Sunday, October 31, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #4266

Jedi Driver

"To me you talk, hmmm? To me you talk? To whom else talking are you, then, hmmm? Only one here, I am. To whom the fuck talking think you are, hmm?"

(Image originally uploaded by Dave Malkoff; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton. I did not realize that DeNiro improvised those lines—and borrowed 'em from Springsteen. Huh.)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2223

We now join The Flyover Critic, already in progress.

"And another thing: Why do they call 'em drawing rooms, anyway? You never see anyone draw in 'em."


"And why the hell ain't nobody come up with an emoticon for tobacco spittin' yet? Consarnit."

We now leave The Flyover Critic, never to return.

(Image originally uploaded by ajmatthehiddenhouse; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


The Question of the Day

Robert Parry:

But how did the United States of America get here? How could the most powerful nation on earth with a sophisticated media reach this place where a comedian is needed to point out how crazy the political system has become?
I cannot attend the Rally to Restore Sanity today, but I'll be checking in the next days to see how it's spun by the corporate media. Parry explains the hostility that's already shown:
Many centrists are uncomfortable with Stewart’s rally for a different reason. They may find his jokes amusing, but they reject his more serious message – that the U.S. political/media process has gone quite literally mad. If you’re a Washington-Post-or-CNN-styled journalist, you simply can’t accept that the system you have helped sustain is insane.

To do so – and to be honestly self-critical – would require acknowledging that you sat on your hands in the face of George W. Bush’s violent delusions of the past decade because to do otherwise would have put your salary at risk. For these centrists to accept the need to restore sanity would require them to admit they tolerated madness.

Anne Applebaum's heart can sink all the way to freaking Atlantis for all I care.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #9379

Because the Arizona State women's team has a penchant for "wardrobe malfunctions," that's why.
(Image originally uploaded by fdecomite; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)



Great job by NPR of uncovering the private interests behind the already infamous Arizona immigration law:

When it was passed in April, it ignited a fire storm. Protesters chanted about racial profiling. Businesses threatened to boycott the state.

Supporters were equally passionate, calling it a bold positive step to curb illegal immigration.

But while the debate raged, few people were aware of how the law came about.

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Apparently, one of the few things America is still good at manufacturing is hysteria. (h/t Dean Baker)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1097

As sports videos go, 101 Great Rotator Cuff Injuries is admittedly pretty tame.
(Image originally uploaded by dragonsfanatic; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


George Monbiot observes that the Tea Party movement is "one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen"—and a massive Astroturf campaign whipped by a handful of plutocratic interests and their archipelago of ever-eager-to-please think tanks. I think this sums it up pretty well (emphases mine):

Most of these bodies call themselves "free-market thinktanks", but their trick – as (Astro)Turf Wars points out – is to conflate crony capitalism with free enterprise, and free enterprise with personal liberty. Between them they have constructed the philosophy that informs the Tea Party movement: its members mobilise for freedom, unaware that the freedom they demand is freedom for corporations to trample them into the dirt. The thinktanks that the Kochs have funded devise the game and the rules by which it is played; Americans for Prosperity coaches and motivates the team.
Yes: many so-called libertarians are not libertarians; they're oligarchists. Whether they're dishonest about their true loyalties or merely confused, I don't know, but they are not champions of real human freedom.

Just ask Lauren Valle.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6522

Feel free to compliment my blog on its devil-may-wear attitude.
(Image originally uploaded by gchuang; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Your Petroleum Broadcasting System

Greg Palast says that the recent Frontline documentary about the BP spill, by focusing on BP's "management culture" and diverting attention from the other big companies, functioned largely as oil industry PR—and that PBS has a crappy record when it comes to investigative reporting on Big Energy.

Why am I picking on poor little PBS? I'll be the first to tell you they are the best you're going to get on the US boob tube. And PBS has spared us embarrassing scenes of Anderson Cooper pretending to save an oily pelican while floating in a canoe with Bobby Jindal.

Tonight, in a deep, serious voice, the PBS narrator intoned, If BP had paid attention to the warnings of experts and regulators, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy could have been prevented.

Damn right. And if PBS had paid attention to the oil story, maybe that too could have prevented the tragedy.

In 1998, a prestigious producer working with BBC Television approached PBS and Frontline with a bombshell of a project: The story of British Petroleum and its partners and revelations, then confidential, of reckless disregard, if not downright fraud, in preventing and containing massive oil spills.

