Sep 29, 2008

Yes, it's true. That thing, which his generation fled like a runaway dog with a foul smell, is back at the screen door. From "Black Tuesday", October 29, 1929 to "Black Monday," September 29, 2008. But for another month and a year you'd have an exact replica. You'd have 80 years on the nogan.

Meanwhile, if you wonder why all these things are happening you understand. The man yelling at you from his shiny black Escalade, calling you a selfish fuck because you parked too close, is not himself. The road rage is everywhere, all the time.

Look at this woman wandering down the middle of Haynes Street in Hillsborough. She's in a house robe and slippers. Perhaps, she went out to get the newspaper and something happened. Or else, she is mildly demented. She has the look of someone who may jump out the window, or off the bridge. She has the look of someone who will die soon. The eyes are enlarged and rounded. According to a recent study, this is the shape of eye, in a young woman, who wants sex. And perhaps this woman wants some sort of carnal contact with God, with a priest she remembers from childhood. Considering what's happening, the problem must be her accounts. She or her husband must be losing everything. There must be some threat that seems unmanageable.

Whatever it is with her and the man in the Escalade the 'only thing to fear is fear itself', is back in town. Someone was saying what a good thing it is. Time to beboot. Reimagine yourself. But it's also a calamity. Don't forget that. The woman on Haynes Street is now running down the middle of the street. She's blond, forties or fifties, her robe is coming undone. She's lost a slipper. She turns away, off to the curb, we pass and she's gone.

Sep 18, 2008

There is something about the right wing radio pilots that I find endlessly compelling. Sean Infantity, Linda Engrammatico, and the locally dangerous, ‘I’m a great American, you’re a great American’ — Big Bri-anne Suss-man, the ex-'whether or not I’m a Man', and the Boys in the “White” Hoods…

I listen in streaks. Mostly in traffic on the way home. I listen until I can’t stand it. Sometimes I call in. I write notes as a patient in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Center. "You fucking idiot", I’m saying. "How can ignorance become such arrogance?" I realize how much I miss William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal.

Once, I got on the air and argued that the US should consider withdrawing from the Bejing Olympics to mark the invasion of Tibet. I pointed out that the 1938 olympics were used to validate the Third Reich, even though Jesse Owens ran Aryans into the ground. Sussman disagreed and shut off the discussion.

He does that. They both do that. Get opposition, then hang up. But if Georgia from Freemont calls in to ask whether Obama is going to win simply on the basis of all the money he’s collected, it's a great question and she’s a great American. Or Jake on a red blood cell in his nose calls to say that with Obama you’re gonna get fascist youth police coming into your home to see if you’ve got frosti freeze shaped light bulbs. "Great question, you're a great American. And I'm glad you brought that up. This is really going to be a problem.”

Today, on Hen's titty, T Bone Pickens got on the line. Sean was trying to get him to say that 'drill baby, drill' was meat and right so to do. But T Bone wouldn’t say it. Well, we need more refineries, said Sean. T Bone pointed out most of the refining is being done in Saudi and in the gulf. "There was no reason to build more refineries, and as it was they were operating at about 87 percent anyway. Even if you dug up another million barrels a day you wouldn’t go above capacity."

This is not great American stuff I'm hearing, T Bone.

Sean persisted. "Well what about all the drilling we could be doing?" Yes, said Pickens, there is a lot drilling we could be doing but Big Oil isn’t buying up the tracts at auction. He pointed out that after one recent auction, 90 percent of the tracts were unsold.

The fact is, Big Oil doesn’t care about drilling as much as politicians. Because the know that by the time they get money from developing offshore they'll be fossil fuel themselves.

I wanted to hear more about that. But Infanity didn't like the Boone's direction and ended the call, curtly.

Sep 10, 2008

I received this email from a good friend who was sending it on in turn. Perhaps, you've seen it. I cannot vouch for its authenticity.

Here is an introduction by the friend of a woman named Ana who described an encounter she had with John McCain in 2000.

"I am sharing this with you because our "life" literally may depend on getting the word out. I was initially shocked and was sure this letter was some sort of a spam. It is not! I have known Ana for a long time and went to business school with her husband Ravi. After Berkeley business school, Ravi got his MBA from Chicago and has started and sold a number of successful companies. He currently is a Managing Director of a successful private equity firm in the bay area. Ana has a Ph.D in psychology and has a private practice in San Francisco. I am giving you their background so you know that Ana and Ravi are not political activists and are simply two level headed individuals with no axe to grind. In addition, they are among the top 3-5% of our population who will benefit from the McCain tax/economic policy. Therefore, they are speaking out against their economic interest for the benefit of all of us."

My Holiday with McCain

It was just before John McCain’s last run at the presidential nomination in 2000 that my husband and I vacationed in Turtle Island in Fiji with John McCain, Cindy, and their children, including Bridget (their adopted Bangladeshi child).

