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Thanks to Mitch for the link.  There is a cryptic reference towards the bottom of the article to some supporters’ who believe that he was framed through a gay and lesbian conspiracy, but it lacks specifics.

I’m not caught up on the story yet, but I heard some news on NPR today which suggests that Gaddafi may be the next dictator to take the walk.  It sounds like his government is falling apart.  Even his blond Ukrainian adviser has returned home.  Reuters has the latest.

So where does the Muslim Brotherhood type concern fall here?  Is this good news or bad news?

Any good links?

Addendum: The opposition rebellion took the city closest to the capital.  So what does anyone know about the opposition leadership?

And here’s a lefty piece entitled “How Gaddafi became a Western-backed Dictator.” Those of us old enough to remember, throughout the seventies and eighties he had brief flurries of military skirmishes with the US, none of which went well for him.  He seemed to fall into semi-favor in recent years.

This piece suggests that while those military confrontations were lost by the Libyan military, they worked to the benefit of Gaddafi in terms of power consolidation.

Second addendum: Here’s a piece from Marc Cooper on Libya and Latin American leftists – I really miss hearing Radio Nation on Thursday mornings on KMUD, but he tended to piss off the truther/chem trail set so the subscription was canceled.  I love the intro.

Here I am apologizing again. Every time I promise to start blogging again, some Arab nation or another blows apart and sucks me back into work. I’ve been putting in about a 1000 hours a week over at our USC-based Neon Tommy web site and I invite you to take a peek as we have been all over the Libya story (and everything else).

I’ve been fascinated by the Libya story as I had the great displeasure of spending some very brief time in Colonel Gaddafi’s little paradise back in 1973 and I have been waiting a long time to see him get strung upside down from a lamp post.  It’s been great, once again, to have Al Jazeera’s live stream and live blog to stay abreast and I’m sure there’s little I can add to bring much light to this dark subject.

I am obligated, however, to note the wonderful little ironies that have popped up in the sub-culture of The Left, a demi-monde in which I spent a great part of my life.  The Atlantic notes that the blood-soaked dictator is getting virtually NO international support except from a few would-be and has-been dictators down in Latin America.

The rest is almost as good.

Some tragic images from the conflict.

Third addendum: Here’s a video from Tripoli, though it’s about a week old.

The video at the end, with the Republicans walking out feeling good about themselves.

I got it from MYDD, which has some more details.

And this from Joel – Is Walker pulling a Mubarak?

NBC – a central pillar of the MSM criticizing the MSM for popular ignorance?  Of course they blame others too, and yes, people who believe that Obama is a Muslim or that the Health Care Reform has been repealed are at best intellectually lazy or illiterate.  But it is nice to see a admission like this one.  Even better a resolve to do something about it, like restoring investigative reporting budgets so you aren’t so dependent on stakeholder press releases.  Of course, people have to want reporters to buck those interests, and apparently many really would rather just not hear about it.

Here’s the passage:

*** The misinformed: You can only shake your head at these numbers: A Kaiser Family Foundation poll “found extensive public confusion about the health care law, with 22% of Americans incorrectly believing it has been repealed and another 26% unsure or unwilling to say.” Folks, the law HAS NOT been repealed. As we said when yet another poll showed a sizable portion of the American public thinking that — incorrectly — President Obama is a Muslim, everyone deserves blame here. The politicians. The citizenry. And especially the news media. We aren’t doing our jobs when the populace is this misinformed. As a collective, look at how the court decisions striking down the health law get covered vs. the decisions to uphold it. And then look at the conservative media outlets and their coverage of this issue.

Yes.  Let’s.

At a moment when the disparities between rich and poor are at a post-depression record, this is really going to hurt many families.  Of course, Eureka has the highest prices in the country (barring Hawaii I think). 

Some economists wanted inflation.  Now I think they’re going to get it.

But decided that the demonstrators were just a bunch of irrelevant 60s radicals.  At least that’s what he told the faux Koch when he got punked by a liberal blogger (whose blog appears to have been removed from the net).

He also revealed to “Koch” a plan to bring the Democrats back to talk under false pretenses to get them in session, apparently assuming that the Democrats would not realize that the quorum is good once the session begins so that if they walked out again the Republicans could vote as if they were there.  I don’t know, maybe it would have worked.  But it won’t work now.

Walker later held a lively press conference, which ended on a petty note.

You can listen to the prank phone conversation through the first link above.  And this Kos poster has some transcribed excerpts.

And this post may have the whole transcript.

My kids have discovered the Brady Bunch and we’re ordering them up from Netflix.  Just hearing the theme song has triggered odd childhood memories.  I literally had not seen these episodes in 30 years.

So, regarding the intro with the tic tac toe squares with each character in the box – why is Florence Henderson in the top box above Ralph Reed?  At one point he looks up and she looks down almost as if he is worshiping and her glance is almost angelic in bestowing grace upon him.  Was this a early feminist inspired concession to signal a minor break from the traditional nuclear family (actually, there’s not much “traditional” about the nuclear family – it’s a fairly recent phenomenon in history) in undercutting the image of contextual male authority, or is the female image simply put upon the pedestal as a tribute to the anti-feminist notion that women are actually morally superior if intellectually weaker because they are too good for the world and it’s the man’s job to handle the drudgery of worldly concerns.  It was originally used against suffrage, that women should not be expected to demean themselves with political concerns.  This was the explanation I heard by a John Birch Society advocate explaining a bumper sticker they were selling calling for the repeal of the 19th Amendment on the basis that “you can’t fool Mother Nature.”

