Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This video gave me a slightly nightmarish WFMU dream last night. The typical DJ nightmare - all radio DJs have them - involves a strange or changed studio, or being late for a show. But in this dream WFMU was having an open house party. The station has an "open door" for volunteers during the annual marathon fund-raiser, a lot of people may be there for some shows, never an open house party where it's packed elbow to elbow. You have to know someone to attend the big in-house holiday party. The station's crowded Final Night of Marathon event got too large & is now mostly at Maxwell's in Hoboken. In my dream, manager Ken & I were the only staffers who showed up. Therefore, we were responsible for everything. Ken kept finding me like he wanted me to do something specific, I was willing to help in any way, but he never asked, he always got distracted & swallowed up in the crowd. The only other person I recognized was a particular nincompoop cashier from Pathmark who'd probably be working the popcorn wagon at Walmart entrance if he wasn't in the Union. But there was an ample food table, a buffet. At the end of the dream, Ken was last in line & putting scrambled eggs on his plate. Me, I'd had enough of the party & left by waking up.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Tom "The Hammer" DeLay
When my dad began taking an active interest in local politics in Fifties, he really believed Republicans were more honest than Democrats. Based on the local party organizations of the era in Union County NJ, he probably had some reason for the belief. The only Republican county organization in the state with a rep for serious corruption was the one in Atlantic County built by "Nucky" Johnson & run by a powerful state senator named "Hap" Farley, a Johnson protege. During the Farley era, you couldn't pick a copy of Atlantic City Press without seeing his name & often his photo somewhere on the front page. Farley sponsors bill. Farley meets with Governor. Farley goes to Washington. Farley attends banquet.
By the time dad began losing interest in local politics - he had gotten into Revolutionary War reenacting - I think he had been largely disabused of his notion. He never abandoned Richard Nixon, but he didn't like the guys around Nixon. He was totally disgusted when a major Republican politician in Jersey, Nelson Gross, was convicted of perjury & fraud for involvement in illegal campaign contributions. Gross went to prison for a few years, continued to profit in private business, (his life came to a tragic end in 1997 when he was robbed & murdered by three teenagers).
In the Fifties, Southern politics were still Democratic, & were corrupt & virulently racist (Although many hid behind "populism"). Then came the Southern Strategy in Repug politics, which produced sleazeballs like Texas Tom DeLay. I wonder what dad would have thought of him? I don't know. My Republican relatives have just gotten screwier right along with their screwy party. They can't explain to me how Barack Obama is more liberal than Lyndon Johnson.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Asbury Park NJ
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Jimi Hendrix Birthday
Friday, November 26, 2010
Holiday season is an annual source of amazement & dismay. Yesterday I was reading & wondering why the hell we're still defending an economic & military powerhouse like South Korea 60 years after the Korean "police action." North Korea doesn't have China & the Soviet Union propping it up anymore. South Korea, thanks to us, has its own large, well-equipped armed forces. Why are we spending billions "protecting" nations that can protect themselves, are in better or at least no worse economic condition than us, but give us The Finger when we ask for mildly favorable trade & monetary policy concessions? We shouldn't be whipping President Obama for it, but rather asking why those nations are screwing us when it ought to be as obvious to us as it is to them that our "empire" is hollow & collapsing & we need to redirect our resources back home & stop wasting lives & treasure overseas when millions are jobless or underemployed here & our infrastructure is falling apart around us. Those other countries will use us until we're all used up. They're driving ahead, while our eyes are fixed on the rear view mirror. We just handed over the House of Representives to politicians who think it's 1955 - or ought to be, when plate tectonics were a fanciful idea & it was inconceivable for priests to molest children, & the two big Commie nations had their own empires. But back then, President Ike was successfully promoting a grand system of interstate highways. Now we treat a needed & long-overdue new rail tunnel under the Hudson like a bridge-to-nowhere.
So we ignore all that & line up outside Best Buy & Walmart for hypnotic 3D HDTVs. On the way home we stop to buy powerball lottery tickets, which allow us to dream right along with the bankers & war profiteers who are ripping us off.
