now let’s get it all in perspective

You caught me on a busy day, so just some links to get us started.

First, our nation’s capital has gone under martial law:

D.C. police will seal off entire neighborhoods, set up checkpoints and kick out strangers under a new program that D.C. officials hope will help them rescue the city from its out-of-control violence.

Under an executive order expected to be announced today, police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will have the authority to designate “Neighborhood Safety Zones.” At least six officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them. Anyone who doesn’t live there, work there or have “legitimate reason” to be there will be sent away or face arrest, documents obtained by The Examiner show.

Though the guys at Cato still aren’t getting any of my money (too many conservatives on their payroll), I do appreciate a good smackdown of National Review as much as anyone:

Andrew McCarthy:If we are detaining such a terrorist, it is because we already know he is a terrorist.

Except when they’re not terrorists.

I love the use of hypertext for irony. I love the era that’s made that possible.

In juvenile delinquency news: I can think of no better way to get children to hate Robert Frost than making them study his poetry as punishment:

More than two dozen young people who broke into Robert Frost’s former home for a beer party and trashed the place are being required to take classes in his poetry as part of their punishment.

Using “The Road Not Taken” and another poem as jumping-off points, Frost biographer Jay Parini hopes to show the vandals the error of their ways – and the redemptive power of poetry.

“I guess I was thinking that if these teens had a better understanding of who Robert Frost was and his contribution to our society, that they would be more respectful of other people’s property in the future and would also learn something from the experience,” said prosecutor John Quinn.

Now granted, vandalizing Robert Frost’s home for a wicked kegger is pretty despicable. I have no sympathy for these punks. But – seriously? You think lecturing them on poetry at gunpoint will strike them as anything but torture?

On the lighter side of things, The Smoking Gun got their hands on Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ concert rider. It’s an insane, hilarious glimpse into the mind of a bizarre man:

3 X MARSHALL VBA BASS AMPLIFIERS: Make sure they’re good ones or we’ll all end up as wormlike web-based life forms in the bass player’s online literary diarrhea. Honestly. He’s like a sort of Internet Pepys or Boswell, except without the gout and syphilis. For all I know.

He works in an ICP diss on the first page too. And there’s 17 more!

For those of you who wondered why I never backed Ron Paul during the early stages of the Republican runoff, Jim Henley explains it better than I can:

The full measure of Paul’s failure isn’t even that he’s not going to be the Republican nominee. It’s that, even since everyone else dropped out of the race but Paul and McCain, he’s still been losing to Mike Huckabee in every state where the Huckster was on the ballot except Pennsyvlania. (Paul was born in Pennsylvania.) Idaho is the only other primary state where he broke 10%. (He hit low double-digits in a few caucus states.) He has 35 delegates by CNN’s reckoning. Huckabee has 275 and Romney 255. With his $30 million in donations, he’s barely breaking the million-bucks-a-delegate mark. That’s ten times the much-ridiculed rate of Mitt Romney.

Paul failed to win any states, to move the GOP debate in his direction, to accrue significant delegates or to leverage his fund-raising into a third-party run. And word is he’s staying quiet about endorsing an independent because he doesn’t want the Congressional GOP leadership to strip him of committee assignments come the fall. Paul accomplished the one thing he’s always been good at: using political appeals to get people to send money. I don’t feel freer.

Finally, if the economics of gas prices baffle you beyond the ability to reason, I suppose prayer is a reasonable response:

unlike the customers rolling up to the station’s pumps this week, resigned to the fact that their wallets were about to take a beating, Rocky Twyman and company had a plan to bring that number tumbling down.

They would ask God to do it.

“Our pockets are empty, but we’re going to hold on to God!” Twyman, a community organizer from Rockville, said as he and seven other people formed a semicircle, held hands and sang, pleading for divine intervention to lower fuel prices.

It was the latest demonstration by Twyman’s movement, Pray at the Pump, which began in April. Since then, he has held group prayers at gas stations as far away as San Francisco, garnering international media attention and even claiming success in at least a couple of cases.

I’d get more irate, but I don’t suppose praying to lower gas prices is any more ridiculous than praying for a cancer patient to get better, or praying for your football team to win, or praying for peace in the Middle East. So who am I to throw stones?


