I am visiting the Medical CEO and his wife today. I say Medical CEO because I am the Son-of-a and I say "his wife" because I'm sexist.
Then the Steelers will lose to Jacksonville. Back tomorrah.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
I am visiting the Medical CEO and his wife today. I say Medical CEO because I am the Son-of-a and I say "his wife" because I'm sexist.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Upward not downward. Outward not inward. Onward not backward. Better not worser. Multi not mini. Hope not despair. Love not hate. Turkey not tofu. Faster not slower. Farther not nearer. Further not lesser. Richer not poorer. Living not dead. High not low. American not un-American. Reverent not penitent. Strong not weak. Smart not dumb. Foresight not blindness. Tasty not bland. Salty and sweet. Hoppy but not bitter. Tannic but fruity. Slender not fat. Flash and bang. Zip and zap. Hippity and dippity. Lo and behold. Ipso and facto. Proctor and Gamble. Lockheed and Martin. Dow and Jones. Teacher and student. Black and white. Woods and Daly. Not gay and straight. Super and duper. Butter not margarine. Life not death. Pleasure not pain. Oprah not Imus. New not old. Always not never. Somewhere not nowhere. Oh God I'm so close. Worked-out not wimpy. Are you experienced? Can I just make one more moondance with you, my love? Exordium and Terminus! Keep doing that! Love me leave me let me be lonely! One enchanted evening! What it's like to be loved by you! Wouldn't it be loverly! Break on through to the other side! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Fucking yessssssss!
It's a good thing I smoke so much fucking weed, because girlie, if I didn't, then the bitter pressure in the back of my throat would surely have gushed forth when my man Dennis P. drew my attention to this. I mean, I like eating ass as much as the next faggot, but their are certain depths that even my nose fails to plumb. You know whadumsayin?
The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.Is that is or is that ain't the purplest prose you ever done read? Our highest selves? A glittering ideal? Dude, you want to know where America exists as a glittering ideal. In yah imagination.
There is plenty to criticize about mainline American exceptionalism, but you know, there's at least something semi-rational about it. There is, at least, the conviction that the United States is a nation whose unique institutions create unique benefits, freedoms, and liberties for its citizens. There is, at minimum, a material idealism behind the notion that we need to export our supposed way of life, for in the estimation of the exceptionalist, that way of life is objectively preferable to any other. That may be crass Hegelianism; it may be end-of-historical bumpus; but, fuck me, at least it's an ethos.
Listen up. I may be wrong about everything. America may well be the last, best motherfucking hope for all the motherfucking world. It may yet be proven that late state capital in the late Republic of the latter-day States is the best system of human organization ever devised by happenstance and human intelligence. But even if all those things, unlikely though they are, turn out to be true, there is nothing in the least transcendent about it. The Queen of the Night hitting the high F is trascendent. El Greco's View of Toledo is transcendent. Hell, the breaded, pan-fried sweetbreads at Po are pretty damned transcendent. Obama is just a politician, and America is just a country.
Klein is the sort of wound-tight progressive who gets pissy because Maureen Dowd writes about his candidates' wardrobes, but we're supposed to raise our hands and sway because Barack Obama is the "triumph of word over flesh." I don't even know what that means, but I know what the residents of Chicago's South Side would say if they heard it: Nigga, please.
Goddamn it's cold. I want some onion soup.
I'm gonna need
3 or 4 chicken backs
several thick slices of salt pork
1 2'x2' chunk of prosciutto butt (the narrow, unused end of the prosciutto that can't be sliced and sold - avaialble cheap at most Italian markets)
several cloves of garlic
about 1.5" of ginger root, rough cut
6 medium-large yellow onions
coarse sea salt
whole fennel seed
whole celery root
1 stale baguette (a good 2 days stale)
To make the broth melt some clarified butter in the bottom of a big stock pot. Soften 1 rough-chopped onion, then add the chicken backs to brown. Crush some garlic cloves and add them to the pot. Add the ginger. Throw in the salt pork and prosciutto. Add good, filtered water. Add a pinch of fennel seed, a pinch of celery root, several twists from the pepper grinder, and a generous portion of sea salt. Bring to a light boil, reduce immediately to a simmer, cover tightly, and simmer for 3-4 hours.