This isn't a bah humbug post. I have no problem separating the beautiful & meaningful religious observances from the secular craziness that has become so important a "holiday" to our economy. I don't like it. But I don't think generic "Happy Holidays" sales signs in big box stores constitute a "War on Christmas." We invented this month-long festival. Real war is the War on Christmas.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The craziest family dinner I attended - I'm sure I've written about this - was a girlfriend's huge extended family, They were hitting the boxes of candy before dinner. kids weren't really expected to stay seated at the table, which was gigantic with leaf extensions in. There was an enormous amount of food without a single green vegetable in sight. The family had a lot of large men. The dinner didn't end; the pies & cookies came out but the turkey & leftovers just moved into the kitchen where they stayed on the counters & everyone was free to pick at them until they were finally packed into Tupperware & distributed among guests, more or less according to need as far as I could tell.
Families have Thanksgiving traditions, some so fixed & ritualistic, proceeding from scene to scene (incuding the same relative who falls asleep afterward) you feel like you're just an actor playing a part. But this family's Thanksgiving seemed chaotic. The chaos was the tradition.
What annoys me most? The woman who can't stay seated during the meal & is constantly running in & out of the kitchen. My sister doesn't do this. You need something, she tells you where it is. She eats. A bigshot at the head of the table who thinks his turkey carving is an art. My dad did this, considered the electric carving knife a fabulous invention, but frankly he wasn't all that great at it. The best way to serve turkey is put it on display while it's resting, & hack it up it in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving from The New World
Kamuela Philharmonic January 6, 2008 at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea Conductor and music director Madeline Schatz.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
quotin' the Bible
I absolutely detest the mixing of American Christianity & militant nationalism, wrapping the cross in the flag. I'm aware that American Methodism is, well, an American invention, it's an American denomination, organized differently from the British version. I'm comfortable with that. But I also appreciate Catholicism's catholicity, its global view.
The Methodism I encountered as a child was undogmatic, impatient with theology, loose with doctrine, & in love with singing. It disliked conflict & encouraged friendship. It expected you to grow in faith, but understood you might also grow away from it. But if you grew away, it hoped you would take with you at least a sense of moderation in one's habits & routines, empathy for suffering, & good manners. All those qualities could be - & are - perceived as weaknesses by right wing religionists.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Beautiful People: If 60's Were 90's
Monday, November 22, 2010
This morning, my ex-girlfriend's long-deceased dad wandered into a dream. I was with her for years, then not with her for years. I had no idea why he was there, the dream wasn't making any sense to me. He just seemed to be out for a stroll & looking around. When he was alive, I felt he neither strongly liked nor disliked me. A devout Catholic, he certainly disapproved of his daughter & I residing together without blessing of Holy Matrimony, but he loved her dearly, & she was by his standards rebellious before she met me, in the sense that she stubbornly did what she wanted. She was a very talented young woman. For him, I failed in all the basics; not Catholic, not married to her, not employed in a respectable vocation. But she was equally responsible. I wasn't preventing her from going to church, wouldn't have objected if she did. She was my third Catholic girlfriend.
In the dream, he was healthy, middle-aged, wearing a tweedy jacket I think, & sporting a small mustache. Maybe he had always wanted a mustache. He was a man of good manners. He said something, I don't remember what, then he turned & began walking away. I said, "Wait, can I ask you something?" He turned around & said, "Sure."
"Are you in Heaven?" A question I had never before dared to ask dream characters.
He looked a bit puzzled. He either wouldn't or couldn't answer the question, the dream froze & faded.
Clearly, he was in a good place wherever it was. If he was only my memory of him, then I remember him fondly. He'd been through a lot, had three daughters, a saintly wife, & he appreciated peace. He represented a part of my life, the relationship, that "died," & which I've thought about far too much. Most of the characters I meet in dreams are inventions, I don't know who they are, although they're faintly familiar, some of them are strangely amusing, so they're probably extensions of me, just as dreamscapes are visual representations of one's mind.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
You betcha by golly wow
Frank Rich: Could She Reach the Top in 2012? You BetchaOn This Week, George Will dismissed Sarah Palin as unprepared, uneducated, a quitter, & a mere celebrity (this time for her cameo on DWTS), predicting she wouldn't run for President, as if his smugly saying so makes it so. I laughed. With his Princeton Ph.D, Pulitzer, & inside-the-Beltway arrogance, Will is almost as much an enemy to Tea Partiers as Barack Obama. Frank Rich explains why.
What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.
North Plainfield NJ
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Vol 1 doesn't contain much omitted material. But Vols 2 & 3 will. Vol 1 is 760 pages & since I don't plan of giving up fiction I figure I ought to get started.
