Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wise to the words

This being the last day of 2008, it's customary to bring out my consultant Dr. Syntax and air his views about how none of you speak English properly. Indeed there are a number of stupid neologisms, platitudes, Clichés, malapropisms and other linguistic transgressions I'm sick of hearing and you should be too.

It seems however, that academia has scooped old Syntax and released a more official list of awful verbal offal yesterday. Michigan's Lake Superior State University has taken it upon itself, or at least the English Department has, to ban a number of recent common usages, and although my cranky friend is a bit offended at the lack of respect and recognition he feels he deserves, he's used to it and he quite agrees with most of their condemnations.

Carbon footprint has been spewed forth from journalistic smokestacks all year and it deserves to be at the top of the list for many reasons, not the least of which is the inherent misunderstanding of basic chemistry. It's the compounds of carbon fouling the air and carbon dioxide is no more carbon than water is hydrogen, nor does either substance lend itself to having footprints. Find a better term, says my friend Syntax, or you may find his footprint on your you know where.

What else has brought forth the wrath of Syntax this year? Green: yes it's easier to type than ecologically advantageous and easier to attach to every trivial thing, action or policy the creativity of Madison Avenue and other enthusiastic simpletons can dream up. A thermos bottle isn't particularly green, for instance, unless it's made by Stanley, and virtually all things advertised as such wouldn't make a bit of difference even if most of the world bought them -- unless being green in the face from disgust counts. Algae is green and we could do with less of it in our rivers and ponds. Organic? Crude oil and snake venom are organic. Don't look for them at Whole Foods.

Syntax, you'll note I'm not calling him "the good doctor" because that's vapid Cliché number 147 on his list, remains thoroughly opposed to a number of hackneyed metaphors, so overused that they have often obliterated more accurate and legitimate words. The now permanent fatwa on the carrion metaphor impact has been joined by ass kicking and references to suction to indicate incompetence or disapproval. These stopped being creative or even mildly humorous before you were born. Stop it.

Perhaps it will be another 4 years before we have to arrest anyone for using stumping and campaign trail, but please use the time to think of more direct replacements for these bits of verbal road-kill.

Syntax has nearly beaten efforting and texting to death, as he does with "verbed" nouns in general, but nearly isn't enough, is it?

Euphemisms such as right-sizing don't disguise the fact that your company is firing your department and it just makes your boss more of a jerk then you knew he was.

Changing the sign on your Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indian or Japanese restaurant to say "Asian cuisine" makes you sound like a moron and it's an insult to the ethnicities you're attempting to cover with some gluey "Asian sauce." There's no such category as Asian, Asiatic or Oriental food - or sauce, and yes all three words mean exactly the same thing. And while we're on the subject of food, what the hell is comfort food and what would discomfort food be?

Graphic doesn't mean scary, and issue isn't synonymous with problem or concern. A bowel movement is an issue -- constipation s a problem.

There's been nothing new in rocket science since Newton and as a metaphor for technical difficulty, you'd be better off talking about rocket technology. All you'd lose thereby is the association with the lemmings of language.

Warfighter. Did we really need that one and doesn't it serve to dehumanize a soldier? As the military ( right after the business school) is often at the forefront of promulgating misleading and opaque usage, I'm suspicious, although I will admit with some degree of guilty feelings that I've always liked Overkill.

So anyway, the old man is getting a bit tired of you and the thoughtless way you talk and of having to remind you of it every year. We both know you'll be eating double bacon cheeseburgers in front of the TV by next week regardless of all your resolutions and you'll still be using "fell swoop" and "control freak" as though you knew what you were saying, you reprobate you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Light at heart

“Paul Shanklin is a long-time friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies,”
said "Chip" Saltsman. I'm sure that many of them would see "Barak the Magic Negro" as hilarious, that many of them would see Rush Limbaugh as a funny man.
“Please enjoy the enclosed CD by my friend Paul Shanklin of the Rush Limbaugh Show”
read the note RNC candidate "Chip" attached to the CD containing 41 tracks of "light-hearted political parodies" and distributed as a message of Christmas cheer to Republican National Committee members. Republicans love Christmas and all it's religious meanings, you know. It's titled "We hate the USA." These light hearted bozos of course can't be accused of hating the USA, they just think most of the people in it are comical Poles, Jews, Liberals, homos, Mexican illegals, murderous Muslims, and of course Negros, any of whom can be stereotyped, ridiculed and condescended to over Scotch and sodas at the good old boy's club where loving America's most obnoxious traditions is as de regeur as a good old black-face minstrel show or lunch at the Coon Chicken Inn.

