Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bachelorettes in Alaska

I keep looking at the source of this story, trying to believe it's not The Onion. But it says it's the Sunday Times. Of London. And I have a hard time believing they'd publish something this batshit insane if it weren't well-sourced.

That said, OMFG I hope this is true:

In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancĂ© before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”


McCain is expected to have a front-row seat at Bristol’s wedding and to benefit from the outpouring of goodwill that it could bring. “What’s the downside?” a source inside the McCain campaign said. “It would be wonderful. I don’t know that there has ever been a pre-election wedding before.” (via)

What's the downside?

What's the downside?!? The GOP candidate for POTUS getting a front-row seat at a nationally televised shotgun wedding is considered such PR gold that McCampaign can't see every mother in the country recoiling in horror at the thought of their daughter - who's still in high school - having her personal life politicized for the benefit of a creepy old man? Maybe?

Please make this happen. Please.

Your Daily Dose

Orrin Hatch is crossing the fine line between concerned and unhinged.
That's right, tonight Jane Fonda and all of her far-left Hollywood liberal friends are expected to raise $1 million for Democrat Senate candidates with one goal in mind -- to break our Senate firewall and seize total control of our government!
Yes, the message line read: Hanoi Jane.

Sometimes, nothing can be a pretty cool hand


Friday, September 26, 2008

Post Debate Chit Chat

That was interesting. No?

Well look who decided to show up! debate open thread

He's done hiding, y'all! Let the free-fall commence in full public view!

Jack Smack

from Josh at TPM.

I can't wait for the VP debate....
I guess I will have to get my fix from tonight's tryst at ole miss.

See ya'll at the OG live blog.

Do It. Do It Now.

Organize some grievances and then throw Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on the platter.

Follow that up with some Heart, Quarterflash, The Motels, and Pat Bentar and you and I are having some fun.

Around the Horn, Despite all the Computations

  1. As we've said before, BHO's assertions that the "real war" is in Afghanistan/Pakistan is a good frame, horrid foreign policy situation. Tariq Ali with more.
  2. Vying for hegemony among the new Conservative intelligentsia, the American Scene's editors wonder if we're not on the verge of a new Liberal consensus.... check the comment thread, too.
  3. Fascinating, hard-to-fuck-with analysis from Doug Henwood (what else is new?) and colleague Philippa Dunne over at the Liscio Report re: economic consequences of Republican vs. Democratic administrations. Naderites and Trots, beware! There is a difference.
  4. Very nice editorial on events in Bolivia over at CounterPunch...good God! We've had relative silence for the last week or so...though it looks like Evo's out with a statement to the UN.
  5. Venezuelan govt responds to Human Rights Watch on the topic of labor violations.
  6. As hinted at - I think - by a certain scene in Good Night and Good Luck, it'd seem we're finally gonna get that Liberace biopic we've craved since whatever Wrestlemania it was he graced with his ivory-tickling.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's in Your Wallet?

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third- biggest U.S. bank by assets, agreed to pay $1.9 billion for the deposits of Washington Mutual Inc. after the thrift was seized by regulators in the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.

The U.S. government closed Seattle-based Washington Mutual amid customer withdrawals of $16.7 billion since Sept. 15, the Office of Thrift Supervision said in a statement. WaMu had ``insufficient liquidity'' and was in an ``unsound'' condition, the OTS said.
(via Atrios:Eated and Pooped)

Seriously, WAMU was so reckless,... How reckless were they?

so reckless, they gave me a credit card....

I wonder if I still have to make my monthly payment? If they have been seized by the FED, don't I own a share?, and can't I work out some sort of payment plan???

I miss the Oregon Fourth

I suppose that I should feel lucky to receive all the largesse that comes from living in the home district of the House Majority Leader, but he's nothing compared to the man whose name's on the bike bridge:

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. [...] advocated a new government fee of .25 percent of every stock transaction to ensure that the government can recoup funds to pay for the aid that it provides to lenders. “If this is truly such a catastrophe, I don’t see how anybody can object to a one-quarter of one percent fee,” DeFazio said. Others who attended the session said that proposal seemed to be gaining little traction.

I'll be casting my ballot elsewhere this year, but my vote is with the Faz.

The Oregon Model

From the Eugene Weekly's I Saw You section:
Let's Chat More...

Saw you at the Spring GTFF GMM. We chatted about department politics. You: smart guy in jeans, cool t-shirt. Me: Blonde, vivacious, wanting to know more. See you at the keg on Oct. 3rd?

When: Thursday, April 10, 2008


I saw a: Man

I am a: Woman

Date posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McChicken might not be there, but we will

Remember the party conventions? Weren't they a hoot? And could you have even imagined how whacked out things would be only three weeks later? Our Dali-esque national reality show takes another turn for the weird when Barack Obama debates a chair, and, as an inanimate object can't really fuck anything up too badly, the pundits will declare it a win for McCain, expectations being as they are.

The OG, your favorite local "Irish-style" web log, is happy to host a Friday evening forum for what is already in the running as the Weirdest Moment in Modern Presidential Campaign history. And unlike those other "Irish-style" hangouts, we totally don't care if you smoke a doob here.

State of the Race; or, Why I Wanna Blog About Moosic!

  1. Increasingly, the only meaningful "analysis" out there is right here. I'm not sure which OG constituents (besides Ash!) are even living in contested states at this point. In light of that fact, lemme say this: I cannot stop watching the punditry, and I won't stop laughing at and reviling in the obscene television advertisements, but it's clear that what's going to win this race has less to do with the airwaves and more to do with stumping, GOTV, and other "retail" tactics within selected precincts in selected places (OH, CO, FL, NV, MI).
  2. That's exactly why Joe Biden remains a shrewd (I'm stopping short of saying "brilliant") pick for veep: all gaffes aside, he can stump avec gravitas and "like-ability" in some of the places mentioned above, and that's really all that matters barring major "events." HRC and WJC can and should join in - I'd love to see Bill in NC and VA, en particulier - and I suspect they will. As concerns our current poll, I think the worst thing for HRC's 2012 prospects would be to put a half-assed effort behind Barry. Chalk it up to "enlightened self-interest," but I think we're past the point where she can be blamed for whatever insane supporters of hers are running around making noise. Worse, I think we're adding to a GOP trope by harping on the issue. Not that any undecided voters are reading this, natch..
  3. Somebody should hi-five Barry Obama for not following McCain into delaying the debates and further "politicizing" the Bail-Out (whatever the eff that's supposed to mean.) It seems like the obvious move in hindsight, but I for one was terrified as of yesterday that he'd cave. I think his calm/cool/collected persona and his willingness to let the Dem congressional leadership lead are as presidential (i.e., 'leaderly') as all get-out - as much as the "race speech," albeit in a different way.
  4. McCain is more than on the ropes at this point. There was a really cool conversation with (my guilty pleasure) Chris Matthews on Rachel Maddow last nite that I'd gladly present in lieu of my point, but I cannot locate a youtube. In short, Matthews pointed out that McCain is reaching a point of diminishing returns when it comes to his "maverick" decisions. At a certain point, even the best-intentioned of these left-field, game-changing gestures (supporting the surge, nominating Palin, suspending his campaign) will start to seem less like "leadership" and more like the reckless last gasps of an unstable individual who will do anything to win. Obama need only provide a calm contrast and continue running his race against Reagan/Bush/"the Ownership Society:" if we continue to talk about the economy (and do the "retail" thing mentioned above), we will win. Step one, BHO, is getting the bail-out passed with a bunch of Keynesian strings (accountability, govt. equity, no CEO comp, a new stimulus bill). Let me repeat, as I know this sounds counter-intuitive coming from a left-leaner: the Dems should define the bill, pass it, and own it. This is the time to see if a Keynesian neoliberalism is a possibility, and to tie financial markets' sufficiency to public investment, job creation, etc...This way the Dems could claim the mantle of "fiscal responsibilty" without ceding their (alleged) identification with working America. (note - This should happen at a pace set by Chris "lexdexter's Dad" Dodd, not Hank Paulson et. al. ...why it needs to go down by this weekend is a question you'd have to ask those pigs.)
  5. Obviously Sarah Palin is sinking fast. All that's left is for Joe Biden to do the yeomen's work of beating her in the debate without seeming like a condescending chauvinist pig. Can he do it? I dunno.
  6. Kinda hoping for a macro-level discussion of the race at this point....anybody?

Oblique Bragging

Ginger and I once had a debate centering on the situation where I am, inexplicably, hanging with the urban rap artists that I listen to these days and I drop the word "hundo" to mean 100. She asserted that they would not deem this appropriate slang and alien to their culture, thus rendering me somehow different, outside and otherized from the group. I argued that, while "hundo" might not be a word that they would ever use or may not even have heard, it is recognizable as legitimate slang and therefore they would accept the usage without comment, perhaps even adopting the word into their everyday argot.

I do know that if I was hanging with Lil Wayne, Trick Daddy and/or Lil Jon, and they asked me how many membership cards the GTFF collected yesterday, we'd have occasion to settle this debate once and for all.

