Friday, December 25, 2015

Starbucks Nailed Simplicity

While Fox & Co. paraded their disdain for the Starbucks cup, too reductionist for their sensibilities, the business media, honest to god, talked about it in business terms. It's like having your panties in a bunch and going commando at the same time. No mere mortal could possess that much compartmentilization.

There was too much class in the design to suit those who lead with their agenda. The Trotskyites probably railed at the Bolsheviks about the symbolism of re-used, chipped china. A green logo on a Christmasy red cup. Must all your cleverness come with a bludgeon?

Anyway, here in New Mexico we make the perfect use of red and green.

"Eat It"
Tonight, the 25th, we're having a casserole style enchilada with NM red sauce at one end and green at the other. Black beans and leftover latkes.

"Domini, domini, domini..." as The Firesign Theatre once put it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Good Americans

"Obama bin Lyin'" Herp Derp

Lately, political correctness (PC) has been receiving the same kinds of denunciation as secularism once did. I don't have a problem with either which makes me suspicious of all that agitation.

It also generates enough blow from the reactionary right for the rest of us to question if yet another term has been coopted out of the lexicon (it would help if) everybody uses. PC is as healthy a blend of The Golden Rule, free speech, good manners and statesmanship (where applicable) as one might expect from a country with a Constitution such as ours. I get that it may seem tedious to those who poke and prod for a living.

It's intended to short circuit the manner of getting one's points across, when hateful, disrespectful, ignorant or worse, but not attempting thought control. Perhaps that should have been placed into past tense. As many in the press are well aware, it's being branded as a cudgel to prevent that greater depth of understanding about the events of the day and the participants. Also the locations, times and reasons for it all. (Recalling a free press can make a person feel as old as a party-line windup telephone in quantums of quaintness. "Hello, Gertie?")

Thursday, December 3, 2015

No-Credit-Check Politics

If only we had that 20/20 hindsight beforehand

The science behind advertising and campaigning is taught in our universities. Even in poorer ones. People can and do earn a living off the fruits of its research.

Some favor the dark side. There is no shortage of predation where the trusting meet the unscrupulous.

You see those ads on the independent channels in los boonies for a dealership with national name recognition and a goofy avatar which wants to put you in a 2002 Tercel without running your non-existent credit past a non-existent, ergo: cost-effective credit checking service.

Its business model assumes the repossession of your Tercel and its hasty return to the inventory, rinse, repeat.

Or, should you faithfully make every last payment, you will have paid someone unmercifully to obtain a 2002 Tercel.

For one of the parties, that's a win/win. For you, it's a lesson in the costs of not saving.

Friday, October 9, 2015


I'm no longer a Catholic because of, among other things, Sky King, airing Sunday mornings on NBC right around the scheduled children's mass at St. Anastasia's.

I had yelled at the top of my lungs so often "that's just stupid" that I was encouraged (by special dispensation) to worship at the parish of St. Magnavox along with Sky, Penny, Clipper, Sheriff Mitch and an assortment of villains straight out of the clear blue of the western sky. Not exactly Bertrand Russell, but formative nonetheless.

Religion and politics are just about inseparable; the two things carrying the most warnings of fruitless discussion make up the bulk of everyday civics. The unengaged are blissfully preoccupied with whatever the popular culture is dispensing while the engaged are hard pressed to find what they need to know in any other form.

Time was, capsule summaries of events, references to people by resumé, recollections of scholarly history and so forth were the meat and potatoes of the news business.

In a word: objectivity.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Poor Jason Chaffetz

He can't help it - he was born with a silver speculum in his mouth

"[F]our congressional committees have launched investigations into our conduct - and none are investigating the person behind this fraud - and we are also facing votes to defund our entire organization even though 99 percent of our health centers do not participate in tissue donations." From Cecile Richards's opening statement [pdf] before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on September 29, 2015.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Negative Externalities

Shortcuts are not in and of themselves a bad thing. We rightly trust sources of information because who has the time or resources to latch onto all that our informed consent requires? It's the usurpation of those kinds of shortcuts against which we must guard.

Saying "both sides do it" has become, all too often, a provider of cover. Although there is a sliver of a grain of a morsel of truth to that notion, borrowing from Orwell: some sides do it more than others. And limiting the infinihedron of political positions to merely two sides is surely a "tell" in that regard, regardless of its prevalence. It provides disproportionate cover to the darkest forces within our constitutionally secured self-government.

