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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

improve on this

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

if you think you’ve seen all the home improvement shows on tv, think again.

because this month, brought to you by the creator of “let’s show these people how we do things down south,” comes a very special holiday episode of “pimp my yard.”

according to the executive producer (my wife), our all-out holiday attitude is gonna turn our new neighborhood on its festive ear.

where once we plugged in some white, animated yard deer, she says we’re busting out the life-size inflatable nativity scene.



the part of the luminescent candy canes will now be played by flying polar bears.


would i kid you?

to quote steve martin in roxanne, “lights? you’ve never seen so many lights!”

and my response to all this—the cost, the logistics, the frost-fingered labor—is?

“yes, dear.”

not because my wife wears the pants in the family (though she does.) not because she’s determined to whip up holiday fervor to unheard-of levels in our new home (though she is). and not, by golly, because she’s footing the bill for this entire extravaganza (though, by golly, she is).

no.

to my wife i reflexively say “yes, dear” at this time of year because in the past i’ve been characterized as a holiday grinch—and to her there is no greater failing (except failing to buy her “something fun and pretty,” of course).



grinchy? moi?

don’t misunderstand. i love my wife. she is a lovely woman, a wonderful mother, and a great person to hang out with.

but if you get between her and her enjoyment of any holiday, you’ll bear her wrath. and by that i mean you’ll have a permasmile surgically attached to your face.

because we are gonna have fun, i’m here to tell you, and don’t you forget it!

where was i? oh yes, “pimp my yard.”

frankly, i have no idea how all this hullabaloo qualifies as “how we did things down south.” i guarantee you’ll never see these holiday decorating ideas in southern living magazine. but this in no way diminishes the fact that my wife is a lovely woman, a wonderful mother and a great person to hang out with.

this time of year, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

more important than toys?!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

file this under "things i've learned from my children."

my children have play dates. this is somewhat comparable, i suppose, to what we did back in the day. getting together with friends, running around the neighborhood, mostly unsupervised.

the "running around" and "unsupervised" parts no longer apply, but you get the idea.

today, for example, my six year son old had a classmate over, and my four year old daughter had a visit from a girl who lives up the alley.

the boys were incorrigible. they fought, they argued, they were thoroughly disagreeable.

my wife and i were appalled.

the girls, for the most part, got along swimmingly. they danced, they sang, they watched a barbie video.

my wife and i were enthralled.

finally, a few minutes before everyone was to go home, all four children were playing together in the living room. the boys had their teenage mutant ninja turtles; the girls had their bratz dolls.

peace was not reigning, but the disagreements were manageable.

then the girl from up the alley pulled an arm off my daughter's bratz. the reaction was instantaneous and monumental. my daughter's eyes got big, her mouth dropped open and she shreiked.

"nooooOOOOOoooo!!!"

she grabbed the doll from her friend and gave her a four year old shove. then she burst into tears. on cue, her friend started crying. the boys stopped their squabbling and watched, agape.

all this happened in the time it took me to leap up off the couch and start across the room. amazingly, my intervention wasn't necessary.

my daughter, hands over her eyes, suddenly stopped crying. wiping her cheeks, she stepped over and put a hand on her friend's arm.

"don't cry, malea, it's okay," she said. "i have lots of toys, and friends are more important than toys."

malea sniffled a few more times. "i'm sorry i broke her," she said. "it's okay," my daughter replied.

the boys resumed their squabbling. the girls resumed their playing.

the only one in the room still affected was me.




"i have lots of toys. and friends are more important than toys."

Affirmative Action Out of Control

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Listen, I'm all for diversity, but I had no idea that sponges, dinosaurs, and mutant giant dogs were being discriminated against in America's classrooms.
SpongeBob, Barney to Sing 'We Are Family'
(AP, 11/16/2004 2:57 PM)

Look out kids. SpongeBob SquarePants, Barney and Clifford the Big Red Dog are joining forces to rerecord the disco tune "We Are Family" to promote diversity and tolerance in classrooms.

