Friday, February 29, 2008

White House Aide Resigns

Ben DomenechTimothy Goeglein Resigns

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben DomenechTimothy Goeglein plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to the White House contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday some stuff.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech Goeglein has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech Goeglein, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalisticpolitical integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. The White House will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

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Ed Schafer, Unqualified and Dangerous

In a surprise to no one, yet another of Bush's unqualified GOP water carriers puts the American people in danger. This time it is the fella in the post of Secretary of Agriculture.

USDA Rejects "Downer" Cow Ban Christopher Lee reports for The Washington Post, "Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer told Congress yesterday that he would not endorse an outright ban on 'downer' cows entering the food supply or back stiffer penalties for regulatory violations by meat-processing plants in the wake of the largest beef recall in the nation's history."

This cabinet post normally goes to people who have had an interest, family background and professional experience in farming—go figure?

Ed? Not so much…

His work before being in charge of making sure our food is safe to eat?
-Former gov. and more significantly GOP party leader of ND
-Running dad's manufacturing co.
-Wireless Co.
-And my personal favorite; spokesperson for the North Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a nationwide limited-government/pro-growth organization.

This idiot has decided that even after the largest beef recall in usa history, including thousands of lbs. of potentially dangerous beef that was sent to school lunch programs; we don't need to ban downer cows from the USA meat supply or more seriously penalize companies that act irresponsibly.

I am sure it is safe though, right? Because the Bush adminstration really cares first and foremost about the safety and security of the American people. (Tofu burger anyone?)
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“Hello Malcolm...Hello Martin...”

“Here I am at...Camp Black Powah...”

What is fall-on-your-ass hilarious about the way the campaign season is shaping up is the full-on desperation of many on the right (and a few who purport to be on “The Left”) in their attempts to take down the presumptive front-runner, Sen. Barack Obama.

It's like watching some totally freaked-out kid on the playground spastically windmilling his open, slapping hands—with eyes closed of course—at a much savvier opponent. He hits nothing, and ends up embarrassing himself with the scattershot attempts.

Simultaneously, Barack Obama is being slammed as...

...a milquetoast moderate sellout...

...a Reagan-worshipping caution...

...a literal red-diaper baby...

...a bomb-chucking, dirty fucking hippie...

...a naive, callow know-nothing...

... and lastly, a string-yanked marionette at the beck and call of a secret cabal of takeover-minded “Black Geniuses”.

No, the last one I mentioned there is not a spoof. It was actually said on a major news outlet—albeit FOX News, and from the mustache-awningned mouth of one Geraldo Rivera. But yes, it was said in the heat of frustration over how a Black man could thus far evade the political landmines and bear-traps that have wrecked every other presidential run by a person of color. There's an order to things, and this candidacy is running counter to it—thus eliciting the spluttering wonderment—and naked racist condescension that poured from his mouth late last week.

I know you don't wanna hear it, but here it go anyway...

On the Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends, Geraldo Rivera was keeping the flames of the Barack Obama “plagiarism” story alive. The Fox News commentator argued that the Illinois Democratic senator had developed a “formula” for taking political power, and he knew where that formula came from.

“When I saw that they were the same words that Deval Patrick, the black guy who won the Massachusetts mayor, the Massachusetts governor had used, I said to myself, it seems so premeditated. It's almost as if they went to a camp where these black geniuses got together and figured out how to beat the political system in a sense that alright, let's reference the civil rights movement, let's talk about change, it's almost formulaic," Geraldo argued. "What seems so spontaneous and original now to me seemed kind of driven by advisors and media consultants and premeditated, and it really left a sour taste.”

So, let me see if I have this straight...

Because a Black person succeeds in “beating the political system” (ostensibly admitting that said system/construct is built to work against that ambition), it happens NOT because that particular person may be a quality candidate, but rather, because said Negro is backed by a “Star Chamber” of calculating negro plotters mapping out his every power-grabbing move?

Okay. Let's take that at face value for a minute or two.

Hey, imagine that! It spawns questions.

1. What then, does a seasoned “journalist” like Rivera have to say about the majority of White politicians who succeed?

2. Are they just folk of regular intellect who somehow miraculously get by?

3. Why does it in his mind take NOT MERELY ONE so-called “Black Genius” to make the push, but a shady, invisible team funneling help to their standard-bearer?

4. What does that say about the “political system”?

5. What does it say about pundits like him that the idea of Black folk perhaps finally “breaking the code” leaves a “sour taste in his mouth”?

6. And what does it say about his inadvertent exposing of a rich vein of long-time American fear—visualizing a crafty “Black horde” plotting a takeover of some sort?

The questions sort of answer themselves when you read them—and will probably make your blood boil when you go to the link and see Rivera in the video uttering his concern-troll-cum-town crier act as he lays this crackpot theory out.

In his words, and his intonation you hear three things—Fear, Anger, and finally more than a little Disgust. There's almost a “how dare you” tone in his voice as he tut-tuts the whole un-sporting development.

If you're a Black person who's had to deal in the greater corporate world, academia, journalism or the entertainment industry, you have almost certainly run across that same goggle-eyed wonder/condescension/hostility to your success.

Toss out a ten-dollar word, quote a classic, or in a brainstorming session—craft an ass-kicking idea out of whole cloth and you'll get a back-handed compliment version of Geraldo's shpiel at some point.

“Where did you go to school/grow up/come from?”

Because dammit, you have to justify your ability to cope in “The Man's” world. They must know your provenance, and in that desire—no—oft-times it's spat as almost as a challenge or demand, it reminds one of what a freed Black probably felt like 150 years ago when challenged to show his or her “freed person” papers on a dusty back road somewheres.

Yes, ultimately we're dealing with people whose minds are calibrated to see Black people as intellectual and social lessers and when we fly in the face of those cork-smeared tropes, it is disquieting to those in the power structure. “There must be some beyond the pale (pun unintended) explanation for this person exceeding my expectations of his type.”

Thus, “The Black Genius Camp” silliness.

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson—probably a victim several times over of this exact form of condescending idiocy, took note of it:

Ridiculous? Of course -- this is Geraldo, remember. But it's absurd in a way that's new and refreshing. If Fox viewers are being invited to entertain the notion of a Black Genius Camp where young Afro-brainiacs are busy plotting world domination, something has changed.

Whether Obama wins or loses, his campaign has made it impossible for anyone so inclined to cling to certain racist assumptions -- just as Hillary Clinton has blown some old sexist assumptions to smithereens.

In this day and age, no one can claim to be surprised at encountering an African American man of superior intellect. But whether or not you think Obama would be a good president, his campaign brings the often-overlooked reality of mainstream black America into the nation's living rooms every day -- and into the nation's subconscious.


He (Geraldo) didn't envision a basketball camp, or a prison camp; he saw a genius camp, presumably for African Americans who had figured out just how white America works and just what buttons to push. How diabolically clever.

Hey, if I'm trying to catch a taxi late at night, I'd rather have the cab driver wondering if I'm secretly plotting world domination than thinking I'm about to mug him.

The Obama campaign hasn't had success just on black America's terms but on white America's terms. For all the impact of Barack Obama's soaring rhetoric, he wouldn't be where he is without a campaign organization that is second to none. He's the one with more money and more offices. He's the one who made the better decisions about where to spend resources. Obama has won overwhelming support from black voters, but there's nothing stereotypically "black" about his campaign. It's as if a black American is beating white America at its own game.

Robinson mocks Geraldo and his equally insecure fellow travelers as the idiots they are, but I think misses an annoying undertone in Rivera's ‘realization”. That cab driver he scoffs about certainly does fear that mugging—he's conditioned to. But I would seriously doubt the paranoid thought of so-called Black “domination” (through the election to high office) is any cold comfort to someone so racially twisted about.