It was not our intention, but it was our misfortune to be in close quarters with John McCain for almost a week since Turtle Island has a small number of bungalows and their focus on communal meals force all vacationers who are there at the same time to get to know each other intimately.

He arrived at our first group meal and started reading quotes from a pile of William Faulkner books with a forest of Post-Its sticking out of them. As an English Literature major myself, my first thought was “if he likes this so much, why hasn’t he memorized any of this yet?” I soon realized that McCain actually thought we had come on vacation to be a volunteer audience for his “readings” which then became a regular part of each meal. Out of politeness, none of the vacationers initially protested at this intrusion into their blissful holiday, but people’s buttons definitely got pushed as the readings continued day after day.

Unfortunately this was not his only contribution to our mealtime entertainment. He waxed on during one meal about how Indo-Chine women had the best figures and that our American corn-fed women just couldn’t meet up to this standard. He also made it a point that all of us should stop Cindy from having dessert as her weight was too high and made a few comments to Amy, the 25 year old wife of the honeymooning couple from Nebraska that she should eat less as she needed to lose weight.

McCain’s appreciation of the beauty of Asian women was so great that David the American economist had to move his Thai wife to the other side of the table from McCain as McCain kept aggressively flirting with and touching her.

Needless to say I was irritated at his large ego, and his rude behavior towards his wife and other women, but decided he must have some redeeming qualities as he had adopted a handicapped child from Bangladesh. I asked him about this one day and his response was shocking –“Oh, that was Cindy’s idea – I didn’t have anything to do with it. She just went and adopted this thing without even asking me. You can’t imagine how people stare when I wheel this ugly, black thing around in a shopping cart in Arizona. No, it wasn’t my idea at all.”

I actively avoided McCain after that, but unfortunately one day he engaged me in a political discussion which soon got us on the topic of the active US bombing of Iraq at that time. I was shocked when he said “if I was in charge, I would nuke Iraq to teach them a lesson”. Given McCain’s personal experience with the horrors of war I had expected a more balanced point of view. I commented on the tragic consequences of the nuclear attacks on Japan during WWII – but no, he was not to be dissuaded. He went on to say that if it was up to him he would have dropped many more nuclear bombs on Japan. I rapidly extricated myself from this conversation as I could tell that his experience being tortured as a POW didn’t seem to have mellowed out his perspective but rather had made him more aggressive, and vengeful towards the world.

My final encounter with McCain was on the morning that he was leaving Turtle Island. Amy and I were happily eating pancakes when McCain arrived and told Amy that she shouldn’t be having pancakes because she needed to lose weight. Amy burst into tears at this abusive comment. I felt fiercely protective of Amy and immediately turned to McCain and told him to leave her alone. He became very angry and abusive towards me, and said “don’t you know who I am” and I looked him in the face and said “yes, you are the biggest asshole I have ever met” and headed back to my cabin. I am happy to say that later that day when I arrived at lunch I was given a standing ovation by all the guests for having stood up to McCain’s bullying.

Although I have shared my McCain story informally with friends, this is the first time I am making this public. I almost did so in 2000, when McCain first announced his bid for the Republican nomination but it soon became apparent that George Bush was the shoo-in candidate and so I did not act then. However, now that there is a very real possibility that McCain could be elected as our next president, I feel it is my duty as an American citizen to share this story. I can’t imagine a more scary outcome for America than that this abusive, aggressive man should lead our nation. I have observed him in intimate surroundings as he really is, not how the media portrays him to be. If his attitudes toward women, and his treatment of his own family are even a small indicator of his real personality, then I shudder to think what will happen to America were he to be elected as our President.

Sep 2, 2008

No story better catches the nature of Ms. Palin's judgment, and ambition — and finally that of John McCain as well — than the one about the Waslia librarian, a Ms. Baker, who "Sara-dipity" threatened to fire because of certain objectionable books. The new VP has a history of firing and threatening opponents, long before the matter involving her former brother-in-law. No matter. But it's one thing to be a political opportunist and whether genuinely or not, support the NRA and the teaching Creationism in schools, and quite another to fiddle with the content of public libraries. That alone disqualifies her for any serious public office.

And so the McCain candidacy is cracking up, and all the microscopic inspection of nuance and other scenarios can't hide the fact.

But underneath the daily bread of the chattering classes, and I'm one, there was a throw away story, barely believable on its face, about a Dutch spy being recalled from Iran because the Americans are within weeks of launching an attack. The story, as you can see is thin ... ... Nevertheless, if true, this is one more indication. Certainly, the Israeli media has been hinting for months that something is coming, quite apart from military exercises and huddles with Ms. Rice.

Of course, if you're a cynic you might suspect a GOP-inspired effort to inject enough fear into the body politic that McCain will snatch the presidency at the very last moment. Or you might suspect Bush and Chaney of making one last effort to become bronze images on horseback in the square.

Whatever the justification, you can't miss the foreboding underneath.... An attack on Iran is necessary for so many reasons.