Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dirty Drone Laundry

So you're an Obama supporter and you're wondering what to think about drones?

Start with this article from the New Yorker.

Last night over PBRs and some other things I had a conversation about drones with a progressive Southern hipster who came at it defending Obama. For my part, up to and including this six pack I've been fairly vocal about the current administration's hypocrisy.  But between the conversation and his whole family crashing at our place and the marathon cleaning session my wife and I did this morning to de-fratify our house, I now see clearly.

The idealism argument is slam-dunk: there should not be a secret effort to kill anyone without some sort of process, even bad guys or enemies. But the real debate is should Democrats give a shit?

If we were Republicans, we'd brazenly fall into line no matter how little evidence supported our assertion (remember weapons of mass destruction?). But Democrats love a good opportunity to tear themselves apart. Stick to ideals and lose the first opportunity in 20 years to not have to defend ourselves on national security again, or dig out our feel-good picket posters and megaphones and rip into our own party? The New Yorker knows this and that Democrats are tired of reading month after month of Republican stalwartness and that this issue will - as two arguments I've already had and a planned one for next weekend - alight with cocktail party din.

I say fuck them, and fuck the series of decisions that put us in this position. I'm going to treat this like family dirty laundry. It's a clear problem and among family I'm going to talk about the special nephew who humps the dog, but I agree with those that say we don't need to be publishing our vexation on Facebook. It's just a distraction from the real fights that the Southern hipster and I agreed upon: gutting of the middle class, corporate hegemony, and political rot.

After some consideration, I'm conceding my public anger on drones and stressing to all Democrats that if you need something to rail on, rail on the policies of conservatism that champion corporations over working people. And hope that soon we can all take a drone strike to that.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The other One Percent

The 1% need our help.

No, not the 1% taking home nearly one fifth of every dollar earned.  They are doing quite well.

This 1% needs assistance to get to college.  They need help climbing up the opportunity ladder.  

Roughly 29,000 students this year will lose funding assistance for AP tests.  Out of 3,000,000 graduating seniors, 29,000 is about, well, 1%. 

“As part of the federal budget agreement last December, Congress cut federal financing for programs that offer advanced high school courses [AP classes] to slightly under $27 million, from $43 million the previous year, with only about $20 million to be used to subsidize low-income students’ exam fees.” NY Times article

How many of these 1% will not get into college? How many will have to pay inflated costs for college credit once and if they get there? Will have to sit in a less challenging class in the meantime.  We’ll never know how many of this 1% won’t get ahead.  We just know getting ahead will be harder, or worse, out of reach. 

We’re told that this is acceptable because we haven’t raised taxes on the other 1%. 

Conservatives, wake up.  You’re destroying America.  1% at a time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paste Top 25 and 4 Random Portlanders

Maybe it’s a sign that after the 10th anniversary of 9-11 we’ve moved on when a song whose lyrics “I was in the air when the towers came down” comes in least preferred in Moogaz’s latest informal poll of Paste Magazine’s top 25 songs of 2011 so far.

The test was to listen to Paste Magazine’s list and decide if their honors were merited.  Four random Portland Mainers, two guys, two girls stepped up to take the exam.  Average ratings ranged from 4.6 to 1.9.  (The original scale was 1 to 5 where 1 was suckdom and 5 was glorious awesomeness).

With a score of 1.9, The Low Anthem “Boeing 737” had the second highest standard deviation, so it was liked by some.  But ultimately – harshly or not given its context – the panel of 4 scored the trombone ballad lowest.

Coming in highest with very little disagreement was the The Civil Wars “Barton Hollow” which no doubt explains their rocket indie ascent into the pop charts.

Other high marks were earned for:

  • Bright Eyes, “Shell Games”, latest Conor Oberst
  • Rye Rye “Sunshine (featuring M.I.A.)”, an 80s Blondie meets indie meets TLC rap


Songs did get progressively better moving from 25 to 1 but barely, and not statistically as this graph shows.  Without a major crescendo, the Paste Magaziner is left to to frown as he/she moves to number 1.


But good exercise.  Ironically, on a third listen to “Boeing 737” I find myself warming a bit to the melody.  Like 9-11 itself, maybe time heals wounds. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mount Awesome

Thinking of taking the kids to South Dakota to see … you know, Mount Awesome.


Thanks Armanitarium for your contribution to the planet.  This guy (or girl) has some pretty awesome posts, including this incredible video from his posting Twin Sons of Tatooine taught me everything I know

Don’t forget to finish a reading of his blog with his post on the trailer with the latest from the mind of M. Knight Shymalan, sure to be a blockbuster epic.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Annoying to make a point or Let it ride? Urgently need Moogaz Input

Regular readers might remember the crusade I took against street graffiti left behind from construction projects and the subsequent Portland Press Herald article.  Now I need Moogazers help to make a decision.

With the July passage of Portland’s new anti-graffiti ordinance, citizens are encouraged to report graffiti within 24-48 hours.  Violators can be fined or ordered community service. The very clear stated goal was to clean up the blight caused by graffiti which has been proven to lead to increases in other crimes. 

imageThe Portland Police Department has now set up a website where you can report the graffiti. In the page, they state, “If the graffiti is on your property, it’s your responsibility to clean it up. Property owners not cooperating in keeping their property graffiti-free will be referred to the Department of Code Enforcement and may be subjected to penalties and fines.”

But isn’t the City the property owner of the sidewalks and pavement?  Aren’t they responsible for cleaning up markings that are in some cases 2-3 years old (see pictures)?  Markings that are not just on old pavement, but also sidewalks, curbs, and cobblestones?  I think it’s funny that on the page they lecture parents on how to teach their kids responsibility when they’re taking none of their own:

Teach community pride

Parents, teachers, and community leaders should help discourage graffiti. The greater the stake a teen has in his or her community, the less likely he or she will vandalize it

So what to do?  Do I fill out this form for all the graffiti I see?  Or let it ride?  Would you fill it out?  Please vote below and comment.


What do do?
Fill out the form once just to make a point.
Fill out the form for each occurrence.
Get a local Old Port business owner to fill out the form, but don't do it myself.
Move on with life free polls


Thursday, August 11, 2011