Saturday, January 17, 2009


I would rather go blind, remember? No? Sorry. You have been robbed.

Pantless Day on the NYC Subway

Laughed til I cried. Obviously girls do not participate who do not have perfect legs. And panties. But still.

Quote O' Teh Day

"I tell people I've been working on the Obama campaign since 1932."
Man being interviewed about the significance of the new president on today's All Things Considered.
It set off a flood of memory for me, and I guess I've been working on the Obama campaign since 1950, the year I was shocked to learn that my father would not allow my best friend Diane Garnett to come to my sixth birthday party. My mother had not told me why I could not go to hers earlier, but I guess she finally decided I should know the truth. (I've been working on the Hillary Clinton campaign since 1973. There's nothing like being home alone with a 2-year-old to turn you into a radical feminist.)
We lived on Henry Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan and it was divided racially by Wealthy Street, a busy arterial. The Henry Street School was on the black side and I was one of a handful of white kids in kindergarten and first grade there. Diane was a fabulous artist and I tried to copy what she drew, but I wasn't any good and my mother also told me that truth.
One summer day a black man who worked at the corner gas station came walking up our street and Mrs. Fitzpatrick ran out of her house and chased him away, telling him he should never walk in our neighborhood of rundown rentals again. Heh.
My partner remembers his family's rather straightforward relationships with black neighbors and friends and coworkers that dated back to their origins in the rural area of Truman, Arkansas, home of the Scottsborough Boys scandal/lynching (?). They hunted and fished together and big and small gatherings always included black families and their children. It's amazing, really. We speculated that this was a community in the true sense of the word, interdependent, especially during the Depression.
I believe my dad's bigotry was the product of both his environment and his own inner sense of, not privilege, but inadequacy, which had to be put off onto others for him to bear the burden of it. He hated Spics, Wops, Kikes and Niggers, Hollanders (Dutch) and Ayrabs equally. When he came to Seattle to live, the Marine Corps veteran of WWII South Pacific horrors, demanded to know where all the Japs came from.
I also believe that deep below the surface my father was a loving man scarred by early alcohol abuse, as well as his brothers'.
BTW, KPLU disc jockey this afternoon noted after playing Etta James' classic The Jealous Kind that Beonce, who played James in the movie Cadillac something (Studios) may have sung in the movie. For sure, she's singing James' "At Last, My Love Has Come Along" at the inauguration in which Barack and Michelle will have the first dance. Another classic. It was suggested that it would be great if James were there for that, too, but who knows what shape she's in.
Calm down, I'm looking for the YouTube, I'm looking. And Billie is singing "I've been down so long that down don't worry me."
Thank God I'm an American. I'm proud, yes, sentimental and silly and unserious as that may be. It's just that my pride and feelings are based on differences as well as similarities, it's just more fun, more exciting, broadening. And I've only had one drink.
Stream of consciousness, I'd rather drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log than...fill in the blanks.

Okay, she's more ancient than I am, but you've heard this a thousand times and it always gave you the chills.

Friedman Units

is what the progressive bloggers began calling six-month periods of time, snarkily alluding to NYT columnist, social gadfly and self-proclaimed know-it-all Tom Friedman's record of being consistently wrong about the Iraq war. He was prone to repeating every six months or so that it would be just another six months and everything would turn around.
He's been wrong about more than that and is a blatant hypicrite, as so many pundits are.
Which is why I resisted vociferously a friend's urgent call to read his new book.
Now Matt Taibbi puts it in eloquent perspective (although I have no idea what porn-stached means.)

When some time ago a friend of mine told me that Thomas Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, was going to be a kind of environmentalist clarion call against American consumerism, I almost died laughing.

Beautiful, I thought. Just when you begin to lose faith in America’s ability to fall for absolutely anything—just when you begin to think we Americans as a race might finally outgrow the lovable credulousness that leads us to fork over our credit card numbers to every half-baked TV pitchman hawking a magic dick-enlarging pill, or a way to make millions on the Internet while sitting at home and pounding doughnuts— along comes Thomas Friedman, porn-stached resident of a positively obscene 114,000 square foot suburban Maryland mega-monstro-mansion and husband to the heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world, reinventing himself as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism.


is always an excellent resource and is touting its definitive Obama program planned for the evening of the inauguration. But everything they do, including this program, is also available now online here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tonight on TV

at 9 p.m. on ABC is, I believe, the first Friday Night Lights episode since the writer's strike. I've been watching these new episodes on Direct TV, which bought the rights, sold for reasons no one seems to know, but now the network is "rerunning" them for its millions of viewers.
Okay, it's about a high school football in a small Texas town. But it's really not. Like any good character-based production, it's about people.
It's great. Try it, if not tonight, then next Friday.

Ad O' Teh Day

For more creative condom commercials, go here.

The Final Days

And it's not over til it's over, as David Kurtz of TPM reminds us.

