Friday, March 31, 2006

Here come the boomers!


Time for another exciting edition of Drunkablog Posts Pictures from an Old Magazine and Blathers.


Youth '66. The whole issue is devoted to the little buggers. Let's start with a few stats from a survey of "more than 550" kids between 13 and 20 Look did for the story:

  • Thirty-three percent believed the U.S. was no longer a democracy.

  • "Most think the war in Vietnam is immoral and unjust, but 66 percent agree that as long as we're there, we should fight to stop the spread of communism." (Uh, what?)

  • "They try to seem well-informed [hey, a primitive form of snark!]. Some 89 percent read the newspaper, most say daily." (In 2005, only 53 percent (scroll down) of the adult population read a daily newspaper; 61 percent on Sundays.

  • "Only 42 percent of the teenagers smoke [it's about 22 percent now]; 74 percent aren't scared by the smoking-cancer link."

  • "Seventy-seven percent go to church or synagogue once a month."

  • "Almost half (49 percent) think that civil-rights and peace demonstrations do not help a cause."

    Quotes from here 'n' there in the issue:

    "Dennis Duffy [no age given]: 'I believe God is a belief, not a "Hello-Reverend-Jones-baby switchboard"'" (Dennis was apparently Look's representative of the teen-age LSD-taking demographic. Oh, and it's "teen-age" and "teen-ager" throughout--still hyphenated.).

    "Betty D.," pregnant 17-year-old currently residing in a "charity maternity hospital for unwed mothers": "I'm not sorry for what's happened, except that it has hurt my parents and all my relatives and everything. We'll get married eventually: when Barbara gives him a divorce."

    "Jean F.," senior cheerleader: "The trouble is that most people don't seem to care about things enough to question them or try to do anything about them. Like Vietnam. . . .The only ones who do seem to care about it are those beardy people."

    Any beardy people in them pockets?: "Mary Layne (in Anechoic Chamber at the Manned Space Center). 'The Space Age? I think it's great. . . .I don't think we'll be taken over by machines.'"

    Who said we would, Mary? Who said we would?

    And we must have a quote from "The Cool Communists":
  • "'Youth is the key to the society," one good observer explained. "A generation is growing up that is different from its parents. This is normal, but it's made more acute because they haven't gone through what the parents have--collectivization, Stalinization, industrialization and the war. These aren't heroic times. . . .[Kids today] don't have the necessary ideological drive."

    Here's an ad. See how she's pointing her finger?

    Here's another ad:

    Creepy in so many ways.

    Update: Shockingly, the Drunkablog screwed up the statistics on current U.S. newspaper readership. Worse, he actually cited two wildly different figures for the same stat (Sunday readership). For this he must be purged as a wrecker. Long live the Soviet Union!

    Thursday, March 30, 2006

    Made up news retracted

    MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who should have stuck to sports, admitted tonight that the video he'd been playing every night for a week, supposedly showing "Silvio Berlusconi" mock-humping a female police officer, was a fake. Then he put on the source, some editor of something or other, to share the embarrassment, which for Olbermann, one hopes, was intense.

    The editor, who looked about six and had a lisp, said that "within 15 minutes" of posting the video he'd received scores of e-mails saying that it was actually a clip from a German satire, but "after that I was just too distraught . . ."

    There he trailed off or Keith talked over him. Too distraught? To do what? Retract the story on his site? Tell Olbermann? Very bizarre. Olbermann didn't say why he ran the video for so many days without checking it, either. Of course, we know why: it was too good to check. But even a little looking around would have come up with Bye Bye Berlusconi. Here's someone pointing it out on the 24th of March (scroll down the comments) on Guerrilla News Network (which itself hasn't acknowledged the mistake).

    Even more sleazily, in retracting the story Olbermann managed to show another piece of Bye Bye--the one with "Berlusconi" in a crowded restaurant picking his nose and nonchalantly popping the booger into his mouth.

    Update: It's still all over the internet, especially the nose-picking. No retraction anywhere I could see, including Olbermann's MSNBC site (linked above) or his pathetic blog, the last update of which March 13 is titled "Daily made-up news."

    Update March 31: Retracted made up news retracted again. This evening Olbermann acknowledged at least four times in his Friday roundup of "funny" stuff (some of which was funny) that the Berlusconi video was fake. He made jokes while he was doing it, though. Does that count? And of course he showed the video again, intoning, over "Berlusconi" humping away, "Well, even if he's not Berlusconi he's certainly the Prime Minister--of gittin' it onnnn." Funny, but hardly exculpatory.

    Illegal immigrants will someday do fisking Americans no longer willing to do

    The word "fisk" has been around so long it sounds like something your great-grampa used to do out in the back forty: "We gotta get that corn fisked before the weather turns or we won't git out 12 hectotards per cubit this year." So I won't use the word, but I do want to go through some of this interview with senile fantasist historian Chalmers Johnson by TomDispatch (and posted on his site, and (where I originally found it) Z-Net.

    Before we get into it though, one fact must be absorbed, as difficult as it may be for some: the U.S. military budget as a percent of GDP in 2005 was estimated before the fact at 3.7 percent (see the wiki); I read somewhere else (can't find it) that it might actually have been as high as four percent. Apparently the real figure isn't out yet. But let's say four percent. Here's how that compares to the last 65 years. Okay? You looked at the graph? Don't forget! Four percent!

    Tomdispatch Interview: Chalmers Johnson on Our Military Empire

    [Note to Tomdispatch readers: This is the seventh in an ongoing series of interviews at the site. The last three were with Juan Cole [uh-oh!] (parts 1 and 2), Ann Wright, and Mark Danner.

    A Tomdispatch Interview with Chalmers Johnson (Part 1)

    As he and his wife Sheila drive me through downtown San Diego in the glare of mid-day, he suddenly exclaims, "Look at that structure!" I glance over and just across the blue expanse of the harbor is an enormous aircraft carrier. "It's the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan," he says, "the newest carrier in the fleet. It's a floating Chernobyl and it sits a proverbial six inches off the bottom with two huge atomic reactors. You make a wrong move and there goes the country's seventh largest city."

    You could probably quit reading right now (don't!), you're so sure where Chalmers is going to be on every single issue. But the fun, as in all cases of extreme moonbattery, is in seeing just how the moonbat in question achieves escape velocity from reality.
    Soon, we're heading toward their home just up the coast in one of those fabled highway traffic jams that every description of Southern California must include. "We feel we're far enough north," he adds in the kind of amused tone that makes his company both alarming and thoroughly entertaining, "so we could see the glow, get the cat, pack up, and head for Quartzsite, Arizona."
    Always with the yucks, these intellectuals.
    Chalmers Johnson, who served in the U.S. Navy and now is a historian of American militarism, lives cheek by jowl with his former service. San Diego is the headquarters of the 11th Naval District. "It's wall to wall military bases right up the coast," he comments. "By the way, this summer the Pentagon's planning the largest naval concentration in the Pacific in the post-World War II period! Four aircraft-carrier task forces -- two from the Atlantic and that's almost unprecedented -- doing military exercises off the coast of China."
    "By the way."
    That afternoon, we seat ourselves at his dining room table. He's seventy-four years old, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis and bad knees. He walks with a cane, but his is one of the spriest minds in town. Out the window I can see a plethora of strange, oversized succulents. ("That's an Agave attenuata," he says. "If you want one, feel free. We have them everywhere. When the blue-gray Tequila plant blooms, its flower climbs 75 feet straight up! Then you get every hummingbird in Southern California.") In the distance, the Pacific Ocean gleams.
    Succulents. That's a funny word.