Rush Limbaugh, you know, the guy who avoided the draft because of an anal infection and who let his housekeeper take the fall for his drug addiction and who thinks it's "light-hearted" to compare a homely self conscious adolescent girl with a dog on national TV, predicted a while back that featuring the song on his radio program would foster accusations of racism. That wasn't hard to predict seeing that it is racism of the most arrogant sort. But no, Chip and Rush and the rest of the country club comedians haven't broken any laws. It's possible that they truly don't see anything wrong in being the douche bags they are and will go to their graves thinking they've been put-upon by moral censors and do-gooders and humorless liberals and there's little we can do about it other than to hope the event comes soon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

A warm and humid Christmas morning; the gray skies beginning to clear, making the cumulonimbus towering over Okeechobee visible, reminding us of Summer. Kids in the street on brand new bicycles, one on a sky blue scooter, two in an electric car. It smells like rain and wet cypress mulch.

Groggy from last nights party, not looking forward to tonight's, wishing for a quiet anchorage, a sunset over the endless dark sea of mangroves and the endless swash of the surf. It will soon be over.

Wishing you all a perfect Christmas day and may you get everything you really wanted.

Monday, December 22, 2008

No prospect for recovery

The New York Times humor section asks you to come up with a caption for this picture. I don't find anything funny about it, other than the fact that Americans have so long sneered at the idea of small, fuel sipping American cars while complaining that Detroit isn't technically adept enough to produce them. The little Nash Metropolitan was one of many failures in the era of "bigger is better" and that's an era with no signs of ending. In fact nobody makes cars big enough for us, or clumsy, or unstable enough, so we drive trucks and vans and pretend, like Governor Schwarzenegger said on 60 minutes last night, that magic technology will allow us to keep driving them and keep making them bigger.

I was waiting at a light to turn on to old Dixie Highway yesterday, top down and shades on, when a venerable Porsche 356, followed by a TR-4, followed by an XK120 rolled past in convoy making a joyful noise; tops down in the fragrant, 75 degree Florida sunshine. I had hoped to catch up with them and share the country road and the joy of life for a moment, but of course by the time the light changed, there was an SUV and then another and a van and a huge jacked up pick-up lumbering along, their timid occupants sealed in bank vault vehicles, breathing canned air and peering through their tinted windows darkly.

But of course Americans are always victims, so it's the manufacturers' fault that we hate and fear small cars and American's hate being American so it's Detroit's fault that it isn't located in Japan. Funny though, that Toyota, who also makes the same kind of misbegotten vehicles Americans crave is suffering too and so is Honda and so, it seems, is everyone else. Toyota announced after Monday's close that it expected to lose more than a billion and a half dollars in 2009 and Japan's exports are already down 26%. Spokesmen for Honda say they see no prospect for recovery. But when it does come, if it does come, won't we go back to our same old trucks with renewed lust?

So how do we convince the mothers of America that they don't need 4 ton trucks to go to the beauty parlor and that safety has a much to do with putting down the Evian and the cell phone and learning how to pick a line through a corner as it does with Gross Vehicle Weight? Does it even matter if we will have to resort to buying cars we can actually afford because we can't get credit or are out of a job? Whatever happens, the open road and the spirit of adventure and freedom are gone and those "On The Road" Dean Moriarty moments won't ever happen again if Mom and her Hummer can help it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday of Hate

Michelle Malkin is talking about Christmas cheer. Yes, it's like Kim Jong Il talking about threats to civil liberties, only worse, because we don't have Fox News bleating his demented ravings or calling them "conservative comment."

Yes, it's the atheists, as though they were a group: it's the atheists, the non-believers who are getting in the way of her cheerful enjoyment of Christmas and the atheists who should be treated like "Internet trolls." That, I presume, means to ignore them. Of course, in Fox speak, that means to continue their mythical battle between retail Christianity and the nefarious forces of religious freedom.

Gretchen Carlson, who apparently has a good shot at surpassing Malkin for sheer vituperative viciousness disagrees, saying that religious freedom will be the death of Christianity.
"If you don't stand up and fight for it, it might just disappear! I'm talking about Christianity!"
No, you're not, you're talking about forced unanimity and mandatory expressions of official faith. Christianity thrived actual persecution for enough time to make me doubt that it's future is in jeopardy, at least from other religions, and it has thrived through persecutions of it's own, but it's having a tougher time in some places that leave everyone alone to celebrate if and when and how they like and restrain them from forcing their practices and rituals on others.

