• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Lady V on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    paper doll on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    riverdaughter on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    JMAC on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    paper doll on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    paper doll on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    paper doll on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    Lady V on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    Lady_V on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    katiebird on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    abcd on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    riverdaughter on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    abcd on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    riverdaughter on I’ve just gotta get a me…
    riverdaughter on I’ve just gotta get a me…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos debate Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    February 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    2829  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • Electability
      I'm not a political scientist, man, but I do read them.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Trump is viable in a general election and has left-flanked Hilary
      He’s a nativist populist. Yesterday during the debate he said that he wanted something even better than the single payer that Sanders is offering. The he said that people are dying on the street (from poverty) and that he’d make that stop. If Trump is the general election candidate, he left flanks Hilary on economics. […]
  • Top Posts

Happy New Year!

FINALLY, things might be turning around. Oh, sure, I’m going to have to watch my wallet for a long time but January 1, 2016 is a billion times better than 365 days earlier.

Don’t get me wrong, the economy still sucks. Don’t let anyone fool you. And now people are a lot less able to absorb the shock of more blows to their personal finances. I think historians are going to have a field day when they look back on this era after the bubble burst in 2008 and find that neither party was in control. Nope, we’ve been in the hands of the grasshoppers for the last eight years. It remains to be seen whether our current crop of candidates can turn it around.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it, check out The Big Short this weekend, then come back and look me straight in the eye and tell me the bankers didn’t buy the 2008 election in order to save their asses. There are still a lot of people in denial about how Barack Obama became president. It’s time to face up to that. They didn’t support Hillary back 2008. Time to think about that really hard without all the Bro’s vs Ho’s memes getting in the way.02

Hillary nagged me relentlessly in the last few days for money.  I don’t think she really has a shortage of donors but some of us have been disengaged and I have had to dig myself out of a hole. So, I didn’t make a contribution in 2015. But I will this year.

Yes, I think she’s got to shake things up. THAT’s what Trump enthusiasts are responding to, whether or not he is a repulsive, destructive, disrespectful blow hard or not.

And I really wish she’d drop the stupid profit sharing idea. It’s a market tested gimmick. The wealthy would love for us to fall for that. They’re probably thinking they can toss us a gnarled bone like profit sharing and we’ll be happy with it instead of real income stability. They think we’re stupid. It smells like Lily Ledbetter. And I’ve seen how profit sharing works. The MBAs will write the rules and share most of the profits amongst themselves while rank and file and research people get the dregs that will not adequately compensate them for all their hard work. Please, Hillary, just stop.

Anyway, I’ll make that donation when I get around to it. Right now, I have a teensy bit of money that I can use to buy a new coat. I’ve been wearing my 20 year old peacoat and it’s time for something fresher.

Yesterday, I went to an impromptu tea party at my aunt’s house and it was the best New Year’s in a long time.

I finally slept with the lights off.

Happy New Year.

 

Damn you, Swan Lake

Nutcracker season is wrapping up, on to {{ugh}} Swan Lake.

As many of you know, I am not a fan of story ballets. The music is nice and familiar, I get that. And if you’re into tutu’s, there’s no shortage in a story ballet. But I think the reason why I really don’t like them is because many of them, especially the Petipa choreographed ballets, were show pieces for specific ballerinas or male dancers who already had a gimmick. In other words, some of the story ballets come off as thinly disguised variety show acts. Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Nutcracker are the worst offenders.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this if you see each dance separately. I like a good Nutcracker Waltz of the Flowers, Mirlitons and Arabians as much as the next person. But please, please, PLEASE, do not try to oversell them. Swan Lake is supposed to be a Russian classic and now I can appreciate some of the pas de deux for the hard work that they are but sometimes, it takes a ballet historian to move you past all the melodrama to the dark, erotic world of… swan women.

