Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

It IS about heroes....

Playmakers Rep in Chapel Hill is doing "Not About Heroes."

As reviewer for tSoT at WUNC, I did the following review. Terrific play, and this production is well done.

The Playmakers Repertory Company is messing with us. Both plays so far this season, Richard II and now “Not About Heroes”, which opened last week, seem topical and political. A vain king and a play about a pointless war. Easy.
But it’s not so easy. Richard II wasn’t about George Bush; it was about the farce of any man thinking himself king. Now, the new production, “Not About Heroes” disquiets our settled views of war.
It asks questions most of us are not prepared to ask, much less answer. This is a play with only two characters, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, both British soldiers and poets. The play covers the period of their meeting, in 1915, through the death of Owen in 1918. The simplicity of the set, and the Joseph Haj’s straightforward direction, are remarkably effective.
We are made to see the profound evolution of a relationship between two men over a period of three years, with no set or costume changes, and only minimal effects of sound and lighting. Yet McKay Coble’s scene design manages, with light and depth, to depict three different spaces. A large scrim takes us inside the creative process itself, showing handwritten drafts of poems, with cross-throughs and rewordings, as the characters on the stage struggle with those some passages, with the words that create the pictures poets paint in our minds.
And along with Ray Dooley’s Sassoon and Greg Feldon’s Owen, we confront the enigma: What is the place of the poet in war? Is the pen mightier than the sword? Both men knew the sword’s awful might, first hand. And Owen knew how weak poets are in their own day. As he says in the foreward to his first book of verse:

Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory.
They may be to the next.
All a poet can do today is warn.
That is why the true Poets must be truthful.

Surprisingly, the message here is not pacifist, at least not in the traditional way. Neither does Stephen MacDonald’s script celebrate war, though ultimately it honors soldiers at war.

Make no mistake: both Sassoon and Owen detested the officers who maimed men by marking maps. And both poets reserved their highest loathing for the glorifiers of war, those who used poesy to tell with such high zest the old lie, “Dulce et decorum est….”

And yet….these men were heroes. Sasson passed off his bravery as lunacy, but Owen rightly called him out, saying that Sasson could call others wrong because, lunatic or not, he had stared into the abyss without blinking. Willfred Owen “recovered” from his nervous disorder, went back to front, and earned a medal, a Military Cross. Still he might have left the front, with honor, as England’s foremost poet. Yet he stayed, and died a meaningless death.

But I have to ask if any death is meaningless.
Better, is any death in war really more meaningful than another? The heroism of men at war is not their devotion to the homeland, but their devotion to each other, and to their own sense of duty.
Sassoon’s dreams were peopled by his comrades dead and living, each asking in his own way: Why are you not with me? He had lived where chance had killed all around him. And he lived still, in a hospital in England playing golf while dear comrades he had never met died around Passchendaele. He forced himself to return to the front, and was critically wounded, though he survived.
That small heroism, that simultaneous belief in the futility of war and the need to feed oneself into war’s insatiable maw is the play’s central paradox, its tragedy and its redemption. My own father, first a lieutenant and then a captain leading an armored unit in France, in the Second World War, would have understood. He, too, was decorated for bravery.
Let me read from the citation:

“On 22 November, 1945, while riding in an armored vehicle at the head of his platoon, a road block supported by hostile mortar and small arms fire was encountered. With singular bravery and leadership, Lieutenant Munger remained exposed to the intense fire and successfully directed the removal of all the armored cars and his men without a casualty.”

So, they got the hell out of there, and nobody died. Is that a hero? My father went to a reunion of his armored unit each year, more than 50 years later. He didn’t always feel well, and there were other things to do, but he went. He had to go. He had to be with them. They didn’t sing patriotic songs, or share stories of daring. They didn’t want anyone’s pity. But they had all seen it, seen war, the pity of war, when they were boys of 19 or 20.

Again, from Owen’s FOREWARD TO HIS BOOK:
"This book is not about heroes. English poetry is not yet fit to speak of them.
Nor is it about deeds, or lands, nor anything about glory, honour, might, majesty, dominion, or power, except War.
Above all I am not concerned with Poetry.
My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity."

I would answer that the pity is in this: the sword is more powerful than the pen. The place of the poet in War is to be silenced, not just to be killed but to feel alive after feelings have died.
Dalton Trumbo’s tragic, unforgettable figure, Joe Bonham, had his face blown away, was left with no arms or legs. He could not see, hear, or make himself heard. The poetic sensibility is powerless in the face of such destruction.