Moosic, 2008 and Yesterday

  1. Frequent OG-comment(at)er GabbaGabbaHey continues his Hoover Genealogy Project with a highlight: vintage live WFMU sets from Hoover, Crownhate Ruin and Lincoln over at (xxx)HardcoreforNerds(xxx). Fans of the DC-Louisville-Chicago axis of 90s indie rock simply cannot afford to miss these sets, in particular the Hoover, which outshines even their amazing Lurid Transversal of Route 7. Despite many noble acolytes - like Athens' At the Price of the Union, par example - this "moment" in the punk/hardcore/indie/emo synthesis remains unmatched.
  2. Over at a truer sound (ed - fixed link!) you can check out Son Volt's 1995-1996 acoustic radio sessions, a collection that's both a very worthy supplement to the original lineup's essential Straightaways and Trace albums. In particular, I'd call the versions of "Ten Second News," "Back Into Your World," and "She's More to Be Pitied" definitive. I'm loathe to dwell upon the greatness of early Volt because I feel like it goes without saying, and because I (for one) really identify with Jay Farrar's post-2000 efforts to destabilize the place of "traditional" American music in his ouevre. That said, there are plenty of his weird-er acoustic songs here - "No More Parades," "Creosote," "Last Minute Shakedown" - and people not suffering from my Farrar obsessions and esoteric biases would do well to start with this amazing collection. I'd humbly submit to you that this outshines both Tupelo's March and Gob Iron's Death Songs when it comes to the acoustic Jay.
  3. Onwards to the DC-NYC-Chapel Hill axis. 'Member the Prisonship's epic "'member them 90s" thread? I do. And I'm pleased to announce that a kind soul in Spain has started a wonderful blog called Outdoor Miner that'd have to be called a primary resource, replete with all the Archers of Loaf, Sentridoh, Velocity Girl, Pavement et. al. that you could possibly need to jog your memory and revive that dialogue. Also, Mike Lupica's podcast and semi-torpid blog deserve mention alongside agony shorthand, usedbinforever and beyond failure, when it comes to 90s-ish, Benjamin-ish "archaeology of the future" vibes. Yes, that last bit is going too far.
  4. Best albs of 2008, so far? I think I prefer the Walkmen, Make Believe, Ilyas Ahmed, Bob Mould, Prisonshake... I'm not sure what order yet. And god knows there's that new Cardinals coming...What do you players think? Let's have a conversation about records for a galldarn change!

Moms and Dads

Back in the primary season, and especially when the manly manliness of Fred Thompson was going to save us all from the likes of girly-man Rudy Giuliani, the Render unto Caesar Jeebus lover Mike Huckabee, and the immigrant loving Johnny McCain, there was a favorite theory amongst wingnuts that the Democrat party is the "Mommy" (or "Nanny") party and the Republican party is the "Daddy" party. (I invoke my Goldbergian privilege of not linking to anything because I am too busy to look it up).

You see the Democrats are the Mommy party because they want you to wear your bike helmet and think that things should have warning labels and that you should be able to sue companies. They care about things like health care and education and helping the little guy. They are concerned about things like sexism, racism, and (oh sweet jesus!) the gays. They think we can fix our energy problems through passive means like conservation and solar energy. Worst of all, they think you solve problems by talking about them. The Democrats are going to lick their hand, knock down your cowlick, and give you kiss on the cheek when they drop you off for school--right in front of the guys.

Daddies understand above all else that this is a dangerous dangerous world and Muslim terrorists must be killed before they kill us. Daddies will protect you when necessary. They will patrol the border of the lawn, keeping out unwanted strangers. They know that you must learn and grow on your own; sure you'll make mistakes, but you'll learn from them. Tough times will make you strong. Energy policy works best when it is also a half-veiled euphemism for sex. That's just nature right there. Common sense is more important than book learning. Dad may not give you a lot of hugs, but maybe if you win the big game, he'll loan you the down payment on a beat up Mustang and you can drive yourself to school, like a man.

That's the theory. If I can take the analogy a step further...

The Daddy party is calling us in the middle of the night. Drunk. He bet all the house money on a pony named Free Market and he needs us to come give his bookie large sums of cash or the whole family is fucked. Fortunately, he is pro-actively telling us we can go fuck ourselves if we think that this means that he has to stop betting the ponies. In fact, he's we need to give him the college savings because he needs to keep playing. The only way to win.

Ah Daddies, why do we love you so?

Your Daily Dose

From Orrin Hatch:

Far-left liberals like Al Gore and are putting it all on the line in 2008 to elect Obama President and gain 60-seat filibuster-proof supermajority in the U.S. Senate. If they achieve their goal, they will seize total control of our government.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


If even Katie Couric is looking at you with undisguised contempt...

