Monday, November 29, 2004

the man.

the man.
Originally uploaded by bowles.
Maestra just taught me how to put pictures up. take a long hard look at this, it's probably going to be here for a very long time.

Monday, November 22, 2004


I guess I'm at that age where heroes should cease to exist. life has treated me well and I'm happy to be who I am and where I am but I can see the cracks and the holes and I am sad to admit that I can see that some folk have hearts blackened by hatred or despair.
But I'm an optimist.
I do still have heroes.
I dont folow them blindly but I do think about them and admire them. Some are dead. Some are still creating great music. Some are Welsh. Some are playing for Norwich City. Some are baseball players. Some are real people who I actually know. Some are politicians but i'm pretty sceptical about them. I have met one or two of them and have always been dissapointed, that's why, unless they came up to me, I would try and avoid them.
But I like the fact that there are people out there, who, by virtue of what they do, inspire me. They delight me. They provoke thought and discussion. I laugh at them and I laugh with them. Some of them are quite unusual choices. Some of them have been misunderstood by history.
But to me that's OK.
I should go now. I'll wander off along 7th Avenue and dream about bumping into Steve Earle.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

From cradle to grave.

A lot has been said over the past few weeks about the direction we need to move in, as democrats, in order to reclaim some optimism about the future.
I was recently involved in a drunken conversation with two Republican voters, their take was that they are social liberals but fiscal conservatives. I got to thinking today how that works. I came to a conclusion. It doesn't.
It's so easy to waste breath complaining that liberals raise taxes and throw money at social problems. I think it's pretty simple and I look at history for some inspiration. Laissez faire economics has led the way in creating individuals of great wealth. Now I like money and I do OK but there has to be questions asked when the weakest members of any society are left to rot. I know that there are some bums out there who bring their own decay upon themselves but I refuse to accept that the vast majority of those who remain marginalised by the material demands of modern society are at ease with their circumstances.
I come from a society that has had it's shining moment, a time just after World War Two when Clem Atlee's Labour government created the National Health Service. "To provide care fom the cradle to the grave". I am not going to claim that this creation, born out of a socialist belief in equality is a perfect system, it's got cracks and leaks and funding problems and , in it's 56th year it has an incredible task ahead of it just to tread water. The simple fact is this, it provides a level of care, free at the point of delivery for all citizens. It's not perfect and yes, Denmark has a better one, as does Holland, Sweden and any number of European countries. It's simpler to make a system work by taxing at a higher rate and when working with a smaller, more homogenous population.
My point?
The Conservatives (be they British, American or Swedish, whatever) would never have put such a system in place. It's highly doubtful that the current Labour admininstration would have done so. The late Barbara Castle, a Labour MP in 1945 said, shortly before her recent death that there was no way that a modern left wing government could afford such a measure. All I can say is that I'm proud and relieved that Atlee's historic government of 1945 found the means, both emotional and practical to engage in such a feat.
I look back even further, the New deal here in the states, embarked upon by the closest thing America has ever seen to a socialist administration. The New Deal was subsequently dimantled, piecemeal by the Administrations of Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush.
National insurance, unemployment relief, old age pensions. All brought about by Asquith's Liberal government at the beginning of the twentieth century. Opposed by conservatives across the board who still believed that government should be based upon the Protestant work ethic ,"The harder you work, the closer you are to God" accordingly, any n'er do wells or blackguard layabouts should perish in sight of God, they will not work, he will not protect them, Why should we?
These measures and others like them are now being seen as props to a lazy underclass. Stand up! Be a man! That is the mesage of conservatism, always has been, always will be.
Abortion? Let's strangle funding of this "socially liberal" measure with our fiscally conservative good sense. Trust me, Abortion is no choice or convenient way out when it comes knocking at your door (or the door of your partner or daughter). But that's OK because the time may well come when entire states block this desperate option, sure, you can travel to another state (or nation?) where you will face additional expense for your treatment.
End result? Do the math. The poor lose out.
The key point is this, we must fight to maintain a sense of progress. We must tackle the forces of conservatism at every turn and wherever we find them. Conservatives have never given anything up without a long, hard fight. If that means direct politcal action or just giving conservatives some pause for thought next time you are out drinking, do not give up . Let them know you exist, Let them know that you, and millions like you care.
Billy Bragg once sang the words "In the name of humanity, battered and torn." We are battered and torn, always have been, always will be. But we are stronger than they realise.
The struggle continues.

it's a marathon, not a sprint

Hallelujah! Saints be praised! And see, come, look upon my people and rejoice!
Norwich city have finally won a game in the Premiership!
Whilst I slept the good sleep of a man five margeritas to the worse my boys done good.
Norwich City 2. Southampton 1.
I am happy.
The future has just become a slightly better place.
Thank you.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Prince of days.

