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Saturday, July 19, 2008

If Iraq Was the 51st State, It Would Be Blue

Obama's plan to end the war in Iraq gets an unlikely endorser, the Prime Minister of Iraq.
BERLIN, July 19 (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we
think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility
of slight changes."

In other news, the US is getting involved diplomatically with Iran. And even though the talks ended with no nuclear agreement, the fact that the US is now willing to diplomatically engage with Iran is a refreshing sign.

One wonders if there is a concerted effort to steal Obama's thunder...or if Obama's positions are just better on their merits. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, so I think it's probably the latter.

How much you wanna bet that John McCain is going to stuff all that "surrender" talk now?

A Nugget of a Paragraph From a Big Long Ass Review

Interesting article here about Naomi Klein in the New Republic. I'm kind of apathetic about Naomi Klein and the anti-WTO Starbucks-is-evil movement.

I like Starbucks, man.

But the concluding paragraphs, stripped of all specifics related to Klein and her work, is notable.
The last two decades certainly have seen the global spread of absolutist free-market ideology. Many of the newest adherents of this creed are dictators who have learned that they can harness the riches of capitalism without permitting the freedoms once thought to flow automatically from it. In the United States, the power of labor unions has withered, and prosperity has increasingly come to be defined as gross domestic product or the rise of the stock market, with the actual living standards of the great mass of the population an afterthought. Corporations, which can relocate nearly anywhere around the world, have used their flexibility as a cudgel against workers, who do not enjoy the privileges of mobility. Domestic policy has aggressively sharpened income inequalities, and corporations have enjoyed unfettered influence to a degree not seen in a hundred years. And the president did start a war without paying the slightest bit of attention to the country that he would be left occupying or how its people would react.

All these things are true. And all these things are enormous outrages and significant problems.
I guess this is why I'm not a very good free market capitalist.

I just can't shrug and ignore all the unintended consequences and failures of the market.

The Publishing Racket

I haven't made any attempts at getting published for some time. Part of the reason is a gradual acceptance that my writing thing is more of a hobby than a professional endeavor. The main reason, though, is that "getting published" is kind of a joke.

Witness this post, specifically this quote:
You can also hire an agent to seek out and negotiate with a publisher for your book idea. This can shield you from some of the hassle of contract negotiations, but the basic arrangement is still in place. You write it, you sell it, and the publisher keeps most of the money. (The agent, for their efforts, gets a percentage of your royalties.)
So let me get this straight...

I need an agent to negotiate the contract because the contract is a complete hassle.

And then I do all the work, the writing and the selling...and the publisher makes the money? And then I gotta pay the agent?

No wonder I haven't been seeking a publisher. I can pour my heart and soul onto the page without getting an ass-fucking for my troubles.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What do Condi Rice, California, and Gay Rights Have in Common? This Post

Kevin Drum writes about the poor chances of Proposition 8, which would rescind the legal right to same-sex marriage in California:
Given this, I think we can be cautiously optimistic that Prop 8 is going to fail, which means that gay marriage will have been approved by the courts, the governor, the legislature, and the public. There's no way anyone will be able to complain that it's anything but completely legitimate.
Gay marriage completely legit? It damn well should be!

Which leads me to these scattered thoughts:

I saw Condi Rice on TV today, defending the US against accusations of flip-flopping (no shit) about opening a diplomatic channel with Iran. I'm glad we "flip-flopped" on this one, and the use of the term further exhausted my intellectual patience, but the main thought swimming through my head was, you know, if Condi Rice is a lesbian, and I don't know if she is or not, although all signs point to YES, but if she was, she should just be out about it. Not in your face, kissing all the girls and slapping asses out about it, but at least open and more vocally sympathetic to her own kind. But then I guess the whole conservative Republican world just doesn't operate that way. It's too bad, really. "The gays" have made some inroads in a lot of ways. They own fashion, and hairdressing, and, um, gay porn. Then there's music, film, literature, drama, all the jewels of entertainment. And I guess in Congress you have Barney Frank and Larry Craig, but Secretary of State...

Too bad, Condi. You could have been an inspiration to a million gays and gayelles, but instead you chose to be George Bush's partner in crime. Too, too bad.

And that brings me to California. You can't tell, but I wrote that in Arnold Swarzenegger's accent. I also wrote "Arnold Swarzenegger" in Arnold Swarzenegger's accent.

Since this whole gay marriage thing happened in Massachusetts (first) and now California, even if it is completely legitimate now, with all opposition being shed to the fringes, there will still be a tendency to dismiss it as the "coastal elites" who are out of touch with the heartland of America, as if the heartland doesn't have its share of gay folk.