PBS smacked it away.

Instead, Frontline's producer, WGBH, spent several million dollars on The Commanding Heights. The six-hour extravaganza was a panegyric to the entrepreneurial spirit of newly privatized oil and power companies. Production was paid for by Enron. But when Enron's Chairman Ken Lay was arrested, PBS had to find a new sugar daddy. The new loot poured in from Margaret Thatcher's privatized commander of the heights, British Petroleum.

I could give you twenty more examples of see no oil evil, though PBS' recent refusal to run Crude, about Chevron in the Amazon, certainly stands out.

The Public Broadcast System takes our tax money. It owes us something, no? If we can't get the real story about Big Oil, at least we deserve an apology.

"Management culture": I envision a Petri dish full of guys in ties wading through agar and nattering about bottom lines until they all go to that great autoclave in the sky.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6272

By the time the CocoNut Cola promotion was over, thousands of guys wanted nothing so much as to buy two cans, put them together, and...well, I'll stop there.
(Image originally uploaded by noel44; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Liquid Rooster

Some captions conjure an entire world of pleasure and pain in only 17 words.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #4100

A glamorous fashion model survives a shipwreck but wonders whether death might be preferable when she finds herself stranded on Bellbottom Island—next.
(Image originally uploaded by c0466art; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things

Terrifying! For Juan Williams, anyway.

(h/t ProRev)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6890

"You're telling me that not a single one of us remembered to bring Spam?"

*abashed averting of eyes*

(Image originally uploaded by number657; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2939

Little Cthulhu loved to play At the Sweatpants of Madness.
(Image originally uploaded by Kimberly Jennery; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6133

Piet Mondrian's continuum-bending Composition No. 5 with Yellow, Blue, Red, and Avril Lavigne (1938).
(Image originally uploaded by AlainG; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Plainly, Technically, and Provably Fascist

Almost missed Tomasky's review of the Joe Miller the-press-is-as-free-as-I-say-it-is story:

So let's review:
1. Say that the First Amendment doesn't apply to you.
2. Hire a private security team (this joker needs a private security team? Sitting senators of many years don't travel with security teams).
3. Have them arrest a journalist who breaks your rules and thinks the First Amendment should apply to you.

This is plainly, technically and provably fascist. Hopfinger was released by the actual police, so no, it's not as if Miller can run the state as Miller sees fit, and no, that day will never come, so no, Alaska is not Germany 1934, and I'm not saying that. I'm talking about this behavior.

Yeah, well, "that day" is what I think most of these oligarchitarians really long for, so I wouldn't be letting that f-word get rusty if I were you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6415

Meanwhile, in Texas: "Goodbye, fiery sky stone. I hope you survive your journey through the underworld and return once again 'cause tomorrow is the UT/A&M game and Hook 'em Horns wooooo!"
(Image originally uploaded by Barefoot Will; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Supply, But Not Much Demand

When the King Center here brings in somebody who doesn't generate much interest, you can tell because they'll often offer discounted tickets—sometimes substantially discounted—to BCC fac/staff/students. Dig this one that crossed my path recently:

They were practically givin' Charlie Daniels away. I still think the guy's a pretty good musician and all, but man, given his politics and the times in which we live, I'll take the fact that Mr. "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag" got marked down from $55 to $10 as a hopeful sign.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2436

Product of an unspeakable ménage à trois between Chad, Jeremy, and Tommy Lee Jones.
(Image originally uploaded by abitudinicreative; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


They're Not Libertarians, They're Oligarchists

Eric Boehlert has a "memo to the media" on the recent examples of fascistic thuggery by Tea Partiers:

Please tell me that reporters and pundits realize that it’s not a coincidence that it’s been high-profile Tea Party candidates like Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell who have famously shunned the press and refused to answer reporters’ questions on behalf of voters. Please tell me Beltway media elites aren’t oblivious to the fact that undermining the free press in this country remains a central, unshakable tenet of the Tea Party movement.

I don’t know how many times that painfully obvious declaration has to be delivered before political journalists get the message and begin to understand the extraordinary political push that’s afoot to completely delegitimize what they do in this country. Incredibly, I think lots of pundits and reporters are still brushing off the open, anti-media warfare that’s been raging as just more of the same. Y’know, it’s just conservative activists complaining about press coverage in hopes of getting friendly treatment in the future.

