Friday, October 31, 2008

Splendiferous Mexican Eats

I must report that although I haven't gotten to my beloved tacos de carnitas yet, I have been enjoying some nifty tacos. I had excellent rib-eye tacos at a fancy place here in the boonies, which were probably the most expensive tacos ever, at $18 USD. But they were just too good, and generously served. I also loved the concept. Since the taco is a genius food, why not fill it with the most excellent meat you can get? Modern Mexican chefs are coming up with stuff like tuna sashimi tostadas, which are unbelievable, or rib-eye tacos. 
Then yesterday I went to a taquería with my friend Deby and of course, I overdid it. First I had my beloved Mexican chicken broth, the likes of which you pitiful people in the States will never understand. This miraculous soup had white rice, chicken, cilantro, onion and a squeeze of lime. Then I had four al pastor tacos with cilantro, onion and pineapple and two tacos of minced pork chops, bacon and onion. Way too much, but I can't help it.  
And wait 'til I get to Oaxaca, which is one of the most formidable regions in Mexico when it comes to food. I can't wait!
I also have been eating a lot at homes. Chez Les Petites Enchiladas the food is simple, Mexican and wonderful. 
In short: in Mexico you eat very well. 

Mexican Chilly

I have been freezing my ass off in Mexico City this past week. Temperatures are in the low 40s or upper 30s but the problem is there is no heating anywhere inside. I am staying with the Enchiladitas all the way up in the suburban mountains, where it is even colder. I'm hoping Oaxaca will be a little milder. 
In the meantime, the screenings for my short have been mostly delightful. One woman retold me my entire film ("and then the niece knocks on the door, and then the uncle opens the door..."), while another left me a note informing me that I am a genius (I'm having it framed). Some people have approached me with their take away and it is always very satisfying to get the audience's reaction, good or bad. 
But today I am looking forward to my trip to beautiful Oaxaca, Oax. where I am spending the Day of the Dead weekend. I'm looking forward to lots of magnificent eats, to strolling around that beautiful city, to perhaps visiting the ruins at Mitla and/or Monte Albán, to more magnificent eats at the restaurants and the markets, to visiting the cemetery tomorrow night and see the families communing with their dead and creating their gorgeous altars. 
Day of the Dead is a beautiful tradition in which you celebrate your lost ones by spending some quality time with them at their final resting places. You build an altar for them that includes their favorite foods, drinks, pastimes, and you cover it with cempazuchitl, an intense yellow flower that is typical of this day. My good friends Claudia and Josslyne actually make altars at home and apparently there is a magnificent altar now in display at the Zócalo in the Historic Center. Meanwhile, food shops display colorful sugar skulls with your name on them, or you can eat Pan de Muerto, (Bread of the Dead!) with a nice hot chocolate. 
This contrasts sharply with Halloween, which is about scary and mindless fun.  In the Mexican Day of the Dead, the dead are not scary, but wistful and fun.  Although Halloween has made deep inroads here, thanks to that poison known as marketing, people are aware of both. I frankly wish that in the school of the Mini-Enchiladitos they would acknowledge the Day of the Dead as well. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

