July 2006 Archives
July 31, 2006
Oh Lord, kids!
There's a foul stench coming out of Washington, D.C. these days -- and I have to admit that I'm increasingly alarmed by what I'm reading.
First up: The U.S. is selling $4.6 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia. Draw your own conclusions on that matter.
Secondly: The FBI wants increased surveillance of your private telephone conversations.
Third: The House of Representatives passed the DOPA bill on Friday that the American Library Association calls hard-core, full-on censorship of the public's right to information. This measure could allow the feds to shut down public access to blogs, wikis, instant messaging and the like.
Fourth: The government is one step closer to making "potential enemies of the state" disappear -- and there's not a damn thing you can do about it once they arrest you. There's no presenting evidence on your own behalf, if the government asserts that you’re a big bad boogey man. All they’ll need to look you up is a bit of hearsay, innuendo or “suspicious behavior”. If this measure passes soon, we can look for old school witch hunts to put us in the Halloween spirit.
Fifth: Remember Russell Tice, the NSA officer who revealed our government was engaged in a warrantless wiretapping program, affecting millions of innocent Americans? Well....his ass has been subpoenaed by the Feds for possible misconduct. Leaking information about unconstitutional misconduct is a crime these days. Watergate schmartergate....
Sixth: Speaking of misconduct, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is worried that members of the current administration may be tried as war criminals at a future point. What to do? Draft legislation to exempt them from being prosecuted!
Oh! I forgot Karl Rove's weekend rant that journalists are the problem with America.
I wonder if the folks at the New York Times and Washington Post are intimidated by the never-ending barrage of threats and accusations that issue from the Bush administration on a daily basis?
It's got to be nerve-wracking as the situation in the Middle East gets messier and more and more fingers point to Washington.
That's all I have to share at this point -- these antics and the culture of fear they create is dismal and depressing. I just want to eat some cheese, watch some classic TV (featuring Nell Carter) and pretend, at least for a while, that all’s well with America.
I know that's not particularly poignant, but it's the truth.
Time has shown that the easiest way to control bad press is to stop the presses.
I can't help but wonder if that day will be sooner than any of us can imagine.
July 29, 2006
Below is an entry I transcribed from the journal I kept when I was 10 years old.
Looking back on it, I'm amused that I thought Prince Charles could be a Marine -- and I'm curious why I used the word "them" when writing about a black child on a TV show.
It's also interesting to note that I went to piano lesson, read two books, played a game of tag, watched a televised royal wedding and I still wrote, "Nothing happened today."
25 years later, that sounds like a busy day.
- - - -
July 29, 1981
Today, Lady Diana and Prince Charles were married. Lady Diana wore a pretty gown of pink. Charles wore his Navy uniform or Marine.
I went to piano today.
At home, Travis played ball tag...cont.
Diff'rent Strokes was good. Arnold went to a new school. But other people did not want them to.
Nothing happened today.
I stayed at home. I read two books - The Black Stallion and The Letter, The Witch and The Ring.
Tomorrow, I am going to Jennifer's (my niece)
July 27, 2006
Janice Dickinson. No, really. I don't understand why she is relevant and has a TV show. I understand why Angie Dickinson had a TV show -- but lipo-sucked, botoxed white ladies behaving badly isn't exactly new, as this interview with Phyllis Diller illuminates. It's just that being the butt of one's own jokes has been replaced with portions of one's butt being pumped into some chump's bottom lip.
Lady Body Builders [lots of photos here].
How I overlooked this site for so long: Truth Dig.
July 26, 2006
Some how, some way, some very clever art director managed to convince the powers that be that "fanifesto" was a word, and that "All of Detroit and Chicago goals are belong to us" would add "some edge" to the St. Louis Blues Blog.
I've never seen such a trite marketing ploy in all my life.
Wal-Mart's recent marketing pitch to teenagers is equally insipid, as far as I'm concerned.
You cannot co-op what's cool (or what used to be cool), folks.
It's like Rick Dees' Disco Duck. You can take a good thing and make it cringe-worthy.
Hockey is about white men behaving badly and Wal-Mart isn't about style.
And Rick Dees...well...judge for yourself.
July 19, 2006
The BBC reports that clones are people, too. Even if Dubya bans stem cell research today -- sooner or later, men and women will find a way to keep tinkering with nature for commercial purposes and individual gain.
As far as I'm concerned, biotech is just space-age eugenics in disguise. I've written about this matter before.
Here is my letter to my clone, should he ever walk the face of this earth.
- - -
Listen here, clone.
Yes, I'm talking to you, or is that me, version 2.0?
We got some shit to discuss. You see, clone, some folks operate under the notion that "if they had to do it all over again" they'd do things differently.
I don't subscribe to that notion, but here are a few rules that might benefit the little clone drones of the future.
1. I'm not going to tell you not to smoke, not to drink, not to do drugs, not to pick up truckers, not to do all sorts of shit I've done that I now regret. You're a big clone now, and you can make your own fucked-up decisions and live with the consequences. Just do your best to remain charming, gracious and never, ever let a door slam in a lady clone’s face. You might be a carbon copy, meddling, gossipy, pseudo badass, but don't you ever, ever, forget your manners.
2. If you can't pay for it, you don't need it. That's my financial advice to you, my dear clone. Once I fade from existence, you'll have a sizeable inheritance of useless bric-a-brac that some vacuous, trendy asshole in art school will find cool and worth a fistful of coins. You might make enough to get half-way to somewhere.
3. Find a place to live that's not infested with crazy white people.
4. The most important thing, my little duplicate, is that you understand that winning, no matter what the cost, leaves you morally bankrupt. That's worse than Shrimp flavored Ramen noodles accented with Long John Silver's tartar sauce. Trust.
