Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Blogiversary 15

If there’s one thing you can be sure of, as a writer, it is, after having written, the feeling that what you just wrote pretty much completely sucks. It is the anticipation of that feeling that serves as one of the primary deterrents to starting anything in the first place. I mean, who wants to go through all that effort just to disappoint yourself?

But I woke up today realizing it was my “blogiversary” (for lack of a better word—seriously, is there a better word?), and a big one, at that. Fifteen years ago, after much urging, and more frustration, I joined the madding crowd, and, though I didn’t realize it at the time, began one of my bigger life transitions—from god-knows-what I was, to journalist.

For the last half of these last 15 years, I haven’t done much actual blogging, feeling that, as I have often commented, the web is now lousy with hot takes. But I still defend the blog as a valid journalistic format, and, as much as I want to spend most of my time deep diving into dark waters, I still often miss the low-stakes thrill of an almost daily shout into the void.

Since I last posted at this place (or this place, or this place), I have had gigs at slightly more trafficked websites and magazines, and I have written a thing or two or three or four hundred. (Maybe I’ll post a few links.) And now, taking stock after a year that is pretty much defined by taking stock, I have decided that there is maybe a second thing writers can be sure of: after the certain initial disappointment, there is the Dorothy Parker-ian sense of satisfaction, and the conclusion, five, or 10, or 15 years later that maybe all of that work didn’t suck quite so completely after all.

I won’t toast to the next 15 years (like, crap, 15 years is a long fuckin’ time), but, in the grand tradition of my original blog (“a journal of politics, popular culture, and mixed drinks”), I will toast. And, in the tradition of previous blogiversaries, I will offer a cocktail recipe—this time one I crafted myself for drinking during those agonizing presidential debates. Cheers? Cheers!

The Black Helicopter

1 ½ oz Dark Rum
½ oz Rhum Agricole
1 ½ oz Amaro Nonino
1 ½ oz Aperol
1 oz lime juice

Mix all ingredients in a beaker, stir with ice, and strain into double old fashioned glasses each containing one large-format ice cube. Garnish with a lime twist.

Makes two.

Oh, yes—some of the last seven years… 

7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court

Pilgrim’s Progress: Inside the American Nuclear-Waste Crisis

Key safety system not installed at site of deadly Amtrak derailment

Older safety technology could have prevented Amtrak tragedy

The Amtrak Tragedy Has Roots in the Swamp

Amtrak crash: state-of-the art safety gear was operational at time of fatal collision

States Are Using Taxpayer Money to Greenwash Dirty Nuclear Power 

Psychologists worked with CIA, Bush administration to justify torture

New ‘bomb train’ rules welcomed with a bang

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 30, 2012

blogiversary 7

(photo: Craig Duncan via Wikipedia)

A callow newbie to some, a grizzled vet to others, as of today, I have been in the blogging game for seven years, and so, in keeping with the tradition established by this, my original blog--guy2K: a journal of politics, popular culture, and mixed drinks--I give you a themed cocktail:

The Seven & Seven
Pour 2 oz. Seagram's Seven Crown Whiskey into a highball glass; fill with ice.
Top with about 7 oz. 7-Up; stir lightly.
Garnish with a lemon slice.

I know, that seems pretty humdrum for this age of the artisanal cocktail. Whiskey and soda pop, how high school! But not only is it so seventh anniversary appropriate--so seven nice they seven'd it twice--it is also special for another reason. It is perhaps the most branded cocktail recipe I know. Sure, you could mix Jeremiah Weed and Bubble Up, and it might taste pretty darn similar, but what the hell are you going to call it? The Weed & Bubble?

That does not sound good.

And the Seven & Seven is not just a good drink for my seventh blogiversary (yes, I used to spell it "blogaversary," but this seems to now be an actual thing, and the spelling with the "i" now seems to be the preferred one)--it being all seven-ie and all--the Seven & Seven's specificity makes it a very appropriate cocktail for this last weekend of the year for a more, shall we say, "all inclusive" reason.

But if you want to know that reason, you're going to have to follow me over to my new home: (This post; the whole damn blog) (Oh, and, follow me on twitter, too.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

a moving experience

It's my blogaversary! My sixth, to be exact. Six elegant, swellegant years of blogging, writing and/or editing what we now like to call "online journalism" (actually, I like to call it the "New New (new?) Journalism").

But, you might ask, where have you been lately--and well you might. Well, after two-and-a-half years in the editor's chair at Firedoglake, I am back writing more regularly--but I have consolidated my work at capitoilette (the new

Follow me there, and follow me on Twitter here. And also look for some of my posts on Truthout.

And in honor of this sleepy journal of politics, popular culture and mixed drinks, one more mixed drink for the sixth anniversary: The After Six Cocktail.