    Johnson is wearing a black t-shirt that, he tells me, a former military officer and friend brought back from Russia. ("He was amused to see hippies selling these in the Moscow airport.") The shirt sports an illustration of an AK-47 on its front with the inscription, "Mikhail Kalashnikov" in Cyrillic script, and underneath, "The freedom fighter's friend, a product of the Soviet Union." On the back in English, it says, "World Massacre Tour" with the following list: "The Gulf War, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Angola, Laos, Nicaragua, Salvador, Lebanon, Gaza Strip, Karabakh, Chechnya… To be continued."
    What does that even mean? (Probably something anti-American, huh?)
    Johnson, who served as a lieutenant (jg) in the Navy in the early 1950s and from1967-1973 was a consultant for the CIA, ran the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley for years. He defended the Vietnam War. ("In that I was distinctly a man of my times…"), but is probably the only person of his generation to have written, in the years since, anything like this passage from the introduction to his book Blowback: "The problem was that I knew too much about the international Communist movement and not enough about the United States government and its Department of Defense."
    There it is: We were just as bad.
    Retired, after a long, provocative career as a Japan specialist, he is the author of the prophetic Blowback, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, published in 2000 to little attention. After 9/11, it became a bestseller, putting the word "blowback," a CIA term for retaliation for U.S. covert actions, into common usage. He has since written The Sorrows of Empire, Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic. ("As an academic subject, the American Empire is largely taboo"
    Oh for pity's sake. Why do they always have to act like they're being so brave?

    he tells me.) I'm now comfortably retired, but I had a successful academic career. I realize that young academics today will take up the subject and start doing research on aspects of our empire only if they've got some cover. They need somebody to go first [my hero]. I've had some of my former graduate students say, ‘Look, you're invulnerable. If you won't take the lead, why do you expect us to go do a research project on the impact of American military whorehouses on Turkey. I mean, let's face it, it's a good subject!")

    He is just now completing the final volume of his Blowback Trilogy [snicker, snort]. It will be entitled Nemesis.

    Sharp as a tack, energetic and high-spirited, by turns genuinely alarmed and thoroughly sardonic, he's a talker by nature [oh, boy]. Our encounter is an interview in name only. No one has ever needed an interviewer less. I do begin with a question that had been on my mind, but it's hardly necessary.

    Tomdispatch: Let's start with a telltale moment in your life, the moment when the Cold War ended. What did it mean to you?

    Chalmers Johnson: I was a cold warrior. There's no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so.

    The next paragraph follows completely naturally:

    There's no doubt that, in some ways, the Soviet Union inspired a degree of idealism. There are grown men I admire who can't but stand up if they hear the Internationale being played, even though they split with the Communists ages ago because of the NKVD and the gulag. . . .
    Grown men who stand up when they hear the Internationale. What idealism! And let's not forget, except for that little interlude with Stalinism (with which these grown men split "ages ago,") communism has worked everywhere it's been tried. Its idealism is untarnished!
    As I saw it, the only justification for our monster military apparatus, its size, the amounts spent on it, the growth of the Military-Industrial Complex that [President Dwight] Eisenhower identified for us [God, what a hack], was the existence of the Soviet Union and its determination to match us.

    The fact that the Soviet Union was global, that it was extremely powerful, mattered, but none of us fully anticipated its weaknesses [uhhhhh]. I had been there in 1978 at the height of [Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev's power. You certainly had a sense then that no consumer economy was present. My colleagues at the Institute for the USA and Canada were full of: Oh my god, I found a bottle of good Georgian white wine, or the Cubans have something good in, let's go over to their bar; but if you went down to the store, all you could buy was vodka.
    What the fuck (and the Drunkablog seldom swears) (on his blog) is Chalmers talking about? Is this supposed to be his strong anti-Soviet line? He quickly abandons it:
    It was a fairly rough kind of world, but some things they did very, very well. We talk about missile defense for this country. To this day, there's only one nation with a weapon that could penetrate any missile defense we put up -- and that's Russia. And we still can't possibly match the one they have, the Topol-M, also known as the SS-27. When [President Ronald] Reagan said he was going to build a Star Wars, these very smart Soviet weapon-makers said: We're going to stop it. And they did.
    And that's how the Soviet Union was saved and everybody lived happily ever after.
    As [Senator] Daniel Moynihan said: Who needs a CIA that couldn't tell the Soviet Union was falling apart in the 1980s, a $32 billion intelligence agency that could not figure out their economy was in such awful shape they were going to come apart as a result of their war in Afghanistan and a few other things.
    A few other things.
    In 1989, [Soviet leader] Mikhail Gorbachev makes a decision. [Oooh, I'm all tingly]. They could have stopped the Germans from tearing down the Berlin Wall, but for the future of Russia he decided he'd rather have friendly relations with Germany and France than with those miserable satellites Stalin had created in East Europe. So he just watches them tear it down and, at once, the whole Soviet empire starts to unravel. It's the same sort of thing that might happen to us if we ever stood by and watched the Okinawans kick us out of Okinawa. I think our empire might unravel in a way you could never stop once it started.
    He's got this thing about Okinawa.

    The Soviet Union imploded. I thought: What an incredible vindication for the United States [can't you just see him thinking that?]. Now it's over, and the time has come for a real victory dividend, a genuine peace dividend. The question was: Would the U.S. behave as it had in the past when big wars came to an end? We disarmed so rapidly after World War II. Granted, in 1947 we started to rearm very rapidly, but by then our military was farcical. In 1989, what startled me almost more than the Wall coming down was this: As the entire justification for the Military-Industrial Complex, for the Pentagon apparatus, for the fleets around the world, for all our bases came to an end, the United States instantly -- pure knee-jerk reaction -- began to seek an alternative enemy. Our leaders simply could not contemplate dismantling the apparatus of the Cold War.
    We'll take your word for it, Chalmers!

    That was, I thought, shocking. I was no less shocked that the American public seemed indifferent [i.e., "retarded" and/or "brainwashed"]. And what things they did do were disastrous. George Bush, the father, was President. He instantaneously declared that he was no longer interested in Afghanistan. It's over. What a huge cost we've paid for that, for creating the largest clandestine operation we ever had and then just walking away, so that any Afghan we recruited in the 1980s in the fight against the Soviet Union instantaneously came to see us as the enemy -- and started paying us back. The biggest blowback of the lot was, of course, 9/11, but there were plenty of them before then.
    Lemme get this straight. Wait. Okay, I got it. No, wait. Okay. He's saying, if I haven't gone insane, that after we achieved our goal (and the Afghanis', of course) of getting rid of the Russians, the Afghanis became our enemies because we then ("instantaneously," no less) left Afghanistan. But isn't that what they wanted? (I'm pretty sure it was.) In any case, why would they see us as enemies simply for leaving?
    I was flabbergasted and felt the need to understand what had happened. The chief question that came to mind almost at once, as soon as it was clear that our part of the Cold War was going to be perpetuated -- the same structure, the same military Keynesianism, an economy based largely on the building of weapons [four percent!--the man is absolutely out of his mind] was: Did this suggest that the Cold War was, in fact, a cover for something else; that something else being an American empire intentionally created during World War II as the successor to the British Empire?
    What do you think, Chalmers?

