Thursday, August 09, 2007


in the Windy City

The above is a shot of my neighborhood. Like much of the country, we here in Chicago are embroiled in a bloody humid heat wave. This makes for a bitch of a commute. In the morning I stand in the sun, two stories up waiting for the El. I get into a packed car that usually has no A/C. But in the afternoon, after work, I have a better method.

I walk six or seven blocks past my normal stop and get on in the outbound train from the South Loop. This means I will have a seat. Everyone else, as we make our way through downtown Chi-town, must stand. There is no room, and I move for no one, save for pregnant women. Last week some fat woman was bitching to her husband how nobody would get up for her, and she kept nudging me. It was kind of gross.

During my commutes I read, and now I am on Ayn Rand's critically acclaimed
The Fountainhead. For those who are wondering, I have not read Atlas Shrugged but plan to after I am done with the current book. The last great book that I read, about a month ago, was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. A good book inspires one in a way that affects his or her life. Kerouac made thirsty for adventure and mayhem in the great Chicago night. My next book, Ulysses, was terrible. The Fountainhead, my current book, is about a young architect named Howard Roark. Like me, he sticks to his principles and defies common notions! He follows his gut and will not conform to arbitrary standards of the modern capitalist system we live in. And here I am working in a corporate law firm, I thought, everything I never hoped I would be. Thus for that, and other reasons, I gave my two weeks notice. Thank you Ayn Rand.

Most probably won't understand but its one of the best decisions I've made. Back to square one.

In the political realm, the President has decided to push for more corporate tax cuts. If the Democrats are anything like they appear to be, they will balk, fight back, decry the corporate influence over Washington at the behest of working people, then present the President with a slightly reduced tax cut then he had proposed; which is probably what his political advisers predicted before hand anyway and therefore likely asked for more then they wanted, anticipating a politically driven reduction. Thats how the budget process works every year anyway.

Today the Democratic candidates are in Los Angeles at a gay forum/debate. I say good for them. I dont believe any of them are for gay marriage (except Kucinich), which is unfortunate, but it appears that grassroots are growing stronger. I detest most of the candidates, I like Kucinich and kind of like Gravel. But it is clear that something positive is happening.

The great chaos and terrible reign of the Bush administration, for the past seven years, has caused a great stir among the common folk. When people realized the democrats were useless; to stop the war, to protect their rights, to watch out for them; the people started organizing. They organized into anti-war groups, environmental groups, womens' rights groups. Once you organize and realize you have power you start pushing more. The Democrats running for office are now having to face all of this (as the Republicans face... religious zealots and such). And its a good thing. They must compete for the black vote, the hispanic vote, the anti-war vote, the bloody LABOR vote, the Gay and Lesbian vote. Because they know all of these constituencies have organized themselves like hell over the last few years, they do not trust democrats for just being democrats, and they will fight like hell to exercise their influence. This is what democracy looks like.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The View


My mother was in town this weekend and Sat. night we had drinks on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building, known as the "Signature Lounge". You can see the entire city. Its the most beautiful view I've ever seen.

I've previously been to the top of the John Hancock (both Bos and Chi I believe) and the Sears Tower. But those were all in the daytime. I was even atop the Eiffel Tower many, many years ago. But that was in the daytime too. Seeing a city like this at night is like coming from a plane. Except instead of a glance you can stare as long as you want. I highly recommend this for anyone coming to Chicago. Its a nice restaurant/lounge but a lot of tourists and its very pricey, and not because of quality but just because of its location (kind of a Time Square effect I suppose, the applebees on 42n on 50th both double their prices, literally. Why the hell they have two applebees so close I dont know.) I had a Sam Adams at the top of the Hancock for over $8.00, which is the price for a six pack of Sam Adams at the corner store around the block from my apartment.

But anyway it was a crazy place to go and I will try to post pictures if I can get the one my mother took.


On a separate topic, I'm reading Ulysses by James Joyce right now. Its a bloody strange book but interesting. Not as riveting as On the Road though, which I finished, I think last week. I'm considering going back to Kerouac after Ulysses but we'll see how I feel after I finish. Anyone who has read this or any Joyce and wants to give me tips, let me know.

God Bless.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

Adventures in Chicago: Notes for a Book


Today was a very hot day in Chicago. Its 6:52pm and still hovering near 90. A cold front awaits in the west, rushing over the Midwestern plains toward Lake Michigan, bringing with it a "wind warning", "tornado warning" and promises of a pretty intense storm. I'm hoping it will cool things down so I can sleep.

I've finally picked up a good book to read on the El, like seemingly every other person on my commutes. For some reason a good 80% of people on the train during my commutes are people roughly under age of 27, and a good 40-50% of them are reading books the whole time. My ride home today was semi-comical, enough so to jot down.

