Archive for December, 2012

vantage points and perspectives

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Two tourists passing by Voodoo Doughnuts (line out the wazoo).

“Hey!  That’s in the guidebook, isn’t it?”
“Sure is… but oh.  Their doughnuts… They have Creepy Doughnuts there.  Creeeepy doughnuts.”

Albert M Gore as a control variable

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Albert Gore, Jr.  of Mississippi:  40.6 percent.  (82 year old candidate who did hop and skip across the state, and at least had a sign near the polling place.)

Use Albert Gore’s percentage as a base, and we get something here for other losing candidates… who spent a lot more money and whose chances were more highly touted than Gore’s, as judged by the “Races to Watch” page found here.

Charles Summers, Maine… -9.9
Linda Lingle, Hawaii… -3.1
Todd Akin, Missouri… -1.5
Bob Kerrey, Nebraska… +1.2
Linda McMahon, Connecticut … +1.5
Connie Mack, Florida… +1.6
Richard Mourdock, Indiana… +3.7
Josh Mandel, Ohio… +4.1
Shelley Berkley, Nevada… +4.1
Tom Smith, Pennsylvania… +4.3
Denney Rehberg… +4.3
Heather Wilson, New Mexico… +4.7

I decided I’d just chop this off at the five point range.  Particularly in the South, particularly in Mississippi, noted in 2008 when the sacrificial Democratic candidate did 38.56 percent to the party’s solid attempt at winning candidate’s 45.04 percentage… meaning caring about making an attempt was worth all of 6.42 percentage points, there’s a lack of fungibility with the percentages.  Obviously Akin came closer to winning than Gore… kind of.  Interesting to see how a potted plant might have done in Missouri — might have beaten McCaskill.

Chester Brown’s politics have changed since Ed the Happy Clown

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Reading the notes in the latest reprint of Ed the Happy Clown, Chester Brown’s comic book from the 1980s —

— first of all, it’s good to see the old pretentious foreword gone.  It trended toward a sort of a rationalization for the pygmie depictions — surrealism and that’ll get anything racist or not — all toward getting something into a surrealistic tradition that was borne out of initial jabs at crude scatological humor.

Chester Brown states that his political philosophy has changed since doing Ed the Happy Clown.  He’s moved from being dumbly and fairly vaguely “leftist” to being Libertarian.  (Actually the top vote getter of Canada’s Libertarian Party).  So he half apologizes, or explains, his sticking Ronald Reagan on Ed the Clown’s penis — even though it could’ve been any political figure, and note the differences in the fictional universe of this comic where, for instance, Nancy Reagan is a sexy figure with even less resemblance than Ronald Reagan to this universe.  The sort of half bemused point of putting Reagan on the penis was shock value.  For a more concerted political point Brown would’ve found a Reagan Administration official firmly and specifically tied to the anti-pornography cause — was it Edward Meese? — but things falls apart quickly: you have to go with the big Right Wing figure here.

Anyway, Chester Brown today calls Reagan America’s best President since… drum roll please, please… Coolidge.  I’ll just have to do an eye roll.  Curiously, the more contrarian anti-government big wigs (The Koch Brothers, for instance) go with Harding.

The other semi-apology Chester Brown offers is on the inaccuracy of sewage concerns as, indeed, municipal problems instead of federal issues.  This one is a little weird, weirder than Reagan on the Penis.  It’s not even the point of surreality that draws this away from being firmly in what level of government concerns itself with what issues and problems.  And while I gather Chester Brown’s current politics might bring power concerns down from a centralized location to more local points, hopefully down to the individual as much as possible…

I’m pretty sure when confronted with the fecal problems in Ed the Happy Clown that President Reagan and the Federal Government would step in to figure this one out in the “Real World”.

This leaves us with Chester Brown’s endorsement of the fictional Nancy Reagan’s suggestion that human waste be used as fertilizer.  He has a book recommended that affirms his view, a view which has its champions and detractors.

demise of the tea party greatly exaggerated

Friday, December 28th, 2012

I’m not sure what this means.   Tea Party … functionally disfunctioning.

