Sunday, February 03, 2013

No posts in 2012. 2013 can be nothing but better!

I had someone on Turntable FM look me up and say - hey, you should start writing again. So I looked at my blog, found my password, and decided that there would be more posts in 2013 than there were in 2012. I like choosing goals that are easy to accomplish. Sometimes. And sometimes I like choosing goals that are hard. Because they are right, and because they are worth it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bright nights in England

Trying to suss out what's up with England and the riots.

I think about a shop window in one of these neighborhoods. The neighborhood bit run down, folks are poor-ish and work a lot, there's a working class and street sensibility. I see the shops with the finest merchandise in the window - 100 pounds, that's a bunch of money. I see the crowds mounting and building in excitement and then a window breaks and things start tipping over into a moving frenzy.

You have a job, but it's not too good, and you don't get many hours. Or you have two jobs and it's too many. Or you got messed up in an accident and are off work, and they're cutting your benefit.

There's problems with the bank, or the Tories, or the wogs. There's people that turn their backs on you. You just got dumped by your love interest. The boys just like to get out and break things.

When something burns, the crowd feels power. Where else do they feel power? At work? At the ballot box? On the underground? At home?

The broken store window is a powerful icon for us in the Western world. Because on the one side are the beautiful people and the beautiful things. Your beautiful home or your awesome outfit. They're there, you can see them, but you can't touch them because they're under glass, and you're underemployed, and they cost more than what you have.

The breaking of the window is the breaking of the social contract; or rather the economic contract that the shop owner wants to transact. The one where you don't get to touch. That protection of property is so key to capitalism. To keep people who could break that window and take it - as we see they can do - to keep them from picking up the brick is one of the main reasons we have police and laws and all that.

But these windows, these capitalists, it's like they mock you. They build up the need, in their commercials (another store window where you can look but not touch) and in their magazines and their bus adverts and there in the windows. And now you're angry, you and your mates and the bloke down the way are out and feeling the power. There's some whining, but the pigs are out of the picture and the night is hot and yours and smells like smoke.

So you lift a brick and break the window and put on some shoes. And you run and you feel free.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Religion, politics, S and P, race, London Burning!

Gave at talk tonight to the Network of Spiritual Progressives; a group of mostly un-churched lefty religious who wanted to hear about organizing or something.

Was good, but had problems with my computer and freaked myself out. Also there was a fire alarm to start the evening. Also I have an 8 AM morning meeting. Ugh!

A few of the cool things I found around the intertubes today:

Great rant about Standard and Poor's rating shift - blatant self promotion and a transparent effort to regain credibility was the gist - at Daily Kos.

Bullshit race killing caught on tape in Mississippi
, nothing like a little random hate lynching.

OMG London is burning!
I guess when you crap all over people for a while they get pissed off and wreck shit. I was wondering if England United were involved - the right wing fascist soccer hooligans that the Norway killer was involved with - but can't tell. Even London Indymedia is puzzled.

Anyway - here's my takeaways from the NSP discussion; pay attention to the wage divide, fight back against the religious right, and you'll get your morals dirty if you actually get things done. But that's life.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

FCKH8 Video rocks, bad article written about video, friend with cancer

The new video from the folks who did the hilarious FCKH8 campaign against California's Prop 8 is for Minnesota's own straights-only marriage amendment, cruising to a heavy loss in 2012.

These always make me cry, it's so beautiful the pride and sillyness and anger and positive energy that comes out of here. It's to the point, powerful, makes people stand up and take note.

Unfortunately I found out about this at the worst article I've ever seen at the Minnesota Independent, which has routinely been awesome sauce for left wing politics. Andy Birkey there has been great with Bradlee Dean stories, relentless and original reporting about Michelle Bachmann. And then he pops up with a story that says "Radical Gay Video Hated by Right Wing and Left" (specifically, Minnesota Family Council, LGBT Activists Pan FCKH8 video)

So much wrong - I wonder if he wrote the headline.

First, neutralize the radicals is the first step in the right-wing plan to break up our social movements (us, the good guys). Toxic Sludge is Good For You lays out the plan that ad agencies pitch to industries facing attacks (such as the beef industry for bad beef in hamburgers). Basically, they say "demonize the radicals, co-opt the moderates, and try to get the amoral power-freaks to take over" (this last see Norm Coleman.)

This takes all the energy out of the sails, and shifts the frame of the debate to the right. You will notice the Right uses their crazies to move further to the right all the time, while the left is too busy shoving the radicals down the hatch (ACORN, anarchists at free trade events, socialists in the labor movement in the 50s, etc.)

Second, it's the "false equivalence" dodge that the Right uses to force debate to the right. "Both sides use violent imagery" was said after Gabrielle Giffords was shot - when the actual evidence is the Right used huge amounts of way more violent imagery and messaging (and in Rand Paul's case, attacks on people) and historically (lynching, the Klan, the Know Nothings, etc) they do too.

Third, it's not even true. The folks from Minnesotans United For All Families don't throw FCKH8 under the bus at all - they just say it's an outside group, their message isn't about hate, and then they repeat their preferred framing. (Exactly what they should do.)

This, by the way, is the Minnesotans United message. Repeated because it's a good message.

“We are talking about love and commitment not hate. Hate has nothing to do with this, but love and commitment do because that’s what marriage is. It’s the definition of what marriage is.”

And then they find a blogger who says 'those crazy faggots went too far' and bada-bing, one activist (who I know nothing about, he might be cool otherwise) becomes all LGBT activists in the headline.

So anyway, totally read the Minnesota Independent; it's great reporting. But send Andy and/or his editors an email asking them about this post.