Yet this show at Playmakers is strangely uplifting, triumphant, even. It come full circle, past the false heroism of shallow patriotism. Even in war, we can still be heroes. Our sacrifice means more precisely because we know it to be meaningless. Johnny got his pen.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Rather be in Philadelphia

Or in New York. Or retired. The question is, after Rather, who be the CBS anchortroll?

Some suggestions from the New York Post--ATSRTWT:

...perhaps CBS would like to silence its critics once and for all about the news division's perceived liberal biases by luring John Stossel from ABC. He's a rather dashing fellow, and a libertarian too.

A more trendy selection would be Jon Stewart, since he frequently emphasizes that his "Daily Show" newscasts are not "real news" — just like CBS!

No Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom

How are ya gointa have inny puddin', if ya woin eat yer meat?
How are ya gointa have a record, if ya woint pay yer royalties?

Updates: a similar idea on Sig Not, and the CNN version.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Took my sons over to the house of fellow prof.

Drove the coche de Grease. A 2001 Lincoln town car, black as sin and shiny as expensive sin. About 24 feet long. This is not a car that liberals would drive. They would feel bad just riding in it. (Before you say anything, it gets 22-23 mpg, highway).

Pulled up to a sandwich shop in Chapel Hill. Walked past some nut-hugger, who muttered something about gasoline.

Inside the shop, we ordered lots of sandwiches, enough to feed the party we were going to. All with lots of meat. (There is a Chapel Hill ordinance that says "Meat is murder", by the way. And fish have feelings, in spite of what Nirvana said.)

Nut-hugger comes inside, orders a veggie sandwich. Glares at us. She is wearing a black felt hat, black jeans, black Birkenstocks, and a sort of black sweatshirt. Pretty clearly not one of my people. But she sneezes, loudly, and without thinking I said, "Bless you!"

Might as well have smacked her. Driving a Lincoln, eating meat....she already knew I was a bad guy. But language that could be interpreted as religious? That's where she drew the line. She shouts, "I guess I am just allergic to SOME people!"

After that, I had to kill myself. The approval of that sort of person....K. Grease can't live without it. So this is posted from Hell, my new home. And you will all live there, too unless the Democrats stop choosing candidates who win Chapel Hill by a lot, and lose North Carolina by more.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Shujaat: So Wrong That He's Right

How embarrassing. Shujaat is just making a mistake here, equating Jenin and Falujah.

Or, maybe he isn't. The actual parallels (grounds troops used to avoid civilian casualties, attacking huge nest of virulent, fanatical killers so cowardly they hide in schools and mosques) between the fake massacre in Jenin and the U.S. attack on Falujah would make an interesting news story. Check this. Or this actual documentary.

So, Shujaat, I'll assume that was irony. You had me going for a minute, tho, pal.

Human Rights Watch's assessment, adapted from the BBC:

Human Rights Watch says at least 52 Palestinians died of whom 22 were civilians. Many of the civilians were killed wilfully and unlawfully the report says.

On the other hand, Israel opted to use infantry rather than aerial bombs...[
thereby saving the lives of thousands of civilians.] Palestinian civilians were used as human shields and the Israeli army employed indiscriminate and excessive force, the report says.

The report gives examples - it says that a 57-year-old Palestinian man Kamil Sagir was shot and then run over by Israeli tanks even though his wheelchair was flying a white flag.

Yes, the troops panicked several times, and also exacted revenge on innocent civilians. The problem is that the "fighters" are dressed like civilians. Israel had to decide if it was going to defend itself. It did. Civilians died, "unlawfully," because it is a war fought by cowards on the Palestinian side. Civilian casualties help that cause; why should they care?

And was Falujah any different? Probably not. Same cowardly fighters, same scared angry troops, same kinds of completely innocent civilian victims dying for their propaganda value in discrediting democracies. So, Shujaat got it right, but for the wrong reasons. To this observer, there really are parallels between Jenin and Falujah.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

How Cute: An Error

You may have seen this, but:

1) Go to Google
2) Type in "weapons of mass destruction" (no caps, NO ENTER KEY)
3) Click "I'm feeling lucky" button, NOT "Google search"
4) Read the "error message." How clever.

Or, just click here...., if Google shuts this down (or you want to save time).

(Careful with any further click-throughs, though: the jerk infested them with pop-ups and adware. Nothing dangerous, but it is obnoxious)

Not European Enough

U.S. has come under criticism lately for not being "European enough" anymore.

