Saturday, October 11, 2008

Prisonship Away Game

If my dissertation prospectus marathon were not a marathon, but in fact a four-quarter American Football Derby... Well, I would say we're in the second quarter of an away game: working out of the new workplace, replete with minimal windows, panel lighting and flimsy upholstered conference room chairs. I'm in love, that's right.

I will alternate between a run and shoot offense and a wishbone formation during odd/even quarters. If you read this, please feel free to call in plays from the sidelines.

Not Even ACORN Can Help Notre Dame Steal Enough Top 25 Votes

even jocks are taking time outta their schedules to hate ACORN.

Prisonship Politico GameDay

The importance of race and gender in the current US presidential campaign has, of course, been a function of the salience of racism and sexism—which is to say, discrimination—in American society; a fact that was emphasized by post-primary stories like the New York Times’s ‘Age Becomes the New Race and Gender’.1 It is no doubt difficult to see ageism as a precise equivalent—after all, part of what is wrong with racism and sexism is that they supposedly perpetuate false stereotypes whereas, as someone who has just turned 60, I can attest that a certain number of the stereotypes that constitute ageism are true. But the very implausibility of the idea that the main problem with being old is the prejudice against your infirmities, rather than the infirmities themselves, suggests just how powerful discrimination has become as the model of injustice in America; and so how central overcoming it is to our model of justice.From this standpoint, the contest between Obama and Clinton was a triumph, displaying, as it did, both the great strides made toward the goal of overcoming racism and sexism, and the great distance still to go towards that goal. It made it possible, in other words, to conceive of America as a society headed in the right direction but with a long road to travel. The attraction of this vision—not only to Americans but around the world—is obvious. The problem is that it is false.
-Walter Benn Micheals, Against Diversity
  • Dean Baker on how we musn't be confusing the credit crunch with the recession. We have so many problems on so many fronts that even the Washington Post is wondering if "capitalism" is "dead."
  • Ezra Klein explaining why, despite all, I will miss being part of the vertically-integrated Kaiser Permanente "system."
  • Good to see some actual sane people speaking up for ACORN, btw. If you're wondering what the Right's problem is, let me explain: ACORN have registered 1.3million poor people to vote. That's just not what the GOP is in to.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'll Nationalize Your Banks, Mister

On my way home from work, I was listening to the NPR. I know, I know, it's Friday and I should have been rocking out to Loverboy, but I had been working all day and hadn't caught up on the news. Thought maybe I might hear some news on that Palin and the Troopergate.

Instead, I got a story on Paulson from the G8 Conference. Apparently, the US government will be handing large sums of money to banks so they can give it to other people. In exchange, we get an undefined "equity stake" in those banks. Fortunately, all signs are that the government will remain pretty hands off when it comes to control of that money. Whew! Almost had some European-style socialism there.

Fortunately, host Robert Siegel wasn't going to let this situation go with out some harding hitting questions to the reporter bring us the right-wing talking points story. Like, "why give money directly to the banks, instead of to people to pay off their mortgages to these banks?" Question is legit, the complete lack of follow up is not. The reporter let us know that giving to the banks was a much more efficient way to get liquidity in the market. You see, banks can lend out $10 for every dollar they get from the government.

Now, if you're me, it might strike you that banks giving out ten times the loans than they had capital to cover is what got us in this mess in the first place. I know it's way more complicated than that, but boiled way down (until it tastes like mud), the problem we are having is that banks and other financial institutions lent money to people who couldn't pay it back. Enough of those people don't pay back, say 11%, and you can't cover your obligations.

Siegel does not follow up along these lines. Instead, he asks "How close is this to nationalization?" And I'm like "How close is this to nationalization?" It's the fucking opposite of nationalization. This is not the state seizing control of private corporations in the interests of the people. This is the state giving itself to private corporations in the interest of the corporations.

Then Siegel suggests that we haven't seen anything like this since Jackson. Oh yes. This is exactly like the US Bank. The government being responsible for the direction of capital growth in this country through control of the vast portion of capital in the country, and the government tuning over large chunks of the people's capital to privately held banks. Practically the same thing.

