Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Girl, You Have No Faith In These Answers
1. Well, I've been up to Paris and I've slept in a park, went down to Barcelona, someone broke in my car. Euro-Trash Girl; Cracker
2. Is there anybody going to listen to my story? Girl; Beatles
3. There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder. Girls Talk; Elvis Costello
4. Hey where did we go, days when the rains came, down in a hollow playin' a new game. Brown Eyed Girl; Van Morrison
5. I... who took the money? Who took the money away? Girlfriend Is Better; Talking Heads
6. You pretend you're high, you pretend you're bored, you pretend you're anything just to be adored. Stupid Girl; Garbage
7. I'm not talking about the kind of clothes she wears... Stupid Girl; Rolling Stones
8. Good loving, the girl's got pretty good loving, ask me how I know, and I'll tell you so... She Used To Be My Girl; O’Jays
9. Genny came over and told me 'bout Fred. "He's such a hairy behemoth," she said. I Kissed A Girl; Jill Sobule
10. I need an easy friend, I do with an ear to lend. About A Girl; Nirvana
**Bonus** If I may be so bold that I just say something, come and make me my day... The Girl In The Dirty Shirt; Oasis
Extra-special double-secret covered in chocolate answers for the lines from Comments, which it appears no one but Robo out there could answer, and him only one of the three (thus everyone else missed out on all those doubly-secret extra-special chocolate-covered bonus points): From George, Girlfriend by Jonathan Richman and Girlfriend by Matthew Sweet, respectively. My additional line was from Waiting For You, Girl (aka Central Valley Mud) by Cracker.
Back at it next week, most likely.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Drinks On The Helmet!
Just in case some of you are wondering when the next BARBARian beer bash is scheduled, wonder no more. Saturday afternoon, March 1st, we will be occupying the back tables at Zeitgeist -- located on Valencia and Duboce Streets in San Francisco -- for the better part of the day and probably on into the evening. Come on out for some conversation, beer, political talk, beer, conviviality, beer and possibly a Manhattan or two. Look for the horned helmet and the
As always, all Bay Area bloggers and readers are welcome, but -- fair warning here -- if you live on the right side of the dial, you may not be as comfortable among us as you might like. I mean, I'm just sayin'.
(Cross-posted at The BARBARian Blog.)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Yield To His Noodly Appendage
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Whose Opening Line Is It, Anyway: I Know What Boys Like
This week's quiz 'n' theme is another easy-peasy one, or should be for most of you. Especially... yes, you, I'm talkin' to you, who do you think I'm talkin' to? Anyway, feel good about yourselves out there and get some of these right, all right? All right then.