That's fine. But I have a question: Is being "European" a good thing, or a bad thing? 'Cause I suppose there is always this, for the REAL European perspective...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Oh, Canada....

I am on radio shows in Canada now and again. My favorite gig is on Charles Adler's zoo in Winnipeg on CJOB. (for Adler: think of your conservative uncle Murray on crystal meth, and REALLY pissed off; very funny guy).

The subject, more often than not, is Canada's loony left MP's. Retiring the trophy, as of now, for LLMP's is Carolyn Parrish.

She is a woman with (as they say) "a past." I like those. When she is trying to act like a real MP, she looks like this. But, this or this is more like the real Ms. Parrish. Those things, I don't like so much. Hard to know what to say, though, to a Canadian audience. Does she get to act that way? Sure. Is she getting reelected because she acts that way? Probably. Do I hate it when people have conversations with themselves, asking and answering questions as if they were Donald Rumsfeld? You bet.

A description of Parrish....by Gillian Cosgrove. From 2003, before all the current controversy. Good to see that women like Parrish can be just as big a jerk as men can be. And terrific to see that Canadian politicians are rewarded for acting like Americans, eh?

MP'S past is littered with examples of incivility and hate


Who, exactly, is this appalling woman? How does she get away with being so nasty and offensive? This mean-spirited boor is, of course, Carolyn Parrish, the truly dishonourable Member of Parliament for Mississauga Centre.

Parrish made headlines last month when, on the brink of war, she insulted the Americans by saying "I hate those bastards" - A REMARK THAT HAS SO ANGERED THE White House that the U.S. ambassador to Canada this week mentioned it specifically in his heartfelt statements about American's sense of betrayal by Canada.

And the Americans aren't the only ones who're furious. She has so thoroughly alienated many of her Ottawa colleagues that she actually lost her job this week as chair of Canada's NATO parliamentary group (wisely, she was replace by pro-U.S. David Price.)

Some were prepared to dismiss her anti-American insult as an tactless off-the-cuff remark outside the House of Commons recorded by ultra-sensitive boom microphones. But a careful examination of her past reveals a track record of remarks so vile, and conduct so utterly lacking in human civility, that decent-minded voters of Mississauga will surely toss her out of office come the next federal election.

It turns out that Americans aren't the only objects of her hatred. Also on her personal blacklist are East Coast fishermen, French-speaking Quebecers, residents of downtown Toronto, members of her own Liberal Party, and even her boss, Jean Chretien.

(He would do well to distance himself from Parrish; failing to discipline her gives the impression he condones her distasteful comments. As for Paul Martin, he needs her support in the leadership race like he needs a hole in the head.)

More often than not, Parrish's pronouncements are couched in the language of the gutter, contrary to the time-honoured parliamentary tradition which dictates that even the most intransigent political enemies treat each other with courtesy and respect.

She accused John McCallum, the Defence Minister, of "farting around in Washington." She denounced Liberal MPs who criticize Chretien anonymously as "sneaking, sniveling shitheads." She told the Mississauga News that she was "tired of kissing ass up here (in Ottawa.)"

Parrish's cheap shots often have a bullying tone, and stop just short of character assassination. Clashing with Beryl Ford, chair of the Peel Board of Education over the English as a second language program, Parrish threatened to "beat her up."

She called seven members of the Liberal caucus "toads, dull blunt clods" and "desperate idiots" for being Martin supporters. The targets -- colleagues John Harvard, Diane Marleau, Stan Keyes, Nick Discepola, Joe Fontana, Rick Limoges, and Paul Bonwick -- showed class and maturity by refusing to descend to her gutter-sniping tactics.

She also threatened, as vice-chair of a committee that administer the House. To discipline a journalist if he dared to publish what she had said - a threat to press freedom that media organizations should challenge and condemn.

Parrish's record of shameless behviour goes further back. In March 1999, she accused fellow Mississauga MP Albina Guarnieri of being "evil" for introducing a private members' bill on consecutive sentencing for multiple murderers. "I think she's evil, but I have never called her evil," Parrish said at the time. "I think she believes passionately that she is doing the right thing, and that is the only reason you don't just grab her and throttle her."

Come on, get a grip, Mrs. Parrish. In my experience, democratic legislators are all well-intentioned, sometimes misguided, but never evil. Your friend, Saddam Hussein is evil.

