Archive for July, 2008

While Obama sorts through his Vice Presidential List

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Reportedly Obama is kicking around two names for his vice-presidential pick right about now.  One is Evan Bayh.  The other is Sam Nunn.

These two names spark some more names he might want to consider.

#1:  Zell Miller.  Hey!  Paul Begala recommened Al Gore pick him in 2000.

#2:  Toby Keith.  A registered Democrat who has publicly placed his politics as somewhere to the right of Willie Nelson’s and somewhere to the left of Ted Nugent.

#3:  Joseph L… Nah, too obvious.

#4:  I guess if you’re thinking in terms of “Wise Old Statesman” from the political past with that Sam Nunn thought, um… Walter Mondale.  Or… Better yet, Geraldine Ferraro!

On that score, with the additional bonus of “doubl[ing] down the brand” #5:  Elvis Presley.

One more wild-card idea.  #6: Beige Placebo.


Sunday, July 20th, 2008

So on a radio top of the hour news-cast, I hear:

“The Batman Sequel” (don’t know if you can call this a “sequal” anymore than you could call the 1989 movie a “sequal” to the 1960s campy Batman movie… or, for that matter, that one a sequel to the 1940s one) “Broke all records, etc. etc. Heath Ledger.”

And then the next story: “Officials said that more than 400 Penguins washed into the Brazilian Coast.”

The juxtaposition pushed Danny DeVito as The Penguin and his army of Penguins into my head.

thoughts induced by a handful of words from a George Will column

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

George Will threw out a snotty easily skipped over throw away line in a column a few weeks ago, one of those items which is of a type that I think I just may be the only person alive to stop and desire to pick a fight over.  He claimed “Grover Cleveland” was the last Democratic Presidential candidate any “rational person” could vote for.  It figures that Will needs to jump back to the Gilded Age to pick him out.  From his conservative orientation of pining for the 1880s through 1890s pre-Progressive Era of “stillwater” governance, I simply don’t know if I can buy this assessment.  I can count two Democrats he should be willing to let the public vote for.  Alton Parker, the 1904 candidate is the most blatant one — even under Will’s admiration for Grover Cleveland.  William Jennings Bryan re-oriented the Democratic Party, swallowing whole the Populists, in 1896.  Understand the loss of the Populist Party as either a triumph for small d democracy or a defeat — absorbing the will of public support under the banner of the two party system or squashing the will of some public support — that depends on your purview.  Bryan won three of four presidential nominees.  And Parker won the other — a “Bourbon Democrat”, a “Grover Cleveland” Democrat, and further a candidate taking on the reviled Theodore Roosevelt.

Skip through the nominations after that.  Woodrow Wilson and the man who went down to a smashed defeat upholding Wilson’s Utopian views — James Cox lie on one side.  Alfred Smith out of Tammany Hall and Franklin Roosevelt lie on the other side.  And John Davis sits there in between.  Chosen because he irritated everyone the least, which would settle him by way of path of least resistance to something acceptible to Will.  The only problem might be that he was running against — from Will’s perspective — one of the Greatest Presidents in American History — Calvin Coolidge, partaker of a lot of naps.  On the other hand, the third party that ate up double digits of support and bloated Coolidge’s 51 percent popular vote margin to landslide proportions was Bob Follette and the Progressive Party, a voting total which prompted Roosevelt to suggest the course of the Democratic Party in that direction.  Again, that party would be swallowed up, and again either a triumph for small d democracy or small a aristocracy.

But then Will would have to endure for his partisan side the Landon — Wilkie — Dewey — Eisenhower — and two new Nixons super-axis.  In 2008, John McCain is asked to spot his variety of conservatism, pointedly mentioned by the questioner the names of Goldwater, Reagan, and (seemingly a trap) Bush, and McCain throws himself back to Theodore Roosevelt.  And then suggests Lincoln.  I picture George Will’s head exploding.  The puzzle here is that Goldwater has been politically neutured such that liberals can point to him with a sly grin, demanding of conservatives a return to his politics and — pretty ahistorically — pining for the “Eisenhower — Goldwater Republicans”.

Witness too the billboard paid for by a group of black Republicans — all six of them — with the line that “Martin Luther King was a Republican”.  This is funny because those Goldwater backers, or a portion of them, thought King was a Communist agitator.  But it falls into line with a piece of tripe which comes up all too frequently.  Did you know that Republicans were in greater support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than Democrats?  (As well, various other incarnations.)  Another message: the KKK was founded by Democrats.  And, as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial pointed out, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.  All very interesting.  A news article surveying a conservative action committee conference showed a strong anti-Lincoln contingency.  There is a free republic message floating around there somewhere that lists off these historical party affronts — but the free republic type is also the type to tsk tsk the Democratic Party as “not being what they used to be”.

or marybe … the party of Alton Parker and John Davis.

When you Convolute Language, you’re trying to not say anything.

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

… a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals…

From wikipedia:

In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime, an area surrounding a black hole or a wormhole, inside which events cannot affect an outside observer. Light emitted from inside the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer’s side is never seen again.