1. Well, I've been up to Paris and I've slept in a park, went down to Barcelona, someone broke in my car.
2. Is there anybody going to listen to my story?
3. There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder.
4. Hey where did we go, days when the rains came, down in a hollow playin' a new game.
5. I... who took the money? Who took the money away?
6. You pretend you're high, you pretend you're bored, you pretend you're anything just to be adored.
7. I'm not talking about the kind of clothes she wears...
8. Good loving, the girl's got pretty good loving, ask me how I know, and I'll tell you so...
9. Genny came over and told me 'bout Fred. "He's such a hairy behemoth," she said.
10. I need an easy friend, I do with an ear to lend.
**Bonus** If I may be so bold that I just say something, come and make me my day...
Answers Friday, unless I drop from exhaustion before then.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Monday Off Random Flickr Blogging
Friday, February 15, 2008
Answers So Close, And Yet So Far Away
Here's the key:
1. I’ve waited for hours for this, I’ve made myself so sick, I wish I’d stayed asleep today. Close To Me; The Cure
2. Young teacher, the subject of schoolgirl fantasy… Don’t Stand So Close To Me; The Police
3. Here I am again in this mean old town… So Far Away; Dire Straits
4. I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield… Far Away Eyes; Rolling Stones (aka those old farts that I like so much)
5. How soft a whisper can get when you’re walking through a crowded space. Closer To You; Wallflowers
6. Chain smoke rings like a vapor snake kiss, she says she don’t know why. Closer You Are; Guided By Voices
7. Where the road is dark and the seed is sowed, where the gun is cocked and the bullet’s cold… Further On (Up The Road); Bruce Springsteen
8. There may come a time when you’ll be tired, as tired as a dream that wants to die… Further To Fly; Paul Simon
9. If you had not fallen, then I would not have found you. Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground; Willie Nelson
10. A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace, and rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace. Close To The Edge; Yes
**Bonus** You can listen to the money, you can listen to your friends, but if you listen to your heartbeat you might never go home again. Closer To You; Jackie Greene
Back at it next Tuesday.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
And second, this Kevin Drum article linked to by mrgumby2u. We need to start now if we're going to derail the Straitjacket Express between now and November.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Reason Enough Not To Vote For McCain
Lookin' Good, Jesus!
So, speaking of Jesus Christ, my pal Marty pointed me to a site called Lookin' Good for Jesus that is definitely worth a look if you're looking for a laugh. Here's a picture of the back side of what they call their "Mini Kit" (Item Qy590, only $19.99, if you're ordering).
The description of this item reads as follows:
Redeems you in his eyes and takes the edge off sinning. Contains mirrored Jesus statuette, vanilla nectar lip balm, Easter-Lily hand & body cream (with sparkle!) and a folding mirror compact.
There are plenty more products there to help you look good for Jesus -- like coin purses, air fresheners, breath sprays, etc. -- check 'em out!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
From Glenn Greenwald in today's Salon.com:
Amnesty Day for Bush and lawbreaking telecoms
The Senate today -- led by Jay Rockefeller, enabled by Harry Reid, and with the active support of at least 12 (and probably more) Democrats, in conjunction with an as-always lockstep GOP caucus -- will vote to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration's years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans. The long, hard efforts by AT&T, Verizon and their all-star, bipartisan cast of lobbyists to grease the wheels of the Senate -- led by former Bush 41 Attorney General William Barr and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick -- are about to pay huge dividends, as such noble efforts invariably do with our political establishment.
It's worth taking a step back and recalling that all of this is the result of the December, 2005 story by the New York Times which first reported that the Bush administration was illegally spying on Americans for many years without warrants of any kind. All sorts of "controversy" erupted from that story. Democrats everywhere expressed dramatic, unbridled outrage, vowing that this would not stand. James Risen and Eric Lichtblau were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for exposing this serious lawbreaking. All sorts of Committees were formed, papers written, speeches given, conferences convened, and editorials published to denounce this extreme abuse of presidential power. This was illegality and corruption at the highest level of government, on the grandest scale, and of the most transparent strain.
What was the outcome of all of that sturm und drang? What were the consequences for the President for having broken the law so deliberately and transparently? Absolutely nothing. To the contrary, the Senate is about to enact a bill which has two simple purposes: (1) to render retroactively legal the President's illegal spying program by legalizing its crux: warrantless eavesdropping on Americans, and (2) to stifle forever the sole remaining avenue for finding out what the Government did and obtaining a judicial ruling as to its legality: namely, the lawsuits brought against the co-conspiring telecoms. In other words, the only steps taken by our political class upon exposure by the NYT of this profound lawbreaking is to endorse it all and then suppress any and all efforts to investigate it and subject it to the rule of law.
To be sure, achieving this took some time. When Bill Frist was running the Senate and Pat Roberts was in charge of the Intelligence Committee, Bush and Cheney couldn't get this done (the same FISA and amnesty bill that the Senate will pass today stalled in the 2006 Senate). They had to wait until the Senate belonged (nominally) to Harry Reid and, more importantly, Jay Rockefeller was installed as Committee Chairman, and then -- and only then -- were they able to push the Senate to bequeath to them and their lawbreaking allies full-scale protection from investigation and immunity from the consequences of their lawbreaking.
