Thursday, September 28, 2006

The New York Times is shrill

Very shrill. The America we used to know is slipping away right before our very eyes.

Bob Sagat on wax


Torture...made legal and easy!

Your United States Congress at work.

Glenn Greenwald, as usual, has all the depressing details.

Monday, September 25, 2006

George Allen's Racial Insult of the Day

At this pace, this might become a running item in this space. It seems that while George was a quarterback in the 70's at our alma mater, he loosely tossed around a tried and true racial slur, rather than resort to a more exotic term like macaca, which he hurled at an Indian-American staffer for the Jim Webb campaign in August. Shortly after Salon's report which broke this story was posted, Allen's campaign released a strong denial of the allegations. However, one of Allen's classmates at UVa (who also happens to be one of the most respected political pundits in the country and a former professor of mine), came out and basically called b.s. on Allen's statements.

Now, to be fair, some of the allegations in the Salon article have yet to be substantiated, but George seems to have a peculiar fascination with the ways of the Old South...which is slightly odd for the son of a famous NFL coach and a French mother who grew in up in the posh community of Palos Verdes, CA.

Earlier this year Allen was talked about as a serious contender for the White House in 2008. That dream seems to be all but dead and there's no guarantee that Allen beats out Webb in November, though I think the odds are still in his favor. However, Webb's campaign is wasting no time in making hay off this episode!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Have we come to this?

I understand that the playing field has changed dramatically since 9/11, but I never thought I would see the day when the American people basically accepted the idea that it was ok to condone the practice of torture. Marty Leaderman of Balkinization lays out exactly what's wrong with the deal put together by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ, who, as an aside, continues to engage in dog and pony shows to improve his standing among moderate, undecided voters), and Sen. John Warner (R-VA). Friday's New York Times ran an editorial that spells out clearly why this is indeed a "Bad Bargain" for those who care about what the U.S. used to stand for. And Charles Pierce of The American Prospect rightly blasts the Democrats for letting a few senators who have a history of talking tough but caving when the deal goes down carry their water.

I think our Founding Fathers would be terribly distraught at what we have become. America, the "indispensable nation", the "city shining upon a hill", has abdicated the moral high ground in the hopes of beating useful intelligence out of "enemy combatants" (contrary to the Army's own newly revised Field Manual) which states:
"The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."


Late Night Friday Misc. Blogging

On a whim I purchased John Mayer's newest album, Continuum last's very good (definitely one of the better records I've picked up this year). It alternates between the standard well-written pop songs that Mayer's known for ("Heart of Life" is basically "Daughters" Part II) and some very good soul/blues numbers, the best of which is easily "Gravity". Mayer has got some serious chops as a bluesman and he stretches out a little on this song. It opens with some soulful licks from Mayer's guitar and what sounds like a Hammond organ. It's one of those songs that you imagine could have been cut late night in the studio and the groove just felt right and they nailed the take.

"Stop This Train" is a great tune about aging and trying to preserve things we wish would never change. "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room", to me, sounds like some long lost Tom Petty song. There's something about the guitar and the backing that evoke a small dive bar, a bottle of Jack, and a flood of memories over a relationship lost.

The lead single, "Waiting for the World to Change", is Mayer's "What's Going On". It's definitely the most overt political song Mayer's penned to date, with lyrics like:

"Now if we had the power
to bring our neighbors home from war
they would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door"

In fact, the song even feels like it could have come floating out of Motown...jingly bells, a head nodding beat, an organ pushing things forward. It's very well done and it's much weighter than almost anything else coming across the airwaves these days.

All Music Guide gave this 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and I see no reason to contest that rating in the least.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Good Link of the Day

Via Get Rich Slowly, the Daily Lit site allows you to download classic books in the public domain for...wait for You give them your e-mail, pick your book, schedule delivery of your daily portion of the book, and it goes to your in-box (and if the read is getting good, you can request the next portion via a link in the e-mail). Some of the authors include Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Edgar Allen Poe, and Walt Whitman...check it out:

Daily Lit

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Get Fat Friday

Had my first dinner at Suppenkuche last Friday...holy plates of meat, Batman. Not for the faint of heart, this meal. Love the set-up of the feels like a beer hall (though I've never been to a German beer hall, I suspect this is what it would probably feel like). We had a big group, which seems to be a must here, lest you find yourself eating communal style with total strangers (there could, of course, be worse things, but don't say you weren't warned). Anyway, excellent beers as one would suspect (I had a Paulaner Oktoberfest and a Salvator), and we scarfed down a good portion of the menu. As I am violently opposed to beets, I mostly opted out of the Salat mit Karotten, Kraut, Kartoffeln, Rote Beete und Kopfsalat (Salad of Carrots, Cabbage, Potatoes, Beets and Butter Lettuce); however, the Reibekuchen mit hausgemachtem Apfelmus (Potato Pancakes with Homemade Apple Sauce) was rather tasty (akin to hash browns for lack of a better comparison). The Käsespätzle mit Zwiebel-Buttersoße und gemischtem Salat (Cheese Spätzle in Onion Butter Sauce served with a small Mixed Salad) was a hit with the entire group. For my main course, I had Gegrillte Nünberger Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut und Kartoffelbrei (Grilled Pork Sausage with Sauerkraut and Mashed Potatoes) which was very good (I wimped on the much for the totally authentic experience). Overall, a fun night and a place I expect to visit again in the not too distant future.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Never forget.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What Would A Patriot Watch?

Well, this coming Sunday night, a patriot would watch the first ever Manning Bowl and then the NFL Double Header on Monday night, rather than check out ABC's fictionalized account of the worst terrorist attack in American history, "The Path to 9/11". No, I won't link to it. If, however, you've been living under a rock and don't know what the controversy is about, read the Moderate Voice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I have been keeping two blogs for some time, this one for non-specific subject matter, and another blog for thoughts on politics and the like. In an effort to make things easier on myself, I'm going to start posting about everything on this blog. Don't stop reading if you find my ideas on the current state of our union contrary to your own...I promise I'm open-minded and, besides, I play well with others.