What strikes me about this—to go back to an original point at the top, is that racist folk get so Goddamned discombobulated over a person of color breaking the perception chains placed upon them that said racist folk invariably fall over their own feet trying to impugn and hinder the colored folk who so fascinates them.

There is a passive/aggressive power play at work when the majority considers people who break those hoary old molds.

“Read! Achieve! Succeed! Get beyond the ghetto and leave that to your lessers! But hey—now that you've done that, you can't leave your people behind. You have to go back and help them—that's your responsibility. Oh, but isn't it just a tragedy that they dislike you because you are so different from them now? You're not Black enough for them anymore! You must be so conflicted. Wait a minute—you're going back to teach them things? Why them? What are you? Some sort of reverse racist? A radical? I find your focus on them, troubling. It's a bit...insular, don't you think? Separationist? I'm just sayin...”

Geraldo's fear-and-flop-sweat stained yammering was just another example of trying to stifle Black success by stuffing it into a denigrating trick-bag. “It's a secret society of bean pie snarfing seditionists what's behind the dude—watch out!


I came by what I know, and all of my friends came by what they know the old-fashioned way— we went to school, we read our books and listened to our teachers. We soaked up what we could, when and where we could. There was no “Jared/The Pretender” black-ops (pun again unintended) genius program snatching us up as kids and jacking the Encyclopedia Brittannica into our heads “Johnny Mnemonic”-style. There never has been nor will there ever be.

Take your precious, insecurity-spawned “Bell Curve” and kindly shove it.

Some of us are smart, some not-so-smart, and some are as dumb as a box of rocks—the same as you. When you come across one of us whose intellect or ability to connect and express him or herself gives you pause—a.k.a. bugs you the fuck out—that person is not some freak-tastic evolutionary anomaly to be “ooooh-ed and ahhhh-ed” at.

He or she is simply a person your negative racial pre-conditioning has forced you to see as some bizarre “other”.

Get. The. Fuck. Over. It.

Over the irrational fear of Black people and their bumping up against you in society. 'Cause ultimately—it's confusing and contradictory in mind-boggling ways. Cringe in fright and clutch your purse at the dread-locked dude in the elevator—spazz out and drop your jaw at the brother who casually slips a line of Shakespeare into a conversation. Which is it? Unless...the desire is for us to reside in that easily ignored middle—neither the angry, put-upon underclass or the hyper-achieving, ego-threatening super-n*gger. Hate to tell you this, but we will not live down to a psychosis that swings back and forth between a phobia of Black violence and Black excellence. We will live, and grow, and achieve on our own terms—as we have since the days of slavery when “book-learnin'” was effectively outlawed for the dusky free-labor underclass. It's just what folks do...excel on their own terms, with no need for a “Genius Camp” propping them up and funneling words and ideas into their mouths.

Speaking of which—exactly what was it two years ago when the Right think-tanked the hell out of its slate of contrived, high-profile “Black” candidates? You remember 'em—Michael Steele, Lynn Swann and Ken Blackwell? Remember the fact that this off-key, shitty karaoke, theme-park, pre-fabbed assemblage of funk-free “O'Jays” were being foisted on the voters as the real deal? By yes—a “Star Chamber” of focus-grouping wingnut power-brokers bent on an insipid “Pinky and the Brain” scheme to re-jigger (Sweet God—you can't avoid inadvertent racial wordplay in dealing with this...) the racial electoral dynamic in pushing their own “Idiot Camp” of would be candidates.

Only to see it fail miserably. Totally. Little bit of sour grapes on the part of Geraldo and his peers I think in having to absorb the to-this-point success of the Obama run. “Our Negroes failed—which reflects on us. Their n*gger's succeeding—Grrrrrr! How do we piss on that achievement and simultaneously short-circuit it? Trot out the spectre of a scary dark horde clandestinely backing him. Yeah! That's it!”

Whatever it takes. Shut your eyes. Shake your head. Drink up and pass around the thick, sweet wine of racial fear-mongering. Do what you get rid of that aforementioned “sour taste.”

Do not share that precious recess yard tree. Tie your message-laden nooses in the night and place them accordingly in the pre-dawn light. Careful you don't get caught! Soak in your bitterness. Rag the red-shirted, brown-skinned golfer who out-drives and out-putts you every sunny, Sunday afternoon. Crack wise about lynching being the only way to stop him. And in between bites of falafel and bouts of creepy onanism, bully-mouth a Black candidate's wife with threats of a virtual lynching.

Go for it.

But I ain't goin' nowhere. We ain't goin' nowhere. Yes, I said ain't. Just to make you more...comfortable.

Although I could have gone for a full-out Buckley-ism (and a Harlem-born Black man whipping his language about like a cat-o'-nine tails is I think, a certain sweet post-passing revenge) and said...

In spite of your troglodytic and hyper-pathological zeal to relegate me and mine to the psychological ghetto-comfort-zone of your bigotry-atrophied mind, I...we—refuse to be imprisoned there. Your socio-political dungeon walls are of mere sand. The bars? But brittle straw. It was Bertrand Russell who said: “Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.” I say, Your irrational fears shall not harness my desires.

But I won't, Geraldo. You too, Bill-O, and all the rest quavering in race-struck fear. “I ain't goin' nowhere. We ain't goin nowhere” sums it up just fine.

Besides, I've got things to do “at camp”. Making an aircraft material and ceramic afro-pick/Type 2 superconductor to bring home to Mama. Wish me luck in managing to combine mega-afro blowout tensile strength with those copper perovskites while somehow...somehow maintaining those pesky 2-to-3 metal-to-oxygen ratios and whatnot...
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Turkey Withdraws, Holds the Mayo

Turkey's army said it withdrew its troops from northern Iraq after the biggest military incursion into the country for 11 years.

Turkish military units pulled out early today, the army said in a statement on its Web site. -- Bloomberg.
Okay, they showed their ass, and now they are gone. Until the next time. Jebus, I can't wait until we have an actual president. Not one that hands over our top secret aircraft to Chinese people, or says the Turks need to hurry up and get out of Iraq when we have been stuck there for 5 fucking years.
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John McCain, Too Old, Too Tired

Watch this video from TalkingPointsMemo...

I told you this was going to start to happen. The guy is older than dirt. He won't be able to keep up. There is still 9 months to go!

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sears Profits Tumble

is the amount that Sears profits fell in the 4th quarter. That's really bad, not as bad as McCain not being a naturalized U.S. citizen, but bad.
In a puzzling pep-talk letter to shareholders on Thursday, Sears’ chairman Edward Lampert likened himself to Eli Manning, the once-maligned quarterback of the New York Giants, this year’s Super Bowl champions. Mr Manning, a common figure in the sports pages, may be startled to read his name in the financial press. And Mr Lampert may have sparked more vitriol than vigour in making the comparison. -- Financial Times

Yeah... right. I am thinking somebody is going to be "leaving the field" pretty soon.

But don't worry, the economy is going swimmingly.

UPDATE: Maybe if Sears still sold cool clothes like this, they would be doing better.
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McCain Not Naturalized American Citizen?

Holy Smokes!

McCain's likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a "natural-born citizen" can hold the nation's highest office. --

Yes cub scouts... This actually is an issue. In 1790 Congress stated that persons born outside of the United States to U.S. parents are natural born citizens. This was also addressed in the Dred Scott case, But this was struck down in 1868 in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

According to the State Department:
Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.
This raises a shitload of issues for the Government. If they concede that McCain is a natural born U.S. Citizen, they will have to recognize ALL the kids that were born on U.S. military installations. McCain's parents had to file a lot of paperwork to confirm his citizenship as do many military and overseas families.