To caremalize your onions, slice the 5 remaining onions into paper-thin, translucent slices (halve the onions first; slice into half-moons). Using several thick-bottomed sauté pans, melt a little clarified butter into each over high heat, then add the onions in even batches to each pan. Over a medium-high heat, sauté until soft and clear. Then reduce the heat to very low and allow the onions to caremalize in the pan (don't stir!) for an hour, or until golden brown. Deglaze each pan with a splash of white wine, remove from heat and set aside.
You must now clarify the broth. Strain it once through a colander to remove the large solid bits. You will have a brown, fragrant broth. It will taste a little funny--a little too smokey, for one. This flavor will persist until you add the onions, so don't let it worry you. Now bring the broth to a rapid boil on the stovetop. Add the whites and shells of three eggs and stir rapidly for several minutes; then allow to boil for several more. A foamy scum will form on top of the broth. Remove it from the heat and strain again, this time through a colander lined with several layers of fine cheese-cloth or several layers of paper towels which have been wetted and then wrung out. Replace the dark, translucent, clarified broth on the heat and bring up to a low boil. Scrape in the onions. Boil together for a few minutes so that the sugars dissolve into the broth.
Place nice chunks of stale bread into large bowls and spoon over with soup. Garnish with fresh herbs if you like. You can finish this soup with the traditional cheese layer, broiled until bubbling, but I prefer it without, as the broth is more delicately flavored than the traditional beef stock. Serve it with a small green salad and poached egg.
Interesting that the two caucus-winners in Iowa are the Christ figures of their respective factions, promising deliverance. Of course, we know what happens to Christ in the end. Render unto Caesar, dudes. These results make me more certain than ever that it's gonna be Hillary and Mitt down the stretch with the lady pulling it out in the end by a fair margin. You read it here first.
The Clinton restoration should be interesting. I see her going the Thatcherian route. Tough-minded and strong-willed, par contre the lazy sop now sucking at the public teat and burning off the treasury. I would lay odds on an armed intervention somewhere in Africa, too, for good humanitarian measure. Iraq I expect to drag out for at least another eight years, until someone with a secret plan wins in 2016. Chels?
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
American liberals like Ezra Klein are totally unable to understand why Ron Paul is always talking about taxes and monetary policy and the scope of government when, in their minds, the only thing he could possibly be saying that would attract attention and support is that he's going to end the occupation of Iraq. That's because American liberals understand the invasion and occupation as a terribly aberrant, uniquely un-American act foisted on a frightened country and unprepared world by the avatar of awfulness, notre dauphin, Gee-Dub Bush. Their liberalism is essentially personality-driven--ironically, given their loud disdain for the Bushite personality cult. It is the liberal-progressive conviction that the necessary component for good government is good people. People, you know, like them. Young progs like Klein are the worst in this regard because they've never had real jobs and have therefore missed out on the practical education that most of us get in the futility of good intentions and decent management against the systemic corruption of all large institutions. The young Democrats' faith in electoralism and disdain for any generalized critique of the American state is based on the faulty idea that if only the right people were running the policy apparatus, then the power of government would be used for good and we would only invade countries when, you know, it was really important. They are naturally immune to the idea that good managers cannot buck institutional imperatives, putting their trust, as they do, in people power and, lord help us, the "democratic process." They are interested in "good government," not "limited government," and the argument that all governments seek inevitably and inexorably to expand their own power is impossible for them to grasp, because, after all, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, QED.
