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June 24, 2018

Like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought.

by Ripley

Tell your Mama, tell your Papa. It ain't that hard.

 

 

Lâche pas la patate, kids. We need all of you.

 

Rip -

 

September 02, 2010

The News-Worth, Oaf

One of the things that has always struck me as intrinsically stupid about the Blog-O-Sphere is how it  reacts to Breaking News.

Like, say, the Discovery Channel nut going nuts. Why on earth is this necessary?

msnbc.com:

Police kill Discovery building gunman  —  Three hostages safe, police say; man told NBC he had several bombs  —  on msnbc.com -
RELATED:

Andrea Nill / Think Progress:
Purported Eco-Terrorist Angered Over ‘Immigration Pollution And Anchor Baby Filth’  —  This afternoon, a gunman entered the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, MD and appears to have taken at least one person hostage.  Among his various bizarre, eco-related demands, one relates directly to immigration.

Colby Hall / Mediaite:

Who Is Daniel Quinn, Favored Author Of James Lee, Discovery Hostage Suspect?  —  The Discovery Office hostage situation is still a very fluid story that has yet to be resolved.  But interesting clues are revealing themselves about the situation.  The assailant has been identified as James Jay Lee …

And it goes on and on and on like this.

The reason I didn't react to anything about the Discovery Channel Incident is that (1) I have a family and a job, and (2) what the hell do I know about it? I'm not there, I have no clue what's going on, nobody else does either -- we live in the age of Instant News, and mostly what that involves is camera crews taking videos of building exteriors, and also a lot of Moron Experts telling people what they think they already know.

And I still don't know what's going on with this shooter person. I do know that I am troubled by the idea that every attention seeking killer nowadays seems to have a fucking Facebook account, and that there are zillions of Encyclopedia Brownosers frantically Googling to be the first to Twitter about what they've found out about the murderer as soon as the first corpse gets dead.

It's awfully vulgar, aside from other considerations, moral, legal, forensic, etc.

 

November 23, 2009

You're a Big Help, Josh.


Josh Marshall inadvertently makes the argument that progressives should kill healthcare reform.

Considering how down to the wire this is, is it really worth holding up everything else contained in the bill when the point of contention, the public option, is as measly as it is?


Simple answer: Yes.

Or let's put it this way, if the public option is that "measly", then the bill is not worth passing.

I have fought for this bill. I have given money and written emails and made phone calls to my worthless elected representatives. I even made a movie in support of it. But if the public option is so weak that it's not worth putting in the bill, then the bill is not worth passing. There are no other mechanisms in the bill for cost control,  all the other benefits and regulations in this bill are vulnerable to capture in the most easily imaginable way. Mandating that everyone buy insurance without offering them a public option means that the bill will become even more of an obscene giveaway to big insurance then it is now.

Further, if progressives fail on this, it gives democratic leaders a sure fire way to kill any hope progressives have of enacting their policies. They can just just water down every bill for which we advocate until it's toothless, and then use that fact to make sure nothing is passed, and bloggers like Marshall will sell it as the reasonable thing to do.

Big help there, Josh. Sure you don't want to stick to journalism, and leave the movement strategy to someone else?

November 06, 2009

Put Your Money Where Your Meow Is


Typewriter


The wonderful and dedicated blogueros from First-Draft.com are having their annual fundraiser. Here at OBI, we have been proud to consider the First-Drafters our compañeros for years. Recently they've added a few new voices to the stable, and the result is a readable, linkable, blogfiesta.

Come for the ferret blogging, stay for one of the rants (or, as I like to think of them, textual eviscerations) from the keyboard of the incisive, witty and multiply envoweled Athenae.

First-Draft.com needs your hard-earned dolares to keep the ferrets in chow, so they'll have the energy to run that treadmill and keep the servers humming. Therefore, I am asking everyone to pop over there and put something in the kitty make a donation.

Think of it this way, where else would you send the money that you aren't going to give NPR?


October 23, 2009

Look What the Gato Drug In: A YouTube!


OK, blogueros y blogueras, here it is, two weeks late, but looking better than I expected.




If you like it, then feel free- no, wait - feel positively encouraged to post it on your own blog, share it around, email it to everyone you know. Most importantly, send it to your elected representative, no matter which party they represent.

Gracías to all who helped out with suggestions, donations and volunteering of their time and skills to get the thing made. Gracías especialmente a la gata negra, la -- come se dice -- "sine qua non".