    Now that led me to say: Yes, the Cold War was not the clean-cut conflict between totalitarian and democratic values that we had claimed it to be. You can make something of a claim for that in Western Europe [!] at certain points in the 1950s, but once you bring it into the global context, once you include China and our two East Asian wars, Korea and Vietnam, the whole thing breaks down badly and this caused me to realize that I had some rethinking to do. The wise-ass sophomore has said to me -- this has happened a number of times -- "Aren't you being inconsistent?" I usually answer with the famous remark of John Maynard Keynes, the British economist, who, when once accused of being inconsistent, said to his questioner, "Well, when I get new information, I rethink my position. What, sir, do you do with new information?"
    Wise-ass sophomores.
    A personal experience five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union also set me rethinking international relations in a more basic way. I was invited to Okinawa by its governor in the wake of a very serious incident. On September 4, 1995, two Marines and a sailor raped a 12-year old girl. It produced the biggest outpouring of anti-Americanism in our key ally, Japan, since the Security Treaty was signed [in 1960].

    I had never been to Okinawa before, even though I had spent most of my life studying Japan. I was flabbergasted by the 32 American military bases I found on an island smaller than Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands and the enormous pressures it put on the population there. My first reaction as a good Cold Warrior was: Okinawa must be exceptional. It's off the beaten track. The American press doesn't cover it. It's a military colony. Our military has been there since the battle of Okinawa in 1945. It had all the smell of the Raj about it. But I assumed that this was just an unfortunate, if revealing, pimple on the side of our huge apparatus. As I began to study it, though, I discovered that Okinawa was not exceptional. It was the norm. It was what you find in all of the American military enclaves around the world. . . .
    A pimple on the side of our huge apparatus. See? He's weird about Okinawa.

    I'm always amazed by the way we kid ourselves about the influence of the Military-Industrial Complex in our society. We use euphemisms like supply-side economics or the Laffer Curve. We never say: We're artificially making work. If the WPA [Works Progress Administration of the Great Depression] was often called a dig-holes-and-fill-em-up-again project, now we're making things that blow up and we sell them to people. Our weapons aren't particularly good, not compared to those of the great weapons makers around the world. It's just that we can make a lot of them very rapidly.
    Four percent of GDP. This next chunk, though, shows that there is really something wrong with the man:

    TD: As a professional editor, I would say that when we look at the world, we have a remarkable ability to edit it.

    Johnson: Absolutely. We edit parts of it out. I mean, people in San Diego don't seem the least bit surprised that between here and Los Angeles is a huge military reservation called Camp Pendleton, the headquarters of the First Marine Division.
    Here in Colorado we're constantly surprised by the presence of huge military reservations. But this sparks a memory, or something, in Chalmers' apparently disintegrating brain:

    I was there myself back in the Korean War days. I unfortunately crossed the captain of the LST-883 that I was serving on. We had orders to send an officer to Camp Pendleton and he said, "I know who I'm going to send." It was me. (He laughs) And I'll never forget it. The world of Marine drill sergeants is another universe.

    In many ways, as an enthusiast for the natural environment, I am delighted to have Pendleton there. It's a cordon sanitaire. I spent a little time with its commandant maybe a decade ago. We got to talking about protecting birds and he said, "I'm under orders to protect these birds. One of my troops drives across a bird's nest in his tank and I'll court martial him. Now, if that goddamn bird flies over to San Clemente, he takes his chances." Even then I thought: That's one of the few things going for you guys, because nothing else that goes on here particularly contributes to our country. Today, of course, with the military eager to suspend compliance with environmental regulations, even that small benefit is gone.
    TD: So, returning to our starting point, you saw an empire and…
    You gave up your secure existence in this utterly corrupt empire to fight against it. Sure:
    Johnson: …it had to be conceptualized. Empires are defined so often as holders of colonies, but analytically [oh, analytically! Now why didn't I think of that], by empire we simply mean the projection of hegemony outward, over other people, using them to serve our interests, regardless of how their interests may be affected.
    Oh, regardless.

    So what kind of empire is ours? The unit is not the colony, it's the military base. This is not quite as unusual as defenders of the concept of empire often assume. That is to say, we can easily calculate the main military bases of the Roman Empire in the Middle East, and it turns out to be about the same number it takes to garrison the region today. You need about 38 major bases. You can plot them out in Roman times and you can plot them out today. . . .
    "Rome falls." Then Chalmers describes how our "700 military bases" around the world are really just
    a perk for the people who fought the war. The Marines to this day believe they deserve to be in Okinawa because of the losses they had in the bloodiest and last big battle of World War II.

    TD: Haven't we now become kind of a one-legged empire in the sense that, as you've written, just about everything has become military?
    Important note! U.S. military spending is around four percent (4.0%) of GDP!

    Johnson: That's what's truly ominous about the American empire. In most empires, the military is there, but militarism is so central to ours -- militarism not meaning national defense or even the projection of force for political purposes, but as a way of life, as a way of getting rich or getting comfortable. I guarantee you that the first Marine Division lives better in Okinawa than in Oceanside, California, by considerable orders of magnitude. After the Wall came down, the Soviet troops didn't leave East Germany for five years. They didn't want to go home. They were living so much better in Germany than they knew they would be back in poor Russia.
    Makes perfect sense, Chalmers! Sheesh.
    Most empires try to disguise that military aspect of things. Our problem is: For some reason, we love our military. We regard it as a microcosm of our society and as an institution that works. There's nothing more hypocritical, or constantly invoked by our politicians, than "support our boys." After all, those boys and girls aren't necessarily the most admirable human beings that ever came along, certainly not once they get into another society where they are told they are, by definition, doing good. Then the racism that's such a part of our society emerges very rapidly -- once they get into societies where they don't understand what's going on, where they shout at some poor Iraqi in English.
    Heavens! Shouting!

    TD: I assume [he assumes] you'd agree that our imperial budget is the defense budget. Do you want to make some sense of it for us?

    Johnson: Part of empire is the way it's penetrated our society, the way we've become dependent on it. Empires in the past -- the Roman Empire, the British Empire, the Japanese Empire -- helped to enrich British citizens, Roman citizens, Japanese citizens. In our society, we don't want to admit how deeply the making and selling of weaponry has become our way of life; that we really have no more than four major weapons manufacturers -- Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics -- but these companies distribute their huge contracts to as many states, as many congressional districts, as possible.

    The military budget is starting to bankrupt the country....
    That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more. Oh, wait. Guess we better get Hitler out of the way. Johnson chalmers down:

    And the precedents for this should really terrify us. The greatest single previous example of military Keynesianism -- that is, of taking an economy distraught over recession or depression, over people being very close to the edge and turning it around -- is Germany. Remember, for the five years after Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, he was admired as one of the geniuses of modern times. And people were put back to work. This was done entirely through military Keynesianism, an alliance between the Nazi Party and German manufacturers.

    What we've done with our economy is very similar to what Adolf Hitler did with his. We turn out airplanes and other weapons systems in huge numbers. This leads us right back to 1991 when the Soviet Union finally collapsed. We couldn't let the Cold War come to an end. We realized it very quickly. In fact, there are many people who believe that the thrust of the Cold War even as it began, especially in the National Security Council's grand strategy document, NSC68, rested on the clear understanding of late middle-aged Americans who had lived through the Great Depression that the American economy could not sustain itself on the basis of capitalist free enterprise. And that's how -- my god – in 1966, only a couple of decades after we started down this path, we ended up with some 32,000 nuclear warheads. That was the year of the peak stockpile, which made no sense at all. We still have 9,960 at the present moment.
    That last sentence makes utter nonsense of the rest of the paragraph. If we have only 9,960 warheads now when we had 32,000 then, what's he bitching about?