Small wonder George Washington was the last president not under the umbrella of one political party or another. Though not actually in The Constitution, political parties have achieved the status of national tradition nonetheless.

The lesson of 2000, beyond the electoral shenanigans of Jeb!'s Florida, is that limiting ourselves to two major parties provides the greatest opportunity for triumph to both. We are not coalition builders; we are winners, taking all. Sure if you add the Nader vote to the Gore vote you get something way better than a Bush administration, but you need to file that one away with Boehner's candies and nuts.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Making America Grate Again

Critical means discerning, right?

Only Chevron has Techroline. There's always a new Tide.

We're as gullible as the girl in every Cheatin' Johnny movie they ever made and crushed to learn that there is misdirection, obfuscation, prevarication, bluffing, slandering, misinforming, exaggeration, fabrication and lying in the service of capturing our one most precious possession: our vote. The most generous thing one can say about the media writ large is they are running out of time to claim unwitting co-conspirator status in the dumbing down of our politics. The lengths to which they go to secure their nakedly coveted access can sour that generosity quickly. (If you're in the mood for a bit of long form writing on the subject of CIA manipulation of information in the much ballyhooed free press, Global Research has posted a 50 point outline with sources duly noted for each one.)

Like wondering where the yellow went, or admitting right up front that diarrhea makes everyone squeamish so it's safe to now say diarrhea in between Ed Sullivan, so let's talk about diarrhea now that we can, the practice of politics is kith and kin, anode and cathode, systole and diastole, Homer and Jethro, realist and pragmatist, white and rice bound to the infectious lingo of the hidden persuaders.

A supporter, a month or so back, began a focus group response about why she liked Donald Trump (he's one of us, etc.) with "[A]side from the money issue..."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Right Here in River City

Of Donald Trump and Harold Hill

In the Broadway show, Music Man, a con man wins over a small town, at least enough for them to enthusiastically (and financially) equip all the boys and girls with uniforms and instruments, and everything. ("It'll be great! Best band ever in the entire history of bands. Yuge! Today, on the streets, I hear many kids are saying, just sayin', 'there's nothing to do.' Who knows how they manage, with all that loser. So after I'm both your town's band leader and the personal music instructor to all the boys and girls, things will turn around, you'll see, it'll be excellent, right here in River City. Nice to see you. No more questions.")

There are no spoiler alerts because this is a profile piece, allegory-free. How the play/movie comes out isn't necessary here, but rest assured those who do know can see Donald Trump starring as Harold Hill, easily, moving forward on a project to make the best movie ever since they began making movies, quite frankly.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Todd: "Emperor Appears to Many to Be Clothed"

Professional turd repurposer, Donald Trump, has been quite successful at being quite successful since the big rollout on June 16.

Many pundits, including yours truly, had it so wrong in thinking we got it so right. Flash-in-the-pan, "999" v2.0, his rise to the top would mimic the chimeras from the 2012 shindig, eventually "you're fired" would be the headline, then on to the serious campaigning.

Wrong to the nth power. (Where "n" is an 8 letter word for bullsh*t in polite society.) That wrong.

And speaking of nonsense, could there ever be a more shove reality into the blender so anything with any form whatsoever looks important prop of the ganda than last Thursday's performance art?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Huckabee: Won't Shut Pulled Pork Hole

"This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." Same man who once said: "Fear is a very explosive emotion, but it has a short life span." And they say the Democratic candidates have been all over the map in the course of their careers. Give me an effin' break.

Mitt Romney once speechified: "Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America's role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must - and will - lead the future." John McCain's intentions regarding Iran weren't at all subtle either.

If only our president could be more like Nixon and Reagan who "appeased" the Chinese and the Soviets respectively but called it "iron will" or some such. 

Schoolchildren study the post-war (WWII - they do tend to run together) memories of Neville Chamberlain and the fate of caving in to an expansionist dictator.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rick Perry: Poet Lariat

Still Life with Road Apples

those of you
that will be twenty-one
by November 12th
I ask for your vote

dark economic clouds
are dissipating
into an emerging blue sky
of opportunity

flying C-130's
all around the globe
I truly appreciated
the blessings of freedom

freedom of religion
doesn't mean
freedom from religion

Juarez is reported to be
the most dangerous city
in America

George W. Bush
did a great job
in the presidency
defending us from freedom

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fear and Deceit on the Campaign Trail 2016

I pledge allegiance to the republic.