It seems fairly clear that the Government has said people born on U.S. military bases overseas are not automatically citizens, which implies they are not natural born citizens. Which means John McCain is not eligible for the Presidency.
The Twelfth Amendment explicitly precluded from being Vice President those ineligible to be President: people under thirty-five years of age, those who have not inhabited the United States for at least fourteen years, and those who are not natural-born citizens.
This is hilarious, their nominee isn't even eligible... What a joke...
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The Ill-Served GET Served.

Yes-Men...Toadies...And Check-grabbers. The Surest Signs Of A Dot-Bomb...Campaign.

Whether one is a fan, supporter, financial backer, or simply a voter who thinks her the best candidate for the office of the Presidency, there is one incontrovertible truth about Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign that all can pretty much agree on. And when I say all, that would include even Obama supporters. Let us be fair here and look at what is laid out before us. Objectively, and without bias—and evident to anyone with eyes to see, and a brain to understand...

Senator Clinton has been not merely ill-served by supposed “professionals” running her campaign, but they have in fact been utterly incompetent, mismanaged the campaign and its monies and should NEVER, EVER be trusted by anyone aspiring to public office to do so much as staple-gun wooden handles to campaign placards.

I'm talking about the dollar-gorging hacks Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson—who call themselves campaign consultants and spokespeople, but have acted more like oversized sandbags and then fat, air-shot darts at what could have been an ascendant candidacy.

Now yes, it's fairly apparent that the Senator has her own deficiencies that worked against her—her IWR vote that cannot be explained away with bureaucratic, parliamentary mumbo-jumbo. It was a colossal fuck-up. Add in a certain annoying hubris in her inability to firstsee it for what it was, as countless Americans did, protested and wrote about here in the blogosphere, and second—either apologize for the sordid, death-okaying vote or at least show a bit of remorse for it. We know she's not a great speaker. Few people actually are, which is what doubly sets her opponent Barack Obama apart from her and a great many politicos. Another major factor working against her is something she has absolutely no control over—namely an over-familiarity with her on the part of the voters. With a wave of change being ridden by Obama—a wave not necessarily of his own making, but rather—spawned in large part by a desire of many to run 180 degrees away from the last eight years of George Bush's blight of a presidency, Senator Clinton's time on the scene through the good and the bad, seems to ride horizon-ward as the HMS “Same old, same old” against that crashing change “wave” rolling in.

These are negatives for her...negatives that have wounded her rightfully...

...And yet...

They are NOT necessarily political dirt-nap offenses.

Obama's campaign has to fight off the various obvious assaults that have nut-kicked every campaign run by a person of color over the years.

Black. Untrustworthy. Closet radical. Clandestine terrorist. In-authentic. Not progressive enough. Piloted by a “Shadow Chamber” as he is not smart enough to lead himself. Sellout. Druggie. Criminally inclined.

And look where his combination of organizational ground-game, a canny harnessing of charisma, and simple nuts-and-bolts primary strategy have gotten him.

Look at McCain, written off for dead—even by me—months ago. (Although I still think of him as an electoral cadaver in the GE), and the way his people have managed his leaky ship of a campaign through tough waters and rocky shoals.

Old. Crazy. Loudmouth. Untrustworthy. Uninspiring. Wedded to the war. Retrograde. Dumb. In-authentic (to conservatives). Ill-tempered. Flip-flopper. Physically in-able. Damaged goods.

And yet...there he stands, albeit stiffly, on the verge of nomination.

What the hell happened to Senator Clinton's campaign?

An anecdote: Last year, I played in a softball league that featured one team that had a lot of buzz about its supposed excellence. On that team was one particular fellow—we'll call him “Evan”. Evan looked the picture-perfect ballplayer. Lean and muscular. Broad shoulders, thick forearms. Eyeblack perfectly applied and his uniform fitting in that way that real “ballers” unis do. Some guys look “hitter-ish” when they stride to the plate, and some guys look hitterish just walking up and down the dugout. “Evan” was one such guy. His teammates had bought in as well, cheering him like the conquering fucking hero every time he cock-walked to the plate.

And then...we saw Evan play...or rather, try to.

One of the rules in this co-ed league was that men and women had to bat alternately—and to discourage teams from walking tough hitting guys to get to the lighter-hitting women, if you walked a dude with runners on to get to a girl, she could opt to instead of hitting—simply take first base and hand the at-bat off to the next male behind her. Evan routinely, in spite of his appearance of being “a player”, would walk with runners on instead of competing and swinging the bat with the authority his look conveyed. So eventually, we started grooving balls to him just to get him to put the ball in play.

This fucker flailed at the ball like a three-year-old beating a rug with an oversized snowshoe.

He couldn't hit worth a damn. One of our pitchers, a girl named Amanda happened to be on the mound in three games we played against his side and faced him each of those times. She's no great athlete herself, but she utterly embarrassed him at the plate—either striking him out on big, looping rainbow pitches (the league was slow-pitch!) or getting him out on over-watered, Flavoraid-weak grounders just past the plate.

Evan further exposed his ineptitude in the field. He was always stationed in short-center and the regular CF would routinely take most balls in center. Evan we found in the cases where a ball came his way, couldn't catch, and had an arm like a wet noodle way past “al denté”. Stephen Hawking had a better gun. I remember me and my brother, our backs to the field and laughing at this clown—“Jesus Christ! This mother-fucker can NOT fucking play! What the fuck!” my brother mused with a chuckle of incredulity.

How does this tie into Wolfson and Penn and the Clinton campaign?

Those two are political consultant equals of the no-talent exposed “Evan”.

For all their pedigree, and appearance as “real players” in this game, these two posers revealed themselves as utter stumblebums. Strategy-wise—they're helmeted, short-bus riders. What idiot-ass not only proposed the idea of foregoing the Goddamned caucuses, but then signed off on it and then kept up doing it as it was shown to be a pigfuck of a plan? Who's the dipshit who okayed that hellish two-week period where the campaign went down that dark alleyway, kicking around the broken glass and toxic waste of race-tinged politics scattered about there and turbo-charging the rush of Black voters away from the usually “Black-friendly” Clinton camp? And thus pissed off one of their biggest advocates in the Black South, South Carolina's Jim Clyburn? And stupidly typed up the “druggie” and “kindergarten ambition” talking points that failed as spectacularly as an ACME product in a Road Runner cartoon?

What brilliantines came up with and said “Yah!” to the silly-ass tacks of pushing the plagiarism angle which blew up in her face with the “Xerox” and closing “I'll be fine” lines? And this week's sadly shoe-horned in “Barack would like an extra pillow” lift from an SNL sketch that induced groans like a plate of bad clams and a just-chugged, lukewarm Yoo-Hoo™?

I lay the blame at the four left feet of her alleged campaign's “Chief Strategist” Penn, who's picking her campaign coffers clean getting paid a hefty sum of $4.3 million dollars, and her communication director Howard Wolfson—her campaign's PR face who it seems cannot go on TV without channeling a churlish, antagonistic, management-fellating/fuck everybody else corporate-weasel. These are her key people and they're both so amazingly inept at their job descriptions that it almost seems they're intentionally working against Senator Clinton.

But that's not it at all. They're just not really working for her. Working for her would mean keeping an ear to the ground about the trending—what message is hot and what's not. It's about keeping her within herself and being herself—not crappily doing an “Obama-lite” thing when trying to rally crowds. It's about being real and saying “fuck my 'rep' and 'loyalty'—my job is to tell you when shit stinks, and not simply going 'yeah, that's good' when a plan is swirling 'round the crapper. It's about accentuating the candidate's positives and diminishing the negatives. Signing off on Ms. Clinton's stiffly hand-grenading alleged “zingers” that sound like they were cribbed from a retired Bob Hope jokesmith living in a “golden years” village in Palo Alto is NOT working for her in terms of helping her campaign.

Whether you're for her or not—it's painfully clear that this duo of “do-nothing” have basically reached into her wallet and stolen money in return for not doing chore the first worth a damn.