Back before Christianity was coopted by those who play to the stupid and ignorant and hateful; back before Fox News and the Aryan Nation, it was an inclusive holiday. As a non-Christian and an atheist and someone who knows all too much about Christian history, about early Christian, Greco-Persian, Roman and Norse practices that form the basis of Christmas: as someone who knows how the holiday (and yes, it's a goddamn holiday) owes more to Coca-Cola, Hallmark and Charles Dickens than to some Jewish baby born to a teenage mother in April of an indeterminate year about 2000 years ago, I've always celebrated it anyway. After all Christmas as we know it is an American holiday and one that used to bring about a spirit of tolerance, brotherhood and generosity to a unique degree. It was a holiday that brought out the liberal in most of us.

Now that it's become a bloody piece of meat in the claws of harpies like Malkin and Carlson, now that we've become as stupid and superstitious and as ready to rend our neighbors as any of our subhuman cousins at the behest of Fox and its stable of demons, I'm no longer interested. Its just another hot poker in the dungeons of the Fox inquisition.

Of course if their were any real Christians in this country they might propose at least to ignore this attempt to make it a holiday of hate, but perhaps that, like liberty and the pursuit of happiness just another lost hope of the secular humanists who first dreamed of it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just Print it

“The Fed is sending a message that it will print money to an unlimited extent until it starts to see the economy expanding,”
says William Poole, former president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. The Fed today cut the Fed fund rate, or the overnight borrowing rate, to 0.25% today.

It's an appealing strategy because of course, it's been tried in Japan and didn't do much of anything but provide enough liquidity for people outside that country to make a lot of money on their misfortune. It's a good way to pay off massive debts though - just print it. The idea of a 0% main interest rate prevailed in Japan from 2001 to 2006, in order to pump up a sinking economy and stimulate lending. The hope of stimulating commercial banks to lend failed for them, but of course the idea of the US as a separate universe with different laws has been part of our policies for a long time and we still have a month to go before George leaves the building. Gentlemen -- start the presses.

So you say you could use some of that 0% financing yourself? Don't count on it. We're not banks, you know: we just bail them out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One by one

Printing things on sheets of paper and using an army of planes, trains, automobiles and sometimes bicycles to carry tons of printed material all over the country in order to keep the public informed is an increasingly anachronistic process. More ironic is the need to pay other people to collect, remove and recycle all that paper.

Even the most anachronistic technologies can take a long time to die. Decades after the advent of the telephone, it was still necessary to cajole a fearful and suspicious public into realizing that they needed one and of course the habits we make using outmoded processes are hard to break. People older than I am often cite the Sunday morning ritual of coffee and three pounds of newsprint as a high point of the weekend, but people younger rely more and more on the Internet, with it's vastly greater diversity of information, constantly updated and always available.

Television never was the threat to printed paper that the Internet has become. Around the clock news coverage has devolved into the constant mastication of a small handful of stories and is increasingly limited to local and sensational news and sometimes outrageously biased propaganda. The Internet has few limits.

The venerable and respected Christian Science Monitor has now ceased to use the wood pulp technology and has gone to the Web. Virtually all the print media has a Web presence. Advertising revenues are falling substantially and it's hard to think that we're not seeing the accelerating demise of the newspaper as we have known it. The Chicago Tribune has filed for bankruptcy, Detroit papers may soon curtail home delivery, publishers of local and regional papers are laying off staff.

Of course we will lose something intangible along with our very tangible piles of paper. When has there ever been change without loss? I'm guessing that one thing we will lose is the credibility of mainstream sources relative to the blogs, the fringe web sites, the loony bloviators and the special interest propagandists. Just who will the reporters at tomorrow's presidential news conferences represent?

Some seem to be making a joyful noise at the prospect; irresponsible polemicists for profit like Ann Coulter, for instance. Those who thrive on half-truth, fabrication, slander, slur and sleaze might well prosper in an Internet sea of smaller fish, where established entities aren't as easy to differentiate from crackpot sites and propaganda sites and blogs with plain old irresponsible reportage. Such places have little to lose when exposed and can change names and re-emerge. The New York Times cannot and it's far easier to hold reporters and editors who use real names accountable.

