Friday, July 30, 2010

The die is cast....

 "By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction, the die is cast and the moment has long since passed which determined the future."

        Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Technology and the novel....

and..."the autocratic cunning of the machine":

""Melville wrote a whole story about a mill: "The Tartarus of Maids". Its narrator, a seed-trader in need of a good envelope-supplier, visits a paper mill and gazes in "strange dread" at the wheels and cylinders of the "inflexible iron animal", shocked by "the metallic necessity, the unbudging fatality which governed it . . . the autocratic cunning of the machine". In the marriage of humanity and industrial apparatuses, it's clear who wears the trousers:

Machinery – that vaunted slave of humanity – here stood menially served by human beings, who served mutely and cringingly as the slave serves the Sultan. The girls did not so much seem accessory wheels to the general machinery as mere cogs to the wheels.

It's clear, too, that Melville isn't simply pondering the rise of machine culture in society at large. Etching his way on his horse, Black, across the snow-white valley where the mill lies, and wondering at the range of lawyers' briefs, doctors' prescriptions, pastors' sermons and so on that will be scrawled in ink on the reams of blank paper he's watching cascade off the rollers, the narrator is a carrier of a more self-reflective anxiety, one that concerns itself with the very act of writing. If man's autocracy, his genius, his powers of generation, have all passed to the machine, and if the pulpy, material base for the refined and abstract thoughts and emotions that we read in books has been revealed to us, then how can we understand poetry or prose as the sublime self-expression of autonomous and elevated individuals? Melville's answer is as implicit as his question: we can't, not any more.""
Jeez, Zilmon, hit the Defibrillator! we're not in Kansas anymore (and haven't been for 100+ years...)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

USS Jee-zuss

Our Supercarrier, who art in Empire, hallowed be thy name...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ireland, continued

Wherein Joyce as in James (from POTAAAYM) illustrates a problem faced by all honest Fenians...e.g., objecting to corrupt papists and priests does not imply supporting protestants, scottish ghouls, freemasons and zionists, or the Windsorian whores...

""He threw his fist on the table and, frowning angrily, protruded one finger after another.
—Didn't the bishops of Ireland betray us in the time of the union when Bishop Lanigan presented an address of loyalty to the Marquess Cornwallis? Didn't the bishops and priests sell the aspirations of their country in 1829 in return for catholic emancipation? Didn't they denounce the fenian movement from the pulpit and in the confession box? And didn't they dishonour the ashes of Terence Bellew MacManus?
His face was glowing with anger and Stephen felt the glow rise to his own cheek as the spoken words thrilled him. Mr Dedalus uttered a guffaw of coarse scorn.
—O, by God, he cried, I forgot little old Paul Cullen! Another apple of God's eye!
Dante bent across the table and cried to Mr Casey:
—Right! Right! They were always right! God and morality and religion come first.
Mrs Dedalus, seeing her excitement, said to her:
—Mrs Riordan, don't excite yourself answering them.
—God and religion before everything! Dante cried. God and religion before the world.
Mr Casey raised his clenched fist and brought it down on the table with a crash.
—Very well then, he shouted hoarsely, if it comes to that, no God for Ireland!
—John! John! cried Mr Dedalus, seizing his guest by the coat sleeve.
Dante stared across the table, her cheeks shaking. Mr Casey struggled up from his chair and bent across the table towards her, scraping the air from before his eyes with one hand as though he were tearing aside a cobweb.

—No God for Ireland! he cried. We have had too much God In Ireland. Away with God!
—Blasphemer! Devil! screamed Dante, starting to her feet and almost spitting in his face.
Uncle Charles and Mr Dedalus pulled Mr Casey back into his chair again, talking to him from both sides reasonably. He stared before him out of his dark flaming eyes, repeating:
—Away with God, I say!
Dante shoved her chair violently aside and left the table, upsetting her napkin-ring which rolled slowly along the carpet and came to rest against the foot of an easy-chair. Mrs Dedalus rose quickly and followed her towards the door. At the door Dante turned round violently and shouted down the room, her cheeks flushed and quivering with rage:
—Devil out of hell! We won! We crushed him to death! Fiend!
The door slammed behind her.
Mr Casey, freeing his arms from his holders, suddenly bowed his head on his hands with a sob of pain.
—Poor Parnell! he cried loudly. My dead king!
He sobbed loudly and bitterly.
Stephen, raising his terror-stricken face, saw that his father's eyes were full of tears.""
Whoa. A bit more than Riverdance

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ezra Pound ...en español ...