The JAP at Home

Greetings from Mexico City, darlings, where I am shepherding my little short at the 6th International Jewish Film Festival. It is great to see the audience's reaction, which is very different than in the States. There, people laugh out loud, whereas here they just titter. Mr. Ex-Enchilada thinks it's because sexual innuendo and harrassment are way too common here. Perhaps.
I got a huge kick of showing the short at the Cineteca Nacional; the audience there was very appreciative and engaged. One guy gave me three optional endings, one of which struck me as quintessentially Mexican, as it involved the services of a lady of the night.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a woman demanded to know what my short and the other movie showing were about. Go in and find out, lady. Am I the only person who finds it annoying when people expect others to do all the work for them? War and Peace, what's it about?
I was pissed off, as in the second screening on the other side of town, the projectionist screwed up and showed my film with the wrong aspect ratio so everything looked scrunched and ugly. I raised hell but Mexico is the land of excuses (instead of solutions, for instance) and one just capitulates after too many of those. I participated in a very interesting talk with other Mexican Jewish filmmakers that soon turned into a polemic about the misperceptions between Mexicans and Mexican Jews, that had little to do with cinema. Such are the vagaries of living in a country that, tolerant and generous as it is, is not a melting pot. This is endlessly interesting and fodder for a lenghtier post.
In the meantime, I'm trying to organize my eating strategies so I can cram the most Mexican food in without going overboard (good luck to me).
All I know is I can't wait til Wednesday when I'm eating my tacos de carnitas right across from where the short is screening. Nana, buche and cuerito, here I come.


I would have paid good money to see the London version with Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Spacey.
Instead, I paid a lovely $35 to see the estimable Jeremy Piven and Raul Esparza, via TDF.
It was a Wednesday matinee the day before the opening. I thought I was going to be the only one there. It was packed. Such is the power of Cable TV
In any case, I had never seen this Mamet play and since he is one of my very favorite playwrights, I jumped at the chance. It takes place at a Hollywood studio in the 80's and it is the
power struggle between two studio minions. Of course, one expects Jeremy Piven to know this world inside out, because we love his Ari Gold, probably the most lovable hateful guy in the history of TV. But Piven does not do a live version of Ari Gold. His character in the play is not as brash, not as vulgar and not as intensely driven. He has arrived and wields his power with much more discretion. I thought he was pretty good, though sometimes he seemed to be talking to the audience instead of to the characters. Raul Esparza, who I last saw in The Homecoming, is very good as Fox, the guy who brings in a script to his boss only to see his boss collapse to love and yearning. The direction by Neil Pepe is sprightly and the famously difficult Mamet rhythms are very well navigated by the two male leads. If anything, sitting in the mezzanine I sometimes had trouble understanding Esparza, who shoots a verbal barrage at a vertiginous pace, but not always clearly. The one disappointment is Elizabeth Moss (from Mad Men) as Karen, the secretary. She plays her totally as an ingenue and an innocent, and what could be more boring? She seems very sincere, but I would have liked to see another facet to her.
In the end, this light, feral and funny play is not only about the evil, craven people in Hollywood that we now know so much about. Even though it seems to have aged a little bit, it still resonates beyond its Hollywood milieu since it is about the impossibility of human purity of purpose and as in every Mamet play, the savage dynamics of power. A very swift, enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mexican Japanese Peanuts Addenda

Little Enchiladita offers this correction:

Te faltaron ingredientes en los cacahuates con rielito. Se les agrega Chamoy miguelito de agua, chamoy miguelito de polvo y el ingrediente secreto: jugo de naranja.
¿Cuánto? lo que considere cada quien. ¡Provecho!
Y si quieres le puedes agregar cazares, piñitas enchiladas deshidratadas,mangitos enchilados deshidratados, etc. Se llama "porqueria" y la ponen en las fiestas infantiles. Las comen las mares de los niños mientras platican a gusto.

Official translation:

You are missing ingredients in the peanuts with rielito. You have to add liquid chamoy miguelito, powdered chamoy miguelito and the secret ingredient: orange juice. How much? It's up to each.
Bon appetit!
And if you want you can add Cazares (fabulous Frito-like chips), dehydrated pineapple and mango with chili. etc. It is called "porquería" and served at children's parties. The mothers of the kids eat it while they shoot the breeze.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell said it better

Well put. With all due respect, Mr. Powell finally grew a pair.
He is the only person so far that has made a point I have been waiting for someone to make:
Barack Obama is not a Muslim. But what if he were?
It's a smart, right, eloquent endorsement. Check it out.

