Saturday, January 26, 2008


Colbert King of the Washington Post eviscerates they who would be president.
Which gets me to that superficially charming, self-absorbed couple Billary, ever so possessed with an outsize sense of entitlement. What else to call Bill and Hillary Clinton as they partner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, tag-teaming Barack Obama with alternating blows both above and below the belt? It's an act the twosome plans to take all the way to the White House.…
As with the Queen in "Alice," it's all about them. Witness their attempts to devalue Obama.

But don't point that out to the Clintons. They are always right and see no reason to apologize or take back anything they have said or done. And, as we have seen, Billary will say and do anything to come out ahead.

Item: Hillary's claim to "35 years of experience." Subtract her years spent as first lady of Arkansas and in the White House, and her time working as a lawyer in the Rose Law Firm and in other jobs. As Reason Magazine's Steve Chapman reported in November, Hillary Clinton has "just under eight years of experience in elective office -- one more than John Edwards and four fewer than Obama." And, to boot, Hillary the Feminist has her man to fight her battles.…

Item: Her putdown of Obama's oratory and her suggestion that he's only interested in talking, while she's a "doer." "Dr. King's dream began to be realized," she said, "when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. . . . It took a president to get it done."

Hillary grabbed the wrong talking points. It took more than a president to get it done. Without leaders of the civil rights movement working with Northern Democrats and their Republican allies in Congress, there would not have been civil rights or voting rights bills in the '60s. Her remarks betray an ignorance of what happened back then. For a better understanding, pick up a copy of Nick Kotz's "Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America." Chapters 10 and 11 and the section "The President Under Fire" help shed light on all the people who actually did the heavy lifting.

Item: Billary loves to whine about the "politics of personal destruction." But Billary's campaign has taken to the low road, running ads falsely accusing Obama of supporting federal deficits and private Social Security accounts, and distorting his position on hot-button issues such as abortion. Newark Mayor Corey Booker, who branded the attacks "outrageous" and "dishonest," told Newsweek's Jonathan Alter: "We're trying to offer an alternative to the Republicans' fear and smear campaigns, and now we're being dragged down to their level by the Clintons."

One thing's for sure: A Clinton administration will be a four-year co-presidency with all of the drama that Billary has managed to bring to every undertaking.

Harvard Crimson Gets What Grey Lady* Doesn't

The Harvard student paper endorses Barack Obama. 
Obama has committed his life to furthering the public good. From starting as a community organizer, to working as a constitutional lawyer and law professor, to serving as a Ill. State Senator, and, finally, as an United States Senator, Obama has achieved before the age of fifty what many would aspire to do in a lifetime. The judgment and perspective he has acquired in these roles are qualities that are necessary in a leader, particularly at the highest levels of government, where elected officials are inundated with questions with profound and lasting repercussions.

On issues of substance, Obama has assembled an impressive array of policies that demonstrate careful thought about the immediate problems facing our country today and those that we will encounter in the long term. Although we do not agree with all of Obama’s proposals, every one of his plans is informed, carefully crafted, and thoughtfully considered.…

Various critics have voiced concerns that Obama is too ambitious and inexperienced to be the next president of the United States. We disagree. Obama’s candidacy reflects a lack of political maneuvering and instead is based on a desire to see dramatic change in the political system. And what Sen. Obama might lack in political experience, he makes up with sound judgment, intelligence, charisma, and a personable and bipartisan demeanor. Furthermore, in office he will surround himself with some of the smartest and most experienced advisors in the world.

Obama represents an opportunity for a Democratic nominee who represents the value of service, intelligence, and judgment, and, most of all, an opportunity for real change, unburdened by favors owed and ideals lost. He deserves your vote.
* The Grey Lady is the nickname The New York Times, who recently endorsed Clinton.

That's The Way To Do It

Obama hits perfect note in response to campaign bouts.
Obama minimized any tensions arising from the tit-for-tat with the Clintons, telling reporters during a stop in Beaufort that he did not begrudge Bill Clinton his right to be a forceful advocate for his wife. "I don't feel the candidates are being bloodied up," Obama said. "This is good practice for me so, you know, when I take on these Republicans I'll be accustomed to it."

He brushed off concerns about a loss of black voters in the general election should Clinton win the nomination after an ugly primary -- a worry that many others in the party have alluded to. "Black voters shouldn't blame Senator Clinton for running a vigorous campaign against me," he said. "That should be a source of pride. It means I might win this thing. When I was 20 points down, I was a 'person of good character' and my health-care plan was 'universal.' The fact that we've got this fierce contest indicates I'm doing well, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that."

Obama struck a similar tone when asked about Bill Clinton's role in the campaign. "Let me sort of dispose of the whole issue of President Clinton. I have said this repeatedly. He is entirely justified in wanting to promote his wife's candidacy," Obama said. "I have no problem with that whatsoever. He can be as vigorous an advocate on behalf of her as he would like. The only thing I'm concerned about is when he makes misstatements about my record. That's what I'm seeking to correct."

Caroline Kennedy Endorses Obama

Calling him "a president like my father."
OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.…

Qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.
Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.…

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Fired The Fuck Up!

55% to 27%   

Not half bad, eh?

The Trip To Hawaii

Well, as it turns out I'll be able to live blog our Hawaii vacation after all. Hours and hours of hard work on Annie's part paid off with a gorgeous, huge house with a pool, a hot tub, big kitchen, beautiful grounds, and cable over looking (though not very near) the Pacific. But the best part: a strong wireless connection!

Today was rough. I didn't get to sleep last night until 2 a.m. Woke at 4:15 to get ready. Said goodbye to Bella, Finnegan, and Henry and took off with Goa and Shanti to the airport. The place was packed, more so than I've ever seen it. Weekend traffic, I guess. The plane taking us to SFO was reliably rickety, but we got down with no problems. 

After finding the correct gate for our next gate, we decided to grab some breakfast. It was 8:15, our flight was leaving at 8:58, so Goa and I figured we had plenty of time. We grabbed standard eggs and hash browns type food while Annie and Shanti went foraging for food they could eat. We only had a few minutes of eating all together when Goa looks at the time and realizes it's 8:45 or so. We start to wrap up. He goes to buy a battery pack and A & S book to the gate while I polish off a last slice of sourdough toast with strawberry jam (oh, so good). 