    Okay, that's it. I cut well over half of this, and it's only part 1. Read part 2 because it's just as loony, but I ain't gonna fisk no mo'. Oh, except for Chalmers' last words (of part 1):

    Another person who may be getting this message across to the public is Gary Trudeau in some of his Doonesbury cartoons. Tom, I know your mother was a cartoonist and we both treasure Walt Kelly, who drew the Pogo strip. How applicable is Pogo's most famous line today: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    So Chalmers, after lauding the ancient burnt-out case Gary Trudeau, finishes with the most overused cliche in history, and manages to cop style points for the sententiousness with which he delivers it. What. a. hack. (Hey, another blogger cliche for me! Periods after each word to add emphasis! Thanks, Chalms!)

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Movie talk

    I'm trading in four DVDs tomorrow at the buy/sell/trade place:

    1. Salmonberries. K.--excuse me, k.d. lang stars as a lesbian (!) "[i]n the harsh and lonely Alaskan wilderness," for whom "an unlikely relationship blossoms" as she and another lesbian (!) "find the freedom to face old demons and to express their hidden yearnings." Elizabeth Pincus of Popcorn Q (?) called it ". . . a masterpiece of longing laid bare. . ." All ellipses in the original so the full sentence must have been something like, "The producers paid me $25 and a carton of Goobers to call it a masterpiece of longing laid bare, so that's what I'm doing. I hate myself and I hate you."

    2. Querelle. Fassbinder's last movie he said as if he knew who Fassbinder was. It stars Brad Davis (of the still-gripping Midnight Express) as (cover copy) "a beautiful, proud and tough loner, a sailor named Querelle whose commanding officer Sebion worships and desires him from afar." Yes, another gay film (nttawwt). Here's the great Halliwell's description: "A homosexual sailor has a mystical quest which involves murder."

    It's actually much weirder than that. Know why I have it? Because when we got our first DVD player I wanted a foreign film to add eclat to the collection, which then consisted of the third season of Laverne and Shirley. I saw Querelle on the shelf at Circuit City and didn't even read what it was about. In other words, it was bought purely as an act of social climbing. And look where it's got me.

    3. Mystery, Alaska. Sports movie so stupid even Russell Crowe can't save it. Back cover copy: "'This is a sensational movie!'--Larry King, USA Today."

    4. White Man's Burden. I've raged impotently (the Drunkablog way!) about this movie before, so Halliwell again: "In an America where the black race holds the power, a white worker kidnaps his boss after he is unfairly sacked. Feeble and heavy-handed satire that deals unilluminatingly in stereotypical characters and situations." It stars stereotypical paranoid schizophrenics John Travolta and Harry Belafonte.

    All very, very bad movies. So is The Bad Seed, but you'll take my copy when you pry it from my cold dead fingers that you had previously hammered with the metal heel of your little black shoe until I let go of the wharf and drowned.

    (Credit: Goobers pictured are not human-edible Goobers but peanut butter pet Goobers from

    Update: Sometimes you eat the Goober, sometimes the Goober eats you.

    Enlightenment attained

    Going through bills just now, separating the 2006 death threats from the year-end death threats we'll need to do our taxes, I found the bill from Plumbline. You know how it drew my attention? It had a dried cornflake stuck to it--in perfect position to be a divider tab. It was like it wanted to be spotted. Whoa.

    Update: When I say a "dried cornflake," I mean, of course, a cornflake that after its initial drying from corn mash into flake form has again, presumably through the instrumentality of milk, become moist, then dried once again, most often to a bowl, but if one is a sloppy eater to a computer, pet, or even (as in this case) a bill. The word "cornflake," it must be acknowledged, already carries the implication of dehydration.

    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    Tears jerked?

    First on Comcast's webpage now: "The Whole Truth? Search the web for the truth behind these conspiracy theories." Here are a few: "John Wilkes Booth didn't act alone?"; "Robert Kennedy's killer hypnotized?; and (that old chestnut), "Missile hit Pentagon on 9-11?"

    I pay Comcast $62.04 a month for cable service, but at least they provide me with something I want. And if I see a better deal, I can dump them. Contrast that with the situation of the poor folks who post and comment at Biased BBC, and spare your tears (if you have them, reader) for them.

    Update: Stephen Pollard notes BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day: "Paying taxes is how love operates at a distance." (via, well, duh)

    Update II: Speaking of Robert Kennedy's killer, was it Tim Blair the other day who referred to Sirhan Sirhan as "the killer so nice, they named him twice?" No, apparently it wasn't.

    Drunkablog snowshoeing report

    No snowshoeing took place. The snow was too packed down. So we walked. Beautiful weather, excellent scenery, no good pictures. I'll put one up anyway:

    Thank you for your patience.

    Thursday, March 23, 2006


    My friend Mason was kind enough to send me this new powerfist. He found it on Drudge today:

    Longtime readers if any will remember that the Drunkablog is something of an expert collector and evaluator of powerfists. Let me assay this one: Though overly staged, the well-clenched left fist initially looks impressive. On examination, however, the bent wrist is weak. Much more seriously, the fist's revolutionary power is fatally compromised by the provocatory right-deviationist presence of a Swatch watch.

    See? Expert. The picture's still up at Drudge, but here's the article it accompanied, on the most recent rioting in Fwance.

    A digression

    There's a frequent blog commenter, I forget where, who always calls the place Fwance, and every time I see it I laugh. It's just so childishly mean: Fwance. It reminds me of the horrible nickname a friend came up with for a housemate when I lived near Third and Grant.

    This housemate, "P.J.," was a little snooty, but she was cute and training to be something serious like an architect. We, on the other hand, were slobbering drunks. Fairly polite as slobbering drunks go, but still, she was right to act snooty. Unfortunately this just made the truly childish nickname my friend gave her in (mostly) mock retaliation even funnier; at least, to my eternal shame I always laughed at it. His nickname for the attractive, articulate P.J.?

    Piss Jerk.

    Now I am grown wise and large-spirited, and would never find such immaturity amusing. Now I only wish to preserve as best I can the fading, fond memories of that house and that time.

    And of good ol' Piss Jerk.


    Pirate Ballerina has a fascinating excerpt from a chapter by American Indian "activist" David Seals in the forthcoming Eating fire, tasting blood: Breaking the great silence [sic] of the American Indian holocaust. In it Seals claims that Ward Churchill "snitched him out" (or "bad-jacketed" him) with the "feds," was in fact a "fed" himself who spied on and attempted to disrupt the American Indian Movement (AIM).

    Yeah I know: the Leninist National AIM and Churchill's Trotskyite Colorado AIM have been accusing each other of being Cointelpro plants for decades. It would be funny if people hadn't ended up dead because of it. But it's not really surprising.

    No, what I noticed was the tinny sound of Seals' swashbuckling-70s radicalism:

    I called an emergency AIM Security meeting at Green Grass, and ended up getting interrogated all day by some bad-asses who'd also heard the rumors from colorado and california, and didn't know whether to believe it or not. I'd been involved in acts of eco-sabotage and political robbery since 1973, and they didn't know what to think about my impending arraignment and major charges of felonies. It was a very tense and terrible time. I'd already learned that jail was death. The loss of freedom, I'd learned, was my greatest fear. It loomed like the blackest cloud of my life.