That's really the most extraordinary aspect of all of this, if one really thinks about it -- it isn't merely that the Democratic Senate failed to investigate or bring about accountability for the clearest and more brazen acts of lawbreaking in the Bush administration, although that is true. Far beyond that, once in power, they are eagerly and aggressively taking affirmative steps -- extraordinary steps -- to protect Bush officials. While still knowing virtually nothing about what they did, they are acting to legalize Bush's illegal spying programs and put an end to all pending investigations and efforts to uncover what happened.
How far we've come -- really: disgracefully tumbled -- from the days of the Church Committee, which aggressively uncovered surveillance abuses and then drafted legislation to outlaw them and prevent them from ever occurring again. It is, of course, precisely those post-Watergate laws which the Bush administration and their telecom conspirators purposely violated, and for which they are about to receive permanent, lawless protection.
What Harry Reid's Senate is about to do today would be tantamount to the Church Committee -- after discovering the decades of abuses of eavesdropping powers by various administrations -- proceeding in response to write legislation to legalize unchecked surveillance, bar any subjects of the illegal eavesdropping from obtaining remedies in court, and then pass a bill with no purpose other than to provide retroactive immunity for the surveillance lawbreakers. That would be an absurd and incomparably corrupt nonsequitur, but that is precisely what Harry Reid's Senate -- in response to the NYT's 2005 revelations of clear surveillance lawbreaking by the administration -- is going to do today.
Analogously, in 1973, The Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize for its work in uncovering the Watergate abuses, and that led to what would have been the imminent bipartisan impeachment of the President until he was forced to resign in disgrace. By stark and depressing contrast, in 2006, Jim Risen, Eric Lichtblau and the NYT won Pulitzer Prizes for their work in uncovering illegal spying on Americans at the highest levels of the Government, and that led to bipartisan legislation to legalize the illegal spying programs and provide full-scale retroactive amnesty for the lawbreakers. That's the difference between a country operating under the rule of law and one that is governed by lawlessness and lawbreaking license for the politically powerful and well-connected.
Chris Dodd went to the Senate floor last night and gave another eloquent and impassioned speech, warning of the consequences for our country from telecom amnesty. He specifically focused on the permanently and comprehensively suppressive effect it will have on efforts to investigate what the Bush administration did in illegally spying on Americans.
At around 2:25, Sen. Dodd quoted from this blog (from this post specifically regarding last week's testimony of Michael Mukasey) concerning the consequences for our country from ensuring, as the Senate is about to do, that such blatant and deliberate governmental lawbreaking is protected and goes forever unpunished (h/t selise):
From Frank Church and the bipartisan oversight protections of the post-Watergate abuses in the mid-1970s to Jay Rockefeller, Dick Cheney, legalized warrantless eavesdropping and retroactive telecom amnesty in 2008 -- that vivid collapse into the sewer illustrates as potently as anything could what has happened to this country over the last eight years.
UPDATE: The Dodd/Feingold amendment to remove telecom immunity from the bill just failed by a whopping vote of 31-67 -- 20 votes shy of the 50 needed for a passage. A total of 18 Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for immunity: Bayh, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Stabenow, Feinstein, Kohl, Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, Carper, Mikulski, Conrad, Webb, and Lincoln. Obama voted against immunity, and Hillary Clinton was the only Senator not voting. Thus, the breakdown on the vote was similar to what it always is:
Democrats -- 31-18
Republicans -- 0-49
As always, when it comes to the most radical Bush policies, the GOP lines up lock-step behind them, and the Democrats split, always with more than enough to join the Republicans to ensure passage. That's the process that is called "bipartisanship" in the Beltway.
