Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tulane defense hangs tough, but LSU pulls away late

From the AP via ESPN:

A good 30 minutes turned out to be more than enough for LSU to crush Tulane's early notions of an upset.

Jacob Hester's second touchdown of the game and Charles Scott's pair of scoring runs helped LSU (5-0) amass 24 unanswered second-half points in a 34-9 victory Saturday.

"It was a mental thing today," Scott said. "We were not focused at all in the first half. And we can't come out and do that with anybody, especially not Florida."

The defending national champion Gators, ranked fourth heading into their game against Auburn Saturday night, come to Baton Rouge next weekend for a contest likely holding national championship implications.

So if the Tigers overlooked Tulane (1-3), it would be understandable. Forgivable, perhaps, since they pulled away with ease when it mattered.

More here.

Right. Of course, looking ahead to playing the now defeated Florida Gators and not taking lowly Tulane seriously are not good excuses for poor play, but at least they got it figured out in the locker room during halftime. Unlike the Longhorns, LSU really did slip up, instead of simply sucking. In the long run, I think this shoddy first half will help the Tigers remain focused as they move into much tougher SEC play.

And then maybe the national championship game.

Geaux Tigers!



From the AP via ESPN:

Wildcats turn tables again on McCoy, No. 7 Longhorns

The Kansas State Wildcats charged toward their purple-clad fans behind the end zone to celebrate, then turned around and left the field flashing downward "Hook'em Horns!" signs.

"Texas who?" shouted Wildcats wide receiver Deon Murphy.

No longer undefeated Texas, that's who.

Kansas State scored three touchdowns on special teams and an interception Saturday and the Wildcats stunned the No. 7 Longhorns 41-21, handing Texas coach Mack Brown his worst home defeat in 10 years.

"We're not the biggest and strongest team in the country," Kansas State coach Ron Prince said. "We had to create some havoc."

More here.

They're calling it an upset, but that's only true by virtue of the fact that the 'Horns were amazingly over rated from the first game of the season. They're saying that Texas was looking past this week's game to next weekend's UT/OU shootout; that may be true, but I don't think that's why they lost. The Longhorns lost because they suck.

The turnovers, the special teams gaffes, their inability to really run the ball, all this indicates that they're just not serious about winning football games. They're a bunch of talented underachievers who might not even beat the Aggies. After today's loss, they'll be lucky to retain a top 25 ranking.

OU lost today, too, which might have excited me if we hadn't blown it against the Wildcats for the second year in a row. I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on Texas--after all, things aren't as bad as the mid 80s when fans were yelling "Fire Fred" from the stands. Still, we now know that Akers' biggest rivals, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, were cheating out the wazoo back then: what's Mack's excuse?


The Culture of "K-Ville"

From AlterNet:

While "K-Ville" is groundbreaking for its timeliness, its set-up feels dated. Writer and executive producer Jonathan Lisco ("NYPD Blue," "The District") has put together a traditional buddy cop series, but fancier, with slick, 90-mile-per-hour car chases through the French Quarter and creative camera work.

At this early stage, most of the "K-Ville" characters feel like props, which is not uncommon for a pilot trying to introduce a lot upfront. Yet as any viewer who has followed coverage of New Orleans knows, the real stories are in the day-to-day details, and it remains unclear whether "K-Ville" will have the patience to let individual rebuilding stories unfold -- or the willingness to let New Orleans' rich cultural history and characters assume their deserved roles.

The Hollywood plotline in the first episode involves mercenary hit men and old city wealth -- a far cry from the street-level crime, much of it drug-related, that corrodes the city. That the pilot also contains some of the most confrontational language about race and class you're likely to see on television this fall makes the flawed series more compelling than expected.

More here.

Yeah, I saw the pilot and it sucked. But I just couldn't stop watching, either. A lot of it had to do with wanting to see how they portrayed New Orleans, as well as seeing all the great location footage. But, in addition to all that, and as the above linked piece of criticism observes, there was just enough going on to make me ask that gold standard question for movies and TV shows: what's going to happen next?

I'm afraid that, in spite of what could someday become some rough gems within K-Ville, its negatives will ultimately outweigh its positives. I was in no hurry to go out of my way to see the second episode.

The acting in the pilot was generally atrocious. Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not saying the lead cop guy is necessarily a bad actor. There were actually a few moments of real honesty coming from him, which makes me think he definitely has talent. But I also saw him continually falling into some classic acting traps: it was as though the producers kept telling him that he's on the edge, near the breaking point, half crazy, all that Rambo shit. So he tried to play some sort of abstract emotional state, yelling and looking around all cockeyed, rather than grounding himself in the circumstances and working the relationships in order to actually find some honest desperation, fear, and sadness. He may very well settle into his part, but the show is going to have to grow up fast if he's going to have any opportunities to do so.

Unfortunately, as far as that goes, the writing is insanely trite. It's as though these people have only read about the Big Easy, and never actually spent any real time there. Lead guy cop talks about having a "gumbo party." As commenters in the New Orleans Times-Picayune asked immediately after the first episode aired, "what the hell is a 'gumbo party'?" Worse than that, however, is the fact that the pilot could have been a slightly revised episode of TJ Hooker. It really is all cliche. That's a total drag because there is just so much going on here right now in real life that all these single-dimension characters and plot lines are totally unnecessary. They should just pull stories from the Picayune; no embellishment is needed.

Nonetheless, the fact that producers took great pains to deal with major Katrina spawned themes, albeit absurdly, is definitely a plus. Race, poverty, capitalist exploitation, police brutality, all these concepts played a major role in the first episode. And that may very well be the biggest reason I didn't turn it off.

Okay, I'll make a bigger effort to watch the third episode on Monday. Couldn't hurt. It's only an hour, after all.


Friday, September 28, 2007


Reine and Phil

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


O'Reilly: "[I]f I could strangle these people and not
go to hell and get executed ... I would -- but I can't."

From Media Matters courtesy of AlterNet:

Later during the program, O'Reilly stated that newspapers such as The New York Times and the New York Daily News, "ran up to Harlem and they fed black Americans bogus quotes from Media Matters." Continuing, he said, "Now, the black Americans up there, they didn't listen to The Radio Factor. They didn't know this was coming from Media Matters. ... So, the reporter ... feeds them the quote, and of course they say bad things about me." O'Reilly called these newspapers' actions "the height of racism." Apparently referring to the media who he said "ran up to Harlem and ... fed black Americans bogus quotes from Media Matters," O'Reilly added, "[I]f I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed ... I would -- but I can't. ... All I can do is expose them. And I will."

After warning "corrupt media" figures that they are "on notice," O'Reilly stated: "I'm coming after you. And I don't care if it's Bill O'Reilly, [Sen.] Hillary Clinton, [Republican presidential candidates] Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, [Sen.] Barack Obama. Anybody smeared by any media from now on, I'm holding them accountable. I'm going to hunt you down. Got that?" He went on to tell listeners, "[M]y campaign to hold the corrupt media responsible is going to help your life. Because no longer will these smear merchants be allowed to get away with it, as long as I'm in the chair. As long as I'm here, I'm hunting them down. And that means everybody."

More here, including transcript and audio.