1 part Cream Liqueur
1 part Kahlúa
1 part White Crème de Menthe

Add all ingredients into a chilled shot glass and serve.

Yes, it sounds disgusting to me, too. Better drink it fast, then zip on over to my new home to work it off.

(photo: Leo Reynolds)

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

my first post-post-9/11 9/11 post

So, now it is eight years. Eight years since the sound and vibration of American Airlines flight 11 screaming over my building and slamming into the north tower of the World Trade Center a dozen blocks south sent me running downstairs and into the street. And it was there I stood with my neighbors and watched as all of the drama and horror of the day played out in very real time.

As I commented on a past anniversary, one of my earliest thoughts that day was that with George W. Bush in the White House, flanked by Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft, we had about as bad a collection of leaders for that moment in history as I could possibly imagine. And for the next six anniversaries, that team did nothing to make me doubt my initial instinct.

But now, with the seventh commemoration, the eighth anniversary, I am forced by the very Constitution the Bush gang sought to destroy to contemplate something else.

It seems mundane, but thinking or saying, “This is the first post-Bush 9/11” also feels wildly momentous. But should it?

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

so, what's a "conservadem" cost these days?

Why is a Democratic Senator with a huge foreclosure problem in his state writing a bill to compete with House legislation designed to cram down mortgages and keep people in their homes? Might it have something to do with, um, money?

Just sayin’. . . .

Jane Hamsher went on The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night to explore why our Democratic president and a large Democratic majority in Congress has to worry more about a few Democratic Senators and their new coalition, led by the aforementioned Senator, one Even Bayh of Indiana.

Why is Bayh bucking his party—and, more importantly, his own state’s population—to go to the mat for the banks? Maybe this chart has something to do with it:


That’s a list of Bayh’s top campaign contributors from 2003 to 2008.

Just sayin’. . . .

(cross-posted on Firedoglake)

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

what dreams may come?

Perhaps much of this has been said before, but some of the fallout from Stewart vs. Cramer—the calls for changes in the way business “news” is handled—puts some long-simmering arguments about media consolidation back on the front burner.

Media conglomerates do not exist to deliver news, they exist to deliver shareholder value. It is in their interest to fluff the stock market and to curry favor with government regulators so that they can continue to acquire, conglomerate, consolidate, profit, and pay dividends.

There are individual reporters that try to do their jobs, but increasingly with less staff and more demands for additional content. Reporters are rewarded and promoted more often these days not for their clips as much as they are for their rolodexes and their ability to serve the needs of the parent company as detailed above. It is natural for them to want to get ahead and ensure job security. Pissing off powerful contacts doesn't really meet any of these needs as the industry is currently structured.

Is there a fix for this? Yes, but it's a very heavy lift. Roll back media consolidation. Re-impose limits on ownership that existed prior to 1996. Take away special wavers for multiple major channels in single markets.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 16, 2009

putting the racketeering back in the insurance racket

So, late Saturday/early Sunday, we learn that AIG, already recipient of some $170 billion of US government coin, is set to pay out $165 million in something called “retention bonuses” to the people in the financial products unit, the very division that brought the insurance giant to its knees. Cue the righteous indignation.

Righteous, but also rightful—this dispersal is outrageous. But while most behind the microphones, on the opinion pages, and in the halls of Congress will declare this the height of hubris, or a simple “screw you” to the American people, they will be missing a slightly more nefarious conclusion:

These are not retention bonuses--this is protection money.

I had a drink with a friend last week--she works for the NYSE in Europe--and she commented that in her 15 years in the market, the march of "progress" has been about who can come up with the next gimmick, the next algorithm that is slightly more nuanced, complicated, and arcane than the previous. Anything that can give you an edge over your competitors. She said you can see similar growth curves repeated in each of the derivatives as they came along: a slow growth start, then a rapid, steep climb, and then a rapid leveling off, followed by everyone rearranging the deck chairs while they scramble for the next hot gimmick. CDOs, CDSs fall into this pattern.

Do not assume that Edward Liddy, the government appointed chairman of AIG, fully understands what went on within the financial products unit, do not assume he understands their "gimmick," but assume that he knows that something is up and that these bonus babies know what it is.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

there's trying, and then there's doing

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has issued a subpoena to American International Group Inc. seeking a list with the names of executives receiving bonuses.

"We had given AGI up to 4 o'clock today to provide the information on the latest round of bonuses that they paid out," Cuomo said. "Four o'clock has come and gone."

. . . .

In the letter to AIG's CEO Edward Liddy, Cuomo said he was disturbed to learn over the weekend of AIG’s plans to pay millions of dollars to members of the Financial Products subsidiary through it’s Financial Products Retention Plan.

President Obama has said he wants every legal angle pursued in stopping these bonuses from going out—do you think he had this in mind?

