Friday, April 08, 2005

Spirit-Killing News of the Week 

Ricky Prado deserves a helluva lot of credit for authoring Timshel, the best blog in Louisiana. Go over and congratulate him and support him, as he is now having to deprioritize his site. (Rightfully so, no doubt).

Ricky's combination of "gret stet" news, analysis, sports and entertainment inspired my own efforts here at YRHT. Though he never asked for gifts or contributions, his was one of the few sites I'd have gladly paid to read. No matter what the issue, I never felt that a daily dose of Timshel was a waste of time. If you've ever been one of his 63,000+ viewers, please go and thank him for his work over the past year and a half.

Update: More tributes at Life Goes Off and Library Chronicles.

With all due respect to other Pelicans like Ian and Michael and Jeffrey... the Louisiana blogosphere just won't be the same without Timshel.
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Shooting at planes... hilarious! 

Do me a favor and check out this cartoon which was printed in this week's CityBusiness. I simply don't get it. Can anyone who hunts or understands Reader's Digest-quality humor, please explain the intention here? I doubt it was monstrous, but I honestly don't understand what the artist was thinking.

For context, the comic was on the editorials page next to an opinion piece on the new airport runway at MSY.
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Thursday, April 07, 2005

For those keeping score 

Yes, back in October, while celebrating the Earth's 6008th birthday, I predicted creationist geologists would soon search (and find!) new oil. Some twice-born literalists have heard the call:

A Texas oilman is using his Bible as a guide to finding oil in the Holy Land.

John Brown, a born-again Christian and founder of Zion Oil & Gas of Dallas, can quote chapter and verse about his latest drilling venture in Israel, where his company has an oil and gas exploration license covering 96,000 acres.
Brown said he raised money for "Project Joseph" from fellow evangelical Christians in the United States.

"From the investment standpoint, they certainly hope to have a return of the money," he said. "But the basis of it is Genesis, chapter 12."

A Texas oilman using the Bible as a guide to a costly, ill-conceived venture in the Middle East ... hmm ...

Thanks to Errant Erudition.
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booty booty booty 

The Jenna recently performed a new butt dance which was captured on video, and will soon become widely available. Witnesses say she was doing it (and doing it and doing it) well, too....

Sadly, her home state of Texas may not find it so "booty-licious".

Surely, though, a red-blooded Louisianan like Ian would welcome it with open arms. (Oh, and speaking of Ian's arms, be sure to go over and give him a hearty "welcome back", now that he has returned from Moscow. The exact purpose of Ian's "extended vacation" was always unclear to me, although he said the trip was a massive improvement success! So go over and congratulate him. And tell him oyster sent ya, cuz I owe him one.)

h/t reload and robot invasion
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We got to Pray (pray!) for the Hammer 

Entourages are expensive, especially when you go on world tour.

Award shows are necessary, and have overhead.

Champagne baths in a hot tub are part of the jet-set lifestyle.

Wrapping yourself in religion as a diversion from personal hell is always appropriate. Your true fans will always support you, and give you the "thunderous ovations" you deserve.

And apparently treasonous behavior is explainable, too... Oh yeah, of course we're talking about that Hammer. Not the other guy.

And we haven't even mentioned the "troglodytes" he helped scam. (Once again, we're referring to Tom Delay, not purchasers of MC Hammer's "Family Affair" double album. That's now a rare collector's item... so I hear.)

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"What, you think this car runs on God's own methane?" 

USA Today:
The average price of regular gas has zoomed to a record $2.217 a gallon, the government reported Monday, up 6.4 cents from a week ago, continuing the climb of nearly a penny a day that began five weeks ago.

From a Reuters article via the Oil Drum:

Increased demand for oil in China and India is so large they have created a worrisome climate among the world's energy producers, the chief of Saudi Arabia's services company in the United States said on Monday.

"This is the big gorilla. The demand by China and India together, if they continue to grow, it is quite substantial and it is frightening," said Mazen I. Snobar, President and CEO of Aramco Services Co., which delivers Saudi oil to the United States.

All oil producing nations will have to chip in to meet the needs if demand in those two countries continues to rise, said Snobar, adding, "Let's hope they don't sustain this growth."

Yes, hope is always a fine plan. And let's root against China and India; that's a sound geopolitical posture....jeez. Even Greenspan's "let the markets sort it out" rhetoric is better than that:
Altering the magnitude and manner of U.S. energy consumption will significantly affect the path of the U.S. economy over the long term....

Of critical importance will be the extent to which the more than 200 million light vehicles on U.S. highways, which consume 11 percent of total world oil production, become more fuel efficient as vehicle buyers choose the lower fuel costs of lighter or hybrid vehicles.

Perhaps Bush and Cheney will go on another "talking tour" this summer, and extol the "personal virtue" of conservation across our great nation.

River's Edge
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Foreclosures up 57% over last year! 

Calculated Risk has the article and the perspective. More background here at Angry Bear.

Remember, kids, housing prices have barely started levelling and rates have barely started rising. This unravelling of the credit bubble will be... untidy.

More "painful" reading here.
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The educational forecast: persistently gloomy with scattered tragedies 

Two years ago a New Orleans high school became a "war zone" when an 18- year old with an Ak-47 shot an (armed) student nine times.

Today, in breaking news, local tv stations are reporting that a student was shot in the neck in front of Lawless High School.

