Friday, March 21, 2008

Big news day so far

The Washington Post breaks two mind-blowing stories on its front page:

Inflation Hits the Poor Hardest
No Income Group Is Untouched, but Staples Are Rising Fastest

Inflation is walloping Americans with low and moderate incomes as the prices of staples have soared far faster than those of luxuries.

Who would have thunk it? I thought only bad things happen to the rich, economically anyway.

And stranger still:
Small Dog Attacks Boy
"Pinkie-Poo" really very nice, claims owner

An out-of-control Pomeranian nipped the heels of you Billy Smith today, drawing no blood, but forcing him to hop around until the dog's owner, Mrs. Jones, could intervene.

And I always thought they were such nice dogs.

Meanwhile, in a small paragraph buried at the end of an article on page 24D we learn that the banks are failing, war is imminent, Charles Krautenhammer continues to resist treatment for the sharp stick up his ass, and a prominent Republican called for the deportation of just about everyone.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Difference in latitude

I couldn't help notice the three major newspaper's play on the content of Hillary Clinton's schedule during her years as first lady. The different approach you see between an independent foreign newspaper and its dysfunctional U.S. counterparts is illustrative of just how fucked up American journalism has become. Following are the headlines, deks, and first graphs.

The Guardian gets to the heart of the matter:

Hillary Clinton missed key presidential moments

· Papers cast doubt on claim of first-hand experience
· First lady was often far from scene of negotiations

On the day that dozens of US cruise missiles rained down on Serbia in an attempt to punish Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for the country's onslaught against ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, first lady Hillary Clinton was far from the White House war room: she was touring ancient Egyptian ruins.

In other words, she is full of shit and now she's exposed.

The Times opts for the sleep-inducing lede:
11,000 Long-Awaited Pages of Clinton’s Schedules as First Lady Are Released

WASHINGTON — The National Archives and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library on Wednesday released more than 11,000 pages of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s public schedules for her eight years as first lady.

I'm surprised they didn't mention he was wearing a grey suit when he released the 11,000 pages of information.

In other words, nothing to see here, move along.

The Post tries to find it in its heart to say something substantive, but rambles:
In Hillary Clinton's Datebook, A Shift
Events Less Lofty After Health-Care Debacle

Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the White House with a schedule befitting a president, packed with policy sessions, meetings with senators and trips to promote an ambitious political agenda. But after the collapse of her health-care plan in 1994, she largely retreated to a more traditional first lady's calendar of school visits, hospital tours, photo ops and speeches on a narrower set of issues.

In other words, we want her to beat Obama, but if she runs against McCain, we'll get her.

If you read beyond the first paragaraph, you can glean some useful information from each of the newspapers, but most people don't even read beyond the headline. Editors know this. By their criteria it's clear that the Guardian wants you to read the story, the Times doesn't, and the Post doesn't know what the hell it's doing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chuckling has a dream

I watched Obama’s speech on race relations today. It was a great speech; an unprecedented piece of artistry by a modern day American politician in a presidential race. If Hillary Clinton had an ounce of concern for the future of this country she would immediately quit the race, turn all her money over to Obama and work her ass off to get him elected president. Yea, well, I know what they say about wishes, beggars, and horses. But still, I can dream. And I do.

For many years I’ve been having a dream in which I am lost, either on my way to the airport, or in the airport, and am in a combination state of intense anxiety and crushing depression because every minute that passes, every wrong turn I make, increases the likelihood that I will miss my flight to France.

Even long after the flight is scheduled to leave, I’m still running -- or driving like a wild man in that version of the dream -- in case the flight is delayed and there's still a possibility I could board.

I feel no real hope that I can make the plane, that I can get to France. I feel gut-wrenchingly bad that I can't. Still I keep trying. No other choice occurs to me.

Do I make it? Well, the dream is never resolved, but based on the sick empty feeling I have won awakenint, I suspect not.

I used to discuss that dream, among others, with my psychoanalyst. Or more accurately, I used to discuss it with a psychoanalyst. I wasn’t paying her anything. In fact, she was paying me for some other work, but we talked a lot and I think she just liked to practice.

Anyway, according to her, the dream was my unconscious's way of telling me I was stuck and that all my efforts to move on to a better place were in vain. Frustratingly so. She said that the airport and the flight to France were metaphors for a healthy sexual relationship. Yea, well duh. I didn't need Sigmund Freud to tell me that. She knew that I wasn't getting along with my second wife any better than I did the first.

But what to do? The dream doesn’t give any clue.

When I heard Obama speak these words, I realized that we suffered from that same dream, even if his didn't take place in an airport:

I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

And nothing will change. Exactly. I’ll be running for that plane for the rest of my fucking life and he'll be running for president for the rest of his. I'll never make the plane. He'll never be president. He might as well re-name himself Williams Jenning Bryant. No, he has more sense than that. Maybe Eugene V. Debs II would be more appropriate. Our elections will always be about distractions. They will ever make a lick of sense. No one with any significant combination of brains and morals will ever be allowed to win.
And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

The promise of our ideals and the reality of their time? Therein, I think, likes the clue. Obama and I. We have the same dream.

What if the airport, the presidency, is not just another metaphor for sex? What if it's really telling us, in plain dreamspeak, to get out of this fucked-up country and move to France? What if that is the solution? Not just for me and mine, but for Obama as well?

The answer is, my friends, that the world would probably be a better place if he made that choice. Let's face it. Obama has already lost the election. Hillary has him branded.

But although he has lost this election, with that speech, he has set himself up to win the century.

Unfortunately, this country is fucked and we are doomed to live our lifetimes being ruled by the only kind of sociopathic morons that can navigate the media horror show in such a twisted way as to be elected president. Obama, clearly, is not cut out for the job. He is a good man with a good brain. He is too good for this country.

So chuckling's advice to Obama is to get on that plane to France. Just wash your hands of this mess. Go into exile. Speak for posterity. The long run is our only chance to win. If the best of this generation were to abandon this poor shade of democracy and spend his life speaking, writing, and acting to bring about the real thing, that would be a powerful act. Much more powerful than sliming it up with John, Hillary, and the boys on radio and teevee.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The weekend in photos

Y'all like pretty boy. Check out the rest of the show.

Oh, and by the way, if you're in the New York area and would like this kind of portrait done for yourself or someone you know, get in touch. We can probably work something out.