November 10th, 2024

Outing Ken Mehlman

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  • Call me blasé, but I didn’t even twitch when Bill Maher outed Ken Mehlman on CNN the other night. Of course it was atrocious behavior to do this, but Maher isn’t exactly Miss Manners. What troubles me is that it’s been reported — incorrectly in my opinion — that CNN is going to a lot of trouble to tidy up the whole episode, to redact the news. This from America Blog:

    I just got a cease-and-desist letter from YouTube, see below, regarding my CNN footage I posted. The footage, you’ll recall, was from Larry King Live last night in which Bill Maher outed Republican Party chair Ken Mehlman as gay. It seems that CNN has suddenly decided that it no longer wants bloggers, or YouTube, posting any of its video, which is kind of surprising since I always thought we were doing a CNN a favor by constantly touting their network. Apparently I was wrong.

    CNN has also now edited the official transcript of Larry King Live, so that no one will ever know what really happened. Here is CNN’s transcript:

    MAHER: A lot of the chiefs of staff, the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party are gay. I don’t want to mention names, but I will on Friday night.

    KING: You will Friday night?

    MAHER: Well, there’s a couple of big people who I think everyone in Washington knows who run the Republican…

    KING: You will name them?

    MAHER: Well, I wouldn’t be the first. I’d get sued if I was the first. (A PORTION OF THIS TRANSCRIPT HAS BEEN REMOVED)

    KING: Great way to close out this segment. It’s poignant.

    CNN didn’t just edit out the naming of Mehlman as gay, they even edited out Larry’s question, and Maher’s answer, about why gay people sometimes work against their own people [sic]. Now why is that question being censored by CNN?

    Maher’s mordant observations regarding the inner conflicts of the closeted Republicans, about why they seem to work against their own best interests, were the best parts of the piece. It would be a shame if they were self censored by the network. But as I read the transcript, they were not. What’s been redacted is the naming of a prominent Republican as gay. To the extent that we allow that kind of name calling, we do everyone a disservice because to “out” someone is to lend the observation the weight of an opprobrious value judgment.

    Is it just me or is America Blog looking for some kind of Rupert Murdoch award here? Is it just shabby writing or is America Blog trying to pump up a story where a story barely exists? Is that blogger just pissed because CNN had him tear down a lengthy YouTube posting? I think the schmuck ought to frame the cease-and-desist from CNN, hang it on his wall of fame, and get on with life.

    November 9th, 2024

    So this woman from Minneapolis calls…

    And she says that John D’emilio will be in Madison in February and can I give her any information on that. So I hook her up with the number of a guy who is probably organizing it and I wonder, “What? Am I psychic?” Because I had no clue who D’emilio is, or that he’d written a Bayard Rustin biography, or that he was coming to Madison and I had no clue Chuck had invited him, but that is indeed the case, and I passed the information on to Val, the woman who got my number from a friend in Minneapolis. I must be psychic.

    There are very few liberal Christians today who would dare say anything other than blacks are our brothers and they should be treated so, but they will make all kinds of hideous distinctions when it comes to our gay brothers. . . . There are great numbers of people who will accept all kinds of people: blacks, Hispanics, and Jews, but who won’t accept fags. That is what makes the homosexual central to the whole political apparatus as to how far we can go in human rights.
    – Bayard Rustin, 1986

    More than a handful of states have now passed anti-gay marriage legislation and amendments, Wisconsin being one of them. It’s time for a Bayard Rustin to emerge in support of gays and lesbians. The civil rights struggles, the class struggles aren’t over by any means, and many people of color have a hard time identifying the oppression of gays as morally equivalent to oppression of non-whites, so the movement for equal rights is itself divided, and you gotta know that J. Edgar Hoover, that vicious old queen, is sleeping easy in his tomb knowing that his evil still walks in the world.

    November 7th, 2024

    The Best Use for the Flag

    Flag marks the polling place… Election day, 11/7/2006, Town of Dunn Town Hall, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA.

    November 6th, 2024

    BlogStar updates…

    Doc observes that Macworld and the Consumer Electronics Show are scheduled for the same dates. I’m surprised that Macwidgets isn’t simply part of the CES. Note to the Cupertino Krewe: rent a big tent and pitch it in the parking lot.

    Dave reminds us of the geopolitical strategery behind the imperialist war in southwest Asia and points out that it will never be over until we the people end it.

    David has a PodCast with AKMA posted at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

    wood s lot: off the scroll, the 11/1 death notice for Clifford Geertz.

