Archive for the 'We’ll post whatever we goddamned want to' Category

Real women have curves.

Mar 12, 2012 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, Where's the outrage?!?!, Women, WTF?

Meghan McCain makes a good point about the expectation that women in the media be attractive and slim. I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve ever seen Meghan McCain, girl looks good as hell.

I saw a Fox News reporter (local) the other day, and I couldn’t believe how skinny she was. She was, in an auditorium, possibly the skinniest female in the room over the age of 18. It’s an important reminder that what passes for normal on television looks like a gaunt bag of bones in person.

Back in my single days, I dated every kind of woman on the planet. Six foot models, short chubbsters, girls with ninety-five pounds of hair and makeup and ten pounds of body, athletic-types, and so on. What I realized was that I didn’t want a prize chihuahua for a woman. I liked muscle on women, and I liked softness. To me, that kind of hard/soft has a nice yin yang quality that completes the definition of female. Feminine female. This is what Renaissance painters understood. I am fortunate to be married to a very beautiful woman in that regard.

So stick-and-bones Laura Ingraham dissing Meghan McCain was quite ironic to me. But it also resonates. Ingraham, who sounds like the meanest sorority girl on campus every minute that she speaks, doesn’t represent anywhere near the majority of women. Meghan McCain could walk into 95% of the bars of America and be one of the hottest gals in the room.

The bulk of people aren’t very attractive. It’s a wonder so many people do get married and have sex with each other, because frankly most people are pretty damn unsightly naked. Most people are happy to have a particular feature that is nice, even if they can’t point to anything other than their eyes or hair. The grassroots is fugly, folks.

And so are most men who get paid to air their thoughts in the media. Unless you think a three-way between Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, and Neil Cavuto would be teh hawtness.

Yet the secret of it all is that most of us do learn to transcend external beauty. Even the beautiful must wither before time and accept humility or be crushed (or chopped up on a plastic surgeon’s table until they look like freaks). The normal, human experience of love is between two somewhat oddly-shaped people who look at each other and see the complete person in all their glory. And they don’t ignore what feels good when it comes to appraising what looks good. People who like to tout “heartland values” ought to recognize that in the heartland, Meghan McCain is practically Marilyn Monroe.

Unfortunately, while we treat male commentators and other important figures in generous fashion, waving through all manner of disgusting lumpy bodies and hairpieces (only extremes- turtle-faces like Mitch McConnell or gigantic lard-masses like Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, or Chris Christie- really get razzed much), we apply a stringent standard to women in the public eye. It’s bad enough that it matters at all, but the window is so narrow only anorexics can get through. It’s frankly quite deranged.

So perk up, Meghan. You’ve correctly identified the transgressors, and it’s certainly not you.

p.s. All this applies to Michele Obama as well, who is the sexiest damn First Lady since Jackie Kennedy, if not all time. Holy smokes, how anybody criticizes her for having a feminine ass when she’s so crazy fit just blows my mind.

-hw

The demoralization of Dana Pico.

Nov 14, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Curiosities, The Internets, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Our chief rival blogger, Dana Pico, has called it quits.

While there is always some value to a good rival, the decline of Dana’s site was ultimately an act of justice. By good rival, I mean Dana Pico and his crowd of co-bloggers and regular commenters were always ready to engage and at least present a fairly well-distilled authentic version of the blather that passed for Republican thought. I probably couldn’t last long on Red State without getting axed, but Dana Pico had one conceit that made his blog tragically superior to most rightwing blogs: he wanted an unfettered free speech zone, where liberals and conservatives would match wits without fear of removal.

Now, this is standard practice at Iowa Liberal, but for a rightwing blog that’s quite amazing. Rightwing blogs do no exist to create dialogues or foster advancing thought. They can only exist as echo chambers, and the only liberals who can hope to remain standing in a comments thread are those too weak and easily battered about to pose a real threat. The model is Rush Limbaugh’s show, where an intelligent, articulate liberal who will stand his ground has no chance of making it through the polished screeners or Rush’s mic-cutting button.

Dana bemoans the loss of his regular commenters, and I couldn’t help but feel a little pang of responsibility. As I read the names, Sharon, Eric, DNW, assovertincups, etc., I could almost recall the precise threads that led to their demise. And I was directly involved in each. Yes, I made Dana’s friends go away, but it’s a political blog, not a Facebook page. So screw’em. I didn’t chase them away with cruelty or mocking, I chased them into corners and didn’t let them bullshit their way out. Climbing out the window was their only option. Or stopping the bullshit and being intellectually honest, but apparently that’s a worse option than suicide to such folks. The bullshit is what fuels their existence. Why argue with me and concede anything when they can go listen to Sean Hannity tell them they’re brilliant?

The real sad part of it all is Dana himself, who really did exist in a class above his partners for most of his blog’s existence. Dana could marshall facts together in a manner that demonstrated at least some regard for the value of veracity. His interpretations of a chart might have been skewed, but he was much less likely than other rightwingers to throw complete fiction out there. He might have been veered into racist dogwhistling with his constant invocations of Barack Obama’s middle name, but he somehow managed to convey in his writing a bit of a wink and a nudge: hey, don’t take it too seriously, I’m just razzing.

But ultimately, Dana couldn’t outrun his allegiance to the letter R next to a politician’s name. After eight years of George W. Bush, leaving the country in financial ruin, disrepair, and locked in permanent war, Dana doubled down, declaring Gee Dubya the second best president of his life next to the sainted Ronald Reagan. The hated and reviled Dick Cheney, architect of America’s degradation via torture and surrender to polluters, was Dana’s choice for 2008. Dana dutifully defended Sarah Palin and recently Rick Perry, calling them smart and relying on the defense that people once called Reagan dumb. Personally, I think comparing Palin to Reagan demonstrates more disregard for Reagan than it does credibility for Palin.

