Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

opportunity to reverse the last 30 years...or shine

Ian Welsh:
At the height of the Japanese real-estate bubble, the value of Tokyo's land was more than the value of all land in the entire rest of the world put together...(read the whole thing)

bleg

I know, times are tough. If, by any chance, they are not so tough for you, (if perhaps you are in academia), and you have been tempted to invest in something from my shop, please do. Everything is on MAJOR TWO WEEK BLOWOUT SALE, and built to be an heirloom if treated properly. I need the money, any money, right now, bad. Thank you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Carlin's farewell to Bush

...and last interview...

burying the Russert

As memorialized by one Jon Swift (via Scott McLemee):
...Russert brought something to television journalism that had never been tried before. Instead of asking questions off the top of his head, he had his staff do research on his interviewees and actually used some of that research in his interviews. Many politicians had never been confronted with their own words before and his unique interview style caught many of them off guard, but it also gave them a chance to look good by showing that they could withstand tough questioning by giving vague, noncommittal answers. Unfortunately, Russert's shoes will be very hard to fill because while many television journalists do have staffs that have access to LEXIS/NEXIS, few of them know what follow-up questions to ask after an interviewee gives his boilerplate answer and will simply go on to another topic. Russert's ability to ask the same question over and over again using different words is one that has sadly died with him. He will be missed. [...]

The fact that politicians could trust that Russert would safeguard their secrets instead of releasing them to the public prematurely where they might get distorted made him the go-to guy for administration officials who wanted to get their side of the story out without having to worry about being contradicted or embarrassed while still looking like they were being vetted by Russert's very tough-looking questions. When Dick Cheney wanted to sell the War in Iraq to the American people, his staff immediately called up Russert to book Cheney on NBC's Meet the Press (which Cheney's communications director called "our best format") to say that Saddam Hussein was trying to build a nuclear bomb, citing as evidence a story that appeared in the New York Times that morning, which his assistant Scooter Libby had conveniently leaked to reporter Judith Miller. He knew that citing a Times story he himself planted would be all the evidence he would need and he wouldn't have to worry about Russert asking the kinds of skeptical questions that might throw him off message.

In one of the many moving tributes Russert received, Chris Matthews pointed out that one of the secrets of Russert's success was that he was not smarter or more sophisticated than his audience. "It may be tricky to say this," Matthews said, "and I'll say it, when we went to war with Iraq, he and I had a little discussion about that, and this is where Tim is Everyman, he is Us as a country. I said: 'How can you believe this war is justified?' And he said: 'The nuclear thing. If they have a bomb that they can use, we gotta deal with it. We can't walk away from that.' And that, to me, was the essence of what was wrong with the whole case for the war. They knew that argument would sell with Mr. America, with The Regular Guy, with the True American Patriot. They knew the argument that would sell, that would get us into that war. Tim was right on the nail. He was Us, the American People. . . . That was the thing that sold America, and the guys who wanted the War used that one thing that would sell the Patriot in Tim Russert." What could be more patriotic than a journalist who believes what the government is telling him instead of questioning it like some reporters used to do back in the 1970s before they got columns and wrote best-selling books? And if there is anything members of the Washington elite hate it is someone who seems too elite by looking like they are intelligent and thoughtful and not the salt of the earth. Perhaps there is no greater tribute to Russert than the fact that the Washington elite accepted this humble man from Buffalo as a member of their club and went on television and showed up at his funeral to proclaim in unison, "One of us! One of us!"

Even though Russert was a Democrat and a liberal, he was not one of those radical, un-American liberals. His mentor was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, every conservative's favorite Democrat until Joe Lieberman came along. Moynihan worked in the Nixon administration where he helped develop Nixon's Civil Rights policy of "benign neglect" toward African-Americans where nothing was actually accomplished even though it appeared on the surface that progress was being made. That was the kind of liberalism Russert subscribed to. And unlike many members of the liberal media, Russert bent over backwards to appear to be "fair" by asking liberals harder questions and taking it easy on conservatives, something conservative journalists don't need to do because our views are so rarely aired. Russert inspired a whole generation of liberal journalists who compensated for their partisan views by bashing liberals and praising conservatives whenever they could to demonstrate their objectivity, a legacy that is much appreciated by this conservative.


