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A Good Day to Be a Democrat

October 27th, 2005 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

The top headlines from the Yahoo! News Poltics category are as follows:

Like my dad always says, the nice thing about the Republicans is that they when they get enough rope, they always hang themselves.

Booked Worm

October 20th, 2005 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

Arraign or shine!Judging from the photo, I think DeLay is almost as happy about his arrest as I am. Man, he is so not fooling anyone with that smile.

I think with the possible exception of Karl Rove (who may be in one of these photos any day now), this guy best represents the pure scummy-ness of the current ruling party. Honestly, I have nothing but pity for the really fundamendalist conservatives; they’re just brainwashed. I save my true scorn and tsk-tsk-ing for the fakers and sleazebags like Brownback and DeLay, who exploit those people’s beliefs for their own selfish purposes. So here’s to you, Tom. Go suck it.

The First Pangs of Civil War?

April 15th, 2005 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

Interesting press release.

I am starting to genuinely believe this country might be on the road to a second civil war. Take a second and reflect on what is happening here. The senate and house majority leaders are the leaders of the Republican party. Within one month, both of them are or have been involved with events intented to both promote one specific religious sect’s importance in government and reduce the effectiveness of certain constitutional mandates; specifically, the impartiality of the judicial branch and the dissenting party’s ability to prevent judicial confirmations. When such prominent figures in the power-holding party publicly endorse views that are so out of the mainstream and absurdly sectarian, I have to wonder how far they can go before it all comes snapping back, hard.

This country has survived such prominent wingnuttery before, and hopefully it will again. But, christ, it’s scary.

Current playlist:

  • Barbara MorgensternNichts Muss
  • Daniel JohnstonContinued Story / Hi, How Are You?
  • Devandra BanhardtNiño Rojo
  • Lewis BlackRules of Enragement
  • MirahYou Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This
  • Mountain GoatsThe Sunset Tree
  • Of MontrealThe Sunlandic Twins
  • The RondellesShined Nickels and Loose Change

I am not Elite

April 12th, 2005 | Comments | Posted in Politics

A phrase you hear everywhere these days is "liberal elite". Conservatives have successfully used the upper middle class’s visible disdain for the great unwashed to convince red america that liberals are, as the Club for Growth put it, a "latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving… Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show". Lemme clear this up:

  • Blue america is largely working class. See those little black dots in the center of the blue counties? They’re cities, and they’re filled with housekeepers, waiters, janitors, bus drivers, factory workers, security guards, and teachers.
  • Hollywood, which conservatives often claim is a bastion of liberal elitism scowling at the back-asswardsness of middle america, is in fact owned by big business. The TV networks spouting punditry lamenting America’s ongoing moral decay are owned by conglomerates consisting of not just (multiple) television networks, but movie studios and record companies as well. Richard Gere and Alec Baldwin may be liberals, but the real core of Hollywood is the studios. Rupert Murdock owns not only Fox News, but also "fox attitude": remember who released Kinsey next time you’re watching Bill O’Reilly rant about Janet Jackson’s boobies. Republicans shake their fist at sex, drugs and violence in order to get your blood up, then quietly turn around and offer tax benefits to the large companies that push those things on their billboards and tv commercials.
  • And here is the last and most important reason I know there is no liberal elite: I’m not elite. Let me explain.

By all rights, I am the epitome of a latte liberal. Those of you who know me know I don’t like coffee, and that I drive an Infiniti instead of a Volvo, but other than that, I have it nailed. Jewish, upper middle class, coastal, semi-metrosexual, and exceedingly liberal: one of my parents was actively communist, for christ’s sake. I live in San Francisco, consort with known homosexuals, generally dislike organized religion, and really really love sushi. And here’s the kicker: I’m not part of some liberal conspiracy. I don’t meet with a kabal of other liberals and plot the demise of this country. I’m not rich. My clout goes about as far as is needed to get a home equity loan. I wait in line at the dmv like everybody else. I’m not a mason; I wasn’t even in a fraternity. I didn’t go to an ivy league school, because my grades weren’t good enough, I’m not a legacy, and no one knows my last name. I go about my daily business like anyone else, making a living, enjoying my hobbies, and trying to find someone to start a family with. When it comes to music, I may be elitist, but when it comes to running this country, I certainly am not an elite.

Now, it’s quite possible that somewhere, the little liberal elite club is meeting right now, without me. Maybe I just didn’t make their cut. But let’s ponder another possibility. Who do we know who is rich, is a skull-and-bones, had bad grades but still went to Yale, does meet weekly with others of political influence to plan the course of the world, and has a powerful family that has been involved in politics for decades? Who is the real elite? Is Bush really a good ol’ boy from Midland because you’d like to have a beer with him? And am I elite because sometimes I drink wine instead?

So, middle america, I do disagree with many of your social and religious views. But we have more in common than you think; we both want to level the playing field for the working man or woman. We both have compassion and strong moral convictions. And consider that someone like Sam Brownback — who uses your religious views to divide and polarize us but then accepts money from pornographers and flip-flops on issues like the death penalty to suit the latest polls — might not care about your views at all. Maybe he just wants to separate you from me so he can remain a senator, and, well… elite.

Buying the Indispensable Opposition

March 21st, 2005 | Comments Off | Posted in Personal, Politics, Yahoo! Related

It seems my switching to Flickr for my photo hosting was timely; this weekend we bought them. I’m very pumped about this, their service is fantastic. If you haven’t played with it, check it out at flickr.com or just click on one of the photos in the left column there.

In other news, I’ve basically been gearing up for the big Japan trip. I plan on blogging as much as possible during the trip, so if you’re interested in following our travels, this is the place to be. I also plan on uploading as many pictures as possible as I take them.

I’m not going to New York, and while slightly heartbroken, I can only hope the Pillows return to tour again. As it is, I guess could still go to see them at the Chicago anime convention <shudder>, but that would be truly painful: I’d hate to reduce a band that’s been playing for 15 years to the few songs they contributed to an anime soundtrack. Plus, I went to one of those conventions once; all I can say is, I don’t ever want to do that again.

Lastly, while digging through some old cassette tapes, I discovered a copy of the recording of my grandmother testifying before the House Un-american Activities Committe (HUAC) in 1954. I’d heard it before, but every few years I rediscover it, and am always blown away. Hearing a short, female, jewish, communist attorney brow-beat congressmen (in the fifties, no less) is really quite an experience. She quotes extensively from Walter Lippman’s Indespendable Opposition during the hearing; after reading that document, I found it to be as relevant today as it was then. I’ll leave you with one quote my grandmother used in the hearing:

We take, it seems to me, a naïvely self-righteous view when we argue as if the right of our opponents to speak were something that we protect because we are magnanimous, noble, and unselfish. The compelling reason why, if liberty of opinion did not exist, we should have to invent it, why it will eventually have to be restored in all civilized countries where it is now suppressed, is that we must protect the right of our opponents to speak because we must hear what they have to say. … For there is a point, the point at which things really matter, where the freedom of others is no longer a question of their right but of our own need.