I'm ambling along toward the gate when I see Annie and Shanti frantically gesturing for me to hurry. I run to them to find out that the plane had finished boarding and the doors to the ramp were closed. Shanti calls Goa to tell him to book over to us NOW! since he has all of our tix. We deal with what must be the nicest woman in the flight industry. Not only does she call to the plane to keep them from closing their doors and taxiing, but she trusts that we actually have tickets and lets Annie and I head to the plane while Shanti waits for Goa to arrive. 

Embarrassed, we board a large and near-full plane of people glaring at us for holding things up. We all go into tunnel-vision mode, though, and walked to our seats. Which, of course, are at the very back of the plane.

To make matters worse, because they thought we weren't showing up, a flight attendant (I'm so P.C.) began shuffling people around and put two older women in Annie's and my seats. Though we showed the women our tix, they gave us blank stares and proceeded to ignore us, forcing the stewardess (but not that P.C.) to shuffle other people around and find us seats. Goa and Shanti got the seats they were assigned next to a window. Annie and I got stuck in a middle row. I got the middle of the three seats. It was a lovely ride. 

It actually wasn't that bad. We arrived here on the big island at roughly noon Hawaiian Standard Time (or whatever it's really called). Baggage claim was positively Darwinian, with people six-deep pushing toward the carousel like teenagers at a 1970s concert with general admission seating. It took awhile but we eventually got our luggage and retreated without any serious damage, then had a smooth trip over to the rental car agency and an easy drive to our beautiful home for a week. 

As I mentioned above, the place is great. Beautiful location, a modicum of privacy, and lots of amenities—including resident geckos and psychedelic-looking spiders. 

I hope to have pics posted soon. 


Well, tomorrow's the big day. Hard to see how Obama can win the nomination if he loses South Carolina. So, go Obama! I'm fired up! I'm ready to go! 

Unfortunately, I won't be able to see coverage of the returns. Fortunately, the reason is I'll be flying over the Pacific to Hawaii. 

So, I may be incommunicado for a week or so. I plan on blogging from the island if I can, but have no idea what kind of Internet connection I'll have access to. 

Aloha, everyone!

File Under: What The?

It's actually quite beautiful, if a bit odd.

Ruh Roh

It Turns Out We're Not That Country

A Daily Dish reader has an epiphany:
For the last six years, I’ve watched a fear-mongering fool manipulate us, ruin our standing in the world and abuse our principles. It’s been hard to feel good about our country. But when Obama won Iowa and surged in the New Hampshire polls I thought I’d underestimated us. For the first time in my lifetime, my cynical generation was turning out heavily to vote. We were choosing, above all else, to be inspired.

Now, the Clinton campaign has gradually and expertly eviscerated him, and it turns out we’re not that country. We’re still easily manipulated; we’re still scared; and we’re still a little racist. It’s hard not to resent her for that.
Well, it ain't over yet.

If By 35 You Mean A Handful

Tracing Hillary Clinton's '35 Years' of Experience
Goldenberg says it's difficult to see how Clinton calculates her 35 years of public service, since her fulltime job for many years was working for a corporate law firm in Arkansas.

From 1977 to 1993 — with intermittent breaks to campaign for her husband and after the birth of her daughter, Chelsea — Clinton worked at Arkansas' largest law firm, the Rose Law Firm, where she was also its first female partner.

The problem with success is you become what you detest." —Jesus Jones

Bill on the Polarizing Issue:

Of the attacks on his wife, he added: “She can’t help the fact that they beat up on her for 15 years, and when they didn’t have me to kick around anymore, they turned all their fire on her.”

History lesson — Nixon after losing California governor’s race in 1962:

Uncanny. The whole tone of Bill Clinton over these past few weeks (”It’s all the media’s fault.”) parallels Nixon’s “angry, resentful” sentiments precisely. The psychoanalysis is way above my paygrade.

Hat tip: politburo diktat 2.0

Too Young? Too Inexperienced? Too Immature?

"Are we the country we say we are? Are we the country that holds certain truths to be self-evident, words which incidentally were written by a 33-year-old named Thomas Jefferson. You know, are we the country that judges people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin -- words that were written by Martin Luther King when he was about 34 years old." - John Kerry
This whole age/experience/maturity argument is beginning to wear thin. Thinner, I should say, since it was never much of an argument to begin with. Can Clinton supporters just give up with their BS arguments and just admit they want Billary in office because: a) they're more interested in having an identity in office (in this case of woman) than the best candidate, or b) they can't wait to settle the scores of the past (whether the battles of the 90s or the entire Boomer Culture War, or c) both.

The Clintons are tearing this party apart. It's hard and ugly to watch. If they win,
they win. The rest of us lose.

More On Clinton Sleaze

This from NYT's Bob Herbert:
The Clinton camp knows what it’s doing, and its slimy maneuvers have been working. Bob Kerrey apologized and Andrew Young said at the time of his comment that he was just fooling around. But the damage to Senator Obama has been real, and so have the benefits to Senator Clinton of these and other lowlife tactics.
So sad.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Not Above The Superficial

In addition to all of the important reasons to support Obama for president—his character, superior judgement, his strong progressive stance on issues, his strong progressive record, his ability to capture people's imagination, his vision, his mellifluous voice—there's this: He's just got the best damn website of the field. 

Compare this:

To this: 

Don't know what, if anything that says about either candidate, but taste and sense of design surely count for something. At least to me.

This Is Outrageous

Statement by Senator Hillary Clinton on the Seating of Delegates at the Democratic National Convention
"I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

"I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

"I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this. I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well."
Here's some background to explain why:
The Clinton camp really needs to be shut down on this new gambit of theirs to muscle the party and the other candidates into seating the Michigan and Florida delegate slates.

And let me be very clear about what I mean. It was very debatable decision whether the DNC should have punished Florida and Michigan with the loss of their delegates slates because they broke the rules the party had set down for scheduling their primaries. By 'debatable' I don't mean it was right or wrong, only that it was a pretty draconian move and I know there was a lot of discussion about whether or not it was the right thing to do.

But that was the decision -- one that each of the candidates at least implicitly agreed to. Indeed, each agreed not to campaign in either of these states, again implicitly agreeing to the decision not to seat the delegates.

The Clinton camp is just pushing to seat these delegates now because the contingencies of the moment mean that the decision would favor Hillary. She was the only one whose name was on the ballot in Michigan, thus insuring her win. She has a wide lead in every Florida poll taken this month.