We're in the final 100 hours of the Bush era, but we're not out of the woods yet. Before its time is up, the Administration is still trying to open up new areas to offshore drilling, and they're trying to bury a Pentagon inspector general report on the military's TV pundits program with a 4 p.m. Friday afternoon release. Then there are the last-minute pardons expected sometime between now and noon Tuesday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


can dance. Who knew? Very much the coloring of Shortymac, who has recently earned the nickname Shredder, or The Shredder. She's fond of newspaper and cardboard, plush she likes to sleep next to my shredder. Recently she began shredding the wall near that sleeping place. Gus had started it a few years ago.

Blog Ideas

I've neither the time nor inclination to go through all the award winners for 2008, but here's a link if you want to do any of it. If you find something kewl and noteworthy and/or hilarious, unique, etc., send me an email and I'll put your rec up for the rest of us.


Obama's People

photography is art, and this man's portrait work is quite extraordinary for mass pedia. I think he's nicer to the female subjects, but it appears he's captured something here. NYT.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Need A Break

and Andrew Sullivan says this is the one for today.

The Real Elephant Love

Truth Is Stranger Dept.

Headline O'Teh Day:
Was Bernie Madoff A Mafia Front?

From the fabulous Mr. Taplin.

With BCCI closed down, maybe Bernie and his partners saw a market opportunity. The fact that a lot of innocents got caught up in the scam is probably less important than who was getting their money out in the last nine months of Madoff’s scam.

My guess is it was the Goodfellas.

Today's Spiritual Lesson

brought to you by Hugo on Jon Taplin's most popular blog post, which received more than 300 comments in a conversation that lasted more than a month. Voice after voice.
  • Hugo // October 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Ken, forgive my mock erudition, but you’ve synopsized not only “Candide” but also the vast learnings of the 12th Century. The only real Progress, progress that is enduring and not merely fleeting and illusory, is the progress of the individual human soul in communio with other striving souls — not in the collective nor in the polis, but within and amongst. Human beings are fully human only in community; in community are we completed. There is no human Adam without Eve, no Eve without Adam. And no Eden save the Eden within.

    yr Hugo of Saint Victor

So This Guy Walks Into A Bar

Sorry, I really didn't know how to tell you what this post is about because it
s really late the Shortymac gets up early (right now she is sleeping under my bed).
Anyway, be your own D.J., another tip from Jay Rosen.

Why Most Journalism Is Crap

I'm still working on my own theory, but in the meantime there's always Jay Rosen.
In the sphere of deviance we find “political actors and views which journalists and the political mainstream of society reject as unworthy of being heard.” As in the sphere of consensus, neutrality isn’t the watchword here; journalists maintain order by either keeping the deviant out of the news entirely or identifying it within the news frame as unacceptable, radical, or just plain impossible. The press “plays the role of exposing, condemning, or excluding from the public agenda” the deviant view, says Hallin. It “marks out and defends the limits of acceptable political conduct.”

Anyone whose views lie within the sphere of deviance—as defined by journalists—will experience the press as an opponent in the struggle for recognition. If you don’t think separation of church and state is such a good idea; if you do think a single payer system is the way to go; if you dissent from the “lockstep behavior of both major American political parties when it comes to Israel” (Glenn Greenwald) chances are you will never find your views reflected in the news. It’s not that there’s a one-sided debate; there’s no debate.

BTW, this is not the usual self-loathing. Why in hell should I want to "save" the P-I, it's an early death in the ongoing pandemic. Something else is emerging and people much smarter than I are watching and describing it.

Oh, wait, it is the Lizard People after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Former Colleague

and currently still employed reporter Derek Shepherd has some very cool photos up on Flickr here.

They Caught

this guy.
I love that. He will be prosecuted, convicted and sentenced.
But he's a gnat on the butt compared to the big criminals, who will now retire and write books about how they've been misunderstood. Or misunderestimated, as Shrubya said today, again, this time intentionally.

Elephant Love

Some Contrariennes out there think this is kewl and I trust their judgement.

At Last My Dream Come True

prom dress rugby.

This Guy

knows of what he speaks. And ya know what? I think Obama gets it, too. It's called a head fake. And progressives better pay attention.
I don't believe there is [such a thing as post-partisanship]," said Lux. "My theory of change is somewhat different than the president-elect's. And I will be fascinated to see how this plays out. But I think, ultimately, even if Obama can be post-partisan on some issues, and I think he can on some issues... At the end of the day the argument between progressives and conservatives does not yield. You don't have moments in American history where everybody is thrilled to come together and the ideas happen easily. There has been no major change in American history that has happened easily, without rancor or without partisanship."

There Is So Much On This Web Site

to love and wonder at that it's hard to know where to start.
So, let's start with "Hideously Cute Babies."
And I still don't know why Blogger won't let me use these "unsupported" files. They always did before.


slips over the line onto Facebook for this Observation O' Teh Day from
Alicia Manley Lawver :
Eldest woke up early and came into our room to complain: "I can't sleep ..." No honey, you're just awake. Go read the comics. "Ok," she says with big grin.

