Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Day (or two) After Fitzmas

...At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community... From the Libby indictments

There is much debate going on whether or not this scandal has the gravity of that of Watergate (no), Iran-Contragate (similiar), or BJgate (give me a break). Since it became clear that some of the principals at the White House had been talking out of school enough to have exposed a cover-up, Bush administration apologists have been gearing up a defense of, "Oh, come on boys and girls. What's the big deal here?" To hear them tell it, Valerie Plame spent most of her time running around from one Washington cocktail party to another bragging about her top-secret job.

Fitzgerald, who wowed nearly everyone on both sides, appears to have shot this notion in the foot.

Few are better at this "aw, shucks" dismissal game than Bill Kristol. In this Weekly Standard article he co-writes:

...In today's Washington, as has been true for decades, classified information is leaked by many different players in any given policy fight in the government. The Bush administration has been replete with leaks of presumably classified information. Is the identity of Valerie Plame the most consequential leak of the last four years?...

Is such relativism what the neos and their gun boat diplomacy are looking to export to the "emerging" Iraq democracy?

Then there's ol' hot lips herself, Ann Coulter, as she stated the following on Hannity and Colmes on Oct. 26th:

...everyone in Washington knew she [Plame] was a CIA agent...

In view of the above, and by Ann Coulter's own standards, propagating this lie is treason. For such a treasonous act, by Ann Coulter's own words Ann Coulter should be gone after with a baseball bat.

What does Rush Limbaugh say?

...Everybody in her neighborhood knew who she was...

It goes on and on. This is old news already and you can Google to your heart's content if you want to learn more of the ineptitude of the Washington Post and the New York Times and how quickly the spin machine propels such careless reportage into public perception. The point of this post is more to the hypocrisy of this "common sense" defense that curmudgeonly wingnuts drag out whenever the specifics of a situation are indefensible―the old Reaganly "There you go again..."

Coincidently it was two Reaganites, Victoria Toensing and Bruce W. Sanford, contributors to the "outing" law behind this caper, writing this in a piece from the Washington Post on January 10, 2005:

...At the threshold, the agent must truly be covert. Her status as undercover must be classified, and she must have been assigned to duty outside the United States currently or in the past five years. This requirement does not mean jetting to Berlin or Taipei for a week's work. It means permanent assignment in a foreign country. Since Plame had been living in Washington for some time when the July 2003 column was published, and was working at a desk job in Langley (a no-no for a person with a need for cover), there is a serious legal question as to whether she qualifies as "covert."...

My question is, who is going around making these determinations? What kind of governing is it that political cronies are running around the White House deciding which career personnel in the CIA are really spooks and which aren't, and then running off their mouths to a pipsqueak like Robert Novak about it? What kind of War on Terror are we running over there that this "is it or ain't it a crime?" litmus test needs to be considered at all in the case of a classified CIA employee working on WMD issues being exposed, not in a casual conversation, but to a national publication? According to Toensing and Sanford:

...But Congress also did not intend for government employees to be vulnerable to prosecution for an unintentional or careless spilling of the beans about an undercover identity. A dauntingly high standard was therefore required for the prosecutor to charge the leaker...

This care appears to have fortunate consequences for certain named and unnamed (but possibly labeled) officials, yet the statement hardly seems to describe the situation we have here. This "spill" was neither unintentional nor careless (in the sense of offhandedness). Although these officials will undoubtedly slip through this crack, the intention was to protect innocent morons, not the variety we are dealing with here.

And so back to "common sense". Regardless of how many knew of Plame's position, for one more to learn is worse, and for millions more is like, way worse. This is absolute logic. This is an absolute value. While it is the neo-con think tanks like those Bill Kristol's mommy and daddy run churning policy docs bemoaning lack of absolute values, it seems their appointed torch bearers have a bit of trouble operating according to their own.

Even POTUS, who is not nearly the ringleader of this cadre, knew better. In characteristic confusion he mistakenly made a statement of virtue, that anyone in his administration known to have leaked Plame's identity would be fired. Very soon this was changed to anyone having been convicted. One trip down the hall was enough for W to be reminded of the difference between the rhetoric and the reality of the mission.