Con Usura

Con usura no tiene el hombre casa de buena piedra
Con bien cortados bloques y dispuestos
de modo que el diseño lo cobije,
con usura no hay paraíso pintado para el hombre en los muros de su iglesia
harpes et lutz (arpas y laúdes)
o lugar donde la virgen reciba el mensaje
y su halo se proyecte por la grieta,
con usura
no se ve el hombre Gonzaga,
ni a su gente ni a sus concubinas
no se pinta un cuadro para que perdure ni para tenerlo en casa
sino para venderlo y pronto
con usura,
pecado contra la naturaleza,
es tu pan para siempre harapiento,
seco como papel, sin trigo de montaña,
sin la fuerte harina. ....



""""There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said; one is a part of household management, the other is retail trade: the former necessary and honorable, while that which consists in exchange is justly censured; for it is unnatural, and a mode by which men gain from one another. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural. """ (Aristotle, Politics)

Bastante, para ahora

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Blankfein, CEO of Goldman-Sachs "does God's work":

""""Blankfein was named as one of "The Most Outrageous CEO of 2009" by Forbes magazine.[4] Taking a different position, Financial Times, which named Blankfein as its "2009 Person of the Year," stated: "His bank has stuck to its strengths, unashamedly taken advantage of the low interest rates and diminished competition resulting from the crisis to make big trading profits."[5] Critics of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street have taken issue with those practices

On January 13, 2010, Blankfein testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, that he considered Goldman Sachs's role as primarily a market maker, not a creator of the product (i.e., subprime mortgage-related securities).[7] Goldman Sachs was sued on April 16, 2010 by the SEC for the fraudulent selling of a collateralized debt obligation tied to subprime mortgages, a product which Goldman Sachs had created[8]

With Blankfein at the helm Goldman has also been criticized "by lawmakers and pundits for issues from its pay practices to its role in helping Greece mask the size of its debts."[8] Blankfein testified before Congress in April of 2010 at a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.[improper synthesis?] He said that Goldman Sachs had no moral or legal obligation to inform its clients it was betting against the products which they were buying from Goldman Sachs because it was not acting in a fiduciary role.""""

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"The Rational State"

Your semi-annual Herbert "Homie" Marcuse update, Contingencies fans!

""""Hegel’s early political philosophy is reminiscent of the origins of political theory in modern society. Hobbes also founded his Leviathan State upon the otherwise unconquerable chaos, the bellum omnium contra omnes, of individualistic society. Between Hobbes and Hegel, however, lies the period in which the absolutist state had unleashed the economic forces of capitalism, and in which political economy had uncovered some of the mechanisms of the capitalist labour process. Hegel had indulged in a study of political economy. His analysis of civil society got to the root structure of modern society and presented elaborate critical analysis, whereas Hobbes got and used intuitive insight. And even more, Hegel discovered in the upsurge of the French Revolution principles that pointed beyond the given framework of individualist society. The ideas of reason and freedom, of a unity between the common and the particular interest, denoted, for him, values that could not be sacrificed to the state. He struggled all his life to render them consonant with the necessity of ‘controlling and curbing’. His attempts to solve the problem are manifold, and the final triumph goes not to the Leviathan, but to the rational state under the rule of law.

The second Jenenser Realphilosophie goes on to discuss the manner in which civil society is integrated with the state. Hegel discusses the political form of this society under the heading of ‘Constitution’. Law (Gesetz) changes the blind totality of exchange relations into the consciously regulated apparatus of the state. The picture of the anarchy and confusion of civil society is painted in even darker colours than before.

[The individual] is subject to the complete confusion and hazard of the whole. A mass of the population is condemned to the stupefying, unhealthy and insecure labour of factories, manufactories, mines, and so on. Whole branches of industry which supported a large bulk of the population suddenly fold up because the mode changes or because the values of their products fall on account of new inventions in other countries, or for other reasons. Whole masses are thus abandoned to helpless poverty. The conflict between vast wealth and vast poverty steps forth, a poverty unable to improve its condition. Wealth becomes ... a predominant power. Its accumulation takes place partly by chance, partly through the general mode of distribution ... Acquisition develops into a many-sided system which ramifies into fields from which smaller business cannot profit. The utmost abstractness of labour reaches into the most individual types of work and continues to widen its sphere. This inequality of wealth and poverty, this need and necessity turn into the utmost dismemberment of will, inner rebellion and hatred.""""