Monday, January 12, 2009

We Are All Artists

Honest vs. Dishonest Economists

Nate Silver just came out of nowhere this year to create the best political blog on the net. He is an unashamed progressive, a statistics geek, and now it turns out he studied economics at the University of Chicago, which means he's steeped in the now discounted Friedman school.
So, when he calls out Greg Mankiw, it has the ring of credibility.
His commenters are pretty smart, too, and there are few trolls.

He knows very well what the Romer and Romer paper says -- and he's made a deliberate choice to misrepresent it.

In poker terms, this is what we'd call a "tell". Mankiw doesn't have anything. He's bluffing. Out of ideas. Taking one for the team, and touting the party line for shits and giggles. Except, this isn't exactly fun and games, and Mankiw should leave the discussions to people who are serious about getting our economy moving again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cancer Gene

The stuff going on in medicine and medical research just boggles me.
Here's the latest.

Don't Ever Say You Didn't Know

fGovernment figures last week showed the U.S. unemployment rate surged in December to 7.2 percent, capping a year in which employers slashed 2.6 million jobs, the most since 1945.

From these people.

Just Because Somebody Did A Study

doesn't mean it's worth shit.
l love NYC. And Chicago. And Miami. (Okay, not LA, or Vegas, but SF, sure!)
So don't believe this. Because I don't want to. So there.
Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it's long been recognized that city life is exhausting -- that's why Picasso left Paris -- this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.

Krugman Responds

to the kind of critique TPM printed today (below here) and you should always check in with him anyway just to be on the right side of information vs. rubbish.

Do Not Sacrifice

the good for the perfect.
I have believed this from the begining, but am not as good a writer as one of Josh Marshall's other readers.
I would link to it, but he doesn't give this stuff a separate page, so I'm running the whole thing before it disappears from the front page.

One of the most difficult dynamics in legislating is the seemingly never ending critique that the good is not perfect. That argument is in constant use and is far too often an excuse to make the bad worse or not at all. As the debate heats up on the Recovery Plan, folks need to step back and get real pragmatic. As necessary as such a plan is, it is still a dangerous gamble and a deep mortgage on the future earnings of the polity, including some of whom are yet to be born. I love Paul Krugman, but I would be much more interested in his suggestions and prescriptions than I am in his critiques (and yours too for that matter). The Recovery Plan has to thread a fine needle and deal with a bunch of conditions set in place by the Bush Administration. The Bush deficit predicted to be 1.2 Trillion this year. The Fed investment in monetary policy of almost 2 Trillion so far, the TARP use of 350 Billion with marginal or no results and a population that is largely untutored on the whys and wherefores of the economics of what went wrong and what we can realistically do to recover. Add to that the need to re-direct an already ailing economy, deal with entitlements and restructure and re-equip a fatigued military. The list goes on, schools, infrastructure,etc.

It's time for everyone with creditable and cogent suggestions to get down in the weeds and start talking specifics. How can we spend 1 Trillion plus in a timely manner that INVESTS in the national economy and not just temporarily stimulates it. How can we come to a national consensus on what to do and when.

In my mind this economic breakdown is as dangerous and impactful as the events of 9/11 and requires a united national response just as that event did. The task of the PE is to try to forge that national consensus and plan at a time when there is ever increasing skepticism over "bailouts" in general and big ones in particular.

It's time to, at the very least, couple your critique with constructive suggestions. I know that the role of the press is to point out the apparent and hidden factors and to raise awareness. But you (and Krugman) have an opportunity to add positive and creative input to the mix. Input that is sorely needed. If you don't know, then find someone who you believe does and bring their point of view forward.

Anyone paying attention, by now, knows how difficult and daunting the task. And those paying attention are also aware of the complexity and intricacy of the terrain. It's time for the chattering classes to add light
and not just heat. Educate us, inform us, but also help us to see the solutions, not just the problem.

Linkins Outtake

Why you should never, ever watch the talking heads:
Now they are talking about infrastructure spending. Zandi says it's efficacious, but you still need to get tax-cutalicious to have a full stimugasm. Gregory LOVES THE SOUND OF SOME TAX CUTS, and so does Gigot. Not so much the building of trains, because NBC has a sled, pulled by magical interns, that drive him around.


Huffpo posts all the videos the next day,
I liked this on best.

Inside Dope On Seattle P-I

at The Stranger blog. Hat tip TPM.

Lewis is 43 years old. He's worked at the P-I for eight years, and in journalism for 20. “It’s all I know, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do," he told me. “What I do is who I am, and I’m proud of that.” People from other newspapers have been e-mailing him to offer condolences, but that doesn't mean they have any work to offer him. “I’ve got friends in journalism. That always counted for something. It doesn’t anymore.”

Obama On Prosecuting

the Bushies.
From TPM, this key quote from a talking head show today:
"We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we're going to be looking at past practices and I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up."
Linkins probably has a different, more amusing take, but I slept in (new puppy mom) this morning and am still, still on my first cuppa.

Commenters don't all see it as a gotcha.