We expect more. That was the big deal in '74 and it's the big deal now. We expect White House officials to know better, or at least would like to think that they do. We expect people with security clearance to value national security over political gain. We expect a level of competence in our administration far beyond that which this thuggish hack job demonstrates. It was indefensible, as the current "boys will be boys" spin makes obvious. They did it anyway. We expect better minds.

That's the big deal.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ouisconsin, From One Extreme to the Other

Those pesky sustainablists were at it again on WPR, mucking up my morning commute with their tales from the northwoods. I gave it a chance, listened on for ten minutes or so before opting out for the smooth-as-silk, homogenized Morning Edition on Chicago Public Radio. In those ten minutes however, I learned of Ashland, Wisconsin's bold move to become an eco-community or municipality or whatever. Pronouncing this radical departure had come these headlines in their local, The Daily Press:

Ashland on way to becoming eco-municipality

Officials say it won't threaten city

Phew! And in case this might not assuage the fears of those locals who like their pollution just the way it is, thank you, the story goes on to add:

Councilor Mary Rehwald said the new distinction would not obligate the city to anything. "There's absolutely nothing in this that says the city has to do something another way," she said.

Ah, but there's foulness afoot! Unbeknownst to these lovely lambs of the Lake Superior shore those wicked "socialists" of the sustainability movement are going around making making all kinds of changes, like installing bio-degradable soap in bed and breakfasts and scouting out windmill sites. They've discovered, and I'm aghast, eco-terrorism at a local birding installation and have switched the coffee to that which is grown "bird friendly".

They're so cute.

Some facts are in order, and for these I've taken the extraordinary step of actually finding some from the US Census Bureau. The population estimate of Ashland County for 2004 is 16,719, down from 16,866 in 2000. The average commute, about 15 minutes. It doesn't say if that includes the time it takes to put the snow chains on.

I don't think Ashland is the problem. Let's move southeast, all the way southeast to Kenosha County.

The 2004 population estimate of Kenosha County is 158,435; up 5.9% from 2000, which was up 16.7% from 1990. These aren't Las Vegas numbers, but there is some real growth here. Just south of Kenosha county and toward Chicago is Lake County, IL, which is up a whopping 30% for the same 15 years. The average commute for these counties for 2000 is 27 and 30 minutes and that is going up fast. The median home in Lake County was $200,000 in 2000, compared to $120,000 in Kenosha County, and as the fortunate zone out the less so the direction of this sprawl is increasingly away from work. So much for facts, now for some observations.

Ten times as many people are spending twice as much time going to work at one end of the state as on the other. For every new produce stand selling sustainable farmed produce on one extreme are 25 new Subways on the other loading up thousands of cookie cutter sandwiches with South American veggies. For every windmill established on the lovely Superior shore are a hundred new four bedroom pine and gypsum barns heating their volume ceiling great rooms with coal and natural gas produced energy.

I don't want to hear about Ashland, where the principal industry is catering to rich yuppie kayakers plying the Apostle Islands shoreline. I want to hear some people with ideas that are "sustainable" for the suburban landscape, where many, many more people actually live and go to work. I want someone to tell me how we are going to create a lifestyle for the masses that reduces transportation needs. I want to know how we are going to rebuild our infrastructure to reduce the environmental and human cost that the astoundingly inefficient suburban non-plan is exacting, increasingly every day while environmental minds desert this nightmare and go hide in Spring Green and Ashland.

I checked in later, and a "eco-friendly" development engineer was calling in his kudos for Ashland's gesture, he in fact has relocated his operation to Ashland from Green Bay.

Where apparantly his efforts weren't so sustainable.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Have Yourselves a Merry Little Fitzmas

There's a place in the blogosphere I like to go to to be among friends, a site so well populated with like-minded souls that these sheer numbers seem to discourage all those ill-thinking right wingers and we are more or less left alone to hash out our own differences. This site is The Daily Kos. Sure it's a bit of a mutual admiration society, but don't we all need that from time to time?

Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor for the case of the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative by administration officials, is said to be set to hand down indictments this week. The rumor mill that is Washington is buzzing and so are the Kossacks. WE/they have taken to calling it waiting for Fitzmas. It is tossed around that as many as 24 indictments could be handed down, which would put my best guess at eight or so. Those bemoaning this "witch hunt" next week are likely to include Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, the latter being Cheney's chief of staff. It could go higher, nobody knows as Fitzgerald has been very close to the vest with this investigation, not at all like the oafish Kenneth Starr.

And so the phrase "Fitzmas" is being used to describe the morning that all this will go down. Despite all that you've heard about liberals from Fox TV, there is precious little lock-step agreement at Kos, and not everyone agrees that the gleeful nature of this anticipation is a good thing, as so:

Whatever the charges or eventual results of this turn out to be, it's not a happy day in our country if people at the highest level of government are committing crimes. We shouldn't celebrate it. SnoodGuy

Well, if you consider a secular view of Christmas (and don't even tell me you haven't) it is rooted in Saturnalia, a ritual of the winter solstice that celebrates the cyclical nature of the sun, the beginning of the return to light. How dark has it been, this reign of the Christian Soldiers?

For me the clouds begin early in the morning, as I stop at 6:30 am to haul my bag around nine holes at the local layout. Right across the street is the home of a construction company that built the new clubhouse. Some of the management has changed however, as several have been indicted or await indictment for the embezzlement of three million or so, some of it used to run a Republican Party bound slush fund. Read more about this in Grass Root Politics, Republican Style, or Boss Mann, Another Biskupic, Their Aides and the Deficiencies of Immunity. The Bush appointed DA, Steven Biskupic, has given the alleged ringleader of this circus "limited" immunity in exchange for his cooperation in the investigation.

If that seems a little backwards, well, when you're on a mission from God you get to make your own rules. All across the country Republicans have been bending, twisting and breaking the laws of the land in order to seize the mantle of world domination, and any good domination begins at home. To the world they have said in our name, "We will punch you first before you are big enough to punch us. This is our God given right."

These things darken my day, this is not who I thought we were.

GHW Bush's thousand points of light have become W's thousand little dark clouds. Eventuality is nigh, riding an ancient chariot drawn by Greed and Powerlust.

When Nixon gave that last goofy pelvic-thrusted victory sign as he left the White House grounds for good, sure, it was a little sad to see such a spectacle. But it was a far happier day than the one before it.

Party on, into the light.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chi Gets its Day, Unfortunately on Fox

“The World Series will begin today in Chicago…”

I have to admit, that takes a little getting used to. I get irritated quickly by the incessant harping on the futility of Chicago’s two baseball teams, but I confess (it must be Sunday morning, what with all this testifying going on right off the bat) that the sensation is all the more discomforting in that I know damn well the record is so horribly shabby it can’t be ignored. Two teams, no championships in nearly 100 years, it is hardly possible. But in this town which for the fifty-some years of my lifetime has had a football team without a quarterback for about forty-nine of them, the hardly possible is everyday.

But these White Sox are something. So far, they are not only in the dance, they appear to own the hall. They play the small ball and hit for power. Their outfield chases down the ball and the infield is as loose and efficient as if this were spring training and not the first game of the first World Series in Chicago since the year of the big fin. Their starting pitching is dominant and the relief pitching, when it appears, is wicked.

They get ahead early and never look back. They dispatched the darlings of the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network, the Red Sox, in three straight, and then flicked away the Somewhere-North-of-Oceanside Angels, who had defeated the Evil Empire (you know who I mean).

They not only act the part, they look it. They are confident without being haughty, serious with being sullen, handsome without glamour. The Houston Astros look like a bunch of minor leaguers from the swamps of Mississippi with their scraggly beards―like a bunch of clowns, with Bobblehead Biggio and his goofy oversize batting helmet and Bagwell up there looking like he taking a dump. And what’s with that Ensberg and that do-you-object-if-we-search-your-car inducing stare thing he’s got going?