"This is an unprecedented event. For the first time characters from all of the important kids shows came together to appear in the same video," said video producer Christopher Cerf.
I'm sorry, but this just freaks me out. They came together? How did they do that exactly? They must have met at Spongebob's place, right, because he's a sponge and he'd dry up and die if he were out of the water too long. But, this would mean that Barney and Clifford had to have worn scuba gear. Where's Clifford going to get gear that big?

It just doesn't make sense! But, then again, in the name of diversity, I suppose it doesn't have to.

off the menu...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

pursuant to my previous post, below is one scenario combining vignettes from each category. from the resulting scenario, conclusions may be drawn and recommendations made regarding the next democratic candidate for president.

oh! by the way, i've gone off the menu from that last post, and made up some entirely new vignettes. i think it's fair to characterize these new little dramas as 100% likely in the coming 4 years.


key drivers

global
• iraq war
after further consideration, the iraqi people realize how unreasonable they've been. from the whole "insurgency" thing to their boorish failure to offer our troops flowers and chocolates, the iraqi street wraps itself in the american flag and elects george w. bush president in absentia. he accepts and establishes the middle-eastern white house in mosul.



domestic
• weak economy/unemployment
the u.s. economy miraculously rights itself, erasing the deficit and eliminating the need for any taxes whatsoever. "it's your money," says the president via conference call from mosul. americans celebrate by donating lavishly to the faith-based charity of their choice. the profligacy wanes, however, when people realize such donations are no longer tax deductible.

opposition weaknesses

global
• unilateral foreign policy
foreign heads of state wake up one morning and realize by not supporting the bush administration, they've been supporting the terrorists. hats in hand, they wretchedly send their apologies to mosul in the form of bearer bonds, troops and swiss chocolates. the troops, seeing no work left to do, eat the chocolates, sparking an international furor.

domestic
• religious backlash
jesus returns. hilarity ensues.



dem. party strengths

global
• rebuilding global partnerships
smiling meekly, democrats hold themselves up as bad examples not to be followed. "geez, we were just wrong," declare diane feinstein and hillary clinton in a joint statement. "we're going back home as soon as replacements can be found. after years of domestic neglect, we've got a lot of pies to bake."

domestic
• fiscal responsibility
tax & spend liberals learn from the bush doctrine that spending is okay, taxes are not. democrats vow to become "spend liberals" and never utter the "t" word again.

wild cards

global
• china gambit
seizing the opportunity to control and influence events on a global scale, china sues in the world court for a percentage of the profits from all chinese restaurants around the world. "this is about intellectual property," says one chinese bureaucrat. "if it weren't for us it'd just be called 'food.'"

domestic
• iraq backlash
as the situation in iraq prospers and blooms, "progressives" become increasingly vocal and demonstrative about their previous opposition to the war. self-flagellation is a common occurrence, and thousands trek to the white house to beg forgiveness.

conclusion: democrats should "get over" the idea that they have anything of value to offer on the national stage. they should immediately begin the process of amending the u.s. constitution so as to...

next presidential candidate: draft arnold schwarzenegger.

Blurry Fiction

Monday, November 15, 2004

I haven't read The Da Vinci Code. There. I said it. Sue me.

I know people who have taken this book very seriously. For instance, I know Catholics who, after reading it, no longer consider themselves Catholics. I'd call that serious, if a bit nutty. After all, it's a novel, and the last I checked The American Heritage Dictionary, via Dictionary.com, it said (my emphasis added for obvious, I-told-you-so reasons):
nov·el n. A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters.
So, what's the deal? A friend of mine, someone who is admittedly prone to conspiracy theories, explained to me how the author, Dan Brown, knew he'd get more readers if he published it as a novel, rather than as a dry, academic piece of non-fiction. The idea is that Brown believes that the information in The Da Vinci Code is so important, that he needed to get as many people as possible to read it, and so it was necessary to dress it as a novel to get the word out.

Sorry, I just don't buy it. While I have been assured by folks who have read the book, that Brown's research is clearly cited and that his sources are sound, I have heard from just as many people that Brown's other work is, well, just plain awful. What does his past work have to do with this book? Well, it makes me feel good to cut him down, I admit it. A book this popular always has me suspicious.

Remember Daniel Quinn's Ishmael? That was a novel too, and all across the country, "study groups" were formed to discuss the book and explore the spiritual issues raised by it. You know what? I didn't read that book either. And not one of those people who supposedly acheived some degree of enlightment from having read it ever reached out to me with an invitation to one of their godamned groups! How enlightened is that?

And now Tom Hanks is going to be in the Da Vinci Code movie. Might as well just skip the discussion groups. Who has time for that anyway?

next time for sure...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Note: please excuse the capitalization herein. This post was composed in Word, and I didn't have time to fix it.

-m


***

In the Democrats' rush to win the next Presidential election, it's probably important they don't spend any more time trying to win the last one.

The issues that were decisive in 2004 are not likely to be the issues next time. Some very smart people on the other side are already at work projecting countless possible scenarios in two years, three years, and so on; they’re busy formulating responses to myriad combinations of events and determining how to best take advantage of those scenarios. They’re compiling a menu of hot button topics, crafting messages, and sifting their database to facilitate maximum impact.

For us or anyone to suggest the Democrats’ first priority is to find a religious candidate to appeal to “Bush evangelicals” is short-sighted and probably self-defeating. It’s firing a once-in-four-years arrow at a target that won’t be there when the time comes. Even if the target is still in the vicinity, it still will have moved sufficiently to cause democrats to miss another crucial opportunity.

So, instead of expending a lot of energy identifying a candidate who would’ve won in 2004, I suggest we find someone best suited to win in a world we haven’t begun to get a handle on, in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

What will be the key drivers of events in the next two years? What will be the most significant weaknesses in the opposition during that time? What will be the Democrats’ emerging strengths? What wild card world events may crop up to throw all these assumptions into the scrap heap?

What will the world look like during the campaign for the 2008 election, and who is (or will be) most prepared to define, control and seize the advantage at that time?

Below, by way of illustration only, is a simplistic exploration of just a few possibilities. Six examples (Global and Domestic) of four strategic categories, and (later) a few combinations and permutations of each. Obviously the categories and examples are potentially limitless. The combinations, therefore, are exponentially greater.

Key Drivers

Global
• Iraq war
Due to U.S. failure to win the peace, the “Iraqi situation” continues to deteriorate. Proposed elections in January, 2005 are postponed due to instability and escalating violence across the country. The interim government collapses and the U.S. is drawn more deeply into the conflict. Meanwhile, the “Coalition of the Willing” continues to shrink, placing more burden on U.S. forces.

• Growing terrorist threat
In Iraq and around the world, incidents of Al Qaeda and “copycat” Muslim extremist terror attacks continue to rise. From Europe to Southeast Asia, kidnappings, beheadings, bombings and other atrocities become commonplace.

• Iran war
“I’ve got political capital and I’m going to spend it” on Operation Iran Freedom. Freedom is on the march in Iran as the President goes looking for more nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Domestic
• Weak economy/unemployment
The failure of the U.S. economy to right itself, due in large part to Bush administration fiscal policy, has Congress in turmoil and the President on the defensive. Consumer confidence is down, spending is down, interest rates are up.

• Growing terrorist threat
Mismanagement in the Department of Homeland Security fails to secure U.S. ports. Terrorist sleeper cells and wide open borders to the north and south combine to demonstrate that the American people are not safer, nor less likely to be attacked on the Bush watch.

• Unrest over Iraq war
Once-sporadic protests over the deepening (and broadening) war in the Middle East lead to widespread and vocal protests on college campuses and in major metropolitan areas. The divide between blue and red voters grows wider.

Opposition Weaknesses

Global
• Unilateral foreign policy
The difficulty of fighting a global war on terror without the aid and assistance of allies becomes apparent. The administration’s “my way or the highway” stance leaves the U.S. and its assets vulnerable on multiple fronts.

• Iraq war
The uproar at home and abroad grows louder with each passing day. U.S. casualty figures rise and military successes become more difficult to sustain. While U.S. forces nominally control most major metropolitan areas, insurgent guerrilla attacks escalate country-wide. Meaningful control proves elusive.

• Deteriorating U.S. influence
Cooperation and engagement with erstwhile U.S. allies is at a post-WWII low. The U.N. routinely condemns U.S. actions and the administration continues to call that world body “irrelevant.” U.S.-based businesses find it more difficult and less manageable to operate abroad.