People like Ron Paul confound them by insisting that horrors like the Iraq invasion and occupation are necessitated by the system itself. Foreign aggression is endemic to powerful nations and empires, and the United States is surely the former and--can anyone dispute this anymore?--surely the latter as well. And from such ideas comes the general libertarian critique of government: that if you empower the government to do something, it's going to do it. If you empower the government to collect information on its citizens, it isn't only going to collect the minimum necessary to pay a social security stipend. It is going to collect as much as possible. If you create and fund a vast military establishment, the state is going to employ it. Why do we have this magnificent army, Madeline Albright notoriously mused, if we're not going to use it? The libertarian says neither ask what you can do for your country nor what your country can do for you. He says instead: How can we most effectively circumscribe the power of government so as to prevent the very possibility of invading Iraq, of setting up a ubiquitous surveillance state, of deciding to use eminent domain to subsidize strip mall develoment, and so forth and so on. The libertarian doesn't believe that so long as you're careful and make sure that good people are strolling the Aaron Sorkinian halls of power, snapping dialogue here and there, then all will be well. He does not share the Progressive's Soviet confidence in the power of good management and planning.
But even the libertarian position has at its core the flawed idea that state power can be constitutionally constrained, that if we write it down and enforce it vigilantly, the state can be confined to a limited sphere of acceptable action that will secure life and liberty and property and a few other basic rights. Yet in order to achieve even these limited ends, the libertarian concedes that the state must at least be granted a minimal monopoly on the use of force, and in particular the use of deadly force, and in that exchange he gives up everything in return for nothing, for the moment he hands the gun to the policeman and says, "Protect me from thieves," he has handed the state the mechanism through which it will go on to invalidate all its bargains and charters with its citizens.
To be sure, anti-Americanism will never disappear. Nor will America's enemies go away. But strong anti-American currents will increasingly coexist with equally strong international demands for the United States to play a larger role in world affairs.The United States currently occupies at least two nations. We have military garrisons in almost every nation on earth. We have just suborned--through naïveté or malice; it has yet to be seen--the assassination of a major Pakistani politician and are desperately propping up its current strongman. We claim the right to go to war with China should it attempt to reassert control over a nominally democratic breakaway province, although, to be sure, we are also locked in a economic pas-de-deux with the mainland government, which holds gads of our currency in reserves, a delicately tenable situation for both nations. We are dictating, or attempting to dictate, to Iran what technologies and weapons it may or may not possess. We incessantly comment on Russia's "backtracking" from "democracy." We support paramilitaries throughout the Latin American world as part of a bogus effort to eradicate cocaine. We have secret prisons throughout the world. We give billions of dollars a year to Israel, and we claim that we will bring "peace" to Israel and Palestine. Africa is a vast, plagued sop to our national conscience.
-Moisés Naím in la WaPo
How much more fucking involved can we possibly get, huh?
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Do they think people are too stupid to notice the double standard? Or so easily duped that they will swallow a stinking mess of White House banalities and tame media pundit prognostications on Fox News? Just because the bulk of the citizenry in the USA is too preoccupied with self-indulgence to pay attention to political matters doesn’t mean that people in all other countries are the same, but this appears to be the basic misconception guiding American foreign policy.It's not what we do or don't think, it's that we don't care. All empires cultivate a glorious insularity, and America is no different. Fuck the "global community." There's no such thing. There are only Americans and barbarians.
-Ken L. at Road to Surfdom
Ken writes from the perspective of a powerful country, but one that is nevertheless constrained in its capacity to act by the wills and desires of other nations and other peoples. He belongs to a polity that recognizes its power as finite and its ability to dictate outcomes and terms to others as limited. But, dude, America is, like, the superpower. Ken says that Americans act like Pakistan is a colony. Right. Ken says Americans are sated and surrounded by their own domestic concerns and neither know nor care about the rest of the world, except occasionally when our armies are smashing some part of it up. Right. He says that Americans value an American life more highly than the lives of the coolies. Right again. Ever thus, man.
Ken has the idea that America has some sort of vestigial committment to liberty and freedom and Whatever. That's the flaw in his analysis. "We are an empire now. We make our own reality." America doesn't need the consternation of the global fucking village, friends. America needs Visigoths at its gates.
Let's face it. Poor people are stupid. We mean, if they were smart, they wouldn't be poor. And by poor we mean black. And, uh, Hispanic, just to throw something else in there. Because they are poor, by which we mean stupid, by which we mean black, they are always doing things that we, by which I mean you and us, by which I mean white people who get the Times instead of their local paper, which you probably get at the office like us anyway--we mean, who pays to get some recycled Knight Ridder crap delivered to the house, where the neighbors can see--anyway, um. Yes. Doing things that we would never do. Like playing the lottery. Ever gone into a gas station and had to stand behind some
fucking nigger impoverished African-American woman as she spends twenty fucking minutes picking out scratch-off games and reading her fucking "numbers" off a McDonald's napkin when all you want to do is buy a bottle of fucking water spends her limited funds on insidiously marketed lottery games that she can ill afford? Clearly such people cannot be trusted to make their own economic decisions. If they could, they wouldn't be poor, would they? Therefore we must outlaw any choices that they might make which we know to be bad for them. If they're still poor after that, they'll have no excuse, will they?
Monday, December 31, 2007
Oh, great. The TSA has turned to witchcraft.
My own reaction to anything in an airport other than a snappy "right this way sir" with an arm extended toward a jetway is a look of pure, vicious contempt, so this is sure to slow my travel time. The government's assertion that "microfacial expressions . . . are the same across many cultures" is funny not only because there is no such thing as a "microfacial expression," but also because the very same official goes on to note the importance of "a cultural awareness component" since people in other cultures . . . don't use the same facial expressions. Anyone who's ever tried wearing a Vanna White smile on a crowded street in France knows this to be true. "Why are those Japanese women covering their mouths when they laugh? Arrest them!"
Tip o' the toboggan to my man James at the Mahatma X Files.
Bloomberg makes the usual suspects nervous. Good for him! Digby's unastonishing snit concludes:
Bloomberg's candidacy, if it happens, is designed to deny the Democrats a victory in a year when the Republicans are so wounded and tired they probably can't win it for themselves, even if they cheat.To deny! You'd think it was the Mandate of Heaven. You'd think he was Oliver Cromwell and John Edwards a fey Charlie Deux.
Between this and the Donk's unhealthy obsession with proving that Ron Paul is the second coming of Lester Maddox, I think we can hear the engine firing in the cold as the Progressosphere coughs up another year of sad Thanksralphery. Should be fun.
A candidate who actually appealed to people would of course have nothing to fear from the vanity candidacy of a nebbish, peeping-Tom, billionaire, cosmopolitan Jew with a nasal voice and the dismissive, s'ils n'ont pas de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche ! manner of most chief executives, but the Democrats have no such candidate, instead substituting a questionable dynast, a boyish lawyer who's lately come to believe himself the new Huey Long, and a messianic evangelist who doesn't quite understand what "audacity" means.
Your basic internet Donkle really does believe that she is owed a president in oh-eight, that some cosmic balance has been upset and must be restored, that the basic principles of karma dictate that some lackluster Democratic half-ass be given the opportunity to muck about in the middle east and cobble together some vague semblance of a health-care plan. Otherwise it wouldn't be fair.
You know, I'm fan of the free exchange of goods, services, and labor. Money? Sure, it's cool. Probably easier than barter, anyway. But I keep reading these stories about "identity theft," and I've got to say that there is something deeply, fundamentally, essentially wrong with a civilization that considers bank account information and credit balances and government-issued identification numbers a person's identity. I mean, I like to believe that if I were ever really the victim of identity theft, the world would have gained an additional Conrad-quoting, chicken-roasting, butt-fucking anarchist.
