Saturday, January 22, 2005

Conservatongue twist 

Noonan: Dauphin's inaugural needed nuance. God sends dolphins to the needy, not democracy to the nefarious.

Kristol: Noonan-- it contained nuance, okay? Dauphin's ideas will be historic because they're mine. You may say "too much" Yahweh, but my Crimson roomie Keyes might say "too little". I think my objective(ist) compatriots at the Weakly have the real Scoop. They write: "just right!"

Noonan: "The world is not Heaven."

Kristol: No but my philo/religio/historio harmonic convergence can change that! The Almighty's heaven of ideas includes Freedom, which all humanity naturally desires. And maybe someone as supernaturally determined and convincable as Duhbya can carry us there. Follow us down Panglossvanian avenue... to Eldorado!

Bobo: "The speech does not mean that Bush will always live up to his standard."

[Erster: You don't say. And after four years I'd come to expect a seamless continuity.]

P. Buke: Mistah Conservatism-- he dead. Lord George killed him.

G. Willikers: Well. No. But that speech gave me a Woodrow, which isn't very Coolidge.

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Friday, January 21, 2005

My balls are always bouncing!  

A New Orleanian railing on Bush for excessive partying, or for throwing ballroom dances during Carnival season would be... a bit much. So I could hardly care less about the costs of Dubya's inaugural, or whether in real dollars, as a proportion to GDP, they total slightly more or less than Clinton's inaugural. Who gives an armadillos' ass about a "Boots and Black tie" event , anyway? And do I really have time to argue what constitutes "lavish" with some squirrel? It's largely a bunch of rich Texans getting together to celebrate: of course it will be simultaneously tacky and expensive.

Besides, I've got my own partying to do: it's called the greatest free show on earth, and it's parading our way. So decorate, celebrate, drink and eat (meat)... for tomorrow, who knows?

That's the spirit!

AC/DC understood (note the end):

And my balls are always bouncing,
To the left and to the right.
It's my belief that my big balls should be held every night.

I've got big balls
I've got big balls
And they're such big balls
Dirty big balls
And he's got big balls,
And she's got big balls,
But we've got the biggest balls of them all!

And I'm just itching to tell you about them
Oh, we have such wonderful fun
Seafood cocktail
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

I sense artifice in his edifice 

In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character-- on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. (President Bush 1/20/05)

"You have heard it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." (--Jesus of Nazareth, as told by Matthew 5:38-9, NIV)

Mr. President, you've wept with the Amish, and paid lip service to Martin King, yet after 9/11 and our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it must be asked: Do you believe that "turning the other cheek" is a mark of character, for an individual or a nation?

If following the Nazarene's commandment is indeed a sign of good character, then why, Mr President, did you choose to highlight our nation's collective failure of character in your inaugural address? Please explain, sir. If you need some time to commune with the Godhead before answering, be my guest.

Newsweek claims that you love to read and are detail-oriented. Thus, I'm sure you've reflected on how our foreign policy seems to conflict with the religious teachings you purport to cherish. How did you resolve this dilemma to your satisfaction? I'd love to know.

Below are some poor quality photos of New Orleans' Jazz funeral for Democracy, a wake for peace. A bunch of pacifist cheekturners showed up to embrace the tragicomedy of the moment... that's character in my book.

The first line.

Some of the 1000+ attendees on Decatur.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

It is right to give him thanks and praise 

Thank goodness for South Carolina GOPUSA editor Jimmy Moore, who alerted YRHT to the outrage of the week (my emphs):

Kerry commented that "thousands of people were suppressed in the effort to vote" in the 2004 presidential election.

"Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways," Kerry maintained. "In Democratic districts, it took people four, five, eleven hours to vote, while Republicans [went] through in 10 minutes -- same voting machines, same process, our America."
Kerry's comments about the need for electoral reform at a Martin Luther King, Jr. event mark the second time in as many days the former civil rights leader has been used to further liberal causes.

Egads! The unmitigated gall of it! The hideous manipulation! For Senator Kerry (or anyone!) to use Dr. King for "liberal causes" like that-- especially when discussing minority voting rights-- unbelievable! Unconscionable! Outrageous! MLK must be rolling in his grave at this ideological abuse from white liberals. What's next? Will the peace movement now try to hijack King's legacy for their own ends? Have they no sense of decency? No sense of history?

*Big, calming breath*

Ok, first I want to thank Jimmy Moore for bringing this veritable heresy to our attention. It demands an immediate response. At the very least an online petition demanding an apology from Kerry is in order.

Second, and no less importantly, I want to publicly salute Jimmy for going lo-carb and getting his weight under 400 pounds. Well done, sir! Keep up the good work.

And finally, I want to honor Jimmy's "community outreach" work with "inner-city African-American youth". As his bio states, Jimmy teaches young people "the Bible and the importance of living for God rather than themselves."

Well. All I gotta say is "Amen, brother". A-freakin-men!

When I imagine Mr. Moore spreading the Nazarene's gospel in squalid ghettos, my heart is filled with joy and hope. The Dream surely lives on in this exemplar of faith.

(H/T Dr. Rahul at Empire Notes)
Update: Via Suburban Guerilla, a delightful report of on-air racism from Las Vegas.
In local news: the Louisiana legislature and Secretary of State are blaming the September 18th New Orleans voting machine fiasco squarely on the incompetence of Clerk of Court Kimberly Clark. To be sure, she's a gone pecan next voting cycle. You can't have 20% of the city's precincts without machines on election day-- it's inexcusable. However, the Sec of State and others have focused on this particular episode, while wilfully ignoring the voting problems catalogued by Election Protection on November 2nd. Worse, the local media is assisting them with horrendously inaccurate coverage. Yesterday's local 9pm Fox 8 report by Rob Masson began thusly: "Since the September elections two others have gone off without a hitch."

I nearly jumped out of my chair. "Without... a... hitch"?!?
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A wake for peace 

As Ricky and Mike Hoffman have noted, the Jazz Funeral for Democracy is tomorrow. Details here. I don't mind activism and constructive demonstrations, and I may very well attend this event.

However, I will say that part of me is a little hesitant about the use of the jazz funeral motif. Powerful cultural imagery is being employed here, and the event's wide-ranging "mission statement" is a tad vague. I guess my concern is whether the proper respect will be shown to this unique New Orleans tradition, and that the content of the protest does justice to the method.

On the other hand, a solemn, disciplined spectacle might resonate... big time.

In other news, Bush honors the troops and then informs them: "much more will be asked of you in the months and years ahead."

Also, Kos reports that RAND has been "contracted by the government to come up with a way to avoid instituting a draft, despite the desperate needs for more combat forces."
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An unrelated story that's time consuming 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation. --1/19/05 WP

"If you ride a dead horse you won't be riding very far." -- dead horse (Metal-Tex.)

In the late eighties and early nineties, I witnessed how dystopic, antiseptic, cultureless voids like Central Florida and Houston spawned a form of music called Death Metal. Bands like Obituary and Morbid Angel drew their strength from the dark nihilism which suburban wastelands inculcate into young minds. I was more of a punk rock fan myself, but two death metal acts did capture my fascination back in the day. One was the Genitorturers, led by dominatrix lead singer Gen. On stage, Gen would growl venomous S & M lyrics while administering nipple piercings, simulating sex, and punishing the undisciplined. Your Humble Narrator can be seen in the crowd during their spot on Hard Copy ten years ago (I'm sure you've saved the VHS tape). It appears the group is still around-- Lovely and I treasure our bumper sticker from their last visit to New Orleans. [You got to love a performance that includes a power disc sander being lowered on to a young gal's (metal) bikini bottom. Orange sparks shot from her pubic region and showered the crowd... a glorious scene! Even though it was one of our first dates, Lovely didn't flee in disgust. I knew I had a keeper.]

The other act I liked hailed from the sterile monstrosity known as Houston. I discovered Dead Horse and their original brand of "Horsecore" at Hogwild records when I lived in San Antonio. Like the Genitorturers, they were an intensely local phenomenon that was not purely death metal. However, they rocked, and had a sense of humor. Lead singer Mike Haaga left the band in 94, and briefly linked up with members of Phil Anselmo's Superjoint Ritual. Currently Haaga is involved in an interesting project called the Plus and Minus Show. Described as "heavy mellow", music-addicts like ratboy or phizz might want to look for it.

Perhaps you're thinking: So Oyster, where's the cool insightful connection from this otherwise boring vignette to the matter at hand? Death Metal, Social Security... I don't see it. You need to say more.

