Thursday, November 30, 2006

DOJ expected to loosen up on corporate fraud

From the American Public Media radio show Marketplace:

Five years after the Enron and WorldCom frauds and subsequent meltdowns triggered a series of tougher regulations for corporate America, the pushback seems to be gaining traction. The Washington Post today reported that an anonymous Justice Department source says officials are close to relaxing guidelines on corporate criminal prosecutions. Details haven't been released yet, but the changes are expected to restrict government prosecutors' tools.

Click here to read or listen to the rest.

A little over a month ago, on the occasion of the sentencing of Enron's former CEO Jeffery Skilling, I wrote:

But what bugs me about this is that anyone at all thinks this means the end of "an era of white-collar crime." That's just so fucking stupid. The GOP Congress passed only what amounted to window dressing in terms of reform after all the scandals broke, which means that, legally, the stage continues to be set for more fraud. Sure, yeah, the capitalist crowd is being more careful these days--the only reason all these guys got busted in the first place was that the conventional wisdom was such that they had all the authorities in their pockets, and would never be held accountable. Well, guess what? They still have all the authorities in their pockets and the Enron induced fear over Wall Street is only going to last another couple of years at most.
I now correct myself. I should have written that the Enron induced fear on Wall Street is now over. It really does look like the woefully inadequate post-scandal "reforms" are going to be rolled back, and I bet it happens with nary a protest from the new Democratic Congress. It's back to business as usual, which means ripping off average Americans. It's nice to have been so accurate in predicting this, even if I was off by a couple of years, but all this strong dose of reality seems to be doing is depressing me.

The corporations really do rule us now.



From the AP via Yahoo courtesy of AlterNet:

From 1995 to 2003, inmates in federal prison for drug offenses have accounted for 49 percent of total prison population growth.

The numbers are from the annual report from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report breaks down inmate populations for state and federal prisons and local jails.

Racial disparities among prisoners persist. In the 25-29 age group, 8.1 percent of black men — about one in 13 — are incarcerated, compared with 2.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.1 percent of white men. And it's not much different among women. By the end of 2005, black women were more than twice as likely as Hispanics and over three times as likely as white women to be in prison.

Click here for the rest.

So much for "land of the free." There's something really sick and twisted about this. What can it possibly say about our nation that, in order for it to function, we have to imprison so many people? Nothing good, I'm sure. The article observes that the US now has some seven million people in prison, jail, on probation, or parole--that's nearly the size of New York City. Locking people up has become such an enormous enterprise that a literal prison-industrial complex has become an economic and political player on the American power landscape, which means that there is much more driving this criminal justice boom than simply crime. The foolish "war on drugs" obviously has a great deal to do with the boom as well, and, as noted in the above excerpt, locking up African-Americans, a longtime national tradition, also feeds the ranks of the imprisoned. Meanwhile, crime rates have increased over the last few years.

What the fuck is going on here? We're putting more and more people into the system, but crime is going up: it's clear to anybody who thinks about the issue for about two seconds that "get tough on crime" is an abysmal failure. Making matters worse, the US has essentially abandoned any real attempts to rehabilitate; we're all about punishment now, but to what avail?

This is a really twisted Gordian knot. The bottom line is that, while society certainly needs to get threats off the streets, we're dealing with it in a really retarded way. I know it makes a certain right-wing fundamentalist crowd feel warm all over when criminals "pay" for their misdeeds, but the reality is that this generally does nothing to stop crime. All the while it fucks up severely the people who are caught in America's vast crime net, often making minor offenders into real criminals later in life. Probably the quickest and most effective reform we can enact is to decriminalize drug use and roll all that enforcement money into prevention and treatment, but, like I said, there's a lot of money being made from the status quo right now, so that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Expect the prison population to continue to expand for the foreseeable future.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A physician known for peddling bad science
gains power over health services for millions

From the Houston Chronicle editorial board:

President Bush appointed Massachusetts obstetrician-gynecologist Erik Keroack to direct family planning programs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Keroack certainly has experience in the field: He was medical director of A Woman's Concern, a chain of crisis pregnancy centers. The organization's Web site calls distribution of birth control "demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness."

To dissuade women from choosing birth control or abortion, the group relies on more than ideology. Under Keroack's direction, the centers burdened women with medical information that was twisted, debunked or brazenly fictitious. Among its erroneous claims, the group asserts that condoms "offer virtually no protection"against herpes or HIV. How many cases of sexually transmitted disease has that dangerous disinformation caused? In fact, as Slate magazine notes, the National Instititutes of Health report that condom users have an "85 percent decrease in risk of HIV transmission."

A Woman's Concern also preaches the egregious falsehood that teenagers who receive abortions "may face an eight times greater risk of contracting breast cancer by age 45." This dangerous propaganda has been debunked repeatedly by medical professionals, most recently by the National Cancer Institute.

Click here for the rest.

This is utterly in keeping with the bullshit pattern of White House appointments to key positions in administrative agencies that's been going on years. The Food and Drug Administration is run by executives plucked straight out of the big pharma and giant agri-business industries. The National Labor Relations Board is staffed by anti-labor corporatists and demagogues. The Environmental Protection agency is led by representatives from the most polluting industries and global warming skeptics. In short, Bush appoints people who he knows are going to do their damndest to completely subvert these agencies' mandated regulatory missions. That is, he's put the wolf in charge of the hen house, again and again.

This shit isn't even shocking any more. It's just plain insulting.

And it's been no different in the conservatives' war on sex. For instance, the FDA held up for years approval of an over-the-counter version of the morning-after birth control pill, for reasons that had nothing to do with safety. Now we have this bozo installed at HHS, and the insults have moved into humiliation territory. Condoms have no effect on HIV? Fucking shit. They act as though we just fell off of a fucking turnip truck.

I'm really glad I'm alone when I read about this stuff 'cause I'm really in the mood to argue with some dumbfuck conservatives. I mean argue like I would with a stump, non-stop, until I'm blue in the face. Goddamned assholes.


Invoking Lennon, Ono asks suffering souls to forgive

From Reuters via the Houston Chronicle:

Noting that the Dec. 8 anniversary of her husband's murder at the hands of an assassin was approaching, Ono thanked the people from whom she hears each year, but said she wanted to send a message this year as well.