So I was flipping channels around earlier tonight and saw that big cunt Nancy Grace's show for a minute or two before changing it to avoid vomiting. Moments later it finally hit me what it is about her that pisses me off so much. She claims to be a victim's advocate, always condemning the people she brands as bad guys in the harshest rhetoric allowable on television, always vociferously claiming the moral high ground. But it's become clear to me that she doesn't understand morality at all. For her, morality is a rulebook used to hit people over the head. Because she doesn't break the rules, she sees herself as superior, one who is allowed to judge everybody else. The reality is that morality comes from the heart. It's not about playing gotcha; it's about wanting good things to happen to people, all people. Morality is what you do because your heart drives you to do it.

And lemme tell ya: Nancy Grace has no heart.

Neither does Bill O'Reilly. This most recent stupid gaffe is a prime example. O'Reilly wants to murder people, but the rulebook says he can't, so he won't. A moral person, however, doesn't want to murder at all, ever, and rulebooks have nothing to do with it; moral people are moral because it's a large part of who they are as people.

I think it's safe to say that the big butthole of FOX News is an immoral person. But that's kind of obvious.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Chicago cop accused of anti-gay fracas

Named as defendants in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Kelly Fuery, 36, Debra Sciortino, 32, and Nicole Tomaskovic, 25, were the police department, officer William Szura and two state troopers.

According to the lawsuit, a vehicle driven by Fuery came upon a car moving at 30 mph on Interstate 55 after the June 24 parade. Fuery beeped her horn, and Szura responded by slamming on his brakes, speeding up and switching lanes, making it impossible for Fuery to pass, the lawsuit said.

Fuery was forced to the shoulder, where Szura screamed words such as "dyke" and spit at her, according to the lawsuit. The women claim he stuck a gun in Fuery's abdomen, "causing her to fear for her life."

When Sciortino tried to step in, Szura shoved her, and she fell, the lawsuit said. When Tomaskovic drove up in another car and tried to help, Szura placed her in a chokehold, according to the suit.

A few minutes later, two state troopers arrived. When Szura identified himself as a police officer, the three women were arrested and charged with battery. The battery charges are pending, Kurtz said.

Click here for the rest.

I think it would be unfair to say that as a general rule cops are homophobic. Indeed, in some situations quite the reverse is true: there are definitely a few police departments that have some fairly progressive policies about gay people, in terms of both employment and dealing with the public. On the other hand, many police departments do not have such policies.

Still, this strikes me as being more about an individual cop's homophobia than about cop culture having an anti-gay bias. The problem, then, with cop culture in this case is the whole I'm-right-and-superior-because-I'm-a-cop sensibility that permeates police society from coast to coast. That is, in some ways I feel like I was taking a risk a few years back by putting a bumper sticker on my car that says "ATTACK IRAQ? NO!" These days such a message might get me pulled over in Jena or Vidor, but probably not in Houston or New Orleans. But that's the point: I have a perfect right to express any political message I want, and cops just have to fucking deal with that. Indeed, they have to protect me if anybody else wants to fuck with me about it. Nonetheless, cops have been notorious over the years for harassing people with whom they disagree on various political issues.

That really ought not to be their mission, and I'm sure they're very aware of that. But when you have a badge and gun, and think you're an elite member of society...well, I guess the latter trumps the former. Goddamned shame.


School discipline tougher on African Americans

From the Chicago Tribune courtesy of AlterNet:

Fifty years after federal troops escorted nine black students through the doors of an all-white high school in Little Rock, Ark., in a landmark school integration struggle, America's public schools remain as unequal as they have ever been when measured in terms of disciplinary sanctions such as suspensions and expulsions, according to little-noticed data collected by the U.S. Department of Education for the 2004-2005 school year.

In every state but Idaho, a Tribune analysis of the data shows, black students are being suspended in numbers greater than would be expected from their proportion of the student population. In 21 states—Illinois among them—that disproportionality is so pronounced that the percentage of black suspensions is more than double their percentage of the student body. And on average across the nation, black students are suspended and expelled at nearly three times the rate of white students.

No other ethnic group is disciplined at such a high rate, the federal data show. Hispanic students are suspended and expelled in almost direct proportion to their populations, while white and Asian students are disciplined far less.

Yet black students are no more likely to misbehave than other students from the same social and economic environments, research studies have found.

Click here for the rest.

Yeah, well, I've actually seen this in action when I was in the field. Teachers and administrators definitely come down harder on black kids than others. The ironic thing is that virtually all school workers see themselves as anti-racist, and have absolutely no understanding of what they're doing in this area. And it's more than white denial going on here. It is a very real clash of cultures.

Longtime Real Art readers know that I strongly believe that the public school system's mission is to indoctrinate children into the culture of obedience and authority. Historically, and therefore culturally, American blacks have some severe problems with the concept of obedience, for which I don't blame them one goddamned bit. It makes complete sense that the heavy disciplinary establishment of the schools would smash head-on into African-American culture.

This is no bullshit either. Sociologists look at the issue a bit differently, but come to essentially the same conclusion. Black culture is far more collective and collaborative than white culture, which is extraordinarily individualistic and competitive. Indeed, the very social structure of American schooling was created by white Europeans, and distinctly caters to the nuances of white European culture, which educationally shafts non-white ethnicities. In short, black people learn and work differently from white people. The educational establishment is woefully behind in addressing this issue.

Of course, I'm of the opinion that the educational establishment can't address this issue because public schools aren't really about education as much as they are about creating a compliant and docile population. To really serve the black American community, that indoctrinational mission must be abandoned, which will never happen.

When I was teaching, I often admired the resistance of black students, even when I was the one they were resisting. What I'd really like to see happen is for black kids to teach white kids to fight back, too. Maybe then we'd start to see some real change.



From New York Times columnist Bob Hebert courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

The Ugly Side of the G.O.P.

The G.O.P. has spent the last 40 years insulting, disenfranchising and otherwise stomping on the interests of black Americans. Last week, the residents of Washington, D.C., with its majority black population, came remarkably close to realizing a goal they have sought for decades — a voting member of Congress to represent them.

A majority in Congress favored the move, and the House had already approved it. But the Republican minority in the Senate — with the enthusiastic support of President Bush — rose up on Tuesday and said: “No way, baby.”

At least 57 senators favored the bill, a solid majority. But the Republicans prevented a key motion on the measure from receiving the 60 votes necessary to move it forward in the Senate. The bill died.

Click here for more.

For some people, including myself, calling the GOP racist is tantamount to calling the sky blue. That is, Republican racism is so utterly obvious that it barely even merits mention. I'm certain of this because I've studied the "Southern Strategy." Others, such as hip-hop artist Kanye West, know because they've lived it. Unfortunately, asserting that the GOP is racist is a much harder sell to moderate and conservative whites. That's why Hebert's column is so worth checking out. It's only briefly about DC Congressional representation, which as a lone issue is easily blurred by complicated and misleading rhetoric: most of the column is a shopping list of Republican attacks on African Americans over the decades, which, in its entirety, creates a compelling preponderance of evidence that is hard for even conservatives to dismiss.

Go check it out.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


From the Chicago Tribune courtesy of Eschaton:

White supremacist backlash builds over Jena case

No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them.

First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and "drag them out of the house," prompting an investigation by the FBI.

Then the leader of a white supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counterdemonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind."

