Tuesday, August 28, 2007

wango tango

As a musician and child of the late-70s/early 80s, it is depressing to watch Ted Nugent's complete descent into insanity. Not because Ted was ever the most innovative guitarist, or the biggest star, or even a particular generational touchstone. He was, however, a reliable purveyor of goofy cock-rock anthems. His biggest contribution to my life was the realization that high amplification could really screw up your hearing. Maybe that's the Nuge's excuse--dimed Fender Twins will reduce your brain to mush.

Combined with Jeff Baxter, another guitarist turned wingnut (it's worth noting that Baxter has no academic credentials. His sole qualification is a paper that gave wingnut's wingnut Dana Rohrabacher a boner), Nugent is really making me think my parents were right. That music will rot your brain.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

throwin' stuff at the wall

Glenn Greenwald and David Rivkin were on C-SPAN this morning. They were debating the latest evisceration of the fourth amendment.

My senators voted for this travesty. I'm not surprised that Kit Bond did so. If George Bush ever hurtles over a cliff, the powerful suction his buttocks exert on Bond's face will drag the Kitster over as well. But Claire McCaskill? Claire, I voted for you just so you could vote against this sort of thing. I knew Jim Talent had no spine, but what happened to you, Claire?

Anyway, it occurred to me as I watched the exchange that very few people ever ask why this administration needs or wants these powers. I think it's because they don't have any other idea.

These are people who have botched everything they've touched. From the president who ran two oil companies into bankruptcy to the veep who drove down his company's stock price like a 28 oz. hammer smacking a #10 nail, to the graduates of a fourth-tier law school who profess to hate government, yet who are apparently only fit to serve as apparatchiks, this is an administration filled with people who have no idea what they are doing. John Ashcroft was my governor for two terms. I am no fan of many of Ashcroft's positions, but no one could accuse him of the sort of rank bumbling that characterizes our present federal system. These people are so fumbling, so lost, that they can't even make the simple linguistic and epistimelogical distinction between "terrorism" and "terror."

To put it plainly, they have no idea how to stop terrorism. They have no idea what the first steps would be to actually identify and apprehend terrorists. One reason they decry the law enforcement approach (the only approach that has paid any dividends so far, I might add) to fighting terrorism is that it requires too much dedication and thought. They come from a corporate background, where the answer to every question is "more money and power to the CEO."

That's why they want broad powers. They don't have any ideas or plans. Their best thought is "Hey, if we grab everything, then surely we'll be able to figure out what's bad!!! Right?" And if they also find out stuff about people who oppose them, well, surely that's just gravy.