The flipside of this is that Dana also tried getting revenge for Dubya by branding President Obama “the worst president” of Dana’s life. The fact that Dana was forced to recognize that Obama prosecuted the “War on Terror” with greater energy and effectiveness than hero Dubya boxed him in further, leaving him with one plank to rest his case on: Suggesting that not only did Obama fail to magically undo the destruction that Republican policies of the past thirty years had wrought on the economy, but that his policies had actually made the economy worse. I pointed out many times that Dana was against TARP, against the stimulus, against saving the auto industry, essentially advocating nothing as a means of fighting the Great Recession, and Dana readily concurred. I asked him, what if Obama had done “nothing,” and we were at 12% unemployment…? Dana said he wouldn’t give Obama the slightest quarter and would bludgeon him with the 12% number anyway, and literally admitted it was because he was a Republican, Obama was a Democrat, and thus he had to “restore fiscal sanity.” Exit integrity.

But Dana still had hopes of using this narrative to win an election. Until the debt ceiling fiasco.

The debt ceiling fiasco, where Republicans held the economy hostage, threatening to sink the whole ship if Democrats tried to combine spending cuts with tax increases to get our deficit problems under control. Obama surrendered, seeing his approval numbers shattered, the avenger of 9/11 bowed before Republican economic terrorism. In the immediate aftermath, the combination of being so close to the brink damaged our credit rating, and the threat of austerity measures dampened the stock market. How did Dana respond to this great Republican success? Yep, he blamed Obama. Integrity stood no chance of return.

Unfortunately for Dana and the Republicans, Obama’s rope-a-dope strategy snared them again. With the debt deal complete and the public soured on the issue, Obama was able to pivot to active job creation measures. It had been proven to the public and the media for anybody to see that the Republicans were utterly intransigent, and would do absolutely anything to block Obama in the hope of drawing blood for 2012. Emboldened, they weren’t about to stop and suddenly cooperate, and thus the Republicans found themselves once again advocating nothing except more passes for the rich, the 1%, to pay fewer taxes, pollute more, and ship more jobs out of the country.

Then Occupy Wall Street happened, and the dynamic of the country shifted. Everything became crystalline, and the real picture of the past thirty years of Reaganomics became clear. The system was rigged for the rich to get richer and everybody else to suck on their fumes. “Trickle down” economics didn’t work. Bush’s tax cuts broke the bank. The “job creators” were moving factories elsewhere and had the Republican Party firmly in pocket re-writing the rules to keep the money moving in one direction- up. They weren’t making jobs, they were inventing piles of money on paper, calling shit loans triple-A, and when they came up short, when reality intervened, the country took the blow and the taxpayers were handed the bill. Right now, millions of homeowners are still underwater, obligated to pay imaginary prices, facing no good options while the bankers responsible got a bailout.

In that aftermath, lodged in this reality, it’s no surprise that the Republican primary process is a circus, that any halfway-decent candidates long ago opted out, and that we get to tune in to buffoons tossing word salads around trying to pretend that somehow, Dana’s alternate world actually exists. That yes, it’s really Obama’s rescue measures that hurt us, not Republican deregulation. That lower taxes for the rich will do us some good. That we should really keep pouring billions into overseas wars that the public wants out of, and maybe start the biggest one of all with Iran. Why the fuck not nominate a pizza salesman who is proudly ignorant? Knowing things hurts the Republican dream, knowing things chases the la-la fantasies away. Why the hell not claim that Rick Perry is smart and that, you know, he couldn’t do worse than Obama!?

This is an utterly horrible time to be a Republican, and an even worse time to be a Republican blogger who doesn’t want to ban opposing voices from his blog. Dana was too dedicated to his flock, yet his flock wanted seclusion and affirmation. Free speech? Dana’s product didn’t sell.

And so he’s now resigned to offering some content to the blog of his craziest collaborator, John Hitchcock, who’s now begging their few readers for handouts because he’s too broke to afford a decent car (I drive a 2007 Honda CR-V, and I don’t exactly make a fortune, so what’s the deal, Hitchcock?).

I turned very bitter on Dana after the debt ceiling disaster, my patience finally snapped. But it was all politics. Personally, I have no trouble understanding that Dana is a genial, nice guy who would probably make a great neighbor. I’d trust him with him son, I’d hand him the keys to my home if he needed to crash. To me, stuff like that really has nothing to do with political arguments. Even most segregationists were lovely people back in the day, if you were white. But if Republicans tried understanding that principle, they’d deflate the core of what drives populist Republicanism, resentment.

I simply say to Dana, either embrace rational thought or go the way of your friends and heroes. The two have become mutually exclusive. Your blog, in that it was an attempt to reconcile the two, was doomed from the start. I believed at one point you were smarter and wiser than your friends, now I think you to be merely a slicker salesman trying to make blatantly unpopular and unsound positions sound like folksy “common sense” that defies any real common sense. Maybe there’s a brighter future for you, but in all likelihood the only chance is to sell out completely and turn those skills into cash money pimping for the Republican Party at a higher level. Revive the blog, make it exclusive, keep the interfering liberals out, and watch your garden thrive. You might even get your Joe the Plumber moment. Won’t do the country any good, but hey, that obviously stopped mattering awhile ago, didn’t it?

-hw

I’ll see you in the sycamore trees.

Oct 25, 2011 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Just sayin’…

-hw

Music reunions

Jul 14, 2011 in Britpop, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

As I bid farewell to the UK, there are some things that I will miss.