The whole thing worth reading from the start.

the political situation

Gary Younge repeats in The Nation (sub) what surely by now encapsulates the only true responsible leftist position and fundamental rallying cry. It's also something I've been saying for months now:
There are symbols, and there is substance–the way things look, and the way things are. But in between there is the way things might be: a sense of possibility that image might precede content or even provide space for it to emerge...such is the tension in the American left's response to Obama's candidacy. There are some–let's call them dreamers–who believe his nomination marks a paradigm shift in progressive politics in this country. And there are others–let's call them materialists–who dismiss the excitement surrounding his nomination as little more than an emotional distraction from what really matters...Obama [in his actions thus far] is little more than a mainstream Democrat offering sops that are better than the Republicans' but inadequate to the needs of working-class Americans and the world at large [...] ...the materialist arguments have their merits, as far as they go. The trouble is they don't go that far because they are crippled by a lack of imagination.

Materialists do not deny the energy and expectations Obama's candidacy has unleashed. They simply refuse to engage with either the reasons underlying it or the potential it might hold. In a country where 80 percent of the people feel things are heading in the wrong direction, a huge number feel they have found a liberal change agent. Materialists have the option of insisting that all these people are deluded or finding out why they believe what they do. [...]

Between them, the young and the black increased their share of the Democratic primary electorate by roughly 25 percent compared with 2004–two constituencies that can now assert their place in the Democratic coalition as never before. If the materialists have an alternative project that could engage this number of people in progressive politics, they are keeping it very quiet. In the meantime, you do not have to binge-drink the Obama-Kool-Aid to see the possibilities here. We can try to engage the direct this energy toward a more progressive agenda or abandon it in favor of a more reactionary one. We can pressure his campaign to meet expectations or abandon them to disappointment and cynicism.

While symbols should never be mistaken for substance, they are not insubstantial either.

big club, an you ain't in it.

looking for a wedding present?

A lot of new items in my online shop, here. Priced to sell, so I can eat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

behind the curve of weird

As read about in The Nation (and probably soon enough if not already on Unfogged): weird.

more translation

Ross Benjamin writes:
My second translation to come out this summer, Close to Jedenew, is now available:

It's a contemporary novel by young German author Kevin Vennemann, a fascinating and troubling multilayered story about a pogrom against Jews by their neighbors in a fictitious town near the Polish-Lithuanian border during the German invasion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

plug

The Asheville Etsy Street Team, of which I am apparently a part, now has a flickr group, and blog. I mention this partly because I am too lazy to upload more photos/items to my etsy shop, just now. So for previews go to flickr.

Too lazy partly because there is a studio stroll this weekend for anyone who may be in the area. Studio 375, Depot St, River Arts District. Straight past the Soapy Dog, keep strolling...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

chop block, sushi board, breadboard



black walnut end grain chopping block: 13-3/4" by 12-1/2" by 1-1/16"



birch, mahogany and Brazilian cherry sushi board w/legs: 9-1/2" by 8-1/2" by 1-1/8"






maple, reclaimed mahogany and ash edge grain breadboard: 14-1/2" by 10-1/4" by 7/8"

notes

Blogosphere relates: corporate ti(gh)tan-ed US populace still with that intelligence gap problem.

And via wood s lot:

• Leonard Cohen an interview last year:
What happens in meditations that last ten, fifteen hours is that you run through your top ten erotic fantasies, ambition fantasies, revenge fantasies, global ratification fantasies. You run through them all until you bore yourself to death, basically, and the faculty that produces opinions and snap judgments and unrealistic scenarios for your own prominence, after you run through them for a number of years, they cease to have charge. They bore themselves into non-existence. You see them as diversions from another kind of intimacy that you become more interested in—and that is what Socrates said: Know Thyself...

• From The New Yorker: Nabokov's short story, Natasha published for the first time in English. Apparently written around 1924 when Nabokov was in his mid-20s, discovered in the writers' archives at the Library of Congress and translated by his son Dmitri. Builds the story "of a young woman who cares for her ailing father in Berlin while he mourns their exile from Russia." Interesting anecdote-wise that Nabokov's own family fled Russia about five years before he wrote it, and two years earlier his own father was assassinated in Berlin.

• Once again with feeling: fuck JSTOR.


• I will always be a fan of David Byrne. Just thought I'd say.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

books and boards

This photo (and tribute) from a happy customer made my day. So now it's off to read something...

Friday, June 06, 2008

rock maple butcher block




All end grain hard maple: simply the strongest, cleanest and most tightly-grained wood for chopping blocks. On sale for $110 (etsy).