Click here for the rest.

I think I mentioned this a couple of years ago, but it's well worth repeating here. Back around the time that former KKK leader David Duke was running for Louisiana governor, I ended up in a brief conversation with a bartender in Houston about the racist leader. I wasn't even trying to be controversial. I think I just said something to the friend I was with about how Duke was so obviously still a racist. The bartender jumped in with some protestation to the effect of "no he's not a racist; he's just for common sense, protecting the rights of white people." I didn't even know where to begin refuting his bullshit, and worried that doing so might lead to some sort of confrontation, so I just brushed it off and left soon after.

That's the problem we have in Jena, Vidor, Texas, and apparently New Orleans, too: there are large numbers of racist whites who honestly believe they're not racist. They won't listen to reason because their views are unreasonable in the first place. They generally keep quiet about their views because they understand that non-racists disagree with them. How do you persuade these people who feel like they're reasonable but are actually incredibly irrational? How do you talk to them without pissing them off? I mean, that's what happens when you confront them with the truth; they just reject it and start yelling. What do you do?

That's the next hurdle for race relations in the US. Dealing with angry denial.


Fatalism Dominates GOP Outlook For '08

From the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

Indeed, officials who spoke to the Huffington Post described a sense of near fatalism that has overtaken the Republican Party concerning its prospects for 2008. Simply put, they say, there is no money to throw at the problem. The NRCC has a scant $1.6 million in cash on hand, and $4 million in outstanding debt from the 2006 cycle. The NRSC is fairing slightly better with $7 million to its name.

"The short term outlook for the Republican Party is not very good," said Rick Tyler, spokesman for conservative stalwart and possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. "It is a lack of leadership that has failed to earn back the trust of the donors. People want to see that their money is worthwhile."

More here.

So most of the article is about how many seats in Congress the GOP stands to lose, the sorry crop of presidential candidates they're fielding for the primaries, and the high level of malaise among the rank and file, but this little section about the amazingly poor levels of funding coming into the party really caught my eye. It means the Republican Party has lost the faith of the ruling class.

Longtime Real Art readers know that I think our much vaunted "democracy" is very much these days simply an act of grandiose political pomp and theater. I mean, people vote and all, yeah, but the vast majority of candidates from which people choose, especially at the federal level, are all pre-chosen by a "wealth primary" wherein the members of the American plutocracy, in the form of massive campaign donations, decide whether or not an individual can even make a serious run. Don't fool yourselves: election outcomes are managed and pre-decided in favor of a narrow field of candidates blessed by the wealth sector; voting is very close to being ceremonial only.

That's why it's so stunning that Republicans are receiving so little money. The plutocracy will play with either party, but they're especially sweet on Republicans, what with the way they love to kiss wealthy ass all the time. That the wealth-sector has turned its back means it no longer believes the GOP is capable of maintaining the system that keeps it wealthy.

I see two things happening. First, the GOP will definitely get its shit together in terms of hard-nosed, practical business-love. Eventually. I mean, the Republicans will have to jettison the fundamentalists and the neo-cons in order to do it, but survival is at stake. Look for a business-friendly but more socially libertarian and less hawkish Republican Party in the future. Second, rightward pressure on the Democratic Party is only going to increase, and many within their ranks will succumb. That means Democratic corruption is going to increase, too.

Ultimately, we may be right back where we started. Smart Democrats would be wise to plan ahead.


Senate Dems reluctant to try to revoke Iraq war authority

From the Hill courtesy of AlterNet:

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the main reason why the de-authorization plan is not a component of the Democratic leadership’s Iraq floor strategy is because it is not “easily understood.” By contrast, he said, other plans have broad support within the caucus, such as timetables to withdraw troops and measures to extend leave between deployments.

Durbin said even if lawmakers withdrew the authority, “would the president continue the war and ignore the Congress? We’re not sure that [the Byrd-Clinton plan] would have the intended result.”

Even the anti-war left has been privately skeptical of that plan. In a strategy meeting last Friday of major anti-war activist groups, there was “no enthusiasm” for the legislation to de-authorize the war, according to one person who attended the meeting.

Click here for the rest.

What the fuck?!?

The authorization for the invasion was essentially the 21st century version of a Congressional declaration of war. That is, despite Vice President Cheney's assertions of "the unitary executive," Congress does indeed play a major role in US war policy making, and granting the authority to wage war is an explicitly named Congressional power in the Constitution. De-authorizing the war is the trump card. Forget all this business about de-funding the war. If Congress says the war is over, it's over.

Obviously, Congressional Democrats aren't serious about ending the war. It's also obvious that they're afraid of forcing a Constitutional showdown, but that's no excuse. They have the power, and any showdown would actually be forced by Bush when he refuses to abide by such an edict.

I'm sick of this shit. The Democrats aren't our saviors. I'm not really sure what they are.


Famed French mime Marcel Marceau dies at 84

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Marcel Marceau, who revived the art of mime and brought poetry to silence, has died, his former assistant said today. He was 84.

Marceau died Saturday in Paris, French media reported. Former assistant Emmanuel Vacca announced the death on France-Info radio, but gave no details about the cause.

Wearing white face paint, soft shoes and a battered hat topped with a red flower, Marceau, notably through his famed personnage Bip, played the entire range of human emotions onstage for more than 50 years, never uttering a word. Offstage, however, he was famously chatty. "Never get a mime talking. He won't stop," he once said.

A French Jew, Marceau survived the Holocaust — and also worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children.

His biggest inspiration was Charlie Chaplin. Marceau, in turn, inspired countless young performers — Michael Jackson borrowed his famous "moonwalk" from a Marceau sketch, Walking Against the Wind.

Marceau performed tirelessly around the world until late in life, never losing his agility, never going out of style. In one of his most poignant and philosophical acts, Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death, he wordlessly showed the passing of an entire life in just minutes.

"Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?" he once said.

Click here for the rest.

I have to admit I've never really liked mime. I've always thought it was a bit silly, and never understood the point. You know, I liked the mime/waiters in Spinal Tap, but that was only because it was making fun of them.

But I also have to admit that Marceau's work has ended up heavily influencing me over the years, albeit indirectly. The whole concept of distilling the essence of humanity into clear and concise movement has been something of a mainstay in the actor training I've received, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. I mean, I'm no mime, but the ability to think like one, to be able to find distinct emotional meaning in gesture or posture or even walking across the room, is invaluable to the actor. And it's not just about abstract emotions, either. When done correctly, this kind of work can make an audience weep as well as laugh.

Actually, some of my teachers over the years have studied directly under people who were taught by Marceau. Ultimately, I really owe him a lot. He's the guy who started this whole line of thinking. And in the end, it's transformed my entire understanding of acting. Because, when you get right down to it, acting isn't about how you say the words, it's about how you live the role and the movement work derived from Marceau's mime work is a major gateway into that.


Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm amazingly busy this evening, so I've no time to really post. Instead, as always, go check out these two thought-provoking essays from AlterNet.

Why Does Everyone Bow Down to the Health Insurance Industry?