“Big Guns” my Black ass. These are the kind of dudes who when the team is being touted as being “the shiznit” have all the mouth in the world and look like world-beaters running out of the tunnel. Let their team get down a touchdown late and all of a sudden, it's them with the penalties, missed coverages and getting pancaked (knocked on their asses) on every play. You reveal yourself fully not when times are flush—but when the flak is heavy, and these so-called tough guys couldn't break a thumbhold from a trembling Barney Fife.

It's that dumb dot-bomb mentality again. Big talk, high pay, setback after setback, defensive “trust the strategy”-speak—and then at the end, a thimble-full of invisible to everyone but them—vaporware. But of course, they still make sure they get their checks. Fuckers.

As I said in a previous post,...

“...the Clinton (campaign's) early-game strategy of hanging back and letting Obama shoot without a hand in his face during the caucuses was so Goddamned dumb that her advisers and handlers—the Mark Penns and Howard Wolfsons of the world...need to be sued for mal-fucking-practice. Then, beaten with a rusty boat chain.”

I stand by that, and further increase the volume. Not as a supporter, but as a simple observer. To blow through $130 million campaign dollars while pocketing over 3% of that (Penn's cut plus God-only-knows what Wolfson's getting—it ain't chicken feed.) and losing 11 straight contests in crunch time, is to scream from the rooftops “I am...a goniff—and don't particularly give a rat's ass what you think of me or how I handle things—just as long as I get “my cut”.

Their job was to help her, guide, advise and show her at her best publicly. These were her right hands—chief strategist and chief spokesperson and they have blatantly failed at those three objectives they were tasked with.

She's done her own part in damaging her candidacy, yes..., but these guys' job was to counter those weaknesses, as Obama's and McCain's people have. Hubris, greed and simple sloth have rendered them as much a campaign liability as her innate faults—the things they were supposed to work against and paper over.

The moral? “The ill-served get served.” Not as in “by a waiter” but rather as in“You Got Served”—the ass-kicked ,“What happened to my $130,000,000 and my double-digit poll leads, and seeming inevitablity” sense.

The game got late and big hits were needed.

Her “Evans” it turned out couldn't so much as buy a hit and apparently kept every “Benjamin” anyway.

And ironically, like George W, Bush who she has been excoriating so spiritedly of late, she has also fallen victim to the myopia of at-all-costs over-loyalty to people who have outlived their usefulness to her “cause” and effectively either stopped doing or never did their jobs with any level of efficiency.

Exactly what we've seen over the last eight, excruciating years...and apparently the approach of these last eight years is what has sparked this new “lust for change” that's gripped so many Americans this campaign season.

Which sadly, kind of explains why things...are as they are right about now, doesn't it?
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bloomberg Not Running

His royal highness speaks:

WATCHING the 2008 presidential campaign, you sometimes get the feeling that the candidates — smart, all of them — must know better. They must know we can’t fix our economy and create jobs by isolating America from global trade. They must know that we can’t fix our immigration problems with border security alone.
... blah, blah, blah...

Whatever, BuhBye Michael. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way off the national stage.
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Free Houses in Subprime Meltdown

I know something about this subprime business through my work and this story on BoingBoing caught my eye.

Joe Lents hasn't made a payment on his $1.5 million mortgage since 2002.
That's when Washington Mutual Inc. first tried to foreclose on his home in Boca Raton. The Seattle-based lender failed to prove that it owned Lents' mortgage note and dropped attempts to take his house. Subsequent efforts to foreclose have stalled because no one has produced the paperwork.

"If you're going to take my house away from me, you better own the note," said Lents, 63, the former chief executive officer of a now-defunct voice recognition software company. --Tampa Bay Online

It's a fact that through the relentless re-packaging and re-selling of thousands of these loans many banks have lost the paperwork on the houses they own. Unlike Japan which maintains a central repository for this sort of thing, it's the mortgage holder in the U.S. that is responsible.

This problem, that the mortgage companies would like to not publicize, is huge. Quite possibly affecting up to $2 trillion dollars worth of mortgages. If you are a homeowner who is in foreclosure procedures, or even being threatened. Make the bank prove they own your home. The banks share a large percentage of blame for this subprime crisis.
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William F. Buckley Jr. Dies at 82

The Associated Press has the story.

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.

His assistant Linda Bridges said Buckley was found dead by his cook at his home in Stamford, Conn. The cause of death was unknown, but he had been ill with emphysema, she said.

Editor, columnist, novelist, debater, TV talk show star of "Firing Line," harpsichordist, transoceanic sailor and even a good-natured loser in a New York mayor's race, Buckley worked at a daunting pace, taking as little as 20 minutes to write a column for his magazine, the National Review.

Yet on the platform, he was all handsome, reptilian languor, flexing his imposing vocabulary ever so slowly, accenting each point with an arched brow or rolling tongue and savoring an opponent's discomfort with wide-eyed glee.

"I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition," he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. "I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?' I couldn't think of anyone."

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William F. Buckley Jr., Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver. 1980s. photo Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.

The progressive blogosphere's Rick Perlstein writes a beautiful obituary.
Blog for Our Future

Why William F. Buckley Was My Role Model
By Rick Perlstein

William F. Buckley was my friend.

I'm hard on conservatives. I get harder on them just about every day. I call them "con men." I do so without apology. And I cannot deny that William F. Buckley said and did many things over the course of his career that were disgusting as well. I've written about some of them. But this is not the time to go into all that. My friend just passed away at the age of 82. He was a good and decent man. He knew exactly what my politics were about—he knew I was an implacable ideological adversary—yet he offered his friendship to me nonetheless. He did the honor of respecting his ideological adversaries, without covering up the adversarial nature of the relationship in false bonhommie. A remarkable quality, all too rare in an era of the false fetishization of "post-partisanship" and Broderism and go-along-to-get-along. He was friends with those he fought. He fought with friends. These are the highest civic ideals to which an American patriot can aspire.

I first met Bill in 1997. When I contacted his assistant to ask for an interview for a book I was writing about Barry Goldwater, Buckley was immediately accommodating, though I had very little public reputation at the time. He was, simply, generous with people who cared to learn about conservatism. I sat with him for a good half hour in National Review's offices on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, and he answered every damned question I asked, in searching detail, and then answered a few I hadn't even asked. He also opened his papers to me at Yale University without hesitation. Would that all conservatives honored these ideals of intellectual transparency.

When my Goldwater book came out, he was generous in his praise of it—again, acknowledging all the while that we were ideological adversaries.

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The model here is Steve.

Buckley was an out and out Conservative. He was for conservative ideals. In his time, he was for bombing China, segregation, against the Freedom March on Washington, against African self-government. He was Conservative. Gilliard was Progressive. Gillard's ideas are and were as offensive to a solid third of the country as Buckley's ideas were and are to our third of the country.

No matter how strongly anyone believes their beliefs to be "the truth," any hope for true change, for genuine reconciliation between red and blue America, does not start with attacking the memory of a man who has just died.

With the exception of the Freepers and a few genuinely disgusting people, friends and enemies alike came together to acknowledge Steve Gilliard as a liberal lion. Let people be as unstinting in their praise of William Buckley as people were in their praise of Steven Gilliard. Death is no respecter of politics; she comes for all of us, one death per life.

I didn't agree with William F. Buckley's politics, but I admired his spirit. He was a genuine conservative, a person unafraid to disagree with you politically, without needing to attack you personally, threaten your family, or resort to name-calling or insults.

He was, an old-fashioned gentleman.

Rest well, William F. Buckley Jr.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LOL Obama: Yes We Can Has

Still not an Obama-kitty, but these deserve to be posted. (Thanks Jen.)

These and more at the terrific Yes We Can Haz.

Check it out.

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1,000 posts

Phew. Thanks to all of you guys for reading it all. If you haven't read every post, go back and read them now. Go on.

