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October 26, 2009

Some days the stupidity of it all really gets to you.

Spleen – by Charles Baudelaire

When the low and heavy sky presses like a lid
On the groaning heart a prey to slow cares,
And when from a horizon holding the whole orb
There is cast at us a dark sky more sad than night;

When earth is changed to a damp dungeon,
Where Hope, like a bat,
Flees beating the walls with its timorous wings,
And knocking its head on the rotting ceilings;

When the rain spreads out vast trails
Like the bars of a huge prison,
And when, like sordid spiders, silent people stretch
Threads to the depths of our brains,

Suddenly the bells jump furiously
And hurl to the sky a horrible shriek,
Like some wandering landless spirits
Starting an obstinate complaint.

— And long hearses, with no drums, no music,
File slowly through my soul: Hope,
Conquered, cries, and despotic atrocious Agony
Plants on my bent skull its flag of black.

But hey, it’s nothing that the power of positive thinking can’t fix, right? Just teach yourself to believe in fairy tales and everything will be AOK. Sometimes you have to destroy the village in order to save it. And you better believe it hard or the little fairy gets it.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    October 26, 2009 11:52 am

    I drew the inspiration for these latest ramblings from this post from Hofstra guy where he recounts his latest written battles with the mouth-breathers. Thought you might get a kick out of this, triv.

    A few years ago I fell in with this circle of people – a high proportion of which are certifiably insane – who correspond by email with each other over politics. I would call it a seriously mixed blessing, except that I’d never go far enough as to use the ‘b’ word to describe the experience.

    I can honestly say that when I was originally baited into participating in the group I came with an open mind, and I still have not met a single person on the list. About half the correspondents are regressives, most of them from right out of central casting on the set of the movie “America Neanderthal”. They rarely cease to astonish me. The level of thuggishness, hypocrisy, ignorance, proud ignorance and ad hominem insult from those quarters is staggering.


    To be sure, making fun of dittoheads is like shooting elderly fish in a barrel filled to the brim with Quaalude-laced molasses and left in the fridge for a couple of days.

    • triv33 permalink
      October 26, 2009 3:51 pm

      I run into this on a daily basis:

      This is much deeper than an election or even a partisan tendency across an era. We are talking here about a population somehow so traumatized that the very rationality which is utterly foundational to the Enlightenment project of democracy has been squashed down to invisibility, never again to inconveniently impede full-bore delusion. Perhaps ‘twas ever thus – I mean, one can hardly account for endless millennia of religious belief otherwise – but right-wing freaked-out reality-defying delirium has gone so mainstream these last three decades, it’s seems most times like we’ve entered some parallel and not so lovely alternative universe. Nowadays, it’s paranoia for breakfast, paranoia for lunch, and paranoia for dinner. Want a little snack before bedtime? Guess what’s on the menu.

      The funny part is that I could be sitting around shooting the shit with these folks at my sister’s Pub and if the talk never turned to politics (and I make sure it doesn’t when I don’t know just who I’m talking to) I’d never know it. One of the guys on my local board is funny as hell… just don’t mention torture, because he’ll be the judge of that, thank you! Dead thread? He’s there to bring the comedy. Tea baggers? Who says you can’t love the Constitution and the Patriot Act? Leaves me shaking my head, I mean he’s not stupid, but he’s so fucking STOOPID!

      • cometman permalink*
        October 27, 2009 8:22 am

        I know exactly what you mean. There’s a loudmouth drunken nitwit I have to deal with on a bar league pool team who likes to start ranting about Faux news talking points once he gets a few in him. He was raving nonsensically about socialism the other day and then couldn’t remember which Roosevelt was responsible for the New Deal. I was trying to avoid the conversation but he asked me to clarify so I just told him it was FDR and let him continue with the crazy. There’s just no fixing stupid like that.

        • artemis54 permalink
          October 28, 2009 6:55 am

          Yeah it was the republican one who seized all that real estate and started the whole socialist national park thing.

  2. cometman permalink*
    October 26, 2009 12:02 pm

    Musical interlude. A Greek band that I like called Pyx Lax (which translates as “punching and kicking”) also has a song called “Spleen” which I discovered while poking around for some material for this post.