Though not one of our phavorite philosophical eggheads, Marcuse did know his Hegel.

Friday, July 16, 2010



""""Okay, so here's what's changed about the justification for the tax cut in the new issue of Meg Magazine.
The first edition read like this:
California is one of a few states in the country that doesn't tax capital gains at a lower rate than traditional income.

This trick figure comes from the fact that in some states the tax on capital gains can't be lower than the tax on traditional income because they're both zero. Another way to look at this stat: 41 states tax capital gains and traditional income (wages) at the exact same rate. So by "a few" she means 4/5ths.

This is double taxation at its worst.
This is horseshit at its most specious. Everything gets taxed over and over. Meg pays the liar who writes lies for her. That's taxed. He pays the therapist who helps him live with the guilt. That gets taxed. The therapist buys liquor. That gets taxed. Double taxation isn't an economic argument. It's just something Frank Luntz made up one day to mess with Joe the Plumber's head.

California's tax treatment of capital gains is a major impediment to capital formation and investment in new jobs.
For example, if a billionaire didn't have to pay taxes, he could hire you to express his dog's anal glands. And you could pay taxes.

We should align California's tax treatment of capital gains with other competing states.
There's nothing to "align" with. There are no states - not a single one - where they tax income and don't tax capital gains""".

Californians need an update to voting regulations, like a policy altering the vote-day card so as to allow NO notes on any or all candidates: a NO vote should be allowed on e-Meg, and a NO on Jerry Moonbeams, and/or a NOTA vota (Senor NOTA! as in None-of-the-above). When the total NO or NOTA votes outnumber the YES votes, the political process will have been significantly advanced.

* * *

In related news, Chupacabras?.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Fearless Leader

The Slavoj Zizek show...

....""""Badiou gives the introduction, and Zizek, sitting in the first row, can hardly remain in his seat. He moves his lips as if he were giving the talk himself. Badiou is an affable, well-dressed elderly gentleman. He doesn't look like an enemy of the state, but more like an easy-going East German pensioner. Negri, who is also sitting on the stage, looks like Badiou's polar opposite. He seems emaciated, as if he had just been released from prison, and not nine years ago. Badiou quotes Mao in his introduction: "Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory."

And just as the audience looks ready to cringe, Zizek interrupts Badiou to quote Samuel Beckett instead: "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." He laughs and looks around to see if anyone is laughing with him.

He can speak more quickly than he can think. He's like a jackhammer. He has published more than 50 books, which have been translated into more than 20 languages. His most recent book, "Living in the End Times," is a 400-page treatise on the demise of the liberal democracy.""""

Guar-ann-teed to scare the fock out of the ordinary American Nephite. Either way, better Beckett than Bad-deux (continuing the ad-slogan philosophastry, mo' Hegel, less Lacan).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Economics, sans "ethics"

And sans pointless number-crunching. A Contingencies Klassic:V for Veblen

"The addiction to sports, therefore, in a peculiar degree marks an arrested development in man's moral nature”


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rev. Chopin

Freddie K, does Freddy C's Etude 10/1: "waterfall". Real music ignites...the bonfire of the vanities.... for that matter [for any people who know something about realmusick] Chopin, house pianist, played jazz harmonies circa 1835, flattened fifths, substitutions, chromaticism, exotic scales and all.

Arguments From Authori-tay

Krugman on Brooks:

"""A quick note on David Brooks’s column today. I have no idea what he’s talking about when he says,

The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years

Funny, I thought we had a perfectly good explanation: severe downturn in demand from the financial crisis, and a stimulus which we warned from the beginning wasn’t nearly big enough. And as I’ve been trying to point out, events have strongly confirmed a demand-side view of the world.

