wings detestation of minorities. Deroy Murdock writes, his pixels shaking with outrage, of
[a]New Mexico appeals court ruled recently that one’s Christian faith is an insufficient reason to decline business that violates one’s religious views.
It seems that some bogus Christians wanted to not only the one who cast the first stone but also thought Christ's rejection of segregation by deeds was a typo refused to photograph a lesbian wedding.

The clincher to his "argument" is to
[s]uppose Bob and Steve, a gay couple, launch a photography service to take pictures at gay weddings. One day, Jack and Jill show up and ask if Bob and Steve will take photos at their straight wedding. Uh-oh! If Bob and Steve say no, then they will be guilty of sexual-orientation discrimination.
Yes that is right Deroy the implication of a state under law with a commitment to the notion that laws are for all would, in fact, make it illegal to violate the law regardless of the idiocy or legitimacy of the motivation to violate the law.`

The right is the way it is because it, or rather its denizens, have no idea what words, phrase, ideas, and intellectual movements, mean or meant.

Recalled to Life the Final Comment

What exactly the recall election meant or means in Wisconsin politics is, of course, years away from being full understood. However, much of the emergent punditocracy's narrative strikes me as being foolish and wrong and based on a bunch of assumptions that don't hold up to sustained scrutiny.
It is difficult to see how the Walker victory constitutes a resounding defeat for the coalition of unions, workers, and politically active leftists. That coalition has now in place a million something network of politically engaged voters; it has a clear message that abhors the ALEC-based retreat to the 19th century; it has stopped an further rightward shift or shenanigans in the immediate future.

Given that, as everyone pointed out, how Obama was AWOL from the fracas it is difficult to see this election as having any bearing on the up-coming presidential election.

The election also, it seems to me, threw the tactics, strategies, and philosophical orientation of Walker and Barret supporters into sharp contrast. For the coalition behind Barret this was largely a state campaign waged with instate money, volunteers, and related etc over issues specific to Wisconsin.  For Walker's campaign this was a national campaign which drew on the power of the plutocrats his policies benefits and the various right-wing organizations that seek to erode the power of state legislatures to set their own agendas, i.e., ALEC.

Indeed, one constant refrain emerging from the noise and confusion is that Walker is a national figure on the right. This indicates, to me in any event, that the way forward for the neoliberal right and conservatives more generally is away from their always dishonest commitment to states' rights and toward and ever more powerful and autocratic centralized state.

On the plus side:

The Salem runner was last in the race and she picked up the other runner after she collapsed and  made sure she crossed the finish line a head of her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Recalled Yet Again to Life

So it looks like the Wisconsin Dems did, in fact, regain the majority in the Senate by 2%.  Again to all of those touting Walker's expanded political capital, it is just not the case. Furthermore, when you think of the millions of dollars and related etc Walker garnered from outside the state, it ought to be clear that his curiously dead eyes are now fixed on a wider horizon.

The Right Wing revolution is, baring ballot shenanigans, over.

Innovation II

I mentioned the debate about central  planning and innovation over to the Crooked Timber the other day as well as the patriarchal authoritarian lout Bloomberg's stupid regulation. It occurred to me that there is significant overlap between the  opponents of central planning and those on the right who denigrate Bloomberg.

But here is the deal, you know how cars get safer every year, and to the extent that inspections still exists, food and drugs aren't adulterated. That is because of central planning. Ditto roads, bridges, and, in the days of yore, public schools.

Nobody in their right minds wants the state to, say, regulate beer or the taste of burgers or the shape of your clothes but by the same token nobody in their right mind wants to let a bunch of deranged maniacs concerned only with profit to decide how safe a vehicle, fireproof a home, or any related etc.

Sure there are the 27% but none of them are, in fact, in their right mind.

Recalled to Life

So Walker "won." Why the scare quotes? The Dems, it seems, regained control of the Senate. There will, no doubt, be a recount.

The fact of the matter is that the real driving force behind the evisceration if of Wisconsin's economy and the attempt to turn it into the Texas, Georgia, or Alabama of the Great Lakes region was the Fitzgerald duocracy. Take away a viciously undemocratic Senate and watch Walker fail to generate traction state-wide or nationally.

Oh and about that crap about Walker being the next big thing on the national political scene, here's another much touted hope for the future.

Walker is twice as dumb and three times less charismatic.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


As we all know Mayor Bloomberg is busy fulfilling his role as patriarchal-authoritarian-billionaire-twit of the year. Scott Lemieux responds that the proposal that
  this kind of thing can bring out my inner libertarian.
Here is the thing. Libertarians aren't the only ones to oppose patriarchal, authoritarian bullshit, in the Frankfortian sense. Socialists, Communists, and Democratic Socialist oppose this kind of nonsense. By ceding the ground to libertarians Lemieux is valorizing the insane notion that the left generally wants to rob the world of its freedom to do what it will. That simply isn't true.

I find it difficult to believe that anyone seriously dedicated to the reversal of thirty odd years of neoliberals assault on humanity think that Bloomberg's unilateral imposition of a childishly silly policy that will have little to no effect on obesity or consumption is a good idea.

Most of thought and think the no butter diktat was equally silly. Libertarians are twits and insisting that resiting patriarchal, authoritarian bullshit is their bailiwick is to accept their hopelessly blinkered view of the world in which the struggle for effective democratic solutions to the intractable problems of humanity in a  social situation is a form of nanny statesim, which it isn't.