Mexican Japanese Peanuts Report

As this is the number one topic on this blog (closely trailed by "why does one get sick in Mexico"), my readers may want to know that I have tasted the Mafer Mexican Japanese peanuts and here is my verdict:

The texture is really good. The coating is lighter, fluffier and crunchier than Nishikawas, and it resembles the coating of actual Japanese Japanese peanuts. The flavor is very good too, salty and satisfying; BUT the Mafers are made with MSG (monosodium glutamate) which leaves a strong aftertaste (and makes you salivate and want to eat an entire shipment of peanuts). I don't like the aftertaste and I don't like that they are made with MSG. But they're pretty good.
Now, at the behest of Middle Enchilada I am supposed to give you a recipe for dressing your cacahuates japoneses. To me it sounds like gilding the lily, but Middle Enchilada swears it's great.
(You know that you can eat them alone, with just lime, with lime and chili powder, with lime and chamoy, with liquid chamoy, with American style mustard, etc).
This is a newfangled recipe:
Lime juice, Maggi sauce, Worcestershire sauce (salsa inglesa), chili powder. Mix in bag and eat.
Another recipe for you to eat at your own risk (since apparently Rielitos have a high lead content):
Dissolve a Rielito (a Mexican tamarind-chili candy chew) in lime juice until the Rielito disintegrates and forms a thick sauce. Add that to the Japanese peanuts. Get lead in your brain. Enjoy.
I love the Mexican laissez faire attitude with regards to American claims that many Mexican chili/lime snacks have big quantities of lead and thus are deemed unsafe for importing into the US. Some of our favorite porquerías have been banned here in Obama country.
Mexicans are not fazed by this. "You can still get them in Mexico", they proudly, defiantly tell me.
So the Mexican government is not following the FDA's lead to protect its citizens from lead ingestion? My question is almost looked at with scorn and a whiff of pity. Nobody tells a Mexican to stop eating chamoys and those amazing porquerías. Nobody. We are still a sovereign country. Lead poisoning be damned!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I guess I was wrong

In my last post I said that no one in America, except KKK members, wants to be an inhabitant of a virtual Old South, no one, that is, except some Republican party officials. You gotta check this out.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Enchilada de Pundit