    From the little Greek I can understand in the song, this isn’t a translation of Baudelaire’s poem and unfortunately I can’t find an English version of the lyrics. But the video had some nice images and the mood seems to fit. They’ve got a nice kind of Tom Waits thing going on.

  3. cometman permalink*
    October 26, 2009 12:16 pm

    More on the recent protests against the rat fucker banksters in Chicago. Would have liked to see this:

    With the newspapers full of talk about “zombie” banks and parasitic “vampire squid” financial institutions, it was particularly fitting that the “Showdown in Chicago” started with a ghoulish group of zombies rocking out to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Chicago’s own South Shore Drill Team opened the three days of banks protests with a bang and had the crowd of thousands of activists dancing in no time.

  4. cometman permalink*
    October 26, 2009 12:21 pm

    Ha! Jim Cramer has to eat it again.

  5. cometman permalink*
    October 26, 2009 1:22 pm

    Here’s some noise about drafting Elizabeth Warren to run for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Evidently in a recent Fox interview she doesn’t completely rule out the idea.

    Matt Taibbi would like to see her take it a step further – Elizabeth Warren for President! Hear hear!!!!

  6. cometman permalink*
    October 27, 2009 8:32 am

    Sign of the times. Some LA area residents were charged with torture after knocking the crap out of a couple loan officers they felt were ripping them off.

    Torture?!?!?!? Really? But what the US does to brown people every day often resulting in their death still isn’t really torture?

    All I can say is that if it turns out these people were being ripped off, hopefully the charges will be reduced to battery and the loan agents will be charged with fraud. But I’m sure there’s an overzealous prosecutor somewhere who’s banking on making a career by making the torture charges stick. This sounds like it has the potential to set all kinds of really bad precedents.

  7. cometman permalink*
    October 27, 2009 10:07 am

    More on the Chicago protests against the banksters from The Nation.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 29, 2009 4:46 pm

      Apparently only 5000 protesters showed up by the last day of the Showdown. For a city the size of Chicago that number is pathetic. I guess the extroverted show of resistance has become futile against this corporate machine. The banksters appear to have won this round of the class war at long last. They own all branches of government and the so called free press.

      It seems the cycles of history will have to rinse and repeat, that resistance will be long smoldering underground before it rises up to have an effect. Teach the squidlette’s generation well. That is, unless there is another black swan and we get our chance to change course and dump this ship of fools manned by greedy rat fuckers.

  8. cometman permalink*
    October 27, 2009 10:55 am

    Good article from Truthout abouta new CIA program to monitor the internet.

    … In-Q-Tel, “the investment arm of the CIA,” is enlisting the services of Visible Technologies, a software firm notorious for monitoring social networking activities. Noah Shachtman, contributing editor to Wired magazine, reported this new discovery last week. He described the process in great detail:

    Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon…. Then Visible “scores” each post, labeling it as positive or negative, mixed or neutral. It examines how influential a conversation or an author is.

    In an appearance on “Democracy Now!,” Shachtman elaborated further: “Visible … takes Twitter updates and takes comments on YouTube videos and sort of sorts them out and decides which people have the most weight in the blogosphere, which people are the most influential.” And though he mentions that, as of yet, Visible doesn’t “touch closed social networks, like Facebook,” news that Microsoft and Google recently signed deals with Facebook and Twitter to publicize users’ status updates and feeds doesn’t provide much relief.

    Here’s a link to the Democracy Now! piece mentioned in the article.

    This from the first link was a little chilling:

    ….even when a cell phone is turned off, federal agents could still monitor ongoing conversation via software installed on the phone – anonymously and stealthily, of course – that leaves the microphone everlastingly on.

    I guess we’ll know we’ve arrived when the spooks start paying us visits. Maybe we need to ratchet up the rhetoric a bit :)

  9. cometman permalink*
    October 27, 2009 11:20 am

    Finally ran across the cartoonist whose name I’ve been trying to remember for months – Mark Fiore. He does some very good political animation.

    Here’s one on the rat fuckers.

    • cometman permalink*
      October 27, 2009 11:23 am

      Just noticed Fiore is on youtube. Here’s another.

  10. cometman permalink*
    October 28, 2009 6:09 am

    Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. AIG knew it was in trouble and had already been negotiating with the companies it owed to pay out on its swaps at a discount. Then the Fed stepped in and made sure the big banks got every penny.