One is, the amazingly awesome summer music festivals, that I never go to anyway.

However, I am able to watch them from the comfort of my own home.

This weekend, I will get to see, The National, Echo and The Bunnymen and Suede!!!!!

The latter 2 are legends in their own right and, let it be known, that I missed a chance in 1988 to see Echo, and have rued the day ever since, and have never had a chance to see them.  Suede, well they were just too sassy and British, to make it to the midwest, plus the gay-bashers would have probably killed them all anyway, for looking too well dressed and too bloody handsome.

So this weekend, I will rock out from my living room as I bid farewell to my once homeland.

With that I will leave you of an image of the newly reunited Pulp who played a gig in London this month.  I remember seeing them with my friends from IW in ’95 in Minneapolis at First Ave.
Pulp Disco 2000 Live in London 2011

–AA

Giving the apocalyptics their ounce of pleasure.

May 21, 2011 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

And a few ounces of sperm in their shorts. You see, I have to admit, there’s always that little part of me that says…oh, shit, what if that Rapture actually did start today?

Then again, if I recorded everything that a little part of me said, I’d prove all my lovely enemies right about everything.

And at the same time, see you tomorrow!

-hw

A blessing for new parents.

Apr 26, 2011 in Culture, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Afraid of all that kid TV dominating your life the next five years? Yo Gabba Gabba will save your soul!

That’s just damn good music, period (though they couldn’t mention the band’s name, The Killers, on a kid’s show) The show itself is joyously inspired, and it’s so great to see people my general age who share my tastes making original kids programming. Most fans will, however, insist this is the undisputed classic of the show, so let me toss it in:

-hw

Good times are back again.

Apr 19, 2011 in Culture, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Fleet Foxes are back for another round:

Fleet Foxes – Grown Ocean from Fleet Foxes on Vimeo.

Lovely, lovely, lovely…

-hw

The rundown.

Mar 19, 2011 in Politics, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Let’s take a moment while lil’ buddy is sleeping and go through some tabs I’ve got filling up my browser:

1. What the hell does Wall Street do for anybody but Wall Street?

Lord Adair Turner, the chairman of Britain’s top financial watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, has described much of what happens on Wall Street and in other financial centers as “socially useless activity”—a comment that suggests it could be eliminated without doing any damage to the economy. In a recent article titled “What Do Banks Do?,” which appeared in a collection of essays devoted to the future of finance, Turner pointed out that although certain financial activities were genuinely valuable, others generated revenues and profits without delivering anything of real worth—payments that economists refer to as rents. “It is possible for financial activity to extract rents from the real economy rather than to deliver economic value,” Turner wrote. “Financial innovation . . . may in some ways and under some circumstances foster economic value creation, but that needs to be illustrated at the level of specific effects: it cannot be asserted a priori.”

2. Why do rightwingers always talk about wait times in Canada? Because Canada is one of the few countries we’re ahead of, and not by much.

3. I’ve been trying to keep people aware of the actual origins of the individual mandate: libertarians and conservatives. Yet now we’re supposed to believe it’s proof of Obama’s affinity to Stalin and Mao.

How to explain this? Well, health care policy is complicated. And the role of the market and government policy are so difficult to separate, meaning the same policy can easily be framed either as more socialism or as more free market. The upshot is that right-wingers tend to view whatever health care reform proposed by Democrats as socialism, but they also see the need to rally around an alternative. Yet when Democrats embrace such policies, it’s very easy for people on the right to interpret those as socialism, too.

4. Palin is sparking that civil war between sane conservatives and the swindling nutcase rightwinger base.

Palin is uninterested in ideas, and she has flourished in the conservative media for years. She does rely on shallow talking points, and legions of conservative pundits have repeatedly defended her against charges that she is ignorant and incurious. Everything about her public persona since she received the VP nomination has been built up around tapping into resentment, grievance, and identity politics, all of which are in one way or another antithetical to critical thinking and substantive discussion of policy, and for a while most of her new detractors said nothing or gushed about how wonderful she was.

As long as she was useful prior to the midterms, the institutions, magazines, and leaders of the movement not only tolerated her, but actively promoted her and gave her typically glowing coverage. Those that couldn’t bring themselves to praise her went out of their way not to criticize her. Now that Palin may represent a political threat to Republican chances of regaining the White House, they are suddenly very concerned about her impact on the quality of conservative argument. Their concern would be interesting if it weren’t so belated and narrowly focused on Palin. When Moynihan made that statement about Republicans 30 years ago, it was true. Thirty years later, the label “party of ideas” has simply become another slogan that Republicans trot out in lieu of any policy ideas.

5. Economists of both stripes should look at this discussion about the blind spots of economics when viewed from the left or right.

Of course, I think the left has bent over backwards to accommodate many of the market principles Republicans have tried to promote the past couple decades. Democrats in Washington since Clinton have betrayed their base countless times to favor business, yet a liberal like me absolutely recognizes that markets should remain essentially free to benefit everybody. Taxes continue to be historically quite low for the rich compared to times when America was profiting handsomely. Hell, half the point of (ideal) health care reform is to relieve businesses of the burden of providing health care to employees and to free workers to change jobs without worrying about losing health care (to the right, tying your health to your job is just a buggy whip to keep the masses productive).

But as described in item #3, those on the right respond to Democrat compromise by shuffling a few more steps to the right. The health care bill was a compromise between right and left already, but Obama overestimated the good will of the opposition party. He wanted to deal, they wanted to destroy him.

I can listen to a smart economist who leans right. Instead, I get a constant hack-job operation from FOX News on down.

