Saturday, August 23, 2008

20 Proof Ranting

Every Republican talking point from the last nine months distilled into one letter to the editor.

McCain would be best president

I want to encourage people to vote for John McCain for president. He has the maturity, political, military and foreign policy experience needed by a president of the United States.

He supports school vouchers and has the morals for the job. I think McCain’s support for offshore drilling and affordable nuclear energy are good. I also like his wife for her charity work and loyalty to our country.

Barack Obama has none of the above experience. His record is so thin that it barely exists. What record he does have has qualified him as the most liberal member of Congress. He is not loyal or patriotic to the United States. I am thinking about his lack of loyalty in not wanting to wear a flag pin and taking the U.S. flag symbol off his airplane.

He has made major flip-flops on positions during his campaign. I doubt his Christianity, and I think he would say anything to be president. He has talked bad about his white grandmother and threw out his pastor when it was going to hurt his symbolism. When he spoke to the Germans, he sounded like “one worldism.”

After four years of him “remaking” our nation, the people would have lower morals, bad judges would be appointed, we would have higher taxes, the national debt would be higher and there would be more government regulations.

Please support McCain for president.

Carolyn Webb


I think someone missed the takeaway message of Tropic Thunder.

The Silent Majority

The first ever poll of OGnian thought is closed and I will now present the results:

What does this mean? First, will polls continue? since a whopping 19.6% of visitors to the site expressed a willingness to endure polls, they will continue.

81% of visitors (I have used the average visits per day for the past week) did not vote. They are well known as "the silent majority."

The will of the silent majority is clear from this poll; They want LAW and ORDER. The polling staff (EZ) interprets this to mean that Obama will pick Biden. (The fact that this already happened is iron-clad proof that this is a valid poll)

As the pentograph clearly shows, we should be moving, "forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." Kodos 1996

For those waiting with much anticipation the announcement of the next poll, it will be text messaged to you (or just posted on the site) by 3 am tomorrow.


Hopefully my friends at AFT are pissing their pants with joy.

I did some surfing in the comments of the netroots. The funniest comment I saw was largely incoherent, but the gist was that the selection of Biden is a tired selection and indicates that Obama is starting to realize that he just doesn't have what it takes to be president. This is, of course, good news, because it a further proof that he is close to dropping out of the race and givng the nod to Hillary, the only person on the planet who can defeat McCain.

I got my text at 1:03 am, or actually 7:18 am when I got out of bed. After seeing the headline of the paper. The texting was an interesting idea, but was never going to work. I give the campaign credit for trying something new and to give a little something to the supporters. (Looking at that last comment, I realize that unless you were reading comments where people were bitching about getting at text at 4 am when they were "promised" it wouldn't come before 6 am, or that it came after CNN was reporting the selction, my defense of the campaign might seem weird. As if you didn't know, the netroots expect the world.)

Let's see what Biden's got going. I predict that the media wil be so eagar to catch him in a gaffe that they will jump the gun and maybe we'll have a positive bounce from that...I'm thinking the Obama overplaying the "race card" brewhaha.

What do you got? Pumped up? Gonna watch at nooner? All in, we're gonna win!

Friday, August 22, 2008

USA All The Way, Indeed

A different take on NBC's Olymipic coverage. A more demented take.

Hot Air Tour, Indeed

Possibly the greatest sentence I have ever read:
Add to these proposed new climate change taxes possible gas, tobacco, and statewide property tax increases, coupled with already high federal taxes, the loss of the Bush tax cuts and many new local bond and levy ideas on the ballot this fall and it becomes clear that the overall burden on taxpayers will take its toll on our jobs and economy.
From the Oregon Republican Party's advertisement for their "Hot Air Tour."

It's Like Milwaukee's Best

In that it makes my head hurt.