Directing her words to "people who have lost loved ones without cause," to "the soldiers of all countries and of all centuries," to civilians who were injured or killed and to "people who have been abused or tortured," Ono wrote "Know that your loss is our loss ... Know that the burden is ours," and asked "Forgive us."


Ono concluded by asking that Dec. 8 become "the day to ask for forgiveness from those who suffered the insufferable," and for "healing ourselves" and thus the world.

Click here for the rest.

Obviously, given that she has no real oppressive power, and that she has worked against oppression for decades as both an artist and an activist, no one along the lines she describes really needs to forgive Yoko Ono. Still, this is a good idea, very much in keeping with the kind of stuff she used to do with John back in the day, very much in keeping with the hopeful utopianism described in his song "Imagine" and others. Definitely a good way to memorialize the anniversary of his death. It's also not a bad idea to tell the people of the world who have been victimized in the name of the United States that most Americans really don't have much control over the actions of their government, but that we're sorry that what little control we have hasn't actually amounted to much. Sort of taking collective responsibililty for allowing the hawks and corporate exploiters to get away with it all.

In the end, such a proclamation won't really change things on a grand scale, but it will make people here think about the issues involved. And that's really about as much as an artist and activist can do. I like it.

Yoko at the bed-in for peace, 1969


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Neighbors incensed by peace-sign wreath

DENVER — A subdivision has withdrawn its threat of $25 daily fines against a homeowner who put a Christmas wreath shaped like a peace sign on the front of her home.

Homeowner Lisa Jensen told The Associated Press Monday that the board of directors of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association had apologized, called the incident a misunderstanding and had withdrawn its request for the wreath's removal.

Jensen was ordered to take the wreath down when some residents in her 200-home subdivision saw it as a protest of the Iraq war. Bob Kearns, president of the board, also said some saw it as a symbol of Satan.

The homeowners' association demanded Jensen remove the wreath from her house, saying it doesn't allow flags or signs that are considered divisive.

Click here for the rest.

A symbol of Satan?

Christ, that's just so untrue. The symbol was originally designed in the 1950s for the nuclear disarmament movement; it is a stylized combination of the semaphore letters "N" and "D" for, obviously, "Nuclear Disarmament." By the 60s it was picked up by the anti-war movement and the rest is history. But I have heard, years ago, the "Satanic" rationale: some evangelical idiot decided that it is actually an upside down and broken Christian cross, and therefore a symbol of Satan, which says more about how fucking stupid fundamentalists are than anything else.

Anyway, it is amazing indeed that, even at Christmas, which is traditionally considered to be, among other things, a call for "peace on Earth, and goodwill toward men," the humble peace symbol can be considered "divisive." I think 9/11 drove a large fraction of the population bat-shit crazy and they may never recover--I mean, certainly a majority of Americans freaked out after the twin towers were hit, but most have by now regained their senses; these anti-peace people, however, clearly have suffered some sort of irreparable brain damage. They're just not normal people anymore.

Fucking A! It's fucking Christmas! Can't these fucktards give lip service to "peace on Earth"? Well, at least they get to keep their wreath up without penalty. I've learned these past few years to be thankful for the small things. That's what keeps me going...




From my old pal Matt over at Caffeinated:

It was a dark weekend for Texas Longhorn fans. First the Aggies get off the schneid for the first time since ‘99 by coming out and whippin’ us in classic fashion. Then, OU delivers the second blow by taking care of their business and knocking us out of the Big 12 title game. Ouch.

But, one bright light shone. Recent grad Vince Young, playing for the woeful Tennessee Oilers Titans, only went out and delivered the biggest come back ever by a rookie in the NFL. Beat a guy named Manning (ok, the other Manning, but still!) and beat the record held by some guy named Elway.

Click here for the rest, and be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for a link to some coverage of the game.

Okay, this, like LSU's #5 BCS ranking, makes UT's late season collapse hurt a wee bit less. Of course, I would have preferred that Young finished out his NCAA eligibility, playing another year as a Longhorn, but it's nice to feel some connection to him in his pro career. Damn, the Houston Texans were sooooo stupid to not draft him; I mean, the guy is a prime candidate for Professor Xavier's school, you know, if it actually existed: he's literally got super powers. I wish I'd seen the game. When Vince Young is hot, he offers up some of the best football moments you'll ever see.

You know, I've kind of hated the Titans for years, just because they left Houston and all. But that's faded due to how hard they play, how determined they are, even when they suck, all of which I attribute to their coach Jeff Fisher, a classy guy. Now they've got a bona fide Longhorn legend playing with them. I'm expecting great things from them in the years to come.


Monday, November 27, 2006


From the Baton Rouge Advocate:

LSU’s football regular season may be over, but the Tigers are still playing like a hit song: rising up the charts and getting a ton of airplay.

In the wake of its 31-26 victory Friday at Arkansas and several key upsets this weekend, 10-2 LSU rocketed up five spots to No. 5 in the penultimate BCS standings and replaced the Razorbacks at No. 5 in the major polls.

It is LSU’s highest ranking of the season. The Tigers started No. 8 in the preseason Associated Press poll and got as high as No. 6 before losing to Auburn on Sept. 16. LSU moved steadily from 18th to 10th in the six previous BCS rankings, the first of which was released on Oct. 15.

Click here for the rest.

Far out. While I was moping about Texas losing to those damned sheep-loving militarists from College Station, the Tigers were out there making a statement. As the article observes, LSU hasn't been so highly ranked in the BCS since their championship season back in 2003. What this means, and the Advocate goes into excrutiating analysis to get it figured out, is that the Tigers have a very good shot at the Rose Bowl. I mean, it's not guaranteed, but right now they're looking like the favorite pick for the mother-of-all-bowls. And Texas used their win there against Michigan a couple of years back to catapult them into their national championship season last year.

So, Austin's sad 'cause the Mighty Casey struck out and all, but football's smelling pretty sweet here in Baton Rouge. Geaux Tigers!


Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Bloomberg 'deeply disturbed' by fatal shooting

Kelly has said police shot at the car after it drove forward and struck an undercover officer and an unmarked police minivan. The information was based on interviews with witnesses and two officers who did not fire their weapons, he said.

However, Trini Wright, a dancer at the strip club where Bell's bachelor party was held, told the Daily News she was going to a diner with the men and was putting her makeup bag in the trunk of their car when the police minivan appeared.

"The minivan came around the corner and smashed into their car. And they (the police) jumped out shooting," Wright, 28, told the newspaper for Monday editions. "No 'stop.' No 'freeze.' No nothing."


The officers' shots struck the men's car 21 times. They also hit nearby homes and shattered windows at a train station, though no residents were injured.

Police thought one of the men in the car might have had a gun, but investigators found no weapons. It was unclear what prompted police to open fire, Kelly said.

According to Kelly, the groom was involved in a verbal dispute outside the club, and one of his friends referred to a gun.

An undercover officer walked closely behind Bell and his friends as they headed for their car. As he walked toward the front of the vehicle, the car drove forward, striking the officer and minivan, Kelly said.

That officer was apparently the first to open fire, Kelly said. He had served on the force for five years. One 12-year veteran fired his weapon 31 times, emptying two full magazines, Kelly said.


The department's policy prohibits shooting at moving vehicles states "unless deadly force is being used against the police officers or another person present, by means other than a moving vehicle."

Click here for the rest.

Wow. This is totally over the top. But then, it's only the clear cut, black and white, without a doubt, cases of police misconduct that we actually hear about. The tales of police abuse and corruption that aren't so obvious never make it into the public discourse--generally our society gives the police a very strong benefit of the doubt. But make no mistake about it: the police, who aren't here so much to protect us as to ensure economic security for the overall benefit of the elites who own and run the country, are deeply immersed in a culture of paranoia, authority, and racism, which ensures that horrific events such as this one in New York last weekend will happen again and again, in every city, town, and county in America.

A few questions:

If the car actually did hit this cop, why haven't we heard what his medical condition is? And if he wasn't hurt, why the hell did he think it necessary to open fire?

Why was it necessary to fire fifty shots, especially when the victims were unarmed?

Why was the shooting so wild that it hit nearby homes and a train station? Were these undercover titty-bar cops drunk?

Why did these cops ignore NYPD rules about gunfire at moving cars?

Did the fact that the victims were black have anything to do with it? (Quick and easy answer on which I'd bet a thousand dollars: YES.)

This is sick, sick, sick, and doesn't do a damned thing to make me trust the police any more than I do already, which isn't much. Man, something's got to change.



From an unfavorble review in Stage Time magazine:

Carlin's signature brashness is still alive and well, even if the 69 year-old relies on the outmoded beatnik-style recitation of lists as punchlines and allows his audience to withstand long passages of socio-political left-wing rhetoric that they applaud rather than laugh at.

When Carlin steps out onto the stage of the Beacon Theatre, he appears a bit frail and taken aback by how excited the audience is to see him. He repeats the first line of his piece "A Modern Man" (the opening passage of his most recent book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?") a few times, but by the end seems confident and ready to rock; the Mick Jagger of comedy there to give his fans a night of bliss.

But much like Margaret Cho, Carlin has been criticized of late for focusing more on his message than on producing tight material. Unlike Cho, however, whose mostly gay following eats her act and her politics right up, Carlin leaves his audience in the dark multiple times, especially during his long rants about suicide, assassination, genocide, torture, human sacrifice, cannibalism, necrophilia and beheadings.

Funny stuff, huh? Well, not as funny as "Stuff," or any other of his classic routines. Most of his jokes go over as if he were telling them at a funeral, and in a way, he is, since the stage is littered with headstones. Accordingly, the audience is dead silent for much of the show.

Click here for more.

No, the audience is not "dead silent for much of the show."

Obviously, the reviewer just didn't get it. Carlin, with his decades of standup experience, has earned the right to push against the edges of his genre, and that's exactly what he does in his thirteenth HBO special, recorded last year and now out on DVD. If you use only the "is it funny?" test, then yeah, he's done some funnier routines in the past. But if that's the only standard employed, one totally misses out on some really sublime material. And it is funny. Hilarious, even. But it's also dark, reflecting Carlin's recent statements that he's "given up on the human race."

If you have no appreciation for existentialism, you're better off with the latest outing from Tim Allen or Jim Carrey, you know, something stupid that requires no thought. But if you like mixing a bit of substance with your comedy, then check this out. Carlin hasn't had me laughing this much since I first encountered him when I was a kid--the "Stuff" routine mentioned in the review is no longer funny to me; I've moved on and so has our culture. You know, in many ways, George Carlin hasn't changed that much at all. Our culture has. He's just doing what he's always done, looking at reality for what it really is. It's certainly not his fault if reality has taken a turn for the worse. And what changes have occured within Carlin's approach to standup are entirely welcome. His maturity has made him bolder, but without any kind of crazed frenzy that often comes from younger artists. Carlin knows exactly what he's doing. His risks are calculated but breathtaking.

It is fortunate, indeed, that some internet uploading pirate has made the entire special available for online viewing, courtesy of Throw away your TV.

Check it out here. It's well worth it.



From the Boston Globe courtesy of AlterNet:

Dick Cheney's mission to expand
-- or 'restore' --
the powers of the presidency

A close look at key moments in Cheney's career -- from his political apprenticeship in the Nixon and Ford administrations to his decade in Congress and his tenure as secretary of defense under the first President Bush -- suggests that the newly empowered Democrats in Congress should not expect the White House to cooperate when they demand classified information or attempt to exert oversight in areas such as domestic surveillance or the treatment of terrorism suspects.

Peter Shane, an Ohio State University law professor, predicted that Cheney's long career of consistently pushing against restrictions on presidential power is likely to culminate in a series of uncompromising battles with Congress.

"Cheney has made this a matter of principle," Shane said. "For that reason, you are likely to hear the words 'executive privilege' over and over again during the next two years."

Cheney declined to comment for this article. But he has repeatedly said his agenda includes restoring the presidency to its fullest powers by rolling back "unwise" limits imposed by Congress after the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.