But California is the most populous state, the richest state, the most represented state in Congress, and if you were to spend your entire life from birth to death never leaving California you would have no less an American experience than if you did the same in Iowa or Kansas.

So dismiss, dismiss. Massachusetts and California don't mean anything. Aberrations, James Dobson might cry. Abominations, Fred Phelps might say.

But reality begs to differ.

Traffic Blues

Oh man, I'm pissed.

Just got home. First day back on the dayshift. First day driving during rush hour.

Rush hour is not for me. The only way I would like rush hour is if I had a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on the hood of my truck and tank tread for tire. I'd like to see the slow-movers get in my way then.

As to the genius who decided to time the lights on Monaco so it's impossible to actually get a green one without first sitting through a red one, some Saudi terrorists thank you for that one. Who knows how many gallons of gas and millions of minutes have been wasted through that one. And really...as long as it keeps people from speeding, who cares?

Safety first, right?

On Time Horizons and Timetables

So a "timetable" would embolden and comfort our enemies. They'd just sit back and wait for the calendar to turn.

But a "time horizon....."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sienna Miller - Boyfriend Stealer

Sorry, G. Looks like Sienna Miller stole your new man.
I told you he was a lying scumbag.

Sidenote. I wonder if Sienna Miller ever wears a shirt.

Rollerblading

I love these "Most Interesting Man in the World" ads, especially this one.

Rockstar Mayhem Fest

"It's official," so says Possum, that the Rockstar Mayhem Fest is "the king of the summer metal music festival." I don't know about all that --this is the first time I heard about it-- but I'm glad to see the summer metal music festival is still alive and kicking.

The joking at the end about the lack of females in the audience is classic, too. Chicks just don't dig this stuff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Scenes From the Garden

Where the flowers are.

An echinacea plant from last year that came back strong.

Finally, we've got broccoli!!

And as you can see, the tomatoes are doing well. This is my "4th of July" variety.

A "giant" zinnia bloom.

Morning glory.

And spares galore.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And All I Got Was Draft Picks

In today's WTF moment, the Denver Nuggets traded Marcus Camby to the Clippers...for draft picks.

Draft picks! In 2010!

It's a cost-cutting measure but from this fan's eyes, not a particularly smart one.

What You Smoking?

So now I think I was a little harsh on John McCain because of his lack of computer skills. Not that I've changed my opinion --I still think basic internet skills are important-- but I mean, come on...I wasn't going to vote for the guy anyway. This just reinforces the preconceived notion already formed in my head that I'm voting for Obama.

But to be truthful, I'm kinda picking on the esteemed Senator from Arizona. As to motive, chalk it up to amusing myself in the middle of the night with delusions of the relevancy of my thoughts.

Still, I should be fair and pick on my man for a change. Since he will soon be our president, we should all get comfortable with making fun of Barack Obama. I'm not saying we call him a terrorist, but he too deserves a jib-jab or two.

So we'll start off soft.

As in soft pack.

And then of course, my favorite pic of Barack smoking. The look on his face, the cigarette dangling out of his mouth. Classic.

I can see this image on a coin someday with the slogan, "America, Fuck yeah!"

And then there's this picture, with Obama smoking indoors! A long time has passed since Colorado implemented its smoking ban, a long enough time for it to be weird to actually smoke inside a building.

Who's the other guy? I'd vote for him, too.

You know why? Cuz he's smoking, and I'm just petty like that.

Blessed are the Makers of Deadwood

Having watched John From Cincinnati (and picking it up for $20 at Best Buy) I've been watching the 2nd season of Deadwood tonight.

I was reminded of this brilliant promo based on the beatitudes.

Bwah-Hah-ha-ha!

Blog Stuff

Katrocket posts on the New Yorker cover controversy so I don't have to.

Highlights from my comment:
I'm not sure if people are genuinely offended or if it's politically convenient at the moment to take offense at everything. I suspect it's the latter.


In other blog news, Chelene, "the charmingly sarcastic, devastatingly honest, liberal-minded black chick in the borough of Queens," has hung up her blog hat and moved on to bigger and better things. Too much bliss, not enough bile? I miss ya already, Chel.

Also, it looks like Write Procrastinator (also known by his pen-name Cormac Brown) is shutting his blog down, too, but as far as I know, his other blog, Cormac Writes, is still active.

I suspect you guys did this for the sole purpose of forcing me to update MY blog template. Story of my life, man.