But it works its kicks in various funky manners in science fiction stories, so maybe Bush can skew back there.  For Time Horizon, wikipedia presents us with this:

Although short term horizons such as end of day, end of week, end of month matter in accounting, generally it is mere summing-up and the simplest mark to market processes that take place at these short term horizons. No scenario analysis or mark to future activities are usually undertaken for such short periods, except for very large portfolios.

The most common horizons used in planning are one “quarter” (a quarter year, or three months), a year, two years, three years, four years (especially in a representative democracy where this is a quite common term of office and election cycle) and five years (in corporate planning). More far-sighted companies and government agencies may also use between ten and one hundred years. Thirty years is often used in mortgage contracts and US Treasury bonds such as the long bond. One hundred years, sometimes considered equal to seven generations, is a time horizon often cited by the ancient Iroquois and modern Greens. The Forestry Commission in the UK plans over a century into the future. There are Japanese corporations rumoured to have five-hundred year plans, which amount to a sort of official science fiction story or myth to which the company commits itself – these are highly secret and have not been confirmed to exist.

I thought the aspirational goals were pretty well set, with the returning Oil Companies — the aspiration now is Fortification from any happenstance in the surrounding area.  But maybe we still have to categorize the

dozens of weapons of mass destruction related program activities.

Which still is my favorite convolution of language from the Bush years, with all due respect to Mr. General Time Horizon for Meeting Aspirational Goals.


Friday, July 18th, 2008

In honor of the movie release of the Dark Knight, I recommend this issue of this comic book:

The problem, I suppose, is that the cover gives away the ending.  Kind of.  But then again the cover shows it is a pretty goofy little story, so who cares?.

Back to the fringes and, in the end, relatively apolitical

Friday, July 18th, 2008

This is a pretty impressive bit of propaganda.  I’m particularly struck by how often the … um… Tour bus?… with Larouche’s portrait is shown.  Actually this item is right up there with the one that juxtaposes the photograph of Amelia Robinson standing next to Martin Luther King Jr with the photograph of her standing next to Larouche.

Overall this photo spread is just kind of sad.  Beyond that, though, it strikes me as interesting that it even exists, that they deemed it both necessary and useful to piece such an item together, adding the #4 to their list of responses.  Well, they need to get ahead of such things these days and define the horror before it is defined for you and that seeps into the walls.  Besides which, this was at bottom an accident — no harm, no foul?

It hits me, though, a reason they may have taken down the “Fallen Heroes” page.  Suggested here its general shoddiness being called to attention.  But there’s also a somewhat interesting thought of what taking a glance at the circumstances of their lives and perhaps deaths.  None of them would die as Duggan did, obviously, and in the pre-Internet age Kronberg would have been successfully scrubbed from the memory banks with vestiges of bitter recriminations coming through every once in a while.  But the Accident as a possibility lingers for possibly one or two.

Meantime the Larouche Youth Movementarians enjoy the history lesson about the British being defeated by Lincoln and than Roosevelt.  Robert Beltran narrates.  Skip to 1:27:48 or thereabouts (I just sort of skipped about) for some … ??? … Roosevelt bashing the British.  In front of Winston Churchill!  That bold Roosevelt.  (God, I feel my mind becoming sponge-like.  Interesting retro-fitting of history, I guess.)

And This battle rages.  Unresolved.  Unresolvable.  Mr. Ossifur will continue to beat an impossible drum.

And James Kirchick appears to have set up a “Robert Dreyfus” watch at the New Republic blog.

Renew this Urban and Urban this Renewal

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

I guess it’s Revitalization.  That convenience store — Peterson’s on 5th (as opposed to the other Peterson’s at the other end of 5th) — has been unceremoniously kicked out by the city.  The reason, it appears, is that some fancy smancy department store is opening up across the street in that store front where that fur store used to be located.  The convenience store has become undesirible in the city’s vision of future commerce.  Nothing much has changed about that spot since I have bene in this city.  At the end of the Yellow Line, at the end of fareless square, under an enclosing, and therein lies the problem: the riff raff flow in and through and linger — perhaps if they can shingle enough change run in to buy a moldy heat lamp hot dog.  And so Peterson’s great crime to the city seems to be an apathetic refusal to clear away and scare this floating humanity debris that comes at the end of Fareless Square under that enclosing.  Which does not serve the needs of the more upscale business moving in across the street, and I suppose the hypothetical businesses coming in with the new amenities promised with that underground parking garage.  Now I understand what seemed kind of a perfunctory note left some weeks back, “No Loitering”.

A couple spots backward, a Chinese restaurant sits owned by the man who came in a weak second in the last Portland mayorial contest.  It’s a business which was allowed to fall behind on its rent — something that came up during the campaign, and it remains undisturbed.  Perhaps if these two businesses were flipped, the city would get what it wants from the particular location because Mr. Dozono would accomodate the city on his own in what I suppose they want:  I believe it amounts to Mr. Dozono in this hypothetical scenario or Mr. Peterson as it is now running out of the store every fifteen minutes with a broom and  shaking his fist menacingly at the vagrants.