The United States of America: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I wonder how well the crop of candidates for the most powerful office on the planet would fare in a return to high school civics class. It might prove an adventure in malicious hyperbole to substitute 4th grade social studies in said pondering (though I can think of a number of them who might benefit from that kind of generosity) so I won't. "Unelected judges" - "criminalization of Christianity" - "erode our right to religious liberty" - "legislate from the bench" - "only the latest example of an activist Court" - I mean come on!

14th amendment much? Heard of it? No? I don't believe you.

Forgetting for a moment the altogether high bar of wisdom to know the difference, our politics are constrained by what is and isn't possible under statutory and case law. More than just from celeb du jour the Donald, the citizenry is continually under bombardment by claims of the way things are which historically have proven more popular than good for the republic.

Roads, schools, airports, stadiums, libraries, regulations against the excesses of unbridled profiteering and environmental damage, standards for safety, retirement security, health care for the disabled and near indigent, utility rights of way (this list is glaringly incomplete) are steeped in "socialness," a term I prefer to "socialism" by removing the specter of full-blown Leninism or anti-capitalism in pursuit of an eventual state owned means of production. Had we had more of it the past 50 years, our atmosphere might be suffering way less Venus envy.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mississippi State Flag Set to Change

“This is a show tune, but the show hasn't been written for it yet,” Nina Simone told her audience at Carnegie Hall as she and the band vamped the opening chord of "Mississippi Goddam," in a style some call "Broadway twos." Incongruous much?  

She is the subject of a documentary (streaming at NetFlix) called What Happened, Miss Simone? that debuted at Sundance in January and was covered Saturday at the Atlantic.

Not content to rehash a string of hits, her performances of the song became a testament to principle over career. The backlash was overwhelming in its toxicity and led to her eventual expatriation to Paris. One might be tempted to say "but that was then and this is now."

We know better.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Nature and Meditation

Duck Duck Turtle

Canadians: November Bookings Now Being Accepted

Equally Separate

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Wednesday June 17, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina

The irony of separate but equal monuments is only lost on idiots

This "compromise" was a way to keep the battle flag flying near the South Carolina state capitol. Not ironically the monument's flag stayed proudly up while the capitol's were respectfully lowered.

The South Carolina Monument Compromise of 2000

April 4, 1968 Robert F. Kennedy

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some -- some very sad news for all of you -- Could you lower those signs, please? -- I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Welcome Back to The Enchanting Conjurer

The Enchanting Conjurer - since 1981


Welcome back. You're here because of the technical difficulties which led to us to giving you your rain check. Sorry it's taken longer than expected but finally The Enchanting Conjurer is proud to introduce tonight's featured performer...

Let the cares of the world disappear as you retreat into a deep relaxation. Except for the sound of my voice, let nothing interfere with your release of all worry. You are feeling more than drowsy, very sleepy. And...


The word "liberal" will no longer provoke the fight mechanism or suffer your disdain, rather it will bring to mind a succession of enlightened thinkers, worthy of monuments and statues, which includes our country's framers.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

As a Nation We Put People to Death

In which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's sentencing hearing touched off another round of America searching its soul or searching for a soul, whatever

I live in a state where our penitentiary's death-row was grandfathered in as future ones were proscribed. I can't tell you if New Mexico may yet execute because emotions run high around cop killings, and the timing of some prosecutions may yet allow a closure-seeking family and the bloodlust of a pissed-off mob to prevail. (If I were David Sirota, this paragraph would be 10 times longer and a hundred times more informative.)

Lest I hyperspazz out on the keyboard without proper who, what, etc., I should predicate.

Friday, May 29, 2015

All Gone to Look for America


Patakinomics Tomorrow, Photography Tonight

In a corner of America not known for subtlety nor wise dietary decisions, the accomodation to natural resource businesses in the immediate neighborhood can be greeted with an almost patriotic fervor.
(Did you see the flag?)
I believe in American steel. I believe in American welding skills. Stake my life on it.

PS: America - fck yeah!

The enterprising have sought to pan some of that Main Street gold, as it were, by hanging out shingles the tourists are said to be looking for.
 Mmmm: fine ants.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Subliminal Making of the President - 2016

Who does that candidate consider as equals? 

I'm asking because there's a back side to those placards demanding freedom and liberty which escapes our attention by not facing the news cameras. Would that etymology had steered the word "freedom" to standing for without constraints etc. and "liberty" to that freedom which is tempered like a sub-atomic particle by force fields from other people's freedom to make a molecule, as it were. Our language, as the savvy reader has no doubt bemoaned aplenty, has put the two in a blender and assigned bare differences in the final product for either.