The Onion AV Club has an interview with the guy who created Stuff White People Like. The dude pretty much admits to being an over-privileged hipster who just got famous by accident for writing shit that made him giggle. The hipsters who read the AV Club, naturally, have to hate on this guy because this is something that they might actually like, but it has achieved some level of popularity, rendering it unacceptable to a hipster (see Chuck Klosterman, Judd Apatow, or Batman). Not that those that read the AV Club would admit to being hipsters, which is all part of tension, as to admit that you don't like something because it has achieved popularity is the height of hipsterdom, so part of the commentary is a struggle to come to grips with the fact that they, the AV Club readers, are the very people they hate most. Unless they are not.


From the Republican National Senatorial Committee.

Four Questions for McCain

Those that live in my head know that I have an active fantasy life. In one of my fantasies, presidential candidates are asked real questions during debates, instead of being lobbied softballs. For instance, I fully expect this question to be asked of McCain at some point in the three debates:
Senator McCain, you have claimed that your experience as a prisoner of war has prepared you to lead this great nation during troubling times ahead. Would you care to pontificate about the qualities you gained during your noble sacrifice for this nation and how they have prepared you to lead this great nation to glory? And if you have the time, please, try to think of anything your opponent may have done that rivals your great sacrifice for this great nation.
The questions I compose are, as you may imagine, different. They are not necessarily original, but I liked to hear them asked. I like to think they are tough, but fair. I try to avoid cheap shots, like asking if a candidate's position on the death penalty might change if his wife was raped, or if a candidate realizes that even running against a sitting president in a time of war could embolden our enemies.

All I lack to make my fantasy a reality is a degree in journalism, experience working in politics, laser surgery, voice conditioning, and your impassioned demand to the networks that they ask these powerful questions. (No links. Just type "networks," "debate questions," and "where can I demand that you ask specific questions written by this guy on the internet?" into Google. I'm sure appropriate links will come up. Is there nothing Google can't do?)

On to my penetrating and disturbing questions:

1. Senator McCain, you have said repeatedly that you would you would follow Bin Laden "to the gates of Hell" if necessary to capture or kill him. You have, however, criticized your opponent for saying that he would launch unilateral strikes into Pakistan, if he believed there was a reasonable chance to capture or kill Bin Laden. How can you pledge to pursue Bin Laden to the "gates of Hell," but not Pakistan?

2. You have repeatedly said that the American economy is on a solid footing, but your campaign is running a commercial on the economy that says, "We're worse off than we were four years ago." Will you name three ways that a McCain administration would differ from the Bush administration on the economy, and where do you see the economy economy headed six months from now?

3. You have strongly opposed any timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, often equating timetables with defeat, and strongly criticizing your opponent for his support of timetables. Now that the Bush administration and the Iraqi government have signed an agreement that stipulates a timetable for troop withdrawal, have you changed your position on troop withdrawal and, if not, do you reserve the right to break our agreement with the Iraqi government if you believe it is in the interest of the United States?

4. On several occasions in the 1980s you opposed and voted against a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and you also opposed the establishment of a state holiday in your home state of Arizona. You recently said that you regret your opposition to a holiday for Dr. King, saying that you were "slow" and "a little late" to recognize King's "greatness." Can you tell us your original rationale for opposing the holiday for Dr. King and exactly what lead you to "realize" his greatness?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moms, Nature's Liars

With a hat tip to LGM, Jonah Goldberg is actually bragging about an e-mail his mommy got from a family friend praising his book.

My mom told me I was mildly decent looking, so I know that moms will say anything.