Even Michigan was a matter of her basically pulling a fast one on the other candidates by not taking her name off the ballot. Each of the major candidates signed a pledge not to "campaign or participate" in any primary or caucus prior to Feb. 5th except for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The other major candidates adopted what seems like the only reasonable interpretation of the pledge (see text here) and pulled their names from the ballot.

But then Hillary didn't, thus in essence guaranteeing her win in Michigan.

The Clinton campaign said taking her name off the ballot wasn't required by the pledge. But what can "participate" mean over and above "campaigning" other than formally being a candidate in the race?

In any case, by gaming the process Clinton already insured her win in Michigan, though it seemed only for a symbolic victory, not real delegates.

But all these particulars are secondary to the principle, which is that you don't change the rules in midstream to favor one candidate or another. This is no more than a replay, with different factual particulars, of the attempt to outlaw the at-large caucuses in Nevada after the Culinary Union endorsement made it appear they would help Barack Obama.

Perhaps there's some detail of this question that I'm not aware of. And if there is I'll revise my opinion accordingly. But based on what I know now this is pretty clear-cut.

Hillary can muscle for every advantage she wants. Good for her. She's a fighter. But everyone else should see this for what it is and say No.
--Josh Marshall

This Is So Cool!

Just let it load and watch. HEMA

19 Great Ads

Cool site with highly creative new ads: UADDit

Hillary Flick?

Remember the movie Election? If not, I recommend it. Meantime, enjoy this mash up. It's eerily appropriate.

Colored Is Better

Hat tip: Daily Dish

Way Cool, Dude

An "herbal" vending machine. Do your best to ignore the terrible copy the correspondent reads.

Kerry Gets On Bill's Case

Not sure this helps Obama, but what the hell.
The Massachusetts senator, who endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid earlier this month, said Clinton's criticisms of the Illinois senator have been "over the top," and suggested the former president is getting "frantic."

Targeting Clinton's recent spate of attacks on Obama, Kerry said, "I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. …I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it's been over the top.

"I think it's very unfortunate, but I think the voters can see through that," Kerry added. "When somebody's coming on strong and they are growing, people get a little frantic, and I think people have seen this sort of franticness in the air, if you will."

My Apologies…

…for the chaotic text sizes from post to post. I'm formatting them in a specific way as I compose, but the formatting goes right out the window when I publish. It's weird. It's annoying. If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love to hear it. Meantime, we'll all have to live with some posts being so small you need a magnifying glass and some looking like they're geared for the octogenarians. 

I Prefer Bill The Red

But this blogger sees purple. Hey, you say to-may-to…
Hillary Clinton is unworthy of the title first woman President because so many others are waiting in the wings who rightfully deserve it. Janet Napolitano for one. A husbandless woman who scraped and crawled her way to the Governor's Mansion of Arizona after being Attorney General. No famous last name for her to rely on. No glass ceilings broken by the hammer of a husband.

Or Christine Gregoire. Another woman who had to fight against actual glass ceilings to win as Governor of Washington. Or Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii. Or Kathleen Selebius, Governor of Kansas. Or Senators Blanche Lincoln or Patty Murray, sneaker walking-soccer moms who hit the pavements and put in their blood, toil, and tears to scrape to the top and win fame and power in their own right.

And in who's right will Hillary become President? Not her own. This is her husband's purple faced, in-your-face victory. Simply put, if she can't win on her own, if she can't campaign on her own, then surely she cannot govern on her own.
The pertinent point obviously isn't Bill's angry-faced hue, but whether we want a Clinton restoration. And whether Hillary is really the capable politician she sells herself as being—on her own, sans powerful husband. Speaking personally, I don't see how her getting elected this way is anything but a setback for smart, strong woman…and the country.

The Clintons As Big Tobacco

A fellow blogger analyzes the obfuscation and disinformation coming from the Clinton camp. Excerpt:
But when candidates tell the kinds of lies that the Clintons have been telling, they place citizens in a position in which the only way to know what is going on is to become political junkies. Being merely informed is not enough: you have to be the sort of person who actually remembers the article from 2004 that Bill Clinton was referring to when he said that Obama had changed his position on the war, and so forth.

It's like the tobacco companies' attempts to confuse people by coming up with research that seemed to show that smoking was harmless. The strategy is to sow enough doubt that people who are not willing to slog through the science, the interminable debates about the methodological deficiencies of this or that study, etc., etc., etc., are likely to come away with a vague sense that the case that smoking is bad isn't all it's cracked up to be. It is designed to leave people with two options: either spend an awful lot of time working through the science, or be misled. In so doing, it asks a lot of ordinary people who have lives to lead: it prevents them from just reading stuff, forming a more or less correct view, and acting accordingly. And it is deeply wrong.

The Latest Gallup Aviary Poll Is In

The birds have their say...

My favorite, of course, is the Great Blue Heron. Watch out for that beak!


Better still go visit this gorgeous site: AnnieMac
Revving engines and shooting sparks cause the sort of major ignition that drives the music of Ashland, Oregon, rockers AnnieMac. These eclectic, talented musicians draw on old-school R&B riffs, deep soul, and emotion-inspired lyrics for hard-edged originals and highly danceable covers.…
I'll post vids as they become available. 

The Way I Am

Yeah, you've heard it way too much on those Old Navy commercials. But I still love the song and the video's cute as hell.

If you like her, check out her website: ingrid michaelson

One Very Busy Week

Oh. My. God.

Silly or scary? I can't tell.

Hat tip: Pete

NOW We're Talking

The former president of Chicago's NOW describes why she's switched her support from Hillary to Obama:

The 100% honest bit seems a bit over the top even for this avid Obama supporter. But you can hardly blame her for the hyperbole.

Fact Checking Bill The Red

The Pinocchio Test
It is pretty standard fare for presidential campaigns to attack rival candidates by a selective use of quotes. Surrogates such as Bill Clinton are often assigned the role of attack dog.…In the three cases cited above, however, it seems clear that the former president has overstated the case against Obama in a way that distorts his original arguments.