I went to the Daley Plaza Blue Line stop on the Blue line, the second to last downtown stop. As it was just after 5pm the dirty little underground station was packed. As usual, the inefficient blue line kept us waiting roughly 10 minutes for a train to come. Actually we saw it approach the station then stop and wait ten minutes, with people on. Then it finally started up and headed towards us. Everyone pushed real close to the edge since we all knew only about one third of us would make it on what was expected to be a packed train. Only, the train honked then kept going by. Some people laughed, some people bitched, some, like myself, kept reading out books.

Then 5 minutes later another train came and stopped just before the station, and waited 5 minutes. When it finally pulled up to the platform, the doors of a relatively unpacked car stopped right in front of me. By relatively unpacked I mean all the seats were taken and some people were standing. I was very excited that the doors stopped in front of me, and felt like a leader of the pack as everyone in my vicinity gathered around me, knowing I would be on board first, hoping to follow and squeeze on. We kept waiting until we realized the doors were broken and were not opening. I quickly rushed over, with my crowd following, to the other doors of the car and squeezed on.

Well we finally all squeezed into the front of the car, all packed in, squished against eachother, leaning over eachother to grab a pole or a seat or something to keep us from being thrown against one another. Then we all looked down the isle to the other side of the car, where the broken doors were, and saw it was basically open and empty. And of course no one could simply walk down there because the whole isle was blocked with people standing, and there must have been that one guy at the end who wasnt moving down. So I lifted up my book as best I could, as did about 5 other people around me, and we jerked along to the next stopped . Another crowd rushed in and squeezed themselves down to the open side of the cart, so it was finally packed to capacity. Then, every stop after that, a group of people from one side of the car where the doors were broken would frantically push themselves to my side of the car where the doors were open so they could get off in time. Back and forth, back and forth, frantically, pushing, the heat wasnt helping. And all the while everyone not getting off, the people around me, are standing there holding the pole with one hand and reading a book with the other, quite oblivious to the chaos around them. It was, I found, very funny.

I tried to see what other people were reading, and I only got one, this morning. Some girl was reading a book called "The Wonder Spot". I wikipedia'd it and it looks like one of those summer time beach girls books.

Work was kind of chaotic today, as I am still new. I work in some crazy ass law firm in downtown Chicago. Its about 50 years old and the founder still works there. I've been subbing as a legal assistant the real estate department, where everyone is very old. Its like working in the 1950's. But I enjoy/hate it. Some moments I wish to be at a job where there is no pressure to get it done, some moments I thrive on it. Overall I think its good for me right now. So I am enjoying where I am at and taking in the experience. Its kind of fun being reoriented, getting to know people, figuring out the office makeup, the cliques, the social hierarchy, the way things work. I know 100% now I dont want to be a lawyer, but its a good interim job before grad school. I think I need to just take in more and live more for the experiences, in the present. If all goes according to plan I will be in New York in early 08 so I want to try to make the most out of my time in Chicago; yet while at the same time saving up as much money as possible. So thats kind of a difficult balance but I am figuring it out.

My short term (next 9-10 months) goals are to make the most out of every day, live scrupulously, be adventures, bring lunch almost everyday, cut down on binge drinking, get a second job, explore Chicago, get to know the personalities of the bars around me, meet new people, be a dreamer, and sha la la la live for today

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Per suggestion from one of my blog fans, I am going to blog more about everyday stuff, and not just about politics. Today is the first day I do that. Here goes:

Creed Thoughts

Hey-o, everyone out there in SyberWorld. It’s old Creed Bratton coming at your again, here from my perch as a Quality Assurance Manager at Dunder Mifflin paper. Just a few observations on the world around me.

What do you guys think is the best kind of car? To me, you can’t beat motorcycles. They’re small, and dangerous.

I got into a car accident yesterday and I just took off. It didn’t look too bad. The guy was making a big deal out of it, but come on – dogs don’t live forever.


You should know where thats from. The season finale was good, Jan got fake tits. She is funny. I hope they dont pursue the Pam/Michael storyline too much. I think they need more Creed. He is the man.

I started working my new job high atop the Title Tower in Chicago. I am a legal assistant for some bad ass corporate law firm so I have temporarily sold my soul while Im saving up for grad school. I am at a very convenient location, right across the street from the main subway terminal downtown which keeps my commute to a short twenty minutes, because the El is so slow. I am also next door to a huge outdoor plaza (Daley Plaza) where this week they are having Asian Festival, which I go watch while enjoying the nice weather at lunch. Yesterday I saw a very beautiful South Korean ballet troupe perform. Today was not so good. Some Asian-American kid played drums. I didnt see the benefit in me watching that, nor any cultural importance.

Any day now, billions and billions of underground shrimp sized bugs called Cicadas will come above ground from their 17 year hibernation and reak havoc on the midwest. Im looking forward to it. It sounds cool.