    November 4th, 2024


    SKYLAR (cont’d)
    Maybe we could go out for coffee

    Great, or maybe we could go somewhere
    and just eat a bunch of caramels.


    When you think about it, it’s just as
    arbitrary as drinking coffee.
    Good Will Hunting

    I just finished a great sci-fi novel (Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson) wherein a character is convinced that knowledge is discovered, not created. The distinction seemed false and arbitrary to me. Swift googlery revealed that others have bothered to have opinions on this, so I guess it’s more than just a trope. On the “discovery” side of the ledger, we might post Archimedes and his flash of insight regarding specific gravity. On the creation side reside, I believe, not only legitimate synergistic and innovative applications of existing knowledge within a scientific theoretical framework to create the never-before-known, but also all those attempts to apply language to understanding that require nuanced distinctions and arbitrary dimensional shifts in order to lend a fresh perspective, to restate the mundane. The former are meaningful. The latter devoid of meaning. Viva, I suppose, la differance.

    Knowledge can be created when there is theory to lend a framework, a perspective for discovery. For years the atomic chart had holes in it. But experimentalists devised methods to isolate the previously undiscovered elements and thus created knowledge of their existence.

    Fresh perspectives yield new theoretical frameworks, and within these frameworks undiscovered information waits to be revealed, hidden knowledge to be discovered, or created. This is a modern sensibility that fuses the arbitrary distinction between created and discovered knowledge. Knowledge is seldom discovered or created and never described outside of a theoretical framework, and the controlling irony of scientific investigation is that the purest and most parsimonious application of Occam’s razor yields an understanding of systems that evolve from simplicity to chaos.

    All of which may be by way of thanking J. Alva for the DVD, I suppose. Inspector Lohman, in a lengthy post that J. Alva linked, said:

    The wish to convey one’s understanding of the world to others asserts one’s existence. That most blogs are nothing more than online journals is decisive, for the intent is not to communicate one’s thoughts to oneself, but are, rather, intentioned attempts to share oneself with others, and is, thus, necessarily a way to discover or create community, to find someone who will witness one’s thoughts, one’s experience. It is a call that says “I am living, and this is what I see, what I feel, what I think” — whether or not that call is answered. The desire to blog is a testament to our innate wish to connect with others: it is tossing out a line into the ether, one that asserts our existence through our voice, a voice that wants to be heard; or, put another way, they are messages in a bottle tossed into the ocean that is the blogosphere, messages which have the potential of finding a sympathetic reader who understands; and thus a connection is made, a community is formed.

    My post today on Caramels is the kind of thing that few will value… it’s ruminative at best and it adds little to anyone else’s understanding of the world. There are many bloggers whose brilliance and sensitivity I respect who seem to understand the world in the context of creation of knowledge through verbal exploits. I try to temper with humility my certainty that they are wrong, that “post-modern theory” is objectively a construct that has pushed aside the most promising and legitimate lines of inquiry in the areas of artistic criticism, political governance, psychology and social studies making room for the global emergence of corporate fascism.

    I’m pleased that there are those like Bruce, Ray, J. Alva, Norm, Leslie, and many others in my corner of the blogosphere who are willing occasionally to entertain, and be entertained by my retro-socialist observations and convictions.

    I hope that in 2024 we can have a CaramelCon, and all come together somewhere to enjoy each other’s company.

    November 3rd, 2024

    Polling Place Photo Project

    The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that seeks to empower citizens to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action. By documenting their local voting experience on November 7, voters can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.

    Thanks to Jay Rosen for the heads up.

    Design for Democracy is sponsoring the “Polling Place Photo Project.” They ask that we photograph the 2024 election! Larry Lessig’s little duckies at the Stanford Center for Internet, Society and Casual Class Privilege will be standing by as democracy help desk support all day November 7. (All day California time means, well… our polls open three hours after yours open, and we like won’t exactly be — you know — out of bed for an hour or two after the polls have opened, and then there’s the matter of the double mocha chai skim latte, and — you know — on Tuesday I have this regular exercise thing, so I’ll be at the gym either before or after the Starbucks run… probably before, but maybe, like — you know — after, so I’ll be all like available to help out with any pressing freedom of speech and assembly questions like, well — 3:30 my time for half an hour or so. Unless something comes up. No wait. This all day thing is too complicated so listen: if something occurs to you, why don’t you just send in your questions in advance, and then we can — you know — like answer the hypotheticals for you).