In other news, some rube from Alaska got mugged in New York today.

Now I'm a believer

I was skeptical the first time I was asked to make a contribution to DavePAC. Sure, "promoting Dave and all things Dave related" sounds like a good thing, and all you guys named Dave sure seem like decent folk, but what's in it for me, someone who's name is not-Dave?

Well now I know:

Contribute today.

Smoke them out of their caves - or corporate suites. Whatever

My favorite part of the "batshit insane political gimmick suspension of campaign to put Country First™" announcement, here in the last graf:

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

A not-so-subtle attempt to try and bottle some of his presumed national security gravitas to sprinkle on his woefully lacking economic chops, no?

OG Gathering

Speaking of drinking Wob's beer, I am more than happy to announce the first of what I assume will be many gatherings of OG readers and writers this November in the Raleigh-area of North Carolina.

Further details will be released as they become known, but the meeting will occur sometime between the 9th and 14th of November at a location TBA.

The buzz is already palpable. Mark your calendars.

BREAKING! Wobs to suspend blogging to address urgent beer crisis


My fellow OGians. Ours is a desperate time. It has come to my attention that there is a half-rack of Rogue Dead Guy Ale in my refrigerator that must be consumed. Should this consumption not occur, further half-racks of beer will not be able to fit inside the refrigerator, causing a cascade effect which may prevent countless hundreds of beers from residing on the shelf next to last night's leftovers.

The situation is grave.

In light of this crisis, I am hereby suspending my blogging to focus all of my attention on these pressing matters. As OGians, we can all agree that when there is an urgent need to drink beer, it is no time to blog. I further call upon my fellow bloggers to suspend their writing so that they may rush over to my house in order to help resolve this crisis. It is time to put the needs of my refrigerator above our need to pander to the feckless whims of our readership.

God bless you, and god bless the OG.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Revenge fantasies of the impotent

Sometimes the tools I use to keep on top of the information I need for my job send me on some wild trips through the ninth sphere of the blogoverse. And today I found Woody, who hepped me to this thoroughly satisfying little journey through the land of "What if?"

What caught my eye is that Woody approvingly cites the WTF? first paragraph of this Washington Times bit:

Call them the "Doomsday" scenarios -- On Nov. 5, the presidential election winds up in a electoral-college tie, 269-269, the Democrat-controlled House picks Sen. Barack Obama as president, but the Senate, with former Democrat Joe Lieberman voting with Republicans, deadlocks at 50-50, so Vice President Dick Cheney steps in to break the tie to make Republican Sarah Palin his successor.

As far as the Times go, they've certainly got my attention. That Woody gushes over the most unlikely, improbable scenario possible is just kinda creepy. Aside from the obvious point that the certification of the Electoral College vote would proceed under a newly-seated Congress (presumably with a majority (not necessarily working) that doesn't include Joltin' Joe), I simply don't see any reason Joe Lieberman would do that. Voting to confirm Palin wouldn't land him a job in the administration of the (previously confirmed) President Obama, and it would certainly be followed by the words "I will not be seeking another term as the Senator from Connecticut" for all intents and purposes. And that assumes he has the Joementum to survive the recall vote sure to await the man who put the Least Qualified Veep Candidate Ever over the top. The whole scenario is just obnoxiously far-fetched.

The rest of the Times article presents a fair, if somewhat wishful, presentation of the possible politics behind a tie in electoral votes - standard fare. But I just can't get over that first paragraph. It's like the hook must include something that their readers think really sticks in the craw of the Left, and then they slap the trappings around it. After that, we're blessed with the opportunity to witness Woody's arousal at the thought of liberals so driven mad with rage that the National Guard would have to be brought out, and yadda yadda yadda President Palin nukes us to Heaven!

Woody scores additional points for having admitted that this particular revenge fantasy was crushed by the batshit insane prognostications of DHo, who, through a quick look at some Zogby polls, predicts a McCain landslide. And thus begins the turgidity brought on by the thought of a massively popular President McCain who drives liberals so mad with rage that the National Guard would have to be brought out, and yadda yadda yadda Jesus go BOOM!

Before I end, I'd be remiss if I didn't inform you that no visit to Woody's site is complete without a glance at the "Random Obama Facts" generator. My current "fact":

FACT: Tony Rezko once offered Obama a sweetheart land deal, but Obama said "no" because he wanted his family to stay within the community of which he was the organizer.

Kinda reads like a really bad fortune cookie, huh?