LA Story + The Next POTUSA

  1. It would seem that SEIU members in CA continue to be beset by the administrative, fiduciary and political shortcomings of their leadership. Hopefully someone is writing a political biography of STERN and the last 20 years of the SEIU. How these mishaps in LA relate to: the municipal, state and federal government and current "labor" law; corporate intrigue; SEIU's previous melees with CNA in CA and elsewhere; SEIU's "growth" model; and Sal Roselli's reform movement, is anybody's guess. But only a genius like the guy at LaborPains would extrapolate that this trusteeship is somehow testimony against collective bargaining and/or the democratic rights of all workers to voluntary association.
  2. Themselves 'pro-Secret Ballot' activists of the American Right, the people at NW Republican did a great job finding and posting this long, wind-y video glimpse into both Obama's understanding of EFCA and his willingness to give the same moralistic, finger-wagging "but behave yourself" speech to unions that he gave to working-class and poor blacks on Father's Day. 'Not trying to be too cynical, mind you - but remember I'm going to be at the Convention for the next week, so I am overcompensating by indulging my Trot-ish tendencies. Suffice it to say, it's not FDR we're dealing with here. Or Woodrow Wilson.'s, uh, a lot better than an angry old hawk named John McCain.
  3. Anybody think Andy Stern will take a role in the Obama administration - say, on the NLRB? Or will Stern decide that he wants to use his cult of personality to re-establish "the labor boss" as a subject-position in the political culture?

To be Stenciled on Yr Nearest Church Pew

Even assuming that efforts to erase race and gender privilege have allowed the input of African Americans and women to count as much as that of whites and men (which they have not), greater wealth can be, and often is, transformed into greater political capital or influence. Elections are relatively infrequent and especically in national elections, restricted de facto to a handful of candidates, most of whom are wealthy. Consequently, the bulk of the population must rely on representatives who tend to look out above all for the well-being of business donors, and fail to recognize the problems of the 80-percent of the population who have relatively limited resources and/or face discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity.
Holland, Nonini, Lutz, Bartlett, Frederick-McGlathery, Guldbrandsen and Murrilo, Jr.
Local Democracy Under Siege: Activism, Public Interests and Private Politics

Obama on the Attack

I'll confess right up front, the bank owns a home they let me live in while I slowly pay them enough money that they'll let me keep it.

Good News

I got an e-mail from Johnny Mac himself. I was surprised that he took the time out of his busy campaign to write me, so I opened the e-mail immediately. The first three paragraphs have enough grammatical curiosities to lead me to believe that he didn't take much time to write.
I am writing to you today because as one of our Party's closest supporters, we need your immediate help.

With less than three months before the 2008 elections, nothing is more important than for us to raise the funds we'll need to carry out our winning strategy in districts and states all across the country, David.

The RNC has set a goal of raising $25 million in the next 30 days. It is absolutely critical that we raise these funds to counter the huge money generating operation of Barack Obama and the Democrats' liberal special interest allies.
The good news is that I am one of the Republican party's "closest" supporters. I don't know what it means to be a "closest supporter." Is that a real phrase? If the GOP considers me a supporter at all, Barack could be sitting pretty.

Then there's the matter of the capital "p" in "Party." Those who have had to endure me for long, know that "random Capitalization" is one of my pet peeves. But then, so is the phrase "pet peeve."

That whole second sentence needs some serious help. From its run-on nature to "nothing is more important than for us to raise the funds we'll need" to awkwardly ending the sentence with my name. Does anyone talk or write like this?

Lastly, I would like to see a hyphen between money and generating in that third paragraph. "money-generating operation."


[And for Chrissake, of course I am aware of the "irony" of me, the guy who usually has at least eight spelling/grammar errors in each post, criticizing anyone else for sloppy writing. Also aware McCain didn't actually write the e-mail. You can stop e-mailing with these points.]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

General Membership Meeting: A Triptych

A Timely Reminder

I am not having the best of days. This perked me up considerably. Thank God for youtube.

Calling the Sewanee Caucus! Roll Call, pls

subtitled, i went to a "good" college 29

kay, so here's the score. i am confused re: who is and who is not reading Organizing Grievances. more specifically, who isn't reading this blog that used to read my other blog, the Prisonship? why not? is it you, or is it me?

let me explain my confusion (vanity, narcissism), and why it's important that you pay some attention to this matter. i am baffled, looking back and seeing that there were times when the old blog had as much as 380 hits/day, and that the "
oh-gee" - which adds a bunch of intelligent, good-looking people into the mix - is languishing at about 56/day.

anyway, i'd like to start with my friends in the Dixie/Vandy/Sewanee/W+L* milieu... are you out there? identify yourself and share your thoughts.
seriously, who are you? how?

(*of course i don't actually enjoy membership in any kind of 'W+L milieu,' but i am allowed to dream and desire for social status in this country, no?)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What Digby says

Digby over at Hullabaloo says:

This convinces me that the central problem for the campaign is that nobody knows what Obama stands for. It's a perennial problem for Democrats, but I think it may be an even bigger problem this time. The hope and change theme was galvanizing in the beginning but it isn't enough to sustain full campaign. What was once inspiring has become a fog.

As for whether the campaign is comparable to other great movements in American history, it is obvious to me that it is not. That's not to say a progressive movement doesn't exist, but the Obama campaign is a slightly unorthodox political campaign (more orthodox by the day) with an historic candidate, which isn't the same thing. They may merge at some point, depending on how Obama chooses to govern, but at this point, I think the 21st century progressive movement (such as it is) will work outside the administration and on the edges of the Democratic party for some time. The institutional torpor of the party and the internalization of the belief that conservatism is a default setting of the American political soul means that it's going to take more time than I had hoped. If the professionals can't make a strong and creative case for progressive rule after the spectacular Republican meltdown during the Bush years, then it's clear they have a long way to go.

Any Democrat would be at least marginally better than John McCain and Republican hegemony so I'm not particularly moved by the question of whether we are being led by a savior or a disappointment at this point. I just want to ensure that we don't have another psycho running things. I am interested in whether this nascent progressive movement can actually coalesce into something meaningful by gathering enough political power and cultural heft to actually do something. At this point I have no earthly idea if that will happen but I'm fascinated by the prospect.

I have long argued that BHO was allowed to get through the primaries with the least amount of detail on policy of any of the candidates, and it is now coming back to haunt his campaign. I agree with Digby that he is better than McSame, but I worry that an Obama administration will stiff arm core liberal values.

This has been the latest edition of "what Digby says"...

Around The Horn

2(.5) Unconditional Print-Periodical Endorsements.
- The American Prospect houses Dean Baker's essential Beat the Press - but also, so much more! Par example, check out this profile of Obama's (Gang of) 15 staffers, and this really intelligent meditation on Georgia, Russia, the USA and NATO.

- Meanwhile, to say what goes without saying...I read the print Nation AND I subscribe to its many blogs and feeds. Sometimes it's embarassing to feel like your personal politics are being writ large in a single magazine...but most of the time it's just amazing to know you can count on Katha Pollitt, Doug Henwood and sooo many others holding forth in one pretty public space. Here's recent feature's elaborating upon the - i dunno? - crap "organizing" model of MoveOn and the decidedly not crap, almost Michelle Obama-level awesomeness that is Rachel Maddow. (Did I mention that Rachel Maddow is a borderline unconditional endorsee? She'd be the first cable tv personality to win this praise from me. Although I am getting kinda turned on by this guy:

More Moosic.

  • We've got some classic, upper-echelon, multimedia music posts coming down lately, folks.
  • First, ZenandtheArtofFacePunching has made up for my sinful, arrogant dismissal of HeartattaCk magazine in the 1990s. After a really well-written bit, we are treated to really well-designed pdfs of classic original zine reviews, AND download links to the classic albs in question. I am lucky that so many people care about all of this music that means so much to me. The creepiness and nerdiness of this blog's graphic design totally rises to the level of the music it's presenting. Congratulations to you, sir!
  • Secondly, HardCoreforNerds avails us of the genre-defining 'screamo' outfit and Gravity Records peers, SwingKids. Therein, our narrator engages in some intense debates about emo nomenclature and the state of the canon. I love this game! And more importantly, I think I understand the lay of the land even better now.
  • Thirdly, no less a rock critic than the Detailed Twang MotherEffer treats us to a Come 7" that even I - unabashed Mr. 'my life was changed by the Grifters and Come' Guy - had never heard. If you've ever wondered about this band or maybe even vaguely remember 'em, check this link out. As mentioned, this guy's multiple writings on Come are very wise, and the band itself is as great as the greatest Slint or Sonic Youth or Son Volt, in my mind.
deep background.
fans of the mighty Bleachy and Earles and Jensen's most vaunted alb, entitled Just Farr a Laugh, will probably want to check out this hilarious Andrew Earles piece for Cracked.

Who You Got?

I won't set up a poll, as that is EZ's domain, but I thought I'd take the temperature.

Who do you have for VP? Kaine, Bayh, Biden, or surprise fourth candidate?

Vote in the comments.

Westlund Is Finished

I'm on the Oregon Republican mailing list, so this was waiting for me in my in-box.

Oregon State Treasurer Candidate, Allen Alley, just received the endorsement of one of the most influential agriculture groups, AG-PAC. The AG-PAC organization supports candidates committed to a healthy agriculture and forestry based [sic] economy.

Not only is Allen Alley getting the backing of the agriculture community, but also with the bankers! Alley just received financial support from the Oregon Bankers Association.

To keep up with Allen Alley’s campaign, visit
That's right, the Republican has picked up the endorsement of big agriculture, big forestry, and the bankers! That's triangulation my friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Albs En Revue, mini-tape

Neil Halstead Oh! Mighty Engine Halstead is the vaunted ex-Slowdive guy, as well as a longtime singer/writer for 4ad's absolutely gorgeous Mojave 3. This is his second solo album, and it's effortlessly conversant with your Jansch and Chilton references. Also, it's released on Jack Johnson's label?

I cannot say enough about Halstead's entire body of work, and this is a great new installment. That said, deep down I yearn for some more sonically diverse, electric installments from Mojave 3. Sort of like the Thurston and Gary Louris' recent records, tho, I think I'm embarassed to have presumed to release a solo acoustic album when there's stuff this good out there that totally sassifies my listening needs. This is not my job. My job is to write incoherent screeds about ballot initiatives.

Breeders Mountain Battles Recorded by Albini at Electrical, thank you. The best moments on this album have the same creepy, lilt-y dynamics as those displayed on the Breeders' totally crucial, totally underrated Pod. The second-best moments have Kim Deal belting out nicotine and wine-flavored bubblegum over brilliant, self-evident power chords. The third-best moments come when Kim carries slim songs off on the back of her own, ineffable persona. She continues to grow as a frontperson/protagonist in my mind, which I cannot say for Robert Pollard, for example... Some of the "songs" on this aren't much, but Kim and the amazing band interplay and the creepy vibes and Albini sounds are enough to transcend that small problem.
And some of the songs are just wonderful. Like "we're gonna rise," for example. For example, ...

Also, I cannot get over the album art. I love it.
Walkmen You & Me

Last time I mentioned my love for this band, I mentioned fugazi and faces; well today I wanna mention royal albert hall-era dylan/hawks AND late-Cale/early-Yule-era velvets.

Pitchfork is right to name the "cavernous" guitar tone as a definitive Walkmen thing - as a long time believer in bass-y Fender tube tones, i must admit to wetting myself upon hearing the opening, muted gtr notes of the album-opener, 'Donde Esta La Playa.'

It will take a while to see if the highs of this alb match those of my beloved 100 miles off, but rest assured this is Top 5 of 2008 - i can tell that much now, and the thing isn't even officially released yet, except over here on mp3!

Electro Group A New Pacifica Most exciting, melodic indie guitar band i have discovered since Giant's Chair! This is the music that I need to survive: sonic youth-y, shoegaze-y, unwound-y gtr punk. Also this album features the most interesting, melodic and tough bass playing of its kind since Barlow on You're Living All Over Me. Mebbe that's hyperbole but as you can tell I'm excited.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow Scribble Mural Comic Journal This is a very, very damaged 'pop' record featuring a very fractured combination of digital/analog sounds and euro-punk-y, chanted sloganeering by an Icy Lady Duo on vocs. The vocs are what I would've figured''d've turned me away from this, but in fact the vocs have really captivated me. It's not as offputting as Dagmar Krause or anything, mind you - but this is plenty weird. I like this record, I think. Very dense, further proof of the worthiness of (some) laptop music that my Doubting Thomas nose needs.

