September 23, 2006

I’ve been reading a lot, and reviewing a lot

Despite me giving harsh reviews on Amazon to some political books that are neoconservative screeds, and shooting down some religiously-driven books that purported to be more academic than they are (Intelligent Design and Rodney Stark’s sociology), I’ve now made it to the top-3,000 circle of reviewers. (Amazon gives you kudo points for each web browser who says your review of a book was helpful, but you get a ding, albeit smaller in weight, for each person who says you are unhelpful.)

Anyway, almost anything nonfiction is potentially readable — and reviewable — by me. So are some nature and travel videos and classical music CDs.

September 21, 2006

Free Leonard Peltier

That just needed to be said. If you’re wondering why, read my review of Peter Matthiessen’s “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” on
my Amazon reviews page .

September 20, 2006

California tells Big Auto: Sue us, we’ll sue you

Months after a consortium of American and foreign automakers sued the state of California over its new automotive carbon dioxide emissions reduction regulations, claiming it was an attempt to usurp EPA-only powers to regulate gas mileag Californis has struck back. The state, in light of its new law requiring a 25 percent reduction of in-state CO2 production, is suing six automakers over global-warming damages to the state’s environment.

GM, Ford, the Chrysler arm of DaimlerChrysler, and the North American production units of Toyota, Nissan and Honda were named in the suit.

September 17, 2006

Snooze dictionary: “Rescale” = “downsize”

That’s just one of the tidbits in Dallas Morning News editor Bob Mong’s
column (no, Snooze web staff, it’s not an editorial — it’s bylined) about the downsized Dallas Morning News.

Can the Snooze still do good stuff? Sure, it had a great multistory special on bad truck drivers, and a bad trucking company compliance system, in the area. But those efforts may be fewer and further between in the future.

But some of Spanky Mong’s claims are plain bullshit.

He says the Snooze will be good in:
1. Local entertainment. How? Most your critics took the buyout.
2. Editorial page opinion and community leadership. Sure. Want me to call Jim Frisinger in Fort Worth or Timothy O’Leary in Geneva to ask them about that? Maybe I should be calling Smokey Joe Barton instead, anyway. (Backstory at the end of this long, but QUITE informative, D Magazine piece.)
3. Local lifestyles trends. Again, you lost several critics, and your tab-sized daily rotation lifestyle sections have been 50 percent canned copy since you went to that format.
4. Visual journalism? If your “A Day in the Life of the High Five Interchange” is an example of “getting better” with visual journalism, I’d hate to see you getting worse.
5. Jean-Jacques Taylor fully filling Kevin Blackistone’s sports commentary shoes? Please. Notice that he didn’t even try to pretend anybody would fill Gerry Fraley’s shoes.

They don’t make Jews like Jesus any more — or nutbars like Kinky Friedman

With his school prayer and Ten Commandments in the classroom comments, he sounds so determined to get tight in bed with the Religious Right as to make Rick Perry look chaste. Yet, many of the RR probably don’t appreciate his comment that “those who don’t love Jesus can go to hell,” at least not the salty language part.

And, the RR sure isn’t hopping between the sheets with some guy who wants to legalize grass, either.

Kinky is NOT Jesse Ventura. Ventura got himself elected mayor of a mid-sized city before running for governor in Minnesota. Now, while governor, he quickly started looking like just another politician, trying to get his wife on the government dole and such. But he was still light-years ahead of Friedman.

As for other entertainer-politicians to whom Friedman compares himself? Reagan was giving his rubber-chicken political speech for years before running for governor. Schwartzenegger married into politics.

AND, in both cases … although often underinformed, they were:
A. Closer to the mainstream than Kinky, and
B. Major party candidates with handlers, etc. to cover their gaffes and information blanks. Kinky’s still running his campaign like a lounge show.

Now, I voted Green for president in 2004, and if the Green gubernatorial candidate qualifies for official write-in status, I’ll pull that lever again, there being no Social Democratic party in the U.S.

Chris Bell, among the three other top-tier ballot line candidates, is starting to catch fire with the Texas parks funding issue, but only a bit. If he could only sound like he was catching fire, it might be different.

Two years ago, when I saw my first Kinky for Governor bumper sticker, the idea sounded interesting, provocative and even worthwhile. But, as his repetitive nightclub jokes-and-schtick routine wears thin (sorry, Kinky, there’s no Texas Catskills in the gubernatorial race), it is, while not nightmarish, at least sounding like an old 78RPMer, having finished playing its song, endlessly slamming the needle against the label at the center.