Domestic
• Economy
The U.S. economy continues to meander, despite Bush administration protests that things are getting better every day. Key economic indicators continue to flounder, and the stock market responds with characteristic volatility.

• Tax cuts/runaway spending
The one-time party of fiscal responsibility does not attempt to reconnect with its roots as spending for the administration’s aggressive agenda ramps up in earnest. Deficits continue their record climb.

• Religious backlash
The “conservative” social agenda against stem cell research, abortion rights, public schools, and gay marriage galvanizes liberal and moderate voters.

Dem. Party Strengths

Global
• Counterweight to Republican extremism
World leaders begin to view Democrats as the voices of reason in American politics, on issues ranging from global trade to scientific research to cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

• Rebuilding global partnerships
Weary of the disdain they receive from the Bush administration, world leaders cultivate productive working relationships with Democratic leaders at national and local levels.

• Antiwar in Iraq
After years of ebb and flow without resolution in Iraq, the Democrats benefit by defining themselves as the alternative to failed Bush policies in the Middle East.

Domestic
• Education/social issues
Advocates for science and research in public life respond dramatically to the rise of “faith-driven” initiatives in public schools and elsewhere. Democrats are instrumental in promoting the value of reason over ideology in this arena.

• Fiscal responsibility
Once the party of “tax & spend liberals,” Democrats now are viewed as the party offering responsible budget plans to offset sprawling Bush deficits and spending.

• Defenders of constitution
“Conservatives” seek to expand the scope of the Patriot Act and the power of the Department of Homeland Security; they propose Christian fundamentalist-driven amendments to the U.S. constitution. Democrats (along with moderate Republicans and libertarians) ally themselves to prevent these actions.


Wild Cards

Global
• Iraq civil war
The insurgency in Iraq gains momentum beyond the ability of Coalition forces to contain it. Order in the major cities breaks down and anarchy reigns over much of the country. Dozens of factions fight for local control, leading inexorably to chaos.

• Terrorist attack(s)
Acts of terrorism in London, Tokyo and Melbourne shake worldwide confidence in government ability to provide security. Radical candidates in local and national elections gain widespread support, though how they will improve on the performance of their predecessors remains unclear.

• China gambit
Seizing the opportunity to control and influence events on a global scale, China arrays its considerable resources against U.S. interests. It funds and arms insurgents in the Middle East; it militarily overruns Taiwan on “national security” pretexts; and it leads the call for UN sanction against the U.S.

Domestic
• Terrorist attack(s)
After fours years of quiet on the domestic front, Al Qaeda resurfaces with a dirty nuclear device detonated in Miami. Three thousand are killed outright, and thousands more face associated morbidity and mortality in the years ahead. The Bush legacy is dealt a devastating blow, and the landscape of American politics changes dramatically.

• Recession/Stock Crash
Due to events at home and overseas, stocks in the U.S. and worldwide suffer steep and sudden declines. Millions of investors are wiped out and financial markets face months of slow recovery.

• Iraq backlash
As the situation in Iraq deteriorates, Americans become increasingly vocal and demonstrative in their opposition to the war. Protests and unrest not seen since the height of the Viet Nam war are commonplace. The President calls the backlash a threat to national security and declares martial law.

In our next episode we’ll cobble together a few of these scenarios into one big Polaroid of the world, circa 2006.5. In the meantime, feel free to play along. Create your own scenario with these vignettes, or make up your own. Amaze your friends with your perspicacity and prescience. It’s fun, it’s free, and what the hey…you just might win.