Still I won't mourn the inevitable extinction; the gains far out weigh the losses, but still -- if Ann Coulter likes it, it can't be all that good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Step by step

It wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't have the mindless, botox-faced zombies at Fox yelping about the insult to religion. Of course it wouldn't be a free country if we weren't allowed to express our objections to anything or were forced to make religious oaths and follow religious practices. Oh, wait a minute -- we are. It isn't; at least not yet.

Lyin' Bill says he expects "they" (Jews, Atheists, Muslims) will try next to remove the national holiday (what, he called it a holiday?) on the premise that we can't have a holiday based on religion. Of course we can have a holiday based on the fact that nobody would come to work anyway, but that's inconvenient to his scenario and it annoys him that in fact, nobody seems to object to a day off for any reason.

It's my constitutional right to insult your religion, I'm proud to say, and it's only fair since your religion in and of itself insults mine and several others. In fact I take offense at some aspect of every religion I've yet heard of. It's good to live in a free country.

Apparently the sense of relief at being newly out from under the bootheel of religious tyrants seems to be spreading. Newsweek has a very objective over story on the empty bigotry of the war against gay marriage; one that I think couldn't have got past the editors before the election. Keith Olbermann came out last night and condemed Lyin' Bill's comic opera about Christians under siege as the stepchild of xenophobia and anti-Sematism.

It's not as if freedom is breaking out all over, but I sense a weakening of the old guard; the passing of an old, worn out tyranny and again, I'm no longer ashamed to be proud of being an American: not because I think we're the best, but because we're not as ashamed to admit our faults and more likely to do something about it.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

rags to bitches

The McCain Campaign is unloading their surplus property this week in Arlington,VA. I'm surprised that they didn't put the laptops, Blackberrys and folding chairs up for sale on eBay, but perhaps the failure of Sarah Palin to sell that surplus Airplane on eBay (despite the fact that McCain said it sold at a profit) was a lesson to them. Too bad, I'd have liked to run some undelete software on one of those bargain laptops and see what kind of porn the righteous right prefers.

But one thing we aren't seeing is that fantastic wardrobe of Sarah Palin's -- the one she claimed would be returned to the GOP after the campaign. She certainly seemed well and expensively dressed when she was cheerleading for Chandless. Nothing she wore looked like the small town resale shop she claims to frequent, but perhaps I'm being premature. Perhaps it just takes longer to remove the stains of hypocrisy and the odor of mendacity than it does to erase those blackberrys and hard drives.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This seat's for sale

Let's hear it for young Rod Blagojevich,
Put his state up for sale, oh boyavich!
They surely won't fail
To put him in jail,
Where his cellmate will make him a a toyovich.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mary on my mind

I have to admit that it looks more like medieval images of Mary than most apparitions appearing in the news: burnt toast, rust stains, grilled cheese sandwiches. Usually any inverted U shape qualifies. This one however, appears in one "slice" of an MRI scan of a local woman's brain and the woman's sister, hoping to raise needed funds for medical care, intends to put it up on eBay.

I could ramble on about the sad story of someone growing up in a town polluted with dioxin and with a lifetime of health problems, including cancer, and who our "every man for himself" medical care system has left on the side of life's road, but instead I'll talk about my kitchen counter. It's a large grained slab of granite and there isn't a morning when I don't discover another hitherto unobserved face in it. It's not that I'm hung over or astigmatic or even mentally unbalanced. Our brains seem to be wired to seek out faces lurking in the weeds. It's probably a survival thing even if it's only Millard Filmore or Maynard G. Krebs staring at me, eating breakfast.

Of course nobody knows if there really ever was a Virgin Mary or whether she actually was Virgo Intacta until Yahweh shagged her -- much less what she looked like. I'm certain she wouldn't have worn medieval European clothing, but none the less, just like we know that Jesus had long, straight, lanky and light colored hair, with northern European features and was somewhat underweight, we know what she looks like. She looks like a structure in the brain of Pamela Latrimore, in blurry cross section.

Ms. Latrimore has no medical insurance and needs the money, so for once I'm hoping that the deranged and delusional will want some object to pray to (God screens his calls these days) and will bid it up. Unlike Burnt French Toast Jesi or tomato slice apostles it won't rot and unlike road stain apparitions of Jesus you can hang it on your wall. Maybe God made us prone to see faces just so that he could inspire people who pray to bird shit splatter on car hoods to actually do some good in the "love thy neighbor" department. Maybe not, but Pamela definitely needs the money.

Dust to dust

To day he shall be lifted up and to morrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust, and his thought is come to nothing.

