Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are The Democrats That Timid, Or Simply That Well Bought?

This (like many things) pisses me off: the Democrats are going to roll over and allow the moratorium on offshore drilling to expire next week. WTF, guys? Are y'all truly so craven that the big bad MINORITY PARTY is gonna give you a swirlie that you simply gave in? Or are you just another set of bought-and-paid for tools of Big Oil?

Is there a single person in the United States of America who can both walk and chew gum simultaneously who believes that expanding offshore drilling now will have ANY effect on short-term oil prices? If so, who the fuck are these people? They're either lying or retarded or both.

And this would have been a great moment for a bit of political theater. The Dems could have brandished alternative energy proposals, accused their colleagues across the aisle of stifling American entrepreneurial innovation, alluded to the growth of the technology sector under previous (Democratic) administrations, made hay with both the high-tech sector, the manufacturing sector, and the greens.

But they caved.

What's the thought process there? "We must be seen to be doing SOMETHING, even if it's the wrong thing!"

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not necessarily OPPOSED to more drilling. Fuck ANWR, drill away, I don't care. But don't set in motion a DECADES-LONG process and tell me it's gonna bring back the days of $2.50/gal gasoline.

How many nuclear plants could we bring on line in that same time frame? How much more efficiency could we build into the national power grid in ten years?

The simple fact is drilling for oil brings high-paying blue-collar jobs to eastern coastal states that vote Republican. Make of that what you will. I am, again unsurprisingly, disgusted by the whole thing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Queers RAWK

Joe King might be the only man left in America who understands punk rock.

OK, y'all calm down, I'll wait.

The Queers make PRETTY SONGS and they make them defiantly, and they reference the Beach Boys, and they don't apologize to you, to me, to anyone. They make gritty bubblegum that you'll sing along with whether you want to or not.

I think that's Punk As Fuck. So do they.

They took the Beach Boys and the Ramones and they smashed them together in a confessional, ironic, knowing way.

Joe King's sister's a novelist. At least memoirist. Look it up. The fambly ain't dumb.

Go see this band at the Hi-Note Lounge next Friday. It will make you a beter person, like Jesus and tofu.


Here's a letter making the rounds among some conservative Christians these days. This is what passes for political discourse. If you don't find this almost as chilling as an Osama Bin Laden video, then we are living in different universes:
Dear friends:

Barack Hussein Obama has taken the nation by storm. From obscurity, with zero executive experience, or much of any kind, he has vaulted into the position of Presidential frontrunner. It is stunning. On the surface, it appears attributable only to his eloquent oratory and his race. But an invisible factor may be a strong spiritual force behind him, causing some people to actually swoon in his presence.

I have been very concerned that he has publicly said that he does not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven. This makes both the Bible and Jesus a liar, and it means that Christ has died in vain. A person cannot be a true Christian who believes that there are other ways of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with God. Only Jesus has paid the price for that.

Therefore, there is, indeed, another spirit involved. And this spirit has come into our national life like a flood. Last week at Obama’s acceptance speech, that spirit exalted itself in front of a Greek temple-like stage, and to a huge audience like in a Roman arena. Omama was portrayed as god-like. His voice thundered as a god’s voice.

At the end, Democratic sympathizer Pastor Joel Hunter gave the benediction and shockingly invited everyone to close the prayer to their own (false) gods. This was surely an abomination, but it was compatible with Obama’s expressed theology, and Hunter’s leftist leanings.

God was not pleased.

And God says, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).

Enter Governor Sarah Palin. With incredible timing, the very next day, Sarah Palin also appeared out of nowhere. Her shocking selection as John McCain’s running mate stunned the world and suddenly took all the wind out of Obama’s sails.

We quickly learned that Sarah is a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian, attends church, and has been a ministry worker.

Sarah is that standard God has raised up to stop the flood. She has the anointing. You can tell by how the dogs are already viciously attacking her. But they will not be successful. She knows the One she serves and will not be intimidated.

Back in the 1980s, I sensed that Israel’s little-known Benjamin Netanyahu was chosen by God for an important end-time role. I still believe that. I now have that same sense about Sarah Palin.

Today I did some checking and discovered that both her first and last names are biblical words, one in Hebrew the other in Greek:

Sarah. Wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. In Hebrew, Sarah means “noble woman” (Strong’s 8283).

Palin. In Greek, the word means “renewal.” (Strong’s 3825).