Sweet jeebus. This is about as far way from Sweden as you can get. All those earning more than $250,000 can calm the fuck down. We're not seizing your wealth. We're giving you ours.

It's at moments like this that I regret being in the liberal elite.

EW Letter of the Week

Most blogs wouldn't have the courage to make fun of a desperate plea on behalf of a sick woman. This blog has no such qualms.

I think it is the presumption in the first sentence. Or maybe it is the fact I am asked to imagine someone in my heart, which is not generally considered the locus of most imaginings. It probably has something to do with the notion that getting your kid to realize their owies don't actually hurt all that much is equated with "healing." What ever the cause, I want to punch these people in the face blog about how disgusted I am with them.


Whether you believe in God or you simply trust the universe, we all have seen the healing power of our prayers, wishes and love.

As parents, we hold our kids in our arms when they hurt. We whisper words of love, we hold them against our heart, and we make them feel better.

A month ago, our dear friend Andrea contracted a virus that attacked her heart. In only a few days, this strong woman, who took care of everyone as a mother and a physical therapist, almost lost her life as her heart lost its function. She is now at OHSU, fighting for her life.

There is not much we can do for Andrea’s medical condition, but there is much we can do to help her heal. Imagine Andrea in your heart (a tall, fit, gorgeous blond woman). Imagine her as healthy and full of life as she always is, and wish her everything you would wish to your child or your friend when they hurt. Trust your faith, trust the universe and trust the healing power you carry in your heart, as it all conveys the same: Andrea, we love you and we want you back home healthier then ever.

The more people we have sending these positive healing thoughts to Andrea, the more the impossible can happen. You may not know Andrea, but your positive thoughts will help create the healing energy she needs. Her story, just like her life, touches us all.

Ronit Cohen, James Cloutier, Eugene

Thursday, October 9, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Two things tonight:

Hockey season starts tonight and the defending NHL champion Detroit Red Wings are taking on the hated Toronto Maple Leafs. As a side note, anybody know anybody that would want an XL Pavel Datsuk jersey? I got one I don't need.

Life on Mars premiers tonight on ABC at 10 pm. Ginger and I are watching the British version and it's really good. Hopefully it won't be Americanized too much. Or should I say that I hope it is Americanized well. The early criticism of The Office was that they copied the British version exactly and the actors were basically trying to act like other actors. I want Harvey Keitel and Micael Imperioli to act in the badass way they do. There have also been reports that the New York of 1973 on the show is not as gritty as the real 1973, which is a shame. In many ways, the tension on the show derives from the 1973 cops behaving in a way that is about to coming crashing down on them. The audience knows that there is about to be a backlash against everything they do, but they have no idea and proceed as if they have no other choice. The tension also comes from the fact that our hero knows that the way the cops behave is wrong, but he is tempted by the ease of the shortcuts and violence. The hero is forced to ask which is more important "rights" or "justice" and if the two can be seperated. A good show and I'm hoping it comes off, as I only have nine more episodes of the British version left to watch.

Prance Around the Horn

  1. i am an unkempt, cave-dwelling Dungeons and Dragons character at this point, in case you were wondering. you were, right? srsly?
  2. Bill Sizemore - Oregon's very own ballot initiative villain - is spending NV Foundation money on braces for his daughter?
  3. Thomas Pynchon is rolling out a pulp-y detective novel?
  4. All this MLA talk about blogs and academic publishing makes me wonder if anybody's figured out how to export citations from blogs into already-existing bibliographic software.
  5. Listen, we all love Astral Weeks. But this sounds like a bad idea, Van.
  6. This clip of the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka speaking to the Steelworkers re: Obama, race and industrial unionism (?!?) is emblematic of labor's moving, pro-Obama spirit at the DNC. It's worth the five minutes of your time.
  7. There's too much anti-Acorn-hate-porn to count, these days, but here's an awesome, hilarious, drafty exposition about Saul Alinsky and the ACORN and godless socialism, etc., courtesy of the always-alert NW Republican.
  8. Philosopher Bill Martin writes an honest account of attempting to bridge the gap between intellectuals and the US Far Left, which in this case includes collaborations with Zizek and RCP Charismatic Figure Bob Avakian. Some of my favorite reading of the last month.
  9. I would love to hear some Michigan-type-people's opinions on the $25 Billion Detroit bailout, by the way. Is this what "The Treaty of Detroit" looks like in the neoliberal era: 1950 as tragedy, 2008 as farce?