Labels: what I'm reading
Friday, November 19, 2010
Suddenly, Tammy! - Beautiful Dream
Thursday, November 18, 2010
National Unfriend Day
It annoys me when Friends post 10 music videos in an hour, or a link to every online article they read. That's clutter. I also dislike cryptic tweets. If you tweet, keep them on Twitter, please. & those "copy, paste & repost" paragraphs. The other day, someone posted a chain message for "Mental Illness Awareness Week," which happened over a month ago & went unobserved here because I discuss the subject any time I please. & too many poor snapshots of your cat or kid.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
At the lab yesterday to leave a "sample." A man there born in 1923, I overheard. Small guy, staring at TV, smile on his face, I had to poke him when his name was called. Looked like he never worried about anything. Going half-deaf probably made no difference, he heard enough long ago.
I had a pal in high school, guitarist, his band practiced in his basement rec room. Also, his cute sister held court in a kitchen well-stocked with soda & chips. His mom jabbered loudly on the phone. It was practically an open house with all the teenagers wandering in & out & hanging around.
Meanwhile, dad sat placidly in an easy chair in the living room, long wire running from the TV to an earbud plugged into his left ear.
"How does your father stand the noise & chaos?" I asked.
"He's deaf in his right ear," said my friend.
Billionaire New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has his minions again stirring up talk about an independent presidential candidacy. This allows him to shrug off ambitions we know he has, which is supposed to make us believe he stands apart from (& above) petty partisan party divisions, & therefore we ought to beg him to rescue us by running for president, although he disdains the public mud wrestling this would require of him.
In the context of New York City, Bloomberg is, like him or not, a proven politician & a tough cookie. But Manhattan is one of the most provincial places in America, & no one from there is more provincial than a multi-billionaire who travels the world in luxury & brags about riding the subway to work. It's not hard to figure why he believes he could bend congress to his will the way he does New York's contentious City Council. Hubris.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Stanford 63, Rutgers 50
Here he goes with women's college ball.
For the first time, I'm having serious doubts about Hall of Fame Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer. Actually those doubts began at this time last year, but I suppressed them. Every season since the Scarlet Knights Championship Game appearance in 2007, her teams have jelled less; women's ball has become more offensive-oriented; she's made some risky, dubious recruiting choices; & she takes the team to the West Coast to open the season where they're battered by Cal & Stanford & come home tired, doubting, & dispirited enough to subsequently lose some early games they should win. C. Vivian rarely blames herself or her system for these losses. Last year they squeaked into the NCAA Tournament & immediately showed they didn't belong there. This year they weren't ranked in the preseason polls, although they have Top 25 talent. But St. John's & Georgetown are ranked, with DePaul hanging just outside. Of course, UConn & Notre Dame. Which means Stringer's star is shining a bit less brightly. At least this year she cautiously concedes she needs to think more about offense. A defense oriented team like Rutgers will never win The Big One in this era. unless they have a couple of high scorers. Too few games when three Rutgers players score in double figures. Something has to change, either C. Vivian or the person holding the head coach job.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Our Miss Brooks
A little girl wearing a pink dress© Bob Rixon
stands by the reception desk
in the mental health clinic,
her eyes fixed on a man
holding an unopened red umbrella.
There is nothing peculiar
or remarkable about the man
except for the red umbrella
he has brought on a sunny day.
"Latisha, come here," says her mother,
a tall attractive woman with
tightly braided hair. Latisha
doesn't hear her mother. She is
gazing at the man with an umbrella.
"Latisha, What are you looking at girl,
come here." But Latisha is over there
by the reception desk, looking
at the man with the umbrella.
Her mother gets up, walks over,
gently takes the little girl's hand,
leads her to the seats. The eyes
of girl never leave the man
holding the red umbrella.
Latisha, if you would be a poet,
you must stand over there,
as if your soul depended upon it,
you must stay over there until
your mother brings you over here.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Medford Lake NJ
(A bit creepy, just like the Barrens)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
That's something the rest of the world already knows. Particularly India & China, which view their own populations as the greatest potential markets for their own goods.
We shouldn't judge the President too harshly for his failure to turn this overseas trip into a series of smiling photo ops & announcements of trade agreements. The multi nation summits were scheduled long ago, & he used them to add on State visits to India, Indonesia, & South Korea he no doubt now wishes he hadn't. Presidents usually arrange for some done deals in advance of their trips, requiring only their ritual public signatures when they arrive.
