Thursday, September 11, 2008

"The 'American Idol' Candidate"...

Wow... This was unexpected, but the symmetry is delightful. Frank Rich was the New York Times' theatre critic before he transformed himself into the nation's most gifted political op-ed writer, so no-one should be surprised that Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun-Times' venerated film critic, has today, on the seventh (!) anniversary of the 9/11 catastrophe, weighed in on the excrescent pomp and galling circumstance of the GOP side of election equation...


I think I might be able to explain some of Sarah Palin's appeal. She's the "American Idol" candidate. Consider. What defines an "American Idol" finalist? They're good-looking, work well on television, have a sunny personality, are fierce competitors, and so talented, why, they're darned near the real thing. There's a reason "American Idol" gets such high ratings. People identify with the contestants. They think, Hey, that could be me up there on that show!

My problem is, I don't want to be up there. I don't want a vice president who is darned near good enough. I want a vice president who is better, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn't repeat bald- faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere. Someone who doesn't appoint Alaskan politicians to "study" global warming, because, hello! It has been studied.... 

Read the entire editorial here.

Waiting for Jimmy Durante to Let Fly with "Stimmung"...

Joan La Barbara - Tapesongs

(1977, Chiaroscuro Records CR196 LP, out of print.)

Brilliant from start to end...


01 Cathing (8:04)

02 Solo for Voice 45 (from Songbooks) (13:18)

03 Thunder (22:52)

Tracks 1 and 3 composed by JLB; track 2 composed by John Cage. Timpani on "Thunder" performed by Warren Smith and Bruce Ditmas.

Joan La Barbara - voice and electronics

(She was, and remains, the definition of bad-ass. A microphone, a mic stand, an amp, and a speaker on a chair. No room for improvement.)


(101 MB, ripped @ 320 from the original vinyl.)



Luxe Interiors,


"McCain's Integrity"...

Andrew Sullivan is the only conservative writer who makes any fucking sense at all. His Atlantic Magazine blog, The Daily Dish, rarely disappoints. I don't always agree with his core arguments (I am a commie-ass French/Euro-loving ultra-left artist crackpot, after all), but I rarely tune them out. Plus, the dude's got a bit of edge. He's a Brit emigre, he's gay, has a husband, and, most importantly, he abjures the doctrinaire. Rare qualities among the pasty, preternaturally insipid conservative set... I read him each morning, although usually as a corrective against my biases. After devouring the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Talking Points Memo (as well as Old Media, of course - the Times, the Post, the Guardian, und Die Zeit) it's important for me to reset my equilibrium. Here is his take on McCain's response to the profoundly idiotic "lipstick" controversy, posted yesterday on the Dish. Another excellent analysis...


For me, this surreal moment - like the entire surrealism of the past ten days - is not really about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or pigs or fish or lipstick. It's about John McCain. The one thing I always thought I knew about him is that he is a decent and honest person. When he knows, as every sane person must, that Obama did not in any conceivable sense mean that Sarah Palin is a pig, what did he do? Did he come out and say so and end this charade? Or did he acquiesce in and thereby enable the mindless Rovianism that is now the core feature of his campaign?

So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so. And that decision, for my part, ends whatever respect I once had for him. On core moral issues, where this man knew what the right thing was, and had to pick between good and evil, he chose evil. When he knew that George W. Bush's war in Iraq was a fiasco and catastrophe, and before Donald Rumsfeld quit, McCain endorsed George W. Bush against his fellow Vietnam vet, John Kerry in 2004. By that decision, McCain lost any credibility that he can ever put country first. He put party first and his own career first ahead of what he knew was best for the country.

And when the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to condemn and end the torture regime of Bush and Cheney in 2006, McCain again had a clear choice between good and evil, and chose evil.

He capitulated and enshrined torture as the policy of the United States, by allowing the CIA to use techniques as bad as and worse than the torture inflicted on him in Vietnam. He gave the war criminals in the White House retroactive immunity against the prosecution they so richly deserve. The enormity of this moral betrayal, this betrayal of his country's honor, has yet to sink in. But for my part, it now makes much more sense. He is not the man I thought he was.

And when he had the chance to engage in a real and substantive debate against the most talented politician of the next generation in a fall campaign where vital issues are at stake, what did McCain do? He began his general campaign with a series of grotesque, trivial and absurd MTV-style attacks on Obama's virtues and implied disgusting things about his opponent's patriotism.

And then, because he could see he was going to lose, ten days ago, he threw caution to the wind and with no vetting whatsoever, picked a woman who, by her decision to endure her own eight-month pregnancy of a Down Syndrome child in public, that he was going to reignite the culture war as a last stand against Obama. That's all that is happening right now: a massive bump in the enthusiasm of the Christianist base. This is pure Rove.

Yes, McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.

McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it.

Happy New Year from the Harz...

Hello Droogs, Happy 2019! I‘m in the Harz region of Germany, enjoying a three-day getaway to cap off an eventful year, one marked by celeb...