I've Been Saying This For Weeks Now

He is attacking Barack Obama with the same playbook he used to go after Republican targets like Newt Gingrich. Are the Clintons stuck in reverse?
But what seems clear -- in a way that is reminiscent of that sad-eyed year 1998 -- is that Bill Clinton is once again a double-edged sword for the Democrats.…

Or perhaps (and this is my own guess), Bill Clinton is out of practice and out of his era. As president and a globe-trotting former president, Clinton has been mostly insulated from the rough-and-tumble of the press scrum where ambush questions can't be avoided. Now reporters can catch him shaking hands in a small room. When he ran for president as a small-state governor in 1992, the Internet was off in the mists of the future, while cable TV and CNN were virtually synonymous. The fabled invention of the 1992 campaign war room was in response to the demands of what now seems a sleepy media age. Cosseted by handlers for 15 years, Clinton may have lost sight of the ease with which loose lips can sink ships.…

It is a strange reality of politics 2008 that both parties are still partially mired in the 1980s. Republican candidates vie to be regarded as the next Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton was the president who belatedly crafted the Democratic response to Reaganism -- taking issues like welfare, crime and the deficit off the table. But there was always a backward-looking aspect to the Clinton presidency even as he purported to build a "bridge to the 21st century."

In the midst of discussing the folly of the No Child Left Behind education program Wednesday, Bill Clinton suddenly invoked legendary Negro League baseball star Satchel Paige's dictum: "Don't look back, somebody might be gaining on you." The former president did not mean it this way, but Paige's words could easily apply to how the Clintons regard the Obama challenge on the cusp of Saturday's South Carolina primary.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Black Mark

Turns out the idea that African-Americans were economically better off under the (first) Clinton administration is incorrect. 
A hopeful African-American electorate was at the core of Bill Clinton's successful bids for the presidency. In many ways, the scandal-marred, deeply partisan years of the Clinton administration proved disappointing in the face of such early optimism. Welfare reform, the growth of black imprisonment, and the public abandonment of progressive African-Americans like Lani Guinier are some of the most memorable racial disappointments of those years. Even through these disappointments, African-Americans were among Clinton's strongest supporters because many believed Clinton's era was an economic boon…

My research shows that respondents who liked Clinton best were always most likely to mistake blacks as doing better than whites. These attitudes about Clinton are not neutral. Deep racial affection toward Bill Clinton contributed to many African-Americans' misunderstanding the continuing economic inequality faced by the race. Like the idea of Bill Clinton as a black president, these overblown ideas of the massive economic benefits accruing to African-Americans in the '90s were largely an illusion. It is hard to vote your interests if you can't judge your circumstances.

The Generation Gap Illustrated

Complete with "mom" jeans.

One By One We're Waking Up

From an e-mailer to Talking Points Memo: 
I've been more than a little saddened by the way that you've "gentlemanly" sat on your hands and (for the most part) reserved extensive comment on the venom Bill Clinton has been unleashing on his wife's behalf. If Hillary wins this nomination in this fashion, the Democratic party will be destroyed. After seeing this side of the Clinton machine, I have zero interest in supporting their dynasty. Not only will the entire R-side of the country be in full-throated opposition to 8 more years of Bill (at this point Hillary is sadly almost an afterthought), but my instinct is that you can count on a very deflated and divided Democratic party not exactly rallying around Team Clinton.
It's crushing, but it's true. If she wins by letting Bill kill the future of the Democratic party, the Ds are done.
The scales have dropped from our eyes. If they win now, no one can play snookered.

Experience Uber Alles?


I've just discovered a great new political blog, called 2parse/blog. I recommend checking it out.

Bill Is So Amazing…

He's even got superhuman hearing.

Dear God, does an authentic word come out of this man's mouth? I can't believe I admired him at one point. Mea Culpa.

Why Hillary Should Withdraw

A fellow liberal blogger gives 11 very good reasons. An excerpt:
• Her experience argument is bogus. Even if it were true, historically, experience is a poor predictor of presidential success. Further, anyone who claims to be prepared to be president “from day one” is lying - because no experience can prepare you for the presidency.

• Her most successful and most-used tactic against Barack Obama in the primaries and caucuses - suppressing voter turnout - will ensure her loss in the general election as it alienates many of those who she most needs to appeal to - younger voters (under 55), black voters, and swing voters. The Clintons have also introduced identity politics into the primary - and have tried to encourage racial polarization, especially between Latinos and blacks. The Clintons are running a campaign very different from most primary campaigns - they are attacking Obama with a ferocity usually reserved for attacking Republicans in the general election. In an election that splits the country roughly 50/50, Hillary can’t afford to lose anyone. At the rate she is going now, she won’t be able to put together a winning coalition.

• If Hillary Clinton wins, her success will become a lesson in how women should achieve power: marry well; put up with any humiliations your husband throws at you, and then, maybe, if you fight dirty, and ask your husband to run your campaign, you might be able to ride his coattails to your “own” political success.

Her three most significant political acts: botching health care reform and setting it back for a generation; deciding to stonewall independent investigators, Congress, and the press on Whitewater, and voting for war with Iraq.

• The Democratic Party has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-align the country and reinvigorate liberalism and America. Hillary Clinton has shown no interest in seizing this opportunity or any capacity to rally Americans to a broad consensus. She remains a highly polarizing figure. Her winning strategy does not involve winning a significant majority but eking out a 51% win by micro-targeting, niche marketing, and espousing incremental targeted policies - all working off of a broadly Republican status quo.

• The Clintons are fundamentally and irredeemably corrupt. And we don’t need to have a Clinton dynstasty to rival the Bush dynasty.

• Bonus reason: George W. Bush, and some number of his supporters, see her as the best candidate to protect the Bush legacy of torture, preemptive war, and executive overreach.
Read the whole thing, it's great.

Coochie Couch

Anyone need a new couch? Looks kinda cozy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

But Still, He's Magnanimous

Kingstree, S.C. -- Speaking to a crowd at the Williamsburg County Recreation Center, Bill Clinton just now offered an olive branch:
“If [Barack Obama] wins this nomination, I’m going to do what I can to help him become president. After all the mean things they said about me, I can’t believe I’m saying this," Clinton said.
I can't tell if that's a threat or not...


I was off by a couple of days. Bill Blythe got off to an early start.

So, just to make sure I get it, when Obama or his supporters point out that the Clinton's are distorting his record and sets the record straight, he and they are whining. When Bill wags the finger and cries about media coverage, it's...what...just pointing something out?

Let the Countdown Begin…

Two days until we can expect a red-faced Bill to wag his finger at the camera and play the victim by complaining about media treatment or some such thing. Hey, it worked in NH and NV. This could become a drinking game. 