The emerging global economic order is not something America has the power to prevent. We could've channeled it more to our advantage, but that would've required consumer adjustments (sacrifices) we were not willing to make. The average American's view of India is not only outdated, but colored with caricature. I like Indians. Why not take advantage of our job out-sourcing & loose immigration & work visa policies? The educated, hard-working middle class Indians back there are just like the ones here, their number is growing. India is also an ancient culture (or cultures), which America is not. They are rooted in it, but it also holds some heavy baggage of caste, class, seemingly intractable poverty, & regional contention. Remarkable how much of it they've managed to lighten in sixty years. We must find a way to be friends & allies. We can help each other in so many ways, standing up to China, against Islamic fundamentalism, providing markets for our goods - if we manufacture goods they want & need. India will not be bullied by us. They never were. We weren't their colonial power (although we supported England), & they hovered in the Soviet Union sphere-of-influence as we favored Pakistan when Pakistan was an important piece of our USSR containment policy. They're not a Gandhian nation, yet they still honor Gandhi; something about the Mahatma has always appealed to Americans. We also went up against England when the odds were against us, & with far fewer grievances. Bur where we had the guns, Gandhi only had the numbers - & a longer view of history. We need to take a longer view now. Our current President has the capacity for that view - no potential Repug president does - & for planning & acting upon it, but we haven't the patience. Americans aren't noted for patience. We need a "new frontier," or something.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Big Scream the poetry 'zine
Sometimes I held back my more conventional poems from Cope, knowing he would patiently follow my lines all over the page. Sympathy for 'zine editors eventually pulled me over to the left margin. I figured they would print more of my poems if the poems required less effort to type, & I'd send eight or ten poems if I had them, bound to be two or three they'd accept without reservation.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Nice thing about Facebook, lots of birthday greetings. Carrie Cann sends me a lovely Jacquie Lawson animated e card I watch three or four times because subtle things happen in the background or off to the side.
I'm not a religious believer in astrology. Rather, it's like what an artist friend says about standing by the ocean: She knows where she is. In Jersey, there's the ocean, the land, beach stretching off north & south, & the Sun rises unobstructed exactly where & when it's supposed to. The great mountains of the far west unsettled me until I reached the Pacific. Then I knew where I was, & I was comfortable from Oregon all the way to San Diego.
Astrology is a place to stand. You have your Sun Sign, your birth place & time, & all the myth & symbolism of the planets arranges itself exactly for you to interpret. You could probably pick a date at random & still learn something about yourself. When someone tells you their Sun Sign, they're giving you a certain view of them that's usually helpful if you give them plenty of wiggle room, because Sun Sign is broadest, most generalized of astrological personalities.
Much of what makes me seem "Scorpio" is probably attributable to this season in this part of the Northern hemisphere. It's the beginning of a 5th season here, Fall fading, less sunlight, many years it gives way in early December to damp, cold, drizzling days. So if your birthday is now, you look back at summer & won't see farther ahead than Christmas, which gradually brightens up the season as we approach it (if you like Christmas). Additionally, I was born on Veterans/Armistice Day, Martinmas (after St. Martin), so war - specifically the aftermath of war, affects my birthday as something America ponders on this day, though not with the depth of Memorial Day. It's a minor holiday, but important enough to close schools.
My Scorpio "taste" for vengence is more likely from being the youngest of four siblings. Revenge usually had to wait, had to be schemed, & indeed it often tasted best "served cold." The moodiness was inherited from mom, the temper from dad. It adds up to Scorpio.
Scorpio was ruled by mighty Mars. Pluto was assigned to us after it was discovered, puny ball of ice. Maybe we're Mars again now that Pluto is no longer a "planet."
Scorpios are represented by a stinging Scorpion (as the lower less evolved order of the sign) & soaring Eagle (as the higher). I choose to be represented by the Horseshoe Crab, an inoffensive living fossil that scours the bottoms of our bays, moves to deeper water in Winter, then, in May, comes ashore by the many thousands for a week-long orgy of fornicating & egg-laying. The most desirable females are big, old, & encrusted with barnacles. Birds time their migrations to be in Jersey at Horseshoe Crab time, there are so many tiny eggs to be consumed. Many Crabs don't survive, more killed by the sun than by birds, who don't find them very tasty, maybe it's the blue blood & that they're mostly shell, not much meat. Then the Crabs return to the water & you don't see them again for another year, only molted shells & the occasional casualty of tide or age. They aren't even crabs, but are distant relations of spiders. Horseshoe Crabs are not what they seem to be. The "stinger" tails are not stingers but tools for levering themselves off their backs when waves turn them over. They might pinch you by accident. Blue Claw Crabs do it to hurt you; I've seen people jump out of boats to get away from pugnacious Blues. I go nuts when I see beach strollers mistreat Horseshoe Crabs.