Photo by Jim Burg/Reuters

Since everyone is a pundit, here are my two cents:
Cent number 1:
Obama is very smartly not falling into the trap that the McCain campaign has tried to set up for him. They want to bring up civil rights, because they want him to behave like a put upon Black man and they incite this through terrible speeches and absurd accusations. But he is not taking the bait. He refuses to make it a race issue because he is not going to give them the satisfaction of confirming their stereotypical expectations of him, or of behaving like a victim or a whiner, which is what they are trying to provoke in order to remind those undecided of their own fear of a Black man.
The McCain campaign insidiously played the race card allowing and inciting the craziness at their rallies and it was a terrible miscalculation.
I'm sure our country is full of racist people and even more full of people who do not consider themselves racist but are very prejudiced. However, I don't think that anybody in this country, except for people with a penchant for wearing white pointy sheets on their heads, wants to turn back the clock and go back to the kinds of ugly racial divisions we have managed, through great sacrifice, to leave behind. Nobody wants to go back to pre-civil rights America, nobody wants to revisit the nastiness of racism and segregation, and most especially nobody wants the remote possibility of race riots. There was a very disturbing ghost of that ancient nastiness in the ugliness of Palin's rallies and it did not help. It actually hindered their cause. The McCain campaign may be in touch with the lunatic fringe base of the Republican party but they are hopelessly out of touch with the majority of Americans of both persuasions. And luckily, Barack Obama is intelligent and collected enough not to stoop to that level. I'm extremely impressed with the way he has handled himself.
Cent number 2:
The unfounded Muslim accusation leveled against Obama is a convenient way for prejudiced people to hide the fact that they don't want to vote for a Black man but they don't want to admit it. In this day and age, such opinions are so embarrassing that they are better left unsaid. So you can substitute the word "Muslim" for "Black" and voilá, you can smugly pretend yours is some sort of a patriotic concern. At this point, even though a lot of people may still believe in this canard, which is as nasty and effective as the worst kind of antisemitism in that it sticks no matter what the evidence is, the Muslim argument can't be really taking hold. And the reason for this is that it is plain to see that Obama, regardless of color or origin or middle name is simply a much superior candidate.
But even if Obama were a Muslim, why is this considered to be such a terrible thing? Islam is one of the three major monotheistic religions; as long as he was not a fundamentalist or a standing member of an Islamist terrorist organization, why would this be a problem? What if he were a Buddhist or a Mormon, like Mitt Romney, or a Jew (in which case he'd be in a very similar situation, lots of people just not ready to vote for a Jewish person)? I pine for the day when we can swear in a non-believer. That is the day I hope for with all my might.
Bonus cent:
I knew from the beginning, (not because I'm a seer, but because it was obvious), that the choice of Sarah Palin was beyond hubristic and inappropriate and it would come back to bite McCain in the ass. In fact, if there is one big reason for McCain's eventual loss, I think it could safely be chalked up to this one decision. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time (who said this?). The Palin debacle is a perfect emblem of the absolute collapse of the Republican party. They don't have a single fresh idea, not one serious, useful proposal, they have been taken hostage by extreme ideologues that do not represent the core of America's true values and now they are paying the price. They have been corrupt and arrogant and completely out of touch with the reality of Americans and no amount of cynical moralizing and revolting displays of empty patriotism can disguise their incompetence and their hypocrisy. And to top it all, this is their legacy: a country in the worst economic disarray in almost 100 years, a United States without credibility in the world, having lost its moral compass, a country dangerously diminished by their contempt for science and reason, an empire crashing to the ground. I don't know why we had to wait all these terrible years for the Republicans to finally crumble, but it is happening as we speak. The McCain campaign is just a pure reflection of who they are, and how low they have fallen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Live Blogging the Debate, Sort of

I'm sitting here once again for this third and last ordeal.
Now they are sitting across a table from the moderator, I guess so you can't really see the body language. McCain still seems like a weirdo and is still talking to Americans as if they are illiterate retards (perhaps the ones who vote for him need to be spoken to like that). Joe the Plumber, give me a break.
I can't believe that neither one of these bozos (as much as I love 'Bama, it's driving me crazy) is acknowledging that everything has changed since the crisis hit. Schieffer asks the question about what would change from their plans and they don't fucking have a real answer.
McCain brings back the stupid overhead projector for the planetarium again. He really is in another planet.
Balancing the budget in four years: McCain says I'm not President Bush. You should have run four years ago. Good line but spurious. Four years ago my man really would not have a chance of winning.
For some reason, even though they are both repeating everything like broken records, Obama doesn't sound so much like a broken record as McCain does. Obama is a class act. He just doesn't stoop down to the nasty tone that McCain employs. The other one is an ornery asshole.
Schieffer is asking tough questions. Now he is asking about the nastiness of the campaigns.
McCain is not owning up to his responsibility. Now he is complaining about something John Lewis said.
Obama is answering this question with grace and dignity. Stop talking about the candidates' hurt feelings and blame it on not attending town hall meetings and talk about politics. But I wish he'd say that the pit bull was inciting the audience with her stupid talk.
McCain is addressing that Palin associated him with terrorists, but he is not apologizing for her.
So McCain is asking to know Obama's relationship with Ayers. Obama clarifies and lists his legitimate associations with talented people. Creams McCain. Creams him.
As for ACORN, which the Republicans are trying to turn into something resembling their own evil election stealing tactics, read this and weep.
McCain seems to be aggressive in desperation. I really fucking hope he loses. He has no dignity.
Schieffer on the running mates: Wow, he really is asking the best questions of all the debates.
McCain on Palin: she is a reformer and a role model. He is answering the question well, leaving out her polarizing stuff and her utter lack of experience. I love what Obama said at the end: "and if something, God forbid, should happen to me, I know Joe Biden would be an excellent president". Touché. And that's all folks!
The problem with this debate is that we can't see the weird shit that happens when John McCain is out of camera range. We hear some weird snickers once in a while. But what comes through from McCain when he is on camera is an ugly personality. His condescension is really hard for me to take, I don't know how Obama suffers it with such restraint. He is the coolest cat.
On the free trade stuff Obama is clear and concise and then McCain starts talking about Colombia and he doesn't make much sense and then sneaks in that Obama has never been south of the border (no Bammy? Come with me, I'll take you to my favorite tacos).
McCain is like a parrot, talking about free trade he sneaks in the fucking preconditions mantra.
Health care: Would you favor controlling costs? Obama explains pretty clearly what he intends to do. Doesn't sound half bad. McCain is so hokey with the Joe Plumber shtick. And I also don't understand how a $5000 tax credit is going to afford anybody health care. Why would I want to go to another state to get insurance?
McCain comes back and it's as if he didn't listen to anything my man said.
Roe v Wade and the Supreme Court: McCain believes the decision should be the states'. Here he is pretty good.
McCain wants to turn Obama's eloquence into sophistry. The word "health" is extreme? Huh? It ain't working.
Education: I wish Obama would bring the projector McCain complains so much about.
I also wish Obama would mention that during the last 8 years the contempt for science brought about by the right wing nut jobs, and the hostile attitude to science from the Bush administration are to blame for our sorry state of affairs in this department.
Sarah Palin's son has Down syndrome, not autism. So what's with this autism?
McCain doesn't want to spend money on anything, so I wonder, as Obama does, how is he going to achieve anything without paying for it.
Closing remarks:
McCain is trying to go back to what he used to be before he became the performing monkey of the Rovian puppeteers. He is for the first time, relatively eloquent.
Obama is just repeating his mantras. I'm kind of bored with them.
McCain telling Obama "good job". He can't avoid being condescending. It is revolting.
McCain was slightly better, but still incoherent. Obama was, as usual, very good.
Body language with the wives: the Obamas very loving, embracing, looking like a real couple; the McCains COLD and DISTANT and looking like a bad blind date. Cindy actually puts her arm on his shoulder after noticing the Obamas. Poor Cindy. I bet she's praying for him to lose, so she can go back to being invisible.
The worst part is watching the after commentary. Who the fuck are these undecided idiots? At this point, how could you possibly be undecided? There is a black guy leaning toward McCain! Where do they get these people? Gawd.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Department of Words that Come Back to Bite you in the Ass

Or: What was I thinking?

This is something I posted on August 30:

New York is going to the dogs. The rich dogs, that is. And I've had it with everything being obscenely overpriced. A friend visiting from Paris is appalled at the fact that New York is more expensive than Paris at this point, at least when it comes to food and wine.
They are turning the proles away. Now MetLife is selling Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to turn it into expensive, unaffordable housing. Brooklyn is already fast becoming that. Who is going to live here? Just assholes with money?
The freaking millionaire mayor of this town should give a shit about this because if this town continues its inexorable turn into asshole central, I'm blaming him entirely for it.
A glass of wine now is 19 dollars. A shot of tequila 16 (and they don't even give you a good lime with it). Some places have the chutzpah of charging 8 bucks for a beer. Entrees at soso places now command upward of 25 bucks. And people are lining up to pay the prices.
You can't have a city of rich only. The LES sucks. The East Village sucks. Places that had some NY charm now look like malls. If I see one more nail salon I will go berserk.
We need a depression.

I was being hyperbolic, you guys!