Other notes:

6. Obama is completely screwing up this Bradley Manning thing, hard. He asked the Pentagon and they promised they were being nice? How gullible is he, or how gullible does he think we are?

7. Obama hanging back and getting the UN to take charge on Libya was actual mature presidential prudence at work. We were supposed to learn something from Iraq, but why would you expect the same people who sold us that turd to care now? Obama has defused the GOP now, and people are starting to remember a time before Bush/Cheney when the US displayed a modicum of caution and sense. One need only look at Ronald Reagan pulling out of Lebanon, pitting himself directly against the warmongers. They had less power back then, but they were quite cunning about using Reagan’s political coat-tails to fill the space he and Bush I left behind.

8. Nuclear power should stay on the table, but Japan better inform every word of the discussion. I want to see design responses, quickly. Hopefully Scientific American devotes an issue to building a better nuke plant (in a safer location) soon. I’m also interested in how this affects the future of fast-neutron reactors (the kind that eats up all the waste old nuclear plants produce). Interestingly, Japan had one back in 1994 that they had an accident at with a liquid sodium leak, but designs have advanced since then and should continue to.

9. Sarah Palin doesn’t get worshiped in India (almost nobody cares about her), so she hates the press there too also and so. I remember the days when Rush Limbaugh used to grouse about liberals being professional victims, and now the GOP should be renamed the POG, the Party of Grievances.

10. I’m feeling a bit zombified, so time to grab some rest. This gets better every time I listen to it:

-hw

Faces/souls?

Jan 11, 2011 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, WTF?

There must be something to it.

-hw

Overlooked British ladies of the Nineties.

Aug 25, 2010 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Because I must.

Cerys Mathews of Catatonia, who ate, smoked, and drank like a real woman, 1998:

Justine Frischman of Elastica, who famously dated both Brett Anderson and Damon Albarn, 1995:

Sonya Aurora Madan of Echobelly, who was lovely and very nice when I met her, 1995:

Had some other ideas, but, y’know how important it is for obscure artists to keep their videos out of the public eye.

-hw

This is high drama.

Aug 10, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

If we’re going to have tabloid stories pass for journalism, I say this one has all the drama of any Oscar nominated movie. Next, a beautiful woman man has to find this guy and teach him optimism through a combination of sex and good advice.

-hw

p.s. Yes, this post has a secret librul agenda. Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s a blatant one. But seriously, I just felt this guy’s plight. Who can’t relate to this?

Nomi Song

Apr 16, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Where as David Bowie only pretended, Klaus Nomi actually was from outer space.

The first day of the rest of my life.

Feb 15, 2010 in Britpop, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Synth pop gets a BBC documentary.

English pop stars have difficulty stopping the awesome.

Feb 10, 2010 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I thought Pulp’s last album was a pleasant farewell that betrayed the great group’s diminishing steam after twenty-plus years together, but Jarvis’ solo career feels completely vital and alive. If it weren’t for the grey in his beard, who’d know he’d aged a day?

-jb

I submitted an entry for a screenplay contest.

Feb 03, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Five pages of horror, the winner gets produced. See my submission here. They’re charging a dollar to vote, so I don’t expect any, but I’d appreciate any page views and constructive criticism.

Warning: Adult, graphic content. And yes, I’m very strange.

-jb

The funniest thing I’ve ever watched.

Jan 21, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Even after fifteen years I still weep tears of laughter:

-mg

Speaking of fishing pictures.

Jan 21, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

We didn’t catch shit…but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time.

Mille Lacs. Rocky Reef Resort. 1/17/10.

The fishing was slow so I think we all got a little bit of the Space Madness inside that little ice-shack. (more…)

Teh agony.

Dec 19, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I’ve been nursing my health care reform indigestion the past couple days, but for 70 minutes I was happy again.

-jb

I guess I have to talk about everything now.

Dec 03, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Some people blog continuously. We don’t. We expect that you read lots of blogs and that we don’t need to repeat everything being said out there. We blog when we think it will be interesting on its own merits and as an art form. It’s a reserved, contemplative style. I believe it wise to spend a few extra moments rolling over an idea in my head before spewing it out.

I’d like that to be the last word on anybody who attempts to throw rocks at us because we didn’t write about something. But last words are rare anymore.

-jb

I’m weird!

Nov 30, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I always used to hate when completely non-weird people would declare that about themselves because they liked pickles on toast or something equally inane.

Well, I’ve become everything I hated, so I’m weird because I don’t enjoy blogging while home sick. Reading and storing tabs for later use, watching movies in the lower right-hand corner, playing around with my new Google Wave beta account, but my deep thoughts amount to, “Blech.”

In the meantime, check out this instantly classic episode of Parks and Recreation to see why it’s the funniest show on TV right now:

-jb

Yeah, yeah…I’m posting a cat video.

Nov 19, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Kitteh interferes with official acts!

-mg

Basic expectations.

Nov 01, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

The past week or so we’ve been visited by a couple commenters who have come here to condemn us. My mistake, apparently, is in not throwing up my hands and surrendering immediately.

Let me be clear: at Iowa Liberal, we have a feisty spirit but a respect for the principles of logic and intellectual honesty. We really dislike dishonesty and try our best not to practice it ourselves.

If somebody wants to make an accusation, they will be allowed all the longitude and latitude they need to make their case. They will not be banned. Any specific criticisms made will be addressed to the best of our abilities. If we are told we are still ignoring something, we will address that very thing.

What we will not do is surrender without good cause. As we allow ourselves to be questioned, we expect the exact same thing of those who come here swinging away.