An Extraordinary Opportunity

h/t Christopher Hayes
Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

The Oregon Model

Last night was a hot night for the GTFF, my union, at the Villard Street Pub Trivia Night. Just about every table as filled with GTFs, generally divided into groups based on department. There was the poli sci table, the geology guys, the philosophy group, the comp lit table, and the biology table. Generally at these things I make the rounds during the break, chatting it up, but not about work or the union, unless someone else brings it up. Apparently though, not everyone follows this procedure, as it was reported to me that the biology table was repeatedly queried by other members about their lack of involvement in the union. Word on the street is that we got a steward and a few more cards out of them.

There's your organizing model right there.

GOP Emails

Every liberal special interest group from to Big Labor to anti-drilling extremists are laying it all on the line in 2008 with one goal in mind: to seize total control of our government.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Echo Chambering

Blue Oregon has a story about what an asshole John McCain is. In my dreams this is the kind of thing McCain is asked about in a debate.

Hold the condescension please

I don't think Thomas Schaller's sneeringly delivered and thinly-veiled derision of Deaniacs, Obamabots, and other progressive grassroots activists is quite warranted by the facts of this particular situation:

I hate to be the wet blanket, but the electoral map continues to consolidate and contract around the same eight to 12 states that decided the last two elections. After reducing its presence in the South a few weeks ago, now comes news that Team Obama is closing its offices in North Dakota and moving troops there to Minnesota and Wisconsin.


As for all those "50-state strategy" advocates: They seem to be deafeningly silent now, don't they? It was stupid to believe in such fantasies in the first place.

I'm not sure what Schaller thinks all of us "50-state strategy advocates" mean by that phrase, but I'm fairly certain it's not "Obama will be competitive in all 50 states this year." My understanding of that phrase led me to believe that the DNC was attempting to invest in local and state level party infrastructure in order to build the Democratic Party from the bottom up. The benefits would be seen in local Democrats being elected to office and then progressing on, presumably to higher responsibilities. While this might one day manifest itself in a state shifting on the red-blue presidential spectrum, I don't think anyone expects it any time soon.

That as we approach the election the electoral focus narrows and campaigns marshal resources to compete in those pivotal areas is more a comment on the idiosyncracies of the electoral process than anything else. At any rate, the Obama campaign's electoral strategy and the DNC's 50-state strategy are two distinct operations operating in multiple electoral landscapes - they're certainly complementary, but not one and the same.

Each campaign is working on different (but again, complementary) goals and to date seem to be producing good results. Yes, the lofty rhetoric of a "governing majority" might have been a little overambitious. But the point here is to first and foremost win. If we have to win with 276 evs instead of 330, so be it. It won't be pleasant, but we'll take it - and right now the sky is not falling. The situation could potentially be even better with expanded majorities in the legislature and a raft of new Democrats coming up through the local parties.

So why the hate?

It's the housework, stupid

I hope I’m not the only person who raised an eyebrow to this article on the gender wage gap. This first part isn’t necessarily a surprise:

Men with egalitarian attitudes about the role of women in society earn significantly less on average than men who hold more traditional views about women's place in the world, according to a study being reported today.

It is the first time social scientists have produced evidence that large numbers of men might be victims of gender-related income disparities. The study raises the provocative possibility that a substantial part of the widely discussed gap in income between men and women who do the same work is really a gap between men with a traditional outlook and everyone else.

The differences found in the study were substantial. Men with traditional attitudes about gender roles earned $11,930 more a year than men with egalitarian views and $14,404 more than women with traditional attitudes. The comparisons were based on men and women working in the same kinds of jobs with the same levels of education and putting in the same number of hours per week.

Ah, we wander into the little bubble of reality where I can claim some competence as a thinker. From everything that I understand about the gendered economy, I could’ve predicted this response. But I didn’t, and so these guys got the “big find I got cited in the Post” honors. Good on them, and I’ll cede the floor so they can interpret their findings.

"Some would say, 'Of course traditional men earn more than traditional women -- they are both fulfilling their desires to play different roles in the home and workplace,' " said Judge, emphasizing that the researchers compared working men with working women, not working men with women who stay home. "Our results do not support that view. If you were a traditional-minded woman, would you say, 'I am fine working the same hours as a traditional-minded man in the same industry with the same education but earning substantially less'? I don't think traditional-minded women would say that."


Livingston and Judge said there are two possible explanations: Traditional-minded men might negotiate much harder for better salaries, especially when compared with traditional-minded women. Alternatively, it could also be that employers discriminate against women and men who do not subscribe to traditional gender roles.

