Archive for December, 2017

comparisons, comparisons

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

If we compare Doug Jones’s victory over Roy Moore in Alabama leading to a big Democratic year of 2018 with the Scott Brown victory over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts leading to a big Republican year of 2010…

… and one accidental Senator who’ll be ousted at their next election…

The Comparisons being tossed about.

It is worth comparing the unlikable candidates of the two electorates whom deep blue Massachusetts turned against and whom deep red Alabama turned against.  Matha Coakley had the unpardonable sins of being very wooden and disconnected — she lost because she did not know who Curt Schilling was.  Her adversary excited the white working class (then in the fallout of antipathy over such matters) by driving a pick up truck.  Such is what it took to find the limitations of partisan loyalty.
The Republican candidate in Alabama had the unpardonable sin of being accused of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.  His riding of a horse failed to stop the bleeding of support.  I suppose we’ve found the limitations of partisan loyalties, and at what point the electorate in Alabama will snap, if just barely.

Worth noting, as always: I imagine, oh — say — Chuck Schumer may have had consultations with Doug Jones on campaign strategy.  And if he did, he came in cloaked in darkness and whisked away, like a Trump aide meeting with Putin aide.

pence to the rescue

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Stuck on the nature of Donald Trump’s twitter insult at Senator Kristen Gillibrand.

someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them)

I suppose “would do anything for them” is an allusion to prostitution.  Gendered, perhaps, as we think of sex workers as females as a matter of course (or gay male), but it also strikes me that it is an insult that would be leveled at a male politician.  (Politician = Prostitute, and no offense to sex workers.)  And one I presume the next Democratic gubernatorial candidate of, oh, say, Montana (ie: somewhere without any strong Berkley-ish influence)  might decide to employ.  So, would we be demanding now that the insult be shaved over to the male gender or eliminated altogether?

Of course, it really isn’t presidential to spend time insulting on twitter, but as we know… this president plays by his own rules.

Meanwhile, in ponderance of the thought on Senator Al Franken’s ouster — I don’t know… in future dealings that fall somewhere short of Weinsteinian proportions, and — for you Democrats out there, opens up a Senate race in 2018 for the Republicans to partake right at the edge of the Trumpian “blue collar white” rust belt rally…

Mock it all you want in terms of the gender dynamics, but… Can’t we install the Mark Pence Rule?

Ted Leo versus William Weld

Monday, December 11th, 2017

So.  Ted Leo has a thing or two to say about William Weld.

The Hanged Man was written too early to be a response to Trump’s America, but one late addition, “William Weld In The 21st Century,” a poisoned ode to Gary Johnson’s running mate, tackles one of Leo’s biggest gripes.

“Look, William Weld seems like a nice guy, so I’m sorry to pick specifically on him, but he represents this standard of patrician decency that we sometimes as a country still look to for guidance. When, at the end of the day, we’re living in a time of potential death in the streets by racists and rolling back of every healthcare protection for women who need an abortion,” he says. “There’s blood at the end of this, and I don’t give a flying fuck about your respectability.”

A curious attack on someone who, after all, ran against Donald Trump as the running mate on Johnson, and at the end of the campaign even proferred the suggestion that you oughta go ahead and vote for Clinton.  (Maybe a little too weakly for Ted Leo’s taste?)  I suppose it’s a matter of whether you think the Libertarian Party ticket siphoned off more votes that would have shifted to Hillary Clinton or to Donald Trump, and then only in key states.  (The transplanted Californians in Michigan, I guess?)
As a model for who he wants to talk about — oh, I don’t know… Lindsey Graham? … William Weld just falls apart.

I don’t know.  I suppose Weld could’ve done what Lincoln Chafee did and move to the Democratic Party.  But then Ted Leo would’ve still gone after him, apparently.

words and matter

Monday, December 11th, 2017

So, great debate.  Great Controversy.  The controversial and divisive Pope Francis has waded in with a suggestion.

In an interview with an Italian TV network, the pontiff said that the current language of the Our Father prayer “is not a good translation.”

In English and similarly in Italian, the prayer asks God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” But, says Francis, it’s not the Lord that tempts.

“It is not He that pushes me into temptation and then sees how I fall,” Francis said in Italian. “A father does not do this. A father quickly helps those who are provoked into Satan’s temptation.”