The park looks good, too. Because it is. I am a Cub fan first, and there’s nothing like the historic ambiance of Wrigley field (Fenway doesn’t come close), but the “Cell”, (call it that in your paper and several corporations will request a meeting with your editor), is a better place to watch a baseball game. Better seats, better aisles, better concessions and better parking. Recently highlighted in blue, it is now classic black and white, and a truly videogenic backdrop in the crispness of the near winter weather into which the money men have stretched the baseball playoffs.

Not that Fox has a clue how to capture that. Fox exemplifies the way quality becomes a parody of itself. Fox is great with the graphics and all those whooshy sound effects, they just don’t know how to take a picture or capture the sound of the event. Just beyond the left field line of the Cell lies one of the most photographed cities in the world. Last night the weather was in a clearing window, a brilliantly black sky partly criss-crossed with low, scudding clouds that reflected brightly the orange glow of the city. It was pure Halloween out there, reflected in shimmering wetness; a Batman director would have been out shooting all over the place. Cheap-ass Fox sent a guy with a hand-held to the edge of the stands to take a couple of zooms of the back of the skyline. Such imagination! Way to capture such a long-awaited Chicago moment!

And who else was there to help diminish the experience for me? Who aids and abets all flashy-pants Fox in their stingy little effort to look like the real thing? Who chimes in with their typically Christian non-generosity to muck up all the works? Lurking behind another curtain is that parsonage of parsimoniousness, Sinclair Broadcasting, who owns the local Fox Affiliate. They, and only they, want fifty cents from every cable subscriber a month before they will allow Charter to carry Fox hi-def. That’s right. In the heart of Packer, Bears and Vikings country I pay $105.00 for cable and internet and can’t watch the NFC in Hi-def over 50 cents of it.

As always, there is more.

And who is it that won’t negotiate these 50 cents? Who owns Charter? The author of the following:

What should exist?

To me, that's the most exciting question imaginable.

What do we need that we don't have? How can we realize our potential? What will
it take to solve important problems and improve people's lives? What should
exist, and how might we create it—right now?

This is from Paul Allen, multi-gazzillionaire and also owner of the Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Seahawks and the Sporting News. Big sports guy.

Well, you overblown wind-bag, I’ll tell you what should exist, post 1950’s signals carrying the freaking World Series over your cables. May you could quit gallivanting around on your sea and sky polluting private ship long enough to sit down with the creeps from Sinclair and get this 50 cents deal done.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Poor Had Their Fifteen Minutes of Fame

There seems to be a breather in the news cycle. It's been days since a senior administrative official has been subpoenaed or indicted, and it will be days more before the next big hurricane. This one's called Wwwwwilmmma! Don't be thinking global warming now, we're just in one of those cycles, ya know, it happens. Yeah, I remember Carla and Camille. I don't remember no Wilma!

On Point had an attempt at a discussion going today about poverty, introduced to be about whether the supposed increased awareness to poverty issues brought about by Hurricane Katrina is in fact ironic considering that social programs are to suffer the deepest cuts in the attempt to offset the costs of rebuilding. Quickly this mess turned into five or six talking heads talking trash, rambling on as one might expect those of such a carefully culled cross section to do.

"Quit cutting the programs and knock off the tax cuts for the rich," goes A.

"Tell them to quit having babies out of wedlock and get a job," goes B.

Very informative.

Everybody was right of course, but oh, so cold on the key reason why America is backsliding on the poverty front. It all does have to do with entitlement, and nannies, and coddling, as it turns out.

Never, nowhere in the history of the world have so many haves felt so entitled. I will make it as simple as it can be. Divide all the wealth in America into three parts. One third belongs to the top 1%. One-third belongs to the rest of the top10%, and the rest is ours.