16 Responses

  1. I fucking HATE having to come over here to comment. It’s a pain in the ass. I don’t like the format. And now I forgot what I wanted to say.

    Oh yeah.: LOL America.

  2. Mike – Sorry I’m making it hard for you. I’m trying as hard as I possibly can. Really.

  3. The last page of the Iggy rider made me laugh so much!! The whole thing is brilliant.

  4. I appreciate the effort. And to show just how much, I’ve created my own WordPress blog:

  5. What’s sad, and I’m sure you’ll remember this, is that the above program is nothing next to some of the shit they proposed in the ’80s. Of course, little if any of that shit ever got authorized.

    Marion Barry had the right idea; give everyone in the city who doesn’t already have a federal job a CITY job.

  6. I actually like the idea of a Robert Frost study for these teenagers in lieu of jail time. From the tone of the article the humiliation for these kids and their families is pretty great, and while they caused immense damage to the farmhouse, this wasn’t a violent crime.

    Essentially, they’re learning why what they did was so wrong; and why this closed-up farmhouse was not to be used for a party.

  7. Lynn – it’s an appropriate level of punishment, sure. I just don’t know that it will have the intended effect of “getting punk kids to like poetry.”

  8. What’s sad is that I’m getting an inordinate amount of my news information from your LJ/blog rather than other sources.

    I do have some religious beliefs myself that I don’t discuss, but the praying for lower gas prices just reminds me of that scene from Heathers where Heather Duke was sitting over the first Heather’s dead body and saying something like “So many times I prayed for the death of Heather Chandler. Now I know you were listening. Hallelujah. Praise Jesus.” Gotta love false causality…

  9. They don’t need to like it; they just need to respect it. Maybe somewhere down the line they’ll get into it.

  10. You can read the blog of the aforementioned bassist here –

    Mike Watt has been a beloved hero of the thud staff for me since small times.

  11. I kind of agree with Barnett–though mostly, I miss not getting notified when a reply to my reply is posted.

    Anyways. They may learn nothing from the Frost class, but it’s still a perfect punishment for what they did. And hey, maybe some of them will come to like poetry from it, too. If so, success! If they just get bored out of their skulls by the whole thing, still a success! They have suffered for their crimes.

  12. Katie – I don’t like the “any benefit is worth any cost” metric.

  13. Personally I think Robert Frost is a great punishment for any teenage nonviolent crime. That annoying fucker, man.

  14. Haas – You just threw me back to my grungy dorm/allston apartment dayz….holy crap Mike Watt. Wow.

    Now I have to go back and dig through a hundred drunken mix tapes, and I don’t even know if I have a working cassette player anymore. Damn.

  15. The tone of the Henley commentary implies that his major bone of contention with Paul was that since his ideas didn’t immediately gain ground, the guy failed as a potential nominee. Your subsequent siding with Henley gives off a similar impression.

    The thing is, I don’t think the facts in Henley’s entry warrants the use of the noun “failure.” Both you and I know that the cultural absorption of ideas doesn’t happen overnight, and this is particularly relevant in Paul’s case. He had a few things to expedite this process, like how he was able to transmit his contrarian ideas sooner and to a more widespread audience thanks to the internet. And then there were factors that worked against him, namely, the two party system. When so many liberals believe that they absolutely have to vote a Democrat into the White House this year just because they’re not a Republican — policies and character be damned, — the opposition automatically looses. Working with neocon Republicans who’ve disavowed reason in favor of adopting an ideology that’s borne out of fear and ignorance, presents just as much a disadvantage… if not even more of one. And that’s not Paul’s fault; that’s the fault of a flawed system and the droves of uninformed individuals out there.

    Those people may have their say this election, but as I once read, ideas are bulletproof. The extent to which Paul was able to reach individuals and give them something to think about will determine whether or not his campaign was a total failure. And we won’t know that for another four-eight years.

  16. Lindsay: it’s easy to say that Paul’s ideas may have taken hold during his presidential bid. But they may not have. We have no objective metric by which to measure the success of his philosophy, except one: the number of delegates he secured.

    I would contend that Ross Perot’s candidacy, for instance, was not a failure. Ralph Nader’s candidacy was not a failure. But Ron Paul’s, like John Anderson’s so many years ago, was.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: