Archive for June, 2008

2000: Would people quit saying these things?

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Memes I am sick of:

#1: “If Gore had won his home state of Tennesee, Florida would not have mattered.”

Um… So?  I don’t get it.  Why would he need to win Tennesee when he could win Florida?  Let’s say you gave Gore a free thousand votes he could distribute them to any state in the nation.  I guarantee he would throw them to Florida and not to Tennessee.

#2: “If Gore had just won the previously Democratic seat of West Virginia, Florida would not have mattered.”

See #1.  And also see the changing nature of the map.

#3: “Joseph Lieberman was a horrible pick for vice president.”

I don’t like Joseph Lieberman, but electorally he picked up a whole slew of votes in Florida.  Far from being one of the worst vice presidential picks, he was maybe the best pick of any Democratic nominee in winning votes since either Gore or Johnson.  Edwards, meanwhile, proved to be either a nonfactor or a slight drag on the ticket — for whatever reason.

One of the disappointments of the 2004 Kerry loss was that if he had won, he would have done so without a single southern state voting for him — which would have done a number for that Carter — Clinton (and actually all the way back to when Roosevelt picked Truman for his running mate) which was proven useless when Edwards failed to pick up a single southern state.  Mind you, it’d turn out to be a frighteningly tight base with which to govern for re-election — likely dooming Kerry to one term-hood (might have been valuable in the Supreme Court picture), but no tighter than Bush’s victory — likely dooming a Democratic president.

The Continued Political Career of Mike Gravel

Monday, June 30th, 2008

It is always interesting to note the crusades of political figures who have sort of been cosnigned to the fringes of “acceptable” mainstream politics but who are “mainstream” enough to be pulled in by the causes, “fringe”.  Ie, Mike Gravel and his search for 9/11 Truth.  But, from the moment he announced his run for the presidency on the Democratic ballot, I noted his odd gray area of political acceptibility — which we saw play out to acceptibility on the edges of the televised debate (quite literally, on the opposite end of Kucinich, with Clinton and Obama in the center, with the media mavens claiming the order was random), his youtube stardom, and to a failed an puzzling run for the Libertarian nomination (shouldn’t the Libertarian presidential candidate be… Libertarian?).

And now to this.  And, as some commenter points out:

The 9/11 Truth Movement is only growing stronger every day.

Why!  They have former Alaska Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel working for them!

… and his presidential bids give him just a little bit more of a stage for press than he received when he was advocating a stronger world government and a National Initiative process, which was what he was doing sometime between his lost Senate seat (and he was a real weasel during the 1980 Democratic Senate primary, avoiding the issue of the Selective Service instead of Championing Against it) and his presidential bid.  Which is something I can guarantee you did not notice, if not not noticing during his presidential bid than not noticing as he was championing those causes.

on the Planned Parenthood Construction

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I passed by the Planned Parenthood construction site on MLK Day … Friday?  I saw that horde of protesters, waving signs showing fetuses, chanting about The Hands of Death and the Signs of Satan and the Love of Jesus.  And I saw a young woman bicycle past, and stick out her middle finger, sort of leaning over as far as she could without falling down.

A couple of thoughts occured to me.  #1:  This will receive news coverage shortly, for one reason or another — sure enough, it has because one of the contractors pulled out or something.  #2:  There will be some quotation from one of the protesters saying that Planned Parenthood is building here because they want to kill black babies.  Sure enough, there is.

Fashion. Feh.

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

I saw a woman  with low-cut jeans (hip-huggers, renamed something else a few years ago) and thong underwear peaking up above the jeans.  It struck me as two things: #1: An incredibly stupid look, and the uncomfortably unsexy while seeming to be meant to be sexy (and in this case it was by a skinny woman who theoretically was someone who, quote in quote “could wear it”, but it still just looks awful).  #2:  A fashion which we passed through around 2002 and perhaps tapering off for a couple years from there which I had thought as it tapered away we were done with, and I could avoid seeing it for at least another decade when perhaps some retro-look of 00 fashion will come back to vogue.  But, no … there it was.

But viewing the fashion palette, it strikes me that we’re cycling through the 1980s and will hit some stuff from the 1990s fairly shortly.  Which is interesting, because the 1980s is a collection of retro 1950s on to 1960s fashion and the 1990s ends up being retro 1960s on to 1970s fashion.  When we get to retro 00 fashion, it will be retro 00 retro 80s retro 60s fashion, and our collective heads will just explode… along with our peaking up above our pants thong underwear, which I guess will be worn by men in our famously gender=confused and bending future.

