Saturday, June 7, 2008

BI Serenade

Despite what looks like at least ten initiatives/referenda soon to be weighing down Oregon ballots, the Eugene Register-Guard says it's really difficult to collect signatures these days.

Apparently signers have to fill out all their personal information for themselves, and apparently the signature-gatherer has to watch each and every signature be signed. Apparently that's bad.

It's gonna be a great run, this time, btw: anti-immigrant insanity, obscene crime bills, the shifting of lottery revenues away from schools towards public safety, Tort reform, incentive pay for teachers, paycheck deception and further anti-union diddling, etc.

What a horror show. I know Uncle is susceptible to "direct democracy" - particularly cuz it's influenced his Sun River tactics - but I look at this process and wonder, uh, really?!? Just this year alone, there's a slate of initiatives that could turn our greentastic I-5 corridor into Hatebag Alley.

I'll have a lot more to say about this weirdness, obviously - just thought I'd break the ice. Note that the legislature passed the strictures that make the initiative process more difficult. More than being just a left-right, issue-based zone of electoral struggle, the initiative process is a challenge and/or a threat to the statutory authority of the legislative process. Some would say it's a challenge to deliberative democracy in general, but Jurgen Habermas I'm not. In my admittedly dim, crusty but not hungover view, "Deliberative Democracy" can only be fetishized by someone ignorant of liberalism's complicity with capitalist penetration, slavery, patriarchy, etc. I don't think "rational discourse" is an end in itself, so my analysis of the initiative process , hopefully, will always be more than liberal.

The Euros Are Here!

And just in time, without hockey I'm going into Euro-sport withdrawal (sorry French Open, the clay courts of Roland Garros are no siren to these eyes).

I've been in something of a retro seventies vibe as of late. Nothing like putting on some aviators and talking gas crisis to make a guy pine for a little grass, sweet summer nights, mellow grooves on the radio, and maybe some cocaine later in the evening. As such, I've decided to back the Dutch this time around. I'll pretend its 1974 and Total Football will win my heart all over again. I was two last time, so winning my heart was no great feat, but still, who will ever forget the loping strides of Johan Cruyff?

I'll admit I know nothing about the modern incarnation if the Dutch squad. I do know they are in a group with the French and the I-ties, and that's enough for me to throw on my orange sweater (have I mentioned the lousy weather we are having?), hoist a cold Heinie Amstel Light (the diet's back on, baby!) and look up something Dutch to shout in encouragement of the team.

Given that Neds has a small chance of getting out of the first round, let me go ahead and pick a playoff team. In a stunner (to me), I'm going to go ahead and pick Spain. But only because half of Liverpool plays for Spain, not because I have any love of the Spaniards.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Please don't

I get the feeling I'm going to be writing a bunch of these.

Dear Bay Area local color pundit guy (h/t),

A substantial portion of the U.S. population - including, I imagine, a surprisingly significant number in your readership - is going to be coming to grips with the possibility of casting a presidential ballot for a black man. Many will struggle with the decision solely on the basis of race, and some may manage to break through their previously comfortable ways of thinking. It's a significant challenge for Senator Obama to overcome. That's why no one needs to know about this:
Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.

Did we learn nothing from Dennis Kucinich? We love Kucinich! We love it when he offers us red meat. We love his stands on the issues. We love his wife. But he's a vegan who hangs with Shirley MacLaine, so watch out.

With that in mind - do we really want to present Obama as some sort of New Age crystal healer?

Oh, Canada!

As far as I can tell, these are real. Allegedly (I'm not convinced, obviously) they are Canadian Public Service Announcements that (possibly) never aired. But were made for real.

I'm kind of too fucked up about them to comment, so you all please do.


Canadian Domestic Abuse PSA - Watch more free videos


Canadian Domestic Abuse PSA 2 - Watch more free videos

¿Cómo usted dice "moron" en español?

I'm all for bilingual ballots to help our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters participate in the democratic process. On the other hand, I'm also certain that Hispanic voters can discern between a pro-multicultural candidate and an idiot.

veepstakes probuhm savved

Hillary, Swillary, Swoo! In actuality, Barack Obama's veep needs to be one of these two:

Fidel Castro (Communist, Cuba)
Talking Points for Castro as Veep

Okay, so first of all, Castro dropped a groovy non-endorsement recently, calling Barry "the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency." That was effing huge.