(Oh, and a good friend of mine just had a recurrence of cancer, so I'm bummed about that too. That would be the Facebook part of me putting the personal in the post.)

Monday, August 01, 2011

New job, checking in.

If you know me, I'm somewhat more active on Facebook lately. Just now trying out turntable, off a recommendation from Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon lately.

Now, I should toss the links into this but that's what makes blogging harder, more like work.

Self-indulgent rumination, however, isn't as fun as real interesting commentary.

So - new job, about two months ago. Same thing I was doing before for a much bigger organization. Gonna have to see how it goes! Seem pretty cool.

turntable -

pandagon -

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

To all those who are veterans - and to never again creating a new combat vet. Hey, while we're at it, how about the House Republicans start fully funding vet's health (yes, the rich can pay more taxes to take care of a poor kid back from two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan who twitches when he hears fireworks) and how about the Obama Administration start taking on the military-industrial complex and get the hell out of both Iraq AND Afghanistan. (Of course, the bloodthirsty armchair warriors will want to start something somewhere else, probably in South America...)

Got a new job. Feeling like making some changes; might start blogging more.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Banishing the demons of the Bush years

I've been shifted by Obama's stance on the tax cuts. I've lost some faith that I still had in him. There are those who have told me it was irrational, like my sweetie! (hi hon, sorry!) but dang it, I thought hope was something. That we could clean up some of the Bush mess. That we could get things heading in the right direction. More FDR than JFK...

With that in mind, a killer essay on Al Jazeera by Jamal Elshayyal about the British student rioting, as the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats triple tuition. Nick Clegg is the head of the Lib-Dems for this election; a young well spoken telegenic fellow. He's now in coalition government with the Tories.

During New Labour's time in office, Blair's government also increased university fees - the man who had set out "Education, Education, Education" as his election campaign heading - tripled the cost of those who wanted to continue in higher education.

Back then, students also marched against the proposals. Their demonstrations were also largely peaceful. Blair was consistent in his governing of Britain - he ignored them too.

Those two decisions (invading Iraq and trebling tuition fees) are arguably the single most important issues which brought about the collapse of New Labour.

Fast forward a few years and it's 2010. You have a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government. The Lib Dems brought into power to prop up a Tory government without whom it wouldn't posses a working parliamentary majority.

As with New Labour, the Lib Dems are lead by a "young and dynamic leader" - Mr Nick Clegg. He too used the right to education prominently in his election campaign.

In fact, in the run up to last May's parliamentary elections, the Liberal Democrats categorically stated that they would oppose ANY increase in university tuition fees. Furthermore they cosied up to the National Union of Students, and canvassed across university campuses. There is no doubting that the student vote won the Lib Dems several seats in parliament.

But power is a dirty, dirty thing. It gets to the mind and eats at the soul. No sooner had Mr Clegg, champion of the students, the man who would "keep the Tories in check" become deputy prime minister, than he forgot his most important campaign pledge.

That last paragraph's opening lines... "Power is a dirty, dirty thing. It gets to the mind and eats at the soul." Got me to thinking about President Obama.

I think Obama did think he could make more change than he has. But I think that mesmerizing corruption and power play of the Bush years has left an actual evil residue in the White House. Dick Cheney's subterranean sojurns - as he met in the underworld of NORAD with nuclear djinns, making dark pacts to destroy the Constitution and spill blood for his oily overlords.

So - how has the Obama administration gotten to this point? Did they fall for the blandishments of power - the secret power that Bush and Cheney built? (For that matter, did all of that secret power transfer? Are there agents still taking Dick's orders?) I can see Barrack falling for the Faust thing - making a deal with the devil for a shot at something he thinks he sees, but his ambition blinds him, and he falls deeper into the thrall of these underworldly Princes of the Dark.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Which Side Are You On?

There's an old union song, written in 1931 in the coal strikes. The mine owners had the police and their paramilitaries shooting up the strikers; union politics were being played hard and fast.

The question they're asking is simple. Which side of the class war are you on?

This is the class war started by the Republicans, the right, and the rich, the one where Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, where NAFTA and the WTO are passed, where the banks are bailed out and the foreclosures just keep on going.

The Bush-era tax cuts should all end. Continuing any of them is stupid, but continuing the cuts on the richest is a clear signal which side of the class war you are on.

President Obama's administration has made the wrong choice. I only hope that the hullabaloo goes on long enough for all of them to end; then you can pass a middle-working-poor tax cut and let the poor rich sob into their cups of 'record income growth for the last 20 years'.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Must... twitch... anger... rising...

Blogging unlike facebooking takes more time and thought. Good posts need more commentary and good links.

But I'm just fucking fed up with shit! And not in a mood to stop fighting, but I mean for jeeze?

So here's what's pissing me off.

1) Craven governmental institutions caving to the Republican takeover of the house. The Smithsonian's not letting people see Wikileaks on their server (WHAT bullshit) and some museum took down some edgy crucifix art.

This is a double for Wikileaks, which is the dirty underwear of empire showing and the empire claiming that the need for diplomats to shit their pants is core to diplomacy.

And then the fucking intolerant Christian Reich squad with their 'ooooh my cross, my faith it's so fraaaagile' which thinly veils their 'you vill not show any disrespekt to us, no!' attitude.

2) Tom Emmer. Fuck that guy. And the democracy-destroying Republican party.

Check out Facebook for the Emmer:Concede group.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanks, Google Images!

Why the hit counts? Because Google Images has decided in it's infinite wisdom that my posts on the cute gay homecoming kids, and my pundit kitchen repost of Walmart is fatal are top results.

So if you come here for that and want to leave a 'hey' please comment. This is far better than the last odd thing that linked to this page, which had to do with people who hate on Obama and things I said in sarcastic tone.