July 12, 2008 archive

Grim………a personal essay

There is a rule in the blogosphere, if you post something, you better back it up.

In accordance with this rule, I am posting the following so that I will have to back it up.

A little update on the State Of The Me, for those who are interested.

I pride myself (always a mistake!) on being good at change…at being adaptable in a world that is changing at a nearly dizzying pace. But I do tend to get a little…tense….when I am going through big changes in my life. Especially when they mean that I cannot do exactly what I want! Though my current situation is very nice in many (non-blogging) ways, I cannot blog (for both ergonomic and access reasons) as much as I would like. Unlike in Mexico, there are also a bunch of other things…like other humans I have social obligations to (damn humans interfering with my blogging about humanity!) that have distracted me, that have made me blog less than I would like. When stuff like this happens, I can apparently, become a bit….grim.

Pious Lying About the Dead

With the news of Tony Snow’s ultimate departure, we’re faced with yet another round of grappling over how to respond to the death of someone whose temporal behavior enabled dark forces to exercise their plunder and rapine. We are exhorted to hold our tongues out of respect and compassion. And, if we can’t muster that, then out of self-interest, for, inevitably, some day someone we love will be laid to rest. Some day we will be.

Most people who argue, with Chilon of Sparta, that we should speak no ill of the dead put a time limit on their prescription. It’s not that we shouldn’t ever speak ill of the dead, in their view, merely that we should allow the decedent’s family time to get the corpse in the ground before lighting the flamethrowers. It’s understandable in that “we’re all sinners, let God judge” kind of way. Who gets hurt if we roast some war criminal or child molester or lying government shill after the Reaper swings his scythe? Certainly not the target of our wrath. Just kin and friends. What purpose is served by intensifying their grief at its peak? Where is our human kindness?

The trouble with this polite posthumousness isn’t that it gives space to the begrieved, a worthy and understandable behavior. Nor is it that speaking the truth is held in abeyance for a few hours or days. It’s that people who should know better get carried away with themselves. It should be remembered that we’re not talking here about the passing of somebody’s great-aunt Dolores who may have ripped off the collection plate as it passed by or had an affair unbeknownst to great-uncle Phil. We’re speaking of public figures, women and men who so often become saints at graveside services, no matter how despicable their life’s work.

Stevie Wonder said Yes We Can!!!! (I was there)

Just saw Stevie Wonder at the White River Ampitheater – Here is the incredible version he did of Chick Corea’s “Spain”.  He also did a nice cover of the Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round.”  I woke up with an “earworm” of it going around in my head.

He presented his daughter Aisha who sang a number & is one of his backup singers (“Isn’t She Lovely” was written about her.) We saw the winner of the Sing With Stevie Wonder contest, a white chick from Lynnwood.  Stevie was also joined by Sanjay Malakar of nearby Federal Way, who originally auditioned with “Signed Sealed & Delivered,” which is the song Obama rallies usually close with.  (Someone had to whisper Sanjay’s name into Stevie’s ear so he could announce him, as he apparently doesn’t “follow” American Idol either.)  

Stevie put in about five plugs for Obama – he overtly said he supports him during the introduction, kept talking about positivity, not being afraid to win, change, hope, moving forward, and ended with “Yes We Can!”  He mentioned a racial incident in which some of his band were told a restaurant was closing which obviously wasn’t.  “In 2008, in America, this is simply unacceptable,” he said.








The Ampitheater is huge.  It’s hosted Radiohead, Coldplay etc. and provides some competition to The Gorge Ampitheater further to the east.  You have to cross some interesting terrain to get to it.  Loved the graffiti on the rez and the fireworks stands like Kenny’s Big Kaboom and Safe Insane Fireworks and would drive out there again with a camera, even at today’s gas prices.

The Muckleshoots sold $4 bottles of Dasani water, which is just Seattle water straight out of the tap, and they sold Indian Tacos and Fry Bread for $7, beers for $8.  I smuggled in my own pop and could definitely have brought in a camera but I didn’t know.

(more at http://www.silencedmajority.bl… – accepting submissions and comments!)

Afflicting the Comfortable

I’m sorry, but Weekend News Digest will be delayed.

Not because I’m on style strike.

See?  All better.

But simply because I’m so outraged by lynch mob mentality that I can hardly type straight, let alone cut and paste.

If I could beam right into your brain the neurons I would twist around are the ones that seek approval from groupthink.  The ones that depend on other’s opinion rather than standing up for what is right.  The ones that can’t read plain english and think that profanity is truth.  The ones that remember your name Spongebob and are not all about Fine Dining and Breathing.

Not so much of that here and it’s a good thing, but it is a cautionary tale for us all.

I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think of me.  Less than that if you are simply an unprincipled wind shifting hypocrite.

