April 21, 2008

Oy gevalt, no matzo?!

It's true, there definitely was a shortage in SF over the weekend. My housemates and I had to resort to eating our haroset on whole wheat table water crackers.

On an unrelated, totally unkosher note, I indulged in some other types of deliciousness over the weekend, including a burger and fritto misto at Magnolia Brewery, spaghetti and meatballs at Emmy's, and poached eggs with buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy at Universal Cafe. Light, I know.

(If this is starting to look like a food blog, that's probably because eeting is my primary form of recreation. And if it looks like a photo blog, it's because I'm too lethargic from all the eeting to write.)

Photo creds to virgined , rsun78, and eirecubdc.

April 14, 2008

Job's theme song, on cello.

What could be better?

h/t to diane :)

April 08, 2008

That's how we roll.

My co-workers and I were "those people" riding around the city a couple weeks ago in Go Cars. Think fumes, squirrelly-handling, incapable of going in reverse, and sometimes they need a push to make it uphill. At least mine did. You're the most hated thing on the road when you're driving them, so luckily people stay away from you. If it weren't for that fact, and the fact that they're taxicab yellow and you can't miss em, I'd say they really shouldn't be street legal. Though I have heard tales of people getting drunk and driving them around...perfectly safe.

It started raining while we were tooling around the Richmond district, and one leaked while the other wouldn't start after sitting for a few minutes.

All in all, though, it was a blast.

April 06, 2008

That really got out of hand fast!

In college, I couldn't resist taking the bait and responding to breathtakingly stupid opinion columns in the Daily Nexus. Case in point. As my readers (all three of them) can attest, I'm just a wee bit stubborn and have a hard time backing away from a political argument--er any argument, for that matter--even if it's a losing battle between two polarized ideologies that can only result in stalemate. Or ad hominem attacks (communist v. racist, anti-semite v. Islamophobe).

But after graduation, I didn't have another outlet for these wonderfully productive pissing contests. There was a serious shortage of self hair-rip or eyeball-gouge-enducing political fodder.

Then my endorsement of Edwards on Facebook precipitated an ongoing debate thread with a high school friend who also studied globalization but ended up on the opposite end of the spectrum. We took a long hiatus after the dialogue seemed to reach fever pitch around a "clash of civilizations"-type argument, and now we're back to electoral politics. He says he'll vote for Obama--he likes his counterterrorism expert--but he needed convincing that all this talk of populism is just to appease labor, and that he's really a free trade champion at heart.

I thought I'd share my response, since our conversations haven't gone beyond the confines of Facebook messages, and it's honestly the closest thing I've written to an editorial in a while, albeit an at times shrill antagonistic one. But that's how our conversations usually go--a jab here and there, but mostly gloves above the belt. I've kept it anonymous, though in the unlikely event he actually reads this, I'm happy to name names. For now we'll call him...Milton.

Oh Milton, trying to get my goat with some populist-baiting. Alright, I’ll bite.

No use losing sleep over Obama’s trade policy – rest assured, behind closed doors, he leans laissez faire. Yep, he’s just pulling the wool over the eyes of those poor jobless schmucks in the Rust Belt, the folks that have been hung out to dry time and time again by the race to the bottom. The proof is in the pudding (I'll let The Nation do the talking):

"...an Obama aide told Canadians not to take seriously the Illinois senator's criticisms of NAFTA"

"Obama backed the recent Peru Free Trade Agreement, and his 'movement' on globalization issues has seemed to be influenced more by presidential ambition than the commitment to workers here and abroad that motivates fair-trade crusaders like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and Maine Congressman Mike Michaud--neither of whom has endorsed anyone in the presidential race"

And if that doesn't ease your mind, know that George Will has praised Obama's economic advisor.

Obama’s no Edwards, much to my chagrin, though I could see where you might feel like he’s taking a page from the populist playbook with his recent watershed speech. He talked about unity, which has always made me nervous because it smells a little too much like capitulation--trying to shake hands across the aisle with an unbending opponent. It also reminds me of Pollyanna sunshine and lollipops notions of colorblindness that wash over the very real experience of racism. But I digress…

Instead Obama’s speech was nothing short of a paradigm shift in the way he encouraged a frank discussion of race, bridging the gap by promoting unity against a common socioeconomic threat: “a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.” He placed corporate greed squarely in the crosshairs. I could see how that might make some nervous.

If Obama’s just spouting supposed populist claptrap about improving people’s lives, then I suppose it’s no different than the obligatory Republican deception that the GOP has middle class Americans' economic interests at heart. And I doubt Obama's just doing it to pander to labor. You know, it’s amusing to hear the free trade faithful decry the unfair influence of “big labor,” as if labor could somehow compete with corporate power in influencing politics. Last I checked, only 12% of the workforce is unionized, and Americans have a more favorable view of WalMart than unions, ferchrissakes. And anti-statists act as if they’re some embattled minority? Ha. For as much as free marketeers fancy themselves empiricists, they’ve always sounded a lot like another “embattled” faith-based force in American politics that holds onto a tired orthodoxy with religious fervor.

Phew, tangent.

Is it all empty rhetoric? I’m skeptical too, but unlike cynical fundamentalists who would conflate democracy with markets and would have every politician in their pocket, I’d prefer to think that we have a candidate who is genuinely interested in this “nonsensical” desire to address the needs of the many.

You’ll really have to make this decision on your own. And honestly, what choice do you have, since Republicans have failed to produce a worthy candidate? The American people have seen the impact of deregulation and privatization with the mortgage crisis and the catastrophe in Iraq, and if all this talk of “change” is any indication, hopefully this election will act as a referendum on the relentless corporatist trade policies that have steamrolled homeowners and robbed American troops and Iraqi civilians alike of their lives and livelihoods.

Aaand I'm spent. This ended up taking more time than I intended. But it's been a while since I've sparred with anyone on this stuff. Got me fired up -- thanks.


P.S. About The Economist -- I no more believe that it’s an objective agenda-free publication than I believe that Pinochet's Chile was an “economic miracle.”