    November 1st, 2024

    Blogging Bob Dylan

    I went to the concert alone, at Beth’s urging. She didn’t feel well enough to enjoy it, but she didn’t feel poorly enough to want me to stay home and care for her. People around me saw that I was jotting notes and they asked if they’d be “reading it in the morning.” In other words, was I reviewing the concert for one of the dailies? No, I said. I’ll just be dumping this to a blog.

    I wonder what “this” is, that I’m dumping.. The never ending Dylan tour is fully blogged and reviewed by amateurs like me who focus on the hats. Between Brian’s observation and my own admission last night that I was merely blogging, I’m feeling subdued.

    The set list is out there. We all loved the show. Sometimes Bob mumbles the words we all know. The smoke that surrounds us and the storm front of sound are equally contrived to do the big bad wolf number if you need a rhyme with all that rhythm. The decibels relieve you of your reason. Garnier has a double bass with a pick-up and amplification that is almost cruel. Playing “When the deal goes down” someone warped the song so far out of tune that only the pedal steel following it and normalizing it made it anything but bad. Soon the harmonies were some kind of distorted but distorted in harmony, the band drifting together to that place they’d rather not be, following the monster bass’s out-of-tune direction like leaves blown and tumbling in the street sucked along following the passage of a city bus, they were drawn by the power of that monster bass. There was much smiling and eye-contact and body language on stage as they pulled new chords out of their minds to shore up the erosion at the bottom that had left everyone a half tone flat.

    I have all kinds of arch observations like that, things that seem true to me but absent mind reading abilities are meaningless from my side of the proscenium.

    We’re a week away from a critical election. John Kerry is out there trying to mess it up for the working class. He’s got to be a provocateur for the oligarchy. Nobody is that inept. Peace candidates struggle to gain traction against the good old boys. GW (Global Warmer) Bush wags the dog with a missile strike against a madrassa on the Pakistan border. The Pakistan oligarchs are cool for now but the people are pissed.

    I want to say smart stuff about the industrial music, the big band blues chords and the driving rhythms, the relentless attack, execution, finale to every number. But I think I’ll just buy the CD. There’s too much going on in the world to retreat to the blogger’s internal music appreciation wanking ceremony. But there is one story…

    Foo fighter fans found seats behind me — a woman and several men all in their early thirties. Before the Foo set and again during the intermission, I chatted with the woman while the men fetched beer. She said she was there for the Foo but would stay for the Dylan because her parents had urged her. They used phrases like “living legend.” Dutiful daughter, she hung in there, even once calling mom on the cell and filtering those 20 kiloherz of complexity at a bazillion decibels down the narrow pipe of the cell phone connection. “Didja hear that mom?”

    She was from Bessemer, a little town on the upper peninsula of Michigan. Her dad has never left, but she got out after high school and moved to Chicago. A few years ago she went to LA with her mom, and they visited Rodeo Drive. Mom wanted a Harry Winston tennis bracelet. The door man would not let them in to shop. Tourists. Middle class at best. Not “our kind of people.” After sharing this sorrow she talked about Michigan Avenue’s miracle mile, a real concentration of luxury goods and the thin rich people dressed stylishly in black who shop there and are not at all discomfited by sharing the sidewalks and the stores with the middle class. We agreed that the LA thing just sucked. But I felt so sorry for mom. She was willing to put down big bucks for a bracelet and the vile retailer wouldn’t let her in the door.

    What kind of people have we become?

    October 29th, 2024

    Why does Reuters call it a bathroom?

    All the fits that’s news to print. Read the entire stunning Reuters expose on this matter of international interest…

    ROME (Reuters) - Which bathroom should a “transgender” politician be using in parliament?

    The thorny question rocked Italy’s lower house, home to Europe’s first transvestite MP, on Friday.

    “You can’t use this lavatory. This is the women’s bathroom,” Vladimir Luxuria reported being told by centre-right lawmaker Elisabetta Gardini on Friday, triggering a spat that forced the speaker of parliament to intervene.

    Born male, Luxuria wears women’s clothes but has not had sex-change surgery. Elected for the centre-left in April, the 40-year-old former drag queen and defender of gay rights prefers to be called “she”.

    It is not the first time Luxuria has clashed with the centre right. Alessandra Mussolini, grand-daughter of Italy’s wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, was once asked by Luxuria on television whether she wanted to lock up homosexuals.

    “Better a fascist than a faggot,” Mussolini snapped.

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