American New Wave Cinema

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

When I first discovered the French New Wave filmmakers, starting with Truffaut's wonderful Jules et Jim, and leading me to other Truffaut films, Chabrol, Godard, Rohmer, etc., it was a truly eye-opening experience. Previously, I had been feeding on a steady diet of glossy, Hollywood studio system fare, rarely moved by these movies to actually engage my brain. And while I will admit that I was going through a rather pretentious love affair with French culture, wearing a beret to my classes at Rutgers, day dreaming I was hanging out with Hemingway, Stein, and Fitzgerald on the Left Bank, the New Wave films made it all the more real to me. The New Wave movement was known for having been inspired by the existentialism of Jean Paul Sartre, among others, with themes and characters to which I either related or aspired. Steve Nottingham's essay, linked above, contains a summary that pretty much covers what I was so attracted to:
Existentialism stressed the individual, the experience of free choice, the absence of any rational understanding of the universe and a sense of the absurdity in human life. Faced with an indifferent world, an existentialist seeks to act authentically, using free will and taking responsibility for all their actions, instead of playing pre-ordained roles dictated by society. The characters in French New Wave films are often marginalized, young anti-heroes and loners, with no family ties, who behave spontaneously, often act immorally and are frequently seen as anti-authoritarian.
Yep, pretty cliche, English major stuff there, for sure.

Last weekend I saw David O. Russell's latest movie, I Heart Huckabees, and while thinking about the Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman characters, the Existential Detectives, I was reminded of the great French New Wave, was reminded that there are a number of contemporary American filmmakers who share a similar set of sensibilities, and whom I will now boldly refer to as American New Wave Cinema. (A quick Google search, and after 5 or so pages of hits not one mention of such a thing. Copywrite time? There was a hit for American New Wave music, but this was such a hideous period in musical history that I'm counting on no one feeling overly eager to claim the term as their intellectual property on that basis.)

So, here they are, the American New Wave filmmakers: David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson (no relation)....um....well, at least that's the short list. There is another list, a list of films that would fit the American New Wave description, but which come from directors whose other films don't quite fit, or they just haven't made enough films yet to determine if they fit. This list includes: various Richard Linklater films, Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, Zach Braff's Garden State.

Naturally, some filmmakers, some of the best, are constantly changing their styles and genres, making defining a movement in cinema very difficult. A classic example would be the grouping of Spielberg, Coppola, and Scorsese (enough links, you go look 'em up). They all came to prominence around the same time, but with the exception of the Coppola/Scorsese gangster film connection, they really are all three very different filmmakers. Likewise, sometimes influences reveal that there is nothing startlingly original going on here, possibly eroding the validity of defining a unique American New Wave movement. Just consider the direct link between this supposed group and the early films of Mike Nichols (Carnal Knowlege, The Graduate), and two of Hal Ashby's greats - Harold and Maude, Being There.

What I've enjoyed about the films listed above has been the existential crises of the characters, offbeat and unconventional narrative styles, the generous use of pop music, but perhaps most importantly, a very big heart and sympathy for the characters. There's a sweetness in the common underlying theme that just beneath their quirky exteriors can be found human beings with feelings and a deep desire for love and connection. Going into this any deeper, perhaps on a film-by-film basis, is the making of a serious essay, for which I have neither the time nor the energy. However, should I ever get around to expanding on this, I will be sure to share it here. In the meantime, if anyone coming across this post feels that I've missed a possible addition to the American New Wave filmmakers list, please drop me a comment.

All clear.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It's safe. You can come out now.

So, the election results seem to have sent formerly intreprid Team T-Floss into hiding. Well, the sky has not fallen, nor have any nukeular weapons, Bush & Co. are indeed back for an encore, but today Amy Sullivan reports the following:
BE AFRAID! BE VERY...OH, NEVER MIND....What a surprise. One week after the election, having successfully freaked the bejeebus out of folks in the Red States who don't actually face any real threat of terrorism, the Bush administration has lowered the threat level from orange to yellow. Yes, that's right. Nothing to worry about anymore, nothing to look at here, go about your business, everything's back to normal.

Who said raising and lowering the threat levels was purely political? Pshaw.
See. Everything is fine. Please return to your normal activities. New blog entries would be greatly appreciated.

- The Management

“Bush Agenda Shifts to Home Front”

Saturday, November 06, 2004

president bush is preparing to do for america what he’s already done for the international community.

Isn’t that great?

