Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I have a new blog up at True/Slant today, but that's not what the title of this post refers to. I'm referring to a paragraph, via Wikipedia, in which Dock Ellis describes pitching his no-hitter while high on LSD. I DEFY anyone to read this passage and not laugh.

"I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the (catcher's) glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me."

Oh god that's funny.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Gig

Hello folks. As of this afternoon, I'll be doing most of my writing over at TrueSlant. My blog can be found at http://trueslant.com/johnknefel/. It's called Making a Mockery.

If you've enjoyed what I've been doing here, then you will continue to enjoy what I'll be doing at T/S. With any luck, I'll be able to get a few extra readers and a few extra dollars. (That's right--any retweeting, reposting, etc. now really really helps me a lot. I will buy you a beer or a joint or a vegan sandwich or whatever you want.)

I'll still be writing on this page from time to time, but mostly I'll be at T/S. Thanks everybody for reading, and I'll see you over at the new spot. If you're so inclined, make a profile and continue to comment over at MaM. If not, I understand.

Read Taibbi and Allison while you're over there.

Senate Also Not That Concerned With WeatherPocalypse

I'm gonna really break some new ground here and just come out and say what nobody else has the balls to: Washington doesn't work. I know, I know, you never hear that from every presidential candidate ever, lefties, right-wing loonballs, and virtually everyone who works in or around The Hill.

The frustrating thing about the cliche "Washington is broken," is that we all hear it so much the phrase has lost all meaning. We hear it every two or four years from both incumbents and challengers giving simple-minded lip service to a very real criticism. A story today from the Washington Post perfectly highlights the structural flaws of the Senate specifically, but also of our larger political culture generally. The Post reports:

"The climate-change bill that has been moving slowly through the Senate will face a stark political reality when it emerges for committee debate on Tuesday: With Democrats deeply divided on the issue, unless some Republican lawmakers risk the backlash for signing on to the legislation, there is almost no hope for passage."

It is impossible to overstate both how important it is that the United States take Climate Change seriously, and how infuriating it is to know that that's not going to happen.

The Kerry-Boxer bill in the Senate is very similar to the Waxman-Markey bill in the House, both of which, at best, represent the absolute smallest steps that can be taken to prevent the WeatherPocalypse. According to the "liberal" (HAHAHAHA) The New Republic,

"In sum, an only marginally different starting point in the Senate from where the House ended does not bode well for the changing the trajectory in Congress on the nation’s energy and climate response."

If TNR is skeptical of your efforts at reform, that's a bad sign for anyone who doesn't want to live in a dust bowl that floods every 2.5 days.

Both bills have faced opposition from environmentalists, claiming they don't go far enough and offer too many corporate givaways. Still, Tim Flannery, speaking on Democracy Now!, urged Washington to pass a cap-and-trade bill.

"The US—I know the bill isn’t perfect. I know there’s a lot of giveaways in it, and I know a lot of people aren’t happy about provisions for subsidies for nuclear power and so forth. But we just have to get moving on this. We have to empower the president of the most powerful nation on earth to be able to negotiate and lead. And cap and trade is really about that."

That may be true, but my proclivities lie far closer to what Chris Hedges recently wrote on the issue:

"We can join Bill McKibben on Oct. 24 in nationwide protests over rising carbon emissions. We can cut our consumption of fossil fuels. We can use less water. We can banish plastic bags. We can install compact fluorescent light bulbs. We can compost in our backyard. But unless we dismantle the corporate state, all those actions will be just as ineffective as the Ghost Dance shirts donned by native American warriors to protect themselves from the bullets of white soldiers at Wounded Knee.[emphasis added]"

The Hedges article is an absolute must-read. He argues, persuasively, that small scale reform will get us nowhere. Private corporations will never voluntarily accept reforms that cut into their profit; the same can be said of any government who exists primarily to protect the opulence of the few. Whether or not you agree with Hedges, his arguments should be widely circulated. What he's saying should be the far-left limit of our discourse, not what Sen. John Kerry is saying.