Archive for June, 2009

Michael Jackson, Rest in Peace

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

MJ made the best videos on MTV for quite awhile. I watched a few of them today on youtube. I especially like the Billie Jean video where, as he dances down the sidewalk, the squares light up underneath his feet. It’s a great video, song, arrangement, dancing, everything. He was a genius who broke new ground for many years.

He also, as was made obvious by his ever whiter skin color, bizarre surgically altered face, and fantasy neverland ranch, became more and more psychotic as time went by.

It’s an occupational disease. It doesn’t happen to every big star, but some of them, especially if they become globally famous at an early age, develop the delusion that they can have whatever they want, do whatever they want, ingest whatever they want, without consequence. It is a disease of youth in general, but most of us run into limitations fairly quickly that disabuse us of this bad idea.

For Michael Jackson, or Elvis, or Janis, or Jimi, or Jerry, it must have looked like a not so unreasonable notion, until it was too late.

What’s Good for General Motors?

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

We drove through Spring Hill, Tennessee this afternoon on our way to visit friends in Hampshire and Summertown. General Motors is closing the plant in Spring Hill pretty soon. The decision has been taken to make the planned, small, green, government-mandated GM cars in Detroit rather than in Spring Hill. Here Mickey Kaus explains why this is so. The problem is that the Spring Hill plant makes cars cheaper and better than they do in Detroit, because down here in the benighted South, they are not burdened with UAW union work rules, and gold-plated benefits. Now that the UAW and the Democratic Party own GM, it is time to take revenge on those scabs down in Tennessee.

Body Language

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Posted by Harcamone

This is not the first time that J. Carter’s body language expresses, more eloquently than words could, his unfitness for diplomacy. One must make allowances and extend respect for age, but he is very far out of his league.

The gesture of Carter is a hopeful, pleading “turning towards.” The position of his hands is indeterminate — they are just sort of weakly folded into one another. His elbows are indeterminate and off axis. One foot is on the ground; one foot is mostly off, balanced awkwardly and pointlessly on the ankle. His shoes do not shine. His head is slumped down into his shoulders, making his neck invisible. This is not a position of strength or stability. Carter’s mouth is indeterminate, too, neither open nor closed. If he is saying anything, nobody is paying attention. Looked at as “body architecture,” the total effect is one of extreme instability and weakness. Carter looks inconsequential.

The body language of Haniyeh does not reciprocate Carter’s turning. There is nothing weak or unstable here. Haniyeh’s body expresses resoluteness and comfortableness. Neither he nor the translator wears a tie, as is their custom; they do not alter it to suit a former US President. Haniyeh’s hands are visible, relaxed and symmetrical. There is no slumping, other than the sag of his middle-age belly. His head is high on his neck. His shined shoes are flat on the floor. He lips are closed, and he wears a soupçon of a smile. His posture beams confidence. He is not looking at Carter, in fact his eyes seem directed slightly towards his left, away from Carter.

Haniyeh’s erect posture put his head and top of shoulders above the back of his chair, where they stand out in contrast to the orange curtains. Carter’s shoulders sink below the back of his chair, even half of his head is sunk below the line of the chair. His pale skin and white hair fade into the white, undecorated background.

Even the translator’s body is not evenly situated between Carter and Haniyeh, but leans significantly towards Haniyeh. His glance, too, is to his left, away from Carter.

To ceremonious people like Persians and Arabs, every detail of this picture yields information. Many Westerners cannot read these simple, obvious semiotics.

Obama’s Speech to the Muslim World

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Many on the right are offering praise, however faint, for Obama’s speech to the Muslim world. I have a real problem with the very idea of speaking to “The Muslim World” at all. “The Muslim World” is the goal, the agenda, the ambition, the aspiration of Al Qaeda and its associates.

What Muslim world? Is there a Christian world, a Catholic world, a Lutheran world, a Buddhist world, a Hindu world? Does a Muslim in Indonesia or Chicago owe his primary allegiance to Islam in exactly the same way as a Muslim in Iran or Saudi Arabia? Do all Muslims everywhere see themselves as part of a global Muslim Ummah that transcends national borders?

Is this something that an American President should legitimize and encourage? Osama Bin Laden, surrounded by his constantly renewed 72 virgins, must be chuckling.

Update: I stand corrected. Apparently Obama never used the phrase “the Muslim world” anywhere in his speech. Since everybody else referred to it as his speech to the Muslim world, I assumed that it was.

Further update: The official press release headline on the State Department Web site: “President Obama Speaks To The Muslim World From Cairo.”

Everything I Believed is Wrong!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I saw on TV today that Obama’s plan for health care is to create better health care for more people at a lower cost. Wow, I had no idea. I have been so wrong! I just don’t see how anyone could be against that.

Well, and now I just saw Nancy Pelosi, again on TV, say that she promised the Chinese that she and the Democrats are committed to deficit reduction! I was wrong again! Somehow I had gotten the idea that the government intended to spend more than they took in for the foreseeable future. All lies, apparently.

And now Obama says that he has no interest in micromanaging General Motors, that the government will not interfere with GM management decisions in any way! How could I have been so misinformed? I completely fell for the lies about how the UAW lobbied the Obama administration and stopped GM management from importing cars made in China. I guess I will just have to quit watching Fox News.

Now my head is really spinning. I am reeling from the news I just heard that all of those innocent people who were randomly scooped up by the American military to be tortured and indefinitely incarcerated in Guantanamo for no reason whatsoever, are not going to be tried in U.S. courts, and are not going to be released!? What is going on here?! Am I still living in America?

Thank God the President is at least still taking a principled stand against gay marriage, as a counter to Dick Cheney’s support thereof.