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Waiting for Lefty at ATA's Sargent Theater

You may not guess it from the picture of the handsome man above, but Lefty is a leftist, a commie, a red — and not in the Texas “Red Meat” way. You might think of this guy as a Lefty for The Great Recession — cool, hip, possibly living in a palatial squat in Buffalo, refusing to use currency or pay for food.

And yet, it was not always thus.

The enduring strength of Clifford Odets’s play Waiting for Lefty is its focus on character rather than identity. That may seem like a subtle distinction, but it’s an important one that traces the success and failure of the labor movement in the USA from Odets’s time to ours. Odets’s characters are honest, working people who strive for a measure of human dignity and are systematically deprived of it by the Bosses, the Owners, and the unsympathetic, pampered, and callous Elites. Odets builds his characters through their struggles: they are dynamic, not static. But in the intervening three quarters of a century since this play was first produced “identity” as a pillar of capitalist ideology has dominated and marginalized character so thoroughly that the didactic purpose of this play, what Brecht would have called a lehrstück, is easy to miss. Waiting for Lefty is the greatest work of American agitprop theater because it attempts to dramatize how a person learns courage in an act of character building, rather than appealing to the audience’s fear and pity.

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By J.D. Oxblood

Fox News, approx. 12:15 EST:  Bill Hemmer and Bret Baier covering the inaugural balls.

Video coverage of President Obama and First Lady dancing at Southern Inaugural Ball:

Obama:  Let’s go change America.

(crowd cheers)

Bret:  Ok by my count they have one more, is that right?

Bill:  One more ball.

Bret:  One more inaugural ball.  They’ve got the dance steps down, it is down to under a minute, it seems like everything’s being sped up just a bit on the routine, but uh, they have one more and as you see them wave to the southern ball there at the DC armory, uh we will bring you every step of every official ball.

Bill:  This time she’s doing the waving and he has his head back behind her head so that the camera’s can’t see and he’s like, “honey I cannot wait to get some sleep.”  Don’t you know he was?

Bret:  I mean—we were just talking during the break there that uh… I mean it’s kind of like a wedding… a giant wedding—

Bill:  On acid.

Bret:  Yeah but— (indistinct laughter in background) —times a thousand, you know, if—if—(flubs)

A few unnecessary comments:

1.  While “acid” is not one of the famed seven words you can’t say on television, I feel fairly confident that “on acid” is not a phrase newscasters are generally encouraged to use on the air.

2.  Who would ever expect a Fox News correspondent to know what “on acid” means?

3.  Am I the only pundit in America who’s done enough acid to catch such a reference?

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From the CNN news desk:

“As a public official, I expect criticism and I expect to be held accountable for how I govern,” Palin said in a statement released by her office Friday. “But the personal, salacious nature of recent reporting, and often the refusal of the media to correct obvious mistakes, unfortunately discredits too many in journalism today, making it difficult for many Americans to believe what they see in the media” (emphasis mine). Yeah! Salacious! When did she pick that one up? Surely not studying for the SATs. I’m glad she’s gone to the trouble to hire a vocabulary coach. Sadly, she’s about twenty years too late.

Mama Grizzly also said she got up on her hind legs when Tina Fey made a crack on her daughter. I say amen. Tina Fey almost single-handedly saved the republic by exposing Palin’s idiocy — and in the process the idiocy of American conservatives.

Speaking of which, check out Sam’s comment on this CNN blog post: “Why do we need Congress anyway? When the Constitution was written, people needed others to represent them in making policy decisions. Now we have the technology to vote and represent ourselves directly.”

OMG. I know that some secretly bad stuff lurks in the hearts of men, but I didn’t think anyone would have the bad judgment to expose himself in public as a monarchist. That’s right people. If you enjoy your liberty, you better stand up with Harry Reid and the Congress, and say we want government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Congress — a legislature — is the only way to have such a government. If Sam’s plan were implemented, and we all voted individually for every piece of legislation that was proposed (by whom?) — as if government were like American Idol — first there would be deadlock, then there would be a breakdown of government, then the executive would assert him/herself to become a king.

I blame the miserable state of American education for comments like this. No one who has studied history, government, or politics would say such a perniciously stupid thing.

You’re probably saying to yourself, Zach, have you lost your mind? How can you, a big city liberal, think Palin makes sense?! She is the antithesis of everything you believe in!

Well friends, in the first place Zach ain’t no big city liberal. He’s actually a small town conservative trapped in the body of a big city liberal. In the second place, Zach doesn’t think Palin is competent, he merely thinks she’s qualified for the highest office in the land. Still scratching your head?

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With the economy making us all feel like it’s Halloween 24/7 out there, let’s look a little closer at NYC’s 365 Halloween and costume headquarters, Halloween Adventure, located at 104 4th Ave near Union Square. This store has managed to stick around for 16 years, growing and expanding to serve the needs of freaks, geeks, Goths, nerds, fetishists, exhibitionists and party-goers all year round. I’d like to say I just went to the store and observed the employees and customers, studiously taking notes and watching them from afar like some urban Serengeti journalist, but alas, that would be a lie. For you see, I am a casualty of these scary economic times, and as a means of self-preservation I took a job there so that I could have a reason to get up and out of the apartment in the morning, instead of obsessing over my non-existent career and meeting with yet another headhunter who is unable to get me a job earning a living wage. So I thought, “Why not see if I can find a seasonal job selling costumes for Halloween? They MUST be hiring.” And that’s exactly what I did. I put on my gothiest outfit and did my gothiest make-up and went down and got myself a job. So here are some of my findings thus far:

1) The economy is bad, but people’s escapist tendencies are in full swing. Even though the store says it’s figures are down from last year, the place does HUGE business. I happen to think that this is going to be the last BIG Halloween for a while, for 2 reasons:

A) Halloween is on a Friday this year. Parties all weekend! More parties = more costumes.

B) This is the last year regular, non-trust-fund, non-Wall Street people are going to be able to cling to the illusion that they have enough disposable income to blow hundreds of dollars on a costume and a night out for a pagan holiday (with economic depressions come piousness. Why is that??? Rhetorical: I’m familiar with the concept that God favors the good with prosperity.) Most costumes start off at around $50 and go up from there. A decent one is gonna run you closer to $100. And rentals are about $200. Even with my employee discount my costume came to $65. And that’s not counting the special modifications and additions I need to make to it or all the drinks that will be consumed.

2) No matter what the weather is like, girls wanna dress like hoochies on Halloween. It is the one day in our culture when women are expected and encouraged to wear as little as possible (We all know the “slutty” thing. You’re not just a nurse, you’re a slutty nurse. You’re not just Marie Antionette, you’re slutty Marie Antionette). This is NYC, folks, not Miami. And this year is shaping up to be a cooooolllllldddd Halloween! I’m working down in the “Adult” costumes and lemme tell ya, these girls can’t find outfits SHORT enough. Except if they’re hispanic and come in with their b/fs. Those guys practically want their g/fs in gorilla costumes. I thought these guys would love to have their girls show off their goodies! With all the white couples the guys wanted their g/fs to dare to bare as much as legally possible; with the hispanic guys, not so much. These guys don’t want their g/fs to look like hos, and they tell them so. Some more forcefully than others.

3) We don’t get a lot of requests for political or current events costumes down in the “Adult” costumes. Maybe it’s just that the political masks are readily found upstairs, or maybe people just aren’t doing the McCain/Obama/Palin thing this year. I’ve heard they’re selling fairly well, I just haven’t seen it. People tend to stick to the archetypes: Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Pirate, Queen, King, etc. My fave this year is Beer Garden Wench. V cute, and you get to try to get your b/f to do a couples costume, and for him that means lederhosen. Priceless.

4) And lastly, the biggest hooligans like the sexy cop uniforms. Go figure.

So enjoy this last big Halloween. Party likes it’s 1999. Because this may be the last good time we collectively have for a while. I’m even predicting a quiet New Year’s Eve this year. It’s scary out there!

Hello again friends. Your humble political observateur here. I busted out my lab equipment again so’s I can drop some science on you. Political science that is.

McCain and Co. was hoping an August surprise with Mrs. Sarah Palin would put momentum in their full court press. And I’ll bet you Cheney was (maybe still is) planning an October surprise wherein Iran “fires” on US warships in the Gulf and we respond by righteously invading their country.

Unfortunately for the fantasy-based community, reality, courtesy of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has given us a September surprise to shake up the presidential contest. Yesterday the Dow components lost almost 450 points or 4%, in one day. The loss since the close on 9/11 last week is over EIGHT HUNDRED POINTS (800 pts.). You read that right. EIGHT HUNDRED POINTS. That’s a lot — just over 7% of it’s value in three days. That means people who know a thing or two about which way the wind is blowing are scared out of their wits and are heading for the exits. What color is your parachute?

for more fun, click here!

The only thing Obama and Biden should talk about is the culture of corruption that is endemic to conservative politics.

Thass right y’all, you heard me say it. People who voluntarily call themselves “conservative” are lowlife scum looking to get one over on tax payers. Earl E. Devaney sez so. (OK. Technically he says that Bush appointees to the Department of the Interior are lowlife scum who use your money to buy cocaine and whores. But come on. We all know that if a thorough investigation of the entire executive branch was conducted no one would get out of jail free.)

This means you Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

Are you listening Mr. Democratic strategist?

Ok, so this is ridiculously late, but I had a friend in town and then a job interview, so sue me. So let’s get down to it. First of all, please note that it is super hard for me to report on the RNC objectively, what with all the Christian fundamentalist war-mongering and all. That tends to push my buttons, ya know? My dad lives in Nashville and TN happens to be a big ol’ red state. He tells me horror stories about how sometimes his friends, while seemingly intelligent, thinking human beings, at times will correct him when he’s referring to archeological digs and/or scientific carbon dating. For you see, the earth, according to these zealots, is between 6-10,000 years old, which essentially puts humans, dinosaurs, trilobytes, and all that crap we studied in geology and biology in the same epoch. And they maintain that Noah couldn’t fit the dinosaurs on the Ark so that’s why they died out. Which all prompted me to create this design for a t-shirt (it’s copyrighted, so don’t even try it):

The Dinosaurs Killed Jesus

Like, totally check this out!

Hello, all you CC readers! I hope you have been following the DNC as avidly as I. Overall it was an exciting convention. The stellar speeches filled with pithy barbs! Billary, for chrissakes! And last, but definitely not least, the freakin’ Denver Boroncos Dem-packed stadium, replete with stoic columns to frame our man O in an austere, presidential manner. It was hot hot hot!

“No way. No how. No McCain.” – HRC

more insight available here

Sarah Palin is conservative eye candy.

Why did McCain pick her? Because she will be the ultimate Miss Moneypenny to his James Bond. She’s clever, hot, and most definitely subordinate to The Man. She is the ideal conservative VP: a totally bangable chick whose only job is to be a foil to highlight the masculinity of the Great Leader.