"It could be that traditional men are hypercompetitive salary negotiators -- the Donald Trump prototype, perhaps," Judge said. "It could be on the employer side that, subconsciously, the men who are egalitarian are seen as effete."

Livingston, a doctoral candidate in management, added: "People make others uncomfortable when they disconfirm stereotypes -- we don't know how to interpret them."

Um… no.

The authors are right to note that women who adhere to traditional gender roles, especially career women, would think it wrong to be denied equal pay for equal work, but Livingston and Judge pay too much attention to attitudes as being a determinant.

It would seem that there’s a fairly strong correlation not between attitudes, but in contributions to the economy of the household. The person adhering to the gender role that contributes the least amount of work to social reproduction is the one who has the advantage in the realm of the formal economy. I look at those numbers and I see the economic costs of cooking, cleaning, and taking the kids to the doctor for both women and men.

The explanations put forward remain firmly focused on individual variations and miss the bigger picture. Traditional-minded men bargain harder and better? I don’t buy that for a second. You’d have to develop a metric for bargaining ability that didn’t rely on monetary success as an indicator. At any rate, I don’t think some mythical “bargaining ability” is differentially distributed between men and women or between those who adhere to different gender roles. The second hypothesis, that managers subconsciously perceive more feminist men as “girly men,” similarly seems to assume a little too monolithic mindset amongst that population.

Essentially, what we’re seeing is a subsidy that enables men to single-mindedly devote themselves to their careers, for various reasons putting them at a distinct advantage to those who attempt to strike a more equitable balance between work and family. For the method geeks, I didn’t notice any mention that they controlled for marital status and/or number of children, and I’d be interested to know if there were some interesting multiplier effects among some of the variables (adherence to traditional gender roles X gender; adherence to traditional gender roles X marital status, among others). That the authors went with seemingly implausible explanations suggests not seeing the forest for the trees. But whatever – I’m glad they’re interested in the problem, even if I think they’re barking up the wrong tree. But wait.

Parents looking at the study might be tempted to inculcate their sons with traditional gender views with an eye to greater financial success, but the researchers warned that this would come at their daughters' cost -- traditional-minded women suffer the greatest income disadvantage for doing the same work.

"Traditional values," Judge said, "do not have to be traditional gender-role values."

That the Post would jump to the cheap locker room guffaw of “maybe we should train our boys to keep women barefoot and pregnant” and that the authors would respond with a liberal piety worthy of its own bumper real estate just seems offensively hokey.

Think I'm Hearing the Alb of the Year

I don't have time for alb reviews au present, but I need to share somebody else's.

I'm only four tracks deep, but if nothing else, Prisonshake's Dirty Moons is the best-sounding, big, fat, analog, goopy mother-effer I've heard since Shellac's Excellent Italian Greyhound - and the thing is, i'm listening to the cds that came tucked in with the big, goopy 180-gram 2xlps... god knows what the vinyl experience'll be like. (btw, the music is not shellac-ish in the least, tho maybe it shares a similar wanton "pigfuck" sensibility.)

But the alb is so exciting - un-self-conscious rock music from people long past the absurd notion of playing rock music for a living, well-packaged, well-played and well-recorded because why not? - that it reminds me how contrived, rote, bland and by-the-numbers today's indie rock industry is. Anywho, I decide to google the alb, and lo and behold I run into this well-written review that begins with a lament on how contrived, rote, bland and by-the-numbers today's indie rock industry is. Moments later I discover it's written by WFMU's Mike wonder. He probably saw Prisonshake at Maxwell's on the Scat Insects of Rock Tour in 1994, too. Regardless, going by the continuing "holy shit! you remember that, too?" reaction his essential podcast evokes in me, I guess we're fellow travellers. But he's the articulate one, see?
Prisonshake harkens back to the days before the musical underground had been given the Rand-Mcnally road atlas treatment. Phenomena like Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could be Your Life may have established the idea of an underground rock ‘canon’, but the smaller bands who played the same field throughout the ’80s have aged with a more intriguing sense of style. One of the many charms of left-of-center music is that it’s a large and diverse enough universe for one to leap into along with a few close buddies, and all emerge on the other side with completely different stories and experiences. Nowadays, with many young kids sweating heavily over the reunions of criterion bands whose members are three times their senior, and those same kids shelling out untold thousands in festival dollars to see performances of ‘signature’ albums in their entirety, a lot of the visceral joy associated with loving something just because it’s cool and different has been lost. With the approval index at such all-consuming peaks and venture capitalists masking as tastemakers, it’s no wonder I’ve started listening to my Springsteen records again..

(You should read the whole damn thing over at Dusted for some context.)