Thanks again...
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Battlestar Galactica Interview

Concurring Opinions Interviews BSG Creators

Roughly one hour of on-point interview (QuickTime) is available with Ron Moore and David Eick, creators of Battlestar Galactica.

Recommended for BSG fans ONLY. Everyone else, watch BSG first, or this will ruin the series for you. See my comments below.

Concurring Opinions

We are thrilled to offer readers of Concurring Opinions an interview with Ron Moore and David Eick, creators of the hit television show Battlestar Galactica. Daniel Solove, Deven Desai, and David Hoffman ask the questions. We would like to thank Professor John Ip for suggesting some of the torture questions. Our interview lasts a little over an hour.

Our goal was to explore some of the themes of the show in a deeper manner than many traditional interviews. Ron and David graciously agreed to give us an hour of their time, and we had a fascinating conversation with them.

Our interview is structured in three parts. Part I, available in two files (see the end of this post to download), focuses on the issues of legal systems and morality. It examines the lawyers and trials in the show. It also examines how torture is depicted, as well as how the humans must balance civil liberties and security.

Part II examines politics and commerce. It explores how the cylon attack affected the humans' political system, and it examines how commerce works in the fleet.

Part III examines issues related to cylons, such as the humans' treatment of cylons, how robots should be treated by the law, how the cylons govern themselves politically. Additionally, Part III explores the religious issues involved in the show.

The show is heavily influenced by modern events, especially terrorism, war, and torture. In a time of emergency, how should we balance security and liberty? How do we deal with enemies who may be burrowed in among us? How does a society decimated in a war reconstitute its political, economic, and legal systems?

Battlestar Galactica was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award and twice as an official selection of the American Film Institute top television programs for 2005 and 2006.

Topics: The legal system, lawyers, trials, and tribunals.
Length: 11 minutes, 51 seconds
File Size: Approximately 11 MB

Topics: Torture, necessity vs. moral principles, deference to the military
Length: 18 minutes, 1 second
File Size: Approximately 16.5 MB

Topics: Politics and commerce
Length: 13 minutes, 57 seconds
File Size: Approximately 13 MB

Topics: Cylons and humans, cylon rights, cylon society and governance, religion
Length: 16 minutes, 15 seconds
File Size: Approximately 15 MB

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I think Battlestar is the best program on television today, possibly the best drama I've every personally watched on television. And yes, I include Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The West Wing. Possibly Hill St. Blues was this good, in how it got people to care so deeply about a serialized multi-character single-camera show. But BSG is the culmination of decades of television writing.

It really is that good.

One word of caution for those of you whom have not seen Battlestar. I strongly urge you to not:
  • read any of the comments for this post, and
  • watch any and I do mean any repeats or reruns.
Just order Season One and watch from the beginning, starting with the mini-series -- which takes a little bit to get going, but then gets going and never stops. By the time you're two or three episodes into Season 1, you'll be completely hooked. Don't even get me started how by year three, they have TWO protagonists, the humans and the cylons, and you're genuinely uncertain whom to root for. That is GREAT writing and story telling.


My point is, Battlestar, much more so than most shows, is serial. There are slow builds, character development, arcs, reveals, and surprises which will leave you in tears, anguished, shocked or stunned to your core. Should you watch the series out of order even for one episode in a season (depending on the episode), let alone skip seasons, an enormous part of the enjoyment of the series will be ruined. This is NOT a series to be spoiled for.

People in comments will talk about the series and that's fine. No doubt the creators will talk about the episodes to date, possibly even the final season to come. Go watch the series first, in order. It's worth everything you put into it.

The fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica starts Friday, April 4, 10 ET/PT.

To Order:
Season 1 (Includes the mini-series)
Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)
Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)
Season 3 (Coming soon)
Battlestar Galactica: Razor (TV movie from Fall 2007)

h/t The Volokh Conspiracy
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Barack Obama, Manchurian Candidate

Mark Halperin, Stupid Motherfucker

Below I mention the lard headed fools like Nedra Pickler, and CNN that are propagating this silly assed Manchurian Candidate Pseudo Patriot meme and like freaking clockwork here comes Mark Halperin. As Atrios calls him Time Magazine's Chief Racism Promoter. I would have said racist but who am I to argue with the Mighty Atrios.

His stupid ass comes up with a helpful list of things "McCain Can Do to Try to Beat Obama That Clinton Cannot"... Look at number 11.
11. Emphasize Barack Hussein Obama’s unusual name and exotic background through a Manchurian Candidate prism.
Like clockwork...
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Monday, February 25, 2008

Musical Moments That Change Your Life—The Remix

The Days Of Vinyl and Roses...

As I fire the boilers up for what looks like a fearsome, fright-fraught, and in the case of John McCain's Arizona brother-in-less-than-ethical behavior—flat-out felonious week's worth of doings, I find myself using music to keep me from walking the streets looking for creeps to slap down. That's how silly the “Silly Season's” getting lately with talk of Manchurian Candidates and other candidates being deemed one minute as a GOP enabler, and the next as a bereted, leather-jacketed second coming of Bobby Seale and Fred Hampton.

Great Balls O' Stupid!

But music is a saving grace for me. It gets me through. Takes the edge off—and in a sensory way, simply transports me. My ears tune in closely and my brain itself opens up. I “hear” the music in an enjoyable as well as an analytical manner. My nervous system is primed to a high sensitivity. There are chills and shudders. The hair will stand on end on note trills, and certain bass lines sock you in the gut and waggle your pelvis against your will.

And oftentimes—the music will key in emotionally. It can support or provoke a moment. Our dear and talented littlest gator wrote about this beautifully about two weeks ago. It was a popular post and a thought-provoking one. From it, I got an e-mail from one of my oldest friends—an artist, teacher and writer who read the piece and got him to thinking about his musical moments.

And maaaaaaan, has he got some. As I've known him for over 25 years. I've been a witness to some of 'em—so I figured I'd share them with you, as he's just a damned fine writer himself, funny,and as much a music “head” as I am. You'll be hearing more from him in the future as he's also a wonderful military historian capable of tying in classic tales of Spanish armadas into modern-day doings. And be on the lookout for some special music posts I'm whipping up with the help of a few friends who boast impeccable Rock, Pop and Funk chops. Trust'll love it!

Thus without any further ado, my pal—who shall go by the moniker “The King Of Pain” for now, and his musical moments, followed by my own “Ten”.



When it’s good, music can be uplifting. Energizing. Unforgettable. Timeless.

And when it’s REALLY good, music can inspire a timid soul to plan, and do, magnificent feats, to express feelings of great joy, or to be a balm in time of sorrow. Oh yes, that is the power that music, good, nitty-gritty, down-to-the-bone, make you wanna slap your mama music has, regardless of genre, or race or culture of it’s creator. GOOD music is all that, and more:

It can be Magical.

My best bud in the world's post prompted me to list the ten most magical memorable songs I know. Songs that, for whatever reason, have left their mark on my psyche. As an avid music man, this was no small task, and the list here is no way fully inclusive, but these ten are the first I always think about. And since this list involves going down “Memory Lane”, because I’ve been in enough trouble lately, the names of the innocent have been changed, but the songs remain the same.

10.) “Sweet Love”—Anita Baker, (1986)

From the dramatic and powerful first eight chords, you get the sense that something new was dawning. And when the instrumental intro subsides and Anita’s dusky alto takes over, the new sound is complete. A different strain of torch love song had been unleashed, one that would become a staple of—and one of the only actually enduring examples of what would soon be known as “Cool Jazz.” For me, this song also ushered in the dawn of a new and unfamiliar era for me personally: the Era of (finally!) Getting Laid.