    …AIG had been negotiating to settle on the swaps prior to getting aid from the government, and was seeking a 40% discount. The Fed might not have gotten that much of a discount, but there was clearly no need to pay out at par.

    Normally when a company is in dire straits like this creditors don’t get 100 cets on the dollar but this time they did. Why? Because some of the banks “insisted”.

    One reason par was paid was because some counterparties insisted on being paid in full and the New York Fed did not want to negotiate separate deals, says a person close to the transaction. “Some of those banks needed 100 cents on the dollar or they risked failure,” Vickrey says.

    So rather than let some of them fail as they should have, they simply bailed them all out for 100% because the paperwork for separate deals would have been too taxing.

  11. artemis54 permalink
    October 28, 2009 7:03 am

    A how-to from the frozen north: Canadian Youth Confront Parliament, Demand Action on Climate

    Depending on who you read, 120 or 150 or 200 protesters were removed from the public gallery for disturbing the parliamentarians’ slumbers. No one can remember this happening before, but it certainly will again.

    • cometman permalink*
      October 28, 2009 7:37 am

      Good for them. I hope it happens again sooner rather than later. And if we can’t get our own protesters in the US, maybe we can get those Canucks to come down here and fuck up Joe Lieberman who is threatening to block health care legislation which includes a public option for all the wrong reasons. Refusing to back it because it doesn’t do nearly enough I could understand, but evidently Harry Reid’s weak tea still tastes like a quadruple espresso to Joe of the Jowls. What a douchebag.

  12. cometman permalink*
    October 28, 2009 8:07 am

    Huh. Naked mole rats do not ever get cancer and now researchers believe they have figured out why.

    The findings, presented in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the mole rat’s cells express a gene called p16 that makes the cells “claustrophobic,” stopping the cells’ proliferation when too many of them crowd together, cutting off runaway growth before it can start. The effect of p16 is so pronounced that when researchers mutated the cells to induce a tumor, the cells’ growth barely changed, whereas regular mouse cells became fully cancerous.

    In related news, a spokesperson for the health insurance industry said that companies were looking forward to the day this breakthrough could be used to treat cancer in humans and were already devising methods to make sure that no one would be covered for treatments.

    • artemis54 permalink
      October 28, 2009 1:46 pm

      Who says mammals can’t be freaky? nmrs are my fave – there is a very entertaining colony at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

      • cometman permalink*
        October 29, 2009 7:09 am

        Thanks for posting that. I never knew the Science Center had those. I’ll have to stop by and check them out the next time I’m in the area.

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 29, 2009 4:31 pm

      I wonder if eating curried Naked Mole Rats would be the ultimate cure for cancer.

      Scientists have found out that the tumeric in curry powders is beneficial that way

      Scientists say curry compound kills cancer cells

  13. cometman permalink*
    October 29, 2009 7:17 am

    So the last time I mentioned LL Cool Bean around here it was made clear to me that they were anything but. Well, what say you now??????

    The models wore the Maine retailer’s new specialty line, L.L. Bean Signature – an attempt to reach a younger, more trend-conscious audience – which arrives in stores and online in March. Instead of relaxed mom jeans, there are flirty denim skirts. Men’s shirts are body-conscious and fitted. The hunting jackets look more appropriate for hunting down a good bottle of Prosecco in Back Bay than tracking moose. The new Signature canvas tote bags lack those quintessential Bean details: contrasting handles and monograms.

    Did you hear that? Denim skirts!!!!! How much more cutting edge could they get? They even got themselves a NY designer, and from the good part, Manhattan. Downeasters in duck boots will soon be the envy of the fashion world! :P

    • Stemella permalink*
      October 29, 2009 4:25 pm

      Anderson Cooper was the celebrity attendee?


      So far, my favorite contribution from the great state of Maine is “Fuck ’em up Toddy” Lest you have forgetten that catchy tune …. ;)

  14. cometman permalink*
    October 29, 2009 11:45 am

    Bad Idea Jones has come to the Beltway again. Geithner has a proposal out that would give the executive branch much more power to dole out funds to the financial industry, basically allowing them to bypass Congress in the future. Congressman Brad Sherman is trying to stop it. It’d be nice if there was a little more opposition. Not that I’m a huge fan of the decisions Congress does make, but if were still paying these clowns they ought to have to do something.

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