With the courageous exception of Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic candidates have all rolled out health "reform" plans that represent total, Chamberlain-like, appeasement. Edwards and Obama propose universal health insurance plans that would in no way ease the death grip of Aetna, Unicare, MetLife, and the rest of the evil-doers. Clinton -- why are we not surprised? -- has gone even further, borrowing the Republican idea of actually feeding the private insurers by making it mandatory to buy their product. Will I be arrested if I resist paying $10,000 a year for a private policy laden with killer co-pays and deductibles?

It’s not only the Democratic candidates who are capitulating. The surrender-buzz is everywhere. I heard it from a notable liberal political scientist on a panel in August: We can’t just leap to a single payer system, he said in so many words, because it would be too disruptive, given the size of the private health insurance industry. Then I heard it yesterday from a Chicago woman who leads a nonprofit agency serving the poor: How can we go to a Canadian-style system when the private industry has gotten so “big”?

More here.

Pornography and the End of Masculinity

Part of my thinking on pornography has been shaped by seeing what is on the internet myself, and part, by reading Robert Jensen's powerful and provocative book, excerpted below: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Jensen has convinced me that something as powerful as the porn industry and its sexual extremism must not be kept under the rug due to liberal shoulder-shrugging about the First Amendment. The porn industry should not enjoy our collective denial in terms of its real-world impact on women -- and men -- simply because we might be berated by First Amendment purists or be uncomfortable grappling with complex issues of sexual expression.

The debate must be pushed, and the consciousness raised. Many will say, don't mess with the issue because it's a slippery slope and could lead to the repression of other freedoms. I've concluded we need to take that chance. Male attitudes are potentially being shaped by ugly and sometimes disgusting abuse toward women. And tens of thousands of young women are being seduced and intimidated into lives of extreme public humiliation on-screen. The impact on their lives over the long run could be devastating.

Much more here.

Hopefully, I'll be able to actually say something interesting myself tomorrow.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

McCoy passes for 333 yards as Horns bruise Owls

From the AP via ESPN:

Texas needed one of those everybody-gets-to-play kind of games in the worst way.

The No. 7 Longhorns got one in a big way Saturday night with a 58-14 drubbing of Rice in the final tuneup for the start of Big 12 play.

By dominating the winless Owls in every phase, the Longhorns (4-0) pounded out any lingering frustrations after three close wins and a wave of bad publicity surrounding player arrests and suspensions in recent weeks.

"It's good to be excited about a win," Texas senior defensive tackle Derek Lokey said. "I don't think anybody knows how good we can be. We have the talent to be great, but we're not there yet."

Colt McCoy looked sharp with 333 yards passing and three touchdowns, including scoring tosses of 52 and 24 yards to Limas Sweed

The Longhorns rolled up 560 yards on offense. Sweed finished with 139 yards on five catches and Jamaal Charles had three short touchdown runs. Even freshman backup quarterback John Chiles looked good in mop-up duty, teasing future opponents with nifty moves running the ball.

Click here for more.

Yeah well, Rice is the worst team in Division I. Nonetheless, this is the kind of dominating performance by the Longhorns I've been waiting for. No bullshit, just efficient football, and it's about time. This'll keep 'em in the top ten for another week, and with the Jayhawks up next weekend, Texas ought to go to Dallas to face the fourth ranked Sooners remaining a top ten team. That's when we'll know for sure if the 'Horns have really gotten their shit together or not.

It's going to be tough watching that one, come what may.

Texas running back Jamaal Charles, left, attempts to move around Rice defensive back Andrew Sendejo, right, during first-quarter action in their college football game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)(via ESPN)


Fake FG, crucial ground attack fuel LSU past S. Carolina

From the AP via ESPN:

The fake widened LSU's lead to 21-7 at halftime, deflating a South Carolina defense that had kept LSU within a touchdown on David's 42-yard miss a drive earlier.

Next time, the Tigers set up from 32 yards, but the holder, quarterback Matt Flynn, tossed a no-look flip over his shoulder to David, who ran for the score with ease.

"It was pretty close until then and that just put another dagger in them," David said. "It always works [in practice]. We felt confident with it. I've been playing soccer all my life, but I also can catch footballs."

LSU coach Les Miles said he only wanted to get a first down and took no special joy in using a trick play to beat Spurrier, a master of offensive trickery himself.

"We would have liked to have gotten the first down without having to use that play," Miles said. "It was there and it was certainly executed well."

Jacob Hester's power and Trindon Holliday's speed were key for LSU on the ground and its dominant defense did the rest with two interceptions and a pair of stops on fourth-and-short yardage situations. The Tigers' hard-hitting defense unsettled Spurrier to the point he switched quarterbacks several times.

Click here for the rest.

So, the fake field goal was neat, but it was really all about LSU's brutal rushing attack. I mean, don't get me wrong. Anything to piss off Steve Spurrier is fine by me--I've hated that NFL reject since I saw his sideline asshole antics during a national championship loss to Nebraska when he was at Florida at some point during the 90s. But the overall game was was essentially LSU running past flaccid Gamecocks again and again.

You know, I've been staying away from those sports radio guys here in Louisiana who drive me nuts, but I can't help but wonder if today's performance finally shut up their bogus criticisms of Tiger coach Les Miles. "He's got to throw on first down more often; this ain't the Big 12," I've heard them drool. Fuck 'em. If you don't have a great running game, passing is a joke.

Anyway, we're moving into the SEC now, and despite LSU's obvious greatness, each of these games is going to be tough. I bet they get the championship, though.

And then, onto New Orleans!

LSU coach Les Miles, slated to be played by Kurt Russell in the movie. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(via ESPN)


Saturday, September 22, 2007


From the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

New Figures Reveal Aggressive GOP Obstructionist Strategy

Using obstructionism to defeat or delay an opponent's agenda is nothing new in Washington. Over the past five years, there have been more than 260 threats of a legislative filibuster in the Senate. But the numbers suggest that with Democrats now in power, such tactics are dramatically on the rise. Sixty-four times this year legislation has come before the Senate requiring 60 votes or more to pass - almost twice as many as all of last year, when the balance of power was switched, and nearly three times as much as 2005.

With more than three months left to go in the current Congress, the U.S. Senate has already seen 45 cloture motions -- measures introduced by a senator requiring a 3/5 majority to end debate. Twenty-three of these motions have been rejected. In addition, there have been 19 votes - such as that on the Webb amendment - in which the Senate has voluntarily agreed to work along a three-fifths threshold, thereby avoiding the cumbersome process of invoking cloture (which requires a 30-hour waiting period). Last year, such a procedural move occurred just twice.

Combined, these methods of forcing super-majority votes have made the current Congress a paradigm of political gridlock. Among the legislation that has succumbed to natural and pseudo-filibustering are amendments to advance stem cell research, a bill that would have reduced the cost of attending college, multiple pieces of legislation designed to facilitate a drawdown of troops from Iraq, and a provision that would have allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with drug companies.

Click here for the rest.

Atrios and Kos have been hitting this issue pretty aggressively for the last couple of weeks or so, and I've stayed out of the debate primarily because wonkery is not my strong suit. But these essays keep hitting the internet, keeping the issue fresh in my mind: I'm realizing that Republican hypocrisy isn't simply about sexual issues; it's about everything. Take "states' rights" for instance. When the GOP controlled only the White House, and at times not even that, for much of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, they pushed "states' rights" as an important political issue. Once they completely took over in 2001, not only did this trademark conservative issue fade into obscurity, the federal government began to actively oppose states' rights on everything from physician assisted suicide, to gay marriage, to health care. In the end, it was all about where they were able to exert the most control, and back in the day, that was at the state level.