I’m told that the Brady Bunch represented a “liberal turn” from the 50s nuclear family-based television offerings such as Leave it to Beaver and The Donna Reed Show, but Ralph Reed’s character does seem to be the ultimate authority in the plot lines, so if they were trying to break from the mold they didn’t get very far.

On the other hand, there is a kind of liberal aura to the plot lines in this family’s dealings with the outside world – nobody is truly evil, and most conflict is the product of misunderstanding rather than malice, and even where there are hints of malice from outside characters, those characters are really just the products of their environment.  The show certainly did not paint a picture of a fallen sinful world.   It was always about the power of reason and compassion to govern human affairs ultimately.  Punishments were always correctional in nature, and there were no villains (not even the guy who played Howell on Gilligan’s Island who tried to push the evil pool table on the family).

Anyway, back to the tic tac toe square positioning – feminist progress, or putting women on a pedestal?

Addendum: Okay, for some reason people keep clicking on the picture above.  Are you expecting the video?  Here you go.

And a local coalition wants you to lobby the Wildlife Conservation Board today and tomorrow.  Here is the Facebook page.

Since I’ve left the Bay Area my exposure to Marxist activists has been limited, and my inoculation to annoyance some of the lamer arguments has weakened.  And I’m not talking about the fellow travelers who navigate intellectual waters influenced by writers like Althuser or the Frankfurt school synthesizing deep cultural and political analysis by picking and choosing which tenets they want to promote.  I’m talking about true believers who are also well-read and even brilliant in areas of science or art, but whose eyes glaze over when politics come up and their default positions come up as a uniform response no matter how complex the topic in particular.

I know I have a reader or two from these ranks.  I just learned that over the weekend.  So I have a question about dialectic materialism, or specifically the notion that the perfection of humanity through revolution and the “unity of opposites” through phases of history identified, categorized, and denominated in such a manner as to suggest the inevitability of progress.  Apparently built into the universe are not random forces, but an evolution which points to the formation of organic compounds which interact with energy and mass to convert to life.  Then such life develops collectively into ecosystems, until intelligence and self-awareness are developed.  From that mix comes society and built into the evolution the elimination of all oppression and strife out of which the “true history of man” is born.

So, my question is – how is it that you don’t believe in God?  For 162 years since the Communist Manifesto, and perhaps before then, you have proposed nothing but intelligent design in the universe.  Yes, you have rejected Feurbach’s thesis of materialism by integrating the Hegelian component, but that really doesn’t explain where the potential for the dialectic comes.  You’re arguing essentially the existence of a grand designer.

Some of you dismiss the question as the product of “idealism.”  Others don’t seem to grasp the question.  None of you has given me a straight answer in 30 years of my asking.   Theologians like Hans Kung and Ignace Lepp have asked the same question, and Marxists like Erich Fromme and Marcuse have tried to answer, but try to do so on their own terms rather than the truly address the question.  The question is simple.  Where did the potential for the dialectic come from?

Any takers?

I’m in Monterey for my family’s annual trip.  This time we’re staying at the Otter House, a cottage in Pacific Grove owned by some Buddhist religious group.  There are inspirational sayings in every room and on every windowsill.  Lots of eastern spirituality books.  To think that years ago sardine packers probably lived here with cheap rent.


The tunnel bypassing Devil’s Slide appears to be nearly completed, though I don’t know the time line.  Smart growthers generated a rare victory there as the developer interests had preferred a four lane bypass and had already lined up federal matching funds for it when the voters sent them packing and instead began construction on a two-lane tunnel.  There should be a plaque to those activists, among them Moonshadow who posts here often.


Back in San Francisco, at 19th and Taraval, Zim’s Burgers is long gone.  They made terrific burgers back when I was a kid, then doubled in price and halved in quality in my young adulthood before sliding into mere memories of dying SF nostalgia.  The location was iconic, though they had other locations as well.  It was where some of us as teenagers went for a late night meal following a concert at the Cow Palace or a movie at the Balboa.  You met all sorts of colorful people there, both positive encounters and bad.

A couple of restaurants have since occupied the premises without long term success.  The latest tenant is Sushi Raw.

Fortunately, the elderly company running the Bay Bakery dim sum nook just down the street are alive and well and inadvertently and quietly resisting the cultural homogenization with class and grace.  Contrary to the speculation of my last report, the make their own stuff.  I watched them doing it.  While we were waiting for our large order, they offered up free coffee and offered samplings of their rice cake and something which reminded me of mochi balls of Japanese origin, but with bean paste inside, and coconut outside.  Delish.


The New Leaf Community Market, a Santa Cruz based mini-chain of natural food stores along the lines of Eureka Natural Foods.  It’s in the spot which was occupied by Alpha Beta during my childhood.  No way would this new store have survived back in the day.  We had a few hippies, but barely enough to support a small health food store in Montara, which eventually failed.

It was packed yesterday.  I have mixed feelings, though the gentrification is just about completed anyway (see my past whining about it).  Parts of the coast side of San Mateo County are borderline gated communities, and there isn’t a home there for sale for much less than a million even now.  On the other hand, New Leaf preempted Whole Foods, and that’s always good news.  Too bad they didn’t make it south to Monterey in time.


February 2011