Perhaps even more repugnantly, even Dianne Feinstein's amendment merely to provide that the FISA bill they are about to pass would be the "exclusive means" for presidential eavesdropping failed by a vote of 57-41 (it fell 3 votes shy of the 60 votes needed for passage, under the agreement which requires that every amendment attract the number of votes it cannot get). As Kagro at Kos says:
In rejecting the Feinstein "exclusivity" amendment to the FISA revision considered on the Senate floor today -- an amendment that failed by a vote of 57 Ayes to 41 Noes, thanks to another "painless filibuster" of precisely the type we were promised would not be tolerated on this bill -- the Senate has voted to say that although they were passing a law governing surveillance, it was OK if the President decided that he really didn't like the law very much and wished to make up his own instead.So not only is the Senate enacting a bill granting vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers to the President, they are unwilling even to declare that it is the law of the land and that he is required to abide by it (Matt Browner Hamlin has the equally reprehensible vote tallies on the other amendments here).
Exclusivity -- the purpose of the amendment that "failed" -- meant simply this: that the law they were passing was the law, and it was the governing authority for how surveillance could be conducted in America.
The Senate just rejected it, so that means that they're passing a law, but if a president decides later on that he thinks there's really some other controlling authority besides the law, that's OK.
UPDATE II: FDL has a petition, jointly sponsored by me, directed at House members, demanding that they reject this lawless, authoritarian Senate bill and defend their own, previously passed bill (the RESTORE Act). I encourage everyone to sign it. You can do so here.
UPDATE III: Atrios makes a point always worth highlighting:
While one can't discountThere's a temptation, particularly on days like today, to talk about what motivates "Democrats" -- as though they're a monolith acting collectively with the same drives. They're not. Some do what they do because their only concern is a craven desire to be re-elected. Others believe in one thing but are afraid to vote that way (because they'll be called Soft on Terror, Liberal, etc.), while others still are influenced by Beltway money and other cultural pressures. Some are motivated by a combination of those motives.
legalized briberycampaign dollars entirely, I do think too often we assume they're the reason lawmakers do the "wrong thing" when the simpler explanation that they believe the wrong thing is in fact the right thing is the answer.
Too many Democrats simply don't have the values we imagine they do, and it lets them off the hook too much to assume they're simply craven people who need to get re-elected instead of bad people who don't share our values.
But a large number of elected Democrats vote in favor of the radical Bush agenda for a very simple reason: they believe in it. Despite the glorious "D" after their name, their views are materially indistinguishable from the defining ones of the Bush faction on the key issues. A huge portion of Congressional Democrats are members of the corrupt, bipartisan Beltway political establishment first, and everything only follows that, and they thus embrace and support the values of that establishment.
That's why Bush has won and -- even with "Democrats in control of Congress" -- continues to win most key votes. The fault lines in the Beltway aren't primarily between Republican and Democrat but between those who support the core values of our political establishment (as reflected by the Bush administration) and those who don't. Through a bulging coalition of both Democrats and Republicans, the pro-establishment forces have a strong, clear and easy majority, and that's why the most radical Bush measures continue not only to prevail, but -- as today -- do so easily.
UPDATE IV: Here is the first paragraph from Eric Lichtblau's NYT article this afternoon:
After more than a year of heated political wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory Tuesday by voting to broaden the government's spy powers and to give legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program.To conserve resources, newspapers should just create a macro of that phrase -- "the Senate handed the White House a major victory today" -- and then just program it to be automatically inserted into every article reporting on anything done by the Senate. That system would be foolproof.
On a related note, The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin cites the primary justification for telecom amnesty -- that these companies were just doing what they were told by the Government -- and then asks rhetorically: "isn't that the very definition of a police state: that companies should do whatever the government asks, even if they know it's illegal?" I used to think that amnesty supporters held their position because they didn't understand this extremely simple point, but now I think that most of them have their position precisely because they do understand it. A lawless "police state" -- and that's the only term that can be used to describe what this bill creates -- is exactly what our political establishment desires.