Francis pointed out that just a few days ago, France’s Catholic church adopted new phrasing in its Notre Père.

Taking a look at the prayer as taught to me when I was, oh, about 8?… and had heard it from age zero, and to show how I always (mis)understood it…

and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil

Understand, taken in weekly and only barely paying attention, I’d always assumed that that temptation part was directed to all those we’re forgiving, followed as it is from that “trespass against us” line.  (Part of the trespassing against us would be the leading us into temptation.)  The Satanically inspired, I guess?  (Or, as the Pope has it with his correction, it is Satan who leads us into temptation, not God.)
Of course, we have that “not” thrown in there which throws a kink into the line, but things sometimes get a rote.

The dissenters against the changed phrase are interesting to parse.

“The word in question is peirasmos [from New Testament Greek] which means both to tempt and to be tested,” the Rev. Ian Paul told the newspaper. “So on one level the pope has a point. But he’s also stepping into a theological debate about the nature of evil.”

Sure.  Sure.  But then there’s…

Paul added: “In terms of church culture, people learn this prayer by heart as children. If you tweak the translation, you risk disrupting the pattern of communal prayer. You fiddle with it at your peril.”

So it is we have a bunch of mismatch with the Priest against some in the congregation.  All is disrupted.  Chaos ensues for about… two seconds… before order returns with the next words.

Then there’s

“Pope Francis has made a habit of saying things that throw people into confusion, and this is one of them,” Mr. Lawler said. “It just makes you wonder, where does it stop, what’s up for grabs. It’s cumulative unease.”

Ye olde slippery slope argument.  Which, granted, it’s the Catholic Church — which has to hold onto traditional grounds against a dizzying secular society — but it’s notable that this comes up against a kind of “probably right.”

This headline is too clever by half.

Worth noting, this comes around the time of an anniversary in church history, and the controversies surrounding previous Popes

In 1520, Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict demanding that he recant parts of his 95 Theses, or face excommunication.

You know, it occurs to me that nowhere in those 95 demands by Martin Luther does he address the controversy about how many angels dance on the tip of a pin.  Score one for the Catholics.

constitutional conventions being proferred

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Apparently, the Republicans have enough governorships that they can, if they desire, call a Constitutional Convention to pass whatever it is they want.  (This after West Virginia’s governor made a switch in parties — Jim Justice — or, a return to his former party.  He, like Winston Churchill and Arlen Specter is a double switcher.)

Or so I see in — I believe — The Nation, fretting on an “Democratic Autopsy” report.  But I suppose they’d have to do it quickly, as New Jersey just elected a Democrat.

Then again, perhaps one of the two Southern Democrats (Louisiana’s Bel Edwards) might decide to hop in and vote with the Republicans?

Actually, I’m struck by the question — given that it is a fantastical notion — (Yes, I know.  Mark Levine is chomping at the convention bit.  But who else?) — why’d the magazine bring it up?

on the enclosing of a bubble

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Elements of frustration, and a feeling of the same “out of step, don’t quite grasp some dynamics at work” that I experienced in reading, oh, In These Times on how what we need now is just to patch together the various social justice causes (The Fight for 15 and Black Lives Matter and …) and… VICTORY!

And it’s not that they’re wrong.  Because.  Clearly.

Go to this week’s edition of the city’s alt weekly.  Two mentions on the Roy Moore situation.  One is in the letters column, where we see the letter cut moving in the “pretty close to the election for credibility” mantra with an “ENOUGH!”  Surely serves a cathartic urge in the readership, but otherwise it’s a refusal to dip into the political realities that this is a concern that voters will use to allow Moore to skate — something O’Keefe’s organization is clearly aware of.

The second mention is in the oh snarky “Week that Was” page that does that neener neener neener about Donald Trump bringing the Republican Party down by now rallying to Roy Moore, and ha ha to Trump as polls show Moore down by 8. This against the reality that the polls show Roy Moore rebounding, and I’d say more than likely apt to win.  Sadly, the neener neener neenering here is  misplaced.  My frustration in reading this is the sense that I’m seeing an enclosing in a liberal bubble, which if and when burst will only lead to a reaction more disjointed than necessary.  There’s perhaps too much of a Republican advantage in Alabama for Doug Jones to overcome.  We’ll have to see, of course, but there’s too many people in Alabama who’d vote Moore just to show those Trump haters what’s what.