I forged my argumentative style in the fires of the ISCA BBS, often surrounded by half a dozen righties and libertarians, enduring continuous attacks on me, my abilities, and everything I represented. Yet I always had the same tricks up my sleeve: Sift through the attacks, find the substantive points made, address them, and wait for the favor to be returned.

Boy, you can clear out a room with that method, real quick.

Or very slowly. A few times over the years I found truly worthy adversaries, intellectual warriors who would not scamper off, who felt their views trumped mine and were ready to showdown. A couple exchanges stand out in my memory, but the six-month battle with user Astaroth, an actual CATO employee who refused to back down on taxation being theft, remains my most rewarding. He wouldn’t settle for huffing off with a stream of insults as I’m used to. He was going to stand his ground and show me the error of my ways.

But he didn’t. And soon he left ISCA, never to engage me again. After six months of back-and-forth, he was spent, and I felt my fundamental premises and conclusion remained sound.

I confess, I do have another secret technique: I actually concede points when I cannot win, and avoid arguing about things I lack confidence in. You will not, trust me, find me engaged in ferocious debate over the minutae of tax policy or the root causes of the War of 1812. It’s part of the reason I don’t blog every day. Sometimes I simply trust others to say things better than I can.

If somebody wants to visit Iowa Liberal and tell me what a big poopyhead I am, I will respond with, “Prove it.” And if they can’t bring it, they will be disregarded. Should their case prove to be especially thin, they may even receive a bit of condemnation themselves.

But for gosh sakes, don’t come in here swinging, and then start bawling about what meanies we are when you get a crack on the jaw in return. Stand up and fight for what you believe in, and if you can’t hack it, then perhaps you should reconsider your stance.

It certainly seems that is what is expected of me, so I apply the expectation in return. It seems to be the most elementary, basic standard of debate, and I treat others exactly as I wish to be treated. It is a definition of intellectual honesty that actually incorporates an understanding of intellect and honesty.

My honest opinion is that most people simply do not hold themselves to the same standards they hold others to. For whatever reason, they expect to speak and be listened to, and they have their techniques for attacking and condemning those who do not easily comply (for an explanation of why the right tends to be dominated by such types, observe Rush Limbaugh). Such people will find their going here difficult, but we can only apologize so much for refusing to bend over for a bunch of bluster. The key to honest argument is to concede up front what it would take to prove one wrong, and this is my effort to make it clear what standards Iowa Liberal operates by, and how we expect ourselves to be judged.

If you come here assuming we are doing our best to describe the world as we see it via techniques that are open and falsifiable, and understand that we are willing to assign doubt where it exists, you’ll be just fine. Even if you lose the argument.

-jb

Old school.

Aug 20, 2009 in Music, Straight-up madness, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Son of Bazerk and Bomb Squad created a rap symphony in three and a half minutes.

[youtube ZmDdUUVhnfk]

Hell, they don’t even make videos like that anymore. I wonder if Spike Jonze saw that back in the day and gleamed some inspiration.

-jb

We all feel better in the dark.

Jul 15, 2009 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

As we grow older, this grows truer:

[youtube zGddzOdPepo]

From the greatest concert video of all time, the Pet Shop Boys Performance. Every single number had its own costume change, theme, and moves. Integrating the avante garde with the common, rarely has such effort been mustered to dress up some terminally stiff white boy rapping. The results elevate it to a very honest sublimity.

-jb

A little bit off the wall

Jun 25, 2009 in Culture, In Memorium, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I was going to write about the current situation in Iran, when I was stunned by the shocking news of Michael Jackson’s death.

Anyone born between the years 1970-1990, knew him as the king of pop, and can name and/or sing 5-10 of his songs.  I would be bold to say that of these people, before the age of 10 would have told you that he was their favorite singer.

There was no other artist, that is as well known in as many countries as Michael Jackson.  Religion, culture, and political beliefs aside, many people all over the world were touched by his music.

Music is one of those things that transcends all these things and can be a universal unifier.  Which is why in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in the remotest village in Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, anywhere you go someone has heard of Michael Jackson and can tell you what their favorite Michael Jackson song is.  Yes, even Osama Bin Laden probably has a favorite Michael Jackson tune, and tried to moonwalk when he was a young fanatic.  Hell, white Christian fanatics like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh probably have a favorite Michael Jackson song.

He was the first real megastar in music.  He was a whole lotta crazy well before Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse.  Before boy bands, there was the Jackson 5.  You may say Beatles, but the Jackson 5 were younger, the first true boy band.  Justin Timberlake wouldn’t have any dance moves or falsetto without Michael.  Before U2, Michael Jackson pushed the boundaries of the largest overblown, multimedia, multi-million dollar rock shows.  Yes I say rock, because he employed the best backing rock session musicians in his albums and tours.

Before Michael Jackson, Bollywood movies actually had plots, and the only music was the backing soundtrack, and the only dancing was two lovers running through forests and around trees in the beautiful mountains of Kashmir.  From the 80’s onwards, choreographed dance sequences are now the central part of the movie, and all copy the moves from Thriller, Beat It, Smooth Criminal, and such.

The list goes on, but he was truly extraordinary, and his departure will be mourned all over the world and in also the least likeliest of places.

–Ali

P.S. I know mg and jb will crucify me for posting this 😛

One of the greatest web pages ever.

May 27, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Start having fun.

-jb

The quality of ice in your drinks.

May 21, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

You never thought about how much ice mattered, until you read this article and slapped your forehead…

-jb

Oh, hell, EVERYBODY is pissed.

May 16, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Nobody is happy.