But there’s something else in David’s column, which I see a lot: the argument that because a lot of important people believe something, it must make sense:

Moreover, the Demand Siders write as if everybody who disagrees with them is immoral or a moron. But, in fact, many prize-festooned economists do not support another stimulus. Most European leaders and central bankers think it’s time to begin reducing debt, not increasing it — as do many economists at the international economic institutions. Are you sure your theorists are right and theirs are wrong?

Yes, I am. It’s called looking at the evidence. I’ve looked hard at the arguments the Pain Caucus is making, the evidence that supposedly supports their case — and there’s no there there.

And you just have to wonder how it’s possible to have lived through the last ten years and still imagine that because a lot of Serious People believe something, you should believe it too. Iraq? Housing bubble? Inflation? (It’s worth remembering that Trichet actually raised rates in June 2008, because he believed that inflation — not the financial crisis — was the big threat facing Europe.)

The moral I’ve taken from recent years isn’t Be Humble — it’s Question Authority. And you should too."""

Guru Krugman says...Question Authority, peoples. Even that of the supply-siders, libertarian nutbags, or Liz Cheney's panocha.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Bubba Mehserle's "mistake"

SF Gate:
""The jury deliberated less than seven hours to reach the verdict in the trial of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle for murdering Oscar Grant: involuntary manslaughter. In other words, although the former officer was found guilty of pulling a gun on Grant and shooting him in the back as he lay face down, hand-cuffed, on a platform, the jury did not find that Mehserle had any intent to end Grant's life when he pulled his gun and shot him in the back as he lay handcuffed on the platform, face down, with another officer's knee pushing into in his back.

With this verdict, the jury essentially affirmed their belief that Mehserle, while guilty, had made a "mistake". As someone who has observed juries deliberate, the idea this jury could reach a consensus so quickly in such a complicated case makes me wonder how many of the people sitting in the jury box actually listened to what they heard."""

The mistake was letting Mehserle, a murderer with a badge, walk on 187.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

As predicted....

Spain defeats Germany, 1-0. And Contingencies called it.

La Furia Roja's a team, a fast-moving one at that (and will take down Netherlands). Mannschaft's merely a collection of talented individuals (seemed a bit tired according to reports, even if young). The whole is not just the sum of its parts.

Enough to have a Glenn Beck dreaming of an attack of the LAMANITE hordes.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Efficaciousness, continued

The Wonder, Work, and Power Meme

"But what of the thing that the priest promises to the believer, the wholly transcendental "beyond"--how is that to be demonstrated?--The "proof by power," thus assumed, is actually no more at bottom than a belief that the effects which faith promises will not fail to appear. In a formula: "I believe that faith makes for blessedness--therefore, it is true." . . But this is as far as we may go. This "therefore" would be absurdum itself as a criterion of truth.--But let us admit, for the sake of politeness, that blessedness by faith may be demonstrated (--not merely hoped for, and not merely promised by the suspicious lips of a priest): even so, could blessedness--in a technical term, pleasure--ever be a proof of truth? So little is this true that it is almost a proof against truth when sensations of pleasure influence the answer to the question "What is true?" or, at all events, it is enough to make that "truth" highly suspicious. The proof by "pleasure" is a proof of "pleasure"--nothing more; why in the world should it be assumed that true judgments give more pleasure than false ones, and that, in conformity to some pre-established harmony, they necessarily bring agreeable feelings in their train?--The experience of all disciplined and profound minds teaches the contrary. Man has had to fight for every atom of the truth, and has had to pay for it almost everything that the heart, that human love, that human trust cling to. Greatness of soul is needed for this business: the service of truth is the hardest of all services.--What, then, is the meaning of integrityin things intellectual? It means that a man must be severe with his own heart, that he must scorn "beautiful feelings," and that he makes every Yea and Nay a matter of conscience!--Faith makes blessed:therefore, it lies. . . . "(from the AntiKhrist, Mencken's translation)

