Don’t get meningitis.

A friend of mine has contracted viral meningitus. (That’s the one that doesn’t kill you, fortunately) He and his wife were at the emergency room until well after 2 am. After they performed a spinal tap (YOW! Do you KNOW about this? Oh my fucking god!) My friend is going to eventually be fine, he’s just going to be very sick for a while. Viral meningitis is debilitatingly painful and completely zaps the patient, but it gets better after a week or two.

(briefly, if I may climb up on my soapbox- The most expensive health care system in the world, and it takes six and a half hours to see a doctor? And that’s NORMAL? WTF? It would make sense if there was some kind of mad rush on for the emergency room, last night, but it was business as usual. Someone explain this to me.)

I drafted a friend and we went and watched their baby. (I don’t know from babies, ok?) So I have had three hours of sleep. Pardon me if I am fairly incoherent today.

Where the Rubber Hits the Road

Fill in your favorite aphorism, but it is getting to be crunch time. All Spin Zone points us to another way to put your bucks where your bridgework is- All affiliate proceeds received from your purchase of F9/11 will be donated to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Last minute ad buys are going to be crucial in swing states, if anything that the pollsters say can be believed….

The Mighty Cho

Margaret Cho does some hard thinking about “republican babe” Michelle Malkin:

Malkin is both a revelation and revolution. It is fairly obvious that she is being courted by conservatives, fussed over and groomed as the all new Manchurian Candidate. She fits their need to diversify like an orthopedic shoe. It is a match made in GOP hell. The unholy union works to everyone’s advantage. The right wing gets a brand new bag, a Skipper to Ann Coulter’s Barbie. Not only that, she’s Asian, so that liberals will have a harder time calling her a racist even though she has completely racist views.

*coughcough* Don’t hold back, Margaret. Say what you feel…

An Unexpected Side Effect

Let me be clear about something- I have about zero interest in the makeup and fake boobs women that you see on television selling beer. You couldn’t sell me a hat in a hailstorm with a “spokesmodel.” I have always (or, as least since I was 15 or so) found the “Look, tits! Buy this!” come-on to be proportionally as ineffective with me as it is offensive to me.

Since the pneumatic blonde aesthetic has pretty-much dominated mass-media advertising for my entire adult life, I have been out of the main consumer demographic that ads are aimed at. That is, until lately.

The alternative-to-Bush/Cheney-culture that has sprung up around the big liberal blogs and (just in opposition to the war in general) has created a higher level of visibility for this subculture of folks a little more like me. And whaddya know, they have stuff to sell, too. And suddenly…

Look, if they drape some barely dressed and heavily augmented 20-year-old blonde over the fender of a red sportscar, I might (might) glance at the sportscar. But if someone pastes some widget onto a woman with a real-woman body, an “exotic” look (read: non-Stepford), throw in a pair of glasses (and a Masters Degree?) and I can’t look away. This is, unfortunately, how advertising is supposed to work- there’s the product, which I might have a minimal desire for, but mostly it wouldn’t turn my head if it was on fire- and then there’s the added hook of The Non-Traditional Foxy Woman™, and suddenly, I look at the product and have all these emotional associations with it.

Case in point:
exhibit A

exhibit B

exhibit C

I am sure that we could prowl around the Code Pink website and Atrios for an hour and find another score of examples.

IMHO, a cursory glance at the republican babes website (egad…. this week’s is Internment apologist/concentration camp advocate Michelle Malkin… shameless, aren’t they?) gives the lie to the culture of the fake tit and the airbrush. You can keep the lot of them, thanks.

But as the culture of the Lefty-liberal hottie sees its exploitation to sell t-shirts and stickers, a questions arises: just because smarter and more culturally aware/diverse == hotter, does using their sexiness to sell stuff == exploitation? Is using a picture to sell t-shirts of a tri-lingual, half-Latina, half-African-American Comp Lit professor with a flat tummy celebration or exploitation? In the same way that the whole idea of Lefty Talking Points (no thanks on the whole Telling Me What to Say thing, ok?) annoys me, so does the pimping of the part of our culture that makes us different.

Thoughts?

A Rising Tide

Yet another military voice saying nasty things about the Bush Administration. This time, it’s one of the planners of the First Gulf War.

From a purely military standpoint, the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. This administration failed to make even a cursory effort at adequately defining the political end state they sought to achieve by removing Saddam Hussein, making it impossible to precisely define long-term military success. That, in turn, makes it impossible to lay out a rational exit strategy for U.S. troops.

Two thirds of America’s combat brigades are now tied down in this war which, under present conditions, is categorically unwinnable. Having alienated virtually every major ally who might help, our troops are simply targets. If Bush is re-elected, there are only two possible outcomes in Iraq:

•Four years from now, America will have 5,000 dead servicemen and women and an untold number of dead Iraqis at a cost of about $1 trillion, yet still be no closer to success than we are right now, or
•The U.S. will be gone, and we will witness the birth of a violent breeding ground for Shiite terrorists posing a far greater threat to Americans than a contained Saddam.