    "I left out one charge," I explained to the grim, dark faces glaring at me. "A bank robbery only a cop would know, and not even a local or state cop at that. Only a fed would know it. I didn't even tell my lawyer, when we went in to plead guilty to the police station and enumerate all the other charges, so they might go easy on me. I pled guilty." "You didn't confess to this one job?" "No. No one knew about it but me.

    "But Ward Churchill knows it?


    Yeah. At least we can be thankful that the warfare between the two AIMs engendered, besides some dead bodies and endless reams of self-absorbed socialist crap, the near-perfect acronym, GOONs.

    Update: Check out how the blurb at Amazon for Eating fire, tasting blood begins:
    As you walk out of your front door tomorrow morning, look down. Look to your left and to your right. Touch the earth: the concrete, the sidewalk, or whatever surrounds you. Undoubtedly you will be touching the layered coverings of the remains of indigenous peoples. Not arrowheads, not broken pieces of pottery —
    but the very DNA of the first peoples of this continent.
    Time for another blogger cliche: Eeeeeyyyewwwwwwwww.

    Update II: I bet author and editor Marjo Moore collects those velvet Indian princess paintings.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Losing it

    Have you seen those "Whistle Away Crime" commercials in which parents are urged to give their kids same to scare away pervs? Can you imagine? Voluntarily equipping hordes of idiot children with whistles to blow in each other's, the dog's, their siblings', and everybody else's ear (except, of course, when they're in danger). They'd just keep blowing them and blowing them--tweet! Tweeeet! Tweeeeeeeeeee!--until you lost your bloody mind, until you just wanted to kill the little--


    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Rocky gives Drunkablog red carpet treatment

    Remember how I used to pick on the Rocky Mountain News (most recently about the cartoons of death) and especially on Rocky editor John Temple? Well, never again.* Because yesterday, through the kind offices of editorial writer Linda Seebach (and after Temple's okay), the Drunkablog got an exclusive (well, not really) look at the editorial workings of the Rocky Mountain News.

    And everybody was so nice

    They really were. The Rocky, Denver's "conservative" newspaper (meaning its editors more or less tilt that way) is a pretty big outfit (26th in the U.S. according to this, for which I can't find a date, 30th in 2003 according to infoplease (both rankings just behind the Denver Post. Garn). And yet everybody there was just as friendly as cheese.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. First I had to sign in at the desk and pin on the visitor's badge the nice man gave me:

    Rocky visitor's badge. No I don't know why.

    Then, of course, there were the balloons:

    A little chintzy, and obviously left over from some other occasion(s). But they had a clown give them to me in the RMN lobby, right in front of everybody. It was very sweet.

    Quite enough folderol

    Okay, there were no balloons, no "I am expandable" ID. No clown. Seebach came down and got me and we went up to the editorial offices on the fourth floor.

    The weekly editorial meeting takes place in Temple's large but unfancy office, at a table near a window with a view of the Chinese restaurant on the corner (the Rocky is moving to new digs this summer). It's usually attended by four Middle-Aged White Guys (MAWGs) and Seebach. The MAWGs are Temple; editorial page editor Vincent Carroll; Peter Blake; and Rick Henderson (who as you can see was at Reason for a stretch).

    Not very diverse, huh? But there was lots of diversity in the issues the mawgs and Seebach considered editorialating about, so that makes up for it, right? Right? Anyway, as a reader courtesy I won't go into the issues. They were weighty and intellectual and Drunkablogistas wouldn't be interested.

    Still, the meeting was short, less than an hour, and afterward everybody walked off purposefully like they knew what they were doing. Impressive. I brought a camera, by the way, but while Temple was reasonably game, the others made rowr-rowr noises, which I quickly interpreted to mean *uck off. I'd have felt the same way, so I didn't take any except for a few of the framed Rocky front pages hanging all over:

    The "late president" is McKinley. But it wasn't until I downloaded this that I noticed the little box up in the top left corner. See it? Couldn't quite tell what it said so I enlarged it:

    "Christianity versus Anarchy." People were a might
    jumpy after McKinley was assassinated.

    Brisk budget meeting

    The news budget meeting that immediately followed was equally ad hoc. They just went around the table in a tiny conference room and each section boss (of the city desk, sports, etc.) said what he or she had cooking storywise. It went fast; once again, everybody seemed to know what they were doing.

    And since I seem to be on a diversity kick, there were maybe eight women in the meeting out of the 17 or 18 staffers in attendance. It was difficult to take a head count because people were walking in and out, staying only to listen to what they needed to, which I also liked. But because of that I won't hazard a guess on the proportion of people of pallor compared to those otherwise persuaded.

    In short, the place seemed quite normal. Contrary to what I'd heard from liberal friends, nobody whistled the Horst Wessel Lied in the halls, and I didn't hear any "Heils." There weren't even any calls for the massacre of native Americans. Strange, but true.

    *John, you know that little Flintstones separated-at-birth post? I apologize. You don't look like Fred at all; in fact, even at your advanced age you manage to retain a certain--I disgrace myself as a man for saying it--boyishness. But the picture you're running now is even worse than the one I used in that post. Jeez.

    (Sincere thanks to Linda Seebach, John Temple, and all the other Rockyites who without exception showed tolerance for, and kindness toward, a slow and doddering blogger.)

    Update: Speaking of nazis, here's another front page. Sorry for the lousy photos. I wandered around the halls (cubicles all the way) a little in the minute or two I was on my own, but the Drunkablog is not a trustworthy looking person, and I kept getting inquiring looks. Naturally then I couldn't help acting furtive and rushed the pics.

    So misunderstood: the Drunkablog, not Hitler.

    Update II: I also got a brief but highly interesting interview with Linda Seebach, which I'll post this weekend or thereabouts.

    Update: Seebach writes to inform me that the editorial offices of the Rocky are on the third floor. Like any journalist (except Seebach) the Drunkablog has problems with numbers. They don't like him, and he don't like them.

    Let there be heat

    Ward Churchill and David Horowitz have agreed to a series of debates sponsored by the Young America's Foundation.

    (via some peg-legged guy in a tutu)

    Sunday, March 19, 2006

    Darndest things

    There's been a post or two here about "cute" things high school kids have written. Here are a few more, from a survey of kids who have had problems with, yes, "acting out" in school and been through a re-Neducation program.

    One of the survey questions asked what sort of teacher the kid thought might be best for him or her (questions, but not answers, are paraphrased). One young scholar answered, "Teachers that don't act up with me." Another wrote, shyly, "I need teachers to stay out of my face and leave me alone."

    Fine, fine

    Another question: What is empathy? "When you smash your hand and someone else smashes there's [sic] you know how it feels."

    Same sensitive soul, asked why empathy is good: "Yes."

    Then there were the "gun" questions (remember, "acting out"), including, Name a circumstance where it would be illegal for a person to own a gun. One teen answered, "If the person is currently enrolled in a mental institution." I'm ready.

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Friday night filler

    Sorry 'bout that. Here are a few shots cleverly manipulated to look as if they were taken outdoors:

    Sundown near the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers in Utah.

    Spring-fed pool in a canyon along the San Juan River (also in Utah).