Night Shift Fodder

1) "The last few years have been marked by an inverted millenarianism in which the premonitions of the future, catastrophic or redemptive, have been replaced by senses of the end of this or that." -F. Jameson

2) Doug Henwood's latest radio broadcast features two political economists from York University - Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin discussing the possibility that this last financial crisis may, in fact, be, the "one" that precipitates a new style of capitalism: a restructuring in the relations of production, you know? So what comes after neoliberalism? There is no reason to be dumbly optimistic about it, whatever it is, as Henwood concludes in a powerful editorial in the new Nation:
Although we're hearing a lot now about how the Reagan era is over and the era of big government is back, an expanded government isn't likely to do much more than rescue a failing financial system (in addition to the more familiar pursuits of waging war and jailing people). Nothing more humane will be pursued without a far more energized populace than we have.
Henwood's is the most timely commentary on the bailout and its long/short-term stakes that I have heard/read. Apparently this is one area where I fall out with Pete De Fazio and Dean Baker, and fall in with Paul Krugman and Barney Frank. Weird. 'Makes me uncomfortable, but so does the ongoing financial collapse, and so do the prospects of the restructuring of the US fiscal/labor/monetary policies that are about to go down under either BHO or the Maverick. I think the consequences of moves made around this bailout and the subsequent restructuring of global finance will be decisive for the long-term prospects of the "working class" at home and "globalization's discontents" abroad, moreso even than election outcomes this year. But obviously the two variables are fatefuly related to one another.

3) Libertarian stalwart and initiative also-ran Howard "Howie" Rich returns to the scene in South Carolina?!?!?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Doctoral Candidacy - Boarding the Lorry!

I dunno how much or how little I'm going to be posting for a few days more, because it's time to close the deal with this crazy proposed doctoral research blah-blah. In the interim my advice to one and all is, watch out for the flame.

He's got questions - very angry questions

Andy McCarthy:

Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left? Did you sense that he funded Leftist causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? Would you have guessed that he's pals with a guy who brags about bombing the Pentagon? Would you have guessed that he helped underwrite raging anti-Semites? Would you come away thinking, "Gee, he's proposing to transfer nearly a trillion dollars of wealth to third-world dictators through the UN"?

My responses to McCarthy's questions in the order in which they were delivered:
2)Are you confusing Obama with George Soros?
3)Are y'all really still trying to ride this Ayers thing?
5)[head explodes]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Difficult Ipod Transitions

Minor Threat's Guilty Of Being White to Foreigner's Dirty White Boy.

Last debate open thread


Second Debate Thread

I reiterate my calling out of Lex.

Debate Open Thread

Let's get this party started right!

The Following Makes Perfect Sense to Some People

I want to get this right, so help me out when I go astray.

The fundamentals of the economy are strong. Although there does seem to be a credit crunch on. But this is largely a crisis of confidence. Brought about, in part, because Wall Street is terrified of an Obama presidency. Things would get better if people had more confidence in the economy. So it is important not to blow things out of proportion. But it is also important that we give Wall Street $700 billion now. Immediately. At least, according to the Bush administration. Which has had a hand in guiding the economy for the last eight years, based on the same principles that have largely governed American economic policy for the last 28 years. But this administration and these policies are not responsible for the current crisis, which again, is largely a crisis based on the fear of an Obama presidency. And, possibly, because of the last remnants of the old economy. Almost certainly because some people had false expectations of home ownership. And banks were forced to give home loans to blacks. We do know that the best way to avert a crisis is to not support Obama, which will make Wall Street feel better. In the end, vote McCain and avert economic crisis.

Does that about sum it up?

A Pre-Warning Warning

Don't forget to join us for some hot, hot debate commenting on this very blog. Tonight.

AM/PM, FM Hits (for Him)

Insomnia is the mother of invention. Like this morning before sunrise, when I realized how easy it is to sing "I hate my fucking life" to the tune of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why."