Sunday I went to a Catholic Mass that was partially in Polish. The new priest, recently ordained by the local Archdiocese, was from Poland. He was so happy he was fighting back the tears, his family was there, and sitting in the front row. They were taking flash-photographs of him using their new digital cameras. At first, before I knew who they were, I thought it was inappropriate to use flash-photography in Church. But I suppose I would be proud if my son became a priest. Although Im not Catholic and dont intend to raise my children that way so its a moot point.

Well, that's all I can think of. Peace out Syberworld

Monday, May 07, 2007

The War Goes On

Who'll Stop the Rain?

-Over 655,000 Iraqis dead
- 3,337 Americans dead
-26,000 Americans wounded

The war goes on.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

GOP Debate

Republican debate sucked. They are mostly crazy. Rep Ron Paul is at least consistent and principled (heavily libertarian.) Romney, McCain, Giuiliani are jackasses. I still think Romney will win the nomination and Hillary will win the Dem nomination; then Hillary will win the White House. I will be voting for neither.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Blog Is Back!


Dr. Rice is in Oslo today meeting with NATO officials, trying to raise support for the installation of Missile Defense Shield components in Eastern Europe, which has stirred the pot with Russia. It's almost comical, but here is a brief background on what is going on:

The USA is trying to build what is called a Missile Defense Shield. It claims this "shield" is to protect the US from "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea. They are now trying to expand the shield into Europe, by installing components on Russia's border.

Now, outside the pages of New York Times, nobody takes seriously the claim that this is a "shield". It is part of a first-strike capability which would make the US invincible and re-acheive the unstable position of nuclear primacy.

What that means, in brief, is this: In 1945 the US was the only power in the world to have the atomic bomb. It could safely attack any nation on the planet without consequence. Thats "nuclear primacy". That lasted until 1949, when the Soviet Union got the bomb. After a 10 year uncontrolled arms race; it was realized by both sides, after the Cuban Missile Crisis especially (in 1961), that they each side had enough nukes to completely destroy the world, and a kind of uneasy peace was established because of the existence of whats called "MAD" or "Mutually Assured Destruction." Meaning, if the USSR attacked the USA with everything it had, its likely the USA would either in mid-attack or after, have at least a couple nukes left somewhere to attack the USSR, and vice-versa. So, essentially, both sides were safe because any attack , from the US to Russia or vice versa, meant both sides are destroyed. Mutually Assured Destruction.

Also in 1969 both sides signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which required nuclear powers to begin dismantling and eventually get rid of nukes altogether. But thats ignored.

Back to the present. The Missile Defense Shield, as explained in foreign policy, security and military journals; gives the USA nuclear primacy again, thats its raison d'etre if you will. Its been sold, however, as protection against Iran and NK. So for the first time today, a US official responded to the idea that it removes Russia's deterrent. Condi Rice said:

“The idea that somehow 10 interceptors and a few radars in Eastern Europe are going to threaten the Soviet strategic deterrent is purely ludicrous, and everybody knows it. The Russians have thousands of warheads. The idea that you can somehow stop the Soviet strategic nuclear deterrent with a few interceptors just doesn’t make sense.”

What everyone knows, is that she is lying. The Russians are afraid that a shield would remove what she called "the Soviet strategic nuclear deterrent", (soviet?). Meaning if we have a shield against Russian missiles, then there is nothing stopping the US from attacking Russia, since we can block their retaliation. As Dr. Rice says, how could TEN interceptors and a FEW radars stop THOUSANDS of warheads. It just doesn't make sense. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

This is from an article in Foreign Affairs, April of 2006, in an article called "The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy":

"...the sort of missile defenses that the United States might plausibly deploy would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one -- as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability, not as a standalone shield. If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China), the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal -- if any at all. At that point, even a relatively modest or inefficient missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes, because the devastated enemy would have so few warheads and decoys left."

And everyone knows it. So why should we care? So what if it scares Russia and China that the US is trying to become invincible and thus threaten them? Because they are responding. Both Russia and China are vastly increasing their missile stockpiles to overwhelm a US missile defense system. They are scattering their nuclear weapons all over the country, putting them on hair trigger alert. Russia has even begun a system where, at any time, day or night, year round, there are a good load of nuclear weapons being transported across the country on *highways*; because they believe constantly moving them is safer then leaving them in a permanent spot where US satellites can target them.

If we are in a war against terrorism, and are convinced that terrorists want to acquire nukes; is it safe to know Russia is transporting nuclear weapons on highways on a constant basis?

No. No it isnt

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hey Hey

Have not blogged in a while, but I am back by popular demand. I will be moving to Chicago in under two weeks. My goal is; within six months, to become the toast of Chicago. Mark my words.

Here are some thoughts:

I'm no expert in Middle Eastern affairs (or am I?) but I do take an interest in reading up on certain topics. What astonishes me is when I watched prominent members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, who appear on television and, quite simply, say the most ridiculous things. I used to think they were intentionally lying to promote their cause. But now I am convinced they simply dont know what they are talking about. They really dont.

Example: Silvestre Rayes, Democrat, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (Pelosi's personal choice.) He was interviewed by Congressional Quarterly. He was asked if Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. He said predominantely Shiite (Al Qaeda is Sunni, they hate Shiites almost as much as the USA).

There is much more, Democrats, Republicans, Senators and Congresmen, dont know anything about the Middle East, Islam, Arabs, etc:


I bought Jimmy Carter's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". I am very skeptical, for the opposite of most of the criticism he is getting. He has been attacked for the title of his book by Democrats and Republicans for daring to say Israel, once a close ally of South Africa, practices apartheid. I tend to agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu that the brutal and cruel system imposed on the Palestinians is worse then apartheid.

The Gaza Strip, for example, is a 25-5 mile strip of Palestinian land. It is surrounded by an electric "fence" and nobody is allowed to leave. The US and Israel have imposed a brutal and cruel blockade to the point where most people are starving.

That isnt apartheid, of course. Its collective punishment and quite sickening. The apartheid system is in the West Bank. Palestinians are not allowed to dig wells for water, Israeli settlers are. The entire area is criss-crossed by roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use, but Israeli settlers are. Palestinians have to wait hours to even cross the roads, if they are allowed. About half of them are malnurished and the vast majority live in poverty. But how dare Jimmy Carter use the word Apartheid!

Anyway I opened the book, and I was taken aback. The font is huge. I mean huge. And the margins are huge too. Its a 230 page book, I swear it could be 100 pages. Its like reading a Robert Byrd speech. But anyway I'll give Jimmy Carter's book a chance, even though I dont think Jimmy Carter has much authority of human rights given what happened under his administration. Ive written about it before but Ill quick reiterate, Carter directly aided in the largest genocide relative to the population since the Holocaust, when he backed (through money/arms) the Indonesian's genocide of East Timor. Carter also has an atrocious human right record in Central America and is directly complicit in the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

In fact when Carter was on C-Span live promoting this book on a call in show, I desperately tried to call in so I could ask him about his own human rights record. I couldnt get in :-/


I predict Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton will get their party's nominations. Here is why


Rudy Giuliani: Pro-choice and pro-civil unions. He simply wont survive the primaries. He was also married three times. The first time he had it annulled after 14 years when he and mrs. giuliani discovered they were second cousins. The second time, while mayor of NYC, he was fucking one of his staff members and got caught. But as NYC is liberal, no one cared and so he started making public appearances with his mistress, then divorced his wife and married his current one. NYC people didnt care, I think the south will.

John McCain: Scumbag and everyone knows it. Republicans dont think he is conservative enough, everyone else is disgusted as he tries to prove he is a radical conservative, by sucking up to demagogues and acting homophobic.

Mitt Romney: Mormon, yes. That will hurt him in the primaries (I dont think anyone else will care. It simply wasnt an issue when he successfully ran for governor of Mass.) He also used to be pro-choice and pro-gay rights, in fact he ran against ted kennedy and tried to seem more liberal than him! Ha ha. But he has gone through some revelations! And I think the idiots in the GOP primaries will believe that.



Obama: Obama is a media creation. The media became bored a few months ago and decided to build him up. Being naive, he fell for this and thought he was actually something special, so he decided to run for president. Except he doesnt really stand for anything. I mean, he stands for "hope" and "change". I think thats pretty much what every presidential candidate has stood for since Jefferson v. Adams in 1800. Obama's campaign will collapse.

Edwards: Nobody cares about him. He is old news. What I do like about him is, he realizes his chances are slim so he decided to become wildly liberal. I think this will force the other candidates to turn left so he doesnt out flank them. But he has no real chance.

Clinton: Elch! She is awful. But she has the "Clinton Machine" which is this vast network of money and connections. I really think that will ultimately help her. I think the media will be tough on her though. But she will pull it off.


After that, I think Clinton will beat Romney and win. Why? Because Iraq will still be going on and Romney is 100% behind Bush. Because the crazy Christian Right will stay home. Because generally the country wont want another Republican because Bush is so awful. And because of Iraq, Iraq, Iraq!



Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

24 is boring?

