Saturday, November 29, 2008

i hope that BHO is reading Kuttner and Krugman...

both "mere" liberals, i know. but truth told, "managed capitalism" or a "mixed economy" or whatever-the-hell else you wanna call it still seems ambitious enough (to me) for this first 100 days.

here's Krugman's pronouncement from a persuasive piece called "the Keynesian moment:"
To be sure, Keynes failed to foresee the postwar rise of the “marginal efficiency of capital” — the way that economic growth combined with inflation would create an environment in which interest rates were high enough in normal times that monetary policy was effective at fighting slumps. Hence the long era in which Keynes didn’t seem all that relevant. But his analysis remained as valid as ever, under the right conditions. Those conditions reappeared first in Japan during the 90s; now they’re everywhere... And in the long run, it turns out, Keynes is anything but dead.

sound-horn (boof!) avec sep 2008 1 mixtape

*Download the 2008 sep 1 cassette.(And please join me at the prisonship to bask in the long, expository efforts that accompany these sounds. We will be witnessing a downplaying of the "mixtape" format on future blocks, because the files are unwieldy to the point of turning off potential downloader--and/or-listeners. The point of posting the music is to foster writing/conversation about it (and about writing), so I will unabashedly do a good deal of probably pointless catering to a probably non-existent "audience" on this or some other blog. All of that aside, there will definitely be a year-end "best of," highlights mixtape. And if you don't download that, it will inevitably hurt our friendship. If we're not friends, of course, you should definitely just listen to dave emory instead of reading my blog or any other periodical.)

*even the likes of kev("-ron hubbard") are enjoying the exciting new June of 44 gene-thing project at Time Isn't on My Side. 'good to see gabbagabba's garden growing.

* similarly, the erudite, ever-so-curatorial and admirable pukekos houses absolutely essential, often-out-of-print weirdness including chris leo, bastro/codeine, swell maps, macha & bedhead, joan of arc, treiops treyfid, vague angels, secret stars.... the site is a bleeping golden mine. it's even got that mocket 7" kev waldo emerson gave me!

* not to be outdone, magicistragic goes to show (me, at least) how to write about rock in the not-crap, blog world of rock writing that has inherited the 90s zine tradition commemorated so dutifully by mike lupica, this bad man, and so many of us in our different ways. in particks, you'd no doubt benefit from visiting with the V-3, dillard and clark and tall dwarfs, mebbe? but there's so much more.

* and how about this domino/caroline comp. on outdoor miner? speaking of them 90s.

Friday, November 28, 2008

around the what if horn

more than anything i'm tired this long weekend. i've been sick and chained to my office-tv-bedroom habitat forever, but it's clearly going to continue for a few more days, months... thankfully i'm finally well enough to take walks, enjoy promenades, prance about the precincts, etc... so i've got that (read: the out-of-doors) going for me, which is nice. at a certain point, it is a itself a sin for even the catholic-est ex-catholics to brood, non? so if the best posture i can muster these days is "enthusiastic convalescent," then...

i turn to fluxblog in an attempt to end a decade's hiatus from any and all hip-hop, etc. kanye west, l'il wayne (sp?)... how else am i supposed to start? (any and all advice is welcome. i'll probably end up regressing to thirty-six chambers or midnight marauders, if not just giving up and only ever rocking the soft rock or the shoegaze records.) i appreciate fluxblog's 'singles' format, and i like the renewed sense of possibilities that mp3 web action brings to the audio life.

looks like chris matthews really is staffing up for the PA senate seat run.
dean baker occupies the position of Marvel's (Uatu the) Watcher, pointing the way to a possible reality-based discourse around EFCA that seems less improbable every day.

in other shield news, an interview with writer Shawn Ryan - who'd've thunk he worked on Nash Bridges? - coinciding with the (gripping) series finale from last tuesday. neophytes should resist the urge to skip to the end without watching the whole thing, tho....Ryan justifiably feels some pride for the series' ability to maintain the beginning-middle-end formal architecture that so few movies/tv shows/etc ever pull off.

more jeffrey jensen telephone calls on matablog!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

whimsy horn, prisonshippe

remember that old blog, the parson-sharp? well, it's being re-run (avec falcon, in one instance) in syndication for a limited time. it's the person-slurp's way of saying "happy effing holiday, chips!"

any wobs can tell you that all this jeebus talk is nothing new from me... but what else am i supposed to do when M.I.T. is funding ryan adams' faux-Plath, faux-Gary Snyder hocum? or when IKEA wants somebody from Pavement to shop there?

mebbe i should drop some coin on this set of Hitchcocks? which one would you watch first?

oh well, at least BHO just nominated an OMB guy who's known as an alarmist about social security, huh? stay tuned to the OG for "early and often" reportage of every ownry also-ran, and every arcane ideology that befits your e'er-so-pleasant holiday eyes.