Tamara Rojo, artistic director of the English National Ballet, and former principal dancer of The Royal Ballet, pulls this off brilliantly. In this documentary, Good Swan, Bad Swan, she breaks down Swan Lake from the inside out and explains what was going on in Europe’s intellectual circles when Swan Lake was created. Rojo does her best to redeem Petipa as a musical choreographer and I think her argument works in a 19th century context. But her breakdown of the black swan pas de deux will give you a new appreciation for evil swan girls. Here’s part three of the documentary, picking it up when the Prince throws his ball and Odile crashes the party at the 6 minute mark:

 

If you’re not into traditional Swan Lake, don’t despair, there are more modern versions. The Royal Danish Ballet re-envisioned Swan Lake earlier this year. This one features a fantastic set, moody blues, golden centerpieces and a very dark ending. The eroticism is revealed in all it’s triumphant glory. It’s like Swan Lake meets Rosemary’s Baby. Now, this is a Swan Lake I’d pay money to see.

Here is part 1:

And here is part 2:

 

 

Christmas Break

I’m relaxing. Do not point me to any horrific videos of violence.

Let’s talk about less weighty matters.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 10.29.11 AMMusic: The Third Annual “Lick My Love Pump” Award is upon us. Each year, this award goes to the catchiest single with the raunchiest lyrics. Previous winners have been Bruno Mars for Gorilla and Beyonce for Blow. I’ve been listening to Hozier and Florence and the Machine since Brook went off to seek her fortune at an institution of higher learning. So, I don’t really know who the contenders are this year. Any suggestions?

Games: I’m looking for a game that’s as beautiful as Monument Valley for my iPhone. Also, does anyone have any experience with Eurogames like Settlers of Catan? I see Eurogame groups popping up all over Pittsburgh but it usually involves hanging out at a Crazy Mocha with strangers. So, I need a gateway game in this genre that I can sink my teeth into.

Books: My newest favorite author is Kate Atkinson whose Jackson Brodie detective novels are hilarious but are also deeply human. I’m looking for more good books. Preferably historical fiction, political intrigue, light on the bodice ripping. Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series comes pretty close but can be a tad too raping and pillaging. Suggestions welcome.

What are you up to?

 

Christmas Mish Mash

1446786969_887534_986393164758765_6149231309394064296_o

Christmas in Oakmont, PA

Mish Mash being an Algonquin word meaning a calorie laden mixture of dried fruits, cured meat strips and animal fat.

Yeah, I’m playing Balderdash. I have no idea what the etymology of Mish Mash is. But I do know that Monongahela is a Lenape word that means “the banks cave in” or “it has a loose bank”. So, all you cousins up on the hill, be careful up there.

This is just a collection of stuff, thoughts, etc.

First up: there are two things I will never put in my breakfast smoothie- Spinach and beets. These are an abomination.

Second: Joy Womack, the American ballerina who dances for Moscow’s Kremlin Ballet, is now touring China with her company. You can follow Joy’s adventures in China here. I like Joy’s tour videos. I didn’t post all of the ones she did a couple of weeks ago but they are worth watching, especially the one where she does the impression of the Russian flight attendant. Too funny. In addition to her tour videos, Joy vlogs her daily struggles in the company, getting her custom made pointe shoes into a country that has been sanctioned, what happens when one of her partners goes on a binge, learning Swan Lake with her other partner Misha Martinyuk and general ups and downs of being on one day and off the next through no fault of her own.  She supports herself in Russia (because dancers all over the world get paid crap) by selling the Prima Bar. They’re little snack bars for people on the go who have to maintain an optimal weight.

Third: I found this reponse from Adrian Marshall on Quora under the question “Do some movie villains have a point?” It’s about Darth Vader’s motivations. I have to say I am convinced now. The prequels might have sucked been suboptimal but I think this summary shows what George Lucas was trying to do. In other words, the Jedi and the Republic are not entirely innocent. For instance, what do Qui Gon and Obi Wan Kenobi do when they meet Anakin Skywalker?

Let’s see, he was born a slave to a single mother on the desert planet Tatooine.  One day, as for[ce]tune would have it, two Jedi land on his planet.  And not because they abhor slavery or possess some sense of righteousness, but because they think he fulfills THEIR prophecy, they seek to free him.  What do they do with his mother? Well, they left her in a state of forced servitude.