Last night I passed out during 24... because it was so boring!
Actually I was a bit jet lagged and had been traveling for 12 hours... from Chicago, so it shouldnt have taken that long, but at the end of the day I had traveled on: a subway, a bus, a plane, a train and an automobile!
Anyway, I'm not quite into this season of 24 yet, though I will give it more time. I just dont like any of the current storylines:
Karen Hayes: She goes from mid-level bureaucrat at Homeland Security to National Security Advisor to... CTU Los Angeles? Imagine if Condoleezza Rice resigned (when she was NSA) and then got a job at a regional Homeland Security branch. And Karen did this after a nuclear bomb went off in LA, when the President begged her to stay... because the Chief of Staff is blackmailing her? So now she is on "military escort" to Los Angeles from D.C. I'm sure that means she will be flying faster than normal, but unless she is in a supersonic jet then this bitch is out for a couple episodes. Perhaps she will call Bill from the plane ever so often. Perhaps her plane will crash? That would be cool.
Sandra Palmer: For the past 3 episodes, her only line, repeated over and over with slight variance, is "OK can we get WAH-LEy'ad now! He's gonna get hurt! Les get Wah Ley'ad! He's gonna get hurt! I'm gonna go get Wah-Ley'ad!" First of all, she isnt pronouncing his name right and its annoying! What s with her weird, semi-ghetto southern drawl? David Palmer had none of that, neither does his less competent brother. Second, everytime she said that I kept thinking, they are in a dentention facility there are guards everywhere! How could Walid get hurt? Well, he does get hurt, unfortunately. Its quite annoying. That entire storyline is annoying, and pointless.
Nadia: Give me a break! Nadia is locked out of some levels of security because she is a Muslim, quite ironic due to the fact, as Milo point out, that she is a "registered Republican." So Bill calls Karen who fights with Tom Lennox again. Its too political, even for me. All they do is argue about civil liberties and security over rights, Constitutional boundaries, yadda yadda yadda. Its like 24 is trying to show us "both sides". Stop trying to send a message, just write a good show! Its stupid. Nadia is annoying. I hope she does turn out to be a terrorist. Now that would be cool.
Jack: Gee its hard to even find Jack in the show now, what with these idiotic other storylines going on. Jack's is one of the lamest. His brother, who looks nothing like him, and his dad, may be connected to the nuclear bomb going off! Wow! What a coicidence. It just doesnt interest me at all. Its too soap-operaish. I dont want to know about Jack's family (except his daughter) because I dont care. Terri Bauer getting shot was one of the best things to happen to 24, because she was so fucking annoying. I hope they do away with this whole brother brother father thing. Whats next, his mom?
But, it is just the beginning of the season so Im hoping it gets better. It appears Audrey Rains will be coming back by mid-season, since the actress who played her had her other television show canceled. Plus its good to know that on 24, the storylines at the beginning usually wrap up and new ones begin. After all, in the first part of season 5, Jack was on the run as a suspect of Palmer's death and they dedicated a bit of time to that airport hostage situation, involving the woman Jack was banging and her bastard son. We never heard from them after that! Hopefully season six goes the same way.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Give me just a litle more time!

Everytime I've ever watched the State of the Union, which I started watching during the Clinton years, I always think to myself "If I was in the Congress, I just wouldn't clap or stand the entire time." As if the speech isn't boring enough, people in Congress feel the need to clap and stand every other sentence, depending on what he is saying. Some obnoxious members even whistle, which I found particularly annoying last night. Everytime the Republicans stood to clap I would hear four or five people whistling, as if it was the academy awards or something.
Despite what your teachers may have told you, the State of the Union is not important and you get virtually nothing out of watching it. Because its the biggest audience the President gets all year, he sugar coats everything and doesn't ever really say anything big. Its a very ceremonial thing and reminds me a lot of the Queen opening Parliament in England. If anyone has ever seen that its quite a spectacle.
The Queen is all dazzled up like she is back in the 16th century and is taken by a horse drawn carriage to the House of Parliament, where she walks on over to the House of Lords, because she is forbidden by law from stepping into the House of Commons. So when she sits down on her big throne, a representative of hers walks across the hall to the House of Commons where Blair and Gordon and everyone else is hanging out. As soon as the Queen's represenative gets to the room, he has the door loudly slammed in his face (literally) to show that the House of Commons has the power. Then he bangs on the door loudly, invites everyone to the House of Lords, they all go, sit down, and the Queen reads a very long boring speech where every sentence begins with "My parliament will..." and she says things like "My parliament will continue to protect us from terrorists" or "My parliament will seek to simplify the tax code" and everyone claps. Its boring and ceremonial and not of any real importance, just like the State of the Union.
The Democrat's response though, I thought was fantastic and quite suprising. Because both the Democrats and Republicans are bought off by corporate America, they rarely talk about economic issues. Jim Webb, however, did! Here are some great excerpts from his speech I found suprising and very hopeful:
"Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits.
But these benefits are not being fairly shared.
When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times.
In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.
Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world.
Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them...
In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy - that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base.
Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today...
Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th Century.
America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines.
The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.
Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions.
He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves 'as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other.'"
I didn't think it was possible anymore for a politician in Washington, Democrat or Republican, to acknowledge the dangers and warn against "corporate influence", which is destroying our country and is one of my #1 concerns. The war on the middle/lower class that the ruling elites have been conducting over the past 25 years has been ignored by Washington and the media, almost entirely.
Literally, wages for 80% of Americans have stagnated or declined over the past 25 years, while economic growth has continued at a relative pace. Thats never happened before in our history. We've had depressions/recessions, but never a period of sustained economic growth where wages are declining for most of the population (but skyrocketing for the top 1-5%.)
In the 1960's, families were much bigger (more kids) and usually had just ONE parent working. Yet that one parent could support his wife and kids, own a house, two cars, and afford vacations and other economic comforts. America is a much more wealthy nation now. Yet two parents struggle to afford what one parent could afford 40 years ago.
Yet our productivity has skyrocketed. Americans are working much longer hours then we were back then, in fact as Webb noted, Americans work more hours then any other industrial nation. What is the result of that? Not only declining wages, but declining benefits. Whats going on?
And yet, if you turn on the television, as Sen Bernie Sanders noted at the media reform conference, you would think nothing is going on. Its not mentioned at all. It should be a national scandal. We, the richest nation on earth, have the highest poverty rates, child mortality, longest hours, least benefits, declining wages (while the top 1% is overflowing with wealth.)
So I'm quite pleased that Jim Webb broke that taboo and actually said something about this, you rarely hear a Democrat or Republican ever say anything (because they both represent corporate interests.) For once, I'm hopeful.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