Secondly? I mean, shit, Cuba's got like "the dankest" organic farming going on in the world today.

Fuck governors.
why bring on a governor when there are people out there in the world who have executive experience like FC?

Also, this guy's like, even older than McCain, and has better ideas about distribution of wealth than any American president of the last four decades (at least.) When I see video, it seems like everybody's just rolling around in vintage cars and playing ethnic music, down there.

Most importantly, this Castro nomination'd end Right Wing speculation about whether to cast Obama as a McGovern-style wimpy/pissy liberal or as a more dangerous (i.e., black) man with New Left patrons. 'Truth be told, Obama's ascendancy betokens a so-often-unstated, alien usurpation of the DNC. Barry Obama is, in truth, a Pabloist. (The ISO is gonna be on Obama like flies on shit, mark my words. )

Steve Albini (Shellac of North America, the Britt Walford snare sound on the Breeders' Pod)
Talking Points for Steve Albini as veep

Barack Obama needs to be slightly more antagonistic (or, wheeze, "populist") in positioning himself for the general election. That's hard for him because it's not allowed for black people to be antagonistic, ever. And also it's hard for Barry because he's a nerd. Albini is the prototypical "antagonistic nerd," who's taken being smart as far as one can down the road of engagement, malice, irony, etc. These are the forms of tussling that Obama can evoke without horrifying stupid white people such as myself.

Steve Albini laments the vertical integration and/or capitalist penetration of music-making and /or the "record industry," and Barry as we know is rooting out (some of) the financial weeds that long needed rooting at the DNC.

And of course Obama would do well to recall that the pitchfork generation and the pigfuck generation are not the same thing. Albini totally bridges the gap between everyone from Ministry fans to Forced Exposure readers, both of which are as we know, increasingly "loud and proud" and/or "fast and loose" with the $25 donations paypal-style.

(Okay, either these two or Ed Rendell.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Easy solutions for stupid concerns

There are no stupid questions, Eric, just stupid people

This kind of "concern" drives me fucking nuts:
As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date were approached in the third inning by an usher who told them their kissing was inappropriate, Guerrero said.

The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.


"I would be uncomfortable" seeing public displays of affection between lesbians or gay men, said Jim Ridneour, a 54-year-old taxi driver. "I don't think it's right seeing women kissing in public. If I had my family there, I'd have to explain what's going on."

Allow me to demonstrate:
Scene: wobs and l'il wobs at local event
l'il wobs: Dad, why are those two men/women/furries kissing?
wobs: Because they like each other and kissing people you like is fun. Now get your finger out of your nose.

See? Easy! And you didn't have to ruin anyone's evening!

Those Pesky Racist Voters

Leave it to some sports blogger who probably hasn't left his mother's basement in quite some time to nail what I've been harping on for some time now.

It's columns like this that make me realize that I have something to say, but won't ever say it as well as others. At least I can be linky.

From Kissing Suzy Kolber:

Chris Matthews: Turning our attention to the general election, Tim, what do you think we can expect over the next five months here? I think it’s gonna be really, really interesting!

Tim Russert: Me too. I think there’s gonna be a lot of healthy debate. We’re gonna find out a great deal about these two candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama. There’s still a LOT we don’t know about Obama. Right now, we only know his entire life story, the names of everyone he’s ever met, his entire political platform, his voting record, what he likes to eat, and this full body CT scan that was taken just 10 minutes ago. But there is still a LOT we just don’t know. And that’s all gonna be revealed. It’s going to be very, very interesting.

Chris Matthews: Well, before we get to that, let’s look back for a moment. Tim, we’ve been through, what was it? 50 states, and 54 primaries, with over 34 million people voting? That’s AMAZING! And this thing was so close the whole time through! How was Hillary Clinton able to keep this thing so close even when Barack Obama was beating her like a Bensonhurst housewife all through March?

Tim Russert: Two words, Chris. RACIST VOTERS. That was the one key segment of the population that Obama, for whatever reason, just could not get through to.

Chris Matthews: That’s amazing.

Tim Russert: It really is. If Obama wants to win this election, he’s going to have to do a better job reaching out to those hardcore racist voters. I want you to look at some of these polling numbers. Now these are FASCINATING. Racist voters alone make up more than 40% of the electorate.

