Country Joe

Forty years… oh how the time does fly.

For No Reason

He wants to write words down
On pieces of paper
Recording them now
And recalling them later.
It remains a mystery
The pages of history
Outlasted the passing
Of things that were dear to me.

Those wonderful children
With bright shining faces
They waltzed in the halls
And they marched in their places
The darlings of dancing,
And spinning, and reeling.
Look into their eyes
To see what they're feeling.

It's almost too much for him
Bearing the cross he's carrying.
It's almost too much for him
Wearing the face he's wearing.
Why don't you change your style ?
Why don't you change your style ?
Why don't you change your style ?

He wants to find men
Who can love for no reason,
Who open their hearts
To life of all seasons
But they've all gone, it seems
Off in their limousines—
I want to live where men
Can believe their dreams.

It's almost too much for him
Bearing this cross i'm carrying.
It's almost too much for him
Wearing this face i'm wearing.
Why don't you change your style ?
Think i'll change my style.
Why don't you change your style ?
Think i'll change my style.
Why don't you change your style ?
Why don't you change your style ?

Copyright Joe McDonald, 1969

Obama disappoints

You can please some of the people all of the time,

You can please all of the people some of the time,
and sometimes you just fall through your ass.

Of course I’m disappointed that Barack has chosen Rick Warren to participate in the inaugural ceremonies in January. I’d prefer it if he would dispense with the whole oath-of-office, right-hand-on-the-bible, prayerful-interlude thing and get down to business. Gay, straight, transgendered, or closeted gun fetishist NRA member–I don’t care who Warren admits to his church. Muslim, Mormon, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, or Jainist–creationist or evolutionarian–I don’t care who Warren suggests will or will not find eternal life after physical death. I’m pretty sure Barack doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy and I doubt any of us will ever know whether he retains some 19th century romantic superstition about life after death. I suspect he’s more realistic than that, but it doesn’t matter. The form and function of the inauguration remains the same.

On January 20th, 2024, first Joe Biden, then Barack Obama will take the oath of office, swearing or affirming to uphold the constitution and probably adding the embarrassing fillip “so help me God.” This last phrase is not mandated, but given the tenor of these parlous times when as many as 92% of Americans profess a belief in God, to leave out the metaphysical closing would be at least impolitic.

And that should be explanation enough for the appearance of evangelical Christians on the rostrum that third Tuesday in January. So Rick Warren, representative of millions of people who remain uncomfortable with homosexuality and who mask the discomfort with religious conviction, will give the invocation that day.

Missing from our discussion of the religious framework of this most secular event, lost in the progressive outcry about the choice of Warren, is the validating presence of the Reverend Joseph Lowery giving the benediction. When the thought of Rick Warren giving his invocation to open the inaugural makes you throw-up just a little bit in your mouth, consider that his will be the last words from the evangelical right during the Bush administration. Lowery’s benediction will be the first words from the progressive Christian traditions that we will hear during the Obama administration.

This will not be the last time I’ll be disappointed by Obama. That’s the nature of his job. What I hope is that he’ll get us back on course, return us to being a nation of laws. Piddly little stuff like which special Southern California-christian dude with a fastidious little goatee that makes his face look fat gets to invoke his favorite deity at the inauguration has very little to do with the hard choices and commitment we expect of Barack starting that Tuesday afternoon in January.

[tags]Joseph Lowery[/tags]

Reboot America

America needs more than a reboot. We need some snazzy new peripherals–new energy generation and distribution system, new mass transit system, new telecom infrastructure, massive clean-up and realignment of wealth–it’s time to tear down the blue drapes that have given our statue of Justice a false aura of modesty and put the old girl to work again for all of us.

Tom Friedman borrowed Obama’s “reboot America’s image” trope and applied it more broadly. We need to reboot America, he says, and I like the concept; but I have trouble accepting at face value anything Tom Friedman suggests. Tom Friedman is so much part of the problem that when the boat sails for Elba with Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Wolfowitz aboard, Tom should have a berth as the cabin boy.

Friedman is one of those fellows who goes along and gets along, a great moralizer in step with the dominant power of capital. As we balance that power with democracy over the next few years, as we reveal the oligarchy and let folks decide what to do with them, how to manage their wealth, whether or not it’s worth it to bring them to justice, Tom should be tried with the rest of them and allowed to travel first class in one of the first tumbrel’s to justice.

But we do need to reboot. We need to reexamine the insane emphasis we have put on “business,” the reduction in support for our mutual welfare. We need great programs of public investment, and sound regulation where now there is outlawry. monopoly, and market manipulation. We need to freeze the assets of all who benefited from the Bush giveaways, tear down the wall of shame he erected on our southern border, nationalize the energy industries, and in general do things entirely ddiffernet from the way they are done today. We need to look to Europe and Asia for working models and follow their lead. We need to return to the forty hour work week, or why not thirty-five? We need to assure income and health care and education for all.

We need a reboot alright, and one of the first boots we should give should land squarely on the ass of that pontificator, Tom Friedman.

And I want an 8-foot-tall statue of Elvis

Ben’s latest Wired article here:

Lessig leaves Stanford for Harvard

It’s all explained here.

He’s taken an appointment at Harvard Law School and accepted the Directorship of Harvard’s Safra Center.

Timely. We have to start somewhere building ethics back into our cultural framework. Why not start now, as the economy is crashing around us and people are reminded that the greed is good crowd deserve jail sentences, not applause.

cut ups