The lexicon would rather have us veer toward "equality" to express that tempered freedom/liberty, and that brings us around to something French, nudge, nudge, say no more.

We Americans never did adopt the égalité of their sloganeering but latched onto the liberté part big time. Equality here has been diluted by the co-option of words and our practice of politics.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why Regular People Can't Be President

Because making mistakes, admitting them and doing better next time is made out to be a disqualifying weakness.

Because a normal "gut" is aware of its need to rely on experts to form opinions and make decisions, but the president America wants has a "gut" that knows only truth.

Because eschewing social media is the only proof of sanity and its reinforcement amplifies inelectability.

Because inability to do anything about it until the next election cycle is a suitably tight rein on a regular person, while freedom untempered by other people's freedom is better suited to the political class.

Because the regular person is impaired just by the nomenclature.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lying Liars and the Lazy Press Who Love Lies


The president was handed faulty intelligence

Lundergan Grimes not nearly as disqualified
How many hit parades of quotes and clips does it take to break through the obstinate denial by the fourth estate of its complicity in a chain of lies and its reprehensible trading future access and "exclusives" for backing off tough reporting? Chuck Todd admitted it in so many words on his Sunday program a while back as though he saw nothing wrong with defining himself as a relayer of press releases and an access John.

What a good reporter would want to flesh out for today's reader/viewer/listener is why we've gone into rewrite history mode? At least in some quarters. Is there a phase two looming? What are we spreading this time?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Holder? I Just Met Her

A recent Matt Taibbi book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, was like one of those 3 or 4 short films under one title movies, the resonances of which often take hours, days, months to dawn.

Juxtaposed against the death spiral into debtors' prisons for outstanding warrant arrests and the trials of the migrants and their particular take on the Russian roulette of the revolving door (oh Rooooooo-bi-o: don't take your vote to work), is an exploration of the reasons no persons, save for a little tokenism here and there, did hard time for r*tfucking their own customers, nor for causing our bailout to a blackmail in plain sight.

Moreover, the companies where the almost 2nd Great Depression was fermented exited stage right with an expensable fine in the dead of night on a news dump Friday, in a brown paper sack.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The War Lust is Strong

A framework for future peaceful negotiations with Iran has now gone past, albeit not way past, the "size and shape of the table" phase which so often derails things. It also benefits from the support of nuclear proliferation experts and has provoked an international chorus of job well done, which anything involving America hasn't heard in a long time.

The Senate almost super-majority, which is intent on chucking ample spanners to halt the work so far, will be blowing up the only thing around with a chance to keep us from actually blowing things up.

The war lust is strong again.

Douglas Feith's new boss (same as the old boss but with a more camera-beguiling evil) is Tom Cotton (he of letter to the Ayatollah from forty-seven senators fame).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Ideas Are Out There

I can't begin to fake vomit enough to show my displeasure at early campaign coverage to persuade my intended audience that I'm for reals.

Now that support for Mike Pence (Gov. - R, IN) has been indelibly inked onto the visages of every Republican contender, one has to wonder what separates, logically, a unanimity air freshener in a clown car from the mostly unifying candidacy of a solitary honorable partisan. Hashtag question mark? 

Hillary Clinton presents one issue to her party: is she healthy?

Were she to prove not to be, would the subsequent scramble (great band name) prove unhealthy for her party and hand the election to the Republicans?


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ted Cruz Imagines the Presidency


"I want to ask each of you to imagine, imagine millions of courageous conservatives, all across America, rising up together to say in unison 'we demand our liberty.'"

"Imagine ... millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values."

"Imagine millions of young people coming together and standing together, saying 'we will stand for liberty.'”

"...imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare."

"...imagine a simple flat tax..."

 Presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, excerpted from launch at Liberty Univ., Monday


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Secession Has Been Televised

Forget your blue state red state maps. Civil War II is but marginally being fought over territory. Rather, it is the people who hate the idea of an inclusive American experience and that more perfect union that liberal thought has wanted to make of our republic going back to the framers, just hate it, versus the people who paid attention in class.

Perhaps an oversimplification, so stipulated, mainly because many smart folks also had inherited wealth, a sense of privilege and immunity from the responsibilities of citizenship, and an engraved invitation to participate in a plutocracy to rival any that had come before. They know full well the common good they eschew.