9.) “Sideshow”—Blue Magic, (1974)

70’s R&B melancholy at its best. “Sideshow” always evokes a far more innocent time, of being in 5th Grade at PS 335 in Brooklyn, of a young, skinny lad with big glasses and bad teeth trying to dredge up the nerve to ask the school Goddess, one *Felicia Packer, to be his girl, hanging around her block on Park Place and Utica Ave. for hours every Saturday, hoping to get a glimpse of her magnificence (today, this would be stalking). “Sideshow”, along with The Stylistics’ “You Make Me Feel Brand New” was the soundtrack of that time, forever blaring from someone’s apartment or car radio as I maintained my weekly vigil. And though I did intercept her several times, I ultimately gave up the ghost, figuring a geek like me never would have a shot, only to realize twenty years later, when events would play back in my mind, I belatedly, and heartbreakingly realize that every time I did Intercept The Goddess, she was always, ALWAYS happy to see me.


8.) Pop Pop Pop (Goes My Mind)—Levert (1986)

You fucked up. Be a man. Admit it. You. Fucked. Up. You had a diamond, and you traded her in for rusty, shedding Brillo pads. Could’ve had a Lexus, but you went for the Le Car instead. Friends call me “The King of Pain”, due to all the sad love stories that I’ve had the misfortune to live. But not all of them are those that cast myself as the victim of a wily woman. No…some are self-inflicted pain, the result of bad choices (or in some cases, no choices made at all). “Pop Pop Pop” is a signature song for those times that I blew it, when I gummed up the works, when I did bad. A haunting song coolly delivered by the late, great Gerald Levert and company, it’s what I always played when all I could do was mope and wallow in self-pity. Good times. Gooooooooood times.

7.) “If Loving You is Wrong, (I Don’t Want to Be Right)—Luther Ingram (1972)

And speaking of haunting, this tune is as good as it gets. As a child I loved this song (I was eight when it came out). But it wasn’t until I became an adult —a married adult, that this song’s power and pain was fully understood. And what pain there is!

“Am I wrong to fall, so deeply in love with you?
Knowing I got a wife and two little children depending on me too.
And am I wrong to hunger for the gentleness of your touch,
Knowing I got someone else at home who need me just as much.”

“OOOOHHHH!!!! ” As Dr. Smith (from Lost in Space) would say— “The pain, the PAIN!” ”

What grabs me about this song is its simplicity in lyrics. It goes right to the point, without trying to be clever or cute. It’s raw, it aches, and Mr. Ingram (who wrote the song) delivers with a smoky, down-home chit'lin-style that tells me this ain’t no make believe shit; this is the real deal, this motherfucker lived this mess, and he is oh-so-torn. And it's made even more evident to me as a married man who has felt…well…um...let’s just move on, shall we?

6.) “Sucker MCs” (Krush Groove One)—Run-DMC (1983)

Much acclaim has been heaped upon Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” as the first mainstream rap record, and “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five for giving rap a social conscience, and it is all deserved. But in my estimation, there is a third nascent rap song that completes the holy trinity, and that is Run-DMC's “Sucker MCs”. After “The Message, which came out in ’82, rap really was just meandering along, still a novelty waiting to expand its beachhead. Then came the Spring of ’83 when “Sucker MCs” burst upon a sleeping population, bringing the oomph back in to the Hip-Hop Nation. Simple and sparse, with only an addictive, repetitive percussion beat mixed with mad skill by the late Jam Master Jay, Sucker MCs harkens back to a time when you could actually play a rap song that wasn’t angry, or filled with hate, self-hate, misogyny or abounding with words that sane parents try desperately to shield their little ones from. It’s a flat-out fun record, with a funky little beat that 25 years later, is still a crowd pleaser in the clubs.

5.) “I Feel Good All Over”—Stephanie Mills (1987)

Are you into doing acts of evil? Not EVIL on the scale of Hitler, Stalin, Dahmer, or bin Laden, but rather, lower-case evil, Reggie Miller giggling and throwing up “dagger” three-pointers in the final seconds sort of wickedness? Then play this song, or if you’re at a party that I’m present for, get the DJ to play this song. For then you will see a man, a steady, secure, confident man be reduced to a glob of goo—struck catatonic by the first five bars of this love anthem. It never fails; that is always the reaction I have when I hear this song. I could have Beyonce sitting on my lap, with Gabrielle Union caressing my shoulders while Catherine Zeta-Jones is pleading with me to free her from the hell that is her craggy grandfather of a husband, and it would still be the same; instant transportation to a time gone by, when I still had “The One That Got Away”, in my grasp. The One with whom I shared the most glorious kiss, during an August sunset, in the life-guard tower at Coney Island, as this song played softly in the background, echoing from the lit-up amusement park behind us. I hear this song and I become a glassy-eyed mute, an arrow shot through my heart, because through my stupidity, that magical time ended far too soon (cue that damn “Pop Pop Pop Goes My Mind”). So go ahead, you evil little bitches, do the deed—play that song. I’ve long accepted it’s the penance I must pay for being a greedy bastard, for trying to make “The Seinfeld Switch” when I should have loved the one I was with.

Kleenex, please.

4.) “Tempted”—Squeeze (1981)

In December,1981, as a college freshman, me and my buddies went to a college party at F.I.T.—The Fashion Institute of Technology. This was still the time period when I was painfully shy, and probably only the third real party I'd ever ventured out to. Got to the party in the cleared out, darkened Student Lounge, and it was jumping, filled with hot babes of every stripe. Like barracudas sweeping through a school of tuna, my boys went to work, scoring dance, after dance, after dance. At first I held back, unsteady, unsure. But then after awhile, I reasoned, “What’s the problem? You’re handsome, looking sharp in your black slacks, black turtleneck and beige blazer, how hard could it be to ask a girl to dance?” And so I entered the fray. Asked a girl for a dance. She said “No”. Asked another. Again, “No”. Tried again.

And again.
And again.
And again.
And again.

By the seventh time—I was shot down in flames. I finally raised the white flag, and as the party kicked into high gear, I sauntered off to the TV room, my ego shattered, and head hung low. There I stayed for the rest of the party, looking at something called Cable TV, that had some program called MTV that was showing something called music videos. One of the songs played was “Tempted” by the British pop group Squeeze. A song about being tempted by the fruit of another, it instantly became my default song for every time I was tempted to give up in my pursuit of the “Fairer Sex”. Later, when I’d meet similar bad nights at the clubs or a horrible date, I’d loop this song, playing it over and over and over again, much like my rejections that cold December night in ’81. And I still love the song.

“King of Pain”...that's me.

3.) Red Light Special—TLC (1994)

In the waning days of my bachelor life (July ,1996) I found myself at a Manhattan club. There that night was a beautiful young lady whose name is lost to me in the mists of time, but not the image of her beauty. Model tall, with shapely long legs and the look and build of Garcelle Beauvais, the girl was but a casual acquaintance; someone I’d love to target, but she was a bit young, (maybe ten years my junior) and a tad too beautiful and popular with the fellas who were hawking her like mad that night. So I harbored no illusions. Well this night, as the joint was about to close down, I asked her for a Last Dance. She accepted and we danced thru a couple of songs. Then “Red Light Special” came on. Seeing it was a slow jam, I was ready to back off. To my surprise, however, “Garcelle” drew close to me and we started to dance. Really close. And in my head, cheering erupted, slowly at first but gaining in strength the longer the song blared thru the emptying club, and the closer that sweet, lean body was up on mine. Oh, shit! Could it be? Am I on the verge of a miracle? I wondered. As T-Boz crooned her tune, I switched gears, from passive to aggressive. I said something about “Garcelle” being beautiful. She buried her head in my chest. I looked over towards my wingman, LM who stared at me with wide-eyed wonder. Getting bolder, I tossed another line as we slowly danced in sync. No response. Launched another get over-line salvo. No response. I reared back a little to check on my silent, clinging partner, and in doing so, I got a whiff of reality.