Radio spots (and other things) are in the works.



October 06, 2009

Conservabible babble



So, under the leadership of not-crazy-at-all Andrew Schafly*, conservatives are apparently rewriting the bible, because they're tired of hiding the light of Free-Market Christianity under a bushel, no, they're gonna let it shine! Inerrant word of god be damned.

Well, sorry guys, but Mr. Show beat you to it over ten years ago.




Hat tip Sadly, Meow!

*Son of Phyllis "Well I'd be Reagan's lil' dumpling, anytime!" Schafly. The meritocracy strikes again.

September 21, 2009

What If They Had An Election And No One Showed Up?



Empty_blue_political _office


That was the sort of question which inspired that ad I described in the last post. What would happen if the Democratic party so demoralized its own supporters that they boycotted an election?

Apparently it's an idea that seems to resonate with a lot of people. So, I thought I'd give everyone a quick update on the progress of what has now become our little project.

  • I have two completed scripts, which I hope are timed so that they can be read comfortably in 30 seconds. They may have to undergo further cuts, if they are too long.  
  • I have a basic motion storyboard, following the concept written out in the post below, set to the music I chose. I found a great instrumental version of Happy Days Are Here Again on the Internet Archive, which means it's in the public domain, so  won't be pulled from YouTube for copyright violations.
  • An actor and DJ from New Orleans, Louisiana, named Farrar Hudkins, has volunteered to do the voiceover for the YouTube, sparing you the difficulty of having to decipher my yowls and hisses. I plan to have all the requisite video work done by this Friday, and will put the voiceover on as soon as I get it.
  • A radio producer in New York City has graciously offered to take the scripts, and the YouTube, and produce a radio-friendly version of the spot. This is fantastic, as radio spots are much cheaper to run than tv ads (even though I want to make the tv version of the ad as well)

So,  there we are, the video is almost done. It won't take long to put the voice track on it. As soon as we have the YouTube and the radio spot, we can try to raise money to produce and air a tv spot. I'll need your help for that. But it'll be easier to plan once you all see the great little video this is shaping up to be.

Everyone stay tuned.

Oh wait, wait... I forgot that I have a question for you, regarding the campaign signs in the video.

Originally, I had thought to replace all the names on the campaign signs in the video with something generic, Smith or Jones etc. But a reader has suggested that we put in the names of the politicians we would intend to target, like Ross, or Baucus, or maybe Nelson.

So what do you think? Generic names or specific targeting of certain pols?



(Crossposted to Whiskeyfire)

September 14, 2009

This is the Ad I Want to See



It goes like this:


Fade-in on a scene of a politician's office, currently empty. The camera zooms in on the abandoned store-front and the tune "Happy Days Are Here Again" rises in the background. 

Empty_blue_campaign_office copy

[-Voice Over: "Hey Democrats, the 2010 elections are coming up."]


The scene switches to the receptionists office, also empty. A phone is heard ringing in the distant background. The music continues, although we notice that it seems to be slowing, as if the song were playing on an old record player that's winding down.

Empty_blue_receptionist

[-Voice Over: "We hope that, during the campaign season, you’ll remember way back in 2009 when you gave away any chance of real healthcare reform to your buddies in the insurance industry, and stuck America with a mandate to buy inadequate health insurance coverage at inflated rates."]


The scene shifts again, to a campaign phone bank, the camera pans across the rows of empty chairs and unmanned phones. Then shifts to another scene of the empty campaign headquarters. If possible I'd like to use a photo or film of thousands of campaign flyers and doorhangers, sitting around unused, or even thrown in the trash.

Empty_blue_phonebanks

[-Voice Over: "We hope that you remember when you made backroom deals with Blue Cross, Aetna and the drug manufacturers that ensured more Americans would be forced into bankruptcy because of illness, or even die, because some insurance company bureaucrat would rather make his bonus for the year, than pay for their claims.”]

Empty_blue_political _office


Then we move on to election night, the camera pans across a mostly empty banquet hall, and a mostly empty campaign rally. A politician is speaking, but his voice is almost inaudible in the echoing reverb of the unattended event, and seems very far away. Nearer by you hear a broom sweeping, and a garbage truck, driving off into the night.(Fade out)

Empty_blue_election_night

[-Voice Over: "We hope that you’ll remember, because we sure will."]


(Maybe show a quick poll result here, highlighting the continual favorable results for the public option, or even single payer)

CHYRON: Progressives agree with 72% of America, we need a public option.