Probably true, but I don't feel like it. In a world where the buttocks of cartoon characters and elderly dwarfs are scandalous, and where the band Fuel can be controversial, I really need to retreat into the soothing comfort of Dead Horse lyrics describing pet abuse:

Satan kissed my dog
cracked his moral shell
possessed to wear the kilt
in his scottish hell

Ah... better now.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I'm filing this report from a remote location, so pardon the lack of handy links. Just wanted to say that the Jan/Feb issue of the Atlantic is beyond praise. Chock full of stimulation from cover to cover. Purchase it or subscribe online or go to your library-- it's that good. Phil Carter at Intel Dump raves about Richard Clarke and James Fallow's terrorism pieces, and Brad Delong has an article as well. The give and take in the letters is solid, and there's a damn thought-provoking piece on the tactical considerations of Democrats and abortion and Roe v. Wade also... great ideas throughout.

Just go get it, pleaze-- that is, after you read Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, of course.
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This weekend Lovely and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary by playing tourist in the CBD and the Quarter. We left daughter Colicky with her grandparents, and stayed at the intimate and historic St. James Hotel. It was our daughter's first time overnight with her grandparents (and without us) but luckily everyone managed fine. Though our hotel featured restaurant Cuvee, we decided to walk the few blocks over to Cobalt for dinner on Saturday. What a phenomenal time we had! Really, everything was perfect: the cozy corner table, the suggested wines, the lobster enchilada, the duck/pear salad, Lovely's black drum, my salmon... just an outstandingly fine experience. Thanks to everyone there who helped make it special-- we appreciated all of your extra efforts.

Sunday morning we went to the Quarter and indulged in some old school Creole breakfast at the Coffee Pot. Callas and grits for me, "Lost Bread" for Lovely. So carb-rich, but so, so good, too. Afterwards, we walked over to Jackson Square to see the street artists. As we passed St. Louis Cathedral, who should we meet but none other than Governor Kathleen Blanco. Yes, the Queen Bee herself was coming out of Sunday Mass, and I simply had to stop and chat with her. She's so nice and down to earth! We mostly talked about the pleasant aspects of New Orleans, and I described myself as a "fervent supporter" of hers, which might be a slight exaggeration, but not so much when compared to how I viewed her a year ago. Of course I was impressed, but why wouldn't I be? She made time for some random constituent, and was very personable and sweet. Amid the many oblivious tourists milling about, there was hardly anyone else who recognized her. She mentioned that she would be attending an "event" later that day with Senator Landrieu. The governor wore a pale yellow suit (and had Cam'ron blaring from her ipod earpiece-- joke).

Working from memory, I believe Governor Blanco made MLK day an official state holiday Monday, and also pardoned a woman who was arrested 40 years ago for attempting to integrate a public swimming pool.(Much, much more on this at 2 millionth.)

One last thing. Lovely and I did purchase a couple paintings, but I was sorely disappointed with almost all of the artists at Jackson Square. Nearly every one has shamelessly copied Michalopoulos' signature style -- you know, with the drunken-skewed New Orleans architecture... I suppose that must be the look that sells, but the lack of originality was appalling.
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Monday, January 17, 2005

Increase the Peace 

Below are some selected quotes from Pastor Martin King that meant something to me over the years and/or seemed especially pertinent today.

Christian love can bring brotherhood on earth. There is an element of God in every man. No matter how low one sinks into racial bigotry, he can be redeemed... Nonviolence is our testing point. The strong man is the man who can stand up for his rights and not hit back. (1956)

When a white child goes to school only with white children, unconsciously that child grows up devoid of a world perspective. There is an unconscious provincialism and it can develop into an unconscious superiority complex, just as the Negro develops an unconscious inferiority complex. If I can't communicate with a man, I'm not equal to him. (1964)

The white population is a stranger to the ghetto. Negroes are not only hemmed in in it; whites are shut out of it. (1965)

I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example to the world.

We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement. We must demonstrate, teach and preach until the very foundations of our nation are shaken.
I can't segregate my moral concern. We are engaged in a war where we are the aggressors, and I think it's necessary to say to the policy-makers of our country that we are wrong. We should admit to the world that we made a tragic mistake in Vietnam. (3/25/67)

Also, you may want to reread this post from November, which summarizes one of Pastor King's many instances of personal heroism.

Mural on MLK street by Shakor, depicting King as well as the
"Embracing the Dream" sculpture across the street.

Embracing the Dream

Yes, I understand that it can be viewed as a standing egg, or an alien pod... etc. If you want comic relief, go over to the Onion.
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