Scam Artist Waitress from Hell

Allow me to share my chagrin over what happened to me at Le Gamin on Houston Street yesterday, a place I have frequented in the past, but will no more.
I ordered a crepe confiture, which means a crepe with jam or marmalade. The waitress brought me a crepe with fresh fruit. I said that this was not what I ordered. I have ordered the crepe confiture many times before and it is always made with jam. She insisted I was wrong, even though I said that I knew what confiture means in French. Still pretending I was a moron, she assured me that confiture means fresh fruit. I asked if she could exchange it, she said no. Impossible. I said she had to because that was not what I ordered. She went to the kitchen and brought back a tiny dish with jam on it, so I could do it myself. I said that was unacceptable. She then instructed me to go tell the cook what I wanted. As I foresaw, the cook was Mexican and indeed he told me that the confiture crepe was made with jam and promptly made one for me. Which leads me to believe she deliberately gave him the wrong order because the fresh fruit crepe is more expensive.
Then we asked for the check. On a 27 dollar check there was a 2 dollar unexplained charge and a 4 dollar tax. We told her she had overcharged the tax. Then she explained that the numbers were switched around, the tax was 2 dollars and there was a service charge of 4 dollars. It seems to me this woman was trying to rip us off. Usually, most people figure out the tip by doubling the tax amount.
I don't know why we left her a tip. Because I am a decent person and because the custom is ingrained. If there was a 4 dollar service charge, then that should have sufficed.
But what really makes me want to employ violence against this harpy was the absolute nonchalance with which she insulted our intelligence.
And I wonder if she's just a bad apple or that is the house policy, to mistreat and scam the customers. There was no manager on duty.

Monday, October 13, 2008

John Stuart Mill on the Subway

They took away my favorite Poetry in Motion posters, but now we have something called Train of Thought.
I read this on the subway:

"The only freedom deserving the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest".

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

What a cool dude. More modern than us today.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The sky is fallin' folks

I have been away from this blog because of the collapse of Wall Street. To put it simply: I'm losing my shirt. If my own little personal depression is any indication, the one that's coming to all of us is going to be a bitch.
But, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping, and so I did my part as a citizen to stem the hemorrhage of the bleeding financial markets and I spent money I should be saving on a pair of boots (less expensive that the ones I really wanted), two pairs of earrings (on sale) and the cheapest hosiery ever made (Uniqlo, $4.50), probably by slave labor in China.
Then I panicked. But I didn't panic enough, like the rest of the cowardly bastards that are bringing us down, I didn't panic enough to cash out on my horrid losses.
If any of you out there has any financial advice, please feel free to contribute it. It will be appreciated.

Now, I do believe that this panic is exacerbated by the political situation in which we are in. Meaning: we have a useless retard as a President, and the candidates are behaving as if none of this is happening. We also have apparently a useless Congress and it is clear that nobody knows what to do. Whatever they are doing is not restoring confidence. How could it? Americans think they are decent, and ethical but they are crooks and have been crooks since day one. Snake oil salesmen and con men, since the first man landed in Plymouth rock. When everybody is making out like a bandit, no one gives a fuck about the incompetence of the president or the corruption or the greed, but the moment the shit hits the fan, then where is the famed American confidence, so close to arrogance? Everybody just runs for the hills.
I can understand that Obama cannot come up with a plan B right now to offer some sort of idea on how the hell he's going to deal with this lemon economy he'd be inheriting. I can understand that any specific utterance from him may create more anxiety. But surely, his plans have got to change. This crash is, to parrot the pundits, a game changer and I wish he'd acknowledge that already.
I don't talk about McCain because nothing he says is to be believed or trusted. He just condescends to Americans as if we were 5 year olds.
A couple of days ago I was channel surfing and I caught the end of the movie Recount on HBO.
It's about what happened in the Florida recount, when Bush stole the election from Al Gore.
And I was thinking (besides thinking that Kevin Spacey rocked) that I hope the stupid Supreme Court judges that contributed to this travesty of democracy are losing not only their shirts, but sleep and health and peace of mind over what they did to this country. I hope they can never rest. I hope guilt eats their entrails. There is not enough repentance they could show or feel to atone for what they unleashed upon this nation. Same goes for Alan Greenspan. And same goes of Al Gore, who should have kicked and screamed and fought until the last ballot was accounted for.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What's with the second Holocaust?