    My friend Steve's houseboat, parked somewhere along the Mississippi River.

    We drove her (the houseboat--all boats, even those whose engines blow up and leave you stranded in PEORIA, are "her") upriver from Rapids City, Illinois (pop 953; no rapids) to Dubuque, Iowa ("Home of America's River," which seems sort of presumptuous since the Mississippi is what, a thousand miles long and has (used to have) New Orleans at the bottom of it) and back. Not quite 200 miles. The trip was kind of a Gilligan's Island episode in which we traded the roles of Gilligan and The Skipper back and forth. And there was no professor.* In other words, we were surrounded--by danger! stupidity!

    Somewhere in northern California: Would that our border patrol agents were as vigililant as Billy Bob! Guard well, noble hound!

    *No there was no Ginger or Maryanne either. Heck, we'd have taken Lovey.

    Update: Vigilgint? Vigiglant?

    Thursday, March 16, 2006


    Blogger is a pain in the ass.


    Yes, OOK, goddamnit. My scanner bed ain't big enough for these old magazines.

    Actually the September 2, 1967, LOOK. The brunette on the right is Patty Duke. The blonde, of course, is Sharon Tate. If I were Rita Cosby I'd say, "She had less than two years to live." But I'm not.

    Besides the five-page spread on Valley of the Dolls, this issue has:

  • A profile of Nancy Dickerson: "She's riding high now, but if a Kennedy gets in the White House, Nancy Dickerson is Throughsville."

  • A piece by Eric Severaid, "Dissent or Destruction." This blurb kind of gives the flavor:

    An adaptation of Leon Uris's new novel, Topaz. Never read Uris, not even Mila 18, which I'd probably like. Sample quote from Topaz: "Anything Paris knows, Moscow will know in 24 hours."

  • A profile by Oriana Fallaci (not dead yet!) of Merlina Mercouri: "I was born Greek, I will die Greek." (She did.)

  • And finally yet another profile, this one of Vince Lombardi. Sample quote: "On the day of the game, Lombardi believes you've got to have hate."

    Update: Newsweek's Joseph Morgenstern (alive!) on Valley of the Dolls: "One of the most stupefyingly clumsy films ever made by alleged professionals." Say it ain't so, Joe!
  • Media notes

    There were several good (i.e., weird or sick) stories in the Denver dailies today.

    Here's one from the Post: Suspect convicted in homeless murder:

    A man who stabbed a homeless man 31 times was convicted today of second-degree murder. . . .

    [Curtis Gordon] Adams committed the murder in front of his former girlfriend. Investigators say he did it to prove to her his devotion.

    Adams had moved out of Patricia Geer's home a few days before the attack.

    According to investigators, minutes before he stabbed Aschraft, Adams stood outside her home and declared:

    "What is about to happen is your fault."

    He'd been pushing Ashcraft in the homeless man's wheelchair.

    According to testimony, Adams started stabbing Ashcraft in the middle of the street.

    "Dedicated to the one I love. I'd die or kill for you," Adams shouted at Geer as he was led to a Denver police car after the stabbing on Milwaukee Street in Denver's Swansea neighborhood.

    To prove to her his devotion.

    The Post also carried this Knight-Ridder story: Mediocre doctoring the norm:
    Washington - U.S. patients receive proper medical care from doctors and nurses only 55 percent of the time, regardless of their race, income, education or insurance status, according to a national study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. . . .

    In a performance review of preventive services and care for 30 chronic conditions, including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, researchers found that it's almost a coin flip as to whether patients get the recommended care from doctors and nurses - even though the standard treatments are widely known.
    Then there was this remarkable paragraph:
    In addition, the study found that blacks and Latinos were slightly more likely to get proper levels of care than whites, by about 3.5 percentage points.
    Doesn't seem so "slight" to me as an indigenous Appalachian. Racism! No, wait, the study's lead author discounts that part of the study:
    Those findings don't counter previous studies that found wide disparities in access to health care for minorities and low-income people, Asch said. In fact, he said, those disparities are a "serious, well-documented problem," particularly when it comes to complicated surgical procedures.
    Finally, the Post's temporary TV critic has a squib about that horrible Burger King king:
    Burger creep: Let's hope Burger King has retired the ads featuring the weird guy in the king mask. The bit where's he's superimposed on Steve Young's face for the quarterback's legendary scramble against the Minnesota Vikings in 1988 was kind of cool. But it sure looks like he's leering at the Whopperettes in the commercial that ran on the Super Bowl.
    No, the Steve Young bit was creepy, too.

    What about the News?

    They had a big story, at least compared to the possible retirement of a masked psycho pitchking: "An orange. A grape. An orange. A grape."

    There was much more in both papers about all kinds of stuff, some of it possibly worth reading. But Bloodsport is on now, so go look for yourself.

    Update: The Drunkablog will apologize unreservedly for using a "mountain folk" for purposes of humor--as soon as Leonard Pitts does. (via Romenesko)

    (Credit: "Mountain folk" shot from Lonny Shavelson.)

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Back to school

    The festering-livered one's favorite quotes among the "Bennish back in class" reax today were both uttered by Overland High school principal Jana Frieler. The first, from the Post:

    Frieler called the ordeal a "great civics lesson" that has been difficult for students as they gear up to take state tests this week.

    "They've heard a lot of hurtful things about their school," Frieler said. "They internalize that."

    Sensitive little beasts, ain't they? The second, from the News:

    Frieler this morning said she had been well aware that Bennish’s geography discussions typically go beyond learning the names of rivers, mountain ranges, and state capitols.

    "It’s not about maps anymore," she said. "It’s about politics, it’s about religion, it’s about culture."

    It's just not about dilute Marxism. Bennish, who was "disciplined" in some unspecified way ("Keep stickin' it to The Man, Jay!") by the school district, was applauded by students as he entered class; after class, about 15 of them gathered around and shook his paw (oops, I'm being dehumanizing.)

    Update: Notice the headline? "Vocal teacher back in class; student teacher mum." Poetry! Or at least, a decent football cheer!

    Update II: The Sowell Man (I just made that up) weighs in on Bennishism. Quote:
    Only among "educators" is there such confusion that merely exposing what they are doing behind the backs of parents and taxpayers is regarded as a violation of their rights.

    Update III: Title changed because old one was just stupid. It happens even in the most sophisticated blogs, which the Drunkablog is not, hardly.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Not the one the Simpsons live in: Tornado cuts swath through Springfield

    It happened Sunday night but the news reached the Drunkablog Fortress of Squalitude only a couple of hours ago: One person is missing (and his house is "demolished") after a freak storm caused major damage in Springfield, Illinois Sunday night. One of my sisters lives on the northwest side; the storm was worse toward the south. Still, haven't heard from her.

    But here's a great picture from the storm:

    Good neighbor: State Journal Register caption reads, "Gene Lanich returns the missing Paul Bunyan head from Lauterbach Tire and Auto shop after finding it behind Benchmark Auto Sound on Wabash Avenue early Monday morning. Jonathan Kirshner/The State Journal-Register."

    (Hat tip (hat tip? Who the *uck am I, Maurice Chevalier?): Mason Oller.)

    (Credit: Maurice Chevalier (shudder) from Du Temps des cerises aux Feuilles mortes (which won't let me link:; and here's the Journal Register's gallery of storm damage pics)

    Update: Since I mentioned Chevalier, here are the lyrics to his signature song, "Sank heaven for leetle gulls." Oops, here they are.