Sorry folks, but we left the working-the-refs realm a long, long time ago. The Tea Party movement, and the press-hating frenzy that’s helping to fuel the uprising, doesn’t want better political coverage. It wants no political press coverage. It wants the Fourth Estate destroyed. And it wants its movement leaders not to be held accountable.

By anyone.

Would that the media would listen. These people may blather a lot about "freedom" and "God" and "morals," but by their fruits shall ye know them—and a lot of 'em are pretty clearly just vicious little oligarchists who see themselves as above the law and who long to make America a place where their dreams of unaccountable privilege can become reality.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #0776

The Beast with Two Backs is one of the few formations that the Blue Angels can legally perform in all 50 states.
(Image originally uploaded by Operator 74656; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Monday, October 18, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #5513

They might have pulled it off, too, had the backpacking American college kid not happened by and said to the reporters, "Hey, that's not Arcade Fire."
(Image originally uploaded by Zaza Nazneen; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Obvious Priorities

Henry Rollins goes after a teabagger candidate who's out-and-proud—or at least used to be—about his desire to abolish public schools (h/t Nicole Belle):

With the elimination of public schools, change would come rapidly to America. It would push the country further and faster down a path we’ve been drifting along for at least a few decades. The destination: a two-tiered system of those who are mobile and free and those who are scrambling or otherwise enslaved. Anything else would be wretched socialism, dripping with Darwinian and Jeffersonian sentiments, I guess.

That being the case, you might want to take a real hard look on which side of that line in the sand you find yourself standing. When your country has the greatest annual military budget, the largest prison population, and the most costly and inefficient healthcare delivery system in the world, it’s obvious what its priorities are. Some people fear that there will be less conflict, a decrease of incarcerated citizens, and an increase of healthy ones. And if there’s one thing that’s been proven to counteract conflict, criminal behavior, and poor health, it’s education. If you butter your bread with bullets, convict maintenance, and meds, I can understand your objection to a society full of of healthy, law-abiding, inquiring minds with the power to clog up your blood-splattered revenue streams.

Did Alan Grayson listen to lots of Black Flag in his youth? I'm just wondering.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #0531

"We'll always have Paris."
(Image originally uploaded by Spamamfa; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


We Made The World

A message in a bottle from a student at Melbourne High turned up in County Clare, Ireland thanks to slow but steady wonder that is the Gulf Stream.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #6503

*Amazing Colossal Man strums, sings "Bitter Dregs"*

*onlookers hold up cigarette lighters*

(Image originally uploaded by Predrag Smoljan; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)



Fascinating Alternet excerpt from A Renegade History of the United States about how prostitutes were once the wealthiest, and relatively most powerful, women in an America that granted few rights to "the weaker sex."

Even in the tighter markets of the East, prostitutes were extraordinarily well paid. In New York City, according to historian Timothy Gilfoyle, "an affluent, but migratory, class of prostitutes flourished." Low wages "in the factory and the household made prostitutes the best-paid women workers in the nineteenth-century city." In studies conducted in New York during the 1900s and 1910s, 11 percent of prostitutes listed coercion as the reason for entering the trade, but almost 28 percent named the money they could earn. Members of the Vice Commission of Chicago, like many anti-prostitution reformers, faced the hard truth of the wealth being accrued by prostitutes with a bitter question: "Is it any wonder that a tempted girl who receives only six dollars per week working with her hands sells her body for twenty-five dollars per week when she learns there is a demand for it and men are willing to pay the price?" One Chicago prostitute who supported her family with her wages had an answer. She told an interviewer, "Do you suppose I am going back to earn five or six dollars a week in a factory, and at that, never have a cent of it to spend for myself, when I can earn that amount any night, and often much more?" Historian Ruth Rosen was "struck again and again by most prostitutes' view of their work as 'easier' and less oppressive than other survival strategies they might have chosen."

Prostitutes were the first women to break free of what early American feminists described as a system of female servitude. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, one of the leading feminist intellectuals at the turn of the twentieth century, noted that human beings were the only species in which "an entire sex lives in a relation of economic dependence upon the other sex." Since wages in respectable occupations were so low, the only culturally sanctioned means for a woman to attain wealth was through a rich husband. And since states in the nineteenth century granted few or no property rights to married women, even women who "married well" owned little or nothing of their own. But women who chose to be bad could live well on their own.