No I dont mean Dr. Evil and Dr. McCrane, the dick from E.R. back in the days when people watched it. Dr. McCrane on another show...24 ! He was "Graham" in season 5, the dark force on the annoying headset cellphone who controlled all of the events... including the assasination of David Palmer! The evil nemesis of Jack Bauer, the ying to his yang, the Dr. Evil to his Austin Powers, was found to be...
Jack Bauer's brother! (Just like when Dr. Evil is found to be Austin Powers's brother.) If only they had gotten Michael Cain to play the Bauer brothers' father all would have been perfect.
So I could go along with this plot twist, fine, its 24, I'll take it. What I did not like was the unrealistic conversation between Graham and his wife that was one of those talks entirely meant to explain background to the audience and indicative of lazy scriptwriters.
After Graham tells his wife that his estranged brother Jack called (weird how Graham is balding but Jack isnt, by the way) his wife says "Is Jack coming here?" and Graham says something like "I dunno."
Time to give a quick background to the viewers. Graham turns to his wife and says something to the tune of "You never got over Jack did you, all these years! You're still in love with him!"
And she says "Jealously is unattractive in grown men!"
Dum dum DUM!
Later when Jack swings by, Mrs. Bauer is cold to him, doesnt even really say hello. Jack is brief with her as well. "Sorry to interrupt Sharon" or whatever the hell her name was "I just need to talk to Graham about our father."
By the way shortly before that exchange, Jack mentions to Graham that they have not seen eachother since Terri (Jack's deceased wife)'s funeral several years ago.
Then Graham introduces Jack to his son (you didnt bring him to the funeral?)
There is a weird, two second camera exchange between the two (Jack and his nephew.) I suspect, almost fear, the writers are flirting with the idea of a storyline where Graham's son is actually Jack's. Please, please dont do this.
Im also fearing that Graham will reveal he turned evil because he hated Jack. He will have a monologue where we will hear something like "Everyone loved you more than me, first Dad... Then Sharon!" (or whatever her name is.) That, along with the "who's the daddy" storyline, are two cliches I hope the writers avoid.
And is Phillip Bauer (the Bauer patriarch) involved with the terrorist attacks? I suspect it will become increasingly obvious he was... but he wasnt! Instead, Graham used his father's business connections/associates to further his own terrorism goals; perhaps framing his father on the way? This seems too obvious to happen.
Good News: From wikipedia:
"Audrey Raines is expected to be back around episode 12.The producers said that now that she is done with The Nine, they can have her on full time."
Nice. Although its disappointing she wont be in until the second half, its nice to know she will be back.
Still no word on Kim Bauer, whatsupwithat? Perhaps this season she could be chased around Los Angeles by a cheetah.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oy Vey

Next Stop, Tehran?

People have been saying since shortly after the ill-fated invasion of Iraq that the US would next strike at Iran. I've always believed it plausible but not likely. However...I sense something is coming.

The Bush Administration is rachting up its naval presence in the Persian Gulf with not one but two aircraft carrier groups. Bush officials have recently gone on whirlwind tours of the Sunni Arab states who perceive Iran has an enemy both for its increasing power as well as its Persian-Shi'a heritage. In Bush's "speech" about escalating the war, he sent veiled warnings to Iran (and Syria) and rejected trying to solve things diplomatically. Iran claimed earlier this week it shot down an unmanned US spy plane, and I wouldnt doubt thats true.

But even more telling is the sudden talking point being propogated by the right wing in all appearances, which seeks to blame everything going wrong in Iraq squarely on Iran. Rumor has it that if the Bush Admin is to strike, it will want to do so before the end of April when stalwart ally Tony Blair steps down as leader of the Labour Party, and thus Prime Minister of Britain.

And of course it makes sense, from the crazed perspective of the Bush Administration. Not just because Iran is (probably) seeking nuclear weapons; although I should add Iran has yet to do anything illegal and has the support of most of the world as uranium enrichment is an "inalienable right" of all signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which most of the world (save Israel, India and Pakistan) has signed.

