Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Sword of Damocles

The situation in Egypt has resolved itself into two distinct paths:

It will either be a “Velvet Revolution,” in which power changes hands non-violently, or it will be another Tienanmen Square.

Worse, for the USA and Israel, it looks as though the path resolves itself to the status quo — an authoritarian dictatorship committed to peace with Israel — else (most likely) an emergent democracy hostile to Israel and probably the precursor to the first full blown war since 1973.

Either way, this week the Sword of Damocles is poised over the Middle East, suspended by a single hair.



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Sunday in the Mnemonosphere

Too many words. More pictures.

From there, it’s only a short step to:

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This paragraph from January 1’s “2011 – The Year Ahead in Snark” came into sharp relief today [emphasis added]:

And, 2011 should be a big year to push “school choice,” having just about completely wrecked the public school system (say, you don’t suppose that the decline can be directly related to the takeovers of school boards nationwide by the religious right, starting in the early 1980s, do you? I mean it DID manage to make evolution “controversial,” and taught them how to use the same tactics to make “global warming” “controversial, after all). The Art Robinsons are pushing cheap home schooling, while the private schools are lining up for all that good government voucher cash, and their union-free environment, where teachers have no rights and can be told to teach anything the private schoolmasters decree and be let go for any reason. Once we get the uppityness out of education, THEN we can advance as a nation, right?

And segregation can continue, as it has, at the pre-Brown v. Board of Education levels of 1954.

“Scho0l Choice” is a big part of the “Tea Party” agenda, even if they don’t realize it yet.

And, by accident, I stumbled on this, this morning: Continue reading


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2010 – Look Back in Horror

I need to to a little housekeeping, which I’d planned to do, but 2011 has been shaping itself into an annus horribilis, with two revolutions, dead birds and fish and a mass shooting/assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona.

Now, while Egypt melts down, this seems an apt time to tie up some loose ends. In 2010, I wrote several thematically interlinked series. They have not grown silly or ephemeral with the passage of time. So, a brief catalog. Continue reading

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A Higher Astro of Turfiness

Click for a somewhat abbreviated version
(h/t Tengrain @ Mock, Paper, Scissors)

On the one hand, CNN seems corporately very interested in legitimizing the “Tea Party Express” — a group that Tea Partiers (correctly) call “astroturf” (i.e. “fake grass roots”) — but on the other hand, that corporate interest is rapidly DElegitimizing CNN. To trace the arc of CNN’s descent, one need go no further than CNN’s “coverage” of the State of the Union Address, which even CSPAN handled in a far superior manner. CNN, in pandering to the slavered-after Faux Nooz™ demographic had “CNN Analyst” Eric Erickson of RedState blithely shoveling HIS ordure, and, sad to say, I don’t know WHO the “liberal blogger” type was, but he seemed more a Jack Webb hippie than an actual hippie.


Oh, a little story from our bygone past might throw some light on this clotted septic disaster in the middle of CNN’s dark night. Once upon a time, there was a radio show, and then a TV show called “Dragnet.” Continue reading

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Plate of the Onion, or, POTU

… in which the thickened plot is heated over a low flame until it has the consistency of a porridge

Yes yes. We were talking about robotic, predictable behavior, and, not to go all meta on you, we are, today, talking about robotic, predictable prediction behavior.

Pull up a chair and shove another couple wedges into the pot-bellied stove, pard’ners. The annual bloviatathon about the State of the Union address is ubiquitously underway. We are soberly told by various commentators — in a ritual that has become as formal and predictable as the Speech Itself — what the President will say tonight.

Some is conjecture. Some is leaks. And, without one element, all of it is unvarnished horse feathers. Continue reading


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Sing A Song of Slander

Oh, sing a song of slander;
a pocket full of lies –
slitherings worthy of poor old Gollum
upchucked in a New York Times blog-column.

I had wanted to give this one a pass. You see, what’s sad about so much of our politics and so many of our people — even our bright people — is that they have become so automatic in their responses that their actions at times verge on robotic.

Which brings up the whole question of “free will.” Continue reading


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Keith Olbermann – A Spectral Commentary

It is curious—curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. ~ Mark Twain

I had feared this day for a long time — long before the monopolistic Über-merger between General Electric’s NBC/Universal Division with Comcast holding 51% of the stock and management responsibilities and GE retaining 49% but leaving the headaches to Comcast was ever proposed.

Last week, it passed muster with the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, who couldn’t imagine that it might be anti-competitive or harm the public interest, in whose name they abreact. And, on the day that Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal officially left, so did Keith Olbermann. Continue reading


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Holy Crap! Keith Olbermann’s Been Shit-Canned!


My “special comment” on MSNBC

7:20 PM PST Update: More news with video here.

8:20 PM PST Update: Crooks and Liars has video and a transcript of Keith’s signoff

Why LOOKEE HERE. This post is at the top of the page on Memeorandum! (How’s that for meta?)

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Triumph of the Shrill

Another misunderstood, non-hatespeaking Republiklan

Leni Reifenstahl’s most (in)famous film, “Triumph of the Will” was the Faux Nooz­™ documentary of its day: unapologetically, breathlessly, overwhelmingly partisan, every frame intended to show the majesty of an ugly movement that would eventually leave its high water mark in the Cosmic Guiness Book of World Records (Planet Earth) for sheer brutality, and efficient butchery.

So, look at what the propaganda machine has spewed forth this afternoon: Continue reading


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Farewell Camelot; Au Revoir MSNBC

It is not the first time that an historical figure has died on the fiftieth anniversary of an important moment in American history. No: the best known (and possibly first) was when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4,  1826, fifty years to the day after the “signing” of the Declaration of Independence. Today, on the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural speech, Sargent Shriver, Kennedy’s brother-in-law by marriage to sister Eunice (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mother-in-law) died.

Sargent Shriver (RIP) reacts in horror as
Arnold Schwarzenegger, his son-in-law
is elected Governor of California, a grim
terror whose end he lived to see.

Shriver will be remembered for being the first director of the Peace Corps, initiated by Kennedy, and their lasting monument to Kennedy’s call to public service.

Thus does Camelot pass into the mists of history. Continue reading


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Fifty Years Ago With Ike

Today, President Eisenhower made his farewell address,  the now famous “military-industrial complex” speech.

Ike wasn’t much of an orator, as we all know. But the speech itself is sheer bottled lightning and worth re-reading after half a century: Continue reading

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Do Words Matter?


Now, let me warn you, however, that I am not going to resolve your dilemma; merely limn it. But, hopefully in words traced in lightning and fire reflected off pools of blood.

Got your attention?


I was listening to the blathersphere, and while the question keeps coming up, it never came up as starkly as in Tom Ashbrook’s “On Point” on NPR this afternoon, when, after the usual blather about whether both sides say mean things and is that equivalent, and whether it’s Sarah Palin’s fault, or the American people’s fault, and should we be talking about gun control laws and mental health laws, and was language really THAT bad? and yes it WAS that bad and so on and so forth and scoobie doobie doo wah.

And the host asked the venerables, “Do words matter?” Continue reading


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Oscar Wilde Kingdom: Greek Myth America

It’s the place where my prediction from the sixties finally came true: “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” I’m bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is, “In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous.”

~ Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol’s Exposures (1979) “Studio 54″

Herakles and Antaeus ~ The Louvre

Myth America is not a Greek.

But she is a Greek Myth, and it is the myth of Antaeus. Myth Encylopedia tells us, in brief: Continue reading

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