"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Bought Something Day

For the first time in my young life, I have participated in Black Friday, the day-after-thanksgiving consumer orgy during which many retail businesses go from losing to making money for the year (from red to black, natch). Or, to put it another way, I broke with my traditional observance of Buy Nothing Day.

I don't really feel any moral qualms. I need a new laptop for my job, and I have a one-day chance to get the one I want (one of Apple's new MacBooks) for $100 less than normal. I'm high-rollin' enough to buy a new laptop, yeah, but not enough that I can sneer at a hundo discount, let alone pay Apple's "black tax" for the darker cased model.

It's a matter of public record that I detest the consumption-oriented nature of our culture and economy. I believe it trivializes and perverts the human spirit while simultaneously bringing ruination to the natural world and a sentence of servitude to millions (perhaps billions) of would-be Galileos. We must find a better way.

That being said, I don't think not buying something on a given day -- even if it were done by a statistically significant portion of the population -- is all that great a tactic. Economically, it's as impactful as the Don't Buy Gas For One Day urban legend. If you want to break out of the consumer cycle and trap, it's got to be a buy less life, not just a day that averages out over the year.

Now, I recognize that part of the value of Buy Nothing Day is as sort of personal act of observance, a keeping of the faith, but I don't need that. I don't need to go to Church to feel spiritually and morally whole either.

Read More

Dean Campaign Memoirs: An Epilogue

I've got an opportunity (Allah Akbar!) to do a little retrospective writing about my days on the Dean campaign, the whole DeanSpace thing in particular, and perhaps maybe get it published as part of an anthology style book. So I'm going to be writing about this.

My style is to write what I feel, and some of what I'm doing is good, I think, but off-topic. Hence, this post.

For a minute it seemed like we might be branching out of the mean zero-sum game of traditional politics, like we could break the old muscle game, the turf wars, the whole 51% shuffle, everyone fighting over the same endorsements, the same TV show slots, the same pool of "likely voters." It felt like we really might grow our way to victory, take the prize simply by doing the right thing and widening the circle of participation.

Implicit in this vision was that if we went all the way, this is how the Dean Administration would be run as well. It represented the idea of a complete recapitulation of the Bush/Cheney gestalt -- not just a reversal on policy, but on the means and modes of governance as well. We dreamed of building an inclusive and transparent movement that could not only win elections, but also support a true national consensus; of the re-emergence of that classic standard of democracy, the Public Interest.

It was happening, and I believed -- still believe -- it would have kept happening if we'd made it past Iowa.

Read More

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

My mood has been vacillating back and forth a lot over the past week. Things are in flux, but the momentum is good. I think what's happening is that there are a lot of possibilities, a lot of change, and it's putting me in unfamiliar emotional territory. I go up and down and up and down, and after being static for a while I freak out from time to time. Must. Learn. To. Retain. Perspective.

It's good to be back home. The more I do it, the less I love sleeping on couches. It was a hard weekend in San Francisco. After the extensive (and expensive) partying for The Girth, Esq. I didn't really get back on the ball until Tuesday, and the schedule was full and heavy. Not a good time to be off your game.

I also had a purely platonic dinner with an old girlfriend that left me wobbly -- prompting the previous post about a lonesome crisis of meaning... "see how he selectively supplies context, the bastard?" -- and searching for purchase. It was one of those moments where you really really want to do or say something, but you're observing the world through thick bulletproof glass, listening to the muffled sound of yourself prattling on about something else, peripheral, dancing around it, wondering why you can't look this person in the eye.

So I posted that blog entry and emailed my #1 romantic adviser, Julia "Solid Gold Pussy" Henning. Writing helps me process, and Julia came back with some quality perspective. I feel better about the whole thing now, grateful even to have my dumplin' jumpin' for a change, but in that moment I felt positively 17 again. Whooof.

Thankfully the coming dawn and advice and a couple good working days reminded me that, yeah, everything will be ok. My direction is positive. Life is good, tomorrow another day, happy happy joy joy. You know the drill.