More On Obama

Check out this DKos diary for more on why I support Obama for president. It's long so I wont post it here, but please read it, at least the gray box excerpts to get a sense of who he is and what he has done in his life: Obama, Community Organizer, Back In The Day

This guy is the real deal, people. Just as progressive (I'd say moreso) and effective than Clinton(s), but with more character, better political judgement…and without the considerable political baggage.

Oh, and here's a very brief synopsis of his early career and education:
At Columbia, Obama majored in political science with an emphasis on international affairs, while developing a strong interest in community activism. After graduating, in 1983, he accepted a job working with displaced steelworkers in Chicago. In 1988, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Law Review and, in his last semester, ran for the Board of Overseers as one of three (unsuccessful) petition candidates backed by Harvard-Radcliffe Alumni/ae Against Apartheid. (Media attention led to a book deal that became Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, a thoughtful reflection on his unique heritage.) After law school, he served as the Illinois state director for Project Vote Smart, an organization that enlisted more than 100,000 new voters in the state, mostly in minority communities, in 1992.

Later in the 90s he taught law at Univ. of Chicago.

Ed Schultz on Bill

Even progressive talk show hosts are calling Billy Blythe on his BS.

Keeping the Dream Alive

Obama speaks at Ebeneezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, GA) the day before MLK Day:

The Galaxy Song

From Monty Python's Meaning of Life.

"Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite enough.

"Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.

"The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.

"Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.

"We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

"The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.

"So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth."

Thank you, Eric Idle.

New Music Distribution Model

This is very cool: 

Deeper info:

The actual site:

You Animal!

Interesting article about animal politics:

Clear*-ly Nuts

In case you guys haven't seen this vid of Tom Cruise going off about Scientology, it is priceless…and creepy as hell. Unfortunately, I have to link to it, rather than embed.  Cruising To Insanity

But this is hilarious. Kudos to Jerry O'Connell:

* "Clear" is a condition in which a person is free of the unwanted influence of engrams, unwanted emotions or painful traumas which are not readily available to the awareness of present time. A person in this condition, then referred to as a "Clear", would be a person cleared of those negative influences. —Wikipedia

Gay Marriage

Gore finally gets on board. We'll see if the Clintons can find a way to triangulate their way to supporting a fundamental human right. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Glowing Endorsement…

… from a South Carolina newspaper. I couldn't agree more.

Key passage:
The one most significant difference between them can be found in how they would approach the presidency - and how the nation might respond.

Hillary Clinton has been a policy wonk most of her life, a trait she has carried into the U.S. Senate. As her debate performances have shown, she has intelligence and a deep understanding of many issues. Her efforts in New York focused first on learning her adopted state’s issues in detail, and pursuing legislation that would not necessarily grab headlines.

But we also have a good idea what a Clinton presidency would look like. The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare. That is not all Bill and Hillary’s fault - but it exists, whomever you blame, and cannot be ignored. Hillary Clinton doesn’t pretend that it won’t happen; she simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win. Indeed, the Clintons’ joint career in public life seems oriented toward securing victory and personal vindication.

Sen. Obama’s campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. In a time of great partisanship, he is careful to talk about winning over independents and even Republicans. He is harsh on the failures of the current administration - and most of that critique well-deserved. But he doesn’t use his considerable rhetorical gifts to demonize Republicans. He’s not neglecting his core values; he defends his progressive vision with vigorous integrity. But for him, American unity - transcending party - is a core value in itself.

Can such unity be restored, in this poisonous political culture? Not unless that is a nominee’s goal from the outset. It will be a difficult challenge for any candidate; but we wait in the hope that someone really will try. There is no other hope for rescuing our republic from the mire.

"I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." —Obama

By the way, in case anyone is wondering why I'm criticizing Bill as much as Hill when she's the one running, this is why. He's injecting himself into this race to a degree that is unprecedented…and increasingly ugly. They're tag teaming Obama with Rovian glee. So, all's fair, right?

Besides, for those with a short memory, they are the self described "two for one the price of one" couple. And, the whole raison d'etre for Hill running (besides the self-evident fact that she's entitled to it…right?) is her experience, which I can only assume means her time schlupping for WalMart at the Rose Law Firm…and riding shotgun in Billy's White House.

For more analysis: Political Punch

Angry Billy Blythe

A good analysis of why Bill's been so red-faced of late:

What's Gotten Into Bill?
Excerpt: Obama's candidacy not only threatens to obliterate the dream of a Clinton Restoration. It also fundamentally calls into question Bill Clinton's legacy by making it seem . . . not really such a big deal.

That, I believe, is the unforgivable insult. The Clintons picked up on this slight well before Obama made it explicit with his observation that Ronald Reagan had "changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not."…

…But Obama has set his sights higher, and implicit in his campaign is a promise, or a threat, to eclipse Clinton's accomplishments. Obama doesn't just want to piece together a 50-plus-1 coalition; he wants to forge a new post-partisan consensus that includes "Obama Republicans" -- the equivalent of the Gipper's "Reagan Democrats." You can call that overly ambitious or even naive, but you can't call it timid. Or deferential.
I'd only add that Clinton has begun to lose the mantle of the nation's first black president and the Democrat's best orator. His sun is setting and we get the dubious honor of watching him rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Okay, Back to Politics

This is from an e-mail to the Daily Dish:
The Clintons are like the arsonist firefighter in the movie Backdraft -- using their political skills to create divisive and destructive fires in an attempt to dominate their opposition, and then immediately promoting themselves as the only firefighters that will put them out. They did it in the White House by making Bill's indiscretions a partisan issue, and now they're doing it with the gender and race issue. And it baffles me how willing Hillary supporters are to continue to participate in this cynical and destructive mechanism.

I'm a very politically interested Dem in a large family of moderate to conservative Republicans and Independants. I can, and have, made a good case with them for Obama, but there's no way I can justify a Hillary nomination to myself, much less to them. If the Dems are short-sighted and suicidal enough to give a Hillary the nomination instead of seizing the opportunity with Obama to create a once-in-a-lifetime historical political realignment in this country, they can count me, my family, and many of my Dem friends out this Nov.
I'm seeing more and more e-mails like this. Of course, they're to be taken with a grain of salt. Feelings get hurt and things get said in the heat of the moment that may not be followed through on when push comes to shove. But it's a sentiment that the Clintons should be wary of. Their ends-justify-the-means tactics may just come back to haunt them.

Stand Still

Would you chase the wind
to find happiness?
To wind up lost and alone
on a distant shore.
And the wind?
It’s stopped.
Disappeared. Like a ghost.