The 1% is in charge, and has given itself a 10% tax break, purportedly so they can give us all better jobs and raises by someday investing their little windfalls in something other than factories in Brazil and China. The next 9% is very, very busy maintaining the favor of the 1%, not in the least by convincing the majority of us morons that we may be just like them some day if we just vote for them and do their dirty work.

2.5 million Uncle Scrooges feel absolutely entitled to one-third of everything while their mouthpieces woe the unaffordability of Medicare and Social Security. 25 million more suck up the next third and complain about the taxes on their 3,500 square foot barns that push up the heating bills of the poor, and the luxury tax on their BMW 745's that push up the transportation costs of the poor.

They want it all. They deserve it all. If you don't play along, they'll take their ball and go home.

Fine. Give them a one-way ticket outta here, and let them raise their next generation of spoiled brats in Buenos Aires.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Shouldn't There Be Flashers?

In On the Beach, Nevil Shutes's bleak portrayal of the end of the world (for humans), one of the principals is a sports car racer. As he and his fellow Australians wait for the radioactive clouds to precipitate over their last bit of inhabited Earth the races take on a bit of recklessness, to say the least.

That was my first thought when I came across this display.

I do admit, however, that I know what this is really all about. Once last year I was foolin' around by the secretary's computer―which is tuned to ALL COUNTRY, ALL THE TIME―and I heard the song this quote comes from. It's Tim McGraw's, and it was a monster hit.

I'll save you the time. Dad got sick, hadn't much time, and decided to be a human being and also to enjoy himself. Loved his family deeper and demonstrated this by spending the little time they might have had left with him riding a bull, climbing a mountain, jumping out of airplanes, going fishin' with the buddies, etc.

Double-checked the connection on the Jesus hotline too, best believe it!

Okay, fine, whatever, it's a good-natured thought.

It just goes to show ya, in spite of the onslaught of vitriolic anti-intellectualism spitting out of the mouthpieces of "red" America, how hungry these people are for a little philosophy. Today, Tim McGraw. Tomorrow, Socrates?

Maybe not.

Anyhow, I was inspired. Now if he could just scootch his fat-ass pickup truck up about three or four feet I could access the right turn lane and get on with my own life!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Knowing I'm On the Street Where You Live

Made a return trip to Liberty Trails today. We had a little joke or two about these environs last year. After some careful investigating―sales types have to be a little careful about politics these days―I gleaned that my potential customer was a liberal.

So we had a few jokes but I left out the one about floating one's housing bubble on Hoover Trail. Upon leaving I headed down Hoover for Reagan Blvd., the mainstream drag. I noticed that a second phase was going in and out of curiosity and I turned right to check out the new street signs.

Well, you write this stuff for a while and there's little audience and less feedback and there's nobody to tell you you might not know it all. I headed down Reagan and there was a new street, Eisenhower (a loop). "Aha!" says I, "There's another over there."

As I approached I began to make out the "C" and thought, "Of course, Calvin Coolidge. Old Silent Cal. Robert Novak's second most favorite conservative President."

But, what's this? Do my eyes deceive? Holy crap, stuck right here between Eisenhower and Reagan it's Clinton Court!

Lincoln, Reagan, Hoover, Tyler, Eisenhower, Bush and then cloistered in middle of this sanctuary of Whiggishness is Satan hisself. I gotta think this through.

Either our builder did or did not intend a statement with this neighborhood. If he did then why the exception, especially with republic enemy one? Did he have a favorite aunt make him promise? Does the fact that this is the smallest street in the neighborhood mean anything? Did he need some Dem cash bad enough to tuck away five or six lots for them way in the back somewhere? Was he shamed into it? Why not Kennedy? It just doesn't seem possible that Bubba could find his way into a plan like this for any reason!

And so I'm thinking that maybe I should look outside and check the color of the moon because it just may be that I am...that I could be...well, wrong.

Pardon me while I get some oxygen back in my lungs.

If there was no conscious plan, then perhaps it was subconscious? Then why Tyler? Tyler was a real Whig but then he wasn't. In fact, the Whigs kicked him out while he was President. If he hadn't died he would have been in the Confederate States House of Representatives. This may well link him nicely with some of these others, but that is a way, way too abstractly drawn connection I'm thinking.

I have to admit, the most sensible explanation would be that it's all a big accident, perhaps somewhat corrected in phase two amidst what must be a great deal of comment.

And as I contemplate that photo above, I wonder with how much prejudice I might jump to conclusions.

But not who might have been responsible for that.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bisoxual No More

The White Sox have just swept the Red Sox from this year's playoffs. I don't like the Red Sox.

I used to like the Red Sox. I pulled for them in the '67 Series with the Cardinals (being a Cubs fan, I really don't like the Cardinals). I was living in Boston when two rookies, Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, led them to game seven in the '75 World Series against the ever despicable Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine. That was a fun team, with Cecil Cooper, Yaz, Dewey Evans and Bernie Cahhhhhbo. Toss in The Spaceman (Bill Lee) and El Tiante and this was definitely a team you could learn to like.

And I almost left out Pudge Fisk and the dance on the first base line.

But now I'm so happy to see them gone―not so much because they are a bunch of overweight and overpaid slugs―but because the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network is officially half way to having to get off their fat Bristol, Ct. asses and look for a story from out West. True, they still have the Yankees, and so for a little while the lead story is a sure thing around there.

ESPN used to give the appearance of being national, they don't even try any more. The color announcer's comment at the end of the clincher was something like, "We know now what we didn't know before, the White Sox have the deepest bullpen in the playoffs." No kidding, you ignorant twit! The White Sox led the American League in ERA nearly the entire year. The White Sox went 35-19 in one run games. They tied the league lead in saves with another playoff team you undoubtedly know nothing about, the Somewhere South of Malibu Angels.

Go to the ESPN site right now and what do you see? Konerko, who hit the winning home run? How 'bout El Duque (Orlando Hernandez), who came on and shut the Red Sox down with the bases loaded to protect a one run lead? How 'bout the kid from AA ball who came in and smoked the famous Red Sox bats in the ninth for his second save in two games?

No, what you get is Johnny freakin' Damon, all sad like, with the caption, "Johnny Damon and the Red Sox didn't have that '04 magic"

I suppose when the Yankees go down, The Boys of Bristol can skip baseball altogether, dust the cobwebs off of Dick Vitale and start where they left off last year hyping the ACC and the Big East and all those sucky hoops teams from Philadelphia. There was exactly one team in the Elite Eight from east of the Appalachians last Spring, but to hear ESPN tell it you'd think the hoops world was flat and and the edge was somewhere just west of Winston-Salem, NC.

Now, I must admit that I do appreciate the hi-def games brought my way by this organization, even though it means putting up with Chris Berman, who obviously hasn't cracked a media guide in a long time. But I never, ever watch Sports Center any more―not since the internet is there to give me scores. Often I wait thru the start to confirm my suspicions, and then off it goes.

Get ready for a piss poor network effort for the ALCS. Without all the Yankee-Red Sox cliches, and without getting their knowledge of the participants from the half Red Sox-half Yankees crowd of fans at the corner Starbucks on the way into their little Connecticut fantasy world over there, these guys have nothing.

It almost makes me yearn for Joe Garagiola. Maybe not.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

le sequoit: The First Year

It seems that I've let the first anniversary of this effort slip right on past, long about during West Wing or so. I've decided to provide a few highlights, or so I'd like to think.

On Republicans:

I would guess that somewhere in the middle of a business related deductible $200.00 dinner or $180.00 round of golf Mr. Mann and Mr. Brownwell discovered that they were both Republicans.

On social "conservatives":

Some children will be forced by the government to reveal their sins to their parents in the name of Family Values while, against their parents wishes, others must choose between castigation by their peers or prayer to the Christian God.

On class:

Being in the "middle" class means questioning whether you can afford matching ATV's to tow behind your SUV. Being in the median class means wondering how you will replace your Honda Civic when it croaks.