Instances of Parrish's vulgarian behaviour have become the stuff of legend. Ted Woloshyn, the popular talk show host on CFRB, some months ago overheard a disgruntled Parrish in a restaurant engaging in a loud-mouthed, obscenity-laden rant against the prime minister for failing to put her in the cabinet. He deemed it newsworthy enough to broadcast the fact to his listeners. (Thankfully, in the case, the PM showed good judgement by keeping her out of cabinet.)

Parrish is also a loose cannon with her outrageous slurs. In Halifax, she attacked East Coast fishermen who "fish three months of the year, make $60,000 and then sit on UI." This is simplistic and offensive, if not downright ignorant.

In 1995, just before the razor-edge referendum which threatened to break up Canada, Parrish went on Rogers Cable TV to declare in a know-it-all tone: "I hate to tell everybody and I particularly hope that Quebecers don't watch this show. It (the referendum) is being greeted with an enormous yawn in Mississauga. Quite frankly, I think it almost like a form of torture. It's constant dripping, whining, and fussing from Quebec. Everybody's going: "Oh!

I don't care." Well, many of us did care enough to take buses to Montreal to join in a giant last minute rally in support of a united Canada.

In 1996, Parrish suggested that the Liberals have to buy off the vote in downtown Toronto: "We're tired of sending money to downtown Toronto. The Liberals can't sit back and rely on their traditional ethnic support to carry the day anymore." This comment is way off base; cash-strapped Toronto has been ignored by Ottawa for years because Liberals here are considered shoo-ins.

Parrish consistently runs off at the mouth before her brain starts churning.

In February 1994, she expressed her vehement opposition to a new runway at Pearson International Airport. "There will be no runways. If there are, they will be over my dead body." So how do you explain, just four months later, her keen support of the new runway, criticizing opponents because "they don't give a damn about the economics of the situation." Consistency is not her forte.

Finally, in an incident that raised eyebrows everywhere, Parrish was dismissively cruel to a Polish immigrant family who came to her for help to stay in Canada.

She subjected Pawel and Beata Sklarzyk to yelling and profanity in front of their children aged, 2, 4, 11, and 15 saying "I don't give a shit if you found a high powered lawyer to get your story in the Globe and Mail."

The Sklarzyks came to Canada with their two older children in 1994. They renewed their visitor's visas three times and then stayed on illegally. Mr. Sklarzyk started a small window washing and caulking business and the couple had two more children. When a refugee claim was denied, the family applied for an exemption on humanitarian grounds. But instead of sending the required $1,200 payment, they mistakenly sent only $1,150 -- a $50 error that upended their lives and left them in legal limbo. The family was deported in May 2001.

Parrish accused the Sklarzyks of being queue-jumpers and even went so far as to suggest that Mrs. Sklarzyk had two more children in Canada to improve their chances of remaining. She also made the snide and totally unacceptable remark that they must be quite well-off because their two eldest children were going to a private religious school.

Nearly two years later, the Sklarzyks are still in Poland hoping to return to Canada. They had an interview with a Canadian immigration official in October in Warsaw. "They are very tired of waiting but still hopeful they can return," said Isabela Embalo, a Polish immigration consultant.

In the end, it wasn't just that Parrish had no hesitation to wreck an entire family's life. It was that she did it with such cruelty, vulgarity, and utter lack of compassion.

I find this difficult to understand. After all, Carolyn Parrish is definitely unpolished but she IS Polish.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Clear Understanding

Was listening to Jethro Tull in the coche de Grease yesterday. Haven't heard "Broadsword" in years.

Here are the lyrics:
I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a dark cloud that hides the sun
Bring me my Broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman
Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing
Take women and children and bed them down.

Bring me my Broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman
Bless with a hard heart those who surround me
Bless the women and children who firm our hands
Put our backs to the North wind. Hold fast by the river
Sweet memories to drive us on for the Motherland.

Except for the "clear understanding," this could be George Bush talking. What a difference clear understanding would make. Fantastic song, tho.

I have no words....

Came across this image.

The woman is Ann Coulter. The grave is "Tailgunner Joe's". She stands on the shoulders (or in this case, the coffin) of giants in her field.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Nat Hentoff, on the UN.

Something has to give. The U.S. should kick them to the curb, at least get them out of NY.

They could move to Paris, and have several theme parks right together. PUSSWEILER WORLD, right beside Euro-Disney. Your one-stop destination for bed-wetters.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

UN is the loneliest number

I am stunned that people think the corruption of the UN is "news." The oil for food program in Iraq was just the latest in a sorry, sordid string of failures and outrages for the world's most self-righteous organization.

Face it, "UN resolution" is an oxymoron.