Prostitutes who rose to the top of the industry to become "madams" owned more wealth than any other women in the United States. Indeed, they were among the wealthiest people in the country, and especially in the West. "Diamond Jessie" Hayman began work as a prostitute in the gold country of the Sierra Nevada foothills in the 1880s, then moved to San Francisco to become one of the most successful prostitutes in the city's history. Hayman's three-story brothel in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco included three fireplaces, a saloon, a champagne cellar, and fifteen suites filled with imported furniture. She provided each of her employees with a $6,000 wardrobe that included a fox fur coat, four tailored suits, eight hats, two dress coats, twelve pairs of shoes, twelve pairs of gloves, seven evening gowns, and seven negligees. Hayman earned enough money from her business to buy several parcels of land in the city. After the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco, Hayman and other madams provided food and clothing to the thousands left homeless. She died in 1923 with an estate worth $116,000.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #8003

Professor Krugman, no! The restraining order!
(Image originally uploaded by robotperez; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton. C'mon, he looks a little like Krugman.)


Dean Baker, Plain Speaker

I just love how Dean Baker wraps up his critique of Steven Pearlstein's odious mythologizing of "the marketplace" and how it supposedly justifies the growing disparity between the wages of those who, you know, work and those who push abstractions around in cyberspace:

In short, the inequality that Pearlstein notes has nothing to do with the dictates of a market economy. It is the result of the people at the top rigging the rules to their benefit. They got the government to stack the deck in their favor and then hired people like Pearlstein to tell everyone that it was just the natural workings of the market.
It's hard to believe that an economics columnist could just miss things like government bailouts, corporate governance rules that actually insulate CEO salaries from "the market," trade policies that favor the owning classes while disempowering workers, etc., so...maybe he's just a ho?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #0039

Larry had an unusual catch-and-release ritual. "If this is a consular ship, then WHERE is the AMBASSADOR?" *splash*
(Image originally uploaded by bryanshigley; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


The Joe Miller Defense

Matt Taibbi brings the wood to Joe Miller—who I think really looks more like the product of an unspeakable ménage à trois between GI Joe, Tim Allen, and David Spade—for being yet another in a long line of welfare-state-bashers who turn out to have built a good chunk of their lives with government help.

You see, when a nice white lawyer with a GI Joe beard uses state aid to help him through tough times and get over the hump – so that he can go from having three little future Medicare-collecting Republican children to eight little future Medicare-collecting Republican children – that’s a good solid use of government aid, because what we’re doing is helping someone “transition” from dependency to economic independence.

This of course is different from the way other, less GI-Joe-looking people use government aid, i.e. as a permanent crutch that helps genetically lazy and ambitionless parasites mooch off of rich white taxpayers instead of getting real jobs.

I can’t even tell you how many people I interviewed at Tea Party events who came up with one version or another of the Joe Miller defense. Yes, I’m on Medicare, but… I needed it! It’s those other people who don’t need it who are the problem!

Or: Yes, it’s true, I retired from the police/military/DPW at 54 and am on a fat government pension that you and your kids are going to be paying for for the next forty years, while I sit in my plywood-paneled living room in Florida watching Fox News, gobbling Medicare-funded prescription medications, and railing against welfare queens. But I worked hard for those bennies! Not like those other people!

This whole concept of “good welfare” and “bad welfare” is at the heart of the Tea Party ideology, and it’s something that is believed implicitly across the line. It’s why so many of their political champions, like Miller, and sniveling Kentucky rich kid Rand Paul (a doctor whose patient base is 50% state insured), and Nevada “crazy juice” Senate candidate Sharron Angle (who’s covered by husband Ted’s Federal Employee Health Plan insurance), are so completely unapologetic about taking state aid with one hand and jacking off angry pseudo-libertarian mobs with the other.

They genuinely don’t see the contradiction, much in the same way that some Wall Street people genuinely can’t see the problem with their company, say, taking $13 billion in bonuses in the same year that they accepted $13 billion in state bailouts. You wave a pitchfork at them with little post-its of the relevant figures taped to the ends, and ask them to confess – and they can’t, because they literally don’t see your point.

After all, these bankers will protest, we needed to pay out those billions in bonuses to stay competitive! It’s not like we’re just taking the money willy-nilly, like those dreadful people in ratty army coats who shop with food stamps in the bodega downstairs!

