Archive for August, 2015

the silly season polling says…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Wait.  What?

On Tuesday, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing the Vermont senator topping presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by a 42-35 margin. Following far behind the top two contenders are Jim Webb at 6 percent, Martin O’Malley at 4 percent, Lincoln Chafee at 2 percent, and Lawrence Lessig at 1 percent. Just about everyone in New Hampshire likes Sanders. The Vermont senator has a 72 percent favorable rating from Democrats in the state, with only 12 percent saying they dislike him. A quarter of Democrats in the state say they have an unfavorable view of Clinton.

Two things — one … at least in New Hampshire, and to some extent these state polls are what matters and not , and to some other extent these state polls do not matter because… urm — the year before the election is the year of the “non-practical wistful vote” —

One:  The dream of getting Lincoln Chafee to 1 percent, as per the comedy routine of fellow marginal player Conan O’brien, has become more than a reality.  And, two:  Lawrence Lessig?


That last one is fascinating… I don’t know that Bernie Sanders is running to “win”, not to “govern”, but…

Meantime… Joseph Biden is considering — and meeting with Elizabeth Warren to spur speculation , because… well, Bernie Sanders is beating Hillary Clinton in polls, so why not?  And because Elizabeth Warren will help neutralize the problems that come with entertaining the prospect of nominating or electing Joseph Freaking Biden.

And Al Gore is being … touted… for amusement’s sake.


explaining those curious “some guy wins” elections

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Explaining the victory of Robert Gray as Mississippi’s Democratic nominee for Governor.  It wasn’t that his name is the same as a color — it was that he was the one man against two women in this low watt campaign.

And then, futher explanation on why we had a voting pool not prepared to vote for the Democratic party’s choice of candidate, or any statued insurgent against the party’s choice.

the conditions that enabled Gray’s victory are deeply embedded in Mississippi’s anachronistic election process, a system designed for one-party white supremacist rule that has not kept pace with the expansion of voting rights or partisan realignment. As a result, the 21st century Democratic primary electorate is distorted through 19th century laws and traditions. Problems occur when these three vestiges of the old regime work in concert:

Candidates for every state and local office can declare a partisan affiliation, but voters can not register with a party. Any voter can participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary.
Many local officials and their challengers still run as Democrats without GOP opposition. Even in many majority-Republican counties, the Democratic primary operates as the de facto general election for certain local offices.
Local races (of which there are many) drive turnout even when state offices are contested. The Democratic primary attracts more voters than the Republican primary despite GOP dominance in statewide elections. A large share of the Democratic primary voters do not support the Democratic nominees in the general election.

Interestingly, I suppose this is one factor that saved Thad Cochran in his primary race last Senate election — those rural down ticket Democrats not being in the Republican voting pool.


The size of the dropoff between August and November can be staggering. Nearly 90 percent of Tippah County voters participated in the Democratic primary, but only 25 percent cast their ballot for the Democratic nominee in 2011. Ninety-two percent voted in Carroll County’s Democratic primary, but only 29 percent went blue in 2011. In total, 17 counties (21 percent) have at least a 50-point gap between Democratic share of the primary and general election vote.

Bottom line, and this probably works as well in South Carolina with your Alvin Greenes of the world.

But even in the Democrats’ atrophied condition, it would have been almost impossible for Gray or any unknown candidate to have won a majority of the vote without the systemic distortion and dilution of the electorate created by Mississippi’s antiquated primary laws and traditions.

Cue the comments from chest-beating Republicans and conservatives “dumb ignorant Democrats” mixed with the creepy “this vestige of 19th century election laws is a-okay”…

The one thing we will give Robert Gray — he is apparently running.   He has a consultant. Which is a thing that he should be doing.  Granted, it’s going to be roughly the Christine O’Donnel “I’m You” pitch — the ad created by the “Demon Sheep” consultant — which was much mocked, but frankly was a case of “that’s all she got” —

I imagine he has better credentials to sell everyone on this “Mr/Ms. Smith goes to Washington” pitch, which is to suggest that the idea is the goal is… something less than embarassment… as he tours the state.  The only thing I can’t help but see as potentially “ugh”-ish is, oh, something like you saw with Susan Boyle, who was quickly made up after he dumpy talent show appearance debut with … “huh”.  (Probably just keep the jeans and flannel… you’re an “everyman politician”.)

Of course, actually hitching a run for office isn’t something everyone of these “some guy”s should do — I remember I saw in Internet comments someone saying “get Carville to coach up Alvin Greene”, which — would have been pointless.

bloom county , version 4

Monday, August 17th, 2015

I have no strong opinion either way on the latest “Berke Breathed posting the strips to his facebook daily” Bloom County…

Sure.  Why not?

But I am struck by the premise of the debuts.  Opus wakes up in the year 2015 after a long hiatus, throws out a bunch of contemporary then and now allusions… and ha ha ha, Donald Trump…

The thing is… the strip didn’t quite go away.  It resurfaced immediately on Sundays as Outland.  Then a decade later as Opus.  And the thing is, this premise (or Opus trying to slam the resurgent Trump and Michael Jackson, etc into the anxiety closet)… already thrown in the Sunday Opus strip last decade… Opus standing there at the end asking “What?”

So… Why not?

won’t kiss babies, but then again also won’t eat them

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Bernie Sanders… damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

From an In These Times article, with three feminists on the subject of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Bernie Sanders supporter of the three — Liza Featherstone — offers this … what I suppose is a statement about a certain roboticness and aloofness in not connecting the economic message and so blind to the problems on the ground…

Years ago I went to a Bernie Sanders house party with my baby, and instead of trying to kiss the bably, like a politician, he just did what any old white man does, which is talk to you and ignore the baby.

