If Vietnam Were Now

Via haha.nu

Obama, McCain Prepare for Debate

One of Jodie Foster’s Early Roles

I posted a link to this a year or so ago, here’s an embed. 

The Funny Times, October 2008

This month, Dave Barry goes to the Olympics, where he finds American reporters and tourists eating things like fried scorpions and sheep-penis-on-a-stick.  Meanwhile, every actual Chinese he sees is eating fresh fruit and roast lamb.  Curmudgeon quotes witty remarks about gossip, including my favorite, Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s first rule of socializing: “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anyone, sit right here by me.”  News of the Weird describes accomodations High Point University in North Carolina offers its undergrads, accomodations so luxurious (hot tubs, concierge service, etc) that the school has come to be known as “Club Ed.”  Garrison Keillor recommends that all our leaders do as he has done and undergo Japanese spa treatments, so that they will learn that as wet naked people they are essentially indistinguishable from the rest of the world’s wet naked people.  Planet Proctor quotes an oldie-but-goodie:

We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,

Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,

Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,

And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,

Yet hat in the plural would never be hose

And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him,

But imagine the feminine: she, shis, and shim?

The American Conservative, 22 Sept 2008

In this issue. John Laughland describes the Saakashvili regime in Georgia, quoting along the way gushing praise that various Western media outlets have lavished on that grubby little dictatorship.  Faced with the contrast, Laughland provides an intriguing psychological theory to explain why media and policy elites in the USA and the states ranged with it so often form passionate attachments to unappealing foreign states and leaders:

The Georgian president has indeed achieved extraordinary success in presenting his fiefdom as a Jeffersonian paradise.  This is partly due to Georgia’s use of operatives in Washington, such as John McCain’s foreign-policy advisor Randy Sheunemann, and a PR firm in Brussels.  But more importantly, it is the result of a virulent form of Western self-delusion.  Faced with seemingly intractable domestic problems, in which different political actors have to be balanced, Western states like to indulge in occasional but dangerous flights of foreign-policy escapism.  We imagine that we can free subject peoples with our bombs.  The image of a victim nation has now become an easy psychological trigger that can be applied indiscriminately to Bosnian Muslims, Iraqis, and now Georgians.  These unknown peoples and nations are but a blank screen on which we project our fantasies.  Our image of them says much more about us than it does about reality.    

Tony Smith analyzes the foreign policy teams and statements the presidential candidates have made and concludes that neither is likely to conduct a significantly less warlike administration than the current one.  Both candidates are committed to the major tenets of the interventionist consensus: democratic peace theory, the notion that states governed by democratic institutions are unlikely to make war on each other (Smith mentions thinkers Bruce Russett, Andrew Moravcsik, and John Rawls as advocates of this theory); democratic transition theory, the idea that liberal democracy could be established in any of an extremely wide variety of social contexts (here Smith cites Larry Diamond); and “R2P,” the notion that a state forfeits its sovereignty unless it meets its “responsibility to protect” its population (Smith cites Thomas Franck and Anna-Marie Slaughter.)  “With these three concepts, a witches’ brew has been concocted.”  America’s wars against Serbia in 1999 and against Iraq since 2003 have bubbled up from this unholy concoction. 

Septimus Waugh reviews Gerard deGroot’s The Sixties Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade.  Waugh mentions an article deGroot wrote for The Journal of Mundane Behavior, wherein he argued “that the writing of history is too influenced by what is interesting and newsworthy to be a true reflection of the past, which is made up of the boring and humdrum events of survival.  By concentrating on extraordinary events, historians, he complained, were pandering to myth, though to tell the true tale of the past would be boring.”  So Waugh sets out to explode the myth of the 60’s as a time of extreme behavior, letting people into his story who spent the decade minding their own business.

Jake 911

This is great! I love dogs.  The first time I heard this I laughed so hard my sides hurt.  I wonder if Jake has ever called China.

J. P. Morgan, photographed by Edward Steichen

Counterpunch, August & September 2008

August- Alexander Cockburn reviews Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland.  Cockburn has a lot of fun reminiscing about the 1964-1974 period, but denies Perlstein’s thesis that the American political scene hasn’t changed much since then.  “It’s a different, less strident, less violent, less creative time.”  He and Jeffrey St. Clair then offer “One cheer for Sarah Palin.”  “The liberal attacks on Sarah Palin are absurd to the point of lunacy… Given the highly experienced maniacs who have been destroying this country and the rest of the world decade after decade, one would have thought that the E word would be an immediate disqualification.”  They also point out that the three-point oil plan she introduced as governor of Alaska are now on display as the three-point oil plan of one B. Obama: “a windfall profits tax on the oil companies, an energy rebate tax, and the development of a transcontinental natural gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay across Canada to the Midwest.”  They don’t mention that Obama has been a presidential candidate longer than Palin has been governor, so it’s not so clear who came up with the idea first. 

1-15 September- Promoted on the Counterpunch website as “The Timebomb Who Would Be President,” this issue features two front-page articles about Crazy John McCain.  In “McCain’s 14th Amendment Problem,” Douglas Valentine argues that since the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits traitors from holding public office, the man the North Vietnamese codenamed “Songbird” while he was their prisoner is not eligible to be elected president.  Cockburn and St. Clair tell the story of Crazy John’s two marriages, including this: “According to two emergency room physicians in Phoenix, interviewed by Counterpunch and who tell us they don’t want their names used, it was at this time” [when Crazy John was under investigation for his ties to corrupt financier Charles Keating] “that Cindy McCain sought medical attention in the Phoenix area for injuries consistent with physical violence: bruises, contusions, and a black eye.  There were at least two more visits for medical attention in the Phoenix area by Cindy, with similar injuries, between 1988 and 1993.”  True?  Who knows?  But those who paid attention to the 2004 Illinois Senate race can’t help but remember the end of Blair Hull‘s campaign.

Common / people

Possibly funny enough to wound or kill.

Common / people (YouTube)

The Artist and His Model

Here‘s an online arts collective, they have lots of nifty pictures.