A friend said he believes that Sarah Palin is a Deborah. Of Deborah, Smith’s Bible Dictionary says, “A prophetess who judged Israel…. She was not so much a judge as one gifted with prophetic command…. and by virtue of her inspiration ‘a mother in Israel.’”

Only God knows the future and how she may be used by Him, but may this noble woman serve to bring renewal in the land, and inspiration.

The author of the letter is Jim Bramlett, a stooge for Pat Robertson, and a purveyor of recordings of angels singing. I shit you not. Well, damn. I'd link to it, but mysteriously all the links to the singing angels have been pulled since I started working on this post. Funny, that. You'd think you'd want folks to hear that beautiful, heavenly music.

So it seems certain segments of the Froth Squad have anointed the divine miss Sarah the best thing since, well, Old Testament justice itself. Or maybe they're scared they'll lose the elction and they're scrabbling for every deluded moron's vote that they can find.

I mean, I couldn't write that bombastically if I'd been huffing paint all day -- and believe me, I've tried.

Monday, September 15, 2008

RIP, David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace (DFW) is dead by his own hand.

I'm not his biggest fan. I didn't like everything he wrote. I thought Infinite Jest was way too long and self-indulgent and navel-gazing. I thought much of his writing worked as literature in the same way that a good close-up magician works: it's all a trick, but you're dazzled nonetheless.

I tried to read Everything and More and I was baffled by the math. He made me not just feel dumb, but KNOW dumb: I was the kid with his nose pressed to the window of the bakery, the dog staring at the pointing finger.

He hung himself. I wonder if he left a note. I wonder if that note had footnotes. I wonder how many miles of verbiage his act of desperation will generate. I wonder how many more people will kill themselves now. If that mind, that beautiful machine, that culmination of nature and grace -- if THAT mind can't take it, what are the rest of us supposed to do?

It would be easy to say he aimed too high. That would excuse us all for aiming lower. It would be easy to paint his as a cautionary tale -- hubris, over-intellectualism, the danger of youthful success. That would excuse us all for the failings of our ego. It would be easy to say he was depressed.

It's harder to think that that fine mind looked ahead, sensed the patterns in the weave, and made a rational decision. I don't believe that. I don't want to believe that. I'll wear this body down to a nub before I'll give in. We all tell ourselves that.

Fuck you, DFW. You were a genius. A polymath humanist trying to make sense of it all, or at least to dissect it into such discrete parts that others could admire the assemblage. But*

*this space left deliberately unfinished.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Shunning The Stupid

There's an interesting set of articles up at The Chronicle of Higher Education with the delightfully terse titles "On Stupidity" and "On Stupidity, Part 2". The first is a review of several books which collectively makes the argument that:
Americans, particularly those now entering college, have been rendered "stupid" by a convergence of factors including traditional anti-intellectualism, consumer culture, the entertainment industry, political correctness, religious fundamentalism, and postmodern relativism, just to name [a few].
While this smacks of "round up the usual suspects", the author makes the case in Part 2 that pedagogy has trailed technology, and so a teaching emphasis on using electronic tools effectively and intelligently can offset some of the damage done by young people's absorption in the medium. It would be nice to think so, wouldn't it?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sexy Science Webcams Are Waiting For You!

Watch the beginning of the end of the world as the first beam circulates in the Large Hadron Collider LIVE September 10 (from 9:00 to 18:00 CEST) at CERN's website: clicky

Of course, there will be no danger of spontaneous black hole formation or sudden presence of Combine shock troops because they won't actually start the smashy-smashy until later this year and the facility is not located at Black Mesa. This is just a preliminary lap, a warm-up. Physicists hope that by colliding ever smaller particles with enormous amounts of energy they'll find the Higg's Boson, or top quark, the particle that (we think) imparts mass to other particles and that sounds like the name of someone in a horizontally-striped shirt with a parrot on his shoulder. A secondary goal is to provide employment for physicists everywhere, as well as giving them a sweet place to crash while they're in Switzerland. (See whut I did thar?)


Edited 9/09/08 to correct description of Higg's boson.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Support Palin as VP? Read this first

This letter was written by a Wasilla, AK resident who is quite familiar with the woman who would like to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Thought-provoking for conservatives and liberals alike.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Why I Play Video Games

"When a man cannot get what he wants in one world, he finds it in another." -- Voltaire