They take him in despite trepidation by the Jedi Council, letting the boy know that he was unwanted from the start.  They forbade him to see his mom and gave him mixed messages of no attachments, but total loyalty to the order.  They feared that he missed and worried about his mother too much.  So what did they do?  Did, at any point in the 10 years between PM and AOC, anyone go and purchase her freedom to I don’t know, set the boy’s mind at ease?  Nope, they left her on a desolate, crime-ridden world, as an effin’ slave!

Sometimes, I get the feeling that the American political parties are playing out this plot…

Lastly, a couple of Jews, one of which is a biblical scholar, tell us all about Christmas. By the way, GoT Academy has some of the best, insightful analysis of the historical background for the Game of Thrones and related topics that you’re going to find on YouTube. Plus, they are irreverent, funny, and BOLD. Check them out.

So, there you go. Christmas *is* pagan.

Origin (From the Oxford English Dictionary)

Late Middle English: from Latin paganus ‘villager, rustic’, from pagus ‘country district’. Latin paganus also meant ‘civilian’, becoming, in Christian Latin, ‘heathen’ (i.e., one not enrolled in the army of Christ).

It sounds so innocuous when you put it that way.

It all started with the Winter Solstice, which, IMHO, is the only reason to celebrate the season. And people who are protesting too loudly that there’s a war on Christmas (which they stole from the pagans anyway) or abstaining from in order to make a religious point that is lost on the rest of us, are missing out on the light, smells, sounds, tastes and other sensory pleasures of the season. The first humans to recognize this time of year were celebrating nature. A natural god is totally cool with saying Happy Solstice.

By the way, jumping on the War on Christmas bandwagon because you think it makes you cool can not mask a mean spirited, Grinchy heart. Just sayin’. Some of us can see right through that to the cold hearted, manipulative narcissist inside.

Chill out, O’Reilly.

Happy Solstice

 

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”

-JRR Tolkien

 

Sunday Morning Rude Awakening

reyRey. Last name Solo or Skywalker? (I’m leaning towards Solo)

Hey, do you remember when Tweety said that the only reason why Hillary Clinton got into the senate was because people felt sorry for her? Ah la-la-la! Those were the days. I remember watching one of her senate debates when my news channels came from NY and she always deftly creamed her opponents. In 2007, she hesitated about telling other candidates that they had just repeated exactly what she just said. Not anymore. She called Bernie out last night after he repeated less eloquently her plan for stabilizing the middle east.

She has learned well. We won’t say the Force is with her yet, mostly because she’s leaning too heavily on those data models. I don’t know anyone who wants to work for themselves and my personal experience with profit sharing is that it sucks and is no substitute for a living wage or income stability.

Oh, and the best way to fix the ACA? Price controls. JMHO. I know, nobody wants to talk about it but it’s the crucial piece that is missing from the US healthcare system that every other successful system in the world thinks is a no-brainer.

Which means we have no brains.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about Political GabFest, Slate’s political podcast. I checked it out last night because I wanted to find something boring to listen to so I could fall asleep. Turns out it’s better than I thought and I spent the night paying attention.

The hosts are John Dickerson, David Plotz and Emily Bazelon. Emily Bazelon breaks down the Supreme Court’s upcoming cases. There’s a lot of tension between the hosts. They seem fairly well informed and not too dogmatic, except I didn’t really understand Emily’s take on renaming the Woodrow Wilson School in Princeton. She’s missing the point of Princeton, which is about as traditional as you can get. I’m not saying it’s good. But it is where we get our titans of Wall Street and they have legacies, and eating clubs. Woodrow Wilson’s recent fall from grace could mean that the school gets renamed the Goldman-Sachs School. Be careful what you wish for, Em.

In general, Political GabFest gets a thumbs up. And I don’t even read Slate all that often. Binge listening gave me insight into how gobsmacked these three are by the two decade culmination of events. If you’ve been an outsider for the last 4 election cycles, well, you already know how bad things are. But if you’ve been hobnobbing with the in-crowd, even if you’re technically a lefty, the turn that Americans have made towards indiscriminate hatred and cruelty can come as a bit of a surprise.