Stand still
and the wind
will begin again.
It will come to you.
But not to be kept—
jealously guarded by your desire.
Stand still
and be rewarded.

A Trio This Time

Rapids and All
If the world is a land of dreams
With shifting sands and streams
of consciousness
Then let’s shift with them
And ride them—
rapids and all—
Together until...

I struggle with my own mortality
Don't want to leave
Don't want to be
Ceasing to exist
Missed or not missed,
doesn't matter to me.
My ego won't see
That to die is to be
Free from constraint
And the taint of this world
Where struggle is the order of the day.

I struggle with my own mortality
My brain knows that my energy
Cannot die
just transform,
food for worms.
But the me that is me,
that is, my personality,
will not survive
when my body dies…

And it's kicking and screaming.

The Clock, A Leash
The clock, a leash,
a merciless master.
Mankind’s Frankenstein—
despite Einstein—
Chronologic disaster
(Ticking faster and faster).

The Sun Takes A Lover

I am the radiant sun
Whose flaming tendrils
Surround you with their heat,
Enter you with their fire,
Hungrily devour your flesh.

Hungrily, I devour your flesh
While you offer yourself up
In a feverish submission.
Empty of thought.
Full of desire.

Wrapped in my brilliant arms,
You surrender and burn.
Burn with a smoldering passion.
Glowing, bursting
With light and with heat,
You explode and you melt…

And dissolve in our fiery embrace.

The Great God Pan Is Not Dead!

The Great God Pan is not dead!
I've just been asleep...
But now I'm awake.

Like a volcano
I've been dormant for too long,
Now I'm strong;
Found my song
Get my pipes
And I'll play it.

Yeah, I'm up from my slumber
Shed the sleep
that encumbered
My nature
And it's time now
to say it.

Done with crosses
and guilt.
Use what's under my kilt
To wipe piety
Out of the way.

Out with Pisces--
The fish--
Had enough of that dish
Its time
has been long overstayed,
I must play...

On my pipes
Just a goat
Hittin' note after note
Sowin' oats
Leading girlies astray.

And I'm ripe for the pickin'
Finger lickin'
Like chicken
Always randy, but
Keepin' it real.

Make them reel
Cause I'm rank.
Yeah, my funk
And my stank
Will contribute
To making them squeal.

And as I stroll
Through the woods
Spreading love
with my goods
Bringing life
to the world-weary souls.

I'll bleat out
and I'll call
With my fecund "Y'all!
Wake up
Come dance 'round
My Maypole!"

No, Pan isn't dead
Despite what they said
When the death cult
Took over the world.

I've just been haunting the nooks,
Of the forests and brooks,
Waiting for the right time to unfurl.

The Laddie Fancies Himself A Poet

Okay, now this officially isn't just a politically oriented blog. 
No Resolve
A new year is upon us
Breathing down our necks.
Heavy with the responsibility of a clean slate.
Thick with its potential
Riddled with expectation

We stand athwart the threshold
of then and then to come
For just a second, then it's gone.

We're pushed, shoved, thrust into the future.
Into the land of resolutions to be broken—
an ocean of set ups, a desert of delusion.

Stunned, we face the juggernaut of
tomorrow's desperate drive.
Mindlessly, we stretch
Seeking to become, become, become.
More, better, something else.
Someone else.

So my friends, before we offer ourselves up
on an altar of anticipated angst,
Let's sit back, look around, breathe deep
and enjoy ourselves—
Imperfect, magnificent shards of god.

And then I promise, I vow, I resolve…
no more melodramatic poetry this year.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fired Up

So, I recently wrote a letter to a friend of mine explaining why I support Barack Obama and why the Clintons, whom I formerly liked, have been not only been losing my support, but agitating, irritating, aggravating and antagonizing me to the point where I've virtually lost all respect for them. Well, I mentioned this to some friends and they asked to see it. So I figured I'd post it here with some minor changes: 


A common complaint against Obama is that he's all pretty talk and no substance. But it's a canard, something that ghoulish high school clique otherwise known as our Beltway media (with nary a brain's worth of critical thinking among them) likes to fit into their insipid narrative. He's got a great record and I like his stance of issues. Here are relevant links to illustrate:

It's also a canard that he's not really a liberal. One of the big reasons I like him is that, like myself, he's politically progressive, but tempermentally moderate. Which is to say he's not a firebrand or a polemicist. Here are his Almanac of American Politics (2008) ratings in three key areas:

• His 2006 rating on Economic Policy is 87% liberal, 0% conservative. (2005: 87% liberal, 12% conservative.)

• His 2006 rating on Foreign Policy is 85% liberal, 12% conservative. (2005: 76% liberal, 15% conservative.)

• His 2006 rating on Social Policy is 77% liberal, 21% conservative. (2005: 77% liberal, 18% conservative.)

And this link shows how he voted on very specific issues:
Vote Smart (One example: 2006 Senator Obama supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent in 2006.)

Another key vote to my mind: Obama voted against the despicable Federal Marriage Amendment which would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Something neither Clinton can claim. (To the contrary, Bill vocally supported and signed the DOMA—Defense of Marriage Act—a garbage piece of legislation.)

Every politician uses rhetoric. It's the lifeblood of the job. What's important is what's said and how well it's delivered. This should not be disregarded.

And Obama is a great orator. His languaging is positive and inclusive, forward looking, filled with hope. His speeches are rhythmic, with an electrifying cadence. (See his victory speech in
Iowa and his concession speech in NH.) He's getting people excited and, dare I say, hopeful again (which is where the rhetoric and delivery come in). After the atrocity of the Bush administration, that's not to be undervalued.

And frankly, what wins presidential elections in this country isn't policy papers. It's creating a vision that people get excited about. (I mean how many goddamn Mondales, Dukakises, Gores and Kerrys do we need to prove this point? Bill Clinton got it. Obama gets it.) Of course, I care about substance, but I think vision is equally important. Rhetoric is how you convey that vision.

Additionally, he thinks well on his feet—he isn't completely scripted (asked to give an example of their weakness at the Nevada debate Tues. night, he was the only candidate to give a remotely honest answer).

And then there's judgement, which is also an area where Obama excels. After all, he did vote against the war when it was extraordinarily difficult and unpopular to do so. Need anything else be said? That was exceedingly good judgement. Clinton can't even admit that her vote was a mistake, still trying to convince us (and herself?) that she was voting for the resolution, blah, blah, blah, and not to go to war. Please.

