Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All this useless beauty

Gotta love Retro Thing.

Thanks, we'll walk from here

In his latest post, Glenn Greenwald writes about John Cole of the blog Balloon Juice, and his extraordinary post This is No Fun. John, one of the Top 20 conservative bloggers, has gotten off of the bus:
In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don’t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson’s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don’t know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a “terrorist-enabler” than to swing back....

...And I don’t know why my friends on the right still keep fighting for these guys to stay in power. Why do they keep attacking decent people like Jim Webb- to keep this corrupt lot of fools in office? Why can’t they just admit they were sold a bill of goods and start over? Why do they want to remain in power, but without any principles? Are tax cuts that important? What is gained by keeping troops in harms way with no clear plan for victory? With no desire to change course? With our guys dying every day in what looks to be for no real good reason? Why?

You see, John wanted to believe, so he did. He got on the bus 6 years ago and went happily to sleep. Yesterday, he woke up and said "How the fuck did we get here?"

It's interesting, though, to scroll down to the commments, where I expected to see the spittle flyin' and the ad hominems being hurled. Instead, I found more of the same sadness that informs Cole's post, and that sadness was coming from both sides of the aisle. There was a civility, a compassion present, because the truth is: real Americans, true patriots of either party, can only be dismayed at where the bus has taken us. Right now, this second, it's as ugly as it's ever been, as George W. Bush and his henchmen, surveying the wreckage around them and feeling the cold opinion of history being written, drag us all into the gutter.

Then it hit me: while we may be able to wrest Congress away from the Republicans, what will it take to reclaim public discourse from those who make a living by poisoning it? Sure, the Limbaughs and Hannitys come to mind, but the Chris Matthews and Blitzers are, in an insidious way, more dangerous because they are "respectable." But don't be fooled: like good little house slaves, they toil day and night to keep you pseudo-informed and pissed off. For them, comity is death and partisan rancor is the sweet elixir of life, and so, as US troops die and real news goes unreported, all day long they blather about John Kerry's non-existant insult.

So Wolf, you've been warned; Rush, you're on notice: first, we're gonna clean up Washington, then, we're coming for you.

Olbermann, carry on.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Is Massa George heading south?

I'm not sure what to make of the report about Dubya buying 98,000 acres in Paraguay. Is it an investment? Perhaps a dental floss ranch? Because it couldn't have anything to do with avoiding potential future prosecution; we have an extradition treaty with Paraguay.


This just in.....

The extradition treaty excludes "political crimes."


Friday, October 27, 2006

The best record you never heard of...... first in a series

"When I grow up, I want to be an old woman"
Michelle Shocked, "When I Grow Up"

In 1988, Michelle Shocked came out of nowhere with Short Sharp Shocked, her second album that, in the musical desert of the late 80's, presaged the Americana/Roots music movement by at least a decade. Equal parts edgy folk, quirky ballads, and rockers (with some killer rockabilly thrown in for good measure), Michelle made good use of Pete Anderson, Dwight Yoakam's longtime guitarist and producer. A strange pair, to be sure, but for this one album, it worked. Pete is a smokin' player, and "Hello Hopeville" just demands to be cranked up loud.

Also highly recommended, although in a completely different vein, is Shocked's Arkansas Traveller, her homage to bluegrass and minstrel music.
Michelle Shocked lives in California, and continues to record and tour.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Speaking of Retro

My "new" old Sansui AU-7900 integrated amplifier arrived this week. Out in Internetland, there's a definite cult about vintage '70's Sansui gear. Built like a tank, attractive, but with a sound that is warm (some even say tube-like), in spite of the fact that it's solid state.

Now I need a tuner, and I'm smitten with this cool lookin' thing: a Sansui stereo tuner, circa 1972:

It's a Retro Thing

Hat tip to enjoitherhythm; his post below on Boing Boing led me to discover Retro Thing, a blog about vintage tech, a favorite topic of mine.