I could go on and on, but there's no need. This issue about filibustering, which was branded by Republicans as being anti-American just two years ago, but is now their legislative bread-and-butter, proves the point. The bottom line is that, when all is said and done, Republicans don't believe anything. Their views are shaped by and for the moment, and once they've done their job, they're abandoned. Power is the Republicans' sole unifying ideological principle.

If only the Democrats had the balls to point this out. But then, they don't believe anything either, so why should I even hope?


Friday, September 21, 2007




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


Thousands pour into Louisiana town to support Jena 6

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Drawn by a case tinged with one of the most hated symbols of Old South racism — a hangman's noose tied in an oak tree — thousands of protesters rallied Thursday against what they see as a double standard of prosecution for blacks and whites.

The plight of the so-called Jena Six became a flashpoint for one the biggest civil-rights demonstrations in years. Five of the black teens were initially charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate.

Old-guard lions like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton joined scores of college students bused in from across the nation who said they wanted to make a stand for racial equality just as their parents did in the 1950s and '60s.

"It's not just about Jena, but about inequalities and disparities around the country," said Stephanie Brown, 26, national youth director for the NAACP, who estimated about 2,000 college students were among the throngs of mostly black protesters who overwhelmed this tiny central Louisiana town.

Click here for the rest.

So I was listening to some New Orleans talk radio this morning and I was shocked to hear many of the white callers focusing on the violence in Jena while heavily downplaying the nooses, which is the context in which the fighting must be understood. I'm increasingly coming to believe that it's not just piece-of-shit small towns that have race problems: it's the whole goddamned Deep South. Since I've moved to Louisiana, I've encountered time and again the whole us-and-them attitude, among both blacks and whites, that will keep racial strife festering indefinitely.

It's cool that Jackson and Sharpton led this massive march. It's what they excel in, old-school civil rights demonstrations, and it will probably pressure the Jena white power structure to get its shit together. However, I'm also starting to believe that the old-school approach tends to piss off white people so much that they can't hear the message. Don't get me wrong. It's not the fault of African-Americans who are simply trying to find justice; it's the fault of the white us-and-them sensibility.

In short, if Deep South whites have closed their ears to African-Americans and the good points they make, it is now the responsibility of whites of good conscience to deliver the message. Loudly. And right now.


Christian Theater Troupe Scolds Griffin

From the AP via the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

In accepting the Emmy for her Bravo reality show, "My Life on the D-List," Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"

"We at The Miracle Theater consider it an honor to stand for Jesus today," the ad said. "We may never win a national award. We may never be household names. We may never be seen in Hollywood. Although others may choose to use their national platform to slander our God, we are honored as professional entertainers to stand for Christ."

The Associated Press was attempting Wednesday to reach Griffin's publicist.

Griffin's comments have also drawn ire from the Catholic League, an anti-defamation group that called on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to "denounce Griffin's obscene and blasphemous comment" at the Sept. 9 ceremony. The E! channel chose to edit Griffin's speech when it aired the taped event last Saturday night.

More here.

Strictly speaking, I think it's only blasphemy if the person doing it actually believes in the Christian god. Otherwise, it's simply Constitutionally protected commentary on a powerful economic and social institution called "the church."

This is an issue that bugs me increasingly: on the one hand, these angry Christians insist that everybody rhetorically respect their religious beliefs, implying that religion bears the same cultural significance as ethnicity or race; on the other hand, these same angry Christians have no problem with rhetorically disrespecting pretty much any point of view that doesn't jibe with their own. Atheists, agnostics, non-Christians, anybody who disagrees must toe the line, obey their laws, show respect.

The point is that they're trying to have it both ways. They want to enter the political sphere and tell everybody what to do, but when people bite back, they cry foul. Well, that's bullshit. Griffin has nothing for which to apologize. These guys are just whiners who obviously weren't beat up enough when they were kids.

Like my dad always used to say, if you're going to play rough, you've got to expect to get hurt.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bowie donates $10,000 to defense fund for
6 black teens accused of beating white classmate

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

NEW ORLEANS — David Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six black teens charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena.

The British rocker's donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund was announced by the NAACP as thousands of protesters were expected to march through Jena on Thursday in defense of Mychal Bell and five other teens. The group has become known as the Jena Six.

"There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena," Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. "A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."

Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.

Click here for more.

This thing has really gotten out of hand since I first noticed it back in June. At that point, the story was simply about the nooses put up by white kids to intimidate black kids. The school where this all took place called it "a prank" and essentially slapped the white students on the wrist--of course, such an act can hardly be called a prank; non-racist whites and African Americans alike would see it for what it was, a death threat. And that's how the school's black population saw it. Inevitably, some fighting broke out, and one of the white kids got a concussion. Suddenly, the black kids are being charged with attempted murder.

Fortunately, the most egregious charges were eventually dropped, or dismissed on appeal, but the Jena Six are still in some deep legal trouble which is why Bowie's dropping 10k for their defense, and this big march is headed there Thursday.

Obviously, the white power establishment in Jena is deeply racist, and in deep denial about it. If any charges should have ever been filed, they should have been for the death threats that started it all. What really pisses me off is that the school could have stopped this whole thing in its tracks by treating the noose incident with the seriousness it deserved. The racial tension that led to the fighting was an easily predictable consequence, but the whiteys in charge were too fucking stupid and racist to get it.

Really, from the point of view of the Jena Six, the fighting was self-defense.

Democracy Now was all over this Wednesday morning, and the one thing that struck me is how white people there don't seem to understand what's going on. "We're not racist here," they were all saying, "This isn't about racism." They're just as clueless as people in Vidor.

As I've said, I often fear that the single lasting legacy of the Civil Rights Era is that white racists don't think they're racist.


Rather files $70 million lawsuit against CBS

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Rather narrated a September 2004 report saying that Bush had disobeyed orders and shirked some of his duties during his National Guard service and that a commander felt pressured to sugarcoat Bush's record.

In his lawsuit, Rather maintains that the story was true, but that if any aspect of the broadcast wasn't accurate, he was not responsible for the errors.

The story relied on four documents, supposedly written by Bush's commander in the Texas Air National Guard, the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. Critics questioned the documents' authenticity and suggested they were forged.

A CBS review determined the story was neither fair nor accurate. CBS fired the story's producer and asked for the resignation of three executives because it could not authenticate documents used in the story, and Rather was forced out of the anchor chair he had occupied for 24 years.

Rather's lawsuit says he was forced to apologize, although "as defendants well knew, even if any aspect of the broadcast had not been accurate, which has never been established, Mr. Rather was not responsible for any such errors."

By making Rather apologize publicly, "CBS intentionally caused the public and the media to attribute CBS' alleged bungling of the episode to Mr. Rather," the lawsuit claimed. As a result, some news media called the event "Rathergate."

He also claimed that after removing him as anchor of the "CBS Evening News," the network gave him fewer and less important assignments and little airtime on "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II."

At the time, Rather was making $6 million a year, the lawsuit says.