“Grit” is the new “Gravitas”

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

“Grit” is the new “Gravitas”.  It is a word being bandied about by politicos and pundits all at once that was not particularly used before.  I remember in 2000 when everyone started using the word “gravitas” — a description of what George W Bush needed in a vice presidency and then a description of Dick Cheney.  Where did that word come from?  Was it in deep storage until it was plucked out and thrown into our word usage?

Yesterday Hillary Clinton, in that fabled “Unity, New Hampshire” where the two candidates received an equal contrived number of votes, praised Barack Obama for his grit.  This was after Barack Obama, weeks ago, praised Hillary Clinton for her Grit.  As the primary campaign hurdled on and Hillary Clinton won a bunch of late states to “keep her in the race”, pundits made comments about her new-found grit.  It will be interesting to see in November if the winning presidential candidate praises the losing presidential candidate for his grit, and then in January to see if the magnanimous new president in his first presidential speech praises George W Bush for his grit, and also if Bush comments on the new president’s Grit.

Gordon Smith

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I have to say, Gordon Smith — a Republican politician I’ve found not terribly annoying even if his actions show he is clearly a politician– is really starting to annoy me.  The backstory is simply that his re-election campaign has rolled from “These two state Democrats support me… to (noted by the national media)… Barack Obama once said something nice about me… to… I support my Democratic Senate colleague (Ron Wyden)’s Health Care Plan”.  But I guess he’s annoying everyone these days.  So there.

It is interesting to see how a candidate in Gordon Smith’s position handles these matters, where the state’s political climate has simply moved past you.  It is a situation that requires a light touch.  Smith is just too ham-handed, I am afraid.

Wikipedia Flubbed “Nixonian” entry

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I find the wikipedia article on the term “Nixonian” very weird.  It has a strong Conservative Republican slant in its focus, stating that the term is primarily used in the way Conservative Republican use it — “akin to Rockefellar Republican, but more of a perjorative” — in advancing bigger regulation and the gummint and the like.  But line up 100 people on the street, making sure the street you are standing at is not across from a Convention Center where a CPAC Conference is occuring — and ask for a definition of “Nixonian” and I am pretty sure the definition will slide into the supposed “Democratic Party used” one of Corruption (not necessarily “Republican Corruption”) and the tangled issues with dirty electioneering.  Looking at the discussion page, the bias appears to be simply a product of having been written by… a Conservative Republican who uses it in that manner.  Mind you, his is a valid definition, but its placement shows that his vision is askew.

Curious to see if “Consevapedia” had anything on the phrase, I see that they don’t.  The most popular pages at Conservapedia, the wiki set up to combat the mighty Liberal biases of Wikipedia, focus on the rightness of Creationism and the theoretical problems of Evolution (note that this is the Daily Featured Article) and the Evils of Homosexual.  The “Atheism” page is entertaining in its list of explanations of why people become such things.  Also of some perplexity is the back and forth on what appears to be a “Silly Season” discussion where Conservapedia users bat around the question: Are Cats Just Useless Dogs?, which elicits the question “Where did that question come from?”

I should now stop thinking of it with the phrase “Death Watch”

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I’ve thought I would surely simply run out of steam and reach an end of rope with regards to posting blog entries about Lyndon Larouche’s cult. At this point I’ve tended to think of this as a sort of “Lyndon Larouche Death Watch”, which is I’m idly viewing — in that “rare species of exotic floral” kind of way — emenitions from Leesburg and various locales to see how the thing comports itself right now. The problem is, almost by design, the cult has been moribund since the late 1980s — if you look away there’s nothing much there — and the man himself for all I know will live for another twenty years, spinning even more dementia-inducings.

But the phrase “Death Watch” has taken on an ever more sinister presence. Since I started paying attention, paying attention on one level or other, I count four deaths which — perhaps removed by a few degrees — can be directly attributed to the mechinitions of the cult. The latest are Gary Genazzio and John Morris. (Not yet added to “Legacy” guestbook one can put up reminisces found here, and one memory added to Morris‘s, which I can’t find right this minute.) A google search dredges up some nonsene electoral activity — receiving a fraction of a percent for Larouche delegates to the 2000 Democratic Convention. A college newspaper gives us this item about John Morris stumping for one of those Larouche causes. An odd wikipedia arguement relating to whether an EIR article could be used as a source provides the defense with “Too bad that a fine writer like John Morris is associated with the cultist Larouche but “.

Or, in the case of Gary Genazzio, apparently his career, however far it came along and I don’t have a firm grasp, drawing comic books for Stan Lee at Marvel Comics.