Could it be true that the big movement of the moment in American politics is largely driven by nothing more edifying than a kind of shallow, self-congratulatory egoism?

What am I saying? Of course it could.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #5077

The art world was much less interested in the work of Alexander Calder's third cousin once removed, Scooter.
(Image originally uploaded by biibo; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Good Things to Do in Lousy Times

Sam Smith has been keeping a Quaker-trained eye on American politics for a long time, and periodically he issues forth with advice for us comparative youngsters beset with a polity that seems to be going off the rails in several directions at once. He recently updated his "guide to getting through the crummy era we are still in," and I think it's well worth a perusal. Some bits that particularly speak to me:

Become an existentialist. Existentialism has been described as the philosophy that no one can take your shower for you. Weigh your words and actions on your conscience, not on polls. We may not be able to change history, but we can always choose how we react to history.

Read 1984 again. In Orwell's 1984, the Inner Party amounted to only 2% of Oceana's population; the Outer Party - the worker drones of the establishment (like those in Washington and on Wall Street) - were 13%. The rest were the proles, looked down upon socially yet retaining more freedom than those above them. We are in a similar situation - where, oddly, the lack of power can mean the presence of freedom. As we move towards - and even surpass - the fictional bad dreams of Orwell and Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World,', it is helpful to remember that these nightmares were actually the curse of the elites more than those who lived in the manner of centuries of humans rather than joining the living dead at the zenith of illusionary power. This bifurcation of society into a weak, struggling, but sane, mass and a sociopathic elite that is alternately vicious and afraid, unlimited and imprisoned, foreshadows what we find today - an elite willing, on the one hand, to occupy any corner of the world and, on the other, terrified of a few young men with simple weapons.

Read about movements that worked, particularly the populists, the 1960s anti-war and civil rights movements, the gay and women's rights efforts. And don't forget the Beats. They were the warm-up band for one of the biggest eras of change in our history.

Look up and down, not left and right. Consider the purported major achievements of the Obama administration. Each of them - the stimulus, healthcare bill, education changes and foreign policy - has at its core helping the top class of America grab still more of our economic and cultural assets. The healthcare bill was specifically warped to favor private insurance companies. The stimulus gave vastly more attention to Wall Street than to homeowners threatened with foreclosure or the unemployed. Plans to improve train service emphasize high speed rail - i.e. business and not coach class service. And so forth.

Also important:
Have noble goals, but look out for yourself: As maritime wisdom puts it: one hand for the ship and one for yourself. You're no good to the cause if you're injured, depressed or fall overboard.
Tell me about it. And:
Create a counterculture. It worked in the 1960s and it work again. You don't have to be a prisoner of the dominant culture. You can help create an alternative, just as the young did in the 1960s, without money or power. And without a counterculture there will be no significant change.
This one leaves me pondering. What would an anti-corporate, anti-oligarchic counterculture look like? Could it be internet-based? Without being fatally contaminated by the strong and ever-growing corporate presence on the internet? Or would it have to mean a rejection of the contemporary, thoroughly corporatized mass media: TV, the internet, Twitter, Facebook, texting, etc.? Could an anti-oligarchic counterculture grow out of these things without being poisoned at the root? 'cause that, I think, must be the unifying concept of any real counterculture for our times: anti-oligarchism. At this historical moment in Shining City on the Hill Land, we have (1) a Grand Oligarchy Party, (2) a Petit Oligarchy Party, and (3) an ostensibly libertarian party that is really oligarchic in nature and origin, however much its devotees blather about "freedom." (Who do the Tea Partiers think will fill the gap once they get government out of the way by strangling it in the bathtub?) It's the oligarchy, stupid. It's the stupid oligarchy. That strikes me as the concept around which real friends of human freedom could organize a new oppositional counterculture. Hmm.

More. Read.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #1284

Her fellow entomologists did not understand why Cynthia kept referring to the bess beetles as "Jules and Jim." "Jeez, watch something besides Michael Bay movies once in a while," she sighed, futilely.
(Image originally uploaded by smccann; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Honor is for the Little People

Simon Maloy catches Dinesh D'Souza violating the hell out of his college's (as in, the college he's PRESIDENT of) honor code, not that anyone will care, what with him being a right-wing "Christian" and all.