UPDATE V: Final passage in the Senate of the Cheney/Rockefeller bill was 68-29. 19 Democrats joined all Republicans to vote in favor of warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty: Conrad, Rockefeller, Baucus, Webb, Kohl, Whitehouse, Bayh, Johnson, Bill Nelson, Mikulski, McCaskill, Lincoln, Casey, Salazar, Inouye, Ben Nelson, Pryor, Carper, and Landrieu. Neither Obama nor Clinton voted on final passage.
Whose Opening Line Is It, Anyway: Hither And Yon
1. I’ve waited for hours for this, I’ve made myself so sick, I wish I’d stayed asleep today.
2. Young teacher, the subject of schoolgirl fantasy…
3. Here I am again in this mean old town…
4. I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield…
5. How soft a whisper can get when you’re walking through a crowded space.
6. Chain smoke rings like a vapor snake kiss, she says she don’t know why.
7. Where the road is dark and the seed is sowed, where the gun is cocked and the bullet’s cold…
8. There may come a time when you’ll be tired, as tired as a dream that wants to die…
9. If you had not fallen, then I would not have found you.
10. A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace, and rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace.
**Bonus** You can listen to the money, you can listen to your friends, but if you listen to your heartbeat you might never go home again.
Answers Friday, honest!
Monday, February 11, 2008
That's all I got.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Pre-Monday Random Flickr Blogging
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Criminals And The Congress That Enables Them
My rant yesterday about Senator Useless is just the tip of the iceberg. It's all of them, all the members of Congress who refuse to do their duty and enforce any sort of oversight or even attempt to put the brakes on this most criminal of administrations in U.S. history. The corporate media, as we all know, have no interest in presenting this case to the American people, many of whom simply yawn at it anyway. So what can we do?
I'm not asking that rhetorically, I would really like to know: What can we, as patriotic, America-loving citizens, do to restore the rule of law to our government? Because right now it is broken, and the once-discredited Nuremberg defense of "I was only following orders" -- along with Nixon's old claim that "if the president does it, that means it's not illegal" -- seems to be a valid defense for these administration criminals and their confederates. We learned in 2006, to our chagrin, that simply voting Democratic is not the answer. Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton have made much, if any, noise about reining in an out-of-control president, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have proven themselves to be particularly ineffective in that regard. (Is it any wonder that Congress' approval rating hovers in the low 20s, even lower than the Lying Sack Of Preznit's new low of 30%?)
Seriously, short of armed insurrection, what can (and should) we do?
(Generik h/t to aimai at If I Ran The Zoo for the link.)
Friday, February 08, 2008
STFU, Senator Useless
Dear Mr. (Generik):
Thank you for your letter concerning impeachment proceedings against President Bush. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.
In our recent elections, the American people expressed clear disapproval with the path this country was on. They are tired of partisan politics and of an Administration that pays little heed to the wishes of the American people. They want-and deserve-a Congress that holds the Administration accountable and fulfills its Constitutional responsibility to check and balance the Executive. I share this sentiment and am determined to work hard and across party lines in the United States Senate to promote issues that are of real concern to most Americans, including the situation in
At this time, however, I believe that impeachment proceedings against President Bush will only divide the country even further, frustrating our hopes for a meaningful change in direction, while having little chance of success.
I have been deeply disappointed by many of this Administration's actions and have been outspoken in those instances. Nevertheless, given the challenges our country faces I believe that we need to focus on constructive and cooperative steps that would lead us in the right direction.
Again, thank you for your continued correspondence. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact my office in
United States Senator
Translated: "At this time, however, I believe that blatant criminal behavior should not be punished as long as it was committed by someone in power who is still supported by even the smallest fraction of American citizens and corporations who may possibly vote for me in the future, contribute to my campaign coffers, spend vast amounts of money lobbying me or do business with me or my spouse in a manner that will cause me to become even more wealthy than I am already. Pursuing criminal charges, or even investigating them, holds little chance of success as long as we, the elite in power, wish to maintain the status quo and keep riding the gravy train that you insignificant folks contibute to, in whatever small way."