The last shot is of the original abandoned storefront headquarters that we saw in the opening, the camera zooms out, and maybe the music resumes its earlier, jaunty rhythym.

Empty_blue_campaign_office copy

[Voice Over: Just a little reminder from the millions of progressive democrats who worked the phones and knocked on doors and donated their money to help put you in office."]


That's the Ad I'd like to see on the air before any bill gets near the president's desk. I am open to suggestions on how to improve on the script, and I'm also seeking any good pictures readers may have of mostly empty campaign events and other scenes of abandoned political venues.

I'm not against accepting funding except that I am uncertain if I can get enough to produce it in time. Currently I'm working on a youtube video, a moving storyboard version of the script you just read.

Suggestions? Ideas? Donations?

Let me know, either in comments or by email.



My email is: g a t o b l o g g e r r o "at" y a h o o "dot" c o m

August 29, 2009

Katrina: Four Years Later, It's Still A Shame

 

 

KatrinaNewOrleansFlooded

 

 

There's a lot going on today, but please, take time to remember that four years ago, President George W. Bush and his rotten cronies sat on their fat asses (or went shopping) and watched while a beautiful American city drowned.

 Let us never forget.

 

 

August 22, 2009

Black Sheep of the Angels

 

 

 

 

Yesterday was the birthday of the legendary Joe Strummer, who you all know, so I won't waste your time recounting his bio.

If you need a reminder of what we all lost when he passed on (about a year and two months after this was originally broadcast) consider this TV appearance on David Letterman's show. Strummer went on and performed this song less than a month after 9-11-01. Remember the fear and rage-born mindset that most people felt closing them in, like iron bars, and then think about the message conveyed by the lyrics. This song speaks to a view of humanity that represents the exact opposite of such a mindset.

Look, I am not a critic of music or the performing arts, and I'll leave that sort of thing up to people who clearly enjoy it. But watching Strummer here, it's hard to miss that he's not just singing a song, he's trying to get something across.

He starts out by pacing restlessly, back and forth, away from the front of the stage, as if there's something he's gotta get off his chest, something weighing him down. He steps up to the microphone and squints into the spotlight, pointing at the camera while his eyes roam the audience, as if asking, as Strummer has done since London Calling; "Is there anyone out there? Listen up!" The snarl from the early days is mostly gone but the heart is still there, the heart of a revivalist preacher of the then newly "post-ironic" age. Strummer lays out the homily for today's sermon: The crappy way we treat each other, the crappy way we treat the whole planet and everyone on it.

There's a lot of souls

Ain't drinking from no well locked in a factory

 

His band, skinny eurotrash looking guys -- with pseudo-emo haircuts, but they're talented mothers -- chime in with the aid of a Hammond organ, to make the whole sound a bit like a small town church choir having a drunken sing-off versus the Pogues.

If you're after getting the honey - hey

Then you don't go killing all the bees

 

Strummer has the fire now. He flings away his guitar, as if he finds it insufficient to express his emotion (a practiced catch by a compatriot just behind the drummer detracts nothing from the gesture). His steps cross and circle the stage, opening him up to the studio audience. He crouches as he sings, turning inwards. Strummer is a shaman, and he's using a musical ritual to pull us with him, into a quiet spot where maybe we can think for a moment.

Is what was true, now no longer so?

 

When the break comes in the third verse, Strummer's all in, taken over by the music. He's looking straight into the light, now. He's not even seeing the audience, he's seeing the future, singing about it, singing about how fucking sad it is that we don't know what's coming, so wouldn't it be nice if we could be a bit more decent when we bump into each other, down along the road? He ends with the strong punctuated repetition of the chorus, a rallying cry to the better parts of our natures, not to be subsumed by paralyzing fear and gut-worming suspicion.

To those who think primarily in political terms it's easy to see this song as something like a warning to Americans not to throw away the support they garnered after the attacks. Further, not to throw away an entire system of rights, checks and balances, on a bloody vendetta. But there's no actual mention of war or peace in the lyrics. In fact, that it is not specifically an anti-war song adds to its universality, and lets it remain open to new interpretations in different times. These are not even constrained by the allusions to anthropogenic climate change, current when the song was first released. After all, is anyone hard pressed to come up with recent examples of those in power who seek to get metaphorical honey at the expense of all the bees?

We still miss you, Joe Strummer.