triumph is a trumpet
signaling another war to come
a soldier who begins with trumpets
ends up face down in the mud
crying out for his mother
for God to let him live
a desire for triumph
is a desire for war
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Gary McFarland: America The Beautiful
This forty year-old, six-movement "concept album" is making my 2010 favs list. I wasn't aware of the album's existence until this year. In 1969, McFarland had no audience for it. & the "environmental" theme was fairly new. The album is brilliant, not perfect, I'll be writing more about it. "Suburbia" is the third movement, the band first rate, the arrangements unusual.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
The Great Recession is over. Now Wall Street Journal calls it an "underperforming recovery."
PARAMUS, N.J. – The Goodwill store in this middle-class New York suburb is buzzing on a recent weekend afternoon. A steady flow of shoppers comb through racks filled with second-hand clothes, shoes, blankets and dishes.
A few years ago, opening a Goodwill store here wouldn't have made sense. Paramus is one of the biggest ZIP codes in the country for retail sales. Shoppers have their pick of hundreds of respected names like Macy's and Lord &Taylor along this busy highway strip.
But in the wake of the Great Recession, the stigma attached to certain consumer behavior has fallen away. What some people once thought of as lowbrow, they now accept - even consider a frugal badge of honor.
There 's been a large Goodwill store located on busy Route 18 in South River NJ for years. A former girlfriend used to shop there, so did I when I went with her, & I never noticed the customers generally looked "downscale." It was a regular stop for many mall-hoppers & bargain-hunters.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
On the AM radio I pick up here, New York market, distant stations later in the evening, I would say that 95% & more of the political talk shows are conservative / Republican & viciously anti-Obama. In NYC on AM, I know of only one consistantly "liberal" station, & it's aimed at a Black audience. So it's o.k. to shill for favored politicians & political views, providing millions of dollars in free campaign advertising, but not o.k. to contribute a few grand in campaign donations?
Do we have any idea, or even care, who is buying our politicians with enormous amounts of money & interest group campaign ads not directly authorized by the candidates, but approved by their staffs nonetheless?
Fact is, Olbermann did break NBC rules. But apparently so have a few of MSNBC regular conservative talking head guest commentators. They must be "subcontracted" & exempt. What are the Fox News rules? How much does Rupert Murdoch himself contribute to right wing candidates.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
X - Around My Heart
Thundering, anguished mid-tempo rocker from when X tried, with success in this song if not in the whole album I think, to move beyond punk.
Priorities: The sex lives of public school teachers
Cutting Taxes (19%)
Reducing Deficit (39%)
Spending to Create Jobs (37%)
One might ask: How did Repugs get 30% of the voters who actually favored government job creation after they voted? It seems nutty to me to vote for a Repug/Tea Party candidate if you're pissed off that Obama didn't spend enough, & the candidate you voted for may even oppose funding crucial, justifiable earmark projects in your state or district.
I haven't seen figures for total R & D votes cast on Tuesday, but when the dust settles I suspect America will be about as evenly divided as we've been in all the even year elections since 2000. The Repugs have neither the power nor the national mandate to repeal everything Dems passed, repudiating even George W. Bush as too liberal, as many have. They're supposed to help fix the economy.
Look at it this way: Sen. Jim DeMint, a right wing & Tea Party hero, campaigning in South Carolina, can get away with suggesting that unmarried female teachers who engage in sex should not be permitted in classrooms. South Carolina, a place whose attractions & culture outside of, maybe, Charleston, escape me, loves the guy, or at least the white folks do. & this Senator presumes to speak even for conservatives who could care less about such private behavior, or understand the futility of caring. He'd be laughed out of Jersey , & we're not quite as "blue" here as generally thought. DeMint has an "agenda" that isn't really America in 2010, if we look at the whole map. But he believes he does. That doesn't concern only me, or Democrats, but also John Boehner & establishment Republican bigshots who, until this year, figured they were conservative enough.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Throwing Muses: Fall Down
So what does it mean?
