29 August, 2007
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. As you know, I have written my congresswoman and urged her to reconsider impeaching the president and vice president.
25 August, 2007
I spin and spin between the towers until I am dizzy, and only then do I look up, and the towers collapse in on me.
My father famously said that he will forever regret not having photographed these buildings on 9/9/2001 because it was "nothing special."
But to Speed Levitch of NY, NY, the towers were a place of worship and he a whirling Derbish.
Find pleasure in a cloud or a leaf today, and have a great weekend!
Having the genius behind Rainbow in the Dark pitch an autism charity is sheer genius.
Speaking of autism, have you all seen the reality show where a cross between Jack White and Willy Wonka and his two homo-ambiguous "wingmen" help teach a band of guys with Asperger's how to pick up unsuspecting women?
I am talking of course about "The Pick Up Artist".
Personally, I think that teaching the socially awkward about guyliner and highlights is yet more proof of a hidden gay agenda (do you know what the queers are doing to the soil?). OTOH the 1980s is proof that men wearing make-up and glitter get more ass than anyone. I mean, we are talking about an era where Joan Jett looked more manly than the average all-guy hair band (and that I still want to have sex with her, well, what does that say about me?).
That said, I am still have reservations about peacocking-up nerds. I also have reservations about teaching nerds to "neg" women in clubs, as effective as it may be. "Neg" is pickup parlance for disparaging a woman, usually in a public way, in order to pique interest; it accomplishes two things: one, it artificially elevates the pick-up artist's social value and two, it shifts the "initiative" on the target by forcing them to either walk away or validate themselves having been de-valued.
Initiative is also a term used in interrogation techniques used by the FBI and CIA, and the "initiative" is the key to a successful interrogation and is sought to be wrested away in counter-interrogation techniques. "Negging" an interrogator is a good way to shift "initiative". Keep this in mind if you find yourself in Gitmo, or a singles club.
I learned the equivalent of "negging" and "initiative" in my teens and tweens because I was lucky enough to encounter and sought to emulate some of the world's most innovative con-artists in the early 1990s. I call them con-artists now, but back then we liked to think ourselves and phone phreaks and hackers -- but really most of the people I looked up to were short-con masters. Being able to talk my way into a phone switching central office when I was 18 or 19 gave me a needed confidence boost, and in picking up women, confidence is key. Soon I was talking my way into jobs, dates and sex.
But there is a vast chasm of difference between learning to talk someone out of their skirt and having a normal, healthy relationship; especially when then most vulnerable victims of the dating short-con are usually not normal or healthy themselves. Also, it is easy to over-wield these tools; to-wit, to use your powers for evil and not good. I often tell my friends that I am not quick to anger since I go for the jugular. As someone who was socially marginalized, like the contestants of the pick-up artist are now, I know that unresolved resentments can easily give way to the use of new pick-up techniques and social skills as tools of revenge and humiliation. Anyone who knew me from the 1990s phone scene knows the ugly, dark side of powers of persuasion given to someone of low social status and high intelligence.
So, I say to these con-testants caveat emptor, because while you will feel more confident when your win-to-loss ratio goes up you will not be truly happy unless you follow up with the other important life lessons. And starting this late in life doesn't fill me with confidence.
22 August, 2007
That is why the complete lack of urgency on the part of Congressional Democrats -- their aiding and abetting of this P.R. campaign about how much military progress we are making in Iraq and how Iraqi forces are improving and how we need more time -- is so dangerous, so alarming. The tragedy we have unleashed in Iraq is a fait accompli...And the inevitable invasion of Iran is practically a fait accompli if Congress will not strip Dick Cheney and George W. Bush of all of their powers. This cannot happen.
Moreover, it is my opinion that an invasion of Iran, in addition to being a disaster for the United States, would be a catastrophe for Israel; and the entire world.
I think that one of the best pieces of Americana, one of the most influential and greatest works reflecting the then more than 100 years old Union (after having endured its Civil War) was authored by a Czech composer by the name of Antonín Leopold Dvořák.
Let's just call him "Tony D" for the sake of saving my keyboard and/or clipboard from those funny Czech characters. Tony D was the Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City from 1892 to 1895 through a set of circumstances too varied to cover just now; but during his tenure he made an astounding amount of money ($15,000 per year in 1892 compared to my starting salary at a San Francisco start-up of $42,000 or so in 1996, nevermind what my father made at a Cleveland law firm between 1969 and 1975 when he made partner, the year I was born).
Was Antonin Dvorak worth that much? The debate during his tenure finally compelled him to leave Conservatory in 1895, but not before penning one of the most well-known and well-loved orchestral works of all time, the Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From The New World", Opus 95.
An adaptation of the Largo from Sym. No. 9 is closely associated with the funerary procession of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I'm sure my parents' first exposure to Dvorak may have come after his tragic assassination.