Leading Congressional Republicans, though they remain far apart fromPresident Obama, have embraced raising tax revenues in budget negotiations, repudiating a central tenet of the Tea Party. Even more telling, Tea Party activists in the middle of the country are skirting the fiscal showdown in Congress and turning to narrower issues, raising questions about whether the movement still represents a citizen groundswell to which attention must be paid.

The main proponents of the Tea Party, flutters about out there with Grover Norquist and Freedomworks.  They galvanize the “kooks” for their own sake — to defeat Health Care and Financial Regulation.  Now they tend to the Republicans elected and we get over to this as the grassroots movement:

Grass-roots leaders said this month that after losing any chance of repealing the national health care law, they would press states to “nullify” or ignore it. They also plan to focus on a two-decade-old United Nations resolution that they call a plot against property rights, and on “fraud” by local election boards that, some believe, let the Democrats steal the November vote.

Or Fluoridation, perhaps?

Mr. Cummings, who is the Midwest coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, a national group, said a major issue he would be focusing on now was Agenda 21, a United Nations resolution that encourages sustainable development. It has no force of law in the United States, but a passionate element of the Tea Party sees it as a plot against American property rights.

We have the wave of white house petitions that demand action.  The Star Wars “Death Star” gimmick passed by without comment.  As does the Right of Secession — receiving the proper number of signatures to get demand, but set in the cylinder filing cabinet for “Ignore” anyway.  And this “Try Feinstein for Treason” for advocating Gun Control.     And, wait for it:

The legislation has caused outrage amongst second amendment activists because it closely resembles Adolf Hitler’s 1938 Nazi Weapons Law which itself was virtually mirrored by the Gun Control Act of 1968.

(Blink.  Rub my eyes.)

So, there’s two directions to go with on “Current Day” “Tea Party” functioning.  At Freedom Works’s regime change, and the dishing back and forth between Armey and everyone else.

Or to the item on the Free Staters being called the biggest threat to New Hampshire.

 “People in positions of responsibility within the Republican Party tolerated too much of this,” said Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. He blamed a backlash against “tinfoil hat” issues pushed by the Tea Party-dominated legislature in New Hampshire for the loss of a Republican majority in the State House last month and a near loss in the State Senate. Republican leaders “looked the other way too often,” he said. “They sort of smiled, winked and nodded too often, when they should have been calling ‘crazy, crazy.’ ”

No, the Free State Porcupines might not be the same as “Tea Party” — and they predate the Tea Party–, but there is convergence here.  Still, worth noting that in one of the state legislative match-ups, the winner was the Democratic Anarchist over the Republican Minarchist.  Is this a Tea Party extreme versus Occupy extreme?

George Will and the chestnut of “The people are lethargic, and that is good”.

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Staring at a George Will article waving against boogey men and straw-men on to “Mandatory Voting”.  It’s all relatively well taken care of with this Atlantic pushback.  I tend to stray short of “Mandatory Voting”, though it works out well enough in Australia without any magical elixir, but tend to think everyone should be registered as a default spot.  George Will sees no evil in the whole “Voting Fraud” pushes under Republican Governors across the nation.

But something I like to focus on.  This is a recurring statement of proud bold principles…

Second, the stakes of politics are agreeably low because constitutional rights and other essential elements of happiness are not menaced by elections. Those who think high voter turnout indicates civic health should note that in three German elections, 1932-1933, turnout averaged more than 86 percent, reflecting the terrible stakes. The elections decided which mobs would rule the streets and who would inhabit concentration camps.

Mm hm.  There’s some truth in this — like Eisenhower’s goal of weaning off from a Crisis Government — or a quote from someone I heard recently “No matter Bush was, it’s not the End of the World; No Matter how bad Obama is it’s not the End of the World”, but it’s an easy out of complacency.  The same Bush — Obama despair from this was bemoaning the creation of of Government under the model of Business.   I suppose we get into the realm of politics in the late 1800s under the Gilded Age, where between 1876 and 1896 we turned over Presidents every time and had no real cause except a different set of office workers.  The Captains of Finance ruled.  Skip to the mid 1900s — 1960 through 1980.  Turmoil…

Of course, then there’s the Soviets who in the early 1980s turned through three Soviet Premiers in quick secession, trying to stake their claim to old unchanging Appartiks.