Please, God, Don't Let Them Be Right

I'm not going to pretend like I understand the current economic crisis in detail. I "understand" it as far as "banks were allowed to over-leverage, which they did to buy mortgages that were based on trumped up financial data to provide loans to people who couldn't afford them. When those loans went bad, all the over-leveraging is cascading to take down the entire financial sector." [For Godssake correct me if I am wrong].

I think I understand that this is exactly what free-market capitalism looks like and regulation of capitalism is designed to smooth out these "bumps." What is not supposed to happen in a free market situation is that government is not supposed to step in to smooth out only the bottom bumps, as that doesn't really work.

What I don't know is if this bailout will be better or worse for my beloved "working folk." Most "lefties" seem to be of the opinion that shit is going to roll down hill no matter what, so limiting the amount might be a good idea.

I find myself agreeing with Brad at Sadly No! among others. I'm not quite willing to go so far as to pledge to not vote for Dems if they fuck this up, but if the Bush administration is able to demand extraordinary powers and an extraordinary amount of money and we manage to get nothing out of the deal, then, really, what the fuck will be the point. If Reaganomics and conservativism in general can do this badly and we'll give them $700 billion with no strings attached, if they can actually say we have to give them $700 billion with no strings in order to get Wall Street to take the deal and we give in, then fuck it.

There might be a total of one million people in this country who would think that this is a good idea and they all vote Republican. What can possibly be the benefit of giving in here? If they give in, we might have to admit that our party is just as bought and sold as the other guys.

Prove Me Wrong...Good On You!

'Gotta hand it to Chris Dodd....'even Doug Henwood (sur le LBO listserve) gave the plan a "looks not too bad."

Between this and the FISA filibuster, if Dodd actually passes this thing as is - which I will believe only when I hold a copy of the bill in my shaky, shocked hands - I'm gonna send him a twelve of pabsts and mebbe even one or two of my rare-er seven-inches.

(ex post facto editorial addition: Krugman concurs, calculated risk hails it as a positive step and reports that CNBC reports Paulson has agreed to the bit about government taking equity in the bailed out banks.)

New Poll -- Where's Hillary? Edition

Assuming that our colleague EZ is buried under a blizzard of "Add" requests, I'll throw up a poll designed to get his attention.

Where is Hillary? One of the anticipated storylines when McCain announced Palin was Hillary tearing her apart. The GOP was going to put up a lightweight and our "oh-so-close" champ was supposed to destory her so that Obama-Biden could focus on more important things, like backing away from pledges to raise taxes on the wealthy and asking parapeligics to take a bow.

Take your best guess at the whereabouts of our "totally awesome, but not quite presidental material, but totally not because she's a woman, pitbull in a pantsuit" at the right.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crap/Not Crap: Flaking out

Don't anyone get me wrong. I love the culture of the West Coast. The convivial and laid-back nature certainly suits the way I work far more than the dominant cultural mode of the East Coast. But I don't miss the cultural practice of "flaking out."

Back East, flaking out is an unequivocal bad thing. You just don't do it. Habitual flaking out on social engagements will guarantee a drop in said activities. It's just not acceptable.

Out West, on the other hand, flaking out is granted the same weight as you having a particularly virulent infection or your mother dying. Flaking out is a perfectly reasonable excuse for, say, missing your friend's dinner party (or worse). Never mind you said you were coming and the hosts toiled for several hours to make a delicious meal. To be fair, we all flake every now and again - some more than others - but the West Coast seems to enable flakers, not so much by approving of the act, but by heaping social opprobrium upon those who deign to be a little pissed off at their friend who flaked out on the concert after they forked over $45 for the fucking ticket.

I'll cop to having been prone to flaking out more than someone should. And living in a cultural milieu that is flaking-out intolerant, I've come to be better about it.

But for those of you who totally promise to be at the party to celebrate some professional milestone, and when I see you two days after the party you say, "How's it going, dude? Sorry I totally flaked on your party," you shouldn't be surprised if I'm pissed off. Don't promise to come, or let me know in a reasonable amount of time that you won't be able to make it. But don't get so stoned that you decide that the Seinfeld marathon seems easier to handle than getting off the couch and attending to your social duties and expect me to be happy about it.

Habitual flaking out is crap. Socially enabling that behavior is even more crap.

Prisonship Internal Memo to Congressional Dems

Memo to Dems: This is Leverage.

Dear Dems,

So, like many of you, I had a hard time turning away from beautiful geniuses like Jim Cramer (swoon) and (my life-pundit) Erin Burnett* as this last week came in with a "laissez-faire" Lehman collapse and went out with an AIG bailout, only to culminate in what Krugman et. al. are rightly (and ironically) referring to as "socialism" in our financial sector.