For myself, having been born a good 12 years after the JFK assassination, my exposure to "The New World" came naturally, either by hearing the piece as it was played around the house or by playing it myself when sneaking into my Dad's den and using his stereo equipment -- a practice he discouraged primae facie but that I think he endorsed implicitly as well, since having his children discover great music clearly gave him great joy (imagine talking to your children about the differences or similarities between Beethoven and Brahms).
Of course Dad was not thrilled when (mostly) me and my siblings managed to blow out a pair of PSB Stratus speakers listening to Jane's Addiction "Nothing's Shocking" (retail: $20,000 per speaker), but the same year he bought me a pair of PSB MK II speakers for my room, and gave me a second-hand solid-state Hi-Fi. Years later I burned the MK IIs out listening to the Akira Soundtrack. I guess I never learn.
Getting back to Tony D, our man from Bohemia.. Dvorak was certainly not the first composer to hear the beginnings of "native" American music: the Negro Spiritual, Native American chants and folk songs. He surely can't have been the first to exploit their melodies and rhythms in orchestral form. But he surely was the first composer to use the Negro Spiritual and the melodies and songs of Native Americans and at the same time capture the imagination of Europeans and American whites on a large scale.
So to "Tony D" we fans of rock'n'roll, jazz, the blues, rhythm and blues, hip hop, pop music, drum and base, techno, industrial, etc, owe a debt of gratitude.
It took this crosseyed Czech to see the magic of America's truly unique musical potential:
19 August, 2007
The KKK, of course, is an organization that does not like blacks, jews, catholics, gays, or just about anyone who isn't an inbred cracker.
Cracker. Its like saying "nigger" but for white people. And I think "cracker" is a good way of describing a white person who still, in the 21st century, believes in eugenics and the young Earth.
Bill O'Reilly is a rich cracker with a TV show, but he is a cracker none the less. He may himself be a Catholic, but for their purposes he would find many a friendly ally in the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan.
Here is an article in Esquire about a little museum some crackers built in Kentucky, a state I can only forgive its continued existence because it keeps the Jim Beam coming.
James Dobson, a prominent conservative Christian spokesman, compares the Supreme Court to the Ku Klux Klan. Pat Robertson, another prominent conservative preacher, says that federal judges are a more serious threat to the country than is Al Qaeda and, apparently taking his text from the Book of Gambino, later sermonizes that the United States should get with it and snuff the democratically elected president of Venezuela.It is funny, truly, that these cavemen among us, these chipper, white faces brimming with disdain for science, brown people and people of good fashion sense who choose not to breed, would dare compare the Daily Kos or the Supreme Court to the Ku Klux Klan.
Perhaps the Daily Kos is a "hate site". Perhaps, in the legal encumbrances of the Separation and Establishment Clauses are "oppressive" to the white, male, Christian hegemony that people who believe the Earth is 6000 years old yearn for.
Let me state for the record just how I feel towards these savages: I do hate them. I hate them for being idiots; and I do think it is a choice. You don't choose to be born black or gay, but if you still believe that an invisible fairy man in the fucking sky created everything 6000 years ago, loves you, and wants your money in the face of compelling and overwhelming evidence to the contrary then you, sirs or madams, are a fucking moron, and you get no fucking sympathy from me.
Fuck you Bill O'Reilly. Fuck you Idiot America.
18 August, 2007
Why am I so racistly choosing those composers? Because I'm half German, that's why. And if you don't like it, then fuck you.
Seriously though, I will have at least on Czech composer (Dvorak, duh), in the mix for this first series.
But, there is no doubt that I will branch out into the SVS (Second Viennese School), and a large number of French Romantic, Post-Romantic, and Impressionistic composers. Maybe I'll compare Pink Floyd to 19th Century music.
Who knows? I'm CRAZY LIKE THAT..
17 August, 2007
Also, sorry about your hearing, and the syphilis.
You are ichiban,
Your faithful and humble fan,
10 August, 2007
The Dennis Kucinich Mayoral tenure is considered Cleveland, Ohio's most turbulent. The Cleveland Free Times recently ran a cover story about a mob assassination attempt against the young mayor, who was fighting an uphill battle against the entrenched corruption and graft that had permeated Northeastern Ohio politics in the 1970s (an era in which my father and mother witnessed first hand a mob car bombing at the steps of Cleveland City Hall, drawing obvious parallels to the 1920s).
In 1979, family friend and former colleague of my father George Voinovich, a Cleveland lawyer, ran against Kuchinich and won the mayoral race. He oversaw a brief period of economic growth for a city that has been behind the 8 ball for as long as I have been alive. Voinovich, now a United States Senator for Ohio, is a man of integrity and honor, and a believer in the most lofty and laudable aims of the Barry Goldwater breed of small government Republicans, and I respect him very much for that in this age of intellectually dishonest partisanship.