Do us all a favor, Dianne, and resign now.
Can't Be The Answer
Umm... never mind. Here are the answers (I can reveal those, apparently).
1. Do you remember anyone here? No, you don't remember anything at all. Memories Can't Wait; Talking Heads
2. You've been told, so maybe it's time that you learned. You've been sold, maybe it's time that you earned. I Can't Stand It; Eric Clapton
3. The way things go you get so low, struggle to find your skin. Can't Stand It; Wilco
4. It's hard bein' a man, livin' in a garbage pail. My landlady called me up, she tried to hit me with a mop. I Can't Stand It; Velvet Underground
5. Come down off your throne and leave your body alone; somebody must change. Can't Find My Way Home; Blind Faith
6. I can turn the grayest sky blue; I can make it rain, whenever I want it to. Can't Get Next To You; Temptations (also very ably covered by Al Green and a few others, including the *ahem* Rolling Stones)
7. Yeah, you got satin shoes, yeah, you got plastic boots, y'all got cocaine eyes, yeah, you got speed-freak jive. Can't You Hear Me Knockin'; Rolling Stones (who?)
8. Gonna take a freight train down at the station, lord, I don' t care where it goes. Can't You See; Marshall Tucker Band (a very good song in its own right, though I prefer the version by the late, great Waylon Jennings)
9. I've called you so many times today and I guess it's all true what your girlfriends say. Can't Stand Losing You; The Police
10. Give me a story and give me a bed, give me possessions, oh, love, luck and money they go to my head like wildfire... Can't Be Sure; The Sundays
**Bonus** Well, I don't mind workin', 'cause I used to be jerkin' off most of my time in the bars. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work; Tom Waits
Another attempt to stump you smart fellers will show up in this space Tuesday, as dog is my witness.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Sons Of Mittens
No, really, stop laughing. I'm serious. Really!
Okay, but still. The question does give one pause, doesn't it? Wonder if anyone's asked them yet?
We've Lost Our Mittens
Looks like the road is free and clear for Angry Man McCain to piss off the Limbaugh-Coulter-Hannity crowd in the GOP and take the nomination now. Mike Huckabee doesn't stand a hope in hell of overcoming the Angry Man's lead. So how does this affect the Dems? If it's McCain vs. Clinton, I think McCain stands a better than even chance of getting elected. If Obama is the candidate, I think he beats McCain handily.
Still very much up in the air...
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Super Tuesday, Mostly Ordinary Wednesday
On the Democratic side, Clinton and Obama are essentially in a dead heat, a virtual tie for delegates, and nothing is delivered. You'd have to say that Obama is surging, and I believe he has a bit more money to spend between now and the end of the nominating process, but Clinton is by no means out of it. Winning the big states last night, California and Massachussetts and New York (among others), will keep her in the race until the end.
On the GOP side, Rush's anti-BFF McCain came out the big winner, even though many conservatives can't stand him. Mittens won a few, but may decide as early as today that he's throwing money down a rathole and is better off "spending time with his family." And try as they might, they still haven't been able to shut the Huck up. He came on surprisingly strong last night, though how his Baptist schtick will play outside of the South is anyone's guess. (Here's mine: It won't.)
What I find surprising is how much each one of the Repub candidates are disliked by certain segments of their own party. Limbaugh and Coulter and their pals can't stand McCain or Huckabee, and the word is that nobody really likes Romney -- and he may drop out very soon anyway. So who are they going to rally behind when the whistle blows?
Of course, Hillary Clinton obviously carries a lot of negatives as well (especially from those same right-wingers), and whle Obama is generating a certain amount of excitement in many quarters, he's still a man of color running for the highest office in the land where virulent racism is alive and well. So it's all still up in the air.