But also because of Iraq. The US doesnt want a strong Shi'a Iraq, nor do all the Sunni Arab neighbors, most especially Saudi Arabia which has its own Shi'a minority residing over the biggest oil fields. Yet what can the US do? If the US pulls out of Iraq, which domestic pressure will force it too, then Iraq may not be turned into an obedient client state. It may seek friendship with Iran and become opposed to US-Israeli regional policies, and still remain a democratic state. The only solution, it seems, is to attack Iran and cripple it as a power. I suspect immediately after that the United States military will take it upon itself to "disarm" the Shi'a militias of Iraq, including Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army; no longer fearing the militias will have an Iranian ally to their east to call upon for help.

Of course, attacking Iran is not only illegal, it would be an utmost disaster. It will be the worst thing in the world the Bush Administration could do, and yet I fear its a possibility. If it comes down to it, I would encourage everyone to take it to the streets.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This Week in 24

Bauer Hour
This week we had not one, non deux, but four episodes of 24 to kick of season ("Day") six. As we know, the cliff hanger end of season 5 had nothing to do with season 5 and would have been more fitting for the end of season 4.
For a summary of the most recent episodes, go to Fox's 24 website (google it). Im here just for the commentary, so here goes:
Whats the deal?
Whats the deal with Milo from season one randomly being back at CTU? Did I miss something? I dont even think they bothered to explain this. The last time I saw Milo, he was distraught because that hoochie mama Jamie had apparently killed herself out of guilt for being a mole in CTU; although we later learned it was Nina Myers who had done it. But where has Milo been since then? Working in some corner of CTU Los Angeles? I take it he survived the toxic nerve gas attack that struck them?
So Wayne Palmer is President now. OK, I can see him being elected because everyone is sad that David Palmer was killed, and he was killed by a Republican President. So I guess the American people overlooked the fact that Wayne was present at a crime scene where his lover killed herself for having aided in the death of her husband...and also present (in the same room) for the death of Sherry Palmer, then President David Palmer's estranged (ex?) wife; the very reason David Palmer decided not to seek re-election. Lets just pray that James Heller wasnt retained at DoD.
Also, we find Karen Hayes is now National Security Advisor, and Peter McNichol(?) is Chief of Staff. Once again the President of the United States, when national security is at stake, chooses to rely on his Chief of Staff instead of Homeland Security Director. Well where's Mike?
The 4 hour premiere was filled with everyone's favorite 24 cliches. Like when Jack calls CTU and Chloe, who hasnt spoken to Jack in two years and feared for his life, said "Jack...I never thought I'd hear your voice again" and Jack (predictably) replies something to the effect of "Thats nice Chloe but I dont have time for this I need to speak to Bill." Their relationship reminds me of the abused wife who is convinced its her fault.
Anyway, we find out that Jack Bauer has been released from Chinese custody because the US government negotiated it, and, comments the Chinese official, the US government paid a "very high price". I suppose that either means we'll find out later, or the script writers are lazy. But from what I gather, President Wayne paid this "high price" for Bauer, in order to sacrifice him to terrorists, because he... believed all terrorist attacks would stop? Because Jack Bauer was sacrificed? I thought they hated us for our freedom!
The Chinese official comments that Bauer has not spoken a word in two years. Two years! Yet we find immediately his vocal chords are fine and he speaks normally (albeit in that Kiefer Sutherland raspy whisper from too many cigarettes). It must have been all that green tea he drank in Chinese prison.
Whats the deal with Curtis? He's a bitch, plain and simple. If I were Jack I would've aimed higher and shot him in the head. He's mad because his troops were killed during the Gulf War? Dont put your troops on Arab land then bitch about it if someone attacks you! Thats war Curtis! I hope you are hospitalized for the rest of the show, then randomly die in the middle of the season, impairing Jack's ability to operate because of a heavy burden of guilt.
Lastly, lets turn to the nuclear bomb detonated at the end of last night's second episode. Thats the smallest mushroom cloud I've ever seen. Its much smaller than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. I didnt know nuclear weapons could be made smaller than that, in fact, I dont think they can. As we know a "dirty bomb" would not produce a mushroom cloud. Jack Bauer, we've found, has just quit CTU because of a mental breakdown (I bet he is craving heroin again). Then Jack sees a big flash of light and a mushroom cloud. Should we assume he was far enough away to survive any radition poisoning?
I'll venture this nuke results in very low casualties. I suspect they will say something like "The bomb was intended to be detonated in downtown LA but luckily, because we raided them, it was set off in the staging area far off in the mountains". Oh good. Now we must stop more nukes from going off in populated areas. But 24 needs to top it. How about a hydrogen bomb?
I briefly saw the scenes from next week's episode and we find out Jack is back at CTU because of the nuke. I hope his first thought after the nuke is "My god where is Kim?" After all that was his thought the last time a nuke was set to go off in LA. He should really call CTU and say "Find out where Kim is! And Audrey, then get back to me, and Ill come back aboard!"
All in all its a good start to (hopefully) a good season! Just top it off with Audrey Rains and Kim Bauer and everything will be perfect

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


A few words on Bush's speech. The American people are overwhelmingly against this, the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly against this; it means more dead people, American and Iraqi, more bombs, more destruction, more mayhem. And suddenly, *poof* this is supposed to result in a violent-free Iraq. Only if we kill everyone.