But Voinovich's values, laudable as they are, are not enough to reorient our nation from the reckless course it has taken with George Walker Bush and Richard Cheney at the helm, abetted by a party of demagogues and radicals. And, this year, George Voinovich doesn't happen to be running (what that Republicans would abandon draft movements for Newt Gingrich or Fred Thomspon in lieu of a real conservative; nevermind the repulsive irony of the term "draft"). Dennis "The Menace" Kucinich, the Kid From Cleveland, is running for president.
And after this last presidential debate its hard for me to justify not giving him my vote. And how could you not, with this sort of plucky confidence and charm?
SEN. DENNIS KUCINICH: I’m kind of the Seabiscuit of this campaign. And when I come from behind to win this race, people are going to say, “No way we're going to run against this guy.” And so -- and another reason they’re going to say it is because my first month in office: cancel NAFTA and the WTO; trade based on workers’ rights, human rights and environmental quality principles; a not-for-profit healthcare system; saving Social Security; making sure we have universal pre-kindergarten. Let me tell you, when I push through that agenda and establish a workers’ White House, they are going to be there to say, “No competition in 2012. We're ready for Kucinich for seven years, eight years. Let's keep going. Make it happen.”(Source: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/08/1338254#transcript)
07 August, 2007
The question was asked by Steve Skvara tonight at Soldier Field during the MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debates hosted by Keith Olbermann.
1) We live in a country whose political dialog is dominated by non-issues like gay marriage and teaching "intelligent design".
2) We live in a country where 7 figure earning lobbyist cook up terms like "death tax" and "tax relief" to sell policies which grant billions in corporate welfare and tax benefits to the very rich.
3) We live in a country who can spend 10 figures on research on a stealth warplane, 14 figures (a one with 14 zeros) on a war of choice and have 50,000,000 (that's 8 figures) Americans without health insurance, 9,000,000 of them are children.
4) Three words: No Child Left Behind
5) Farm subsidies that only benefit large agribusiness like Cargill, ADM, ConAgra Foods and the like, but keep actually farmers in perpetual debt, and keep our children swimming in high fructose corn syrup.
6) We live in a society that allows government to interfere with the reproductive rights of over half of its citizens, a society that believes that the answer to sexually transmitted disease is to pick the worst, least effective method and run with it (abstinence).
7) We live in a country where corporations are no longer held to their promises such as good stewardship, honoring pensions and working with labor instead of against labor.
8) We live in a country where creditors are allowed to pursue the poor and middle class with impunity and with the most predatory, underhanded practices our nation has ever seen.
9) We live in a country where fear trumps common sense and the most deeply held founding principals of open government, checks and balances and the voice of the people are ignored in favor of secrecy, unitary and monarchical power and the voice of the few elite.
What? Revolution. When? Now.
05 August, 2007
Here is the Washington Post coverage:
The Senate bowed to White House pressure last night and passed a Republican plan for overhauling the federal government's terrorist surveillance laws, approving changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order.Honey, pack our bags, we're moving to Canada.
The 60 to 28 vote, which was quickly denounced by civil rights and privacy advocates, came after Democrats in the House failed to win support for more modest changes that would have required closer court supervision of government surveillance. Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened to hold Congress in session into its scheduled summer recess if it did not approve the changes he wanted.
As many have pointed out, and as a fact that no American should be unaware, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, originally enacted in 1978 on the heels of decades of near universal, bi-partisan eavesdropping on US citizens, makes it a felony to spy on US citizens without a warrant. The FISA act creates a "secret court" where the government may ask for a warrant on a subject it has already been spying on for up to 24 hours before approval, which was amended to 72 hours in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. No judge, in the near 30 year history of FISA, has ever rejected any request, numbering in the tens of thousands, for a warrant.
What is even more perplexing is that, in spite of the ease with which an administration has been able to attain any warrant it requests from FISA judges and given that, in 2001, the US Judicial Branch was stocked with a larder of loyal Republican appointed judges and in a time in which the president enjoyed nearly unprecedented bi-partisan support in Congress -- after ASKING FOR and GETTING approval to amend FISA, President Bush chose to violate the very act that Congress had just approved by ordering the NSA to begin a still unknown number of illegal, warrant-less domestic spy programs.
As far as the President is concerned, amending FISA again is clearly, and entirely moot. However, that Congressional Democrats would allow themselves to be scared into amending an already terrifyingly liberalized domestic spying bill, is beyond belief. That it is trivially easy to attain a FISA warrant should make anyone loose sleep who holds dear the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments dear in this age of perpetual imprisonment of US citizens without any semblance of due process. That, thanks to the weak-willed, chicken-shit Legislative branch (on which the Democrats hold the majority in both the House and Senate), it is now even easier to attain a FISA warrant (which the Executive, thanks to the opinions of John Yoo, held as official policy, does not feel it needs to attain in the first place).
Would I be over-reaching to invoke Godwin and say, first they came for the "enemy combatants?"
Is anyone going to stop this outlaw administration?