The radio shown above accomplishes an idea that I've mulled over for years: taking an old radio, and, in a non-destructive way, retrofitting modern electronics into it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dropping the Ball

Like any sane American, I'm looking to Nov. 7 as a watershed event in American history: the day when the most corrupt, lawless administration that has ever occupied the seats of power gets shown the door. Make no mistake: anything less than a clear mandate from the American people that they have Had Enough will be taken by BushCo as a mandate for their agenda. We need to win, and we need to win big.

As Robert Parry notes, the Party Without a Spine seems to be laying back and letting the action come to them. I have The Fear that this is a terrible mistake.

How many times, lo these last years, have the Republicans lobbed up a softball, perfect for smacking out the park, only to see the Dems refuse to take a swing. Here are a few:

- most recently, the Military Commissions Act, a particularly ugly and un-American piece of legislation that jeopardizes habeas rights for all Americans;

- electronic voting with no paper trail: seriously, is there anyone who thinks this is a grand idea? Sure, lobbyists for Diebold are giddy, but that's gotta be a small and lonely crowd;

- a couple of weeks back, Bush said that he would stay the course in Iraq if "only my wife and my dog agreed with me." Wha....? Huh? Surely I heard that wrong.

And I could go on in listing the insults and outrages, large and small, that have been heaped on our heads by BushCo. I'm pissed, and so are you. Whatcha got, Dems? Something like a cross between Keith Olbermann and Hunter S. Thompson would work for me.

***** crickets ****** the wind whistles across the prairie ******

Yeah, that's what I thought. The polls, strongly in your favor at this point, tell you that it's time to play it safe, to keep your mouth shut. Let me clue you in, boys and girls: the Had Enough segment of the country is not looking for NotBush, for Republican Lite, for mealy-mouthed wafflers and triangulators. They, we, I, we're looking for vision, for someone to level with us no matter how hard the truth is. We want to hear about a whole new path.

Sadly, we've heard none of this; not even close, and hence The Fear. Because, at the end of the day, there is this: Republicans stand for something, no matter how wrongheaded it may be. What does Joe Biden stand for? Or, for all his oratorial skills, Barack Obama? For Gawd's sake, say something; take a stand. Out here in the real world, us grownups do it all the time. You might be surprised at the result.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back to the Same Well

I hate to keep going back to the same well, but Billmon smacks another one out of the park with"Babbling Idiots", and as always, does it with a quality of writing that is a pleasure to read. As usual, discussion takes place over at Moon of Alabama.

Scroll down and read The Belly of the Whale also.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Free Democracy

BoingBoing posted about the Democracy Player. I thought it sounded too good to be true, but it is as awesome as he makes it sound. Check it out.

p.s. This is my FAVORITE blog, hands down. Sure I love the political blogs but BoingBoing is it in my opinion.

This rocks! Olberman yet again says what needs to be said. Listening to people like him and Ned Lamont is warm drink. A political tequila shot, is more like it. At some point the baseless, silencing GOP heads will have nothing to say to something like this. Sure it's dramatic but so was Ed Murrow, whom Olberman obviously looks up to. Do you think they let Dub see this kinda stuff? Cheney?....heart attack. Enjoy.

Friday Print Blogging

Since I posted about the Sipsey below, it only makes sense to offer up a print from the Sipsey. This was taken while I was technically "at work", i.e. running down the road to some small Alabama town when this scene, and the early morning light, caused me to pull over and grab the camera. Shot with a Minolta Autocord on Fuji Acros 100 film.

Got to get ourselves back to the Garden

It's a cool, rainy October day here in north Alabama. For Monty and some of his crew, this means one thing: the bugs are gone, the undergrowth is dying off, the creeks are full again, and it's time to head for the Sipsey! The Sipsey Wilderness, that most magical of places, is a hostile place in the summer: snaky, ticks falling like rain, hot and dry. But from November to April, it's perfect. Simply invest a 1-1/2 hour drive from Rocket City, then often as little as a 1/2 hike to a campsite, and you're in a place that, in places, looks very Jurassic. Old growth forest, travelling water, and a psychedelic assortment of moss and lichen.

So: you live around these parts but have never been to the Sipsey? That's just a shame. Email me and I'll make it better.