"In 34 years, I have repeatedly seen an erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job," Cheney said on ABC in January 2002. "I feel an pass on our offices in better shape than we found them to our successors."

Cheney's ideal of presidential power is the level of power the office briefly achieved in the late 1960s, the era of what historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called the "imperial presidency."

Click here for the rest.

In short, Cheney is an anti-democratic fascist who, in his intense opposition to the delicate balance of powers between the three branches of government explicitly stated in the Constitution, wants to turn the Presidency into a dictatorship. Those "fullest powers" of the Presidency were always an aberration, which grew out of necessity during WWII, and then grew into an uncontrollable nightmare during the Cold War. Only the excesses of the Nixon administration, of which Cheney was a part, were able to shock the country into tipping the scales back to normal. Our nation simply cannot be the America that we understand with the executive branch that Cheney envisions. Every American should understand from their high school civics class that should any one branch of the federal government become too powerful, it is only a matter of time before our democracy is finished: that's why there is such a thing as balance of powers.

And that's why Cheney is a big huge DICK.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former U.S. general

From Reuters courtesy of AlterNet:

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.

"The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished"," she told Saturday's El Pais.

"The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques."

The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer "no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion" to secure information.

"Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind," the document states.

Click here for the rest.

Of course, the fact that the torture orders came down from the very highest levels has been obvious from almost the moment the Abu Ghraib story broke, what with all those White House legal memos justifying it in the abstract, and the shocking consistency of methods from Baghdad to Kabul. The only thing that's different now is that people are starting to talk, which is only one reason that Rumsfeld has been charged with war crimes in Germany--god, I love the irony on that! The point is that it's time to face facts: in addition to running our country into the ground, stealing at least one Presidental election, all that, the White House gang is a bunch of twisted, evil war criminals.

The only thing keeping that fact from being more widely accepted in the US is the strange belief that Americans are somehow unlike the rest of the human race, that Americans don't do such things.

Well, that's bullshit. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Americans are no different. And these guys on the Bush team are as bad as people can get. As I've said many times, I don't support the death penalty, but it's pretty clear that this whole gang of mafiosi deserves death--I mean, I'll settle for life in prison, but, in the grand scheme, there's very little difference between them and this guy below.

Hermann Goering testifying at Nuremberg.


U.S. involvement in Iraq war eclipses WWII

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle courtesy of AlterNet:

The war in Iraq has now lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in the war that President Bush's father fought in, World War II.

As of Sunday, the conflict in Iraq has raged for three years and just over eight months.

Only the Vietnam War (eight years, five months), the Revolutionary War (six years, nine months), and the Civil War (four years) have engaged America longer.

Click here for the rest.

I suppose that most historians don't consider it actually to be a war, but it's worth noting that it took over a decade, after the Spanish-American war was over, to subdue the insurgency in the Philippines--silly Filipinos, they thought we were coming there to liberate them from the Spanish; boy, were they wrong. I wonder why nobody ever talks about this forgotten war? Probably because it was an imperial war, and widespread knowledge of it would simply ruin the "fact" that Americans don't engage in imperialism.

Anyway, I pretty much expect our involvement in Iraq to continue for years to come. It's a much bigger prize-of-empire than the Philippines ever was, sitting right in the middle of all those oil reserves, which will ultimately allow the US to leverage its massive military power into economic world dominance via control of oil markets. But for that to happen, we have to put down the rebellion, and it appears that the Iraqis are at least as determined to throw us out as the Filipinos were, and my guess is that they are more determined. But, in the long run, I don't think that's going to matter much to the Washington establishment. Democrat, Republican, it doesn't really matter who's got the White House or Congress: it's frightening, but I'm pretty certain at this point that all this talk about withdrawal is only going to turn out to be talk. The excuse now is that chaos will reign if we leave, but I'm starting to think that Syria and Iran would never allow that to happen; they'd invade and establish a Shiite controlled state under their domination. So, I think, the real reason we aren't leaving, apart from controlling the oil, is that we want to be the ones to push Iraq around.

All hail the mighty American Empire!


Friday, November 24, 2006


First, some football hell. From the AP via ESPN:

Texas A&M runs down Texas to snap 6-game series skid

Stephen McGee had taken so many hard hits, he was throwing up. But yard by yard, McGee and the Texas A&M Aggies were pounding out six years of frustration in their rivalry with Texas.

With a stingy defense and two long scoring drives in the first and fourth quarters, the Aggies finally got past the Longhorns with a 12-7 victory Friday that they hope signals their return to prominence in the Big 12.

McGee, battered by the heat and the beating he was taking while running the option, punched in the winning touchdown with an 8-yard run with 2:32 to play.

Click here for the rest.

Needless to say, I'm so thoroughly horrified and disgusted that I don't even really want to be making this post. But I do have a couple of thoughts. First, when all is said and done I think this devastating loss comes down to Colt McCoy's neck injury that he got in the K-State game. He was underthrowing all over the place, obviously less than 100%. Second, we would have won if not for that bogus pass interference call against Sweed--as the announcers observed, both receiver and defender were all over each other which should have made for offsetting penalties, but didn't for some reason.

Now I've got to cheer on Oklahoma State if we're going to make it to the Big 12 Championship game. Damn it!

Now some football heaven. Again from the AP via ESPN:

No. 9 LSU ends No. 5 Arkansas' national title hopes

JaMarcus Russell and LSU cleared another contender from the national title picture and just might have added one more big game to their already brutal road schedule -- this time in the BCS.

The Tigers will gladly accept a trip like that, and after taking out No. 5 Arkansas, they feel they have a pretty good resume.

Russell threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 9 LSU held off the SEC West champion Razorbacks 31-26 on Friday.

"I think we've made a case for the BCS certainly and we've made a case that maybe we're one of the best teams in this conference," Tigers coach Les Miles said. "If you were picking the best team, we'd have something to talk about it."

Click here for the rest.

