Category Archives: Politics

Some Super Tunes for Super Tuesday

Hey, Keesup here. Hope everyone is having a pleasant winter and has decided what they will give up for Lent. (Me? I’m quitting the sex clubs.) I hope everyone is voting tomorrow if they have a primary in their area. Specifically on the Democratic ballot. And even more specifically, for Senator Barack Obama. I’m volunteering, and have donated, and it’s not to late for you to do the same. You could even just engage in vigorous, substantive debate with vindictive Hillary supporters. Here are some tunes to get you pumped up, inspired by Obama’s own playlist for his events.

American Land” by Bruce Springsteen

New Wave” by Against Me!

Beautiful Day” by U2

Waiting On The World To Change” by John Mayer

Allentown” by Billy Joel

We’re All To Blame” by Sum-41: Ok, yes, they are clearly aping the basic songwriting dynamics of System of a Down, but I actually think it’s kind of moving to see these sub-blink-182 retards start to care.

A Rush of Blood to the Head” by Coldplay: Reminds me what we’re fighting against in the first place.

What’s Goin’ On” by Marvin Gaye

Everyday People” by Sly & The Family Stone

Who’ll Stop The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Instant Karma” by U2 (or the original by John Lennon)

(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty

Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder: The man’s signature song on the trail.

Move Along” by The All-American Rejects

Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield: I never really paid much attention to this song until I heard this at an Obama appearance. But it strikes me more and more as the perfect embodiment of Obama’s real message: he isn’t appealing us to buy into his potential, he’s telling us to believe in ours.

Long Walk Home” by Bruce Springsteen

A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke: The best song ever?

Futures” by Jimmy Eat World

Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who

Here’s the Senator’s victory speech from South Carolina.

And here’s a strong rebuke to the identity politics the Clinton’s have engaged in by Andrew Sullivan.

Let’s fucking do this.

Keesup

Obama or Clinton? The Best Writing

If you’re a liberal/Democrat/progressive/angry young person who is still undecided about who to vote for in tomorrow’s primary, I can help you – With the power of words!

These two pieces are the best new writing about a) Obama vs. Clinton and b) why Obama is (let’s face it) the better candidate.

George Packer reveals how character and disposition will mean radically divergent administrations. Are you drawn to the Clinton or Obama style? Read it here.

And the luminous Michael Chabon slaps down the idea that Obama unelectable. In his words, “There are many reasons not to support Barack Obama’s candidacy for president, but every one of them is bad for the same reason.” Read it here.

Rudy Giuliani: Turncoat Liar

I was living in Illinois on 9/11 and, like many people, saw events in New York unfold on network news. CNN, ABC, all of them were a bizarre mixture of hyper-patriotism, diffuse anger, and simple fear, with Rudy Giuliani playing the role of the sound-byte hero. I remember thinking vaguely, “huh, he’s really stepped up.”

Six years later, with Guantanamo and Extraordinary Rendition and a continual stream of Bush-originated bullshit, I’m a bit more savvy about what the news tries to feed me. I’ve also lived in New York for nearly three years and heard from people who lived here what the city was like in the 90s, and how much it continues to change.

Rudy Giuliani’s campaign for President is predicated on his credentials as a protector of the homeland (read: Fear-monger) and, by extension, his time as mayor of New York. I wasn’t in the city at the time, so I can’t speak to the Giuliani years personally, but I’m here now and he’s pissing me off. Giuliani has sold us down the river. He’s pulled a Benedict Arnold. He’s a traitor to the city that made him the worthless national figure he is.

Consider this quote from an excellent article in New York Magazine by Chris Smith, summarizing the thrust of Giuliani’s rhetoric:

Before Mayor Rudy, the city was a black-and-white jungle-land of sex shops, violence, and crushing taxes. After Rudy, New York is Oz: sunshine, happy young couples, and shiny gold-plated statues. The message, which Giuliani hammers in his appearances outside the city, is that he made big bad New York safe for the rest of the country. For the pitch to work, Giuliani has to demonize the city he inherited and claim all the credit for the improvements he left behind. The city itself is his original enemy.