Rather claimed in the suit that his departure was ultimately caused by Viacom Chairman Redstone, who found it best for the company to curry favor with the Bush administration by damaging Rather. An "enraged" Redstone said the newsman and anyone associated with him had to go, according to the lawsuit.

Richard Thornburgh, the former U.S. attorney general who made up the two-man investigative panel with Louis D. Boccardi, the retired chief executive of The Associated Press, said he was unaware of Rather's lawsuit.

Click here for more.

I've hated Dan Rather for years. He's the epitome of broadcast journalism's pomposity and arrogance, a total stuffed-shirt prick. He's also been a real team player while corporate ownership has steadily pushed news toward entertainment throughout much of his career. Part of me wants to say, "Well, that's what he gets." On the other hand, he really did get shafted on this one.

For starters, the infamous 60 Minutes story that got him fired was true: the CBS review was a total whitewash with a predetermined outcome--having Bush family friend and GOP loyalist Dick Thornburgh anywhere near this thing proves it. More importantly, however, is that the right-wing blog frenzy about one of the memos supporting the story was bogus from the get-go. According to the also fired 60 Minutes segment producer Mary Mapes in her book Truth and Duty, conservative bloggers analyzed a bitmap of a fax of a photocopy of the original supposedly forged document. That is, there was never any evidence at all that the memo was faked, and the story's producers had already authenticated it with some 95% accuracy. Mapes' book shows the actual document side by side with what the bloggers were looking at; they bear very little resemblance to one another.

In short, Rather, as well as Mapes, were both swiftboated, and CBS caved. I think he has a damned good chance of winning this, and that's a good thing. Frankly, all these news networks should be sued in grand Scientology harassment style.

That's what they get.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


From Democracy Now!, author and economist Naomi Klein looks at the New Orleans debacle in terms of her new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism:

Well, New Orleans is a classic example of what I’m calling the shock doctrine or disaster capitalism, because you had that first shock, which was the drowning of the city. And as you know, having just returning from New Orleans, it was not -- this was not a natural disaster. And the great irony here is that it really was a disaster of this very ideology that we’re talking about, the systematic neglect of the public sphere.

And I think, increasingly, we’re going to see this, where you have twenty-five years of steady neglect of the public infrastructure, and the bones of the state -- the transportation system, the roads, the levees -- are weak and frail. And the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that it would take $1.5 trillion to bring the bones of the state up to standard, because they’re so weakened, the bridges and the roads and the levees.


So you -- first the ideology weakens, creates the disaster, and then it’s used as an excuse to finish the job, to privatize everything, and that is what happened in New Orleans. Immediately after the city flooded, you had this ideological campaign, ground zero of which was the Heritage Foundation in Washington, which has always been, I guess, the most powerful engine for this radical free-market vision, announcing that, you know, this is a tragedy, but it’s also an opportunity to completely remake the state, i.e. eliminate it, so an explosion of charter schools -- the public schools were not reopened. They were converted to charter schools. The public hospital, like Charity Hospital, remains boarded up. The public housing --and this is the most dramatic example -- that horrible quote from a Republican congressperson: “We couldn't clean out the housing projects, but God did it ten days after the levees broke. This is what I mean by the shock doctrine, this idea of harnessing a disaster to push through radical privatization.

Click here to read, watch, or listen to the rest.

This is only a brief moment of an interview looking at "free market" ideology, and its deadly consequences, from its birth to the present day. Here's the short version. Radical pro-capitalist reformers gain political power and then use their new ability to force enormous disasters; they then use these disasters as an excuse to ram their crackpot economic theories down people's throats. The ensuing chaos in the wake of these manufactured crises makes affected populations both dazed and compliant.

New Orleans is but one example. Another example is the CIA engineered Chilean coup, which ominously took place on September 11th, 1973. Chile's democratically elected president had enacted some very mild economic reforms which Nixon and Kissinger branded as communist, justifying covert intervention. In the wake of this disaster, the coup itself, the US had their boy, dictator Augusto Pinochet, impose radical capitalism on the population. Thousands of tortured and murdered political opponents later, Pinochet had to abandon these "free market" reforms because they had been a total failure in terms of the domestic economy.

In terms of global capitalism, however, Chile was a roaring success, transferring the nation's wealth to outside investors.

Another example of disaster capitalism is our own 9/11: US foreign policy in the Middle East, strongly influenced by the economics of oil, radicalized numerous Muslims, who eventually brought down the World Trade Center. The aftermath galvanized GOP power, and the Republican dominated Congress and White House proceeded to transmute their newly won national security clout into "free market" reform. The rest is, as they say, history.

Go check out this interview; I'm not entirely sure I agree with everything Klein says, but I think she's essentially correct and the whole thing is totally fascinating.

New Orleans during the flood.


UT freshman sixth Longhorn arrested since June

From the Houston Chronicle:

The off-field problems continue for the Texas Longhorns.

Texas freshman running back James Henry has been charged on felony counts of obstruction and tampering with evidence connected with a July incident involving teammates Robert Joseph and Andre Jones. Henry was arrested Monday afternoon and bail set at $30,000.

Henry, the sixth UT football player arrested since June, has been suspended from the team indefinitely, coach Mack Brown said.


"Young people who do not obey the law, university or team rules will continue to be disciplined with a stern hand and we will move forward. We continue to have a zero tolerance policy in that regard," Brown said. "I will put our long-term record of character up against anyone, and that's why these situations upset me so much."

Click here for the rest.

So this may be what's causing many of the 'Horns' problems, and I'm not simply talking about this one guy, or even the multiple arrests in themselves. The fact that six players have run afoul of the law strongly indicates a corrupt team culture. One or two arrests, sure, dismiss them as isolated incidents. But six? Something fucked is going on, and when you have that many guys actually busted for their misdeeds, there's a pretty good chance there are more who simply haven't been caught.

In short, the team, as a cohesive unit, isn't serious about winning football games. They're obviously more interested in partying and being bigshot football players. I mean, yeah, there are obviously individual players, maybe even a majority of them, who are serious about winning, but the team isn't. It doesn't matter how much talent you have. If you don't have a good team, you're not going to win the big ones.

I have no idea what Mack Brown ought to do about this. As the article notes, he's doing the right thing, kicking these assholes off the team. But my bet is that this playboy element has stained the Longhorns' ability to play well, and it may be irreparable. This year, anyway.

Short of firing everybody and starting over with a bunch of walk-ons, how do you repair a sour team culture?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

France warning of war with Iran

From the BBC courtesy of AlterNet:

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the world should prepare for war over Iran's nuclear programme.

"We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war," Mr Kouchner said in an interview on French TV and radio.

Click here for the rest.

Hey, remember "freedom fries"? Remember the GOP trying to make John Kerry look soft on terrorism by saying that he looked French? Remember how "France" and "surrender" were slated to be synonyms for a while there? Well, it appears those days are over now. And that means the chances for a US invasion of Iran before Bush is run out of Washington have increased significantly.

Don't get me wrong. I'm worried about nuclear proliferation, as a general issue. But I understand that Iran is not nearly as close to getting the bomb as the White House has been asserting, which is really no surprise, given their track record on such things. And I'm not as frightened as they want me to be either: Iran's leaders are crazy, yes, but so are the leaders of Pakistan and India, and none of them are nearly as nuts as guys like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. In short, it's alarmist to say that it's the end of the world if Iran gets the bomb.