That's just one example. Another: the way he ran his campaign in Illinois in 03/04, which was shrewd and classy.

This is a dicier subject since it's so subjective. But something intangible gets conveyed about a candidate during a campaign. So far, Obama is showing great character. And this area in particular is where Clinton is really losing me. (More on that below.)

The Generation Gap
There's a fascinating phenomenon showing up here. As Gen-Xers, my peers and I have had to put up with Boomer culture shoved down our throats our entire lives, from JFK to Vietnam to soft rock to The Big (lame ass) Chill. Now, this might not be so bad…if it weren't for the insufferable sanctimony and smugness that many Boomers tend to regard the world with. Which I may have been able to overlook if they didn't start a generational war years ago by beating up on Xers for not being "active" enough. Their criteria: we didn't march the streets, thumb our noses at the man, and burn our bras. 
Instead, of course, we created or joined organizations and NGOs, doing the tough work it takes to actually do something productive (which IMO affected more real change than a bunch of overgrown children burning their draft cards and growing out their hair, man). 
Look, I loved Boomer culture growing up. What's not to love about Hendrix, the Beatles, Leary, etc.? But after time, most of them merely turned into smug versions of their parents. Which is fine. Perfectly natural. But when they threw the first punch generationally speaking, by dissing Xers as somehow less than, it was more than I could stand. Since then, I've had little good to say about Boomers.

Important Caveat: Of course, I have many, many Boomer friends, whom I love and adore and I don't mean this point to be hurtful. But I'm not talking about individuals here. I'm talking collectively, as a generational cohort.)

A better illustration of this phenomenon is in an
Atlantic Monthly essay written by Andrew Sullivan. The article is long but well worth it. It nails on the head many just-below-the-surface feelings and concerns I had before reading it, particularly . Honestly, it makes what I think is the best case for Obama I've read. I highly recommend it.

Really, I don't take the generational warfare too seriously. But it does have some effect. And I think that's why the article rang true for me. I think you see that playing out in exit polling, where a lot of 30-somethings are voicing increasing dislike of Clinton for similar reasons. It's time to move beyond the tired old battles of the Boomer's Culture War. Please.
Please. Pleeeease.

There are countless stories of liberals who report that their diehard Repub relatives are saying they'd vote for Obama. They're fed up with Bush and aren't thrilled with their field of candidates. But Clinton is so damn polarizing, it will invigorate a rapidly dissolving conservative coalition to hold their nose and vote for a Rep. they don't like to keep a Clinton that they hate from getting in. Obama doesn't come close to inciting this passion and hatred.

Conversely, Clinton's race baiting and dirty pool is alienating huge swaths of black voters on our side. They're campaigning against a fellow Democrat no differently than they'd campaign against Gingrich. And it's pissing people off. 
One recent example of what I'm hearing a lot of: "I live in Las Vegas, Saturday was my first caucus. I went to support Obama. I brought 18 voters including friends and family. All Obama supporters. Early in the campaign most of us thought we'd hope for Obama now and still vote for Hillary in November if she wins the nomination. Not now. No chance. We got the Barack-bashing phone calls. We got bullied by out-of-state Hillary workers at the caucus site telling us we were 'on the dark side of the party'. We've seen Bill Clinton all over the local news looking more like a Karl Rove political hack than a distinguished former president. We've seen them try to destroy the local party and unions. In the fall if she's on the ballot it's not just blacks who will stay home. I know 19 white people who showed up today but won't be there in the general election. And if we do it'll be for McCain or Bloomberg."

Another: "I am a black male that voted for Bill Clinton in 1996, the first year I could vote. I will under zero circumstances vote for Hillary in the GE if she gets the nom. Most of my African-American friends think the same. We feel so personally disrespected by the Clinton campaign it would be an act of self-loathing to support them."

Frankly, I'm beginning to feel the same way, except for the black male and self-loathing parts. As I said, these sentiments are popping up all over the place.

Since there is so little daylight between their positions on many major issues, I'll focus on the intangibles.

See voting for Iraq War. See voting for stupid bill to list Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organization, thereby unnecessarily antagonizing Iran. See voting for horrible bankruptcy bill, though she claims she thought it was a bad bill, but knew it wasn't going to pass anyway, so decided to vote for it, presumably so she could have political cover and thereby having it both ways. See screwing up health care reform in '93 with her secrecy and arrogance. Hell, see staying with a serial philanderer as a career move.

Nasty campaign tactics. Hilary has been running a really nasty campaign. Her comments about MLK and LBJ were despicable. Having her surrogates like NH campaign co-chair, Bill Shaheen, chief strategist Mark Penn, and sleazy businessman Robert Johnson (CEO of BET) bring up Obama's drug use as a teen is tasteless and divisive. Her display of emotion in NH was (to my mind) manipulative and creepy. And Bill wagging his finger and giving us lectures on how unfair their media treatment is and losing his temper is just irritating (my pet theory: he's pissed because he's losing his mantle as the best Demo orator. The lawsuit and possible vote suppressing in NV was disheartening ( The garbage about Obama's kindergarten aspirations just pathetic (projection anyone?).

The…um…"truth stretching". Yes, Bill was against the Iraq War all along. Now, I remember. 
Hill telling us that she'd disavow anyone referencing Obama's past but doesn't when it comes to billionaire Johnson's remarks. Then claiming he apologized, days before he actually did. 
She looks in to the camera and says she didn't decide whether to run for president until Jan. 2007. With a straight face. (HA!)

And this 35 years of experience thing. Ugh. She's been in an elected position for six years (this compared to Obama's 11). How her time in the Rose Law firm counts as part of her 35 years of public service is beyond me. And do the White House years really count?

I'm just scratching the surface here. I just don't trust a single thing out of either of their mouths anymore. I've just had it with their cynicism.

Fear. She reeks of political fear. She came of age during the conservative ascendancy when liberals were in retreat. I think deep down she believes that the country isn't liberal on policy issues (belied by just about every poll for the past seven years) and that she has to trick the country into lib policies. (Hence the reflexive triangulation.) 
Obama is of a different time. The conservative coalition is falling apart and their "policies" have been shown to be vacant shells. He's apparently far more confident in his liberalism and less apt to reflexively cave to the VRWC. Again, a much better explication of this is in Sullivan's Atlantic essay.