Needless to say, after drinking from the bitter, bitter, bitter cup of loss-to-Aggies, I wasn't in the mood for more college football. But I did click this one on at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and I'm glad I did. The Tigers played magnificently; the kickoff return for seven points was, of course, great fun, but Russell's fourth quarter leadership made me feel like I was watching a champion team. They were that good. I think they really do have a shot at one of those BCS at-large slots. After all, the SEC is most likely the toughest conference in the country, and LSU came out looking pretty darned good now that the regular season has ended--I mean, come on, they just knocked off their division's champ!

Anyway, in case you're wondering, the LSU win did not make me feel much better about losing to Texas A&M.

Anyway, go Cowboys!



Frankie and Sammy



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

(or "Thanksglutton" for those in the know)

First, go read this if only to make sure you're not taken in by the bullshit mythology surrounding what is, for me anyway, not a bad idea for a holiday. Next, kick off your shoes, loosen your belt, and maybe the top button of your pants, and relax. 'Cause, you see, I've found on Youtube a copy of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The sound track is a bit off and the final minute or two is cut, but, you know, it's an illegal upload and all; on the other hand, it's still worth watching. The highlight for me is the sequence where Snoopy and Woodstock set up the furniture for the kids' outside feast, culminating in a fight between the clever thinking dog and a come-to-life lawnchair, all scored by a groovy early 70s jazz tune. And of course, my favorite cartoon lesbian, Peppermint Patty, is prominently featured--her absence is a fatal flaw for both the Halloween and Christmas Peanuts specials.

Anyway, go check it out. And have a turkey sandwich.

By the way, no post Thursday for obvious reasons. I'll be back late Friday afternoon, hopefully, with some cat blogging pics, and then maybe a little something else that night.


Best Theater Company
Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company

H-Town's alt weekly has just released it's annual "best of" awards, and a company I love scored big:

Best of all, the company, under the artistic direction of founding member Jennifer Decker, has kept its artistic integrity intact. The strange and sometimes head-scratchingly difficult work is never commercial and always intellectually challenging. MU has firmly established itself as an important part of what makes Houston's theater scene one of the richest in the country.

Click here for the rest.

Jennifer, and other company members, are good friends of mine. And lemme tell ya, they've earned this. I know that Jennifer in particular has worked her ass off over the years to both keep the company going, and moving toward ever greater artistic heights. Like I said a few days ago, even when they fail, their stuff is still pretty darned good, which means that their successes make the local institutional regional theater monolith, the Alley, look like dinner theater in comparison.

Here's their website; go check 'em out when you can.

Of course, this newfound success in Houston's underground theater scene puts me into something of a dilemma. Indeed, there's some great stuff going on there, which has sparked the interest of a theater criticism doctoral student I know here at LSU, and I understand that the standup comedy scene there, a performance form I'm thinking seriously about attacking when I finish with my MFA, is pretty decent. I'm way tempted to return to the city of my birth, but I just don't know if I can really make any money as an actor there.

Anyone know what the prospects are like for film and television work in H-Town? Probably bad, which is a drag, because if I join Actors Equity, the stage actor's union, and somehow get hired by that monolith company I mentioned above, I won't be able to do any underground theater stuff, which is what really interests me.

Actually, I have no idea what I'm going to do when I'm done here. Any suggestions?


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


From the Houston Chronicle:

Director Robert Altman dies of cancer at 81

Robert Altman, an iconoclastic, fiercely independent filmmaker, whose films included M*A*S*H, The Player, Gosford Park and most recently A Prairie Home Companion, died of cancer Monday night. He was 81.

More successful artistically than commercially, Altman made films with ensemble casts and interwoven storylines. The mood and style of his work made it immediately identifiable.

Although Altman was nominated five times for Academy Awards, he never won. He was presented with an honorary award for lifetime achievement at the 2006 Oscar ceremony.

He became a Hollywood outsider because Hollywood wouldn't let him in.

Click here for the rest.

I've only seen three Altman films, M*A*S*H, Popeye, and The Player. The middle one, of course, bit the big wang, but the other two are among the best films I've ever seen. And because both of them are scathing indictments of one of the worst aspects of American culture, the military, industrial, and entertainment complex, Altman was one of the best and most successful real artists this nation has ever produced. It's no wonder that he often worked outside of the Hollywood establishment: Hollywood is extraordinarily pro-establishment, in the general sense of the word, and attacking the powers-that-be, as he usually did, is typically a one-way ticket to cinematic obscurity. That his career was so fruitful is amazing in and of itself.

Farewell, Robert Altman.


Hippies still trying to ruin the country

This is hysterically funny. From the Lexington Herald-Leader courtesy of AlterNet:

America won't win another war until the 1960s flower children are pushing up petunias.

Radicalized, the flower children morphed into lefty loonies who now masquerade as social progressives. No matter what they rename themselves, however, their agenda hasn't changed.

They still want utopia, and it wouldn't be worth mentioning except that their naivete has aged into a persistent denial of reality that may have devastating consequences.


To renounce their military fictions would mean facing bigger, more important truths: Marxism doesn't work. Love is not all you need. Western culture is worth defending because it protects freedom, tolerance and the greatest material good for the greatest number. Government can't solve every problem. The American taxpayer has no obligation to support the rest of the world's exploding population.

Without the military-industrial complex to blame for humanity's ills, the lefty loonies lose their basis for faith in a socialist utopia. Terrorism is tortuous for them only because it forces them to pursue the political goals that will allow them to redistribute America's wealth by pulling the nation together and relying on the hated military for protection.


Is it possible to protect non-combatants, given modern weaponry in total war?

Are people who make weapons innocent citizens of their warring governments, or integral non-uniformed soldiers and legitimate targets?

Must we surrender our country to our enemies because our weapons are too terrible to use?

Whose life is more important: the 12-year-old Iraqi firing an Uzi or a soldier from Kentucky?

Which is more sacred: a mosque hiding a weapons cache or a plane of tourists?

Do we want a military strong enough to protect our homeland? Are we willing to pay the price of survival?

Click here for more right-wing nuttery.

Apart from being so funny because it is so utterly divorced from reality, this essay reminds me that I've been wondering lately what conservatives fed by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, which, I might add, includes my father, must think about the left. That is, from time to time I listen to the conservative radio nut fringe talk about liberals, and, usually, what they say about us bears little resemblance to my own personal experience. If this essay is typical of such opinion, it's no wonder that political discourse in this country is so fucked up.