Here’s the lead, according to our friends at the washington post:

“After four years of dramatic foreign policy ventures, President Bush has turned his attention to domestic policy, seeking to leave historic stamps on the graduated tax code, the health care system and Social Security...”

good golly. not to jinx him or anything, but i can’t wait to see what happens next. let’s be realistic: how could he improve on his stellar work in foreign relations? his bridge-building with our allies has been unprecedented. his levitra-esque firmness with the bad man in iraq is now legendary.

i just hope he’s not setting the bar too high for his encore here at home. there are cautionary historical parallels, you know…

Prince Humperdinck: Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work. But I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped.



Count Rugen: Get some rest. If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything.


this could very easily be an intimate conversation between the president and one of his trusted top advisors. well, except for the details of the actual conversation, of course. i’m sure the president would never falsely implicate or accuse another nation of grievous wrongdoing.

but you see my point.

the president has his legacy to think about. it would be a shame if his reach were to exceed his grasp. i think he should just stop now, retire undefeated, and start writing his memoirs. in his own inimitable words. it shouldn’t take long, and he can get back to…whatever it was he did before he became president.



“do you think he can improve on his first-term performance?”
“it would take a miracle.”
“bye-bye, boys. have fun storming the castle!”

what’s to the right of right?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

“america is a broad river, and arlen specter is sitting on the left bank.”

that’s the message delivered by the newly anointed congress, eager to unite the country and heal its divisions.

specter, as you know, recently was vilified by “angry conservatives” for suggesting that “…strongly anti-abortion judicial nominees might be rejected in the senate.”

specter has been in the senate a long time. he’s probably forgotten more about good-faith public service than his new colleagues will ever know. like his sterling work on the warren commission, for example, or his kindness toward anita hill.

but how could he forget that bush and several other like-minded folk were swept into office just four days ago? and that the premise for their coronations was “moral values”?

specter is a smart man. probably a good listener, too. he no doubt heard bush say, "i'll reach out to the people who share our goals."

could anyone be more gracious? think of the effort required to reach people who share your goals. and how does specter repay the president’s pure-hearted benevolence? by implying that he, specter, does not share those goals. tsk. tsk. such towering ingratitude.

specter also must’ve heard bush say, "i earned capital, political capital in the campaign and now i intend to spend it. it is my style."

specter knows that it is bush’s style to spend political capital (and all other kinds of capital) whether he’s earned it or not. and now he has a whole bunch of right-minded folk in both houses of congress to help him spend it.

yet specter has the impudence to offer suggestions as to the shopping list? what nerve.

well. he can just forget about that judiciary committee chairmanship he had his eye on.

“the concerned women of america planned a news conference critical of mr. specter on saturday in pennsylvania, and michael schwartz, the group's vice president for government relations, said his organization would continue to press the case against the lawmaker.

"it is clear to me that with this statement and his past record of performance, senator specter has disqualified himself from any right to be considered as chairman of the judiciary committee,'' mr. schwartz said.

[sidebar: is it at all interesting that a leader and spokesperson for a republican women’s group is a guy?, nah, probably not.]

“a message distributed electronically by the family research council urged its supporters to call senate leaders and committee members to lobby against mr. specter. ‘he has a history of pandering to the aggressive abortion lobby, and a specter chairmanship would be disastrous,’ the group said.”

in case anybody else has forgotten, there’s a right and a left in this country. there is also a right and a wrong. clearly arlen specter has run afoul of the right in both cases.

let this be a lesson to him and anyone else who does not share the goals of the new majority.

T-Floss affiliate - Next President

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ok, so, after writing about Kerry's fictional immigration to France, I seriously considered following him there. Thoughts of faraway France led to thoughts of the Canadian border a mere 20-some miles north of here, and I spent a few hours researching what it would take to actually relocate to British Columbia. After all, I have already written here about my affinity for those lovable Canucks.

However, I finally came to my senses, partly thanks to a post by Josh Marshall. Here's the part that woke me up:
For the Democrats, what I fear most (and what I've privately worried about for months) is this: Energy cools after an election. That's inevitable. But organization and institutions can survive. And it is within institutions and organizational infrastructure that energy and power exist and persist.

Certainly it would have been more pleasant (and perhaps better) to nurture all the organization and infrastructure that has been built up over the last two years under a President Kerry. But my concern over the last few months has been that if Bush won, all of these groups and organizations and incipient infrastructure would simply be allowed to wither, as though it had been tried and found not to have worked.

