Save Our Souls (And Our Book Store!)

Moby Lives has two unrelated stories that have a sort of symmetry: Amazon.com employs Dickensian work conditions in its UK warehouse, forcing workers to toil in unreasonable conditions for up to 7 days a week. Meanwhile, Powell’s books, here in Portland is having some financial trouble, due in large part to the recession. So: if you have a few gifts left to purchase this holiday season and were going to buy them from Amazon, why not buy them from Powell’s instead? They need the money more and don’t force their workers into cruel and unusual conditions.

Maybe They Can Dip in to the Book Budget

Looks like Bush can’t quite raise the funds to finish his Presidential Library:

His approval ratings are among the lowest for any president in modern US history. He’s presiding over the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. He acknowledges that many Americans have repudiated his Republican party. And he’s been utterly eclipsed by a charismatic successor.

The present hasn’t worked out so well for President George Bush. So now he’s banking on a kinder and gentler future.

With the days quickly counting down on Bush’s White House lease, plans for the George W Bush Presidential Library are ramping up as architects finish designs for an edifice on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas intended to burnish the president’s image for the ages.

“I’m confident that people will come to change their mind about the president and some of the decisions he made,” said Mark Langdale, a longtime Bush friend who heads the foundation that is overseeing the library’s development. “You need time to get past the current news cycle and the prejudices and emotions of the moment.”

The estimated $300m project, situated on prime real estate at the university’s entrance, is expected to open its doors in 2013. It will contain the archives of the Bush presidency, a museum celebrating his accomplishments and a policy institute that its backers hope will become a leading Republican think tank.

It’s that last bit about the think tank that pushes irony off a cliff with an anchor around it’s foot. What is the opposite of a Think Tank?* A Church? A fast food restaurant? An Ideology Bunker? Whatever it is,W. Should have one of those instead. They can fill the lobby with pamphlets about how great the Iraq war is and why we don’t really need a functioning economy to be the best country ever.

Link via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon.

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* Not that Think Tanks are all that great. The Disco Institute is a hothouse for Creationism in a lab coat and the Cato Institute is a refuge for Econmic Pony boys and magicians. (seriosuly, why is Penn jillette a fellow of the CI?) So yeah. Think Tanks aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Bringing Rotten Cabbage Back

I’m with Thoreau on this: though I deplore violence, throwing shoes is not a violent act. In a just world, thrown shoes, flung birds and hurled rotten fruit would accompany George W. Bush and his entire gang of despicable cretins wherever they went for the rest of their lives. They may be too powerful to arrest and imprison but no one is above mockery.

UPDATE: Now come on, torturing the shoe thrower? I know we taught the Iraqis some fucked up values but seriously, this is just too much. Bush should Pardon him, it would mean a lot politically. And personally. Sign the petition to free al-Zaidi.

The Castles and Standing Stones of Ireland, A Tour

Note: If you spend a week in November living in a castle in rural Ireland, give yourself an extra day or two of vacation after you return so that you have plenty of time to recover form the cold, exhaustion and jet lag.

So, Ireland.

Continue reading “The Castles and Standing Stones of Ireland, A Tour”

Fresh Off the Boat from the Old Country

I’ll have a full write up of our Ireland trip later on in the week but I wanted to mention something that struck me: quite a few people in Ireland were excited about Barrack Obama [1]. And I’m not talking about a handful of Dubliners or some uppity Trinity College students but random people out in Co. Clare and environs. Our driver had an Obama sticker on the back of his bus[2] and was far more informed about American politics than half the people in our group, all of whom were Americans in their late 20’s to mid 60’s.[3] And yes, I know what sort of loopy intelectual gymnastics come of taking drivers and their political beliefs as a sign of anything other than a side effect of globalization. But still. The priest even had a few thoughts on the matter of Rendition and it’s political implications and he lives on Inish Moor, which is pretty much the definition of the middle of bloody nowhere. There’s something to that. I’m just too exhausted to figure out what, just now.

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1.Or Bar-Rick O’Bama as they pronounced it, like he were a local boy who had done good.

2. Michael the Irish Bus Driver would be far more capable of running the country than any damn fool plumber or halfwit Alaskan beauty queen, I might add. Not that I really want to go down that ridiculous road again. The Real American Heartlander=the Noble Savage. But still, the facts remain unchanged: some random Irish bus driver was more informed about our political system than the current Governor of Alaska and even Obama can’t fix that. You may now despair for our nation.

3. Except for the two toddlers but even they were more worldly than half the voting populace of the US. Sophia’s been to a half dozen countries and is not yet 2. But that’s a different issue.