I mean, I don't even know where to start rebuffing this thing. We're losing the war in Iraq because of incompetent planning and leadership, not because of opposition at home--that doesn't even need support at this point, it's so obvious. And I don't know any liberals who think utopia is even remotely possible; I think it's fairer to say that liberals simply want to improve the lives of average, ordinary people. Further, this writer will get no argument from me that Marxism doesn't work: indeed, I'm pretty much of the opinion that all economic orthodoxies, such as the "free market," are recipes for disaster. Also, I agree that love is not all we need; we need food, clothing, shelter, and health care, too. Likewise, I agree that Western Culture is worth defending for her stated reasons. And on and on.

You know, I've just got to try my hand at answering that weird list of questions:

1. No, which is why waging war should only be a last resort, after a long and torturous debate, with real information, not that bogus shit we got about Iraq.

2. This question is something of a set-up because it only offers two choices for answers. I'll defy the set-up and offer my own answer. It's more complicated than the question would suggest. Generally, people are just trying to earn a living, and working in arms manufacturing is no different, so while such laborers are technically guilty of aiding a war effort, they're really just trying to live their lives. In some circumstances, these weapons plants simply must be fair game in warfare, but then, it's the United States that makes more guns and bombs than any other nation on the planet...

3. No

4. Again, an unfair set-up question. Here's my own choice: both lives are equally important. And, just because I'm curious, where the hell did this Iraqi get an Israeli-made Uzi? It's far more likely that he's using an AK-47, instead.

5. Obviously, the mosque, being a holy place, is more sacred. However, I'm of the opinion that all human life is sacred, so it's absolutely horrible to destroy a plane filled with tourists.

6. A double question. Answer A: Yes, but what we have now is far stronger than that. What we have now is an imperial military, designed to project US power into regions far away from our borders. Answer B: Give me liberty or give me death!

Man, this is just fucking stupid, which is why I rarely even try to refute conservative babblings like this one. Of course, this one sets a new standard for stupidity, so it was hard to resist. Anyway, it's fair to say that, overall, there are some excellent conservative challenges to liberal points of view. It's such a shame that I rarely hear them.


Monday, November 20, 2006

CIA analysis finds no Iranian nuclear weapons drive

From the AFP via Yahoo:

"If the Democrats won on November 7th, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran," Hersh wrote, citing a source familiar with the discussion.

Cheney said the White House would circumvent any legislative restrictions "and thus stop Congress from getting in its way," he said.

The Democratic victory unleashed a surge of calls for the Bush administration to begin direct talks with Iran.

But the administration's planning of a military option was made "far more complicated" in recent months by a highly classified draft assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency "challenging the White House's assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb," he wrote.

"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running paallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," Hersh wrote, adding the CIA had declined to comment on that story.

A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis and said the White House had been hostile to it, he wrote.

Click here for more.

Click here for the New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh on which the above excerpted article is based--I've only read about half of it, but it's waaay damning, as usual, to the White House.

So it's pretty clear that, despite the Democratic takeover of Congress, the White House is thinking very seriously about going after Iran, which is all the more frightening because it's looking like they're trying to play the same intelligence games that have us stuck in Iraq right now. That is, the CIA, as an organization, was skeptical, at best, about the existence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction during the run up to the invasion, but Rumsfeld and Cheney created their own intelligence-gathering operation to get the "evidence" they wanted while at the same time playing political hardball with their intelligence community detractors. Former CIA director George Tenet didn't call proving the existence of Iraqi WMD a "slam dunk" because he thought it was true: he did it in order to keep his job. So now we have this CIA report that Iran is actually many years away from posessing the ability to create nuclear weapons, but the White House is saber-rattling as though it was 2002.

We have very short memories in this country, and, despite the fact that this all happened only three years ago, there's a very good chance that it's going to happen again. Things may very well soon go from bad to worse.


Record number die in Iraq during November

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Walid Hassan's slaying came as the Iraqi death toll rose to more than 1,300 for the first 20 days of November — the highest for any month since The Associated Press began tracking the figure in April 2005.

In all, 22 Iraqis were killed today in a series of attacks in Baghdad, Ramadi and Baqouba, police said. The bodies of 26 Iraqis who had been kidnapped and tortured also were found on the streets of the capital, in Dujail to the north of Baghdad and in the Tigris River in southern Iraq.

The Iraqi death toll this month is already well above the 1,216 who died in all of October, which had been the deadliest month in Iraq since the AP began its count.

The actual totals are likely considerably higher because many deaths are not reported. Victims in those cases are quickly buried according to Muslim custom and never reach morgues or hospitals to be counted.

In addition to the victims of violence, countless Iraqis have had close calls with death. Among them were two government officials who escaped assassination attempts today.

Click here for more.

It's total insanity over there, approaching the scale and style of the post-apocalyptic science fiction movies of the 80s, and we unleashed it. Politicians and pundits have been hemming and hawing for months now about whether it's a civil war, or a "full blown" civil war. Whatever. It's obviously a civil war. The question that we should now be asking is whether this is genocide yet. My buddy Matt over at Caffeinated fears that things will get much worse if we pull out now, and, at this point, that's a completely reasonable concern. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that there would be no question at all about whether a genocide is happening over there if we just left Iraq high and dry. But it's obvious that we're not doing much at the moment to make things better. Frankly, I'm not really sure of what to do about it. Should we send over 500,000 more troops to control the place with an iron fist? But then, we don't really have 500,000 more troops to send. My gut instinct is that Kissinger's right about getting the UN and local powers involved because we can't resolve this alone.

Of course, once we go down the diplomatic road, the US will no longer be solely in charge, and if I understand the White House's intentions in Iraq correctly, they'll never allow that to happen. I guess we'll see. And by the way, this in no way means that I've abandoned my belief that we need to get the hell out of there: once we've got the rest of the world involved, then we can pull out; after all, I think it's pretty clear that the US presence only aggravates the situation--that is, things will never stablize in Iraq until we're gone.