How much more can we be set against each other in the workplace, squeezed of every last bit of productivity while our economic realities are finely engineered to maintain us at the breaking point?

Many capitalists have admitted the inequality of the system as practiced is a barrier to its ultimate success, but the difficulty of institutionalizing a more egalitarian system while maintaining the freedom of the individual to aspire within it―and the daunting task of wresting power from those who have hijacked the system―leave this barrier to refortify itself, as witnessed in a continuing, deepening rift between the upper and upper middle classes and the true middle class.

On the "vitality" of candidates:

…in the absence of someone who might be intelligently decisive I like the survivability of the intelligent non-decision over that of the unintelligent decision.

On the Bush administration:

To be Secretary of State for this regime all you really need is a copy/fax machine and an intact middle finger!

On censorship:

It's a fool's game, played by whiny hypocrites on one side and adolescent schoolboys on the other.

On Gertrude Himmelfarb's reference that the welfare society has "emasculated" the culture of "traditional republican and Puritan virtue":

If masculinity is equivalent to vitality, then am I not wasting my time reading this woman’s book?

On gun control:

Most gun owners are law abiding. Most gun owners are non-urban. Most gun victims are urban. Most gun owners can live with that.

On cheap labor:

This is about those who put patriotic stickers on their Hummers while they've not hired an American in ten years.

On computers:

Clearly the renaissance of my life (not to mention my spelling proficiency) is owed to Microsoft’s abstraction of it into one great, big video game.

On the birth of religion:

The man had come to notice that the chief would bestow upon him certain favors in response for his good answers and thus spoke boldly words that any might have, “The sun goes to a distant hunting ground.”

On labor:

…but to speak the language of labor is at this point like giving the Latin Mass.

On a previous fascist regime:

It was only on the rise that appeals to the godly to oppose the godless were deemed necessary.

On jurisprudence:

Free speech ends at the corporate boundary.

On conservation:

how do you renew energy, anyway? With a perpetual motion driven generator?

On the left/right monster:

We land on each issue according to the side we have chosen, rather than the other way around.

On the money machine of American universities' research efforts:

How will an Alexander Fleming have the flexibility to consider the accident in his Petri dish made by some Penicillium notatum that happened to blow in from downstairs?

On politicians:

Son of George Allen

It’s high time the children of America learned
that there are no short cuts to

Son of Sununu

Here! Here!

On parents and children:

Alas, our children did not benefit from such untelevisionary thinking and, as one goes off to law school and two Big Ten Universities are bidding for the other’s graduate study, it is with great shame that I admit that we let them watch Dangermouse and You Can’t Do That on Television. the interviewee's child plays "on his own" and so develops ability to construct socially "on his own" in free play portions of practice, but for safety's sake within eyesight and earshot of five or six adults. Right.

On hunger:

People should quit feeding 80 pound dogs and start feeding 60 pound Africans.

On suburban dysfunction:
If it’s not safe beyond your door, then why have a lawn to mow?

On the socialism of neighborhood covenents:
We may talk a fine game about too much government but when it comes down to your money and my money—even on the corner of Reagan Boulevard and Hoover Trail—a little socialism can be just the ticket.

On generational nonsense:

The Sixties is when we stood up to “The Greatest Generation” and told them to shove their military industrial complex up their asses. There was nothing “relativistic” about that, you can be sure.

As to we being the “me first” generation and they out to “make a better world”, it is they who stand idly by while the less fortunate of their peers are enticed into service and dispatched to be picked off one by one in a foreign war of domestic political design.

On church and state:

Anyone who thinks religious education in public schools would be any less about cross bearing than history education is about flag waving has been dipping a bit too heavily into the sacramental wine.

On military adventurism and the latest Iraq war:

It is immoral to punch someone in the face because you fear that some day they will be big enough to punch back.

Let the Chinese keep the peace; that oughta take us off the effigy pole.

On infernal combustion and the American male:

All week long they await the wild splendor of the pine forest, only to streak through it so fast that it blurs.