That, as a factual judgment, I think is just plain wrong. And if that were allowed to happen it would truly be tragic. The truth is that what Democrats have begun to build over the last two years is tremendously important. It just wasn't enough, not yet.
No, I choose to stand and fight.

I have a son and should be empathic towards other parents, parents who don't have the means to pack up and leave, parents whose children will be inheriting this mess, and I can't abandon them to that.

Now is the time to get involved. Campaigns for the Democratic presidential primaries start two years before the general election. That leaves us two years, not a heckuva a lot of time, to search out and find a candidate who can re-marginalize exclusivist, religious fundamentalism, someone who speaks fluent Heartland American, someone who is charismatic. That's a big task.

To that end, I have started a new blog for a very focused discussion on what the next Democratic candidate for president should look like - Next President

I will post reflections here on how this new blog is going, which will also serve as promotion for Next President, given that new folks stop by here all the time.

I look forward to a spirited discussion.



it's party time!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

the last four years in america have been fun, haven’t they? but you read it here first: the next four will be even better!

because the people who brought you the biggest and best reality show ever are back! and this time they mean business.



bush, cheney, rumsfeld, rove and the rest are back—and they’re bringing some friends with them. that’s right, a republican-controlled senate, house and judiciary. and they’re already gearing up to rubber stamp this administration’s most cleverest plans.

if they can dream it, they can have it!

no more whining, liberal ideas like "the environment" (a made-up term that means nothing); tax & spend big government; public schools (vouchers! get yer vouchers here!); and justifiable wars.

and all those gays and lesbians who have been so annoying lately? they’ll be returning to their closets where they belong. marriage licenses are for straight people, by god, and don’t you forget it!



the american people have spoken, and they want their mtv. or their gop, as the case may be.


“we’re gonna do things my way, or we won’t do things at all!”

fun? you’ve never had so much fun. so get ready.

you asked for it.

and now you’re gonna get it.

Kerry Concession Speech

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

My fellow Americans, a little while ago I called President Bush and congratulated him on his victory. And now, my fellow Americans, it is with mixed emotions that I announce that, very soon, I will no longer be able to refer to you as "my fellow Americans".

You see, until I ran for president and had it pointed out to me and the rest of the world that I "look French", that I speak French, have French relatives, and, like the French, voiced opposition to the way the war in Iraq was pursued, I never put much thought into my French heritage. I've been a proud American my whole life, risked my life many times in Vietnam serving my country. Yet, could it be that I went to Vietnam for different reasons? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Vietnam had been a French colony for many years before the communists came to power? I'm not sure myself. I'm still sorting this all out.

However, in the meantime, I have concluded that I have discovered a deep longing for the homeland of my ancestors, and Teresa and I will be moving to France within the next year. (sighs and gentle protestations from the crowd) We've been talking about this for a few months now, and we were only waiting for the election results to confirm our growing suspicions that we will be more welcome in France than we are here. (sighs) Besides, we love French bread, wine, cheese, the Champs Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre...heck, Americans like to call Parisians arrogant snobs, but come on! In a city that cool they have a right to feel superior!

I'd like to thank everyone who supported my campaign. God bless you, and Viva La France!

Thanks, Tom Brokaw

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Last night (actually, this morning just before I awoke), I dreamt I was walking an old Roman trail in modern day England. I share that because shortly before I turned off the TV (and election coverage), I heard Tom Brokaw remark that even though NBC had called Ohio for President Bush, they'd still let Ohio go on counting. Thanks, Tom Brokaw. It is good to know your network's generosity. WTF?! Was I dreaming that, too?

Now, like my colleague, spaceneedl, I am okay with either way the election goes. I am not too happy with Kerry. And I am less happy with Bush. But to hear that guffaw from Tom Brokaw blew what few gaskets I have left these days to process our news media. Brokaw was deadly serious. He didn't even realize what he had said. I stayed with NBC until they returned from a commercial break. Any apology or clarification to his boneheaded statement? Nope. Click. ¡off!