Y'know, I'm happy to stand with right-wingers in their supposed defense of objective moral values and principles and all; I just wish that they'd, y'know, show more concern for actually following them as opposed to just insisting that they exist.

(Note to The King's College of New York City: breach and breech do not mean the same thing, and the difference between them is not insignificant.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2080

We now return to Lady Chatterley's Circuit. "Take me now, you beast."
(Image originally uploaded by doryexmachina; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Revealing and Pathetic

Those are digby's words for the deep-seated impulse that led Democrats to turn their backs on ACORN and kick out Shirley Sherrod rather than face, gosh, Republican complaints of "reverse racism"—and all because of video punkings by the likes of Andrew Breitbart. And now the email record confirms that the Obamanites did not bother to check out the context, see the full Sherrod speech, get Sherrod's side of the story, etc. before tugging their forelocks and rushing to do the Right's bidding.

As I've said before, the really incomprehensible thing is that nobody in this supposedly internet-savvy administration could apparently, you know, keep up with the work of an organization like Media Matters, which has compiled an extensive record which would lead any rational being familiar with it to conclude that everything associated with Breitbart must be looked at with great skepticism and checked carefully before being acted upon. How anyone in a Democratic administration could not be automatically skeptical about a story put out by Andrew Breitbart is beyond me.

You can bet that those in the upper reaches of the Republican hierarchy have no illusions about him.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #9951

Signs of the New Dark Ages, #47: A significant percentage of passersby don't know what telescopes are and think this is a shoot for a Viagra ad.
(Image originally uploaded by Panosaurus; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Inspire and Transcend and Stimulate

Greg Mitchell's Weekend DAYBOOK has a great little 2:25 YouTube of John Lennon being funny onstage, on film, etc. in honor of his 70th birthday. It made me laugh; then it made me cry. But I would have done both anyway. Also, don't miss Bob Dylan's 1972 letter to the INS on behalf of John and Yoko (h/t Jon Weiner).

Turn left at Greenland, my friends. Turn left.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #4441


Volume does not compensate for lack of higher cortical functions.

In either species.

(A public service message from Categorical Aperitif.)

(Image originally uploaded by david_irvine_uk; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Friday, October 08, 2010


Having missed the previous events, I've decided to get off my ass and sign up for the local 10/10/10 Global Work Party event and spend a little time on what will hopefully be a gorgeous fall Sunday morning cleaning up Pelican Beach. Alas, I have to work that afternoon, so I can't stick around for the "live music and organic breakfast."

Event finder here for the curious! Nice segment on Democracy Now! today, too.

Thankfully, it shouldn't be as traumatic as cleaning up after a grunion run. So...much...milt. *shudder*.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #5929

Thanks to Gary's unforgiving synthesia, Rodrigo's lovely Concierto de Aranjuez often seemed to him more like the Concerto de Tacoma.
(Image originally uploaded by txlibrin; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Going Dead Inside, Can't Take It Anymore, Over

Ken Silverstein says goodbye to Washington Babylon:

So as you can tell from all this, I just no longer have the energy to cover Washington. I’ve loved working for Harper’s, but, as I told Mediabistro, “Washington and Washington politics has worn me down. Every time I write a story I feel like I wrote it a year ago and five years ago and 10 years ago. Nothing ever changes here.” I frequently find myself numb to political news and, even worse, to the lifeless, conventional wisdom peddled by the Washington media. When you can read an entire column by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz and never once feel the urge to cut out your own heart with a dull knife, you know that you no longer have the sense of outrage that is essential to reporting from our nation’s capital.
Can't say as I blame him one bit.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #4314

The Nice Melons Fresco is Sanskritology's version of the Rosetta Stone.
(Image originally uploaded by pythagoras_in_flight; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Progressives? Never heard of 'em

FAIR notes that the recent One Nation Working Together rally for progressive causes did not, um, generate the same kind of media attention that certain beverage-affiliated rallies for regressive causes tend to get.

The network evening newscasts were mostly uninterested, with NBC Nightly News the only one of the big three to file a report, according to a search of the Nexis news database. The PBS NewsHour did not cover One Nation, though a few weeks prior Tea Party organizer Dick Armey was featured in a long one-on-one interview (FAIR Blog, 9/10/10). And far-right Fox News personality Glenn Beck's August rally in Washington was covered on the NewsHour before it happened (8/27/10) and afterwards as well (8/30/10).
It's like thousands of people were sucked into the void behind Jim Lehrer's lifeless, cockroach-colored eyes.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #2436

Honestly, other than the snob appeal, I don't know why anyone shops at Magritte's.

