Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stuck in a rut

Over the nearly three-and-a-half years I've been posting to this blog, I've noticed that I'll go through periods of posting a lot, or barely posting at all. I'm clearly in a down cycle (almost as bad as Yates), although in my defense there's just not a whole lot going on. In fact, in thinking that I needed to post something, the only thing I could come up with was being irritated that I got my new SC license plate, and I don't like it at all. My old plate was a very easy to remember "335-PEZ" - now it's a very lame "BNH-548". Let's see, what else....the Arby's in Bluffton is almost open....that's pretty cool I guess....OH! Iron Man is out on DVD on Tuesday....w00t! Of course I should have probably saved those for Twitter. Oops.

Yeah, I got nothing. Maybe something interesting will happen this week...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another point

Via Kos

Can someone tell me what it is conservatives are so afraid will happen if Obama wins? They sure sound angry and terrified about the prospect, but why?

It can't be that they're afraid women will be suddenly awarded the right of reproductive choice; women already have it and the GOP did nothing to change that when given the chance of a lifetime. Fuel prices have tripled under the Republican reign, they seem fine with it, and so we have to assume that that worry is not a factor in the conservative calculus. Nor can they be legitimately concerned that democrats will vastly increase federal spending, or enact horrendously expensive new entitlement programs supported by taxes socializing healthcare costs and bar the government from benefiting from the cost saving magic of the free market. Nope, those horses have all fled the barn, no use closing the door now.

Maybe they're worried democrats will be vacationing, sound asleep at the switch, while the intel community frantically tries to warn them of a vast, pending terrorist attack that could kill thousands of innocent Americans. Some might even be concerned that democrats will exploit such a tragedy for personal political gain and still fail to capture or kill the criminal masterminds that planned it. Others might speculate Obama will respond by foolishly attacking the wrong nation on a false premise and get us embroiled in a trillion dollar bloody boondoggle that wrecks out military readiness, destroys our international credibility, and gets thousands of US soldiers and untold hundreds of thousands of innocent bystanders killed or maimed for life. Worst case scenario: after all that misery and money, weak willed democrats will roll over and hand a date for US failure to the insurgents in Iraq.

Then again, maybe conservatives are thinking closer to home. What if progressive economic policies wrecked the economy, rocked Wall Street, caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes and jobs, and turned over our national economic future to the tender mercies of fundamentalist Sunni Monarchs and the communist Chinese? Or expand government intrusiveness making toilet paper out of the US Constitution? Maybe, in their darkest fears, they're afraid democrats would foolishly go on vacation and ignore their responsibilities while a massive hurricane lumbers into the US coast at a slow jog and sinks a major American city.

At least one source of conservative anxiety is imminently plausible: Democrats might rescind tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas, divert corporate welfare from insanely profitable corporations to uninsured or sick children, raise taxes on billionaires and oil companies, and create a more equitable healthcare system. That such possibilities strike fear into the corrupt soul of conservatism says a lot more about their decedent priorities than the middle class values of their opponents.

I guess that's what confuses a lot of voters: Conservatives are worried that Democrats might do the same astonishingly lousy job Republicans have done for the last eight years. To avoid even the possibility that that might happen, conservatives prescribe electing more members from the same crew who wrecked the country, in what is clearly to any lucid external observer the ridiculous and desperate hope that the same party will fix it all by continuing, uninterrupted, the same policies that produced the damage in the first place. In the alternate reality fabricated by the seamlessly integrated conservative PR apparatus, this extension of the failed status quo is called change, in the rest of the world it's one of the better known definitions of insanity.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The bottom line

From Chez Pazienza via The Huffington Post.....

So this is how it's going to be.

If you believe the chest-thumping coming from the McCain camp and its cadre of surrogates this morning, Sarah Palin hit it out of the park -- or at the very least, the Xcel Center -- last night in St. Paul. They're saying she killed when she mocked, in contemptuous fashion, Barack Obama's community service roots; they claim she silenced her critics by expressing solidarity with the nation's concerned and angry mothers, portraying herself as a "pit bull in lipstick" who could take any kind of heat; at the risk of mixing sports metaphors, they're smugly insisting that she put the Republican Party back in the game by throwing open the playbook of races past and pulling out an oldie-but-goodie that's never failed to bring the crowd to its feet and the base to the ballot box.

Call it the "Us vs. Them" end run.

Last night Sarah Palin -- and for that matter, most of the other Republican heavies who took the podium -- dropped all pretense of making the 2008 race for the White House about issues, choosing instead to do what the GOP does best these days: pander to the absolute lowest common denominator. Palin cast this election as nothing less than a "battle for survival," telling the frenzied crowd that "defeat means death." She dug out of the ground and whipped the corpse of the Republican base's oldest and most tired nemesis: the "liberal media," which the McCain campaign insists has unfairly savaged Palin and her family, but which, ironically, gave John McCain a free ride for so long. But best of all, and maybe most importantly when it comes to winning elections, Palin audaciously held her party up as underdogs, battling valiantly against subjugation at the hands of -- you guessed it -- the "elite."