Today's gonna be good.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Woulda coulda shoulda

Shorter Pat Boone: Democrats really would've made history had they nominated a black anti-affirmative action Republican.

Wherein I am named as a "known associate" of Barack Hussein Obama

Maybe you've heard that the ongoing collapse of the contemporary global finance regime was caused by greedy brown people buying sweet cribs they couldn't afford with a sub-prime mortgage. But did you know that this was all part of a plot to completely destroy capitalism, and Obama is right in the thick of it? Kinda?

At how many different points can you work yourself into the vast left-wing conspiracy that in thirty short days will usher in the dawn of the Soviet Socialist Republic of America? I'm betraying America at least five times, according to the chart.

The Weeked Comes, The Cycle Hums

The paradox of class at the millennium, in sum, must be understood in these terms.
Neoliberalism aspires, in its ideology and practice, to intensify the abstractions inherent in capitalism itself: to separate labor power from its human context, to replace society with the market, to build a universe out of aggregated transactions. While it can never fully succeed, its advance over the "long" twentieth century has profoundly altered, if unevenly in space and time, the phenomenology of being in the world. Formative experiences - like the nature of work and the reproduction of self, culture and community - have shifted. Once-legibile processes - the workings of power, the distribution of wealth, the meaning of politics and national belonging - have become opaque, even spectral. The contours of "society" blur, its organic solidarity disperses. Out of its shadows emerges a more radically individuated sense of personhood, of a subject built up of traits set against a universal backdrop of likeness and difference. In its place, to invert the old Durkheimian telos, arise collectivities erected on a form of mechanical solidarity in which me is generalized into we.

In this vocabulary, it is not just that the personal is political. The personal is the only politics there is, the only politics with a tangible referent or emotioanl valence. By extension, interpersonal relations - above all, sexuality, from the peccadillos of presidents to the global specter of AIDS - come to stand, metonymically, for the incoate forces that threaten the world as we know it. It is in these privatized terms that action is organized, that the experience of inequity and antagonism takes meaningful shape.
- (from) John and Jean Comaroff, 2000 Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming. Public Culture 12(2):291.

KEATING ECONOMICS discussion thread.

The biggest application of "oppo research" we've seen from the Obama campaign.

Here's how Ezra Klein understands the relevance of this move:

13-minute documentaries aren't made in a morning. They've been holding this for awhile. Until they deemed it necessary. And then over the weekend, the McCain campaign decided it was time to elevate Ayers and Wright and dark suspicious about Muslim ties from e-mailed understudies to campaign stars. By Sunday night, the Obama campaign was previewing a 13-minute documentary on McCain's relationship with Charles Keating. And a web site detailing the links at more length.

This isn't how they normally do attack ads. It's not how they normally do attacks. Which is the point. It's different. Bigger. This isn't an attack made for the air but an attack meant to dominate the new cycle. To ensure that McCain's invocation of Ayers, et al is paired with Obama's assault on Keating and thus folded into a fairly dry process story about the sharp and sadly negative turn the election is taking and that voters should ignore.


In that crisis, John McCain and his political patron, Charles Keating, played central roles that ultimately landed Keating in jail for fraud and McCain in front of the Senate Ethics Committee. The McCain campaign has tried to avoid talking about the scandal, but with so many parallels to the current crisis, McCain's Keating history is relevant and voters deserve to know the facts -- and see for themselves the pattern of poor judgment by John McCain.

The Obama campaign, in other words, has an argument as to relevance. And they've constructed their attack such that they don't have to stop talking about the economy to make it. But we'll see if they're able to keep control of their own message amidst the furor. The subtheme here is that John McCain is going to be very pissed off. Legendarily pissed off. It'll be interesting to see how that plays at tomorrow night's townhall debate...
Thoughts? Who's going to watch this thing, besides nerds like us?

New Poll -- Obama Domination

New "poll" on the right.

Less a poll than a test of the power of collective predictive abilities. According to a book I read, we should all be able to contribute our little bits of knowledge to paint a larger, more accurate picture.

Let's get on it!