At any rate, something needs to be done, like, yesterday.


"It's not about's about a parent's right(s)"

So I had an interesting comment exchange with someone who claims to be directly involved in the controversy at an Illinois elementary school about a children's book dealing with a same-sex penguin couple. I suppose the anti-gay penguin parent googled up my post and, no doubt, because I said the whole thing was stupid, simply had to leave a comment:

It's not about's about a parent's right to introduce topics to their kids when they, the parents, think that their child is ready. Also, it is about so many other mature books that are in our libary. The penguin book has somehow been put at the forefront when there was a list of books that were asked to be placed on the "parent authorization" shelf. It really has so much more to do with than just homosexuality. No one who questioned the book is trying to ban it...the media is blowing this way out of context! As usual!
My response:
I must point out to you that "the parent's right to introduce topics" to their children is utterly at odds with the entire concept of public education. That is, you need to explain why this particular topic, same-sex couples, needs to be agonized over, but not, say, the theory of relativity, or biology, or love, or war, or poetry and art, or any other topic taught in the schools. You must also understand that this penguin thing is taking place in an overall social context of gay anxiety: it is impossible to separate it from everything else that's going on--the media is quite right to treat it as another skirmish in the ongoing "culture war" because it is. You can call it what you want, but from where I stand, because I cannot think of any other reason why, and because your explanation is more of a hair-splitting dodge than an actual explanation, it sure does look like these anti-penguin book parents are, indeed, afraid.

Why not just talk to kids about homosexuals? You don't need to get into any messy sex details, but it's crazy to not let kids know what's going on in the world. Think about it this way: heterosexual couples are all over the place in children's libraries and there is nothing "mature" or complex about that. What's so sophisticated about same-sex couples?
The reason I brought this exchange up to the main page is because of how the commenter's argument is intentionally vague and misleading. That is, while I disagree with the religious point of view that homosexuality is sinful and should not be taught in schools, at least it's an honest and straightforward argument. Telling me that the whole thing is actually about a "parent's right" to control their children's access to knowledge is, however, a brazen act of misdirection, serving to do nothing but muddy discourse over the subject, a favorite right-wing tactic--disguise an extreme viewpoint to make it more palatable to thinking Americans; cloak it in the language of freedom.

Look, it goes without saying that parents actually have very little control over which topics are introduced to their children in school--what control they do have is in terms of flak, as manifested by this controversy, and in school board elections. And that's the way it ought to be. Schools cannot possibly satisfy every single family in the country, nor should they: the schools ought to expand young Americans' horizons, exposing them to ideas and concepts that they don't get at home. There is no right of which to speak for parents to control the information to which their children are exposed in the classroom.

So this commenter makes a bogus argument.

It is very interesting to note that she flat out rejects, without explanation, that it's about fear. But what else can it be? Why is she so opposed to her child learning about a couple of male penguins in a zoo caring for a fertilized egg? Of course, I can't read minds. I don't really know where this person is coming from. But I'll bet you credits to navy beans that she's afraid of her kid growing up to be gay. Indeed, I'd make the same bet about anybody who opposes information about homosexuality in the schools.

A really wicked part of me strongly wishes that her kid does turn out to be gay. But then, after all, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Right?


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible

From the Washington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.


Kissinger, whose views have been sought by the Iraqi Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James Baker III, called for an international conference bringing together the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Iraq's neighbors _ including Iran _ and regional powers like India and Pakistan to work out a way forward for the region.

Click here for all of it.

Wow. This is pretty big, if only because the Washington establishment, both Democrats and Republicans, and the mainstream media punditocracy, all tongue-kiss the bespectalcled one's butt when it comes to foreign policy and international security issues. Further, I'm quite astounded because Kissinger is all about continuing to fight doomed wars in order to maintain "credibility" with enemies, which supposedly provides some kind of nebulous deterrent effect in the future. I mean, I've known that these Kissinger theories are full of shit for some months now, myself, but for him to decide that Iraq is unwinnable is likely to greatly diminish voices within the White House that continue to demand more war.

And his call for bringing in the UN and local Islamic players is what I've been saying since it became clear that the US can't handle it alone. You know, we just might be able to pull this off. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Saturday, November 18, 2006


We're working on a short one-act that we're going to perform here in a couple of weeks as a low-budget, small-scale studio piece showcasing my MFA acting class. Very fortunately for me, it's by Brecht, and therfore, a piece of real art.

Here's a bit on The Exception and the Rule from Wikipedia:

The play itself is short, and lasts no longer than 30 minutes if performed in its entirety. It tells the story of a rich merchant, who must cross the fictional Yahi Desert to close an oil deal. During the trip the class differences between him and his working-class porter (or "coolie" as he is called in most English language editions) are shown. Eventually when the Merchant fires his guide, and the porter and the Merchant himself get lost, and the water supplies are running low, the Merchant mistakenly shoots the coolie, thinking he was being attacked, when he was in reality being offered some water the coolie still had left in his bottle.

Later, in a court room scene, the evidence of the murder is presented, and ultimately the Merchant is acquitted afer the Judge concludes that the Merchant had every right to fear a potential threat from the coolie, and that he was justified in shooting the coolie in self-defense regardless of whether there was an actual threat, or whether the Merchant simply felt threatened.

Click here for more. There's not much, but there is a neat picture of the playwright.

Here's the play's poetic prologue:

We are about to tell you
The story of a journey. An exploiter
And two of the exploited are the travellers.
Examine carefully the behavior of these people:
Find it surprising though not unusual
Inexplicable though normal
Incomprehensible though it is the rule.
Consider even the most insignificant, seemingly simple
Action with distrust. Ask yourselves whether it is necessary
Especially if it is usual.
We ask you expressly to discover
That what happens all the time is not natural.
For to say that something is natural
In such times of bloody confusion
Of ordained disorder, of systematic arbitrariness
Of inhuman humanity is to
Regard it as unchangeable.

In short, the above excerpt is the play's moral, that what we all accept as "normal" and "right" is often anything but that. This is one of the great but unknown truths of our era.