I think the only solution in this situation is the transition, on our part, from passive protest and opposition to all out resistance. Civil disobedience. Stop the war.


On a lighter note, work is so mind boggling boring that I actually got into a dispute with a friend over whether I had used a word correct in a sentence. Refering to an arrangement of folders I said, in an email, "I thought you had them in perfect chronology". Now, I realize I could have said "chronoligical order" but chronology is in fact a word and I believe used correctly. He and I argued about this until I suggested we e-mail some English professors. So I went to the Syracuse English department and did just that.

The first response said something like "Grammar isnt so much the issue as common usage. I would say chronological order." Translation: I dont know the answer to your question. The other two were like that.

So I had a crazy idea. Why not try the world's leading authority on linguistics? He is, after all, a Professor and thus his email should be available. Much to my suprised, I got a response The exchange is below:


Dear Professor Chomsky,

I was wondering if you could help me solve a dispute with a friend. In
the sentence "I thought you had them in perfect chronology" is
chronology being used correctly? I argued that one could say yes,
because it is the same as saying "I thought you had them in perfect
order" or "perfect arrangement". My friend says you need the article
"a" to precede perfect in order for the sentence to be grammatically
correct. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thank


Kevin Maley

p.s. I understand one would be better off saying "chronological
order", as Ive been told, but Im wondering on the specific sentence in
mention. Thank you

From Chomsky:

The notion "correct" is relative to some specific choice of a standard. In my English, I wouldn't use "chronology" that way, though I'd understand it, if used. With or without "a".
The notion "correct" is relative to some specific choice of a standard. In my English, I wouldn't use "chronology" that way, though I'd understand it, if used. With or without "a".


While a pretty much insignificant e-mail, I've now had the honor of not only having an e-mail exchange with my all time personal hero, but got to ask the most famous linguist in the past 300 years a question on syntax! Boring to some, yes; but to me its one of life's unexpected suprises.

Give Peace A Chance

Ill blog tonight after Bush's "speech" but for now Ill say something about the logic of withdrawal.

Many on the left, or just generally good hearted, who were against the war and are against it now, have painfully decided that we cannot simply withdraw from Iraq because the country would fall to pieces.

I'll once again reiterate the only thing we need to know: the vast majority of Iraqi's want us to leave, NOW! Polls done by the BBC, Pew Research, Gallup, British Ministry of Defence, DoD, State Dept... even the bloody Iraq Study Group stated their polls said the same thing. The passion is so strong that a majority of Iraqi's support attacks on US troops. So, now, whats the point of staying?

The US army is not just sitting there, guarding the green zone and getting picked off in car bombs. It is flying around the country on bombing raids, destroying villages in the hopes of killing a "terrorist". It is bursting into people's homes everyday and taking all the males, sweeping them off to secret prisons to be tortured and what not. Let us not forget that in the return to "sovereignty" the US had a number of caveats, one of which was retaining control of the Iraqi army (except for a single unit with no weapons for symbolic purposes).

So now everyone hates the USA in Iraq, and it has long appeared likely to me that the US would likely begin arming the Sunni militias who had originally started out as insurgency groups, in order to offset a power balance with what is perceived to be a Shi'a govt under the influence of the scary Ayatollah Khameini of Iran. Thus one need not be suprised by reports that Saudi Arabia is funneling arms to Sunni militias, first reported a month and a half ago. And as history tells us, when Saudi Arabia is arming someone it means its doing so with explicit authorization from the US government, which gave Saudi Arabia their arms in the first place (ex: Iraq in 80's, South Africa, Nicaragua, etc.)

The US Elite ruling class, so well represented by Jimmy Baker, has decided that the most important thing, after all, is controling Iraq's oil reserves. So why dont we takeover the Interior Ministry, get our troops the hell out of there. We'll give the Golan Heights, currently reaching a 40 year anniversary of Israeli occupation, back to Syria and throw a bone to Iran to get them to go along. The democrats cheered this.

But whats fascinating is the dilusional stance of the Bush Administration. The elite money class of the USA, that 1% with 90% of the wealth; who always loved Bush, who were lavished with tax cuts on capital gains, dividends, and for one whole year a complete vanishment of estate tax; have now turned largely against him because of his dilusions on Iraq. Their message is clear: You fucked up royally, now lets pull the troops out and keep diplomats everywhere so we can still get a stake of The Prize... if you keep at this too long we'll lose everything.

And Bush's response was: No, no. No. Dont worry. I've got a plan. More troops!

And thats his speech tonight.