(okay, download a mini-tape. walkmen aren't included because you should be downloading that whole alb for a meager $5 as part of their benefit.)

BHO and Oregon Labor

It would seem Barry Obama has done something to anger the vaunted, sage states-peoples over at NW Republican.

I Won't Have My Voice Silenced!

Here in Oregon, we loves us some citizen initiative process for the expression of the "peoples" voices. Got an issue? Gather some signatures on a petition, get that issue on the ballot, and let the people have a say! No more tyranny from the fat cats in Salem! Democracy!!!

Of course, this is not how it works. Rich men with a political ax to grind pay young people to gather signatures on initiatives that everybody agrees to -- "Sign my petition to save kittens, sir?" -- and then they copy names and addresses on to completely unrelated petitions. Then millions are spent convincing the Oregon voter to vote in the interest of a very few rich men and/or corporations. Or for God. The Oregon voter loves having God's back when it comes to abortion, gays, or (Heaven forbid) marriage between gay abortionists.

This year the Oregon voter faces a bevy of ballot choices. The one most near and dear is Measure 64, which would cripple Oregon's unions. The initiative would prevent public employers from using payroll deduction for collecting union dues that could be used for political purposes.

As it works now, a public employee union member signs a dues deduction card, the employer deducts the union dues from the employee's paycheck and sends that money to the union. The union uses the money in any way it legally sees fit. If this measure were to pass, then a member would still sign a dues deduction card, the employer would deduct dues and send it to the union, but the union could not use that money for political purposes. If the union wanted to be involved in politics, then they would have to collect all that money on their own.

The measure basically seeks to fuck with Oregon's public employee unions.

As the days approach, I imagine that I will be writing frequently about this campaign. We have been getting better about forming coalitions to fend off these attacks from the right. Unfortunately, these coalitions tend to run to the center and at times advance tropes that are troubling for those of us on the left. (Perhaps Lips could favor us with a few remarks about "progressive nativism"). I imagine that I will find places to critique my own coalition as well as alerting you and all to the scurrilous propaganda of our enemies.

For instance, the powers that be have decided on the slogan "Don't Silence Our Voice." Not much different than the "Oregon Families Need a Voice" that Lips and I came up with, which is kind of scary given the state we were in when we thought up that slogan (hint: It wasn't Idaho). I'm not in love with the fact that they have chosen to make the main web address for this campaign which is hardly intuitive. seems available, so I am not sure why they went with the more-complicated-to-remember address. (Although redirects to And I know that Google magic will eventually happen, but right now searching for "no on 64" or "no on measure 64" on Google doesn't get you anywhere near this website, even if you add the word Oregon.

Anyway, first of many, I suppose. Since one of our authors is a ballot initiative expert, one is a local politics expert, and one of us deals with state legislatures for a living, we should be able to have a nice little discussion, no?

Punk Rock Monday

$5 version.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

OGnian opinion polling?

I would like to announce the roll out of a new "recurring" feature to the OG. This site weighs in on some of the most pressing ideas and issues of the day (and night), and I think it would be helpful to be able to "boil down" or "distill" the opinion of OGnians as a group. We could then know for sure whether we can refer to France as crap...etc.

Towards this end, You may notice (momentarily) a poll on the right side of the page. Please add your opinion to the "pile."

Wait you say, polling sucks. You are probably right, but so do mean people and yet they still exist.

What are the rules? There are no rules. vote early, vote often, encourage your friends and family to do likewise.

I will post a new poll every (sure I will) Sunday (as it is my day off) and close the poll by Saturday, leaving sat. afternoon to "digest" the results before the craziness begins all over again on Sunday.

As you may have noticed the first poll will determine if this is truly recurring or not.