- 1 Macabees 2:63 -

Freedom's Watch, the organization largely funded by a Las Vegas Casino owner really cared about watching our freedom, I'm sure. That's why they promoted the "War on Terror" so avidly and not just because there's big money to be made by marketing fear and demonizing the innocent and righteous. You know of course, that Ari Fleischer, formerly a paid liar for George W. Bush was a board member of the far-right, jingoistic group that now seems to be the latest domino to fall. He may be left no other alternative than to seek honest employment.

Since The Bush economy began to piss away the wealth of our nation, people have had less money to piss away themselves at places like The Sands in Las Vegas, whence cometh most of the funds that kept the lobbying group alive. Freedom's Watch hasn't had the budget to play games with our freedom of late, although they did manage to help Saxby Chandless this year; the same Chandless who ran one of the most reprehensible campaigns in American history in 2002, painting war hero opponent Max Cleland as a coward and associate of Osama bin Laden.

So perhaps deep recessions like this one aren't an entirely bad thing. Like death, it sweeps everything away in time, the good, the bad and the Republican. It's not that there isn't an endless supply of malice, dishonesty, greed and any other kind of evil you can think of ready to take its place, but I enjoy watching the end of Freedom's Watch. Even if justice rarely prevails in this world, in the end everything dies and the smug smiles of arrogant elitists, power mad sociopaths and Republicans in general will have an end.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Buy 'em while you can!

So I leave the dim coolness of the ophthalmologist's office and emerge into the Florida Noonday blaze and gain an immediate appreciation of how a vampire feels when he can't make it back to his coffin before the sun rises. Even with my darkest sunglasses on, my dilated pupils won't allow me to drive so I decide to get a haircut at Bob's, where you can look at his massive collection of old guns, antique ammunition signs and cowboy paraphernalia while you and the good old boys get your hair length reduced.

Even after an hour, I still can't see well enough to drive, so I go across the street to the gun shop looking to chat with the proprietor who, up to now, has been almost as lonely as the Maytag repairman would be if the claims were true, and willing to pass the time talking about outdoorsy things. Of course since Obama the Antichrist was elected, things are different at gun shops and the place was full of people and almost devoid of those non-automatic, civilian versions of military weapons that the more hysterical of us like to call "assault weapons."

The conversation was lively and as gun shop conversations have been of late, all about "that man" and the certainty of his rabid opposition to all forms of weaponry in private hands.
"I don't know" said the creepy guy, using a magnifying glass to inspect a nickel plated double barrel derringer chambered for .45 long colt and 410 shotgun shells.
"I just change channels when that guy comes on" says he. " I can't stand to listen to him."
"Well it's all on his web site." says the Deputy Sheriff, lovingly examining a monstrous, long barelled Smith &Wesson .460 SVR Magnum revolver with green laser sight and bipod. "Jesus, there's nothing in Africa you couldn't take down with this one."
"You've read it?" asks the store owner. "No, but his whole gun policy is on his web site. I just can't stand to read it, but I'm telling you if we're supposed to knock on doors looking for everyone's guns, it ain't gonna happen. I mean he's talking about making lists of all registered guns and there is no gun registration in Florida in the first place. You just know the crime rate's gonna skyrocket."
"I guess the ATF has the authority to come in here and look at my books though" says the owner, let's call him Joe.
"Yeah, but I'll just tell them I sold them all privately or at a gun show and I don't have any guns any more" says creepy guy with a creepy, conspiratorial grin.
"Well it's all on his web site" says the Deppity. "He's going to bring back the Brady bill and the assault rifle ban and all the rest. It's on the web site."

It's not, actually. I looked and what it does say is that Obama believes the second amendment conveys an individual right, that he is concerned with the impediments to hunting and fishing and is determined to increase access and provide incentives to open more land to those uses and that he will protect the rights of law abiding citizens to own, transport and use guns. Of course that's not enough for the NRA and a lot of other people, but it's not wholesale confiscation and it's not the rabid, hysterical and diabolical plan to disarm the general public that the Deppity says it is.

Anyway I asked if he had sold all the AK's he had on the racks last Summer and he said he had, and I asked if was getting any more and he said yes, but he wouldn't say when because it would be a mob scene if word got out, but it should be soon and they would all be gone within hours.

Pasted on the glass counter where bowie knives and ear muffs and safety glasses were displayed was a cartoon of a car plastered with Obama stickers. The driver was saying to a questioner: "No, I don't, but I own a gun shop."