And, as noted by Jane, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was involved in negotiating the size and scope of the FP bonus package—might Cuomo want to talk with him, as well?

(cross-posted on Firedoglake)

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 13, 2009

battle of the network stars: ceo quits; MSNBC told to downplay Stewart - Cramer interview

Thomas Clarke, who has been CEO of financial news website The Street has announced his departure “effective immediately.”

Clarke’s abrupt departure comes less than a day after The Daily Show aired tape of The Street’s co-founder, Jim Cramer, explaining in a webcast how he, as a hedge fund manager, manipulated value to serve some publicly traded companies and investors at the expense of others.

If you have just crawled out from under a rock, Cramer was a guest on Jon Stewart’s show last night, and the general consensus is Stewart took Cramer, CNBC, and financial “journalism,” in general, to the cleaners.

Or, maybe you haven’t just crawled out from under a rock—maybe you have only been getting your news from MSNBC. The 24-hour news channel—and CNBC partner—was reportedly told by its corporate bosses that this was, you know, not of interest to its viewers:

A TVNewser tipster tells us MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today. In fact, the only time it came up on MSNBC was during the White House briefing, when a member of the press corps asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if Pres. Obama watched. Gibbs wasn't sure if the president had, but Gibbs did. "I enjoyed it thoroughly," the Press Secretary said.

Cramer will apparently talk about his Daily Show performance on his Friday show (6pm Eastern); no word yet on what MSNBC shows like Hardball, Countdown, and The Rachel Maddow Show will do.

A search of CNBC’s website this afternoon showed only AP and Reuters wire copy on the Stewart-Cramer interview/battle-of-the-century—no original reporting. But, then, why should today be any different for CNBC?

UPDATE: Of the three primetime MSNBC news hosts, only Maddow made reference to the Stewart-Cramer dust-up on Friday night.

(a version of this post previously appeared on Firedoglake)

[Miss me? Don't forget, I am now Managing Editor at Firedoglake, and I occasionally post over there, as well as on my other blog, capitoilette.]

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

coming soon to a post office near you: epic fail

That’s it, the party’s over, turn out the lights. There is enough in this, the official White House photo of soon-to-be President Barack Obama, to tell you that all the hope you were hoping for is hopeless.

First off, note the center-right framing!

. . . and what’s with all that head-room?

Second, the contrast ratio: F-L-A-T. In other words: Bo-o-o-o-r-ri-i-i-ing! Look, I know you don’t want the first noir president to look all film noir, but really, couldn’t we spice this up a little? Lower the fill a bit? Give him a kicker maybe? Throw up a cookie on the background? At least break it up with a flag or finger?

Third, that tie! It looks like swag from an American Legion convention. Go back to that iridescent pale blue number you love so much—yeah, it’s a little Wedding/Bar Mitzvah guest-ie, but it was understated, classy even. Or, better yet, you’re young, you’re skinny, how about a tie to match?

. . . and that knot! I know PEBO can tie a better knot—if there is one thing I will take away from the 2008 election cycle, it is that Barack Obama knows how to tie a great half-windsor. . . but this, this is like Michelle tied it around her neck, then loosened it, then slipped it over Barack’s head and retightened it, all while checking her Blackberry. Sloppy, sloppy work.

. . . and, I’m not a big fan of seeing collar over the knot—especially when you have a stylist on hand. Uh, you did have a stylist on hand, right?

And, finally, not least of all, that fucking flag pin!!!!! Barack, baby, you are president now—you don’t have to sacrifice fashion for votes anymore! Ditch the lapel lesion. It doesn’t do anything for me—fashion-wise or politics-wise.

. . . and, guess what? It ain’t fooling the wingnuts, either. Laura Bush’s former press secretary (now LA times “blogger”) Andrew Malcolm is already giving you shit about it. Guys who care that much about a flag pin? These guys don’t like you! Never have, never will.

All of the above should obviously be taken to heart—trust me on this—but if you learn nothing else from this post, note the last point. This should be a lesson for ya’—and not just when it comes to your choice of cheap jewelry.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bush: 30,000 rooftop rescues = success

Still-President George W. Bush, looking on Monday morning like most of America now feels, stood before the White House press corps one last time to express his undying gratitude for their piss-poor performance during his eight-years in office. From groggy start to rambling finish, it was a jaw-dropping performance.

In keeping with a long-standing pattern, Bush repeatedly “admitted” that his “rhetoric” might not have been right (“Obviously, some of my rhetoric has been a mistake.”). All the deeds were fine; he just didn’t sell them well. For the Boy King, this has always been the PR presidency; he is now just more loose-lipped about it. Like with so many crappy, Peter-Principled CEO types, he has made the strategy the tactic.

In that vain vein, the most startling moment to my ear and eye was Bush’s perception of his failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina with anything resembling appropriate gravity:

Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.