Chris Matthews: Oh, wow!

Tim Russert: And they’re really crucial in swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Northern Florida, and pretty much any area more than 5 miles away from any major US city. That’s a big voting bloc that Hillary Clinton was able use as a base. Perhaps they admired her sheer force of will. Who knows. Now, the question is: will those racist voters stay with Obama, or will they vote for John McCain instead?
Follow the link for more advice for how Obama can reach out to these "racist voters," including advice from Pat Buchanan!

EW Letter of the Week

The rhetoric about Californians moving to and ruining Oregon used to be pretty heavy back in the '70s and '80s. Oh, Lord we hated those damn Californians. We didn't say "Don't Californicate Oregon" as much as you might think, but maybe only because words like "fornicate" weren't used around the children.

We don't hate on the Californians as much any more. Possibly because they didn't heed our warnings and moved here and destroyed Oregon anyway. It could also be because we Oregonians discovered that Californians were willing to pay ridiculously large sums of money for our houses. It's hard to hate someone who's buying your house for $100,000 more than it is worth.

Also, I think the Californians caught on with opening your public discourse with the phrase "I'm from California..." was the surest way to get people to automatically reject whatever came out of your mouth next. Fortunately for us, Patricia Burkart, formerly of Santa Cruz, CA, did not get the memo. Her letter-to-the-editor of the Weekly is so over-the-top for I second I thought it might be parody. I mean, she mentions that she is from California twice and then takes a swipe at backwardness of we Eugeneans. I don't guess that it is a parody, but either way, I salute Patty's efforts to remind us of the good ol' days.


As someone who for 30 years read the comparable Santa Cruz Good Times weekly, I grew accustomed to a certain ease in negotiating the listed entertainment options. Now, as a Eugene resident, repeatedly I find your calendar of events irritatingly difficult to navigate.

Here are some suggestions.

Bother to write the address, time, phone number and cost of events at each mention of said event. Your modus operandi is to refer readers to some other section/page to get the relevant data. Each time you do this, I feel like using you as fire starter.

Another problem is that very few of your club listings tell what genre the band plays. This is so incredibly irritating. Can’t you insist that if groups want to be listed their main genre statement be a “required field”?

Your club listing is so minimal. Why? Do you or don’t you have a stake in keeping as many clubs open as possible? The Santa Cruz Good Times graphs all the club offerings for the week on a two-page spread so that everything is obvious at a glance. For any given day you see every club, the name of the groups, the styles of music, the cover charges, the phone number, location and start time.

In your weekly a person has to go several steps on several pages before determining that the dive in question is out of town.

I go out almost every night. Just remembering my bad experiences with your rag causes my jaw to tighten.

You owe me more than an apology. You owe me reform.

And by the way, your art reviews. Well, I’ll let that slide; I don’t know your audience. All I know about them is that they insist on scruffy beards and old-timey symphony programs. Sigh.

Patricia Burkart, Eugene

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Please don't

Dear "liberal big-time pundit",
I tell this tale, of course, not merely to remind us that the better world of which Robert Kennedy so movingly spoke died aborning 40 years ago in Los Angeles. I also tell it because I see a dynamic similar to that between the Kennedy and McCarthy campaigns in the relationship between Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's equally historic campaigns, and because today's Democrats have been given a chance -- as they were not in 1968 -- to come together and make the kinds of changes they have only dreamed of over the past four decades.

I'm begging you - please don't make this presidential election about 1968. I say this as a person who stands on the shoulders of that generation and who shares many of their ideals. Seriously, though. Just. Don't.

I know it's tempting. Every election in which I've ever participated (dating back to 1992) has been about the 1960s. Draft dodging, dope smoking, bra burning... yup, we've had to rehash it all. "The Sixties generation is in power!" "We're going to smash the Sixties once and for all!" Now we have a presumptive candidate who (on a lesser historical note) is post-Boomer, who witnessed that decade not as a participant, but as a child.

And you want to start making comparisons back to the Sixties, exactly the turf that the GOP wants us to tread. You don't think they've been stockpiling all that shit on Bill Ayers for nothing, do you?