The girl was drunk. Damn near out cold on her feet. And as a result, she had fallen asleep in my arms. That’s why she was all up on me—I'd been practically holding her body upright. The cheers quickly turned to groans, and as “Red Light Special” ended, I had the task of trying to wake my dance partner up, bitter that my dream had already ended. As usual.

2) “Over Like a Fat Rat”—Fonda Rae (1982)

Of all the songs on this list, this is the only one I don’t have great affection for. Yet it makes this list solely on the strength of something that happened that some folks believe I made up, but alas, it did happen.

Saturday, May 7th 1988, I was at a graduation party of an acquaintance up in the Boogie Down Bronx. I'd just broken up with “I Feel Good All Over” girl, and was out looking...for a replacement. Shallow? Yes…but I was young. At this party were three prospects, one of whom I’d met sometime before.

The party…was as we said then, wack,, and the three young ladies were bored. I suggested that we’d go to my crib to get some up-to-date records to liven the party up. The three agreed, and we drove to my apartment in the Murphy Houses off Crotona to grab some albums.

When we got there, the three were amazed at my album collection, which numbered over 1,000 discs at that time. So much in fact, that they seemed to not want to leave, but rather—stay at my pad. “How long can we stay?”, asked the cutest of the three.

“As long as you like.”, was my reply, and the three girls shrieked in delight.

So as they giddily became familiar with my record collection, I was in the kitchen making some snacks, trying to decide which of the three I was going to concentrate my efforts on. It was there, in the kitchen, where I heard it; a slight shuffling, crinkling noise, behind the refrigerator. Thought I was hearing things, but a minute later, heard the same noise again, and my heart froze, because I knew exactly what that rustling noise signaled.

A mouse
No Lord, not here not now! I remembered praying, already knowing the answer. My crib had regular flare-ups regarding mice infestations, and that night one decided to make a visit. But I didn’t have time to combat the bastard, I had guests to entertain; three seriously sweet female guests whom I was trying to impress. All I could hope was that “Mickey” would stay his ass in the kitchen, while action unfolded in the living room. Or perhaps …beyond?

With snacks in hand I gamely returned to the living room where the girls were playing jams by Salt & Pepa, Eric B, and Sybil, laughing and dancing and swapping club stories. I sat on the couch, trying to relax, but my ears were cocked, waiting to hear that noise again. The cutest girl then went to my pile of records and picked out, you guessed it, the NY club classic, “Over Like a Fat Rat”. Excitedly she put the needle to the record, telling us how she loved this song—a thumpy, bass-heavy, ass-shaker of a jam.

And that’s, I swear on my mother’s ashes, when the trouble began.

Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I heard the same rustling noise over “Fat Rat”, but the girls didn’t catch it. I started talking really loud, desperately trying to drown out the sound. Then I heard a squeak. And one of the girls heard that squeak above the record. I tried to play it off like “I ain’t heard nothing!” But then...the motherfucker did it again, this time letting out a big squeak.

“Was that a mouse?”

As if to answer the girl’s question, there was a sudden flash of grey lightning, darting quickly from behind the sofa to behind the piano. And all three girls saw it.

“A MOUSE?! Oh, FUCK no! FUCK no!”

And in a matter of seconds, as Fonda Rae was still singing about getting over like a fat rat—all three honies grabbed their jackets and cleared out of my crib with the quickness, leaving me with Fonda, and that mother-fucking, cock-blocking rodent.

It would be another TWENTY-EIGHT MONTHS (!) before I came CLOSE to getting some like I might’ve been close that night.

And in twenty years I’ve never played this song again. Ever.

1.) “We Must Be In Love” (The Wedding Song) —Pure Soul (1996)

In my opinion, one of the best wedding songs of all time, and to this day I am surprised this was not a bigger hit. Beautifully sung by women (and not little girly-girls) singers that could give a vintage EnVogue a run for their money, “We Must Be In Love” was me and my bride, “L.A.'s” first dance at our wedding reception nigh ten years ago, which more than made up for all the suffering and angst I went thru during my single days. If you don’t know this song, do yourself a favor and download it. Maybe it’ll be magic for you as well.


From the King of Pain.


Now, here are mine—pulled from the comments in TLG's original post, but here now to show some counter-balance and to give you a bit of insight into li'l ol' me.

My ten (LM's) moments:

1.) Hearing Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers “Moanin” at my dad's friend Lewis' home in Englewood, New Jersey. Lewis had a full-blown, high-end stereophile room in his basement. Big Quad channel stereo. Everything was perfectly balanced. I could pick out where each instrument was and the quality was simply magical. That dark, paneled audio womb was amazing to hear music in, and hearing that majestic Jazz classic—those thundering drums, Bobby Timmons' loping piano, and Lee Morgan's serpentine horn just transported me. I fell in love with Jazz that day. Lewis would give us one more treat that day. We were in his yard and he pointed down the block and said the song was recorded about three blocks away at the legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder's house. Wow.

2.) Marvin Gaye's “What's Happenin' Brother” from the “What's Goin' On” album. When we got our first stereo—a huge, Sylvania console, one of the first things we ever played on it was that album. I lay on the floor underneath the speakers, entranced by the panoramic sound and when “What's Happenin' Brother” came on, I swear I got high from it. It was the bass line. James Jamerson's bass line to be precise. I'd heard his bass before, but not stereo separated like that. It was an almost organic thing, pounding like a pulse—almost alive. I lay there, eyes closed as I repeated the song four times or so. It was THAT song that got me listening to music closely—picking out the individual sidemen and training my ear. But every time I hear that song to this very day—I trance out. I'm 8 years old again, life is simple, and music is...transformative.

3.) Stevie Wonder's “My Cherie Amour”. I had a crush on a waitress at my father's restaurant. Her name was Eleanora—she was a beautiful. mocha-colored sister whose skin fairly glowed and she had the most magnificent legs. One day, I watched her loading cups into the take-out dispenser for what seemed like several minutes when someone put Stevie Wonder's “My Cherie Amour” on the juke box. Time seemed to slow. The jangling guitars and singing strings, coupled with Stevie's longing voice while looking at the beautiful Eleanora melted my very soul. It didn't help that a huge blast of sunshine broke through the window and illuminated her in almost golden light. Shit. I'm choking up writing this. Every time I hear that song, I feel an impossibly sunny day and I'm drunk with thoughts of dewy-eyed love.

4.) It was an unnaturally warm Spring day in '73 when I sat in school in Harlem. The windows were open and Lenox Avenue was quiet that day. And then I could hear coming 'round the corner a sound. Drums first—“Bum-ba-ba-bum”, then a trilling vibraphone with a piano. It was the opening of The Spinners “Could It Be I'm Falling In Love”. It sounded so beautiful, so pristine. Then the strings washed in and I was lifted on a cloud of happy. That song is so damned perfect that I can't describe it. I was so taken away that I leaned over at my desk to look out the window for where it was coming from. It was a pimped-out, copper-colored Buick Riviera slowly tooling down Lenox Avenue, and as that monster slowed behind other cars that song blared from the 8-Track. So perfect. So beautiful. The teacher saw me distracted and gave me demerits. I didn't care. I still don't. That song's sound just moves me something fierce and always will.

5.) Jimi Hendrix' cover of and subsequent claiming of Dylan's “All Along The Watchtower”. I heard this loopy, psychedelic, apocalyptic number during a terrible hailstorm while I was still living in Harlem. I was six years old. The song was petrifying enough—Hendrix's trippy, keening guitar lines and slurry voice fed through the heavy reverb. But the fearsome sound and dystopian imagery will always be punctuated by a visual that took place at that moment. I was looking out the window during his backwards-sounding solo when a huge, bloody, dead pigeon plopped onto the sill in a thud of feathers and ice-ripped wounds. Yikes. That song still scares the living shit out of me, but I can't stop listening to it. It's a sense memory of my youth I'll never forget. It just has that cool, spooky “end of the world” vibe. Brrrrrrrr!