It doesn't mean populism is over, or the Democrats are finished, or Republicans are the new permanent majority (which they thought they were only a few years ago, or Obama will lose reelection (he'll have to change his leadership style to win), or the federal guvmint will be torn down. It doesn't mean any of that. Two years ago Obama carried Indiana & Virginia. Americans are frustrated & angry, & in America, if we vote, we have a choice of two major parties. If not one, we have the other. Americans expected more & better results for the past two years. Republicans were the beneficiaries this year. If you think it's a smashing conservative ideological victory, I'll bet you're an ideologue & you're wrong. I thought the Obamaniacs were wrong in '08 & that it was a unique election win. I think Americans want bipartisan cooperation, & we're still not gonna get it. It's a pleasant, hopeful delusion I was forced to give up when Repugs kicked out most of the centrists & the remaining few became sniveling, prevaricating cowards.
America voted the anger this year that Jersey & Massachusetts expressed a year ago.
MA reelected the Democratic governor & all the reps. Blue again.
In Jersey, Democrats as expected handed back a House seat they barely won two years ago, but was still close. That's all. In the only two state senate special elections, Democrats won those, too, which included a pick-up.
The issues that really matter to me are great issues that affect small lives. It's always a step ahead, half-step back.
It could be to the good if we have an opportunity for addition by subtraction. As Repugs attempt to roll back the "big government" of the past few years, Americans will learn (again) that we want much of the big government, & know how much of it originated with Repugs. As Repugs try to dismantle health care reform, Americans will probably say, "Stop. Not that part, or that other part." It was never explained to us clearly when it was passed. We'll see it was smart to save the American auto industry. Maybe, as with the old Repug congress, we'll see K Street calling the plays & buying what lobbyists want (Tom DeLay is on trial right now). America did not vote in a solution on Tuesday. It won't be long until we discover we elected an alternative we've already experienced, & rejected. But where will we turn then?
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Anyway, I'm sick of being told to Vote Vote Vote even if it means voting for one douche bag to keep another douch bag out, or to ratify a candidate in a one party town. I think America is really screwed up, perhaps irreparably. We have 24-hour memories, can't function without inventing enemies, & our political reasoning is an endless series of outrageous non sequiturs.
Do expect out-of-control spinning by both parties when results are in. Many of the Repug candidates headed for victory knocked off incumbent Repugs in primaries. Probable that Repug party "discipline" & unity in Washington will more resemble Democrats. Rand Paul has his own mind & agenda & doesn't think he owes the party bosses.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - For Me
Get ready for beat down
Wisconsin is foolish if it throws away Russ Feingold, a great senator who really has tried to reform national politics. Of course, his McCain/Feingold campaign financing reform now has so many loopholes that we don't know who is financing campaigns. & we need to know. We should have a right to know.
When the Repug establishment invited Sarah Palin in & made her a political superstar (& was unable to restrain & control her), it was just a matter of time - two years - until some truly wacky Palin facsimiles arrived - Christine O'Donnell in Delaware & Sharron Angle in Nevada. Angle might win. If she does, Nevada deserves her. Like Alaska, Nevada feeds amply at the federal money trough (much, much better than New Jersey), & Harry Reid, like him or not, knows how to keep that trough filled. I don't think the Repug bosses can control Sharron Angle. In that sense, she might even be good for our politics. She can't do much damage as a freshman senator, but she can make a lot of amusing noise. The Beltway Repug leadership, although delighted to take control of the House, knows that control means it will bear a proportional share of the blame in '12. It will also have to somehow block Palin's presidential ambitions as it weighs the possibilities of a Jeb Bush candidacy, or some other guy who understands what it's actually all about (keeping the trough filled).
President Obama got off the fence too late. Did everybody but him see this coming a year ago? It's wasn't his responsibility to help - upfront or behind the scenes - exiled & ex-Repugs like Charlie Crist & Lincoln Chafee. He could always issue dry, pro-forma endorsements of Democrats from the White House & then stay away. Obama should have been whistle-stopping through America from Day One of his administration, smacking down traditional Democratic targets & worrying less about the bipartisan support he never got for legislation filled with ideas he picked up from Repugs. Americans have little patience for detailed explanations - or rational debate the Repugs smartly declined to have with him anyway. He should have learned from Bill Clinton that no negative allegation from the opposition, however nutty, can go unchallenged.
Labels: THE election