You know, I remember going to see those helicopter drivers, Coast Guard drivers, to thank them. . .

Wait, hang on—I just have to interrupt for minute: “Helicopter drivers?” “Coast Guard Drivers?”

I think we call them “pilots.”

OK, carry on. . . .

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

three is a magic number

Oh. My. God. Three simple words to celebrate the completion of my third year of words—that’s right, guy2k is three today!

Another year, another 300-plus posts, trips to Netroots Nation in Austin and the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and, to top it all off, my jump to the editor’s chair at Firedoglake just three—no, make that four—weeks ago. Quite the magical year. . . as personal/political blogger years go.

My only regret (OK, it is doubtful that this is my only regret, but it is the one to which I will limit myself today) is that since joining forces with FDL, I have neglected this little place where it all began. The editorial workload has surprised me a tad, so I have not found the rhythm that allows me to both do my new job and bang out posts that meet my absurdly strict standards. If I have a new year’s resolution, it would be to write more.

But, this month, alas, not so much. What started as “a journal of politics, popular culture and mixed drinks” has delivered precious little on all three fronts. . . until now.

In honor of my third anniversary, my move to Firedoglake, and my annual obligation to include at least one topical cocktail a year, I present to you the Flaming Fireman:

2 oz Goldschlager
2 oz 151 proof rum
2 oz triple sec

Three simple ingredients. Mix. Set aflame. Slam. Enjoy (or so I’m told).

Thank you all for making me part of your 2008. Here’s to a triple-good 2009.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bush at Walter Reed:
between chicken and egg, I'll go with chicken

Yesterday’s headline news, in all its various establishment media permutations, was full of stories about Still-President George W. Bush paying a visit to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center this morning. A couple added that this was the site of one of his administration’s most serious scandals.

Those reports were talking about the appalling conditions at Walter Reed given broad attention after Dana Priest and Anne Hull published a front-page exposé last year in the Washington Post—they were not talking about the scandal that is the cause of so many of those wounds. That would be the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

When I heard the story, I smirked and shook my head in disgust, figuring it was just another lame, lame duck attempt at legacy burnishing.

Well, it was that, but it was so much more. . . or less.

It turns out, as was later reported, that Bush had an MRI on Monday morning at Walter Reed for a chronic pain in his left shoulder. Yes, that’s right. Bush went to WRAMC because he wasn’t feeling well.

I suppose it’s a chicken and egg thing. . . kind of. It certainly would have looked bad if word had gotten out that Bush was at the medical center and didn’t stop in to look after the men and women who owe their disability checks to his vainglorious boondoggle. But would George W. have gone out there at all if he hadn’t had his own needs to look after?

Read more »

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

senator Dodd angered by republican desire to screw workers

Senator Christopher Dodd spoke to the press Friday afternoon about last night’s Republican shenanigans and made some very important points:
  • Worker salaries make up a tiny fraction of the financial challenge facing the automakers.
  • The UAW had already agreed to achieve “compatibility and comparability” by March—a major concession.
  • We still have the opportunity to fix this and the obligation to try.
  • It is “incredible” that the one demand put above all others by Republicans during this negotiation is that workers, who have already been hurt badly by the declining economy, should take another hit.

Indeed, it is absolutely incredible. As Sen. Dodd told NPR on Friday, there was a part of the minority that was “set on having this deal blow up.”

Dodd’s complexion in this video might be an indication of just how furious he is over this Republican stunt, or it might be the result of bad lighting or a camera that wasn’t white balanced—either way, selfish and cynical Senate Republicans have left us all seeing red.

(cross-posted on Firedoglake)

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 01, 2008

big news

Starting today, I join Jane Hamsher and all the other great folks at Firedoglake, where I’ll be serving as editor (I think that’s my official title) and posting under my actual, meatspace name. This is an exciting opportunity, and I am honored to now be among the smart, aggressively progressive voices at FDL.

What does that mean for my lil’ ol’ blogs, guy2k and capitoilette? Well, the short answer is: I don’t know. It’s going to take a few weeks for me to get my bearings, and until then, my own output might drop a bit (might. . . still not sure. . . we’ll see). Once I do have things better figured out, I expect that there will be posts that don’t necessarily fit on Firedoglake, which I will put up here; conversely, some of the things I will be responsible for over at FDL, like breaking news, have not typically been the stock and trade of my personal blogs.

Dare I suggest that you might want to look at all three places?

I was surprised to discover that The Jeffersons ran for 11 seasons—let’s hope that I can enjoy even a fraction of that success in my own move on up.

(PS I will continue to occasionally cross-post to The Seminal, where you can still find all kinds of good work. Over the last 16 months, The Seminal has been extremely supportive of me and my writing, for which I am very grateful, so don’t forget to show them some love.)

Labels: , , , ,