For some people, business has never been better.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Penny for your thoughts

You arrive in the Airport terminal a bit frazzled by the traffic jams, congestion in the parking lot, the escalators; you keep looking at your watch because it's getting close to boarding time and you have that long security line ahead where you have to take off your belt and shoes and have your toiletries examined. You've begun to sweat, your heart is pounding. Quickly you look at the Departures screen to see if maybe you've lucked out and your flight is ten minutes late: WHAT? did I just see that? did the screen say "I'm going to blow up the plane" for a microsecond? Before you can finish asking yourself whether you've broken under the stress of modern air travel, two men in black suits and sunglasses grab your arms and lead you away into a little room. . . .

No, I'm not dabbling in Sci-Fi here. It's entirely possible that it could happen to you if some of the biometric devices being tested to read your thoughts and intentions are adopted. It's not enough to know whether you're carrying a dangerous nail clipper or an ounce too much of Johnson's baby shampoo any more. They want to know your intentions and they think they can do it.
"Several Israeli-based technology companies are developing detection systems that pick up signs of emotional strain, a psychological red flag that a passenger may intend to commit an act of terror" says CNN.
"One firm, WeCU (pronounced "We See You") Technologies, employs a combination of infra-red technology, remote sensors and imagers, and flashing of subliminal images, such as a photo of Osama bin Laden. Developers say the combination of these technologies can detect a person's reaction to certain stimuli by reading body temperature, heart rate and respiration, signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack."

If the machine can tell the difference between the fear of losing your job if you're late for a meeting, fear of mind reading machines themselves; fear about any number of things including airplanes, I would be amazed, even though we do live in an age of amazing technology. Will the Mercedes dealer install these things to determine if you're really able to buy or are just kicking tires?

Technology gets smaller and cheaper at a predictable rate. I'm absolutely positive that within a few years it will be available for under $100 and be as small as a wristwatch or hearing aid or at least small enough to fit in your wife's purse. So don't rely on those Ray-Bans to keep her unaware of just how fascinating that mini-skirt in front of you is. She'll know.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The McCarthy Code

"The creation myth of modern conservatism usually begins with Barry Goldwater,"
says Neal Gabler in the Los Angeles Times, but was Goldwater really anything like Sarah Palin or George Bush or indeed any Republican president or candidate since his disastrous run?

Gabler thinks the true story bears no resemblance to the heroic epic of Goldwater, Reagan, and the Bush's, but rather that the blood line descends from Joe McCarthy to Dick Nixon to the Commander Guy. Wisconsin Senator McCarthy with his witch hunts, fake lists of Commies in the State Department, Hollywood, the schools and under your bed was the prototype; set the stage for the aggressive use of bogeymen to divide, antagonize and conquer.
"McCarthyism is a way to build support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of danger and conspiracy even where these don't exist."

Even a man like John McCain couldn't resist the temptation to demonize, to invent doubt and suspicion, to enlist people like Sarah Palin -- and perhaps without the vertiginous descent of our economy, so reminiscent of the Biblical plagues upon Egypt, he would have succeeded.

All the pundits are pretending to ask themselves "whither the GOP?" Now that McCain has sold his withered soul and slithering Sarah is in the spotlight, supporting unscrupulous candidates and hunting witches. Gabler thinks he knows and I think I agree.
"There may be assorted intellectuals and ideologues in the party, maybe even a few centrists, but there is no longer an intellectual or even ideological wing. The party belongs to McCarthy and his heirs -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Palin. It's in the genes."
Let's hope we acquire some immunity.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Irritating the Libs

One of the more amusing bits of Republican flotsam that wash up on my electronic shore is one that asks wouldn't it "piss off the Libs" if Bush were to resign in favor of Cheney, who would then appoint Rice as VP and then resign himself leaving her the first black, female president.

If I knew just what they meant by "Lib" I might answer that, but since it's really their creation and adjustable to fit any size or type of circumstance, I won't. Of course it's hidden purpose is to assert that the only reason he won was the novelty of his ancestry. That's something they seem far more concerned with than are "the Libs."

It's going to be harder over the next day or two to dismiss him as a lightweight beneficiary of Affirmative Action when one compares the appointment of Condoleezza the oil toad whose credentials were entirely academic and whose career has been marked with little that is noteworthy, and General James L. Jones, the tough-guy Marine who campaigned with McCain. It does make it look as though Obama is actually concerned with beefing up national security rather than in seeking yes (wo)men or making choices dictated by plutocrats.

They will try however.