Republicans are insane, Democrats are cowards; Dick Cheney rants about how awesome torture is and Obama is dangling the USA over the gaping maw of Al Queda, the press grants him solo airtime without challenge; Obama hires a corporate lawyer from pollution hounds GE to enforce environmental law; deficits are raging, Republicans are still cheap charlatans, again trying to score cheap political points by pretending they aren’t the reason we have to spend so much; Democrats are left holding the baton for the immorality of torture but our politicians are too busy playing game theory to try something as simple as enforcing the law; everybody wants tons of spending, even Democrats are afraid of proposing the taxes we need to fund it all, Republicans have gone so blinkered that they’d fight a penny increase in the yacht tax; Obama is smirking at the notion of ending the drug war, Republicans are afraid it’s all for show while his drug czar moves us towards a cease fire; Iraq is made of molasses, Afghanistan sweet poppies promising a Taliban-free high if we just stay a little bit longer; the NYT can’t figure out how to make money but thinks refusing to say “torture” is journalism; California’s direct democracy system is broken and Sacramento is filled with zealots, the only solution is more direct democracy; Wolverine was sloppily made, normal publications are freaking out that gay-ish Adam Lambert could actually win a contest to be a pop star; Republicans are beholden to a thrice-divorced drug addict sex tourist who is too intellectually dishonest to debate anywhere other than the safe confines of his radio show, his ratings only go up the more he disgusts mainstream America; Norm Coleman is brazenly exploiting the court system just to keep Al Franken out of the Senate a little bit longer, Jim Carrey is now one of those people who rants about vaccines causing autism; projects to make America’s energy green and slow the effects of global warming still lack political will, along with revamping Medicare or shifting retirement ages; the airwaves are filled with jackass reality show contestants but Noam Chomsky isn’t seen on cable news…

…I want to keep going but I’m dying to go to bed…

…f’ing hell.

Everybody should just drink some lilac wine…on a train.

[youtube 6DqZAXQqoag]

-jb

Moechest du Skinny Puppy?

May 02, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

[youtube 8sQl7Rj80Wc]

Yeah, we loved that shit. Though we might have had second thoughts if we’d seen the music videos…

-jb

More Wedding Blogging.

Apr 03, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to


The best man, Mike G.

-jb

Kill Bill 1&2 in 60 seconds.

Mar 23, 2009 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I actually thought Vol. 1 was an excellent little bit, but Vol. 2 was pure bloat. Suck on it, Quentin:

[youtube Ex0ANhZ1Y6o]

-jb

Fleet Foxes versus The Mountain Goats

Feb 16, 2009 in Culture, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Kinda;)
[youtube brZTvGIzeGg]

Anyway, Fleet Foxes are one of my favorite new bands. I call them “The Belle & Sebastian of the Appalachians” which isn’t very clever since they’re from Seattle. They devote themselves a little bit to their lo-fi look, but mostly to the music, and the results are frequently transcendent.

-jb

We were so young.

Dec 15, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

[youtube WfIRGbLftTE]

When I first heard this song, my ears immediately revolted. Later I wasn’t sure I’d heard anything more beautiful.

Suede at one point seemed to have limitless potential. So did I.

They released two masterpieces, then lost to fiery temper the musical genius, Bernard Butler, behind their complexity. With some new young talent, they produced two well-received and pretty albums with some terrific b-sides, and then could barely scrape up two good songs on a final album that saw them turn into bad Suede impersonators. Brett Anderson’s voice was scarred by hard living, his lyrics rehashed cut-and-pastes of earlier songs, the original template finally and utterly reduced to caricature.

Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler reunited, bitterly, called themselves The Tears and produced an album that was pleasing, but only occasionally echoed their youthful genius.

I have convinced myself that the fire of my youthful brilliance has been smothered. A reckless and heartless idealism that at times threatened to overtake me, never rewarded and instead smashed into submission by cold realities and self-reckoning. Had I become the rockstar screenwriter I envisioned myself, it would have likely been a quick dousing of gasoline followed by immolation.

I hold onto my creative library, hoping for a time when age and wisdom will allow me to revisit it and tinker with it, with the hope of turning it into something of serious craftsmanship. I’m not there yet. My skills are ready, but too many demons were released onto those pages. They require a sturdier shepherd.

Thus, I still feel hope for the future, though I know I can never regain some of the best qualities of youth.

I’ve lost that pretty head, even lost that living room (to the ’04 tornado), but I’ve still got the guy sitting there with me, co-blogger Mike G. We spent a lot of time being young, and talking about what that meant. We talked about the real artists who endured while others flamed out and faded away. There were those who etched their name onto history, and the rest who could be cast away without thought.

I made the mistake of thinking the glory of some negated the value of others. Of course, being me I went a little too far in the other direction, being too content with going nowhere, but the longer I go, the more I feel that finding the balance of things is within my grasp.

At 35, I am, in the long run, still young. Indeed, sometimes I am still too young. However, I have also invested too much time in this life to cast it away glibly. While a time may come when everybody I know is gone, where I may get all my fulfillment from watching the mad world spin in place, at this point the longer I live the more I have to live for.

I still feel sorry that Suede lost their glory, that they will probably grow old in obscurity with few recognizing their accomplishments, that they are unlikely to reach great heights again. But I hope they still find a way to be happy in their day-to-day lives.

Especially after that solo album, Brett. Good lord, you wanker.

-jb

More reasons Texas blows.

Nov 19, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I went there this time to find out. San Antonio specifically, for Lil’ Miss Samari’s Rock N’Roll Marathon adventure. Actually it wasn’t entirely a waste of a town. The downtown area has the picturesque Riverwalk, but the Alamo is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair tucked into some crappy tourist traps, and 2/3 of the businesses looked closed for good. Bill Miller’s Barbecue Drive-Thru is everywhere, and I theorized that he was the crime boss of San Antonio, laundering his money through the restaurants, a romantic conceit that drove me to eat a Sloppy Joe there in a fashion most anti-climactic.