No one thinks about James...

Excuses, Excuses

Newsweek doesn't think McCain's lack of basic internet experience is a big deal.
For one thing, McCain's computer illiteracy doesn't reflect a lack of curiosity--it reflects a lack of necessity. Over the past 10 years, most adult Americans have encountered and explored computers primarily in the workplace, where the ability to communicate and find information on the Internet has gradually become a required skill. But McCain's job in the U.S. Senate--where all communication and information has to be filtered through staffers--has actually made fluency more difficult to achieve (or at least less necessary).
Even accounting for the lack of necessity...

How can a President McCain guide policy from a position of ignorance?

If President McCain doesn't even know what Yahoo or Google does, how can he make an informed decision on the policy implications of a Yahoo-Google partnership?

Give me a break. This is too important to leave to advisers. The guy should have some basic knowledge of such an important and near-ubiquitous piece of modern life as the internet.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A-Rod Getting Some Grief

Don't feel too bad for A-Rod. In the time it took for him to turn his head and see these Madonna signs, he made more money than you'll make all year.

My Man...

Yes!

Our next president writes:
In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Tales of the Obvious

Of all things... this story is retarded.

The headline? Bernie Mac Makes Off-Color Joke at Obama Event

Shocking, huh?

In other news, water is wet, fire is hot, Bruce Springsteen plays music, Tiger Woods plays golf, and our country's IQ is halved in an election year.

On Bubbles

So I know I'm young and have limited perspective, but have economic bubbles ever been so common as they are now?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Computer Illiteracy = No President For You!

While I am willing to accept that in 2008 there are some people who don't know how to use a computer, I think at this point in our history the President of the United States should not be one of them.

Last Will and Testament

I heard Thomas M. Disch killed himself recently, but it didn't really register as a tragedy. I read a couple of his books way back in high school, but never got too crazy into the guy. Still it was a name I recognized and the manner of death --suicide-- is certainly eyebrow raising. (Whenever I hear about a suicide, I always want to know WHY? Curiosity...it's such a bitch.)

In the eulogies, I discovered that he had a blog as well. When I first heard, I clicked through and read a few entries. Call me morbid, but I wanted to see what the last few blog entries of a suicide case might look like. Having no personal experience with the phenomenon, I'm assuming that deciding to kill yourself is a decision not taken lightly and may even require days of contemplation.

Alas, there were no clues in the blog entries.

But here I am, reading yet another eulogy which links to the blog but when I click through... the blog is gone! Erased! Disappeared! Replaced instead with a 404 Not Found error.

Maybe a friend or family member took it offline. Maybe Livejournal did. (It is, after all, LIVEjournal, not Deadjournal.) Maybe it was his lawyer.

At any rate, the blog is gone, and while I wonder what Disch would think of that (don't all writers want to live on through their words?), I also thought I'd throw this post together to notify my family and friends that if I suffer a sudden death, either by suicide (not likely), murder, accident, or otherwise...

DO NOT DELETE MY BLOG.

Consider that one of my last wishes.

Put up a post that says something like, "James has tragically left this world, but here are some of the many thoughts that ran through his head while he was alive." But leave it up, leave it unchanged, and leave it public.

Gross!

Ick. Miley Cyrus just grossed me out...again!

Billy Ray needs to take away her camera phone, saying, "When you learn to stop taking slutty pictures of yourself, you are hereby prohibited from appearing in front of any photographic equipment."

What is she? 14? 15? Jesus...

(And no, I'm not linking to any of the photos...)

"Look at the Breasts on These Women. This Country is Doomed"

Note to self: Moderate your intake of TV shows written by David Milch, especially if you don't want to appear as a fool talking to yourself in angrily muttered obscenities.

As seen in Deadwood and the recently watched John From Cincinnati, David Milch is the 21st century version of Shakespeare. Complex vocabulary, colorful turns of phrase, ponderous soliloquies, and the not-very-occasional vulgarity thrown in for spice.

And since I breezed through all 10 hours of John From Cincinnati, I found myself wandering through the garden yesterday morning, talking to my plants like Bill Jacks talked to his birds or Al Swearengen talked to the severed Indian head in the box.

I don't know what I said, but at some point I realized that if anyone saw me, they'd think I was a crazy person.

No, not crazy. Just a genuine Milch fanatic with pretensions of similar talents.

Here's a clip from the show showing Bill Jacks (played by Ed "Al Bundy" O'Neil) but to set it up, I'd have to write another 3 or 4 paragraphs of expository material. Just Netflix the show already. Good stuff.