Also, barring an "emergency infusion" of money, the New Orleans Public school system is in danger of not meeting it's teacher payroll. If that happens, a State Senator has predicted "riots in the streets".

Superintendant Tony Amato, who used to get ovations when he entered restaurants, is in trouble. His star is falling fast at a most perilous hour. The new School Board is without strong leadership, and the state's intercession is now viewed as inevitable.

I was going to hear Amato speak at my church this evening, but I'm going to assume that engagement has been postponed.

... Help!
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Going on two weeks 

The current posting hiatus over at Timshel is of unprecedented length, as far as YRHT can determine.

Not so loving it, I must say...
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Stirling Newberry has written an extremely interesting piece over at truthout called "American Thermidor: How the cycle of deficits has kept the right in power in America". I tried excerpting it, but was unsatisfied with the results. Go over and read the whole thing if you are interested in energy, debt and the reactionary political climate.

(H/T to Singularity)
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Again I ask: Why? 

The Scotsman reports that Britain is going to pull two-thirds of its forces from Iraq and redeploy 5000 of them to Afghanistan to "lead the hunt for Osama bin Laden and tackle the country's opium trade."

In sum: British troops will lead the search for OBL in Afghanistan, while American forces are shedding blood to defend Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison from insurgent attacks.

John Kerry 10/13/04: "Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, 'Where's Osama bin Laden?' He said, 'I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned.' We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror."

Thanks again, America, for invading Iraq.
You are never far from my thoughts.
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Monday, April 04, 2005

Turning eagles into vultures... 

The inimitable jonnybutter contributes a free-flowing analysis to Eric's always worthwhile Total Information Awareness. (TIA is one of your daily stops, right?) Jonny memorably describes how the Right has transfigured the excesses of the hippy Left into a false consumer-patriotism. He claims that the idea of citizenry has been collapsed by the GOP into a crass consumerism:

It's a subtle but fundamental change. A citizen is active and makes judgments; a consumer is passive, and has only to have an opinion. This confusion of the two roles is summed up in the cliche 'voting with your pocketbook'. That is such a common phrase and concept, we don't realize how absurd it is. You can't vote with your pocketbook anymore than you can breathe through your feet. You're doing something with your pocketbook, but it's not voting.

This change is a basic fault deep in the heart of the Reagan Cultural Revolution. It's usually euphemized as 'individualism', but it's really fetish-individualism, ie desperate. In practice it means a set of extremely rotten values: greed, self-absorption, atomization, suspiciousness, superstition, lying (especially to ones' self), responsibility-shirking, resentment ('coveting'), and ultimately, nihilism ('rapture'). The very word 'citizen' in this context sounds 'collective' or 'social' - in other words, 'commie'! Can't have any of that! Civic Virtue itself has become suspect. The Reagan ethos was/is: Don't think, just feel; believe what you want to believe; there is no price to be paid for anything; if it feels good, do it; you can always have your cake and eat it too - and with extra frosting, if that's what your 'heart' tells you you ought to have.

Uh oh. Cake? Frosting? Could my daughter Pearlgirl (formerly "Colicky") be a... selfish Reaganaut?

An all-consuming, infectious greed.

During the frenzy, she flashes that horrible, dead-eyed stare.

At that point during the cake-trocity, a veteran survivor from the Indianapolis couldn't watch anymore and ubruptly fled the scene... Looks like my work is cut out for me as a dad. But back to jonnybutter:

'Magical Thinking' - a term of art in the psych world - is not only bad mental health, but, as a civic or personal ethos, is morally slack in any serious sense of the word 'moral'. It is opinion without knowledge. Action without consequences. Faith without struggle. Rights without responsibility. Sound familiar? Reagan embodied this way of thinking, as when, for instance, he explained that 'my heart tells me' we didn't trade arms for hostages, but 'my head tells me otherwise'. He instinctively wanted to have an opinion about a fact. This is beyond 'wishful thinking': it's Magical Thinking, and his 'revolution' institutionalized it.

Common sense tells you that there is more than a little Projection going on in the red-faced right wing cultural barking of the past several years. How can all those rotten values I mentioned before be described in one word? 'Permissiveness'. When you hear boomer 'conservatives' yack on about 'permissiveness' (usually for tidy sums), you know they know, deep down, that they're really talking about themselves. No wonder they're so angry! The stupidest part of the '60s-'70s ethos - a quite literally mindless Free-Lunch-ism - was co-opted by the Reagan Cultural Warriors, and they hate themselves for it, as well they should. They will never stop squirming and blaming.

The 'Culture Wars' are an expression of the self hatred of the warriors. The Republicans of the 80s won and profoundly changed the direction and cultural shape of the country. They, not Hollywood, or liberals (HA!) promulgated the culture we have now. Us Regular Folks out here in the real world (the 'American People') know perfectly well that politics shapes culture far more than the other way around. Politics, in the real world, is: who lives and who dies, who makes money and who doesn't, who's educated and who isn't, and what the rules are. American politics has been dominated by the Republican party for 25 years, and we live in the porno culture they stewarded.

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I'm with Somerby, though I shelled out over a double sawbuck for me and Lovely's "entertainment".

A large beverage at the Palace Cinema is $4! Too bad mine was caffeinated, because I could've taken a 2 hour nap had I known how boring Sin City was going to be. Visually luxurious, sure. But when your pulse never rises throughout hours of non-stop action, you know something is wrong.

Then again, I was never much into comics-- except for a continuing fascination with a minor character called the Phantom Stranger.
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