To discern the truth about Iraq, Americans must simply look beyond the spin. This war is not some noble endeavor, some great struggle of good against evil as the Bush administration would have us believe. We in the military have heard these grand pronouncements many times before by men who have neither served nor sacrificed. This war is an exercise in colossal stupidity and hubris which has now cost more than 1,000 American military lives, which has empowered Al Qaeda beyond anything those butchers might have engineered on their own and which has diverted America’s attention and precious resources from the real threat at the worst possible time.

Read that last bit again, ok?

I wish I could pull aside some of the trolls that sounded off here last year, questioning my sanity, my patriotism and my competency to teach HISTORY, and holler that in their ears. Maybe they can come sit in on one of my classes sometime, hm?

Another Lefto-Commie Spouts off Against the pResident

I know you’re probably tired of this game, and can guess where it’s going, but it’s so hard to resist…

What pinko-liberal-“blame America firster” said the following?:

High level incompetence seems to be the natural sea-state of our militarized foreign policy, launching forth with the proud Guardsman George W. Bush at the helm and Dick “Other Priorities” Cheney as navigator.

This track record of sheer stupidity, hubris and other seagull qualities [swoops in, makes a lot of noise, craps all over everything, leaves abruptly. -ed.] is marred only by the existence of rare officers, like retired Marine General Tony Zinni, who knew their job, led their men and women, and spoke the truth to power about the inanity of the plan to invade Iraq early on. Looking further for aberrations to the rule, we find retired Army General William Odom, conservative through and through, who speaks the truth about Bush’s fantasy adventure in Iraq, politely but publicly calling it “a strategic error.”

Apparently Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld missed the lecture called “Nobody wins a shitstorm.”

Molly Ivins in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram? Maureen Dowd in In These Times? Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Nation? Jeneane Garofalo on Air America?

Nope.

Try Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski USAFR (ret.) in Military Week.

Blogging is dead. (Long live blogging?)

Billmon, MIA these past long weeks (IMHO, just when we needed him most), pops up in the LA Times, delivering blogging’s last rites.

I see his point as he argues that blogging as it was a year and half ago is now dead, but methinks that the stink will be hanging around for months, maybe years…

It was intoxicating while it lasted, as was the sense of community I found with my readers. At the peak of Whiskey Bar’s popularity, I could count on receiving 100 or more comments about each post — articulate, querulous and sometimes profane voices from the Internet hinterland.

Recently, however, I’ve watched the commercialization of this culture of dissent with growing unease. When I recently decided to take a long break from blogging, it was for a mix of personal and philosophical reasons. But the direction the blogosphere is going makes me wonder whether I’ll ever go back.

Even as it collectively achieves celebrity status for its anti-establishment views, blogging is already being domesticated by its success. What began as a spontaneous eruption of populist creativity is on the verge of being absorbed by the media-industrial complex it claims to despise.

Not that much is going to be changing around here. I just do what I do. After the election, it will either be back to sniping at the fascist qualities of the same old President, or kvetching about the centrist qualities of the new President.

The comments are open, folks. Have at it, if you want.

Wasn’t I in this band?

Well, well, well… The minute I endorse a band, they start behaving badly.

Says bassist Syd Butler, “What happened was, Tim had a wireless mic that gave him pretty much free range over this entire redneck, cowboy scene, country bar. And he took off his clothes– I think he was actually in like a bikini bathing suit and briefs– and he got into the mudpit and these bouncer guys just lost their shit. They wouldn’t get in because they didn’t want to get dirty. They were just trying to get him out and it was sort of this big mess.”

I think the fact that Mike from five-eight never actually jumped into a mud wrestling pit while we were playing was more of an oversight and a lack of opportunity than any kind of unwillingless to do the deed.

The story is a riot. You should go read it.

P.S.- There’s a recording of Les Savy Fav live in ATL here, thanks to reader Ben. Thanks Ben!

Local History

But like, a REALLY long time ago. This is fascinating to me- a meteor strike in the Chesapeake Bay scattered pieces this far south

People in Georgia’s Dodge and Bleckley counties have for years picked up small pieces of natural glass called “Georgiaites,” which were produced by an unknown asteroid or comet impact millions of years ago. Just where these small, translucent green objects came from, however, was unclear.

Now researchers at the University of Georgia, studying a kaolin mine in Warren County, have found a layer of tiny grains, which indicate that the grains and the Georgiaites were products of a recently discovered impact that left a huge crater beneath the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

That’s ten hours of driving from here. That must have been some boom.