I'm not saying that there aren't important lessons to be learned from that time, and I'm certainly not implying that we've moved past the big problems that so piqued the consciences of that generation. But we must stop framing our political discourse as a running feud about what went right and wrong in the 1960s.

Same old, same old

Sometimes I think I really miss Eugene. Then other times, not so much. I'll leave it to those of you who are still there to comment on this. Things just never change, do they? Tim Lewis looks a little older and he's now distributing his videos via the YouTubes, but it just looks like more of the same to me. Do. Not. Miss.

Well I'll Be a Monkey's Nephew

It is hard to know just how grand one should be about introducing one's self to a new blog-audience when one is already so late in joining them on this hallowed, Astro Turf path. Having held up Wobs, Dave, EZ and Ash - who, by the way, I've never met, so Ash please allow me to apologize in advance - I'm hard-pressed to enter with too sprawling a manifesto.

But the hell with it
. I am coming to you live from a blog called the prisonship where I have had the pleasure of prancing, volleying, voting and vaulting alongside a very intelligent cadre of unionists, anthropologists, rockers and Sewanee alums. Effective right now I have suspended the PrisonShip's candidacy so as to join this OG-blog's Voyage of Discovery.

I will be writing at you about electoral esoterica, ballot initiatives, redistribution in Latin America, crime novels, rock records, university life, etc. Oh, and "more."

Actually, we'll tread easy on that "university life." Next Februrary I will turn 30 years old as a student, which feels sort of like being a perpetual high school senior (albeit one who attends class). Today I am a prodigal son of the university, out on loan to the labor movement; but this August, I am returning to University so I might dissertate about anti-tax blah-blah-blah, rightist libidinal shit, 527s and the capitalist state.

I also look forward to blogging to you live from the Democratic National Convention in fabulous Denver, reviewing esoteric Trotskyist tendencies, and degenerating into impenetrable and unrewarding word-games from what occasionally seems like a place of earnest engagement. It is nice to join such an important collection of MotherEffers as you MotherEffers. And in a format so universally-respected as the weblog or "blog"?!?!?

More very soon, very soon, soon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Am Old

Any of you all got any idea what this means?

If you want it on a t-shirt, you can get it here.

Funny juxtaposition

This morning while eating my cereal I navigated from this story in the New York Times about Vladimir Putin's penchant for barring his critics from TV news and political talk shows (in some cases actually digitally erasing their likenesses from said programs) over to the OG, where I found 99% of the blog crossed out with strikethrough. trying to tell us something, Dave?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Somebody please buy Ferraro a dictionary...and a clue

I think Jessica over at Feministing got it right with her three-word response to Geraldine Ferraro's editorial in the Boston Globe this weekend: Please just stop.

Seriously, has Ferraro even had time to extract her foot from her mouth after her last mortifying attempt to explain the racial politics of this election? Where to even begin with what is wrong with this latest missive?

The truth is that tens of thousands of women have watched how Clinton has been treated and are not happy. We feel that if society can allow sexism to impact a woman's candidacy to deny her the presidency, it sends a direct signal that sexism is OK in all of society.

Okay, first of all: Is sexism a problem in our society? Absolutely. Has HRC been the target of sexism? Most definitely. Is Clinton going to lose the nomination to Obama because of sexism? I'm sorry, but I am having difficulty making that leap. Where is the evidence that a vote for Obama is an endorsement of patriarchy? Or that sexism is what has motivated a majority of Obama supporters? This is actually a serious question: Is there evidence to back this assertion? Does polling data confirm that a significant percentage of Obama supporters based their decision on gender? I know that poll after poll has shown that many HRC supporters voted based on race, but I don't recall seeing the gender question. (Of course, this may well be a Media Conspiracy. We'll get back to that in a minute...)

Then there's this little gem about "reverse discrimination":

Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama's historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white. It's not racism that is driving them, it's racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don't believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory "Our Time Has Come" they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.

Let's start with, Geraldine, your statement in March was racist. Sorry if that's hard to hear. But in your world somehow it's Obama who is "playing the race card"? Um, call a kettle black much? White folks are upset because they "can't open their mouth without being called a racist," because they "don't expect to be treated fairly," and because Obama signifies to them that "their time has passed"? Seriously??? Please, help me understand this: I am supposed to buy into the idea of white men being oppressed by the emergence of a black leader and, out of empathy and "fairness" for these poor "Reagan Democrats" (who aren't "lucky" enough to be black), I should be mourning any minor undermining of white supremacy? Riiiiight.