Have I got that about right?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
A Message From David Rees
Dear Mailing List,
In the eight years I've managed this list I've never agitated for a politician. I hope you'll let me abuse your trust this one time.
If you're a friend of mine, or a fan of "Get Your War On," you probably know how important the issue of cluster bombs and landmines is to me.
It was America's use of cluster bombs during Operation: Enduring Freedom that led me to start GYWO seven(!) years ago this fall, and it has been my pleasure and my honor to donate the royalties from the two GYWO anthologies to Mine Detection & Dog Center Team #5, a landmine removal team in western Afghanistan.
If you ever attended a GYWO reading, you probably sat through my video of landmine removal teams in the field, or listened to me read off statistics about that dangerous mission, or indulged me by taking an informational flyer about MDC Team #5 and the sacred work they do.
(If you bought one of the GYWO books, you've helped that work, and I thank you.)
Cluster bombs and landmines are particularly terrifying weapons that wreak havoc on communities trying to recover from war. They are fatal impediments to reconstruction and rehabilitation of agricultural land; they destroy valuable livestock; they disable otherwise productive members of society; they maim or kill children trying to salvage them for scrap metal.
Over 150 nations have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. It pains me that our great nation has not. But in the autumn of 2006, there was a chance to take a step in the right direction: Senate Amendment No. 4882, an amendment to a Pentagon appropriations bill that would have banned the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas.
Senator Obama of Illinois voted IN FAVOR of the ban.
Senator Clinton of New York voted AGAINST the ban.
Analysts say Clinton did want to risk appearing "soft on terror," as it would have harmed her electibility.
I'm not a single-issue voter. But as Obama and Clinton share many policy positions, this vote was revelatory for me. After all, Amendment No. 4882 was an easy one to vote against: Who'd want to risk accusation of "tying the hands of the Pentagon" during a never-ending, global War on Terror? As is so often the case, there was no political cost to doing the wrong thing. And there was no political reward for doing the right thing.
But Senator Obama did the right thing.
Is Senator Obama perfect? Of course not. Nobody who voted for 2005's wack-ass energy bill is perfect. Nobody who voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act is perfect.
But of the two remaining Democratic candidates, one decided her vote on Amendment No. 4882 according to a political calculation. The other used a moral calculation.
I'm 35 years old, and over the years, I've had two experiences in the voting booth: I've voted for politicians I really respected, who I knew could never win. And I've voted for politicians I didn't really respect, because I knew they could win.
Tomorrow, I'm going to vote for a politician I really respect, who I know can win.
I urge you to vote Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States.
Whose Opening Line Is It Anyway: Are You Able?
1. Do you remember anyone here? No, you don't remember anything at all.
2. You've been told, so maybe it's time that you learned. You've been sold, maybe it's time that you earned.
3. The way things go you get so low, struggle to find your skin.
4. It's hard bein' a man, livin' in a garbage pail. My landlady called me up, she tried to hit me with a mop.
5. Come down off your throne and leave your body alone; somebody must change.
6. I can turn the grayest sky blue; I can make it rain, whenever I want it to.
7. Yeah, you got satin shoes, yeah, you got plastic boots, y'all got cocaine eyes, yeah, you got speed-freak jive.
8. Gonna take a freight train down at the station, lord, I don' t care where it goes.
9. I've called you so many times today and I guess it's all true what your girlfriends say.
10. Give me a story and give me a bed, give me possessions, oh, love, luck and money they go to my head like wildfire...
**Bonus** Well, I don't mind workin', 'cause I used to be jerkin' off most of my time in the bars.
Answers on Friday. Now go vote (if you live in a Super Tuesday state)!
Monday, February 04, 2008
A Special Random Flickr Blogging Monday Message To The President
Friday, February 01, 2008
Can’t You Hear Me Answerin’? (Or Are You Too Rolling Stoned?)