If Ohio decides to continue counting despite NBC and Bush wins, as it appears he will, then I get my wish -- I hope -- that the Democrats are going to have to answer their more progressive constituents. That Kerry was even the candidate showed that the Democratic party had its head up its ass. He wasn't going to win without getting Americans to see how irrational they have allowed their fears to make them. Not only will terrorists kill your children but so will swear words and gay and lesbian couples. Good lord, this country needs a wakeup call!* No wonder I was dreaming again of England (as I am wont to do whenever I am overwhelmingly let down by many of my fellow Americans).

*If the economy is another fear, if so many Americans use Dow Jones as the guide in their lives, then why is the stock market so in love with Republicans? Why don't they look at the statistics? When a Democrat is in the White House, stocks are up 7.2%. When a Republican is, stocks are up 3.6%. A Republican president with a Democratic congress sees stock gains increase 2.7% for an overall gain of 6.3%. And with an opposing Congress, a Democrat makes even more gains! The stock market jump is 3.4% to a 9.6% overall stock market gain. Ever wonder why the country was so successful under Clinton?

The only chance Democrats had to reclaim the White House this year was to build on the platforms developed by Dean and Kucinich. And they chose to punt on third down. Sure, Kerry won the primaries in a landslide, but with only a few primaries in, the Democratic party forced its will, and sapped the energy of all remaining states holding primaries. That those who vote in many of the states' primaries are wholly party politicos and not the common people is what makes the primary system produce wishy-washy, safe candidates. Who wants to lose by one state? Why not take the chance to rally Americans? JFK was not a safe choice but look at the social change of the 1960s. It is the common people who can rally and give a movement real momentum. Unfortunately, the only true populist movement to win the White House has usually involved Republicans. The last successful populist-like bid that won occurred over two centuries ago and was led by a Republican, if I am not mistaken. But then Republicans back then were perhaps even relatively left of where Democrats are today. So, even of that I am unsure, my head is filled with allergies from all the heather during my slumbering walk through the U.K.

One nice thing I heard from NBC's sister network, MSNBC, was a discussion with actor Ron Silver. Posited was the reason that exit polling data misleads (e.g. through yesterday afternoon's returns, Kerry was gonna win the swing states in a landslide) is that Americans are too ashamed to share that they actually voted for Bush, so they tell exit pollsters they voted for Kerry. There is hope many Americans will wake up from their self-induced nightmare.

either way, i'm okay...

Monday, November 01, 2004

i hate it when i lapse into pedantic jaggazz mode. actually, anyone who uses the word “pedantic” is a pedant, so i’m doubly culpable.

in reading over my posts during the past couple months, i realize how deadly serious and dull i’ve become.

forgive me, for i have pontificated.

well starting tonight, on the eve of the most important election since the last one, i’m getting off my high hobby horse. and it’s just as well, since i’m not a big fan of heights, unless well-tuned jet engines or a competent belayer are involved.

i’m in a better mood at the moment because i’ve rationalized tomorrow’s events, however they may unfold. to wit:

if kerry wins, i’m happy, because it’ll be a repudiation of the last 3 years of insufferable inanity. mind you, kerry will have a rough road ahead, since it’ll take his term and then some to fix the mess left by his predecessor. but bush and his corporate whores will be run out of town like a downhill railroad car, and that thought makes me whistle zippity-do-da.

or.

bush wins.

guess what? i’m less happy, but still okay with it. why? because he and his are running out of rabbits and hats from which to pull them. the multiplicity of missteps they’ve made will come home to roost, and if i may mix an in-flight metaphor, the administration will come down like the hindenburg hauling a load of bricks.

is it any wonder i’m so chipper?

yo! george! got a little joke for you…

what happens when a train runs over your foot? it hurts wheel bad.

hooha! thank you very much, don’t forget to tip your servers.

for the record, i’m predicting this kerry (not this carrie) to win. the razor-thin margins in the polls don’t reflect the many hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters who about to descend on their polling places like the wrath of khan.

at the end of the day it’ll be 53% kerry, 45% bush, and a landslide in the electoral college.



“seven years of college down the drain.”

i think it was president andrew shepard who said, “…right now in america we have serious problems that need to be solved by serious people, and george, your 15 minutes are up….”

ed. note: i may have added the “george” part...