6.) “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees. Say what you want about the Brothers Gibb, but those S.O.Bs can turn out a ear-sticking pop song like very few in the modern era. Tuneful, catchy stuff that you can't shake. In the three year span of '76 to '79, you could not avoid them. I was at a sweet sixteen party for a classmate and in attendance was the most beautiful girl in our grade-Ann Marie. A statuesque, doe-eyed, elegant girl with a huge mop of dark brown hair. She was smart, beautiful, classy and I think at least thirty boys in our class were in love with her. I was among them. We were friends Ann Marie and I, and as a bunch of us lingered about holding up the walls at the party, The D.J. put on “How Deep Is Your Love” and the floor cleared except for the longstanding, and just hooked-up couples. I saw Ann Marie standing there off to the side and I impulsively made my move. The assembled fellas saw me making my way towards her and mouths fell open. I was gonna get shot down. NOT. Ann Marie said yes. We clinched on the floor in a soulful slow-dance and that song was magical. The warm Fender Rhodes, languid bass, and trilling guitars swept me away. The lyrics took on meaning and the sighing vocals finished the job. I was in heaven. I swear, when I hear that song nowadays, I can still smell the “Charlie” perfume on Ann's neck and feel myself getting dizzy from our little circle of dirty dancing there on that living room floor. I close my eyes when I hear that song, the same way I closed my eyes while dancing with the impossibly perfect Ann Marie. Maaaaaaan....

7.) First Choice's “Doctor Love”. I was still a teenager but it was my first time at a big-time Disco. It was Studio 54—early summer of 1978. A bunch of us had gotten in and found ourselves nervously standing near the shiny bar under the balcony when the man at the wheels of steel—D.J. Nicky segued from “Don't Leave Me This Way” into “Doctor Love”, disco music's magnum opus. I'd heard the song before, but never in a “club” atmosphere with the huge speakers everywhere and with a chance to dance. The bass was blasting through my mid-section as Rochelle Fleming's singing swooped and dipped like a wild bird on the wing. And then, a beautiful girl spun before me, stopped and then cocked her head, asking me onto the floor. For the next six minutes we danced—a bit of the Hustle, The Spank and The Freak mixed in. I was...for those brief minutes, an adult. Out for a night on the town, dancing my ass off with grown-ups. I can still feel every spin, every shoulder-swagger. My hands about this woman's waist, trailing off to her back, the toe-steps and shimmies. It was my coming-out party hang-out wise and that amazing, propulsive jam is what I think of when partying comes to mind. Sung by the mother of all Disco Divas—the amazing Rochelle fleming, NO song moves my feet more than that one does.

8.) Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach's Painted From Memory”. I was in the process of getting over my first post-divorce relationship's coming to an end, and I was an absolute mess. I couldn't think, I couldn't cope. My friend and trainer at my job's gym I guess had noticed my odd distance and depression and knew I needed a catharsis. I came out of the shower one day to find she'd left me a CD on my gym bag with the note “Just Listen”. So, as I left the gym (unable to find her), I headed home and put the CD in my Discman and listened to it. The whole thing was amazing, but that one song had me blinking back tears on the train. I couldn't blink them back any more, so I got off many stops before my intended one and walked home, with that song on repeat and tears flowing down. It of the most heart-breaking songs about lost love you will ever hear. The combination of Bacharach's melody, and Costello's lyrics and gut-wrenching singing is like a punch in the chest. A real orchestra, swelling and receding along with my emotions—my God. By the time I got home I was exhausted. But it was a good exhaustion. I needed it. That song released me and I'll never forget it.

9.) “People Get Ready” by The Impressions. I've written on this song here before here. But I'll add this. It is one of my earliest audio memories, a song that sounded 400 years old—an ancient, soul-deep moan that I remember my dad giving me and my brothers haircuts to. I can still hear those ringing harmonies coming out of our cheap little phonograph as I watched the eerie ABC-Paramount label slowly spin around. I'm transported back to a simpler time. When I was a child, and while the world was tearing itself apart, a familiar song could actually soothe my soul. I still fall back on this tune for comfort today.

10.) Run-DMC's “Sucker MCs”. I heard this live at a block party three blocks off Hollis Avenue in front of St. Pascal's school on 109th Avenue in Hollis, Queens. Run, D and Jay freaked the assembled when they tore into this live version of their first hit for the locals. There were about a thousand people there with Jay's rig jacked into a light pole for juice. I'd listened to rap, mostly stuff done live at house parties by local would-be's, but when these three rocked the house that day it was amazing. Local boys made good, or, def as it were. The energy they radiated while performing was almost electric. People dancing, jumping, shouting and singing along as rap in essence was coming to life before the world's eyes, and we were there soaking it all in as guys from 'round the way were doing their part to spread it around. We knew something special was happening, but couldn't put our finger on just what—what we did know was that they were rockin' shit like we'd never seen it rocked before. The version they did was considerably extended and chock full of call-and-response stuff between the audience. We danced till our feet hurt and screamed along until we were hoarse. The late Jam Master Jay ended the jam with a two minute virtuoso bit of cutting and scratching. As an old rap song used to go, God damn that Dee Jay made my day!

Those are my ten. I could give you twenty, but those are the big ten that immediately come to mind here in LowerManhattaniteVille. :)

Heal up kiddies, get your music on—the “Silly Season” we're in the ever-lovin' middle of absolutely decrees it.
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Fire Nedra Pickler

Go here and send some letters, lets rid ourselves of this odious wretch:

Not surprisingly, I understand she is married to some Fox News Producer

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John McCain, Manchurian Candidate

There has been this persistent rumor about John McCain. That he was tortured by the North Vietnamese into being a Manchurian Candidate, like in the movie, and no I am not talking about the crappy remake. I am referring to the Sinatra movie. Where a veteran was brainwashed into trying to assassinate the president. So, McCain is running for president because it's much easier to kill yourself I guess.

Yes, this is the sort of thing that really stupid people send around and I mean really stupid. I hate these people. None of them send me these anymore, because my response is really not that.... measured.

Those same people are now sending around another email now. Obama is a Weather Underground Communist Muslim Bomber. Apparently because his brothers dog once pee'd on a fence that was owned by a guy who I think is in the background of picture below, anyway, this guy knew a guy who might have been involved, and was totally not trying to score with any of the chicks hanging around revolutionary headquarters.

Some of these stupid people who are sending this email around work at CNN and some of them are named Nedra Pickler, and some of them are named Larry Johnson. The premise about Barack Obama is that he is so anti-American, and sooooo secretly a Weather Underground guy that he is running for president. I shit you not. He is so unpatriotic that he is going to try to be elected President of The United States of America. These people should wear soft leather helmets when they go outdoors.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Academy Award Open Thread

80th Annual Academy Awards

5 PT/8 ET ABC. Jon Stewart hosts.

People are walking down the red carpet. It's raining, but there's a huge canopy over the carpet. People look wonderful, darling.

Open thread. Enjoy the Oscars.

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The Forgotten War

Geez, You have to read the NY Times piece that Gray pointed out.

As I went to get some hot chocolate in the dining tent, the peaceful night was shattered by mortars, rockets and machine-gun fire banging and bursting around us. It was a coordinated attack on all the fire bases. It didn’t take long to understand why so many soldiers were taking antidepressants. The soldiers were on a 15-month tour that included just 18 days off. Many of them were “stop-lossed,” meaning their contracts were extended because the army is stretched so thin. You are not allowed to refuse these extensions. And they felt eclipsed by Iraq. As Sgt. Erick Gallardo put it: “We don’t get supplies, assets. We scrounge for everything and live a lot more rugged. But we know the war is here.

What a complete disaster to lose a war. Bush is losing two.
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More Japanese Music

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