    Word of the day to put you off words of the day forever

    "Manorexia." Gag me with a spoon.

    (via Drudge)

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Sports brief

    The Drunkablog will never be described as a "character guy," and it makes him, well, a little sad.

    How'd they know?

    An e-mail from The Motley Fool today: "Prepare for a gruesome retirement."

    Students learn consequences of speaking truth to power

    Overland High School geography teacher Jay Bennish has been desuspended and will be back in the classroom Monday.

    The Cherry Creek School District issued a statement (no link because the dips released it in PDF): "Upon completion of a thorough investigation regarding a complaint about comments and actions by Mr. Jay Bennish, he has been reinstated into his position at Overland High School."

    Not surprising. Also unsurprising(ly), the statement contains some pretty good educrapese: "Mr. Bennish, like all teachers, is expected to follow the letter and spirit of policy IMB, Teaching About Controversial/Sensitive Issues"; "Cherry Creek School District reaffirms its values in respect to fair-minded presentation and will be unwavering in their actualization"; and so on.

    Despite the junk language, the board's conclusion is eminently sensible: Grow up, Bennish (or as the board puts it, "Jay Bennish has promise as a teacher, but his practice and deportment need refinement"). Read the whole statement at the Rocky or Post if you don't have anything better to do on a Friday night, you pathetic losers. (I, by the way, am not a pathetic loser. I'm just staying home tonight to watch Species II on AMC. Peter "Puttin' on the Ritz" Boyle is in it. So is (oops, was) James Cromwell. You know, actors. Weird.

    Leave that kid alone

    Anyway, now that the first amendment has worked its usual magic and allowed everybody to spot the idiot, can we drop the Bennish thing? Need you ask? Earlier today a couple of Republican state senators stuck an amendment on a bill making it easier to fire teachers who "consistently" lack balance. Not good, if it had a chance of passing, but it probably doesn't (Dems control the senate 18-17).

    Finally, here's a profile of the early favorite for 2006 idiotarian teacher of the year (high school division): "By Bennish's junior year at Seaholm High School in suburban Detroit in late 1994, he had quit lacrosse, grown apart from some of [his] friends and transformed himself from a clean-cut student-athlete into a suburban hippie." How utterly unusual!

    Update: Oh, joy: "Bennish thanks supporters, vows to teach democratic values."

    Update II: Rocky columnist Bill Johnson wastes few words on Bennish ("It was all a setup") in his hilariously titled "Teachers who dare are taught a political lesson." Instead he tells the story of a music teacher in the redneck bedroom community of Bennett east of Denver who supposedly was fired for not using Christian songs in the school Christmas play. The story doesn't make much sense, but it works just fine if, like Bill, all you need are idiots in a tiny 'tard town to conjure up a creeping theocracy.

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Deanna Hanna!

    State senator Deanna Hanna resigned yesterday. The Denver Post:

    Bowing to the mounting political pressure of an ongoing ethics investigation and unlikely to receive strong Democratic backing in a recall election, state Sen. Deanna Hanna announced Wednesday that she will resign her seat effective March 22. . . .

    Hanna, 62, has been under fire for more than two weeks for a letter she sent last summer asking the Colorado Association of Realtors' political action committee to pay her $1,400 in "reparations" after the group endorsed her opponent in the 2004 elections.

    "There are going to be some very important issues ahead of us. You have a choice. So do I," she wrote to the group.
    Pretty funny, or something, mainly because a) the Democrats now have only a one-seat margin in the senate; b) Deanna Hanna was so blatant in her solicitation; and c) she used the term "reparations," which usually refers to a different sort of extortion.

    Soul of poet revealed

    As interesting (he averred) as this story is, I mention it for only one reason. Her name. Her glorious, euphonious name: Deanna Hanna.

    I love you so truly, dear Deanna Hanna,

    That I'd gladly be your snotty bandanna.

    That's as far as I get. Now give me your han' na? Here, have a banana?

    "Soul of poet" my ass. Who the hell writes these idiotic subheads anyway?

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    More old stuff

    Heil! I mean, hey! Check this out:

    Same to you, pal. But as everybody knows the swastika was a good luck symbol long before before the National Socialists gave it a 45-degree tilt and made it their own.

    This is actually a leather postcard my grandmother sent to her cousin, "Miss" Lillian Yardley, who for some reason was in John C. Proctor Hospital in Peoria, Illinois. See the "I.J.J." in the lower right corner? Sound like a radical labor union? Those are the g-ma's initials: Ida Josephine Jones. The card is postmarked October 4, 1907.

    Ida was 15 in 1907. She died in 1998.

    Update: Vill it grossegehavenfuch in einen Peoria?

    Update II: Just for the hell of it I googled (lousy commies) for "leather greeting cards," thinking there must be a thriving trade in them, but all I found were "adult" cards and this. Must be doing something wrong.

    Update III: I was. Even though the back of the card clearly says "Post Card," I googled "greeting card." There are tons of leather post cards around. They even seem to be something of a drug on the market.

    Stop the madness

    What the hell is going on in this crummy cowtown? Water shortages, rolling blackouts, housing bubbles busting all over--and now, the worst crisis of all: an acute shortage of murders. There's not been a single one in Denver for the last six weeks.

    What has happened to us--to us as a community, Denver? Is there no one willing to volunteer a friend, relative, acquaintance or (hey, serial killers!) total stranger to be beaten, shot, stabbed or kicked to death, for the good of the rest of us? This peacefulness is shameful, and nobody knows why it's happening. The News quotes a "criminal justice teacher" at a local community college: "You can say the weather, you can say the economy is getting better, but it could just be that people are getting nicer."

    Not me, dammit. Somebody give me a beer bottle. Broken, please.

    Update: Confidential to persistent e-mailer "Your Friend": No, I will not be using it on my own face.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Drive, he said

    "Rusted Out & Half Buried." (Photograph by Mason Oller).

    I love this shot. Mason took it on his family's farm near Mason City, Illinois. Another of his pics is posted here. And here's his blog. There's only this picture at the moment, but there'll be more, and the pic is larger and thus looks even better there.

    Gimme some skin

    The Enron trial reached its most dramatic phase today with the start of testimony of former Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, who knows where all the bodies were buried because he buried them himself. The Post put the AP story up a while ago.

    Which is weird, because the Post sent its own business columnist, Al Lewis, to Houston at the start of the trial, and was he ever excited. With a column that began, "I shook hands with Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling today," and a blog post headed, "Waiting in line for a chance at history" ("Today, I’m catching a 3 p.m. flight to Houston in hopes of catching a courtroom seat at the Enron trial"), Al was just starting to get his portentousness cranked up.

    So why, at the most critical juncture of the trial, is he now cooling his heels in Denver? His column today, while interesting (it's about life insurance companies charging outrageous premiums to people who plan to visit Israel), is not exactly "a chance at history."

    Oh, and I can't find anything in the News about the trial since a February 3 AP story.

    Who cares?

    Well, apparently not the News. But what really caught my eye (and dragged it 15 feet, to quote the sainted Emo) was a phrase in the AP's story today. Something Fastow said:
    Enron's board, which included Skilling and Lay, approved his pay for the deals. Fastow said Skilling told the board that Fastow invested $1 million of his own, and "He should get profits because he's got skin in the game."
    Wasn't hard to find the phrase "skin in the game" defined (obvious in context anyway), but how did Warren Buffett come up with it? Is it a particular hunk of skin? Is it a particular hunk of Warren's skin? Do I want to keep going with this?