I, for one, have had it with the Republicans', cynical, ridiculous implication that the crap that comes from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mouth guarantees a "second Holocaust". What are they talking about?
I find it offensive that they make such a spurious claim. All of a sudden they seem to have trademarked the phrase "never again" for use in a context that is completely unsuitable. The vulgarity and the temerity of implying that only they can defend Israel, or that Israel could not defend itself from a country like Iran is appalling. Worse, the outright falsity of Iran being such a threat right now is unacceptable. Apart from Ahmadinejad's public relations campaigns, which is all his antisemitic, anti-Israel talk is, there is no evidence that Iran is on a mission to destroy Israel. It's Iran and not Israel who should be trembling. After all Israel does have nuclear weapons now. Iran does not yet. And I'm pretty sure that Israel will ensure it never gets them, long before there can even be a speck of a shade of a second Holocaust. AS IF!
How dare the Republicans even imagine that Iran could inflict total annihilation on the scale of the Holocaust on Israel? It's giving Iran too much credit, which is exactly what those words are meant to provoke. By making these parallels, the stupid McCain campaign has just fallen into Ahmadinejad's trap. It is pathetic, irresponsible and absurd.
This is fear mongering at its most abject and if you are a self-respecting Jew you should reject this deeply offensive nonsense. It is vile and disgusting.
Israel, my friends, can defend itself. McCain and Palin act as if Iran was the Third Reich. It's not. They act as if Iran was poised to push the button on Israel any minute now. It is most certainly not. They don't have a nuclear pot to piss on yet. The moment they do, Israel will do anything in its power to prevent them from using it, as it did with the nuclear factory in Iraq once upon a time.
This talk is as false and misleading and damaging and dangerous as lap dog Sarah Palin's nauseating implications that Obama consorts with terrorists. She has been unleashed, like a rabid pit bull indeed, by the McCain campaign to do the dirty, racist work for the old troll. She is so pathetic in her blind compliance, she hasn't thought of the harm and hatred she is sowing, and hasn't noticed that she is been used in the cheapest, most cynical way. She is a disgrace to women.
America, these people are poison. This "second Holocaust" absurdity is double speak. Jews, some of these people are secretly hoping for Israel's destruction so that they can finally have their Armaggedon. This talk of a "second Holocaust" must be bringing paroxysms of joy to the most lunatic evangelical Christians, who can't wait until that happens, no matter how friendly they seem to Israel right now. Don't make the mistake of thinking for a second that they have the best interests of Israel at heart.
Obama is talking about real politics, real diplomacy, real engagement with the international community to bring Iran to its knees, with the complexity and the seriousness the situation requires, not with childish, appalling fantasies of apocalyptic destruction.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Biden v Palin: It was Nucular!