Read More

The Kevin Murphy Show

Oh man. This should be AWESOME.

Read More

Olbermann on Bush on Vietnam vis Iraq

You can see why he's on the rise and O'Reilly is on the fall. Should maybe end with "Good night, and good luck."

Read More

LAPD Taze UCLA Student in Library

This shouldn't happen:

At around 11:30 p.m., CSOs asked a male student using a computer in the back of the room to leave when he was unable to produce a BruinCard during a random check. The student did not exit the building immediately.

The CSOs left, returning minutes later, and police officers arrived to escort the student out. By this time the student had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, at which point the student told the officer to let him go. A second officer then approached the student as well.

The student began to yell "get off me," repeating himself several times.

It was at this point that the officers shot the student with a Taser for the first time, causing him to fall to the floor and cry out in pain. The student also told the officers he had a medical condition.

Of course this being the 21st century, someone had a cellphone with a camera. It's kinda ugly to watch:

The student clearly has some issues with authority, but this is completely unacceptable behavior by the cops. It's also fucked up that there are "random ID checks" at the UCLA library, which is what triggered the whole incident in the first place.

Read More

Looking Inward

The crisis of meaning is upon us again, and it's back with a vengeance. A lonesome vengeance, to be specific, the kind that hasn't been around in a long while.

Taking a look back at the old Love page, we can see where my life left off three years ago, misspellings and all. Sigh.

The present moment feels most like 2002:

I'm after the other thing: the harder thing: the thing where you find someone you like and you make something between the two of you over time. And I don't know how to get that happening other than wait and see.

The trouble is "wait and see" is a very boring and unsatisfying strategy. It leaves one feeling rather powerless and at the mercy of the cosmos.

I'm not the same person I was at the age of 23, and I'm not in the same environment either -- not by a long shot -- but I remember what that felt like and it's close to what I feel now.

One response has been that I'm going back through my history, wondering about the ones that got away, or more often that I got away from and later regretted. This is a debatable thing to get into, rummaging through the old files. It can feel weak and crutch-like, but you might look up long-lost connections on myspace and find something that strikes a spark. I think it all comes down to the spirit of the thing. Also, there's that bit about learning from history -- and purely as a matter of science one can't rule out a blast from the past being the ticket to ride.

The point, though, is that there's a kind of emotional turbulence that's not been around in some time. Strange feelings are brewing inside the Konezone. Gut feelings; questions without answers that lead to whistful stares into the rain. Vulnerability and instability too. I don't know where (or when) The One will come from, but I'm pretty sure that as long as I'm pushing for it or stressing it, it's not gonna happen.

Fucking annoying, that.

Read More

Secret Firefox Config Hacking: Fix the Backspace Bug

My man (and Firefox engineer) Tony Chang just answered one of my biggest problems with FF. When you hit backspace on a page, it's equivalent to hitting the back button. This is especially annoying on forms, as I'll often hit backspace one too many times and end up going off the page, which kills whatever other work I've done on the form. Raaar!

Luckily there's a fix for this. You type about:config into your browser bar, and search for "backspace." Then double-click on the browser.backspace_action line, and change the value to -1.

Problem solved. Thanks, Tony.

Read More

"Call Me Esqure, Bitch"

Read More

Look Back in Anger

Glenn Greenwald:

That really is why we are in the situation we confront in Iraq. Because Richard "Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise" Cohen and his ilk demonized and caricatured the Howard Deans of the world as pacifist, amateur, naive, stupid, frivolous, dangerous French hippies even though everything Dean was saying was true and prescient and everything Cohen was saying was false and idiotic. And they're still doing that.


Someone finally gives Dean some props.

On a more depressing note, while hunting for something I came across this article Yglesias wrote. In May. Of 2004.

I can't believe we're still having the same goddamn conversation.

I strongly doubt that we'll see much of an uptick in accountability or integrity from the existing class of media figures and political pundits. They made their career choices a while ago; they live in that other world now. However, these people will probably continue to slide ever further into irrelevance.

Read More