But the way things are going, that's not going to happen. Europe and America are joining forces to "civilize" the Middle East. Or else. Frankly, that has me way more frightened.


Poll: Civilian toll in Iraq may top 1M

From the Los Angeles Times courtesy of AlterNet:

According to the ORB poll, a survey of 1,461 adults suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war was more than 1.2 million.

ORB said it drew its conclusion from responses to the question about those living under one roof: "How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003?"

Based on Iraq's estimated number of households -- 4,050,597 -- it said the 1.2 million figure was reasonable.

There was no way to verify the number, because the government does not provide a full count of civilian deaths. Neither does the U.S. military.

Both, however, say that independent organizations greatly exaggerate estimates of civilian casualties.

ORB said its poll had a margin of error of 2.4%. According to its findings, nearly one in two households in Baghdad had lost at least one member to war- related violence, and 22% of households nationwide had suffered at least one death. It said 48% of the victims were shot to death and 20% died as a result of car bombs, with other explosions and military bombardments blamed for most of the other fatalities.

Click here for the rest.

I titled this post "Another American Genocide" not only because the US invasion has directly caused hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, but also because it unleashed the relentless wave of sectarian violence now making Iraq another "killing fields" on par with Pol Pot's bloody reign over Cambodia--we are responsible for all this. Also, I use the word "another" because this isn't the first time: the US virtually destroyed its own native population, as well as killing millions of black Africans in the slave trade. And let's not forget all the Vietnamese we wantonly killed, either.

For me, for my own sense of morality, one million equals genocide.

That's what this is all about. It's not about patriotism. It's not about supporting the troops or fighting terror. It's not about 9/11, which is now a drop in the fountain by comparison. It's about wanton slaughter for no reason that I understand or recognize at all.

So now the United States is about wanton slaughter. When I think about this too much I can barely contain my sadness.


Monday, September 17, 2007

In for Flynn, Perrilloux excels in first start at QB for Tigers

From the AP via ESPN:

Perrilloux threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start to lead No. 2 LSU to a 44-0 victory over Middle Tennessee on Saturday night.

"I was real nervous, but after the first snap, all the jitters go away and you just kind of relax and calm down and play ball," said Perrilloux, who had not been permitted to speak with reporters previously this season. "They stuck with me and they stuck behind me. They knew I was going to be able to one day lead this team and I thank them for that."

With a Southeastern Conference showdown against Steve Spurrier's No. 17 South Carolina squad looming next weekend, LSU coach Les Miles decided to rest regular starter Matt Flynn, who had sprained his right ankle a week earlier and whose participation in practice had been limited since.

Miles also held out No. 1 receiver Early Doucet.

Oddsmakers had LSU (3-0) favored by a little more than five touchdowns over the Blue Raiders (0-3). The Tigers had no trouble meeting such lofty expectations with Perrilloux behind center and numerous reserves such as sophomore receiver Jared Mitchell (six catches, 82 yards) getting extensive playing time.

It was 44-0 in the third quarter.

Click here for more.

The Tigers are the best team in the country; USC's number one ranking strikes me as being more of a psychological thing with poll voters than anything else. Just give it another couple of games and they'll get it figured out. Middle Tennessee's a piece of shit Sun Belt team, sure, but they did give Louisville a run for their money last week. But they didn't have a chance against LSU--actually, given the players Miles was using, it would be fairer to say "against LSU's second and third stringers." This is very good news. The Tigers aren't only great; they've got depth. That simply increases the chance of an undefeated season. And they're playing very professionally, with very few mistakes.

I'm truly bummed by how my undergraduate school's team, the Longhorns, are playing so far this season, but it appears that my graduate school is currently making a very serious run for the national championship.

I am so glad they're not playing each other.

Middle Tennessee Ivon Hickmon hangs on as Louisiana State running back Richard Murphy dives for a touchdown in the second half of their football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007. LSU won, 44-0.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(via ESPN)

Geaux Tigers!


Horns' McCoy, Charles team up to end UCF's upset bid

From the AP via ESPN:

Colt McCoy threw 259 yards and two touchdowns and Jamaal Charles scored on a 46-yard run Saturday to clinch a 35-32 victory over UCF. The Longhorns' first trip to the Sunshine State in 34 years was anything but a smooth journey.

Click here for more.

"Anything but a smooth journey" is being polite, to be sure. Indeed, it seems like almost everybody is being polite about how the 'Horns are playing right now. Their extraordinarily sloppy win against their unranked opponent, who was coming off a 4-8 season, only dropped Texas one slot in today's rankings, back to number seven. This season's going to get really ugly, really quickly. I don't even want to think about the upcoming OU game in two weeks.

But that's enough Texas bashing for me at the moment: the Longhorn Nation's very own Inquisitor/Confessor, my old pal Matt, is going to strap me to the rack if I don't shut up. Instead, I'll pass the mike to a commenter on this strangely optimistic Houston Chronicle story about the game.

TradeLidgeAlready says:

Whoopee, another sloppy, uninspired, underperforming effort. Eeking out an embarrassing win in what should have been a blowout based on the talent. Way too many penalties, more undisciplined stupidity like late hits, and lousy coaching. Brilliant choice to go for 2, Mack, nice job of giving the opponent another chance. It once again shows how amazing it was that Vince Young was able to win UT fans a national title in spite of Chauncey the Gardening Recruiter.

And enough with Mack's stupid clap, clap, clap, clapping whenever anything goes wrong, no matter how awful or outrageous. Like a robot with zero situational awareness. When the ref's burn UT with an obviously wrong call, clap, clap, clap. When his stupid decisions cost us a game, clap, clap, clap. "Hey Mack, I just ran over your dog." Clap, clap, clap. "Hey Mack, you're standing in fire ants." Clap, clap, clap. "Mack, terrorists just attacked!" clap, clap, clap. It is a reflex for him, and nobody is buying it. Just looks like a fool sometimes. Maybe when someone makes a boneheaded play it might be wise to call that player a bonehead and tell him why instead of coddling him. Perhaps that's why so many Longhorns are still thugs getting into trouble off the field: coddling and failure to discipline. "Gee, golly, you guys probably shouldn't steal TV's, smoke dope, and drive drunk. It isn't nice, so don't make me give you a timeout in the corner." Clap, clap, clap.
Not that I agree that all of UT's problems can be laid at Brown's feet, myself, but he certainly bears final responsibility. What I want to know is how long we're supposed to be "rebuilding."

Quan Cosby is brought down on a
kick return by Central Florida's
Sha'reff Rashad (29). Reinhold Matay: AP
(via the Houston Chronicle)


Sunday, September 16, 2007


Sorry folks. I stayed out a wee bit too long having a good time. Consequently, I'm too sleepy to post. Back to regularly scheduled Real Art tomorrow. Or later today to be more precise.

What? You never blew off your homework?


Friday, September 14, 2007

Film Fest Stars Pick Beatles Favorites

From the AP via the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

What's the best Beatles song?

The revolutionary tunes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are back on the big-screen with "Across the Universe," a boy-meets-girl musical romance set amid the social turbulence of Vietnam and the 1960s.