    Crazy Columbine killer Klebold's car briefly for sale on eBay


    Monday, March 06, 2006

    Letter writers pontificate about idiot

    Letters are up at the Post and News about Overland High School geography teacher Jay Bennish, whose often falsetto anti-American rant to a class was recorded by one of his students.

    The Post ran an all-Bennish letters column Saturday. Eleven defended him, four wanted to shoot out his beastly liver. Here's a supporter:

    To follow in the footsteps of our esteemed leader, I'd like to take a pre-emptive strike [Ha! Well played, laddie!] against conservative squawking over the Overland High School teacher ranting about President Bush. I went to high school during the Clinton era, in one of the wealthiest, whitest, most conservative suburbs of Pittsburgh. Many of my teachers (in government classes as well as other subjects) would often go on belabored "rants" about President Clinton and other conservative pet issues. Did this influence my Weltanschauung? Probably not - I grew up to be a socialist. I only say this to illustrate that students have greater critical thinking abilities than some assume. They can make up their own minds. . . .--Leslie C. Volkar, Denver.
    Well my Weltanschauung has certainly been influenced (even slightly aroused), Leslie! But get that Leslie says his socialism, of all things, shows that dumb high school kids have "greater critical thinking abilities than some assume." (By the way, I just assumed Leslie is a guy. Oink!)

    Here's another for Bennish:
    Overland High School teacher Jay Bennish said that capitalism is a system "at odds with human rights"; that he found similarities between statements in President Bush's State of the Union address and statements by Adolf Hitler; and the U.S. was "probably the single most violent nation" on Earth. You may disagree with these ideas, but they are intellectually tenable.
    Yeah, sure (scroll down three or four to "BoltsFanInSanAntone").

    One more:

    . . . .As far as comparing anyone to Adolf Hitler, I suggest people read "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William L. Shirer. Hitler's "fear" campaigns are so much like the current administration's way of handling post-Sept. 11 and Bush's handling of the Iraq war and his terrorists threats [double sic, at least], this country wouldn't be where it is. It's called opening your mind to other opinions.--Linda J. Rudzinskas, Lone Tree.

    So which of Hitler's "fear" campaigns are you thinking of, Linda J. Rudzinksas of Lone Tree, Colorado? Let's see, the best known are the Night of the Long Knives, the Reichstag fire, and Kristallnacht. (My fave, though, has always been the Exhibition of Degenerate Art.) What actions of Bush's do you believe compare to those, Linda, and why? Be specific, please.

    All kidding aside though, Linda: you're an idiot. And the Post was an idiot for publishing your letter.

    Sullen refusal

    I've decided not to quote any of the anti-Bennish letters. They're not nearly as fun. And the News, which has been all over the story (duh), hasn't posted its letters page for March 4 and 5, so who knows what they're getting (except that March 6 has two, one for, one agin').

    Update: Shirer, in The Nightmare Years (I think), tells of how he instantly became famous when he reported live over CBS while a girl with shaved head was paraded through the streets of Vienna (just after the Anschluss) for sleeping with a Jew. Linda Rudzinskas of Lone Tree seems to think such things happen in Bushitler's Amerikkka all the time.

    Update II: I've just decided that Rudzinskas of Lone Tree will be the title of a series of Westerns I will definitely write some day. Hey, that's how Elmore Leonard got started.

    Update III: Speaking of things Jewish, the name "Bennish" is amazingly close to the Yiddish nebbish, ain't it?

    Drunkablog takes a hike

    Perhaps "stroll" is a better word, but he still ended up footsore and cranky. This was near Lyons, Colorado.

    Expanding vistas: One of the mountains back there is Long's Peak, the other is Mt. Meeker. No idea which is which.

    Old ranch house.

    Old photographer photographing old ranch house.

    Scatterplot of juniper berries.

    Slanty mesa.

    Too tired for verbiage. More larder. I mean, later.

    Update: Now that I actually count, there are three peaks on the right-hand side of the top photo. The two in front, close together, are Mt. Meeker (say it three times fast) and Long's Peak. Still not sure which is which.

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Ward offers advice

    The Overland High School geography teacher who made statements "comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler and questioning everything from U.S. drug and foreign policy to capitalism and terrorism," got some advice yesterday on dealing with the media from another heroic advocate of free speech--Ward "Little Eichmanns" Churchill. The Rocky:
    As the controversy moved into its third day, Bennish got some advice from an unlikely source - embattled University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, under fire on a number of fronts and the subject of an ongoing investigation by a school committee.

    According to Lane - who also represents Churchill - the CU professor told Bennish that in dealing with reporters "make sure you know exactly what you're going to say before you say it; don't come out and just start talking."
    "Don't come out and just start talking." Obviously Ward is joking. He's done that with great success his whole career.

    Update: Why does the reporter call Churchill an "unlikely source?" Pirate Ballerina, for one, points out that Bennish is just another "little Wardo," and so an apt pupil for the big guy.

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    No-lose snooze

    It could happen to anyone, so I don't want to mock poor almost-74-year-old Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but the graphic with this story is hilarious. Newsbusters: Ginsburg falls asleep: Media pretend not to notice.

    But this drawing is a joke, right? I mean, did her head just fall
    forward like that? If so, did it make a "bonk" sound when it hit? And
    guys? You might want to check on her. Remember: 74 years old.

    Newsbusters doesn't give a link and I can't find it on FNC's site, so color me (inside the lines!) skeptical.

    Tiny bubbles

    Yes, I heard about the high-school kid in Aurora who tape-recorded a teacher's (Ward) Churchillesque rant to the impressionable yoot in his geography class. Heard the tape, too. Here's my contribution to the controversy: 1. The guy's an idiot. 2. Nothing. 3. That's it. 4. Really.

    Update: The Rocky has: the basic story; one on the protests fer and agin' (which were pathetic, of course); CBS4's report (extreme dork warning!); and audio of the teacher's wankfest from KOA.

    The Post has only an unbylined AP story that focuses on the protest to support the teacher, quotes nothing the teacher said and paraphrases his obligatory and explicit Bushitler comparison as "some people compare Bush to Adolf Hitler [my italics]." Weird. Or not.

    Correction: Sorry, I should have listened a little harder. Teach didn't say Bush = Hitler but rather that most everyone thinks Bush = Hitler. So AP was right, kisses be upon them (kbut).

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    "So unlikely a league"

    As most people eventually learn, it's not a good idea to read manifestoes. They tend to cause problems. But today Wretchard links to one in which an interesting assortment of brave people calls for an end to Islamic totalitarianism. Well worth reading. And, of course, likely to cause problems. And guess where this manifesto was first published in full (according to one of Wretchard's readers)? The Jyllands-Posten.

    Where'd everybody go?

    Jeez, some loyal readers the Drunkablog has. The minute he stops posting everyone buggers off. Is that nice? What if the Drunkablog had a heart attack and this was the only way he could call for help? He'd be lying here all rotty, is what. At least, after a few days.

    But when this little project is done he'll get his revenge. There'll be more posting than ever. And it'll be more boring! More unfunny! And more ungrammatical! Than ever! Also! In the meantime, there's always some leftover kibbles of wisdom in the filthy corners of this blog (sorry, just fed Billy Bob). Explore!