I have an actual picture of a UN oil-for-food administrator. (No, don't thank me. All part of the service)

An update: A loyal reader suggests that the UN is really only the third most self-righteous entity. And, of course, she is right: the MLA would have to come in first on any such list, and Barbara Streisand is a close second. But I was restricting myself to (1) people from Earth, and (2) IQs over 45, respectively.

Second update: Another gentle reader suggested that the original picture was...ungentle. Here it is, for those in a situation where a NOT WORK SAFE photo would appropriate.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Arafat: He would not stay for an answer

For a sympathetic view, see Shujaat's portrayal of the Palestinian leader.

It would bring a tear to your eye, if you didn't know the truth, which is rather more complex.

(And, the darker side is really quite terrifying).

The truth?

"What is truth?" said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.

A Flea bites dog story

Which of the following is least surprising:

1. The sanctions were NOT working (If that link is hinky, try this)

2. Iran promises (we mean it this time!) not to develop any more uranium

3. There is no Santa Claus

(Play it. You know you want it. Play it.)

Fall Down Go Boom

Ed Cone is (I'm guessing here) not a Republican, but he understands the slippery slope.

As they say, it isn't the fall that hurts....it's the sudden stop at the end.

Or maybe I'm just mad that the Repubs have left me, and other libertarians, and headed off to the right without us.

Love the Man, Hate the Mandate

Bush's mandate?

Kerry was a weak candidate, who ran a terrible campaign.

But it was an election, not a coup.

I know, dozens of people have made the "Man Date" joke. But this guy has on great boxers. Very colorful. And they fit so nicely!

Sunday, November 14, 2004


This WSJ article was written by Robert Bartley in September, 2003. Pretty shrewd observations, and came to be more true than ever 14 months later.


[T]he self-identity of the Democratic base is still wrapped up in Vietnam. In fact Vietnam started as a liberal, Democratic war, so turning against it had to be justified by assertions of a higher morality, especially among those with student deferments from the draft. The notion that military force was immoral, even that American power was immoral, was deeply imbedded in the psyche of Democratic activists everywhere.

Now comes George Bush asserting that American power will be used pre-emptively to avert terrorist attacks on America, to establish American values as universal values. This so profoundly challenges the activists' self-image that they can only lash out in anger. Not many of them actively hope the U.S. fails in Iraq, of course, but they are in a constant state of denial that it might succeed.

What's more, this challenge is brought to them by a born-again MBA from Midland, Texas. This is a further challenge to their image of the best people, secular Ivy-league intellectuals. And to twist the knife, President Bush actually comes from an aristocratic family and went to prep school, Yale and Harvard. He has rejected these values for those of Texas.

Current Democratic anger will likely in the fullness of time prove to be the rantings of an establishment in the process of being displaced. Come to think of it, they sound like nothing so much as the onetime ire of staid Republicans at Franklin D. Roosevelt as "a traitor to his class."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Real KGM Surfaces

Jeez, I'm going to get my ass kicked.

Check the 7th entry of this Yellow Pages search

He lives! The real Killer Grease Mungowitz actually still lives in Austin, which is where I first encountered him.

I have to call him....more soon. Don't know what I'm going to say..."I have been using your name for the past six months...Is that a problem?" Okay, I won't actually START with that. First we'll just chat about the Cowboys.

Possibly for the last time, I am, as ever,
Killer GM, Jr.

(PS: nod to CL, who actually posted the search, but didn't realize the awful truth)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Control Freaks

Remember the words from "The Wall"?

The Happiest Days of our Lives (Waters) 1:20

When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children in any way they could

"OOF!" [someone being hit]

By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids
But in the town, it was well known
When they got home at night, their fat and
Psychopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives.

Some bricks:

1. This girl has got to stop exercising during recess.
2. Our excellent immigration system.
3. Pinata girl tries to get through our immigration system.
4. Michael Jackson, complaining about Eminem's video, says about children: "I love them so much!" I bet. And, so often, too.
5. Stupid dirty education secretary
6. I carried a pocket knife in grade school. Who knew I was a criminal?

On the other hand, it could be worse: this brick for brains could be in charge.

"God, I hate this place...."

Dulce et decorum est. It never changes.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

King me: The Boss of the People

Golly sakes alive. From our own excellent "independent" (meaning uncomprehendingly left out) newspaper: Melinda Ruley wants to force us to be free.


Rose loves to tell the story of Saddam Hussein, how he's a bad man who killed people and how they found him in a hole in the sand with a rug over his head and now he's in jail and that's a good thing, but that our president had started a bad war and he was killing people too and he is such a ... well, she can't say that word.