"Hey, this is not a toaster."

(Image originally uploaded by; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The People You Use

Today's Democracy Now! is a must-see/hear/read hour with the professor who unearthed the deliberate infection with syphilis and gonorrhea of almost 700 unknowing Guatemalans in the 1940s in experiments even more shameful than those at Tuskegee—and done by some of the same people.

But hey, they did it to soldiers, prisoners, prostitutes, and mental patients, and what's informed consent to those people, amirite?

Watch/listen/read if you can stand it.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #5970

As guerrilla marketing gigs went, it...wasn't the best.

"Excuse me, sir. Would you like to try new Tiger! Tiger! for men? Your symmetry will never be more fearful, and—"

*beaten savagely*

(Image originally uploaded by laconic sherpa; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Paradigm Shift

We have not had the air conditioning on in well over 24 hours.

Something's happening...something wonderful.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #0550

It may be only a five-second blast of warm air from a subway grating, but The Seven Year Itch ride at Universal Studios is as close as most guys will ever get to Marilyn Monroe, and dammit, they'll make the most of it.
(Image originally uploaded by alexnathanson; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #8317

Father Renaldo loved his work and did it with enthusiasm, but he really needed an internal editor.

"We are gathered together to join this couple in holy crap is this a wedding or a funeral?!? You people look as if the thought of shackling yourselves together 'til death do you part is unpleasant or something. Perk up already!"

(Image originally uploaded by olegariosband; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Things to Come?

Tomasky reads the tea leaves:

Well, no, I don't give up. But my darkest fear goes something like this. Historically speaking, the conservative movement started in the late 1950s. It took a long time but it seized real power in 1980. Results were mixed, it retreated for a bit (Clinton), then roared back to power in 2000.

Living these events in real time, the general view of them, I think, has been, well, those were their two best shots, and now they're bound to lose steam. You didn't have to think that the 2008 election signaled a liberal renaissance (and I did not) to think that a 50-year old movement that hadn't produced a truly new idea in a long time was running out of gas.

But now I think: taking the longer historical view, it may well be that the Reagan and Dubya years were just warm-up acts, and that the conservative movement has yet to behold its triumph. The amount of money corporate titans can now pump into politics, the level of activism, the utter inability of the media to call lies lies, the weakness of the Democrats...we may be in for a 40-year descent, until there is no Social Security and there are no environmental regulations and so on and so on, and it'll take a couple of generations for Americans to see the grim effects of that kind of country and decide that pension security and regulation weren't such horrible ideas after all, and America will have to spend 20 years, from about 2050 to 2070, rebuilding an apparatus of state that was built a century before but dismantled. Worst of all, of course, is that according to the actuarial tables, I will die during the descent.

A 40-year descent...and he doesn't even mention having to re-fight the Enlightenment. Yep: just how I wanted to spend my golden years.

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #7900

Product of an unspeakable ménage à trois between Klaus Kinski, Willem Dafoe, and Michael Cera.
(Image originally uploaded by pascalbrax; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


Just Stunted

Jamison Foser, on James O'Keefe and his latest brilliant attempt to claw his way up another rung on the wingnut welfare ladder by sexually humiliating a CNN reporter:

Riding a motorcycle on a wire stretched across the Grand Canyon is a “stunt.” Wearing a chicken suit to mock a political candidate for refusing to debate is a “stunt.” Unscrewing the cap on a salt shaker so your dining companion over-salts his soup is a “prank.”

Lying to a reporter in order to lure her onto a boat under false pretenses, then secretly recording her reaction to being confronted in an enclosed, unfamiliar environment by a strange man with handcuffs and sex toys, all while disparaging her as a “bubble-headed-bleach-blonde,” is not a “stunt.” It is the vicious, misogynist act of a twisted person whose 15 minutes should have expired long ago.

Gonna need a whole new appendix to The Conservative Mind before long, huh?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Daily Random Flickr Blogging, #9939

Kids have a great time at Steve Reich Camp!
(Image originally uploaded by Mike Kohary; Random Flickr Blogging originally invented by Tom Hilton.)


The Glorious Sixties

Not the decade, the Fahrenheit:

More like this, please.

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