Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to the Party, Al

Al Franken is the junior senator from Minnesota. I can't wait to see O'Reilly tonight.

With a theoretically filibuster-proof majority of 60 the democrats could steamroll any program they wish through congress now. Dems being dems, of course, this won't happen. Accordingly, the repubes have one last chance to play nice with Barry and have a hand in how the country moves forward for at least the next few years. If they don't, the only hope they have is for the country to spin further down the toilet towards final ruin. Their past behavior suggests this is precisely what they'll do. Either way they are screwed. Hopefully not the rest of us with them.

Now we have to insist that the unherded cats that are our Democratic representatives in congress can pull it together long enough to do the job we collectively sent them to DC to do.

It's the Al Franken Congress now.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: I'm Sick of This Too

Among the most talented entertainers ever, sure. Horribly abused and damaged psychologically, absolutely. Did naughty things with little boys, probably. Dead one way or the other by virtue of his own weirdness, more than likely. In context, more important beyond the entertainment channels than the immediacy of Iran being violently taken over by its military, Norks shipping nukes, healthcare for me and my kids and you and your kids, keeping an eye on whether there is an economic future for anyone, and cleaning up the mess we humans have made of our home while breaking free as Americans of the noose of foreign oil, no.

Sorry Michael. You're gone. Now Beat It.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford: I’m Already Sick of This

The governor of a small but noisy state disappeared from his job and family for a few days. Turns out he popped off to Buenos Aires to cry between his mistresses boobs. It’s an interesting spin on what’s become an all too common story, especially for some reason among Republicans (though Democrats are surely not immune, right Gov. Spitzer?).

My funny bone gets a kick out of bible spouting moralists falling on the stick upon which they had hoisted their petard. And from a partisan politics perspective I am loving how the GOP is publicly destroying itself before our very eyes after having eight years of near total dominance of American government. But in times like these, I end up regressing back to my opinion when Bill Clinton’s shenanigans ended with a cigar trick in the Oval Office.

Beyond the disappearance while on public duty, and possibly using taxpayer funds to do the disappearing in this case, the act of infidelity is absolutely none of our business. It is a family tragedy that all too many of us have felt either ourselves or through the pain of someone we care about. Forgiveness is not ours to be asked for or given. Humans screw up, literally and figuratively, in all sorts of ways. It generally doesn’t mean they can’t do their jobs and do them well — even in public life. It would be nice if more on the right of the political spectrum would recognize that so they could espouse a policy which they could defend instead of a morality which they cannot represent themselves.

I don’t believe morality has much place in politics. It’s a dirty business. Morality is the precinct of the clergy who have followers or of the individuals who follow themselves. Society should dictate to the politicians and the politicians should find a way to balance leading and following. Matters of the flesh among adults do not belong in our public discourse and beyond force or violence should not be legislatively controlled.

We have bigger things going on in the world which need political attention. Ongoing economic issues (not the moral aspects of them though); healthcare and environmental degradation; lunatics from North Korea possibly transporting nuclear technology across the globe just to thumb their noses at the world; people getting hacked apart in the name of democracy in Iran; and so many other matters more important than a strange man from a strange state with a strange history doing strange things with a strange woman from a country with nothing in common with Appalachia other than first and last letters. We have business to take care of which matters. What Mark Sanford does with his pants is none of our business.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Caught a blurb on Morning Joe this morning about a Gallup poll and how Americans perceive their political philosophies (and by the way, how is it that of all the meatheads associated with the GOP it’s starting to look like Pensacola Joe is the one who may be successfully reorienting the Republican Party?). So surprise!!! The largest block of Americans see themselves as conservative more than Moderate or Liberal. On the other hand, if Moderates and Liberals are combined, they come out as a larger block than Conservatives.

I think this is a bunch of crap for the most part and is intended to act as a means for bolstering the Republicans by, as usual, focusing on labels rather than on anything of substance. I do not believe this is a right-of-center nation as the punditocracy is fond of saying. I believe we talk a certain way but when it comes down to it, we are an eminently practical nation, interested in doing what is necessary to achieve a particular goal rather than imposing it from a predetermined template of “how it ought to be”. This is a definition of pragmatism, the one truly American philosophy.

Pragmatism is the philosophy espoused by the current administration and it is a hallmark of Liberal political behavior. It can come off as wishy washy because it doesn’t always say “this is what must be done and how we must do it”. It asks the questions “what should we try and how should we attempt to go about it?” It’s a tightrope walk between more apparently solid principles as so-called conservatives on the right or socialists on the left might prefer. Essentially if both sides are pissed, then the balance is struck. The extremes make the noise and the goal is assure that none of them are completely happy. It sounds like a mushy middle but it requires a true strength of character and willingness to adjust as necessary to maintain such a position. I believe if we look at the demeanor of my friend Barry, we will see the embodiment of a Liberal attitude.

As long as the GOP continues to worry about labels, they will fail to grow and adjust and will become the Whigs of the current era. I’m ok with that. I’d be pleased to be left with wing-nuts on the right and an ongoing conversation between Liberals and other further on the left until you get to the wing-nuts on that end as well.

And finally, if you break down the poll above and get issue-specific, I believe we would find that the VAST majority of Americans would suddenly appear rather more Liberal in the sentiments and desires for the nation and what part the government should play in it. Maybe some dear reader can find that kind of poll out there.