It appears that La Surge has fulfilled its function, which was always to self-necessitate (how's that for a coinage?) the ongoing and unending occupation of Iraq. The fractal logic is really quite beautiful if you back away from the sharp edges and look at the whole flower: In the absence of an escalation, the conditions of diminished violence that would make political reconciliation possible could not have been achieved; therefore the surge was necessary; and, although the presence of such conditions did not in fact lead to political reconciliation, it will nevertheless be necessary to maintain commensurate conditions through commensurable troop levels in order that political reconciliation might at some point obtain; ergo proctor dalmation res invictus, the test of any candidate's committment to ending the war and occupation is her committment to extending them. There are clear intellectual antecedents to such thinking. It is Samuel Beckett filtered through Yogi Berra. When you come to a fork in the road, take it!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Accuse me thus, that I have scanted all,
Wherein I should your great deserts repay,
Forgot upon your dearest love to call,
Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day,
That I have frequent been with unknown minds,
And given to time your own dear-purchased right,
That I have hoisted sail to all the winds
Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
Book both my wilfulness and errors down,
And on just proof surmise, accumulate,
Bring me within the level of your frown,
But shoot not at me in your wakened hate:
Since my appeal says I did strive to prove
The constancy and virtue of your love.
I have an aunt and uncle--good liberals, a college professor and technical writer who drive very fuel-efficient automobiles--who are working for the Obama campaign. I thought of them as I read Reza Aslan's funny-because-it's-true article in today's Post, "He Could Care Less about Obama's Story," for at the end of the day, it is your standard Progressive's conviction that "the world" shares his superficial obsessions and self-reflecting vanities, which drew him to his own personal Obama in the first place. Earlier this year I visited my relatives and tried to understand why it was exactly that they evinced such perfervid devotion to a guy who is, after all and at the end of the day, just a politician. These are intelligent, educated, perceptive, widely travelled, generally charming people. My uncle is a great scholar of Conrad, of all things. Yet in the end their rationales and reasons reduced to a singular love for his soaring transformational hokum, and after a day in the fridge the reduction crystallized into the predictable fatty mush. In the end, it flatters them to be the sort of people who would vote for a young black guy with a funny name. This is the pervasive ailment among Obama's educated liberal supporters, and they project it onto a world of peoples that have "turned against America" under the dastardly reign of the dauphin, George W. Bush. Let's not deal in pure caricature. Obama's supporters, with the possible exception of Andrew Sullivan, who is notorious for his fleeting, dangerous enthusiasms, do not expect that their candidate's mere ascension will efface eight years of imperializing, let alone the hundred that preceded them that liberals see generally fit to ignore. Nonetheless, they do seem to imagine that some kind of international good will will necessarily accrue to the United States because brown people elsewhere will be so damnably pleased to see one of their own at the wheels of the world's most pimped-out nation-state. This sort of transnational racialism, in which the world's duskier and yellower and paler and browner hues form a spiritual extension of what we laughably call "minorities," is odd but nearly universal among America's not-so-leftists, who sincerely seem to believe that "historic wrongs," as they blithely euphemize slavery and apartheid here in the US of A, can be rectified through some mildly redistributive "programs" run by some executive agency or other of the Federal government. Likwise, they have come somehow to blieve that the pure havoc we have brought to so many other countries can be soothed by an "increased concern in human rights" and a "new face in Washington" and "cooperation."
Indeed there is an entire catalogue of sentiments that liberals expect the next president to publicly express, but contrition is conspicuously absent. Part of the problem is that they genuinely believe that other peoples perceive America as they do, which is as a fundamentally new, "reinvented" nation with the turning of each presidential election. The people afflicted by America "policies," do not view us in this way, of course; they perceive the continuity of American actions, and as Aslan notes, the fabled young middle-eastern man probably cannot name an American president beyond the most recent two. The notion that we will correct carpet bombing with ecumenical paeans to the values we all share, whatever those may be and whoever exactly "we" are, has got to be one of the most vicious self-delusions I've ever encountered.