5. Idle hands are one thing, but if your mind is idle -- or addled -- I will come back from the grave, take off my Payless buy-one, got-one-free shoe and hit you upside your head 'til you start thinking again.
6. Don't go to college 'til you are grown and can handle the responsibility of critical thinking. Fuck around, make friends, learn some responsibility, travel and engage you mind in activities that do not center on bongs and keggers. Most importantly, move! Move far away from what you know and learn something new. Challenge yourself. It will make you appreciate what you had growing up in that Petri dish. Most notably: air conditioning, a constant source of nutrients and trained health care professionals.
7. The world is full of misunderstood people. They make plenty of mistakes, as do you. That doesn't mean you can trust them with your debit card, but you can trust they're getting by the best way they know how. There's always room for improvement.
8. Loyal, caring, decent, hard-working friends are the best investment you'll ever make.
9. A bad mood is just as fleeting as a good mood. In my case, the bad ones have just been more memorable. I hope you have better luck with that.
10. My dear little clone, you are not destined to repeat my mistakes. Just make sure you don't keep repeating yours.
July 18, 2006
The Center for Media and Democracy explains astroturfing here, but in a nutshell, it goes like this: public relations agencies frequently receive money from corporate or political organizations to engineer social movements.
These rascals then go about to manufacture “a group of concerned citizens” who believe in a political party or corporation’s agenda.
These aren't folks "naturally" coming together for a common cause. These aren't folks "organically" organizing themselves because of any true belief or shared value system. It’s not a collection of rag-tag volunteers in a church basement, giving up their time, money, resources and energy to make a difference in this world.
Oh, hell no.
There's just a shit-load of cash; a shit load-of telemarketers calling folks asking and leading questions; some folks giving their opinion; and a shit-load of p.r. spin after the fact.
It's manufacturing a social movement that really doesn’t exist -- and it’s been a mostly Republican tactic.
This trend is now being met by full-on, flat-out resistance from public relations agencies that think the practice is dishonest, unethical and, perhaps, even illegal.
More information is here: The New Public Relations
It is also interesting to note that several affluent Democratic operatives have started organizing themselves, as well. In secret.
To what end? Who the hell knows? I don’t expect a Democrat to act any better than a Republican these days. Democrats have not been especially thoughtful of late – unless you place value on being a pandering, popularity contestant.
It is, I suspect, simply the times we live in -- when folks will do just about anything to win. Whether it’s an election or an argument, when folks resort to lying, stealing, conniving and destroying other people for the sake of victory, isn’t that victory stained, tainted and tarnished?
If you have to manufacture “the truth” because you cannot prove the merits of your argument…aren’t you just a big, fat, fucking, phony liar?
Republicans have been manufacturing resistance for decades to counteract Democratic arguments -- and now Democrats are so pissed they didn’t think of it first, they’re going to start doing the same thing?
Trouble is, folks: with all this shit-slinging, who's gonna slosh through the feces to find the truth?
And when absolutely nobody is living up to their principles, who the hell is going to believe the truth, even when they hear it?
The point of this rant is that democracy relies on giving the public accurate information an allowing them to make choices.
Deceit, dishonesty and democracy don’t mix well, y’all.
It’s just bullshit -- masquerading as freedom.
And living in a shit hole stinks.
July 17, 2006
If someone tries to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, don't bother - someone in Australia already bought it....
CBS News shares this little tid-bit.
Foreign Companies Buy U.S. Roads, Bridges
Foreign companies are buying up American highways and bridges built by U.S. taxpayers
Roads and bridges built by U.S. taxpayers are starting to be sold off, and so far foreign-owned companies are doing the buying...
Washington is not likely to produce more money to build roads. The federal highway fund -- which will have a balance of about $16 billion by the end of 2006 -- will run out in 2009 or 2010, according to White House and congressional estimates.
About half the states now let companies build and operate roads. Many changed their laws recently to do so.
So, let me get this straight:
1. We have no money to pay for roads? We cannot afford to build new roads or manage existing highways and bridges? This country cannot manage its own infrastructure? Maybe that's true: the Federal Reserve says our nation is bankrupt.
2. We're so incapable of taking care of ourselves that our political leadership's only response is to sell our roads, bridges, highways and infrastructure to foreign investors? Not surprising: our nation's capital is in lock-down/crime emergency mode, after all. It's so bad in DC - Americans claim to feel safer dodging bombs in Israel than they do living in the United States!
I guess folks are just getting used to the notion that a nation of broke-ass, violent, criminal nitwits is...what...evolution?
It seems poverty, despair, crime, violence and legislative larceny are now the accepted and official standards of our nation.
We’re not, exactly, doing anything to change the circumstances, are we?
It’s like a John Waters movie.
But who’s laughing?
July 12, 2006
CNN and Fortune Magazine discuss this issue:
Lost in a mass of niches
The advent of 300 channels and the Internet has fragmented audiences - and the explosion of choice has left us poorer
...the explosion of choice has left us poorer in at least two arenas. The first is journalism...The network evening newscasts, big-city newspapers and the national news magazines once had the money, access, skills, commitment and power to deliver lots of original reporting and put important issues on the national agenda. Today, they are all diminished.
The second arena where we are worse off is politics. This is related to journalism, as the moderate and responsible (okay, bland) voices of the MSM get drowned out by partisan, opinionated cableheads and bloggers.
Politics in America has become polarized for many reasons, but a big one is the fact that people can now filter the news and opinion they get to avoid exposure to ideas with which they disagree.