On golf:

Seeing a fivesome ahead of you is a lot like coming over a rise on the expressway and seeing a couple hundred brake lights lit up ahead. It ain't even legal. It ain't even a Microsoft® Word!

On religion:

Religion has always led humanity off on some strange tangents, the happiest result of which is that such behavior remains harmless and the flock is well enough off the beaten path so as not to impede progress for the rest of us.

At any rate, I'm not all that impressed with the design effort, which is, I guess, why they don't call it Supremely Intelligent Design.

On Hurricane Katrina:

It's not called the National Guard for nothing.

Fear not, though, for in Norfolk the freaking Navy is almost on the way.

On Wisconsin seceding from the Union, except for Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha:

Of course, we would have to import a few million Harley Davidsons a year, but at least we could make them put real mufflers on them.

On American Exceptonalism:

It's a puzzlement that we are the world's most enthusiastic consumers of air fresheners, as clearly our shit doesn't stink.

Canadians don't have "I support the troops but what I really mean is that I support the war" stickers and they don't proclaim themselves saved or in a really tight relationship with Jesus, either. They seem to require less self-convincing.

On the free market system:

This supply cycle is just another loop the average joe increasingly has no place within.

It's all about supply and demand. Their supply, and their demand.

On whatever:

"Timing is everything", they say, though this was certainly truer in the days before electronic ignition.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Ah, supply and demand. That's the mantra. What fairer helmsperson could have ever stood to navigate us along the ebb and flow of economic reality? The market is the one integrous decideur of distributive method when it comes to the needs and wants of our society. Purity, it is.

Perhaps. It may seem, however, that the market can fail us miserably in times of crisis. Katrina is a crisis. Katrina has ripped us a new... er, window... in our national psyche in many ways. These ways will continue to multiply, as we are only beginning to come to grips with the enormous reality of a major American city for all intents and purposes needing―or perhaps not―rebuilding from scratch. This is a long, complexly unfolding story, but the subject today is natural gas prices.

47%. That's the latest number I am told that the average home heating bill will increase this year for natural gas customers. "Prices were already on the rise before Katrina," they say. "We want our cake and to eat it, too, limiting exploration while increasing our usage." the drillers lobby. "NIMBY's holler up and down every time we start talkin' 'bout importation facilities," cry the shipping giants about LNG tankers that would ignite buildings a third of a mile away and give second degree burns to exposed flesh up to a mile away, should they ignite.

"It's simple market forces, this 47% increase," harmonize the industry spokespeople.

In another of my uncanny timings, I was a gas station assistant manager during the oil embargo and "crisis" of the 70's. On salary, it was pretty cool to only be open three hours a day. Prices went from about 35 cents a gallon to over a dollar. People ran out of gas, mainly because we were only allowed to pump 3 dollars at a time. But the station never ran out of gas. The station averaged more gallons pumped daily than they had before. Deliveries went on, basically as before. Same supply, panic-driven demand. Arab oil up 66%. Gas up 300%. Hey, it's a free country, it's a free market.

Back to the natural gas. How exactly does demand increase dramatically―47%-jump dramatically―when supplies never actually run out? How does the demand of the end customer affect the supply and drive up the cost when everyone seems to be getting all the gas we need anyway? Are we not going to get gas this winter? Because, if that's the case, I would hope someone would be letting us in on that fairly soon, what with locally our first frost advisory coming up this week.

No, we're all going to get gas this year, and whether we can afford it or not. But while the upper middle class luxuriates in the celstory windowed, volume ceilinged splendor of the millions of 3,000 to 4,000 sq. ft. suburban barns they've "built" in the last 15 years, median class existence will again become just a little more difficult.

The "free market" at work here is of speculation, and in this or other crises increasingly fueled by emotion and hop-scotched along by pinch-me-I-can't-believe-my-own-good-fortune greed. This supply cycle is just another loop the average joe increasingly has no place within. It's a double whammy.

It's all about supply and demand. Their supply, and their demand.