(Parenthetically, if you're wondering "what the eff does all of this mean, and who the hell can explain it to me?" you'd do well to check out: Jorge on the nuts and bolts of the housing market bubbles, CDOs and how we got here; Krugman on the meat of the Paulson proposal and how it "works" to solve even just the market-related problems at hand; Dean Baker, as usual, with a blueprint for a bailout that might improve things for actual fucking people; and, as pertains to the thrust of this memo, Bob Kuttner on what the Dems could do if they "strapped some balls on their dick," to use the colorful and masculinist phrase once overheard passing from the lips of my 9th grade history teacher.)

Anyway, Dear Dems,

I learned a lot about leverage in my former work as a union researcher. (It's an even-numbered year, so I will assume you remember what unions are.) In my old line, leverage was everything - you never knew where you'd find it, but you knew you'd know it if you saw it. Sometimes it's a matter of public record. Sometimes it's a matter of dumpster-diving. Sometimes it's a matter of building power and rope-a-doping your opponent into revealing her own weaknesses, then building more power in the light of that self-diagnosis, then winning.

This time's one of those times. I've studied and studied and crapped myself thinkin' on the meaning of leverage, its rhythms and habitats and metamorphoses....but I've rarely seen it show itself so plainly. Democrats, you hold a lot of power in your hands this week. And knowing you as I do, I expect nothing less than a warm-hearted, polite and ineffectual surrender.

Does "taking one for the team" always have to be synonymous with losing? Before your very eyes, not just the sitting GOP but the very legacy of Reaganism has shown its "less government in business, more business in government" ass to be a social disease, in need of an unprecedented dose of welfare. While it's understandable (to me, anyway) that our Democratic nominee for president affects something like moderation- and makes all the bullshit bipartisan calls for pragmatism of which it will be the job of people like me and the OGs to disabuse him in January - your job is to make sure that socialism does not come to Wall Street without strings.

There should be more government in business. Now is the time to trim away any compensation for the shareholders and executives we're bailing out, and to erect a wall between houses of finance and government agencies where now there's a revolving-door. For god's sake"White-collar" crimes can be as violent as any other...violent-er, even, when one in seven of our damn bridges are unsound and all our dimes are spread across Iraq and the inter-ether of Over the Counter markets. (fwiw - I will regret not living to see an Attorney General Edwards "assume the position" and enact the purge that gets us to pre-post-neoliberalism.)

There should be less business in government. The idea that, having purchased these "toxic" assets for a sum of $700 billion, we will parcel them out in $50 billion slabs and have currently functioning private financial houses resell them is obscene, insane, incestuous, and it repeats the lie of Reaganism. BHO spoke eloquently of a need to "make government cool again," a neat phrase that in many ways evokes the political and cultural stakes involved in the massive, necessary political project of undoing a 30-year ass-kicking of the many by the few. Our purpose is not served by outdoing the GOP at treating citizens like shareholders. Our purpose is served only by showing that government can and should function within a democratic polity as an agent of (downward) redistribution, and that Democratic government's version of redistribution is a lot more inclusive and a lot less violent than the alternative.

Anywho, summing up:
  1. Good News! This week you have the chance to undo all of your past sins. You can work off the debt accrued by your failure to stop an evil, imperialist war by declaring the end of finance capitalism as we know it.
  2. Bad News! We both know you'll be doing no such thing.
  3. Don't worry, I'll probably end up voting for all y'all anyway. See you on the teevee!

(footnote: * Yeah, it'd seem that my MSNBC addiction is giving way to a CNBC fetish - can you blame me, with a duo like this as the Kiki Dee and Elton John/Gram and Emmylou/Thalia Zedek and Chris Brokaw for my shut-in vie de brain-diharrea?)

Prisonship Confessions...the Mets and Me

My favorite squad is faltering! Its star is over-thinking himself into a slump just as we enter the final week-plus of the gorgeous, heart-wrenching pageant called the Pennant Race.

Meanwhile, I've reached the period of "writing" in which I cannot, will not, do not write. It mirrors my ill-conceived idea of giving birth, or better, my idea of being "infested" with The Thing: something is happening inside of me. Something that is of me but not reducible to me. I walk around my office squatting, grunting, bending, breaking, and not playing The Long Run on the 8-track deck. I fill the wastebasket with spent fruit leathers, and I try not to drink coffee after noon because even with melatonin and Tylenol PM, I wake up at all hours and dream about things like TB-laced-afterbirths washing up on black and white shores.