There it is. Bashing New York to bolster his failing campaign, painting this immensely diverse city as a den of iniquity piled high with homeless person shit. By all reports, New York was a troubled city and, if my neighborhood is any indication, it still is. Rents are rising and forcing out entire immigrant communities. Infrastructure is aging and increasingly unreliable. There continues to be shootings, stabbings, corruption, police brutality, public gropings, and lots of dog crap on the sidewalk.  Through all this, however, New York is thriving and Rudy Giuliani would like American to think he’s solely responsible.

If you live in the city, read Smith’s article and get pissed. We know better than anyone that Giuliani is a turncoat assface. Spread the word.

Columbus (Was A Bastard) Day

My teachers lied to me. Throughout grade school, Columbus Day was celebrated, picture books were read, and Dixie cups of Sprite and trail mix were enjoyed. Christopher Columbus was little more than a benevolent, cartoonish Italian. “Hey!” We would say to each other, “Gee! What a great guy, for discovering our country and all!”

No one bothered to mention that Christopher Columbus was a greedy, genocidal maniac.

It wasn’t until AP U.S. History in high school that I was told the truth: Columbus’ legacy is a trail of dead and enslaved that winds through the Caribbean. My teacher had us read, in addition to our “primary” text, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and as Matt Damon says in Good Will Hunting, “that book … knocked [me] on [my] ass.” Read some of Zinn’s work on Columbus here.

Shame on you teachers. You knew better. Every nation has, and needs, national myths, but when good historical research shows such a legend to be patently, offensively false, should we still have a national holiday in its memory?

Perhaps we should celebrate Pre-History Day and have school children reenact the harrowing journey across the land bridge from Asia. Or maybe we could inaugurate Native Americans Were Here First But Now They Are Third-Class Citizens Confined To Small Parcels of Poor Land Day.

I think the latter speaks for itself.

Springsteen Blowout!

Woke up election day
Sky’s gunpowder and shades of grey
Beneath the dirty sun
I whistle my time away
Then just about sun down
You come walkin’ through town
Your boot heels clickin’ like
The barrel of a pistol spinnin’ round
Don’t worry, darlin’
No baby, don’t you fret
We’re livin’ in the future
And none of this has happened yet

Continue reading

George Packer on Ahmadinejad

Once again, George Packer has worked his quiet outrage to fine effect. This time, Packer attacks the business-as-usual idiocy of Republicans who have vilified Columbia University’s President, Lee Bollinger, for allowing Ahmadinejad to speak there yesterday.

Bollinger introduced the infamous President of Iran (mentioned previously in this Scribblerist post), with a scathing review. He didn’t kowtow or try to gloss Ahmadinejad’s vile regime. Packer writes:

“The university knew that Ahmadinejad would dominate the event, ramble, evade questions, and engage in the kind of spurious point-making—equal parts cleverness and idiocy—that has become his trademark. All of this the Iranian President did. But not before Bollinger managed, in the course of a preëmptive introduction, to say everything that needed to be said about him, and to his face: that Ahmadinejad has the qualities of a “petty and cruel dictator,” that Iran persecutes women, gays, Bahais, scholars, and others, that Iran supports both terrorist groups and Iraqi militias that are killing American soldiers, that its nuclear ambitions have brought sanctions and isolation to a people who elected Ahmadinejad on a promise to improve their lives. And then, as a parting thought, Bollinger expressed his doubt that the Iranian President would have the “intellectual courage” to answer these charges. He was right.” (italics added)

THAT is a dressing-down. Three cheers for Bollinger. Ahmadinejad is a real assface. No one disputes that. The issue here is freedom of speech. Read Packer’s blog post to get the whole story.

Note: “Ahmadinejad” is pronounced “Ah-mah-dina-daba-jabba-daba-doo.”

Your Friday Hyuck

To you, dear readers, I offer this fine illustration, courtesy of Married to the Sea.

The Scribblerist will be in the countryside this weekend, mooning about scenic glens and pleasant copses, dreaming up new delicacies for you, his adoring public.