n.b.: blank screen? Your iGadget won’t run Flash. Complain to the man in the mock turtleneck.
With all the grim news lately, the Stiftung decided it was up to us to win the future and add to the velocity of money. So we shut off the ‘news’ and brought a new baby home to the bunker. Please join us in welcoming this Les Paul Standard Traditional Pro. Maddening times demand monster tone and she has it in spades. Plus it’s actually really made in Amerikuh (the Epi clones
were Korean are PRC).
She sports BurstBucker and Classic ’57 pickups with push pull coil splits, meaning she can almost get within range of Telecaster twang as well as fabled Les Paul warmth. The maple top is a thing of beauty, although compared to the American Standard Strat and SG Special 3, this is a honking heavy guitar. She’s good therapy already. After crunching out some riffs the spineless Boy King shrinks to the merely infuriating.
Highly recommended. We estimate effective dosage to be three times daily, on the clean channel, with gain and master at 3 o’clock. The Tech-21 Leeds pedal is on order. Interestingly, it’s possible to get a replacement plan for the guitar for fairly reasonable rates.
We asked the store manager if we deliberately re-enacted “This Guitar Has Seconds To Live” wearing an Obama mask for a YouTube video, would the plan buy a totally new guitar? His answer was a simple “absolutely, no questions.” It’s a beautiful instrument but in the scheme of things about the same as a nice laptop. And we’d have no hesitation demolishing a laptop in the service of Art Against Weak Presidents. And it would be covered, too. The trick will be to synchronize the musical devastation with appropriate visual memes and choreography — without violating ordnances for dbs and mayhem.
If we do it, we’d like to ask for your help getting the video viral. After all, it’s the audacious thing to do.
Share and Enjoy
Beautiful day in D.C. For fleeting moments during what’s left of Spring these days and in the Fall D.C. rightfully can be called a beautiful city. Swamp-like humidity is gone. The three snowflakes that will send everyone into mindless panic months away in the future.
We’ve kept our tv sets turned off to avoid the pornographic replaying of footage from Those Events. Also ignoring the usual meme-peddling, click baiting ‘news’ sites (of all persuasions). Today we are keeping it simple. A peaceful and relaxed time to catch up with friends, enjoy and live. Our country and our lives as they used to be.
What better way to spend a September 11th. Join us, won’t you?
Share and Enjoy
Share and Enjoy
Tony Judt just passed after a two year battle with ALS.
Mr. Judt (pronounced Jutt), who was British by birth and education but who taught at American universities for most of his career, began as a specialist in postwar French intellectual history, and for much of his life he embodied the idea of the French-style engaged intellectual.
An impassioned left-wing Zionist as a teenager, he shed his faith in agrarian socialism and Marxism early on and became, as he put it, a “universalist social democrat” with a deep suspicion of left-wing ideologues, identity politics and the emerging role of the United States as the world’s sole superpower.
His developing interest in Europe as a whole, including the states of the former Eastern Bloc, led him to take an active role in the developing Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia; it culminated in “Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945” (2005), a sweeping, richly detailed survey embracing countries from Britain to the Balkans that, in the words of one reviewer, has “the pace of a thriller and the scope of an encyclopedia.”
Mr. Judt was perhaps best known for his essays on politics and current affairs in journals like The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement and The London Review of Books . . .
“Today I’m regarded outside New York University as a looney tunes leftie self-hating Jewish communist; inside the university I’m regarded as a typical old-fashioned white male liberal elitist,” he told The Guardian of London in January 2010. “I like that. I’m on the edge of both, it makes me feel comfortable.”
He’ll be missed. Here’s a column exploring his last minute race against time to complete his work.
Share and Enjoy
Facebook’s much publicized user privacy meltdown is just the lastest example of massive social web services disregarding users’ privacy. Google similarly decided on its own all its users’ private information should by default be visible to any one. Despite the CW that ‘no one expects privacy’ anymore, anti-Facebook sentiment runs white hot. The query ‘how do I remove my Facebook account’ is now among the most popular searches on the web. Expectations of privacy are not quite dead.
Now imagine what happens in other less closely watched situations with all of our information. When it’s more than exposing private messages explaining how one’s spouse is a jerk. You know, involving little things like the 4th Amendment, FISA, etc. Yup, the Feds. (And if the Feds walk all over your privacy, do you really think something like HIPPA stops an insurance company?)
So what gives with Obama’s intransigent disregard of a 2007 law requiring him to appoint members to a privacy panel? The panel’s origins lie back in the dim recess of time when intelligence reform was given at least nominal jaw-jaw. Alas, if the panel was actually set up? McConnell might write an angry letter. And November is coming up. It’s not like intelligence reform, oversight, the 4th Amendment and privacy are important. Just ask Kagan – she has no opinion on them.
Who knew ‘hope and change’ had a sell by date of February 2009?
Share and Enjoy
Not even crocodile tears. The tea baggers run amuck with the conch and exile Bennett. Mitt’s sermon is ignored. Utah goes ‘Lord of the Flies.’ We didn’t mind Bennett as a person. Gentle, courtly, polite. He always seemed slightly out of place in the Republican Senate Caucus under and after the Warlord.