Dateline Japan:  The victory puts Mr. Abe, 58, a former prime minister and an outspoken nationalist, at Japan’s helm as it faces the growing burden of its aging population, years of industrial declineand the challenge of an increasingly assertive China. The change in prime ministers is the seventh in six years, a high turnover that is itself a sign of the nation’s inability to escape its long economic funk.

Dateline Egypt:  Mohammed Morsi sought to present the drafter charter as the turning of a historic page for Egypt, but his speech did little to ease the suspicions of those who fear he and his Muslim Brotherhood are entrenching their power. He offered no concrete gestures to an opposition that has so far rejected his dialogue and vowed to fight the constitution.

Abe may turn over to the next figure in pretty quick order.  Morsi may stick here for a long time.  Unrest seethes about both.

distinct currents of Multiculturalism

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Apparently Ross Douthat had one of those “We need more Babies” editorials that various conservative pundits sometimes go over to.  See John Gibson a few years ago on how we need to battle the Mexican threat.  Kartha Pollit, writer of the Nation, chimes in with the odd inconsistency of the storyline:

As for low-income women, pushing them to have fewer kids was one of the goals of welfare reform: maybe it worked.

Oooo…. oooo… ugh.

Okay.  Interesting little nugget in the latest New Yorker, though, in an article about a rural Turkish WOMEN’s thetre troupe and the culture it stands up against.

(Islamist Party leader and Prime Minister since 2003) Edogan has often stated that every married woman should bear at least five children.  Once, he boosted the number to five.  He thinks Cesarean births decrease women’s fertility, and has characterized both Cesareans and abortions as insidious plot to stunt Turkey’s youth.

Familiar story, it is.

but who gets to play Chester Arthur?

Monday, December 24th, 2012

. Another one awaits, called Road to Perdition, with Paul Newman and Tom Hanks. Since Newman is not available, Redford seemed too flippant in the spy movie, and Harrison Ford wouldn’t fatten well, perhaps Sean Connery or Anthony Perkins as Conklin. That would open the Arthur role to an unknown, to generate some mystery & interest. Travolta can play a cad pretty well but another candidate for the assassin might be Johnny Depp since he overacts everything (but a killer is supposed to be nuts anyway).

Hm.  No.  A SOMEBODY has to be Arthur — it is the movie on ARTHUR with a capitalized letters all through, isn’t it?

The assassin would be a bit part here — something rather quick at the movie.  In the grand scheme of things practically a deus ex machina to wind the story up — a quick shot of Garfield being assassinated, him yelling “I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts and now Arthur is President”, and then Garfield’s story takes place elsewhere while the Chester Arthur story is what we’re focusing in on.  What we have with the Chester Arthur story is a variation of The King’s Speech, sort of.

Wayne LaPierre is a creepy man

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

with MSNBC, Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, called the gun group’s press conference a missed opportunity “to create another conversation at a higher level where the American people are right now.” He called LaPierre’s comments “very haunting and very disturbing.”

Interestingly I don’t think that the calls for a garrison state in our schools are the most troubling comments made by this NRA President.  What I find disturbing lies around here…

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave–while provoking others to try to make their mark? A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

How do you take this seriously?  One giant pile of mentally illness, as though it’s one giant swarm to shift through and all the same and can be calibrated to us being on the verge of “hundreds”

Though I guess right now every city’s newspaper in America has a bullet point article culled away with the “vague rumor caused increased police surveillance” story.  (Literally one item in the Oregonian this weekend).  And you replete it with the Mayan Calendar coinciding… How can we possibly guess by simply numbering the numbers of mentally ill people out there (stigmatizing such by throwing them in one giant pile)?

And this does what?  I’m glad, I suppose, the NRA chieftain looks at the angle of mental health — but really the problem is the intersection of it with guns.  The shooter in Sandy Hook was a severely mentally ill 20 year old who, first thing’s first before we contemplate his treatment, should not have been around sharp objects (Assault rifles).  He was, thanks to his gun loving mom.  Nothing the NRA is willing to deal with.