On Glenn Greenwald's takedown of Brennan...

I was just perusing Glenn's excellent discussion of the aftermath of Brennan's "removal from consideration" and the crappy NYT (not gonna linky) coverage of said removal ...
his indictment:
All of this underscores a crucial fact: a major reason why the Bush administration was able to break numerous laws in general, and subject detainees to illegal torture specifically, is because the media immediately mimicked the Orwellian methods adopted by the administration to speak about and obfuscate these matters. Objective propositions that were never in dispute and cannot be reasonably disputed were denied by the Bush administration, and -- for that reason alone (one side says it's true) -- the media immediately depicted these objective facts as subject to reasonable dispute.

and his (typically sarcastic) conclusion:
And besides, even if you want to get all technical about it and say that they "broke the law," everyone Serious knows that "criminal prosecutions" weren't created for high government officials. As Goldsmith so movingly points out, it's already bad enough that Good and Important People like John Yoo, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, Dick Cheney and friends have suffered what Goldsmith describes as "severe criticism" and even "enormous reputational losses." Criticism and reputational damage! In the name of God, what more do you want to do to these people?

As Goldsmith pleads, these are people who have been so severely punished already. They are banished to toil in shameful, humiliating labor conditions -- as, say, tenured Professor at Berkeley Law School or Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, with unimaginably grim futures involving millions of dollars in fees for giving speeches and writing memoirs and living in retirement off Halliburton stock. What kind of monster would want to heap still more punishment on these noble, suffering souls, just because they committed some so-called "war crimes" and other felonies? Haven't they suffered enough? Shame on those who want to keep harassing them, wringing what Goldsmith calls "further retribution" by holding them accountable under the law.

"people" should continue to pressure the Obama admin. to investimagate, and prosemacute the deciders....

players in their own right: Stern, Biden, Reuther, Christie

1) Andy Stern on the New Moment
here's the Nation editor KVH swooning a little bit over Andy. it's an interesting opportunity to hear Andy spew forth, and you can always count on Big Purple for some interesting frames:
It's a different world – the free market ideology has been discredited," Stern said. This was "a clear election not on small things." And he argues, "We've redefined the center. Universal health care is now centrist."
2) BIDENLAND! amidst all the appointments, my question is, how do we ensure that my man Joe Biden always has the ear of the pres.?
3)Harold Meyerson puts forth a superior reading of the Big 3 Bailout that doesn't fail to evoke the era or Reuther:

The United Auto Workers’ pamphlet is nothing if not explicit in criticizing the direction of the American automobile industry. New cars cost too much relative to the buying power of the American public, it says. They are oversized. Their fuel efficiency is appallingly low.

This indictment of the Big Three appears in "A Small Car Named Desire," published by the UAW in 1949 (when the Tennessee Williams play which its title invokes was new). It was written by the social democratic labor intellectuals with whom the UAW's new president, Walter Reuther, staffed what was then the world's largest and most vibrant union. During World War II, the union, along with the Steelworkers, had won the first contracts that committed its employers to paying for its members' health care. In the first years of Reuther's presidency, it won the first contracts ensuring that productivity gains would be shared with the workers and devised the first annual cost-of-living adjustments so that paychecks would keep up with inflation. The union also won decent pensions for retirees and coverage of those retirees' medical expenses.

In other words, the UAW did more to build the era of postwar American prosperity, when workers' paychecks kept up with productivity gains, than any single institution save the federal government itself. That's one reason why it's such a target for conservative attacks as the Big Three beg the government to bail them out: In an era when no productivity gains are shared with workers, when workers’ incomes have been stagnating for decades, the UAW still preserves some of the gains that were broadly shared among American workers three and four decades ago.
read on!

4) and then there's NJ US Attorney and soon-to-be GOP candidate for Governor of NJ, Chris Christie, whose made hay through taking a creative, expansive approach to making political corruption cases. in addition to Christie's ingenuity, the Garden State's long-infamous culture of party patronage, etc., echoes neoliberal political culture's common-sense skepticism not just towards government, but towards politicians, and by extension, towards politics itself:

"After 35 years as a defense lawyer, I find it has become far more difficult to defend public officials," says Joseph Hayden, a prominent Democrat who also has been mentioned as a possible successor to Christie. "People simply don't trust them -- and those people become jurors."