Let me state in a meta sense that if I EVER see such pitchfork persecution here you’re ban hammered to oblivion.

After I play with you for a while, it is my cat-like nature.

Bad Pragmatism pt. 3: Common Sense Principles for a Crappier World

I know your attention is probably better devoted to some good, popular diaries which have made the rec list today: One Pissed Off Liberal’s jeremiad against the crooks, for instance, or Nightprowlkitty’s harrowing story of detention.  This is simply a short reflection upon the recent history of bad pragmatism, the political trend which decks itself out in colors of “realism” and “pragmatism” (while attempting to present a moral face to the world) but is in fact just plain wrong.

This diary will only confront three rhetorical principles of bad pragmatism: “bipartisanship,” “teacher accountability/ test them every year” and “fiscal prudence.”  More will be forthcoming.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

It’s the economy, stupid.

I was going to launch into a rant about how not to throw a local festival, but as I began writing I realized there was an underlying reason behind the individual failures responsible for a bad show.

A local producer rented the venue space, arranged for bands and vendors, and then opened the gates.  Unfortunately not many people actually showed up.  End result, disgruntled vendors, musicians and fans.  He printed up small fliers and got them out to other concerts but failed to advertise in the local alternative press due to financial matters.  He had to wait for a few people to show up and pay him before he could run out and get supplies, this slowed him down and the event suffered as a result.  Due to the economy he could not afford to pay people to help him during the weekend and though there were plenty of volunteers you get what you pay for.  

Now if the kids who go to the concerts can still afford their internet services they had a chance of finding out about it, if they could afford to put gas into a borrowed vehicle, scrape together $75 bucks for a ticket and grab some bologna and bread on the way out of their college ghetto apartments they could have actually made it to the festival and enjoyed themselves.  Unfortunately only about 150 kids were able to do that and I’m guessing half of those were local musicians looking to make contacts.

Another aspect to this dilemma is distraction…I’m quite content to sit on a lounge chair and watch one good band after another hit the stage, that’s what makes me part of a dying breed.  The younger generation needs more stimulation and activity than that.  They get bored with only one thing to focus on and boredom leads to bad ideas.

Listen To The Wise Man

Oh oh people of the earth

Listen to the warning the seer he said

Beware the storm that gathers here

Listen to the wise man

I dreamed I saw on a moonlit stair

Spreading his hand to the multitude there

A man who cried for a love gone stale

And ice cold hearts of charity bare

I watched as fear took the old mans gaze

Hopes of the young in troubled graves

I see no day I heard him say

So grey is the face of every mortal

Oh oh people of the earth!

Listen to the warning the prophet he said

For soon the cold of night will fall

Summoned by your own hand

Ah ah children of the land

Quicken to the new life take my hand

Fly and find the new green bough

Return like the white dove

International Criminal Tribunal – U.S. Torture?

What Johnathan Turley says, with heavy heart and disbelief we’ve gone this far as a Country, should be brought into public discussion and possible implementation, as our Representatives seem to be hell bent on going along with the administrations shredding of the Constitution and the Laws of this Country!

Skating Scot-Free

The likely outcome of the Bush-led Republican raid on America astonishes me.  As America’s national nightmare approaches the eight-year mark, the Bush administration is apparently going to escape unpunished.  They are going to skate scot-free.  They have brazenly committed major crimes against the people of the United States, not to mention the terrible things they have done to much of the rest of the world…and these bastards are going to skate scot-free.  


Docudharma Times Saturday July 12

Look Mommy

It’s A

Japanese Enkai

Saturday’s Headlines:

55-mph speed limit may have found its Washington patron

As Beijing Olympics Near, Homes and Hope Crumble

Liu Heung Shing: China stripped bare

China and Russia veto Zimbabwe sanctions

Sudan angry at threat of charges  

France rejects Muslim woman over radical practice of Islam

Russia refuses outside help to ease rising tensions with Georgia

A Baghdad Bookseller, Bound to His Country

Lebanon agrees unity government

Gunmen in Mexico kill 12 in brazen attack

Afghanistan’s ‘sons of the soil’ rise up

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI – The resilient Taliban have proved unshakeable across Afghanistan over the past few months, making the chances of a coalition military victory against the popular tide of the insurgency in the majority Pashtun belt increasingly slim.

The alternative, though, of negotiating with radical Taliban leaders is not acceptable to the Western political leadership.

This stalemate suits Pakistan perfectly as it gives Islamabad the opportunity to once again step in to take a leading role in shaping the course of events in its neighboring country.

Return of the ivory trade

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The world trade in ivory, banned 19 years ago to save the African elephant from extinction, is about to take off again, with the emergence of China as a major ivory buyer.