So she didn't spontaneously self-combust. So, as everybody says with surprised admiration, as if it was an achievement of the highest order, "she held her own". Truth is, the bar was set so incredibly low, the expectations were so dismal, that a monkey could have passed the test with flying colors. It is deeply frightening that we are considering someone for the vicepresidency of this country and we are relieved by this performance. To me, there was nothing in her performance that did not confirm that she is still way out of her depth. It was a decent performance by high school debating standards, not by the standards of seeking the second highest office in the land.
In my estimation, Biden started rather cold and stiff and gained heat, clarity and momentum as the night wore on; she, on the contrary, started out pretty well and towards the end she sounded increasingly fake, shrill, desperate, incoherent and inarticulate. It's as if all the info she crammed in started to get all jumbled in her brain there (as she would put it). She reminded me a little of Hal the computer in 2001.
I give it to her, she applied herself and did her homework and memorized a bunch of facts and still had time to overuse to death that "aw, shucks" shtick that may work wonders in Alaska but is totally inappropriate for a Vice-head of state. At the sound of each grating, smug, small town inflected bullshit I was ready to put my fist through the TV set. Remember Bill Clinton? He knew how to wield that stuff. A smart man, he used down home speech naturally and smartly. With her, it's totally fake. Plus, she makes George Bush, with whom she shares the incapability of pronouncing the word "nuclear", sound like a scholar. This, contrary to what a lot of people think, is not a good thing in a vicepresident.
Do you expect your doctor, the teacher of your children, the architect that built your house, the engineer who builds roads and bridges to somewhere, surgeons, scientists, politicians, to be as dumb and ignorant and incurious as you are? I don't. I expect my leaders to be better prepared, more well read, well traveled and more intelligent than the rest of us. I've had it with this glorification of insularity and ignorance. As if being well educated all of a sudden has become a liability.
But let's talk about Joe Biden, 'cause he was freaking great.
1. He smartly did not stoop down to her level. He is a statesman, and he showed it. He did not have to belabor his experience or his qualifications. A couple of mentions here and there and it was plain for all to see.
2. He debated against John McCain and his party and not against her and her shortcomings. Classy.
3. While she was trying to do the cute bitch shtick with him, he was passionate, articulate, SPECIFIC and extraordinarily dignified.
He was vice-presidential. Hell, he was presidential. She was a hick.
4. He stuck to the strategy and he nailed it. And many of his answers were the real breath of fresh air:
• When asked about supporting equal civil rights for same sex couples, he did not hum and haw, and without hesitation he said: "Absolutely". And he explained why. By the way, I disagree with the Democrats' stance on civil gay marriage -- Biden saying that gays can marry through their faith is ridiculous -- but apparently this country is not evolved yet and these people have an election to win. Meanwhile, this petty, mean-spirited woman seemed a little thrown off by the whole deal. She assured us that she is very tolerant, as if homosexuals are a pest that needs to be tolerated. I found her response deeply offensive.
• At one point, when asked about what she'd do as vicepresident she said something like expanding the powers of the vicepresidency. AS IF!!! Biden really sank her on that one. He read her the riot act. He said that Dick Cheney was the most dangerous vicepresident that America ever had (prompting me to smooch him in the kisser), he explained the actual nature of the office, for her benefit, I'm sure, and said there was no reason to expand the powers of such office. He rocked.
• After Palin repeated her hockey mom cred like a parrot, as if that alone was sufficient to help run a country, Biden took the opportunity to remind her that he had been a single dad, that he had only one house, and that he too came from where everybody else comes from, he too has a son deploying to Iraq, and he reminded the American public (apparently, through the repeated use of the word "Scranton") that he was solidly in the camp of the working class (what the Democrats, afraid that they may be confused with communists, now call the middle class).
She tried to spin the disaster of the last 8 years into a looking back at the past, but I don't think that demagoguery convinces anyone. As Biden said, past is prologue, and the policies of the last 8 disastrous years are just coming back to haunt us NOW. Biden did well to not let people forget that. He also demonstrated impatience with the "maverick" fallacy.
In all, he creamed her. That she did not totally embarrass herself should not detract from the fact that he won this debate by a mile. It wasn't even a contest.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cram, Sarah, Cram

With luck and pluck and maybe an earpiece with that despicable mini Karl Rove whispering answers into your ear, you may manage not to look totally unfit for the job tomorrow. I imagine they have you cooped up in a room and are teaching you the names of the world capitals as we speak.
And as for you, Joe Biden, why do I have the feeling you could screw it all up?
I saw on CNN today that you are going to be very respectful of your contender, which is a good strategy. Don't talk down to her and patronize her, like McCain does when confronted with Obama. But don't let her off easy either. Let these morons dig their own grave, they're already halfway there.