"In small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco," she sarcastically seethed at one point, emphasizing those divisive buzzwords -- "small towns," "San Francisco" -- that act as a subliminal trigger to NASCAR America that its simple way of life is under attack from overeducated outsiders.

And if you don't think this kind of crass misdirection works -- this brand of ridiculous, over-the-top fear-mongering aimed at keeping the culture war alive and well -- just look at the last eight years.

Here's the thing though, and this needs to be said: from what we witnessed last night, this election isn't about red and blue, black and white or small town and big city. Despite the subtle innuendoes and outright cries of Palin and the Republicans, none of these things is in competition during this race.

More than ever -- really, ever -- the race for the office of President of the United States is about smart and dumb.

Sarah Palin may have scored a barnburner last night, preaching to the converted by heaping scorn upon the fact that Barack Obama has authored two books -- which only to the Stuckey's night managers that make up so much of the Republican shock troops would seem like a liability. But it doesn't change the fact that she still has no business being anywhere near the White House; she simply isn't qualified, and her I'm-just-a-hockey-mom routine last night only proved it further. Honestly, it would take an idiot to want someone who spoke as if she was running for PTA chairwoman to be placed in the second highest office in the free world, directly under a 72-year-old cancer survivor. Unfortunately though, that's exactly the voting bloc the Republicans are counting on to give them another four years in the White House after this disastrous eight: Idiots. John McCain and Sarah Palin have nothing new, no groundbreaking or landmark ideas to bring to the table, so they're falling back on standard operating procedure: rile up the ignorant; complain about the dangers of people who actually think -- the "elite"; bitch about mistreatment at the hands of the right's most necessary boogeyman -- the so-called liberal media; complain, accuse, repeat. It's bullshit political theater, with the average American used as a stage prop to keep the oligarchic fat-cats of the GOP firmly in power.

As for those who say that Sarah Palin has more "executive experience" than a Barack Obama or a Joe Biden -- that claim reinforces the need for clearer, better thinking this time around. The reality is that Palin is trying to portray "small town" chutzpah as a substitute for education, intellectual curiosity and basic, well, smarts. Obama is quite possibly the most thoughtful, erudite and analytical political candidate I've seen in my lifetime; call him "elite" -- which the last time I checked was a compliment -- all you want, he's smart. He gets it. The same can be said about Joe Biden.

As for McCain and Palin?

The former is a very bright man who -- and I'm not kidding here -- may be showing major signs of cognitive deterioration as he pushes into his 70s; the latter believes the world is 6,000 years old. (And for the record, I don't care whether you believe in a hereafter or a benevolent supreme being -- if you seriously think that the world is 6,000 years old, standing in defiance of a truth that's been proven over and over again, you're a moron and I don't want you having any sort of say in my life beyond how quickly I get my Chicken McNuggets.)

And this is what it's come down to. They've drawn the battle lines and all that's left now is for the rest of us to choose which side we're on -- because they've seen to it that there is no middle-ground.

You're with us or you're with the idiots.

You're smart or stupid.

You either want your leaders to use their brains or you align yourself with the ones who would play the role of the dumb jocks mocking those who dare to think as being a bunch of effete wimps who can't be trusted.

You vote for great minds or for people who don't just devalue great minds but demonize them.

Sarah Palin was right about one thing last night: This is a battle for survival, but defeat doesn't mean death -- it means dumb.

I don't know about you, but I don't want the two most powerful people in the free world to be a couple of folks I'd just like to sit down and have a beer with; I want them to be fucking super heroes -- sharper, stronger and wiser than I could ever hope to be. They have the weight of the world on their shoulders; I want to never have to worry that they won't be able to carry it.

But that's my choice.

Now it's your turn.

Where do you stand?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Freakin' Hurricanes....

With Hurricane Hannah currently projecting to hit somewhere near us later this week, I've begun the process of trying to decide what needs to go with Allison (who will be going to my Mom's) what needs to go with me (who will be staying/going with the Packet) and what we will leave behind should we be called to evacuate. The smallest trinket can lead to an agonizing decision - at the moment, I'm in the Bronco room looking at the photos from our trip to Denver and the game against the Chiefs two years ago that Allison had made into canvas as a Christmas present for me that are hanging on the wall. It's not like I don't have the same pictures on my various computers, and they would take up valuable space in the car. Still, I would hate to leave them - they are special to me and help to make the room what it is. Same thing with my Darth Vader coin bank, Carmello Anthony bobble-head, and my Ninja Gaiden wall scroll. I've never been that into material possessions save for my gadgets, but the thought of never seeing these things again makes me sad. I can only hope that this storm decides to go back out to sea and won't affect our lives and the lives of our neighbors. Still, as I was walking around my neighborhood tonight instead of playing a Podcast or music, I just listened to the sounds of the frogs and the subtle hum of the street lamps and the breeze to soak it in....just in case.....