But he earned his hard core right wing voting record. Worse, many of his jingoistic staffers went on to infect various lobbying organizations, executive positions. Bennett may be gone but *they* remain an intolerant, judgmental Rightist bacillus that infect this town (and prosper) with Boy King trumphant.
Bennett’s never been a social gadfly and part of the D.C. media circle jerk daisy chain. So his personal defenestration will be analyzed in the days ahead in more clinical, facile terms. Permanent Washington will mourn . . . in the press. Everyone is more concerned what it means for their own rear end.
Values Movement activists continue to loathe the libertarian Tea Partiers, Grover’s Wednesdays Meetings, Armey, etc. But expedience requires biting their tongues in public. They draw greater satisfaction at results: the Tea Party suppression of the
Warsaw Moderate Uprising. First Snarlin’ Arlen chased out, then Crist. Now Bennett. But mark these words, Dear Readers, the Values Movement are merely sitting on the sidelines. They tell the Stiftung they look forward to putting the motely band of ‘libertarians’ and disaffected ‘Stalinist-Progressive-Democrats’ in their place. And the Rightist Catholics at least remember the 30 Years War.
Share and Enjoy
Obama obviously is not behind the Gulf catastrophe. If he were, he would have made a heavily publicized speech emphasizing zero tolerance for corporate incompetence/malfeasance. He would summon Americans to unite in non-partisan cooperation to combat oil spills in their communities, workplaces and churches. New regulations would ensure the disaster will never, ever, ever occur again. Now imagine Obama concludes by invoking the majesty of his office, promising the bad company will pay the full costs of making the people whole.
Events then meander in and out of focus for months. Media chase frantically the meaning of furtive glances exchanged among Senators Snowe, Collins or even Graham. Entire news cycles are devoted to whether any of them uttered a kind word about Obama’s initiative. The president’s political destiny we are told hangs in the balance. Oddly, although they are in the majority, Reid, Boxer (Environmental Committee) and others are minor players, shuffling awkwardly outside the Republican Caucus like high schoolers smitten with their first crushes. Day after day, month after month.
Finally, when Everyone knows Obama is doomed, Rahm cobbles together the absolute lowest common denominator vehicle and christens it ‘real reform’. In this case, the White House then pokes their wandering Democratic congressional majority to charge vigorously the microphone stand (Schumer needing no encouragement) Their excitement? An initiative which actually *pays* the bad actor — BP — for any inconvenience. In the hopes of winning Corker’s vote, Obama agrees to federalize efforts to regulate cooperation at the community level, in workplaces and at churches. In fact, every suggestion made by Snowe, Collins, Voinovich, Graham, Corker (and all the rest) are adopted in ‘bi-partisanship’.
All still vote against Obama. The Word Doctors provide them talking points, emphasizing Obama refused fair compensation to industry workforce for sleepless nights and trauma. Across talk radio Obama is blasted for his Leftist intransigence against additional tax credits. Rush trumpets the reasonableness of DeMint’s position that Obama must behead a mannequin of Hugo Chavez in primetime.
Faced with such a resounding ‘triumph’ Democrats do the talk show rounds cheerfully explaining that once the American people understood this accomplishment, everyone’s approval ratings will rise. Most write farewell cards to Harry Reid. Olbermann provides the sorbet with at least *2* ‘Special Comments’ celebrating Obama’s firm and unwaivering leadership. He makes the point that his family vacationed at a beach once. With voice quivering in outage recalling these treasured memories, Olbermann defiantly asks of McConnell, ‘How dare you, sir? How dare you?’
Republicans just continue their totalitarianism two-step in public while privately drawing grim satisfaction that their government-by-the-minority bluff remains intact. Again.
Dear Reader, that’s how we know Obama wasn’t involved.
Share and Enjoy
Exhaustion describes the excruciating conclusion to the tragi-comical effort to ‘reform health care.’ All major participants are delegitimized after a year of incompetence, meandering and the darkest political ids unleashed. Poor progressives sat huddled around the ladders in the mud, and at every whistle call scrambled up, charging only to fall without reaching the first coils of barbed wire. ‘Wiser’ minds counseled attrition. A last desperate
Kaiserschlach Rightist AgitProp campaign seemed to sweep all aside by early 2010. Arguably, a last minute arrival of inexperienced American doughboys a more competent White House operation turned the optics tide.
The defeated can’t believe the turn of events. Someone betrayed. And so it goes. Already Democrats are crowing joyously about a Senate bill they loathed a month ago. We have, they say, a signed historic
armistice piece of legislation. It’s an imperfect peace first step. Out-of-control insurance companies are barely scratched.
Still, a defeat is a defeat – even if the victor is as depleted. How far can an analogy go? One wonders what a
Weimar Berlin post-vote South Carolina might look like. General social upheaval is out. There’d be no Reds and Nationalists clashing outside an Applebees, of course. There’s not enough diversity even on the college campuses. Which means dispirited decadence might seek a different outlet – a DeMint hunkered down in a Target office furniture aisle, gulping true American vintages from the cartons, tie askew. Droning on about ‘repeal’ and demanding unanimous consent while a bored teenaged employee restocks No. 2 pencils, pining for closing time.
Wellpoint et al. have reason to sigh with relief. Sure they ‘lost’ in the blathersphere ™. But they and smart observers know the industry took the absolute best shot that a generational reform impulse could throw. And still they stand awash in unjust profits now and for the foreseeable future.