Monday, November 23, 2009


Joey Ramone - "What a Wonderful World"


Israel Kamakawiwo - "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

taping toy guns to trees

Al Gore, taking it to the next level.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In listening to some of the commentary of Rene Clair's film, À Nous La Liberté (1931), I learned that Chaplin once cited the following Disney film as an influence on Modern Times (1935).

It makes me think that the Santa story is itself the product of a modern state-industrial system. Before the modern machine age, Santa must have looked much different--perhaps even a craftsman.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The various word-of-the-year contests seem always to be a let down, but somehow "unfriend" seems especially bathetic given that it really can only be used in one context. Equally unexciting is the list of Obama-related words or "Obamaisms" (remember when we had Bushisms?):

Ok, "Obamaeur" is kind of a good one.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cartoon break

In the course of looking around the web for information about Nazis and the science of human behavior, I cam across this anti-Nazi Donald Duck cartoon.

I can't get over what an awesome satire of (imagined) Nazi automaticity this is. This cartoon seems to even visually quote Chaplin's Modern Times as it conflates political discipline with industrial discipline. That the bombs Donald makes take over and become the instruments creating him is a very telling image of the imaginary surrounding Nazi discipline.

See also Disney's rendering of Nazi education.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You just kicked me in my mouth, so be careful please.

An old school youtube video of Black Flag, including a very young, very thin Bill Stevenson pontificating about punk rock and the social rewards of self-imitation.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Power of Acronyms

Not that anybody cares what the professionals and the vulnerable think, but the largest association of physicians and medical students in the United States (the AMA) and one of the nation's largest membership organizations for people age 50 (AARP) have both endorsed the House health care bill.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is trumpeting endorsements from the AARP and the American Medical Association of House Democrats' health care legislation.

Making a rare appearance at the White House briefing Thursday, Obama told reporters that those endorsement are no small accomplishments. He urged Congress to listen to the AARP and AMA and pass the health care overhaul.

Obama says AARP, the nation's premier lobbying group for the elderly, has looked at the bill and is supporting it in the interest of seniors.

He also says the AMA wouldn't be supporting the bill it if would lead to health decisions being made by government bureaucrats or damage doctor-patient relationships. He says those medical professionals have seen firsthand the costs of inaction on health care.

fiscally and imaginatively conservative

My man Gerry links us up with Ezra Klein's article on the Republican health care plan, an article that deserves to be read in full:

Late last night, the Congressional Budget Office released its initial analysis of the health-care reform plan that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner offered as a substitute to the Democratic legislation. CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that ...17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.

But maybe, you say, the Republican bill does a really good job cutting costs. According to CBO, the GOP's alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.

The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process. It's already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders. It's already made its compromises with reality. It's already been through the legislative sausage grinder. And yet it saves more money and covers more people than the blank-slate alternative proposed by John Boehner and the House Republicans. The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill.

This is a major embarrassment for the Republicans. It's one thing to keep your cards close to your chest. Republicans are in the minority, after all, and their plan stands no chance of passage. It's another to lay them out on the table and show everyone that you have no hand, and aren't even totally sure how to play the game. The Democratic plan isn't perfect, but in comparison, it's looking astonishingly good.

Update: Think Progress reports "it’s unlikely that any of the members of the Republican House Leadership would be able to find affordable insurance under their own proposal, should they chose to give up their government-sponsored plans."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

RIP Claude Levi-Strauss

PARIS (AP) -- The Academie Francaise says that Claude Levi-Strauss, an influential French intellectual who was widely considered the father of modern anthropology, has died. He was 100.

Levi-Strauss was widely regarded as having reshaped the field of anthropology, introducing new concepts concerning common patterns of behavior and thought, especially myths, in primitive and modern societies.

During his 6-decade-long career, he authored many literary and anthropological classics, including ''Tristes Tropiques'' (1955), ''The Savage Mind'' (1963) and ''The Raw and the Cooked'' (1964).

The Academie Francaise said Tuesday that it plans a tribute later in the week.

It did not give the cause of death or say when Levi-Strauss had died.

I'd slap that shit off the table

Somehow it doesn't seem ethical, but a 70 year-old lobster dubbed "Larry" is on the menu for $275 at New York City restaurant.

When asked whether preparing such an old creature gives him pause, McLaughlin said that “to a certain degree, it does.” However, the lobster is being given his “just due” at the restaurant and that he “will be enjoyed.”

The banking executive who wrote us figured the lobster would probably die to satisfy someone’s bragging rights.

Of all the lobsters I’ve dined on recently, and I’ve dined on many, Oceana’s have been my favorite. But this 11-pounder is not for me. It’s his age that moves me -- we don’t often contemplate the age of the animals we eat. When I asked about the lobster, I wasn’t told the age until I specifically asked: How old is he?
Just think of it: that bastard lived through the entirety of WWII, was 30 years old when humans walked on the moon, and was well into his silver years when the internet was born. Via Harper's.