In advance of its theatrical debut Friday, "Across the Universe" played at the Toronto International Film Festival, where The Associated Press asked stars what Beatles song was their favorite.

Most hemmed and hawed, some said it was impossible to pick one and a couple chose a certain post-Beatles Lennon composition.

A sampling of they had to say:

_ Evan Rachel Wood, star of "Across the Universe":

"It's hard, because it depends on where you are in your life and what day it is, because they really covered everything. So right now, hmm, recently, I would sing `Happiness Is a Warm Gun.' I got into that because of `Across the Universe.' It's my favorite number in the movie, how it's this strange, dark song. I like their weird stuff, too, even when they did `Blue Jay Way' and `Fool on the Hill.' You listen to it and it was so ahead of its time. You hear Radiohead nowadays and you're like, wow, I can see these strange similarities."

Click here for the rest.

Although I'm about 80% sure this Across the Universe film is going to suck, with a 10% chance of nearing greatness, this is actually a good question. Wood really nails it with her opening analysis: if you're a Beatle fan, it all has to do with where you are at any given moment in your life. She also makes a really good choice with "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," one of John's more disturbing but silly songs. It is interesting to note that most of those polled chose stuff from the late 60s. For me, that's too easy, and it would also be overlooking some of the important gems from their transitional period, the couple of years between the Beatlemania phase and the release of Sgt. Pepper.

For my money, at this moment in my life, it's a tie between "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" and "I'm a Loser." Both are primarily Lennon compositions and heavily inspired by Bob Dylan, who had recently met them, got them smoking grass, and challenged them to be more introspective with their lyric writing. The first of these two tunes is ostensibly a spurned love song, but upon closer examination shows some well articulated James Dean angst, and the hook - ah, that wonderful hook! - is a passionate as anything John ever sang. The second tune is just heartbreaking in its sadness. Again, it appears to be another lost-love song, but peel away a layer or two and we see a very literate picture of existential pain: John is "a clown" but underneath it all his "tears fall like rain from the sky." This is about far more than breaking up with a girlfriend. It's also got a fabulous George Harrison rockabilly style guitar solo.

Here is a damned good and very faithful rendition of "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" by a Beatle tribute band called the Fab Four.

Here is another excellent cover, of "I'm a Loser," by the same band.





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



I never know what's going to take off here or why. My recent post "ACTING TEACHER AS CULT LEADER" has generated a lot of traffic. Even though the main emphasis was about acting teachers and the psychological power they wield over their students, my references to the University of Delaware's graduate acting program and its involvement with Landmark Education's Forum seminar set off some kind of alarm device with anti-cult activists. Apparently, none of them realized what's been close to common knowledge in the world of institutional theater for years: Delaware kids go to the Forum.

Anyway, a couple of these anti-cult sites (here and here) linked to the post, which somehow led to a Church of the SubGenius site linking to me as well. I am absolutely honored, by the way, that the cult of Slack, the devotees of Bob, have recognized me in this way.

Also, backtracking those sites scored for me a very nice French with subtitles documentary on the Landmark Forum (here)--it's definitely worth watching.

I got many more hits from who knows where, but I do know they came into the site through that post. Some of them were from Delaware, which worried me a bit, you know, lawsuits and such. Who knows what lurks in the hearts of angry Werner Earhard followers? Right, the Shadow knows, but he's not real.

I got some comments, too:


Very interesting that Sanford Robbins who you said is on Landmark Education's Board of Directors requires all of his acting students to attend the controversial Landmark Forum course.

Currently, Landmark Education is a defendant in a civil wrongful death lawsuit out of Oklahoma. Do an internet search for Been v Weed and Landmark Education. The suit is for forty million dollars in damages.

Landmark Education has also been investigated three times by the United States Federal Department of Labor, and twice by the French Labour department. After a documentary aired in France to 1.5 million people (search "Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus"), the French Labour department said Landmark Education had to treat its volunteer unpaid laborers in the "assisting program" like employees. Within weeks, Landmark Education shut down their operations in France.

I doubt that Sandford Robbins' acting students know much of this history before deciding to register for their required "course" The Landmark Forum.


I'm an LSU alum as well...I find this disturbing.
LSU Alum

Hey Ron,
As a recovering thespian, I really enjoyed your blog on Katselas, Hubbard and Erhard. Born into a family of eccentric blowhards, I started in theatre at six in thrall with a woman who held sway over several generations of aspiring actors on the Monterey Peninsula in the 60s thru the 90s. I loved each of the subsequent, flamboyant Drama Mama's that nurtured my dream to be a Grrrreat AC-tor (must be enunciated like Jon Lovitz). Then in the middle of a production of "Our Town" at UCSD, it suddenly occurred to me that The Theatre (with capital Ts) was full of shit and so was I. It was like a visceral slap, so forceful that I thought that everyone else must surely be able to see me for the big fake I felt like. I almost quit school right then and there, but ended up changing my major to advertising (I know, out of the frying pan and into the reactor core). Many years later I realize that what made me easy prey for The Theatre is what made me easy prey for the likes of Landmark, Deepak Chopra and other magical thinking hoo-hah . . . emotional neediness. It took a long time to realize that, and I wish I could have stayed in the theatre (lower case) armed with that self-realization, but without that insatiable thirst for attention and self-importance, the drive to succeed on stage was lost. I still dearly love the theatre, just from the other side of the proscenium. Thanks again for your thoughtful blog.
Fortunately, this last guy, at least, was more interested in the main thrust of my tirade, acting teachers. Don't get me wrong, though, I'm always happy for the attention and the hits. However, like I said, I fear I've accidentally stepped into somebody else's turf war. I mean, I am opposed to cults generally, although I recognize their right to exist as entities, but some of these organizations, like Scientology, for sure, play hardball--fortunately, as far as I can tell, none of those nuts give a shit about me at all.

Thank god, who may or may not exist.

I think it's best to let my old actor pal Lex, who actually went through the Delaware acting program, have the last word, which I solicited from him via myspace comments:
Werner Earhardt also had sex with a minor and that is one of the real reasons why he ain't here. To be quite honest, stupid young college kids going into acting school all secretly just want to be matter what they may say about love and passion for the theatre. They deserve to have their minds and egos toyed with. That's what you get for thinking you're going to make a living by avoiding having to do any real work and calling yourself an "artist" instead, when all you really are is just fucking lazy. That's what I think....Ron, since you asked.

PTTP. I'm not sure how involved with The Forum they are anymore. It's 12 years later now. But whilst I was there an anti-cult charge was made against us that some of us volunteered to testify at. But they were claiming such alarmist things against us that just weren't true...we were all hating life and gagging about how hard we had to work all the time, but they weren't doing the things to us that these people who we'd never seen or talked to were saying they were doing to us. Don't worry, University of Delaware or The Forum are not going to come after you.

Okay maybe they WILL come after you. I said that before I had read in depth that you mentioned Sandy and and all. For this particular subject, you might have wanted to ask me 'bout it since I was there and all. There is a new movie documentary called Transformation featuring Sandy and it's all about Earhardt. Did you see the clip of it on my page? Anyway, having said that, please come stick your finger in my pussy and jiggle it around a little....then sniff it.
That Lex, always talking about pussy. The clip to which he refers is here.