Well, color me surprised. Shocked, even. I try to strike a balance on these quizzes between making them so obscure nobody has any clue to what the songs are and making them so easy that everyone gets them as soon as they’re posted, but it seems no one figured out that this week’s trick question was a trick question. You see, all the songs on this quiz are just a small, infinitesimal fraction of the total output of one single band: a little-known group that formed in London in approximately 829 BC known as the Rolling Stones. They had a few minor hits and some near-misses over the years; perhaps you or your parents might have heard of them somewhere down the line.
But if you were like me – and I know I am, but I suspect now that most of you are not – you grew up worshipping the Stones, completely convinced that they were the fucking GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, that Mick Jagger’s spastic bantam rooster dance steps were the epitome of cool, that Keith Richards was a Living God On This Earth (if I had ever had a son, his name, I swear, would be Keith Richard), that the late, lamented Brian Jones was a figure taken straight from a Greek tragedy, that Charlie Watts was the rock solidest drummer that ever lived and the glue that’s kept the band together all these millennia, that Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman should never have quit the band and that Ron Wood is still “the new guy.” You bought every single album, listened to and loved every single song (except Angie; I hate Angie), would spend whatever it took to see them in concert every chance you got, and would have been able to answer this week’s quiz in about five seconds flat.
But I guess I’m the only one, and so, for all you unenlightened Stonesophobes out there, here are the answers to Guess Which Rolling Stones Song This Is. I’ll even throw in which album each one is found on, just for the sake of completeness and the continuing edumacation of my readers. I’ll admit that many of these songs are from the early days of the band, and so might not be as familiar to you young folks out there – but that also means they’ve been around long enough that virtually anyone who grew up with a radio and/or a record player in the past 45 years should have heard them at some point. Obviously, these are not the songs that everyone automatically knows within the first two notes, but if I had used Satisfaction and Brown Sugar and Honky Tonk Women, the game would have been over right away, and where’s the fun and the challenge in that?
Oh, and you know you’ve all just failed the first pop quiz in Professor Generik’s Basic Rock and Soul 101, and now need to spend a few hours each day listening to your local Classic Rock radio station (or, better yet, purchase some of the albums listed here and put them into heavy rotation) in an effort to catch up to the curriculum, right? Right…?
1. Since I was young, I’ve been very hard to please, and I don’t know wrong from right. Sitting On A Fence (Flowers)
2. Why put this sadness inside of me, why be so matter of fact? All Sold Out (Between The Buttons)
3. I hear the click-clack of your feet on the stairs, I know you’re no scare-eyed honey. Stray Cat Blues (Beggar’s Banquet – also on the live album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out) (kudos to Scout for getting at least this one)
4. Sittin’, thinkin’, sinkin’, drinkin’, wonderin’ what I’ll do when I’m through tonight… The Spider And The Fly (Out Of Our Heads – there is also a version on the more recent live album Stripped)
5. Went out walkin’ through the woods the other day, and the world was a carpet laid before me. 100 Years Ago (Goat’s Head Soup)
6. Wadin’ through the waste stormy winter, and there’s not a friend to help you through. Sweet Virginia (Exile On Main Street; Stripped)
7. Yes, star-crossed in pleasure the stream flows on by… Time Waits For No One (It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll)
8. There’s a tramp sittin’ on my doorstep, tryin’ to waste his time. With his mentholated sandwich, he’s a walking clothesline. Jigsaw Puzzle (Beggar’s Banquet)
9. Hey babe, what’s in your eyes? I saw them flashing like airplane lights. You Got The Silver (Let It Bleed)
10. Sittin’ in my bedroom late last night, got into bed and turned out the light… Off The Hook (The Rolling Stones, Now!)
**Bonus** Well, I’m waiting at the bus stop in downtown L.A. The Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man (Out Of Our Heads – also the B-side to the single Satisfaction)
And here I thought that was going to be an easy one for y'all. Shows how much I know. Well, we'll try again Tuesday, minus the trickery and the geezer bands. Maybe.