At least he didn’t eat the baby?  (The 2004 blog-post was inspired by a radio broadcast by Rick Emerson and probably Tim Riley — which as I recall was just them crying out as they watched Bush with the baby crying out “Don’t eat it!  Don’t … eat … the baby!” …)

I suppose it also makes sense in the way Bernie Sanders doesn’t quite grasp the motive behind what would be construed as an inane question — He’s not following the queries of hair coverage, because he’s issue-driven.

Other interesting tid-bits rolling about Bernie Sanders on the early years… and… for his first Senate race we see “Sanders floated hippie-friendly proposals, such as legalizing all drugs, an end to compulsory education, and widening the entrance ramps of interstate highways to allow cars to more easily pull over to pick up hitch-hikers“.  As well “he criticized water fluoridation as a government intrustion on individual freedom.”
It was to grab headlines, it appears.

But nonetheless.

widening the entrance ramps of interstate highways to allow cars to more easily pull over to pick up hitch-hikers???  I want someone to ask him if he still agrees with the idea…

an enjoyable read.

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

crookedaustingrossmancover  Fascinating book.  HP Lovecraft writes Richard Nixon’s career… it’s like the author test-marketed the book’s premise just for me.

Always a complicated question as to “Just what Nixon is/was”…

I had, I realized, lost track of whether I was a centrist Republican stalwart, a right wing Communist demagagouge, a mole for Soviet intelligence, the proxy candidate for a Bavarian Sorcerer, or the Wes’ts last hope against an onrushing tide of insane chthonic forces.  No one seemed to notice that Tricky Dick was himself a trick.  — 227


“The year 1976 will be the final one of the American Republic,” he [Kissinger] whispered.  “Cut free from the Twenty-Second Amendment, you will be an immortal mage-president.  Able to crush the rebel cult of the Supreme Court implanted by rogue initiate founders.  You will subjugate the massed power of the four legislative bodies — House, Senate, Gestalt, and Hovering.  You will sit on a white throne in a white house for all eternity, ruling the two hundred and forty eight states of the Final Union.  E pluribus Nixon, eternum.” — 280

protesting Bernie Sanders

Friday, August 14th, 2015

I was curious about the Bernie Sanders appearance in Portland to know… just who would be out protesting him.  Understand we have forums out there from leftists of the Green / no vote / begruding Democrat but ugh ugh ugh variety who are holding forums around “Should the Left support Bernie Sanders?” …

… the awareness that in the end he will be tossing his support to the Hillary Clinton candidate…

Coming out of Seattle, and a smattering of voices in Portland… we have… some “elements” of Black Lives Matter… who had previously chastized Martin O’Malley for saying “Black lives matter.  White Lives matter.  All lives matter” — and here it’s a “hm”… “Not using your privilege correctly” is the quote I see bandied around.

The curious conundrum comes to the somewhat ruralified position Bernie Sanders has taken to gun control … and I guess we’ll see this one continue apace.

My final wondering is if Young Republicans will show up anywhere… I remember they proved fairly entertaining way back in 2004 with John Kerry’s apperance in town.  My guess is they’ll stick to Hillary Clinton, not having too much use for Bernie Sanders except as a cudgel.

books that are published for some reason

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

On the heels of the latest from the release of a book under curious circumstances of a manuscript – reshuffling of a book predating “To Kill a Mocking Bird” … Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman”…

Funny, maybe?

And as we watch a reshuffling of a coming sequel — or something or other — for “Catcher in the Rye”, vultures fighting and readying to come out with various shuffling of Salinger’s manuscripts…

Ayn Rand has a new book out!  Sounds dreadful.

She wrote too a variation of “If You Gave a Mouse a Cookie“.

the political season of silliness

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Nose is not toes

Donald Trump has publicly lashed out after he was banned from one of the biggest gatherings of conservative activists over controversial comments he made about Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, the GOP frontrunner appeared to imply that Kelly ‘unfairly’ grilled him about his history of insulting women during a televised debate because she was menstruating.
He remarked that there ‘was blood coming out of her… wherever’, sparking outrage and causing RedState’s Erick Erickson to boot him off the line-up of the high-profile event in Georgia.
On Saturday, Trump took to Twitter to hit back at his critics, writing: ‘So many “politically correct” fools in our country. We have to all get back to work and stop wasting time and energy on nonsense!’
In a later post on Saturday morning, the 2016 presidential candidate added that his remarks about Kelly were not made in reference to her menstrual cycle – but to the host’s nose

Yes, people sometimes run aground and accidentally bump up against sexist / racist / offensive / demeaning tropes and sayings.  And sometimes they don’t.  And there are instances when they don’t, but it can be brought back to some context to doesn’t reflect the person as a whole.  Then there’s this case.  Which is… entertaining, I guess?

“You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals,’ ” Kelly said.
Trump cut her off with his index finger in the air, quipping it was “only Rosie O’Donnell.” When the crowd’s roar settled
Because the Donald Trump partisans in the crowd really really have strong opinions about Rosie O’Donnell?
, Kelly continued.

“Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice it would be a ‘pretty picture’ to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president? And how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the ‘war on women’?”

The one thing you can kind of give Trump here is that he knows apologizing is useless, politically.  It won’t win him any converts.  And so… the schtick continues.  So you contort the line… “No.  I mean the nose.  Blood coming out of the nose!”  Because, really… blood could be coming out of anywhere in a figurative sense.  A Presidential debate with really high ratings, as everyone wants to see “what Trump will say”…  and I overhear a conversation from some apoliticals on how “Trump looked good, but that’s what he does” — I’m pretty sure in the “entertainment” sense, and not boosting his presidential ambitions, but who knows?