Her staff and compatriots. The people she surrounds herself with really speak volumes for both her character and her judgement. Four prime examples: the oily Terry McAuliffe (chair of HC for Pres. committee), the reprehensible Howard Wolfson (communications director), the porcine Mark Penn (chief strategist), the sleazy BET CEO Johnson (friend, major contributor), etc. These skeeves are so ethically challenged and generally icky they make me wonder: why bother trading in one set of Roves for another?

Air of entitlement. I think she thought she was just going to cruise to victory—that she felt a sense of entitlement to the coronat…er, nomination. Consequently, Obama's giving her a tough race is bringing the worst out in her.

Honestly, the longer this campaign drags on, the more I wonder whether I'll be able to vote for Clinton(s) in November should she/they end up winning the nomination. And that's just weird. And painful. I mean, I was looking forward to possibly voting for her/them at the beginning of this campaign, hell, what good liberal wouldn't love to elect the first woman president?

But not just any woman. I wouldn't vote for Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Phyllis Schlafly, Elizabeth Dole just because they're women. And IMO, Hillary is running headlong into that camp—except not based on ideology, but character, judgement and trust.

We've got a vibrant and growing liberal/progressive movement in this country for the first time in years—for the first time in our lifetimes. It's not enough for me anymore to settle for someone just because they're a little better than Republicans. (In the way that Bill was settling. I mean, wasn't he in effect merely the best Republican president we've had since, say Lincoln? Constantly playing defense or triangulating or sneaking conservative policy in under a DLC guise: i.e., Welfare reform.) Well, I'm not willing to settle for a cynical Blue State version of the Bush administration out of desperation, at least in the primaries. Because I see a real alternative.

We'll see what happens. There's an eternity to go before the general. If Clinton wins—and she's got party machinery, tenacity, soulless ambition in her favor—she'll have a lot of work to do to repair the intra-party damage she's played a huge part in creating. But it's doable, I suppose. 
And hell, faced with a choice between her and Romney or Huckabee, I can see perhaps letting go of all of this, holding my nose (with a vice grip), and voting for her. (Although, I'm sure she's counting on just that kind of thing and that pisses me off even more.)

Meantime Obama's still in this race and I'm pulling for him.

Once More Unto the Breach

Hey, friends. Well, after a four-year hiatus, I'm back in the blogging game. For those of you who missed my last foray, I was co-host of a blog with the old Greek demigod, Pan. It was called, appropriately enough, Pan's Garden. Well, after a short time Pan got bored and I got distracted by little things like the death of my father, marriage, a new house, and two new businesses. But the itch to blog is back and it's time to be scratched. So without further ado, here goes...

P.S. For anyone interested, here's the URL to the old site: Pan's Garden. But I've saved you the trouble by excerpting from the best post (from Christmas 2003). Here it is:
Christmas Message From Pan
Merry Christmas, everyone. Hope all you mortals enjoyed yourselves. You may wonder what I'm doing wishing anyone celebrating Christmas well; after all it was Jesus' birth that ushered in my passing from the world (well, near passing). And I was bitter and angry for many years--especially during those particularly dark years between, say, 900 and 1600. The maligning of my once-great name was bad enough, but the merciless torturing of my lovers and compatriots--which reached its peak during the Inquisition--that had me tearing myself apart with a burning hatred for centuries.

But the passage of time does amazing things. Eventually, my pain began to subside and I came to understand that it wasn't really this Christ that was my nemesis as much as it was man's littleness. I actually came to feel pity and (almost) a sense of comraderie with this Buddhist-sounding Jew from Galilee. Here's this guy, by my reckoning a strange mixture of shrewd political rabble-rouser and naive, up-with-people type. Not really the sort I'd hang out with, but not someone I couldn't ever get along with, either. Ultimately, I think he felt he was doing some good in the world, and, indeed, he was far more enlightened than most of his compatriots in that part of the world. Too bad, then, that after his untimely death, some very petty, power-hungry men should build an entire religion on his name by perverting the very ideas he stood for. That must certainly be galling. I mean, for the lion's share of past two millennium the so-called catholic church and many of their protestant off-shoots have perpetuated some of the silliest yet most heinous nonsense seen in the world. And gotten away with it. [
Jeff: I see now where the Bush administration learned most of its tricks. :-)]

Well, what you humans call evil hasn't gone away and isn't confined to ne'er-do-wells of any one religion. Still, my feeling is that we Greeks had a much better understanding of human nature and a much more realistic way of coming to terms with it. But in the spirit of the Solstice season, I willingly and happily (and figuratively, as he likey wouldn't like my fecund stench) embrace my man-god colleague and wish his many mortal followers a Merry Christmas.

I'll now pass the keyboard back to Jeff (one of my favorite mortals currently walking the earth) who probably has some mundane nonsense to babble on about.

Christmas Message From Jeff
Hey all, Merry Christmas. Glad to see Pan could get some of that off of his chest. It took years of pulling teeth, but apparently that therapy paid off. Hope it doesn't kill his robust sex drive. [Pan: What, are you fucking kidding? You mock me, mere mortal.]

Anyway, my Christmas was pretty good. I wasn't feeling very much in the spirit yesterday. Haven't really felt very Christmas-y at all this year. But ended up spending a good evening with Annie and her mom, Martha. We had a great dinner (enchiladas and a fruity salad followed by ice cream) and put a puzzle together while watching a movie.

I got some great gifts, though. Annie got me the two things I really wanted: a copy of Malleus Maleficarum and a Boss RC20 Loop Factory Phrase Recorder.

The Malleus Maleficarum, which I believe translates to "Witch's Hammer" or "Hammer of the Witches", was originally published in 1486 and functioned as a sort of witchhunters bible, especially during the Inquisition. Indeed, it was cowritten by an Inquisitor and designed to aid Inquisitors in the identification, prosecution, and punishment of Witches. It's truly bizarre and terribly sad (and infuriating). What is most bizarre about it is the matter-of-fact tone it has while describing the most absurd of concepts: whether witches copulate with incubi or succubi, whether that semen could produce offspring, how witches obscure men's members from themselves, different levels of punishment for different types of witchcraft crimes, etc., etc. On and on like this. It's actually quite tedious. Yet the outcome of what is described was the horrible torture and mutilation of millions of people. Which makes the tone all the more creepy and maddening. And this was one the most exalted books--after the Bible, of course--for centuries.…