Jurors, says Hayden, "don't care about legalities. They care about the smell test. If it smells like corruption, they'll convict."

boof-pfft-sllllt. tough news, if yr me.

for me, the hardest thing about trying to question the existence of "God" has always been the, i dunno, "culturally- Catholic" flavor of my own agnosticism. you can take the Boy out of the church, they say, but you can't take the incense-stench out of the subsequent young-goodman's nostrils. thus i grew up to play in bands and do writings that have always retained this weird, mystical, stigmata-ish bunch of motifs, to the point of being kind of an emo cliche.

well, imagine my chagrin. it seems i now have to contend with the revelation that gramsci, of all people, made a deathbed conversion to catholicism. boof!

i remember Fr. Edward Seton taking my (quasi-mandatory) confession, listening to my slew of well-reasoned arguments against teleology, and against sanctity as such. he told me, "you're a Catholic, Pat, you'll always be," and grinned shit-eatingly.

what sort of fate is this?

it's a good thing i just scored Bergman's religious trilogy, eh? thank you, Criterion. they're my primary texts, my vitamins on the "there is no god/yes, wait there is and god is horrible" score.also, i finally got around to seeing There Will Be Blood (n/c!). and i must say, that struck me as the most thoroughly agnostic sort of Horatio Alger/Morality Play thing I've seen since Crimes and Misdemeanors. top shelf!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

boof! more depressants for yr depression

a longer, dismal-er Ben Smith take on the Sec. of Labor non-story. boof!

i'll tell you, it's tough

i'll tell you who's having a rough week:

1) the PSUV, led by Hugo Chavez. Venezuela had their equivalent of what we call "off-year" elections this Sunday, and while it's true that Chavistas retained a 60%/40% majority in government, they lost regional elections in the two most affluent regions and also lost the mayoral race in Caracas.

2) Republicans: tough rocks, ladies and guys! Ben Smith quotes this hilarious missive from Mike Murphy, the 2000-era McCain loyalist (and Cassandra-like purveyor of a certain well-documented msnbc blooper):
I'm sailing by container ship to Shanghai. The Hanjin Miami, see below. Good way to get away from politics under the new overlords and finish a script I owe. And I've always wanted to cross the Pacific ocean by ship.

With luck... maybe a pirate attack. I'm doing a TIME piece on the trip, so please, tell any pirates you might know to attack. I need something to happen.

In case of emergency, or a winning lottery ticket you may want to share, my trusty assistant ... will be holding down the fort. .... Capt. Chang says I can radio in to check with [her] once in a while if I give him half my daily rice allotment.

And then there's Conservative crisis desperation, Krugman's ur-ethnographic glimpse into the absolute alchemy coming out conservative econo-wonks' pieholes these days.

All in all, what can you say? Not everybody gets to be Barack Obama. Or Robert Rubin. Or Citigroup.

Monday, November 24, 2008

(almost) Shattering Silence

Ezra Klein gives voice to one of the many renters in my panic-ridden chest:
You have to imagine that organized labor, which spent $100 million to elect Obama, is getting worried. Secretary of Labor, which is where their ally traditionally sits, is not going to be a top economic job. The folks who have been selected for top economic jobs are associated with Robert Rubin, who unions generally considered an impediment to their priorities during the Clinton administration. And when Rahm Emanuel went before business leaders, he pointedly refused to make a case for the Employee Free Choice Act.

For Crying Out Loud, Eff All Holidays!

When are we gonna get another alb outta Testface? I dunno, but we're getting serious prose in the interim. I mean, this has gotta be the equivalent of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory for the David Yow generation.

Hilarity from SNL:

In case you missed it:

would like to see some of this in real life....

Won't You Take Me To....The Lundi Horn?!?

(note: i really like doing "Around the Horn" posts even tho they don't generate a lotta comments. on days like today, when writing on a weblog is the last thing i should be doing, the "Around the Horn" allows me a chance to dash off a quick non sequitur title and a buncha links to primary texts that mostly speak for themselves. it also, naturally, allows my writing to discipline itself even less along beginning-middle-end lines. anyway, i hope readers know they too are welcome to drop half-formed thoughts, abstruse quips or dank burrito-style links in the comment section.)
  1. if you only read 1 article today about BHO's Economic appointments, here it is: Bob Kuttner, certainly the left-liberal wonk with the hot hand, hot on the heels of Sunday's debate avec Will, Brooks and Huffington, on what has become my new fave Sunday Morning Talk Show (honorable mention, the Fareed Zakaria joint on CNN.)
  2. if you listen to only one podcast about the Detroit bailout, it better be Doug Henwood with dan la botz. Stick around for the intvs. with grand, new conservative reihan salam, who himself is name-checking ethnography at the moment? have i endorsed henwood enough by now?
  3. john edwards for Labor Sec? uh, prolly not actually... but everybody's unsure who is going to get it at the moment, and ben smith, par example, seems to suggest Labor is a "second-tier" cabinet appt. in the BHO admin. As for frmr. Sen. john-boy (D-NC), We should be content enough, methinks, to hear edwards' campaign policies serving as the blueprint for the alleged nouveau New Deal.
  4. ry-ry adams makes me wonder, is Oasis' What's the Story..? a better alb than REM's Monster? I guess I think so... you?
  5. does anybody else watch the Shield? i do, and that's why i dug this lengthy interview with actor Walton Goggins. the show is best understood as the Wire if given treatments by scriptwriters from Fox and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. the show is something to experience, as are CRASS albums, right?
  6. the stupidest anti-EFCA meme yet? from John Boehner?
  7. BBC NEWS | Programmes | Hardtalk | Richard Trumka: thirty minute intvw. with the AFL-CIO's sec-tres/badass.
  8. live june of 44 at captain's dead! (h/t pour gabba-bagga-sleigh)
  9. The Godfather Family Album:tell me exactly who you think is going to buy this in December of 2008?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sonic Youth, Son Volt, Slint (,Springsteen?)