No, the true highlight of the trip was found in Austin, which is as excellent a city as reputation has it except that at 7:00pm on a Saturday night most of it was shut down…except for the part that mattered. 6th St. has 4-5 blocks of bars and other shops filled with live music, and Friends serves $5 Guinness on tap with no cover charge, so we found our niche. The band was good looking and more than competent, but they seemed to be waiting for a Black Crowes revival they could snatch some coattails on. Make sure you take a peek at the Capitol building around the corner while you’re there…and if you went to Texas but missed Austin, you might has well have stayed home.

Honestly, one of the best moments of the trip was in the bookstore in the airport before leaving. Lil’ Miss Samari picked up Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope, which I’ve found a pleasure to read, and I picked up a the “lists” issue of PC World (November Issue) which is filled with amazing sites and programs for spiffing up my computing experience. Right now I’m flipping out over RocketDock, which turns your PC into a Mac with a perfect recreation of the OS X dock (mine is on the right side of the screen, although it pops up a lot when I move to slide scrollbars…still, so awesome) My desktop is much less cluttered. My physical desktop, not so much…

-jb

UPDATE: Moved RocketDock to the top of the screen. Life is perfect now.

The better Obama’s numbers, the more I wanna party.

Oct 25, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Sorry for a second night of silly videos…but Lil’ Miss Samari insisted:)

[youtube wzyT9-9lUyE]

The facial-mapping technology is getting pretty good nowadays.

-jb

Two bits of advice.

Oct 16, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, WTF?

1. Never put off making love to your wife for video games. Or any other reason.

2. Never put your cell phone in a microwave. Especially don’t turn it on if you do. Or the microwave.

[youtube c_JZnNgltvQ]

-jb

POLcatz

Sep 29, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

cat
From the usual suspects.

-jb

And the night became terror.

Aug 30, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, WTF?

I bring you, ladies and gentlemen, a true story:

Office star (Ricky) Gervais was recently hosting a series of press junkets for his new movie, Ghost Town, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, but left in a hurry when spooky happenings scared him and his co-workers.

A terrified movie executive revealed that their work was disrupted by a string of supernatural occurrences.

The exec tells British newspaper the Daily Star, “We wanted the junkets at the Roosevelt because of its ghostly reputation. But we got so much more than we bargained for. A photoshoot we prepared was wrecked and two runners say they saw the figure of a lady in the full-length mirror.

“The final straw came when a production assistant stayed in the room earmarked for Ricky and claimed to have been freezing cold on the hottest day of the year. He said he woke up with someone whistling in his ear, even though he was alone, then heard a giggle before being pushed out of bed.”

It’s always cold when they’re around, isn’t it?

-jb

My favorite website.

Aug 05, 2008 in Uncategorized, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

With my internet at home behaving like a 1972 Chevy Vega I haven’t been able to knock out any multiple paragraph bitch and moaners. Instead I’ll throw up the occasional favorite website of mine. Today’s is icanhascheezburger.com. As sad as it is to say, I check it every day at work.

-mg

Some people are bigger than others.

Jul 16, 2008 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

After 25 years he is still a force of nature, uncontained, unrestrained, and deservedly so.

[youtube ElemRKA9r1c]
Morrissey, “All You Need Is Me.”

People who accuse me of thinking Obama to be the Messiah are silly, cuz the Mozzer is:P

-jb

Video/Question of the Day

Jul 10, 2008 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

How did Mary Timony ever avoid becoming an international sex symbol?

[youtube 69s6tOZweRM]
Helium, “Superball”

-jb

Subversive Thought of the Day

Jun 30, 2008 in Anti-War, Uncategorized, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Brecht Poem in Portland
I just came across this image of a street in Portland, Oregon. Of a poem by Bertolt Brecht, a famous German playwright, who was anti-nazi, and blacklisted by McCarthy after he fled to the US, for being a communist.

The text may be hard to see on the image so I will paste it here:

General, your tank
is a powerful vehicle
it smashes down forests
& crushes a hundred men.
but it has one defect:
it needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful
it flies faster than a storm
& carries more than an elephant.
but it has one defect:
it needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly & he can kill.
but he has one defect:
He can think.

And for JB’s pleasure the original German is:

GENERAL, DEIN TANK IST EIN STARKER WAGEN
Er bricht einen Wald nieder und zermahlt hundert Menschen,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er braucht einen Fahrer.

General, dein Bombenflugzeug ist stark,
Es fliegt schneller als ein Sturm und trägt mehr als ein Elefant,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:

Er braucht einen Monteur.

General, der Mensch ist sehr brauchbar,
Er kann fliegen und er kann töten,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er kann denken.

Peace and love to all, and here’s hoping the next president doesn’t continue destroying what’s left of the world.

-Ali

I ran into Tim Burgess at a bar in Minneapolis once.

Jun 22, 2008 in Britpop, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

[youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=m-QOS_kM1A8]

-mg

Lil’ Miss Samari’s pick o’ the day.

Jun 22, 2008 in Music, Uncategorized, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

[youtube 1-wEBmLht5g]
“Wake Up” -Arcade Fire w/ David Bowie

-jb + lms

Because you need a good laugh.

Jun 19, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Straight-up madness, Stupidity, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, WTF?

John Cole yukkin’ it up…back story here (okay, maybe read that one first), and make sure you don’t miss this

-jb

UPDATE: More goodies! I love it!!! If you find more, put them in the comment threads…I LOVE IT!!!

