Monthly Archives: September 2008

Even the bonds of time cannot contain him!

Not only can John McCain swoop into town on his white unicorn and crack heads together to get a bailout agreement, but he’s also able to travel through time to let us know that tonight’s debate has already been won:


Give ’em hell, Marcy Kaptur!

Everyone else is linking to this, so why not me?

Finance crisis and the view from across the pond

The German government passes up the “opportunity” to participate in the plan to mitigate the clusterfuck we’ve created. Angela Merkel, the conservative chancellor, called for more regulation and transparency in the financial markets– funny how a dispassionate perspective results in a more realistic approach, as opposed to the ultimately meaningless free market dogma we’ve come to expect from our right-wingers.

Sarah Palin and George Bush: Separated at birth?

Palin to Sean Hannity: “You can’t underestimate the wisdom of the people of America.”

Ralph Stanley endorses Barack Obama

Nice that Stanley is able to see through the Culture War smokescreen, and recognize that a vote for McCain would go directly against the self-interest of working people. That the endorsement comes from someone of Stanley’s caliber is very sweet indeed.

Hurricane Ike follow-up: where was McCain??

I watched John McCain with his steely gaze and steady hand on the wheel as he conferred with Republican governors about preparations for Hurricane Gustav, and I knew then that I wanted him to be the strong, solid, consistent, reassuring father I never had… Oh wait, I did actually have that father… scrap that.

Anyway, where was McCain when Hurricane Ike threatened us with its mighty winds and torrential rain? What? Oh yeah– there wasn’t a convention to magnanimously and ostentatiously delay.

David Foster Wallace, RIP

Hanged himself. I believe the first thing I ever read of his was a folio piece in Harper’s entitled Ticket to the Fair (a sort of ethnography of the Illinois State Fair); this was later included in the brilliant collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. I confess I’ve never read any of his fiction, although I’ve wanted to pick up Infinite Jest for some time now.

At the risk of sounding trite, I do believe that Foster Wallace was a unique voice in American letters; he will be missed.

Ike… eek!

Looks like Ike is headed our way; it’s unlikely we’ll see anything very serious in Austin, but it will be nice to get some rain. Here’s hoping that folks closer to the action come through okay!

Update: The latest 3-day forecast shows Ike veering to the east, so we might not see much of anything here in Austin– onward with the drought. Dang it.


During my undergrad years in Ann Arbor, I had some really great friends who were significantly older than me (or what passed for a significant age difference when you were 20 years old). One couple, Pat and Tony, had a kind of ramshackle, yet comfortable, rental in those days, and I used to go out to their house on the edge of town for dinner fairly frequently. Sometimes, I would see television. [I should add that Pat and Tony went on to buy the house and fix it up real nice!]

Of course, I was far too cool and edgy to have a TV in my own house, and I really didn’t find it all that interesting when I had the opportunity to see it, but my friends were big “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fans, so it wasn’t uncommon for some rerun to be showing when I showed up for dinner. On one occasion, I recall seeing a commercial for some forgotten product; the pitch was so incredibly asinine and contemptuous of the intelligence of the audience that I was offended. I turned to the people in the room and remarked that I couldn’t believe that the advertisers would air such insulting garbage, and I’ll never forget the response from my friend Jon Ellison, who simply turned to me and said, “It’s not for you, Stefan; it’s not for you.”

After seeing the conventions, and in particular, the Republican convention, I think I’ve come to realize that, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the American political process, at least as it plays out in the media, is simply not intended to reach the audience at any kind of intellectual level. When the campaign manager for the Republican candidate says “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates,” you pretty much have it in writing. It’s primal, tribal, almost Dionysian, and if you approach it expecting that the decision-making process will be based on objective reality, you’re going to drive yourself crazy.

Well, at least it’s driving me crazy, and so I think I have to go cold turkey and take a break from following the spectacle for a few weeks or more. I’ll probably tune back in for the debates.

What Frank said

Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage