"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

"Patriot Day"

A quick look backward. Nine years gone. What a fracked up time that was. I still take it somewhat personally, viscerally, being in New York City and living through it first-hand. So, for the day, some old links of what was in my mind then.

I still feel the stinging injustice of what our leaders ended up doing with via the manipulation of that raw emotional wound. I still believe what the day taught me about the fundamentals of life. I'm still grateful to have sparked a political awareness as a result.

And I honestly hoped we'd get over ourselves and see "9/11 the Musical Comedy" rather than it becoming an anniversary for pumping up hatred and intolerance. But that wasn't in the cards, I guess.

In many ways watching how Estados Unidos has processed the past decade has been an embittering and disillusioning experience, doubly so as a participant. I thought we were better than this. On a good day — and today is definitely a good day — I still hope we can be.

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Have A Little, Want More

What to say.

Shit is crazy out there. People wanna go back to burning books, and the dominance of wealth is increasingly too obvious to ignore. It puts me in a mind to consider what, in this context, the proverbial "have a little, want more" might really want more of.

Now, truth be told most people just want to hold on to what they've got. When fear of the foreign devil fails, just threaten someone's livelihood or straight up cast them into penury. Up to a point, this'll keep the proles in line.

But what of the rest? What of all the people who are still making it, but aren't actually members of the power elite. Say, people like me (socioeconomically, anyway), or even people who are more well off, simple (and fucking powerless) millionaires, for instance. What do these people want our of their lives?

I see a lot of decadence. There's a lot of fun shit out there to do and buy and eat and drink, and hell if I'm not a part of that scene from time to time. But ultimately I think there's an end to the gratification you can get from toys.

What I hope is that people start tuning in to the fact that what they want more of is not so much a bigger piece of the pie, but a better meal to begin with. There's a non-trivial connection between inequality and intolerance, between an increasingly brutal and dumb society and the neo-aristocracy that's growing up around us.

What I hope the have-a-little's want more of is civilization. I don't mean that in some refined haughty sense, but in the sense of a productive, vibrant, effective, lively, awesome society, one that produces truly great culture, that can pilot spaceship earth with honor and distinction.

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More On Elitism

It sounds very much like there is a storm a-brewin' designed to start cutting into Social Security. I helped fight this off back in 2005, and it's a real pity to see the same basic bullpucky return under Prez. Obama. Cutting Social Security is both unnecessary and cruel.

For the reasoned economic analysis, keep up with Dr. Krugman.

For a more colorful take, you can't do much better than George Carlin:

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Atrios on Obama's economy captures the essence of what I find so dispiriting:

The point isn't that there was some magic obvious solution, the point is that the problem was bigger than they imagined and, frankly, recovery noises from the administration started to remind me of Bush era noises about how things were always improving in Iraq.

Team Obama appears to have taken all the wrong lessons from team Bush. They pursue the limp magical-thinking type propaganda — "clap louder!" — couched as DC-centric conventional wisdom (which is itself morally and intellectually bankrupt), without apparently even contemplating the virtues of a Cheney-esque will to power.

They also play politics very poorly, much more poorly than the Clintons.

I find myself in odd moments beginning to wish we'd nominated Hillary.

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Much Like Pints Of Guiness, Bicycling Makes You Stronger

Music Please:

I haven't written much about politics in the past... year or so, mainly because it's been such an unqualified bummer. I read Krugman and Duncan and check up with my friend the subcommondante on a daily, and pretty much count myself in their camp on most issues. If you want to stay in the know, you could do a lot worse.

But this caught my eye and excited some comment, well, because it highlights the total batshit insanity angle of what's going on out there, and in doing so sheds some maybe pretty good light on what exactly makes the whole political situation so depressing. I could not help but remark.

So, the leading Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado thinks that having a free bike program in the city of Denver is the first step towards one world government:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

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Another World Is Possible?

I've been slowly making my way through First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, which I picked up while browsing the Strand back in the spring and then purchased as a supplemental counterweight to the delightfully light/fun Shantaram. Žižek isn't really breezy, but he's certainly brilliant, and more importantly willing to ask pretty hard questions.

The book is part dissection of the contemporary neoliberal status quo ideology, and part argument to revive the idea of (haunting music) Communism. It's already delivered a few gems, such as this explanation of the uselessness of the modern Leftist opposition:

In the good old days of Really Existing Socialism, a joke popular among dissidents was used to illustrate the futility of their protests. In the fifteenth century, when Russia was occupied by Mongols, a peasant and his wife were walking along a dusty country road; a Mongol warrior on a horse stopped at their side and told the peasant he would now proceed to rape his wife; he then added, "But since there's a lot of dust on the ground, you must hold my testicles while I rape your wife, so that they will not get dirty!" Once the Mongol had done the deed and ridden away, the peasant started laughing and jumping with joy. His surprise wife asked, "How can you be jumping with joy when I was just brutally raped in your presence?" The farmer answered: "But I got him! His balls are covered with dust!"

A lot of the rest is somewhat remedial for anyone with a critical eye for the world: how a "kinder" — or more recently "greener" — capitalist status quo has taken hold and is recycling its opposition into its own system, etc. The interesting piece to me is not this critique, but the argumentation to seriously (re)consider the Marxist alternative.

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Who Said It?

How does this sound?

“The state should not tear down the apples from the tree of economics. What the government should do is help grow our apple orchard, develop our economic environment.”

That's Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, aka shift manager for Boss Putin.

The question I have is why does the President of Russia (in translation, even) seem to have a better grasp of post-free-market-fetish economic rhetoric than our own progressives? I mean, it'll be really unfortunate if the Left in the US doesn't come to articulate a competent vision alternative vision to the current "world order." Though maybe not all that surprising.

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Political and Funny

I got handed a voter guide from The League at the 24th and Mission Bart today. Gave me a warm and fuzzy. Love this stuff:

How crazy is San Francisco politics? We're endorsing Gavin Newsom, a guy who blocked us on twitter! We disagree with Gavin a lot. He talks a good game at being progressive, but most of the time he's on the "big money" side of crucial local issues: selling out Bayview/Hunters Point to Lennar, siding with PG&E against public power, etc. His policy of reporting immigrant youth to ICE before they've been convicted of any crimes is horrible. But when you take him out of SF and compare him to the usual hacks who run for office statewide, Gav looks pretty good. He supports reforming Prop 13 and is semi-serious about addressing climate change. His opponent in the primary is Janice Hahn. Her politics seem pretty good, but we don't think she's ready for prime time. She's gotten by on her family name and just doesn't have the experience.

Pssst! Here's a poorly kept secret: the main reason we want Gavin to become Lt. Governor is because if he wins, the Board of Supervisors gets to pick his replacement, and we're hoping that would mean that we'd finally get a Mayor we could be excited about! Some of us are afraid this could backfire on us: Gavin goes on to become Governor or Senator and uses his clout to support candidates and policies that we don't like. Hmm. It's a tough call.

And then there's the comedy. Here's a real ad:

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In Which I Ponder My Life and Career and Think About Working Out

Spent this past week at this little get-together called Drupalcon. I've done a poor job in general explaining what this "Drupal" is to my non-nerd quadrant of friends, and it's a pretty long story with a lot of angles and beautiful idiosyncrasies. And also now kind of a big deal on these old internets. Like, 3000 people showing up for a conference we organized, with major sponsorships from technology heavyweights and a presentation from the White House.


The first wave of my professional life was very startup-oriented. Silicon Alley from '98 to '01. I never made any money of course, but as a 19 to 22 year old kid it was amazing experience both on technical and business fronts. The second wave was all about politics, but definitely had that scrappy startup kind of vibe, bootstrapping an insurgent campaign and then getting the non-profit equivalent of venture financing to try out some totally unproven ideas, including building a professional space around Drupal and participating in the dot-org boom. After that I took some time off and freelanced, then started a company. While starting ones own company is an integral part of being an entrepreneur for real-real, the first few years of this were a lot of hard learning curve for me, and to be honest it was a lot harder than I thought.

Now, exhausted from an excessively busy week and battling a devilish low-grade cold, I still feel like, once again, the buzz is back. It's a new wave. I'm back to sleeping six hours a night and waking up jazzed.

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DIY Campaigning

I've been tracking these efforts for a while. It's going to shake things up. A lot.

Fun times ahead.

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