UPDATE II: Alright, I know I fucking blow, but I had to:

Photobucket

It couldn’t happen here….

May 20, 2008 in War Crimes, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, Women

Every now and again I crawl under a rock, and then bore every one to tears with a Sermon on the Mount.
Here I go again….

One of my guilty pleasures in life is listening to Amy Goodman every morning on Pacifica. I need my daily dose
of realism.

Out of that, I have heard some horrific stories of torture:
One is of the youngest boy in Guantanamo, who was sent there when he was 15.
Omar Khadr
The sole survivor of a bombing raid in a village, and the soldiers had to justify murdering everyone in the village.
He being the only survivor and eye witness, they had to say that he threw a grenade at them and shot
first.

Another being in the many prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the eye witness accounts of young boys,
minors who are raped by the US soldiers, while in custody.

Then we wonder why there are so many young suicide bombers. Has to be the modern-day witchcraft, Islam.

Fine, those people aren’t humans anyways, those are just Arab dogs, or Muslim fanatics.

But now there are reports of Americans. Civilian contractors, nurses, doctors, Blackwater employees, and such,
who have been getting drugged by their coworkers/army personnel, and the like, and waking up to find
they have been raped and brutalized.

Story here…

As Morrissey said,

“…it’s so easy to hate….it takes guts to be gentle and kind…”

(I Know It’s Over, The Smiths)

It’s just as easy for me to dehumanize the perpertrators of these crimes against humanity.
It’s easy to hate the politicians and lawmakers, who even when hard evidence and testimony is brought in front of them
of these deplorable acts, take no actions against the perpetrators.

Now we get to the reason I’m posting all this.

I happened to catch my wife watching a disturbing movie the other day.
We didn’t know what we were in for, having watched Juno, we wanted to see another movie starring
Ellen Page. An American Crime
It’s a movie about a crime that happened in 1950’s Indiana. The good ‘ole heartland of the USA.
Where a young girl was locked in a basement, and beaten/tortured/starved to death. For over 3 gruelling months
she was systematically and increasingly, brutally tortured by the woman who was in charge of her, and by her children and
several children of the neighborhood. The movie is disturbing because the family was any normal blue-collared
American family of the 50’s, church going, school going. The children were all pre-pubescent, except for the oldest daughter.
The crimes were committed mostly by the woman caring for the girl, and by her young daughters. Except, for one young son,
and the daughter’s boyfriend. The neighborhood was your regular 1950’s American neighborhood.
They heard and saw strange things, but no one did a thing.

The movie and book, condemn the family and the surrounding society for this “crime against humanity”.

Both my wife and I, being parents of a young daughter, were extremely disturbed by this.
But I immediately told her, this is what our Armed Forces are doing to young Iraqi and Afghani children
on a massive scale and daily basis.

The soldiers and contractors who are being accused of horrible acts of torture, are no different than the
babysitter and her children. Coming from hard-working blue collar families, maybe even having families of their own.
Good honest, church going people. Their colleagues who don’t report them, even though they witness the horrors, are no different
than those Indiana neighbors of the 1950’s.

It’s easy to react and recoil, after watching this movie of a young American Girl being
tortured by a regular American family.
There are hundreds and thousands of Sandy Larkins lying in mass graves (after being brutally tortured) in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who are still being similarly torture in Guantanamo, without a Jack Ketcham to write a novel about them….

-aa

Would you run a triathlon to help fight cancer?

May 19, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

No? Okay, sponsoring somebody who would is easier. Trust me, she’s good people:)

-jb

One of the most underrated bands of the 90’s.

Apr 12, 2008 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Sometimes a band kicks out a masterpiece and then dissolves into nothing. Marion’s This World & Body is one of those cases. It was painful to pick one song, but this is a fair sample (then go watch more of their videos or find the album!):

[youtube wITuEJyyVVU]

-jb

Oscar night.

Feb 24, 2008 in Culture, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Everybody knows Daniel Day-Lewis will take home the Oscar for Best Actor, and rightfully so. Watching him in There Will Be Blood is like being sucked into a black hole; there’s simply no escaping Day-Lewis’ gravitational field. Yet I also hope the film itself gets the pick. No Country For Old Men really underwhelmed me and contained so little of the flavor that the Coen brothers brought to their greatest movies that I’m not rooting for them like I was the year of Fargo. It seems to me to be a nearly transparent adaptation of the book, perfectly translating it without being better or worse. TWBB on the other hand nearly dispenses with the novel it is based on and hitches onto Paul Thomas Anderson’s vision, mirroring the crazed ambition of Daniel Day-Lewis’ character Daniel Plainview. PTA worked it, dug deeper, and found the black gold where others merely farmed the land they were given.

Best of all, we have a new classic line which has inspired stuff like this website, a guide on proper usage, and a pretty funny skit on last night’s SNL, featuring a preternaturally perfect impersonation of Day-Lewis by Bill Hader (no link, good luck finding it if you didn’t TiVo it…UPDATE: I FOUND IT!!!). Here’s the original scene, although it is somewhat criminal to watch it without seeing the whole movie (it’s kind of a spoiler, although it doesn’t really reveal TOO much):

[youtube ThZI-p8SKe0]

I’m all for the phrase becoming ubiquitous if it means more people see the movie. Yes, every time somebody gets punked, somebody else drank their milkshake. If only there were some way to apply it to politics…

-jb

Happy Valentine’s Day, monitor huggers.

Feb 14, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

You might find this one useful:

Tip of the hat to reader Lil’ Miss Samari for pointing me to someecards.com…now that’s all she’ll ever get.

-jb