As you, my loyal reader will no doubt be aware, I, Random Doubt aka Bowles live within a mediaeval level of superstition. That's why writing this and entitling it "The prince of days " is bound to blow up in my face.
Just a couple of prompts that have made me write.
Wisdom weasel has been running a History Friday piece for a number of months. But I got him now! Today is the 88th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Somme, arguably the costliest encounter in British military history. After 5 months of killing, the British generals decided to call off the assault having gained about 6 feet of French mud. That's a flippant and horribly generalised summary but this is a blog. You want to understand? Read a book.
Apes (well,the shrewdness of) threw in a Bill Hicks reference. I read this earlier this morning (as part of a wider piece about drugs). My opinions regarding the late Bill Hicks are nobody's business but my own but I did laugh when I read what was written. I laughed and I felt better about the world.
Finally, Listmaker claims that only one of his co workers follows the show "The amazing race" and that she is a girl. Dude, I'm not a girl. And sometimes a show can be brilliant purely because people just run around and yell at each other.
And the anonymous who asked me to write new stuff? Feast on this.
Oh, Thursdays are , and have been for some time, my favourite day of the week. That's something for another time.

Monday, November 08, 2004

It's about time.

At last!
I've managed to negotiate the vast complexities of linking to other sites!
Please, if you're not alreday familiar with the wonderful stuff that's out there go ahead and take a look.
And big thanks to the northern Dan (Wisdom Weasel) for sending me the info.

Friday, November 05, 2004

A moderate's response.

I am proud of the previous entry. I am proud to be able to rant from time to time. However I am not going to allow the Bush/Cheney junta to give me a heart attack. I am going out tonight to meet with friends and drink far, far too much. Tomorrow i shall sit about and read a novel about fancy people doing fancy things a long time ago. I am not abdicating from the struggle, merely taking a day off.
I shall drink tea and consider giving up a number of my favourite vices. I shall play with our elderly cat and be silly and daft with my lovely wife.
The sun will shine, I will go to the Library. I will borrow Bill Clinton's memoirs (Nooo, give it up man!)

Don't push me.

This is written in response to the Bush voters.
I have a calm soul and pride myself in being a bit of a gentle spirit. I try to pass through this life with a benevolent air. This does not mean that I feel no pain, this does not mean that I am immune to anger or fierce, irrational emotions. Please, don't push me.
I cannot recall a time when I or so many of my nearest and dearest have been so upset by a man and his vision. The events of November 2nd have clarified this, there are some small, positive aspects but it's mostly worry, concern and fear. Republicans and their allies must understand this and they must understand that we will never give up our strongly held views just because "it's all over now and we should all heal and unite".
I oppose the republican agenda, pretty much always have and i hope to god (yes, look, I believe in god too, a good liberal god who cares not if you are rich, poor, gay or straight, etc , etc.) that I always will.
Yes, you're right, this is a rant. A great big , pissed off, emotional, unstable rant. I've just read so much over the past few days and have become so proud of my friends and their opinions, of so many beautiful people. It's just a shame that their eyes are clouded by sorrow right now.
Our time will come, but not without a fight.
Get to it.
My predictions? Within 2 years there will be a draft, either directly or by making a military sponsored education so damn attractive as to become the only real option for many. Nice idea, get a degree and if you live through your tour you get to use it.
When they are calling up 47 year old reservists from Brooklyn the bottom of the barrel has got to be pretty close.
That's it, i'm gone.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

say it aint so.

Or, as that other type of republican, Oliver Cromwell was once heard to utter
"I beseech you in the bowels of christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken."
As we hang in limbo it may not be that easy to find a lighter note but I will try. Here is some genuine satire from a Brooklyn third grader.

"When George W. Bush became president my class went to Canada to escape him. I invited my parents and my sister. We brought our winter clothes and anti Bush signs. Bush's politics explained nothing but his love for monkeys and how he thought mice should be the congressmen. We thought a bread box would be a better president. Bush was running against the breadbox. Everyone voted for the breadbox but Bush said "recount" and stole the election. He went kind of mad so we decided to move to Canada for 4 years. We all got along so well with Michael Moore. We had to live in igloos."

Stay lucky.