One could imagine some enthusiastic xtian, like one now bellowing out her support for Sarah Palin (or really, for B.O.), saying something like "I believe that faith makes for blessedness--therefore, it is true." That efficaciousness of faith (to borrow a term from Quine) in a sense suffices for the True Believer, whether in terms of religious faith, or political faith in a sense (e.g., the Teabagger's "faith" in phree enterprise). The Griswold family marches into the First Church of The Redeemer, sings a few hosannas, listens to Pastor Sunday lecture on the Anglicized Gospels, and feels uplifted before getting back in the Yukon and heading towards Carrows, and the kids seem calmer, and well, blessed: what more proof does Pops Griswold need? (Or, similarly, Pops Griswold remembers some advice from a business course instructor--buy low, sell high, etc--, wins on the stock market--ergo, capitalism works...) That's a pragmatist point which the madman Nietzsche understands-- and which the overly analytical skeptic --the Bertrand Russell sort--often has overlooked, regardless of his effective skewering of vague theological concepts.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Freemason day

""The sealed obligation, the drinking of wine from a human skull, is a ceremony not less objectionable. This you know, sir, is the scene, in which the candidate takes the
skull in his hand and says, " As the sins of the whole world were laid upon the head of our Saviour, so may the sins of the person whose skull this once was, be heaped upon my head in addition to my own ; and may they appear in judgment against me, both here and hereafter, should I violate any obligation in Masonry or the orders of knighthood which I have heretofore taken, take at this time, or may be hereafter instructed in ; so help me God,"
— and he drinks the wine from the skull.

And is not this enough ? No. The Knight Templar takes an oath containing many promises —
binding himself under no less penalty than to have his head struck off and placed on the highest spire in Christendom, should he knowingly or willingly
violate any part of his solemn obligation of a Knight Templar. ""

( JQ Adams, Letters on the Masonic Institution)

Mo' Masonic phunn

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Don't cry for me,Argentina. Aufveedersehen, Maridonna

World Cup: Germany beats Argentina, 4-0

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Don't mess with Germany, on or off the field.

Miroslav Klose scored twice to move into a tie for second on the all-time World Cup scoring list, and Germany backed up its pre-game trash talk with an emphatic 4-0 rout of Argentina in the quarterfinals Saturday. The dominant display — along with Germany's two other four-goal games — should demand the attention of everyone still playing in South Africa.

"It was absolute class," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.

Hard to argue with that.

Zauber, Zooper Spitze!

Friday, July 02, 2010


Netherlands  crushes Brazilla , 2-1. 


After they conceded, Brazil looked like flawed machine, unable to string together passes or shots. Wesley Schnejder's header—also a product of horrible Brazilian defending from a set piece—instantly turned Dunga's men into 10 nutjobs (Kaka looked like the only competent player on the pitch in blue for the last 25 minutes).

Melo, after conceding the own goal, got sent off for a vicious and needless challenge.

The football purists might mourn the end of Brazil at the World Cup, but no-one's going to miss a side who seemed to enjoy lying on the floor rather than playing the beautiful game. It was Holland who played the game—and now, if Arjen Robben could just realise that there's other people in the park other than himself—this team will be World Cup winners come a week from Sunday.""""' Now, Mannschaft musst defeat Mara-prima donna and his paysanos...


Maria Shriver on....the Ahhts

"Art is fundamental, unique to each of us.

For me, writing allows me to be creative, to be thoughtful and to learn more about myself and those who inspire me. But I also see art in so many other aspects of life: in parenting, in expressing our spirituality, even simply how we dress each and every day.

My husband, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, paints to relax. And of course, he loves to act. But he also approached bodybuilding as a form of art, self-expression and communication."

Governator Ahhhnuld, un Belle-artiste!   Zut.  Perhaps a Self-portrait as The Terminator, terminating the California  economy.   Paraphrasing Kierkegaard, the person in despair does not generally know it's in despair.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Halten Zee programz! sez Gov. Girly Mann

"""California begins a new budget year Thursday without a spending plan in place and with no agreement imminent between state legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on how to close a $19.1-billion deficit.

State employees and others who depend on government money were bracing Wednesday for the possible fallout. Thousands of state workers took to the Capitol steps, protesting spending cuts and the governor's threat to slash their pay. Community colleges and vendors that do business with the state are on edge, their payments in jeopardy because of the budget delay.

And California's top finance officials warned of further reductions in the state's already woeful credit ratings on Wall Street."""

Discuss an update of Prop. 13, or taxing the salaries of grossly overpaid California corporate executives, perhaps increasing sales taxes on luxury vehicles? No, instead axe day care and schools. Ahhhuldnomics, the politics of those too stoopid for politics. Put a celebrity in a gulag for Jeeezuss.
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