There is so much about our culture, about our social arrangements, politics, and economics that is simply accepted without questioning. Indeed, it's pretty clear that most people don't even know how to question these things, or even that they should. Consequently, various powers-that-be in our society are able to advance their agendas virtually unchallenged, to the detriment of average ordinary people.

Years ago, in one of the radio, television, and film courses I took at UT, I learned that this notion is described as "cultural hegemony" or rule through the concept of "the way things are is because that's the way things are." It has been particularly frustrating for me over the years to be aware of how this works in the US while being unable to really do much about it. It's one of the reasons I started this blog, to try, in my own small way, to expose what's happening right under our noses. But it's a hard sell.

I am certain, for instance, that the mainstream news media are conservative, not liberal, but everybody takes for granted that the reverse is true. There are mountains of evidence that Bush literally stole the 2000 Presidential election, but most people "know" such things don't happen in America. It is irrefutable that our public education system's main function is to indoctrinate children into a culture of authority and obedience, which heavily interferes with learning and promotion of democratic values, but most Americans think education simply needs reform, not a total revamp. In so many instances, it is clear that we don't live in the reality in which most people believe.

Like I said, it's a hard sell. But I'll keep trying, both here at Real Art and as a theater artist, if only so that I'm able to look at myself in the mirror every morning when I wake up. And so should you. Like Brecht, I think we have a moral obligation to question everything: consequently, not questioning everything is immoral.



From the AP via ESPN:

Home, sweet home: LSU 8-0 with OT win over Mississippi

Colt David kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime to lift No. 9 LSU to a 23-20 victory over Mississippi on Saturday night.

JaMarcus Russell and Dwayne Bowe hooked up on a fourth down touchdown pass in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime.

LSU (9-2, 5-2) could have won in regulation after Bowe's touchdown, but Mississippi blocked the extra point.

Mississippi (3-8, 1-6 SEC) opened overtime on offense, but LSU's Daniel Francis forced Ole Miss quarterback Brent Schaeffer to fumble and Tyson Jackson recovered for the Tigers.

It was a crushing loss for the Rebels, who were 27-point underdogs and were in position to pull out a shocking victory.

LSU trailed 20-7 when the Tigers opened a drive on their own 41-yard line with 11:13 to play.

Click here for the rest.

Well, this was yet another game I didn't get to see, this time because of a local TV blackout, although I could hear the crowd noise from down the street as usual. It's probably just as well, seeing as how the only two Texas games I've watched all the way through this season were losses--at this point, I don't want to jinx my two college teams unnecessarily. I'm also glad I missed it because I would have been anxiety ridden the whole time: for much of the game it looked like LSU was going to follow in Texas' footsteps by losing to an inferior opponent--to see just how inferior the team the Longhorns lost to last week, see this story here about how the Wildcats lost today to a team that they should have beaten. Anyway, the Tigers pulled it out in dramatic style in overtime, establishing a new school record for home wins in a season. And fortunately, for me, I didn't listen to any local sports radio after the game, so I didn't have to hear the swamp-trash football "experts" explain why winning means that Les Miles needs to be fired. Close games in the SEC, even against lesser teams, is just part of conference play here in the South.

The point is that LSU won, which means they'll be getting a respectable bowl bid

Geaux Tigers!

Death to Texas A&M!



I first encountered Bob Dylan's 1975 album Blood on the Tracks when I was an undergraduate at UT. I bought it used, on vinyl, on a whim because it was cheap, like two bucks or something. The whole record is, of course, great, but one particular track stands out. "Tangled Up in Blue" is in the classic 60s folk style, complete with a harmonica solo, that launched Dylan to fame over a decade earlier, but its lyrics are more mature than those of his early days, less angry and sentimental, more introspective.

Here's what a Wikipedia reviewer has to say about it:

The lyrics are at times opaque, but the song seems to be (like most of the songs on the album), the tale of a love that has ended.

Tangled up in Blue is one of the most clear examples of Dylan's attempts to write "multi-dimensional" songs which defied a fixed notion of time and space. For example, the beginning of the song mentions a cross-country car trip, but towards the end a minor character gets involved in "dealing with slaves" in New Orleans; clearly the two cannot be happening in the same time period. Dylan was influenced by his recent study of painting and the Cubist school of artists, which sought to incorporate multiple perspectives within a single plane of view. In a 1978 interview Dylan explained this style of songwriting: "What's different about it is that there's a code in the lyrics, and there's also no sense of time. There's no respect for it. You've got yesterday, today and tomorrow all in the same room, and there's very little you can't imagine not happening."

Click here for the rest.

I loved the song from the moment I first heard it, but it's aged really well with me, probably because I've aged myself. That is, Dylan was only a few years younger than me when he penned the song, and I think I'm now able to understand where he was coming from at this point in my life much better than I could when I was in my early twenties. The whole "yesterday, today, and tomorrow" perspective makes incredible sense to me: I think that if you live long enough, you start getting a feel for the vast scope of a human lifetime; the successes and failures of the past begin to intermingle with the present reality, which shadows and colors future plans and dreams.

To me, these days, Dylan is no longer brilliant because everybody tells me he is: he's brilliant because he speaks to my heart.

Here is a Youtube video showing a live accoustic performance of the song he did in 1975.

Here are the lyrics:

"Tangled Up in Blue"
by Bob Dylan

Early one mornin' the sun was shinin',
I was layin' in bed
Wond'rin' if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama's homemade dress
Papa's bankbook wasn't big enough.
And I was standin' on the side of the road
Rain fallin' on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through,
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam, I guess,
But I used a little too much force.
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best.
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin' away
I heard her say over my shoulder,
"We'll meet again someday on the avenue,"
Tangled up in blue.

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell.
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin' for a while on a fishin' boat
Right outside of Delacroix.
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind,
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was workin' in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer,
I just kept lookin' at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear.
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I's just about to do the same,
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, "Don't I know your name?"
I muttered somethin' underneath my breath,
She studied the lines on my face.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe,
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
"I thought you'd never say hello," she said
"You look like the silent type."
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin' coal
Pourin' off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue.

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs,
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air.
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died.
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside.
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

So now I'm goin' back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.

He's not just for baby boomers anymore...