...."Sonic Youth, Son Volt, Slint," certainly not in that order necessarily, is how i once explained my own rock inclinations to I-think-it-was-Kevin. and it's safe to say that even when i'm not spinning these groups' records, and even if they're not necessarily making new ones, these groups and their spin-offs and their descendAnts cover a lot of the primo ground in my playlists and in my life-world and in my old guitar-playing. (i used to play guitar, but i hate it these days.)

add Springsteen to the mix and the whole business gets grounded in my ancestral irish-catholic-agnostic-industrial place, New Jersey ("in the morning/like a lunar landscape" - le Boss). plus in recent years, particularly my Compin'/Falcon run of the mid 2000s, i enjoyed a BS renaissance around the Rising/Devils and Dust... but mostly that long, astonishing solo tour.

anywho, both my everyday life and my web-rock navigations seem so often to circle 'round and nestle in near these four luminary proper nouns and them discourses attached to 'em. in the future (on this blog or some other), i'm going to make a reoccuring suite of posts outta this threesome(/foursome?)... goodness knows these bands have rocked me for oh-so-long in oh-so-many thrilling ways: now i'll see if they work as an heuristic device.

the most interesting slint-thing i have to report is that pajo's blog is reaching pretty high heights these days. i am a longtime follower of Pajo's music and writing, and for many years frequented his (once very active) message board. the man cover's a lot of ground, see? first there are his thrown-off, variably opaque aphorisms:
Unsuit yourself from the blindness in your life. I don't hold it against the little ones, too pure to understand an adult's weakness. I hold it against those that don't preserve what they own.
and then there're the rare occasions when his writing runs into the (wholly?) autobiographical, and names are named, et al. what's more, pajo's writing in these pockets reminds me of other people i admire like Tuthtfuth and Minx:

I walked backstage looking for my guitar case. I was in some other time zone. It was a circus back there, all fake mustaches and tutus.

Someone shook my hand and told me they loved the set. I recognized him as Jeff Tweedy only because he'd just recorded with my pal Jim O' Rourke. I didn't know anything about Wilco and I still don't.

If I'm a poser it's because I act like I'm not terrified.

Over the years I have honed the act. There are imperceptible clues but who cares about a twitch of the eye? Or a long bathroom break? There is no part of me that likes all those lights on me, all those eyes on me.

I stand before you to scrutinize, not because I enjoy it but because someone wants to see me. I do it for them.

And for money.

meanwhile Sonic Youth have continued their careering, self-releasing more experimental lps, performing Daydream Nation in its entirety at the occasional festival, and relatedly, sprinkling wholesome amounts of back catalog in their regular touring. i really admire their relentless remastering and reissuing, and really wish i could afford that 2 X LP Goo that comes with those semi-legendary Don Fleming demos. lately i have been enjoying this vast, completely authorized resource for additional face-melting live materials. in particular i have enjoyed the period coinciding with the lovely and underrated 1,000 Leaves. who else knows this one? it's a fave, and the live versions are even higher favored (by the Great Favorer, me).

, there's a new Bruce Springsteen and E Street coming in Jan. who knows? as Brown Beard and Mike Lupica'll tell you, if you care to ask, that last one, Magic, was really quite alright. Just no more of that Pete Seeger crap, huh? And no overly-overt paeans to the President-Elect on this next alb, right?

being on the verge of a cardinology review, i have had occasion to think fondly of jay farrar's very quiet, maybe even morose outward disposition. but it gets a bit ridiculous when fans know that there are two albums in the can (one SV, one Gob Iron) and a soundtrack to a film that's circulating about, but we cannot even get an update on the damned webpage since feb of this Year. it begs a broader question: to what extent do yr fave bands have a "web presence?" do you suppose it effects yr enthusiasm for the outfit? maybe you don't even read about music on the interweb - i mean, do you? if so, where? do you read about music anywhere? do you write about it anywhere? think about it ever?

i think i used to think a lot about music, but now i think about other things and project it onto record albs. in particular i like that 180-gram vinyl. and always tapes.