I had my first “No shit Sherlock” moment when they started to talk about how Trump’s popularity seems to be resilient the more crazy his talk is. (see this week’s The Chaos Candidate and Is he Mussolini or Hitler?) Are they starting to sense a Dark Triad forming? That’s where three personality disorders, antisocial, narcissistic and Machiavellian come together. Can we compare Donald Trump’s rise to Mussolini or Hitler without violating Godwin’s law? I’m afraid we must. I’m going with Mussolini. We don’t see the cruelty yet.

But they’re shocked that things have gone this far without any brake on his outrageous talk. In fact, the more outrageous he is, the more support he seems to be getting. That’s starting to alarm them and they think it might be due to the amount of reinforcement he is getting from the right wing media. It says lies and repeats those lies over and over again and they start to stick. And that’s really scary. Shouldn’t someone do something??

It’s almost like the journalism world is finally waking up to the way things really are. Like they’re finally understanding Jon Stewart’s plea on CrossFire to stop because it’s hurting America. It’s all fun and games to bash liberals, treat politics as a horse race, do the “earth is round?, opinions differ” stories until the truth is no longer recognizable and people honestly can not tell how far they have strayed from where we were 20 years ago.

Will it stop them from mechanically whaling on Hillary Clinton because everyone else is doing it? I don’t know but Emily B. did actually start to see Clinton as having “warm” and “human” qualities when Hillary was testifying before Congress regarding Benghazi.

She was surprised at this?

Oh, that’s right. For the past 22 years, we’ve had to put up with the Sally Quinn’s and Tweety’s painting this image of Hillary Clinton as being a cold, calculating, unpleasant, humorless opportunist. Turns out that when you actually start to pay attention, because she is one of the few candidates this campaign whose qualifications and experience have to be taken seriously, then you start to realize that maybe, just maybe, you’ve been lied to. But it is a universal truth that every Mean Girl Queen Bee knows that if you keep repeating lies and distortions, deliberately mischaracterize a person’s intentions and actions, and mock them relentlessly, the target’s actual behavior, while being perfectly normal, can almost be seen to be completely at odds with what you’ve been told. You’ve got to re-evaluate. Maybe you’ve been wrong.

Maybe the right has too much influence and can scare monger indiscriminately. Maybe they’ve taken things too far.

In the world of high control groups, we call this “waking up”. Now, if we could only get some of the other journalists to do this, acknowledge that they’ve been the unwitting flying monkeys of some people with dark intentions, and reverse course as quickly as possible. There’s more at stake than Hillary’s presidency.

Trump is a bad moon on the rise.

Democratic Poo Flinging Debate?

70f12ea4808eccf1021ef4c00bc7c5bd

Reaction to an unexpected opportunity

Oh, we got trouble. We’ve got The Donald flirting with his dark side and scaring Americans to death over Muslims. And by the way, did Ted Cruz really say that only Christian refugees from the middle east should be let into the country? How is he going to know whether they’re really Christian? Do they have to bring baptismal certificates with them? Yeah, I can see that being the first thing to grab when you’re leaving your house in a war zone. “Honey, where did we put those baptism pictures from last year’s evangelical revival tent show in Homs?”

Wait! What about agnostics or atheists? Are they allowed into the country as long as they’re not Muslim? You gotta ask these questions because from what I can recall, nobody is hated more than an atheist. Or how about panentheists? What kind of religious test are we going for here? What if you just don’t believe the Bible is an inspired godly text that needs to be followed, um, religiously?

I only ask.

But let’s get real. This debate is going to be about whether Hillary and Bernie can talk the nation off a ledge or whether they’re going to snap at each other over some stupid data model that presumes that we can all be broken down into our socio economic group and grocery store buying habits?

Bring it on.

Live blog the atrocities here.

Note that the debate is on ABC tonight. ABC isn’t streaming in Pittsburgh and I’m not dragging my butt down to my chilly basement family room to watch it on the big screen. But you can stream the audio on TuneIn radio. Go to the WSB station.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 557 other followers