Alarmed conservationists are warning of a new wave of elephant killing across both Africa and Asia if China is allowed to become a legal importer, as looks likely at a meeting in Geneva next week.

The unleashing of a massive Chinese demand for ivory, in the form of trinkets, name seals, expensive carvings and polished ivory tusks, is likely to give an enormous boost to the illegal trade, which is entirely poaching-based, conservationists say.


U.S. Weighs Rescue of Mortgage Giants

After Allaying Anxiety About Fannie and Freddie, Officials Stop Short of Action

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Neil Irwin

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, July 12, 2008; Page A01

Senior government officials prepared emergency steps yesterday to rescue troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but stopped short after a campaign of public statements eased immediate concerns about the stability of the institutions.

But federal regulators were forced yesterday to seize California-based IndyMac Bancorp after a run by depositors led to the second-largest failure ever of a U.S. financial institution. The bank, which was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., became the first major bank to shutter its doors since the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s. One of the country’s largest home lenders, IndyMac saw its holdings battered by the downturn in the housing market.

Ex-Bush spokesman Tony Snow dies of cancer

Conservative commentator succumbed to illness at age 53

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Tony Snow, a conservative writer and commentator who cheerfully sparred with reporters in the White House briefing room during a stint as President Bush’s press secretary, has died of colon cancer, Fox News reported Saturday. Snow was 53 years old.

Snow, who served as the first host of the television news program “Fox News Sunday” from 1996 to 2003, would later say that in the Bush administration he was enjoying “the most exciting, intellectually aerobic job I’m ever going to have.”

Quote for Discussion: Financial Regulation

Some will argue that limiting financial institution leverage will render these businesses less profitable and less competitive with non-U.S. companies.  HCM’s response is – “so what?”  Perhaps less profitable investment banks will result in more of America’s talented students becoming scientists, engineers, doctors and teachers instead of investment bankers and mortgage traders. What would be so terrible about that?

~Michael E. Lewitt, Managing Member and President of Hegemony Capital Management, writing in the subscription-only Welling@Weeden newsletter for the clients of Weeden & Co. LP.  This excerpt of the article, which is not reproduced with permission but contains no advice or information that could be considered proprietary, is a long list of suggested regulations which Lewitt believes are needed in today’s financial markets.

The events which are taking place in today’s financial markets are bewildering to the uninitiated, and are only slightly less scary to those who are familiar with the concepts and terminology inherent to this world.  But it strikes me as significant to see so many people within the world of finance calling for drastic reform and desperately trying to demonstrate that the problems which are blooming now are the spawn of seeds planted in previous years and decades.  And one thing that a few such as Lewitt are saying is that perhaps it simply is unwise for us to pursue the sort of gains which have fueled Wall Street for the last quarter-century.

Random Japan

Unkind cuts

Cops in Wakayama are trying to figure out who beheaded an ancient statue called Gyuba Doji, which lies along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, a World Heritage Site.

It was reported that a 40-50cm-high cleft in the earth stretching some 15km has appeared following last month’s Tohoku earthquake.

The owner of a hot spring near the epicenter of the quake reported that the water temperature rose about 5°C in the month before the trembler struck.

The Meteorological Agency said it feared that so-called “quake lakes”-areas where landslides had dammed rivers-could cause severe flooding as rainfall hits local areas.

A 27-year-old Saitama man who was found shoplifting at a CD shop in Nishi-Ikebukuro sprayed pepper gas in the store and sickened 11 people.

After being labeled “the Grim Reaper” by the Asahi Shimbun for ordering 13 executions in his first ten months in office, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama criticized the paper for keeping a “batting average” and claimed that executions are “hard to stomach for me.”

Citing a rise in the cost of ingredients such as whole milk powder and cocoa butter, the manufacturer of iconic Hokkaido omiyage Shiroi Koibito announced that it was raising prices for the first time since 1976.

Excuses, excuses

A 51-year-old Kyoto high school teacher who was arrested for DUI at 9:40am on a recent Sunday said “I didn’t think I was under the influence because more than eight hours had passed since I drank.”

After being busted for “fondling the buttocks” of a 20-year-old female university student on the Denentoshi line last month, a transport ministry official told cops, “I was sexually aroused. I’m terribly sorry.”

A 34-year-old Fukushima Prefectural Police sergeant who was arrested for paying a 14-year-old junior high school student for sex claimed, “I can’t remember a thing.”

A 56-year-old executive of the Asahi Shimbun who was nabbed for assaulting a 60-year-old taxi driver in Ginza said, “We got into a scuffle, but I didn’t hit him.”

The owner of an apartment building for disabled people who set a fire that killed three of the inhabitants said he had been harassed by the residents and an administrator.

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