Meanwhile, the Larouchian response spit out from Leesburg is as follows:

#1: A quick mention from Jeffry Steinberg in the Daily Briefing.

#2: Lyndon Larouche makes a mean joke, as follows: “Civilization can not be saved. I admit, it’s in tattered condition, but we still want to say that. It’s like an old car, it’s the only one you got; you got to repair it [laughter]. You guys know that! Sometimes you drive a car that already died! [laughter]”
#3: The deletion of a page which had “Honored the Fallen”, or some of them, of Larouche workers after discussion at FACTNet about its woeful inadequacies, birth dates not bothered to be researched to fill in and pictures missing and such.

So… A bigger Douche than you think. AND. (I’m not sure how he even came to that first pre-blogging this assessment without sticking quotation marks around “economist”, but… HEY!)

With interest, I note this new link, and wait to see if it gives anything new. I thought for a second I saw the New Republic piece from last summer, which if I had I would have had to deduct some points against that new site, but looking over it again I’m happy to say I seem to had been wrong.

These kids with those Juno Movies and all that…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

I remember disgracing ourselves somehow or other at a Catholic Church “Confirmation” Retreat.  I mean, as a group — not individually and surely I was not party to it in any significant way.  I don’t remember how, though.  It was such that my assholian History teacher mocked it the following Monday.

What I remember with more clarity was that four of us — whatshisname and “That Guy” and “That Guy”‘s girlfriend and I — walking off in and in some rooms we weren’t particularly supposed to, and Whatshisname and I having to gingerly back away when the other two started making out.  Nothing too notable about it, I suppose, except to suggest that this the Moment of Conception did not happen thereabouts, as she gave birth … 18 months later?  (A long term relationship in teenage terms, I suppose.)

The uproar over the “Pregnancy Pact” in that small Massachusetts village serves as a harbinger of a Moral Panic, and the line we get rippling out of it skews toward “we’re making it too easy for teenage moms” (the Daycare center attached to the school), “Hollywood is glamorizing teenage pregnancy” (Does Juno really do that?), we’ve let the stigma of teenage pregnancy lapse (Bring back good old fashioned shame).  It’s been some years since the rate of teenage rate had been going down, and now the added elements to the equation: Sham of Sex Education and decaying Economic situation.

Whatever the hand-wringing, when it happens you are sort of forced with the physical reality of a teenage mom, somewhere around there a teenage dad (you would hope), and a baby– all of which society is best served navigating to a productive place.  The contradiction hit me while sitting in my Journalism class and listening to my brash fellow student opin on the matter of teenage pregnancy and social mores and the annoyance of the contradiction where a girl gets a “bad reputation” then gets pregnant and everyone coos at the product of that “bad reputation” — a Whiplash, perhaps, a snap readjustment.  So I watched the teacher nod in agreement with these sentiments.  And then, a few days later, I watched this dynamic play out where that recently birthed teenage girl was roaming the halls of school, I suppose a home-coming of sorts, recently born baby in tow.  And she walked in and the teacehr’s reaction was the pleasant “see the baby” you would expect.  I thought this was an interesting experiment, which was to watch the “Brash Opinionated Student”‘s expression.  Stiff upper lip, not terribly veiled contempt, terse greeting, awkward fidgeting until not so much she left but until her Moral Position of not coddling the teen mom from the part of the teacher would end.  I almost wanted to ask to hold the baby, just to make her ever more uncomfortable — but like most things I let that lie.  (Incidentally, why would she have a “bad reputation” — she, and he from what I can tell, were monogamous, right?)

The father was a curious test case, and I suppose one can say at least he’s around.  First there was the odd spectacle of a sort of bonding connection being made between him and a teacher over child rearing.  I learned there that you should not try to calm your crying baby down to sleep by simply driving around as serves as a crux you will have to break eventually as your child becomes addicted to those particular rhythms.  Everything I know about that foreign sphere of Child Rearing I learned by listening to those conversations.

Mostly though the Father was aggrivating — easily sliding into one liners mocking his place as a teenage parent and not adequately ridding himself of his standard adolescent teenage impulsiveness.  He was inappropriately irreverant, going off on an ironic tangeant against “Kids having kids” to a substitute teacher who did not know he was a teenage father.  I suppose he had that luxury of remaining immature apart from his time with the baby, which the mother does not.  The group of teenage mothers in Massachusetts, I presume, now have a crash course on how idiotic and childish the thought of “Raising them together” looks.

Hm… Yes, that Rhode Island middle school — another news item source of Moral Panic — had the right idea in stocking themselves up full of condoms.  And telling everyone to keep their legs together, naturally, contradictory as those messages may be.