However, as a media scholar I think what I find almost as annoying as Ferraro's lack of comprehension of the actual definition of racism is her plan to uncover the Vast Media Conspiracy that helped contribute to the (sexist, "reverse-racist" [sic]) plot to "get" HRC:

In response, a group of women - from corporate executives to academics to members of the media - have requested that the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University and others conduct a study, which we will pay for if necessary, to determine three things.

First, whether either the Clinton or Obama campaign engaged in sexism and racism; second, whether the media treated Clinton fairly or unfairly; and third whether certain members of the media crossed an ethical line when they changed the definition of journalist from reporter and commentator to strategist and promoter of a candidate. And if they did to suggest ethical guidelines which the industry might adopt.

Good lord. This is the kind of thing that drives people in my field up a tree. Just for fun, let's try to operationalize this in the comments, shall we? Please, let's all offer suggestions for how we will (a) define in such a way that we can (b) quantify and measure the Clinton and Obama campaigns' use of sexism and racism as campaign tactics. Don't forget, though: the Shorenstein Center studies journalism, so we won't be analyzing the campaigns themselves, but media coverage of the campaigns. Yeah, this is going to be a great study!

We can just cross number two off the list, since the Shorenstein Center has already done a study about whether the media have treated Clinton fairly or unfairly, which concluded that between January 1 and March 9, the "dominant personal narratives in the media about Clinton and Obama were almost identical in tone." In light of this, might I suggest a new number two? Let's commission a study of the Shorenstein Center to see why their media analysis is so biased in favor of Obama.

Oh, but it's number three that I love best of all: finding out (through "objective" empirical research -- which would be funded by Ferraro and the "angry women") whether "certain members of the media crossed an ethical line when they changed the definition of journalist from reporter and commentator to strategist and promoter of a candidate." Yeeeees. No agenda behind that research question. Really, how soon can this research be completed? Because I am on the edge of my chair just waiting to see the results -- not to mention the methodology section. What will be the unit of analysis here? Can we determine this by analyzing the coverage itself? Or should be looking at editorial policies and job descriptions? It's a good thing we're commissioning the great minds at Harvard to take this on, because my UO media analysis training is so not up to this challenge. Good luck, Shorenstein Center!

Really, seriously Geraldine: Just stop. You're embarrassing yourself.

Pretty much everything you ever needed to know about the town where I grew up

Stanley Cup Ends Tonight Wednesday

Fortunately, the Euros start Saturday.

What the hell am I going to do with my four two days off?

You're Going to Hell (Maybe)

Hey sinners!

If you felt that was a little harsh, I recommend taking the Good Person Test, brought to you by the American Family Association; you will discover that me calling you a filthy, lying sinner is nowhere as harsh as what Jesus would have to say about you. Adultering blasphemer.

What I love about this, aside from the harsh beyond-all-reason God, is that even the extremists on display here don't have the courage to live up to their own theology. If you are going to take the hard line on "Grace" v. "works," take it, but don't back out in the end with the "surrender to Jesus" bullshit. Surrendering to Jesus is an act. It is an attempt to earn one's way into Heaven. If you are going to advance the Grace argument, then we are all sinners and getting into Heaven is completely random.

Of course, now I have absolutely no reason to live by the dictates of your God, especially if being mad at someone means that I am a murderer (how many times have you murdered the Bush administration in your heart?). I have my lottery ticket to heaven, we'll see how she plays.

Shine This!

I'm from Oregon, so I love the rain. An overcast summer day in the low 70s is my idea of a perfect day. Even is now June 2nd and the temperature in Eugene has hit above seventy twice all year so far (maybe thrice). The high for the day is scheduled to be 68. The high for Friday is supposed to be 58 degrees. Fahrenheit!

I could use some warmth. Not only am I tired of being cold, wearing jeans, and seeing my breath while I am grilling, this cold weather is ruining my diet. It is supposed to be warm and I am supposed to be happy with salads, breads, and more salads for dinner. Instead, I want something warm and filling.

Blogging about the weather. It has come to this. EZ, Ash, Lex! Give us something to talk about.