Ah well.  The sham process has passed, the mocking public hearings that have been the hallmark of the Tom Potter mayorship have come and gone — to be fair to Mr. Potter sham hearings are the way our system works — and we take another step forward into the Glorious Future.  I would be surprised if I spent more than five dollars there in a total of more than five years.

Bob Kelleher continued

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Did you know that you can create your very own page from the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee to SHOW THE WORLD which Republican Senatorial candidates you have donated to and how much money you have sent their way?  Check it out HERE!!

The only problem is that they don’t feature the only Republican candidate worth a damned, Bob Kelleher of Montana.  They show Republican candidates with the equal no shot chance that Kelleher has, but not Bob Kelleher.  Further, looking down on the campaign biographies, you notice a few of the candidates marking their territory as “independent” of the party — skip to Gordon Smith of Oregon.  Yes their very inclusion on this list matched with Kelleher’s exclusion marks them as not so independent, by definition the Republican Party has set up a standard here.  Kelleher categorically has stated he completely disregards party platform, and from that basis the Susan Collinses of the world look like they’re lock step marionetted strings.

In other Bob Kelleher campaign news, stale and old as this news may be, Kelleher did a data dump to get ahead of old electoral liabilities.  Most interestingly:  Kelleher noted that he dropped out of a monastery ‘because he couldn’t handle the vow of chastity.  Which, I guess, means that Max Baucus can now run with that.  And Max Baucus isn’t shy with negative campaigns, such as the 2002 “My opponent is gay” ad… or, allegedly the implication hiding behind a thin veneer of such and such a scandal. 

Well.  Anyway.  Bob Kelleher ’08.  Not that his current party will encourage you to show your support.

that cover

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

It takes me a second to decide what I think about the New Yorker cover.  (You know the one.)  The problem is the problem with politics:  the more important question of something like this is not what I think but what I think this or that segment of the American electorate think.  In the case of thinking about this cover and its ramifications for the electorate, it amounts to basically this.

The interesting thing is to hear liberals parse the cover’s satire quotient.  It would be proper satire if it showed the subject of the focus — the believer of this image, I see tell.  If they say so, but talk about running into that “Elitist” land.  Someone at the Huffington Post suggests that this ain’t satire, it’s burlesque.  Indeed.  And… half a dozen of this — six of the other.  BRILLIANT ANALYSIS… let us find precise definitions and fight over terminology, please.

After watching the vice-presidential debate of 2004, I was asked who I thought won.  I started parsing out the meaning in terms of electoral debris, and then was stopped with the question “Who do YOU think won?”, which four years out occurs to me as a meaningless question.  Cheney won — he was an evil lier, but Edwards looked like an empty suit.  Does that matter much?  Hard to say.

Rumble through the political implications of The New Yorker cover.  Better still rumble through the implications of its a Focal spot light in the 24 hour news cycle.  And then ask the meaningless question of what I think of it.  The answer to that question is, Hm… I kinda like it.

The only thing I can say is that I spotted immediately with Obama’s presence in the fight that the election campaign was going to be full of these things — The New Yorker cover, some pundit referencing Oreo cookies, etc.  And here we are.  I give it all a bit of leeway.


Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I heard a news-soundbyte yesterday with someone stating that we may be heading toward a “historic Recession”.  Not exactly anything anyone wants to hear.  In 1933, Walter Lipmann, writing on the Great Depression, wrote something to the effect that this generation is “lucky” to get the chance to see “how history is made”.  This cues in my mind any number of famous Depression era photographs, which is to suggest that I’m sure that the Dust Bowl denziens and the 30 percent lingering jobless soup-line waiting masses enjoyed this great History Lesson.

It is, of course, absurd to compare our current Economic situation with 1932, except in spots and in passing.  I don’t know what a complete economic breakdown in the twenty-first century looks like, but this isn’t it.  The crux of the Phil Gram “Nation of whiners” line is somewhere floating in the comparison of bleak times with far greater bleak times of a previous era, and it not matching up.  Never mind what you have with Gram is the current state of “Let them Cake”, or to torture metaphors further “We’ll take this cake, and let you eat that cake over there.”  (Or maybe we’re in the land of “Not so much ‘Little Pink Houses for you and me’ but “Little Houses, and … let’s maybe skip the pink paint for now, eh?”)

The tug of war which made Dick Gephardt look absurd with the constant stating of the phrase “…since the Hoover Administration” has swung the other way.  It is a strange sea-changing battle which frequently flubs the Democrats who lose sight of Aspirational politics, which is that Americans don’t like to be reminded that they’re poor.  But now we see the George Wills and the Sean Hannitys of the world backing up the “nation of whiners” comment, which suggests that — at least in Hannity’s case since Will would gladly call himself an elitist– they’re not in much of a position to bandy about the term “Elitist” or “Elites”.

Maybe it’s equally ahistorical to categorically deny historical comparisons to far bleaker past moments and eras in history as it is to make those comparisons.  We are tripping into a transitional age of some sort, where policy should be dominated by preparing to move us past the current era which is precipated by the flow of plentiful cheap oil.  In this sense, Phil Gramm is correct — it is a mental Recession… the logjam we are in comes from not having removed the parameters of the past age.