When Rosie told this story to her preschool teacher, the teacher said that really, really, Bush wasn't a bad man, he just made "bad choices." Rose later asked me whether he would keep on making bad choices.

"Only if we let him," I said.

"Because it's up to everyone to decide?" she asked. The concept of a representative government is, for her, like a remote rung on the monkey bars. She's on her toes, but it's just out of reach. She can't believe, with all she's heard about Bush, that he could represent anybody. That he could, as Henry puts it, keep on being the boss of the people. She can't believe the grown-ups could fail her so badly.

Yes....with "all she's heard about Bush." What exactly has she heard, Ms. Ruley? How could she possibly have a realistic or accurate view, in "Melinda's House o'Propaganda"?

Nod to BN, who is fair. That means everybody hates him. I certainly hate him; he's infuriating.

Auguring the Eschaton

CBS NEWS interrupted the final minutes of Wednesday night's episode of CSI: NEW YORK in order to air a special report about the death of Yasser Arafat.

CBS has apologized and says it will rebroadcast the episode, in its entirety FRIDAY at 9PM CENTRAL TIME."

An overly aggressive CBS News producer jumped the gun with a report that should have been offered to local stations for their late news. We sincerely regret the error. The episode of CSI: NEW YORK will be rebroadcast Friday, Nov. 12."


Maybe we could pass a law: no news can happen during our fave shows on telly. Maybe we can take our GLOCKs and pump the telly full of lead. (Click, pringlesbreath: There's a movie!)

They are kidding...I think

As a native southerner, I wonder why more Yankees aren't honest this way.

Mood music.....

(Nod to Chateau)

Animals are Running the Zoo School

Why do you taunt somebody?

Why do you get a baseball bat and hit someone who taunts you?

The Zoo School, in friendly Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This is helpful

Can reasonable people disagree? Can people who disagree be reasonable?

From Craig's List

Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight - m4m
Reply to:

Date: Wed Nov 03 19:11:50 2004
I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streek, please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you.

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Copyright © 2004 craigslist

(Nod to mwt, who is still visibly excited because of the Red Sox)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Permanent Link to Bauerlein Article

From a gentle reader....

I'm glad you posted this, and I would like to see it conveniently linked, perhaps way down on the sidebar. It just seems so well stated, its a nugget to keep handy. I, too, work on a campus so this just hits home for me.

Done: See right side, top o'the ol' blogroll...

No active or noisy elimination need occur...

Wow. Pretty strong indictment, here, from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Here is a short excerpt below....and a much longer one (so atsrtwt) here
(nod to TtwbC)

(Issue dated November 12, 2004)
Liberal Groupthink Is Anti-Intellectual

...The public has now picked up the message that "campuses are havens for left-leaning activists," according to a Chronicle poll of 1,000 adult Americans this year. Half of those surveyed -- 68 percent who call themselves "conservative" and even 30 percent who say they are "liberal" -- agreed that colleges improperly introduce a liberal bias into what they teach. The matter, however, is clearly not just one of perception. Indeed, in another recent survey, this one conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles, faculty members themselves chose as their commitment "far left" or "liberal" more than two and a half times as often as "far right" or "conservative." As a Chronicle article last month put it: "On left-leaning campuses around the country, professors on the right feel disenfranchised."

Yet while the lack of conservative minds on college campuses is increasingly indisputable, the question remains: Why?

The obvious answer, at least in the humanities and social sciences, is that academics shun conservative values and traditions, so their curricula and hiring practices discourage non-leftists from pursuing academic careers. What allows them to do that, while at the same time they deny it, is that the bias takes a subtle form. Although I've met several conservative intellectuals in the last year who would love an academic post but have given up after years of trying, outright blackballing is rare. The disparate outcome emerges through an indirect filtering process that runs from graduate school to tenure and beyond....

... to create a livelier climate on the campus, professors must end the routine setups that pass for dialogue. Panels on issues like Iraq, racism, imperialism, and terrorism that stack the dais provide lots of passion, but little excitement. Syllabi that include the same roster of voices make learning ever more desultory. Add a few rightists, and the debate picks up. Perhaps that is the most persuasive internal case for infusing conservatism into academic discourse and activities. Without genuine dissent in the classroom and the committee room, academic life is simply boring.

Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University and director of research at the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Wrong Store in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Maybe John Kerry was talking about this poor kid.

I waited in line for more than an hour for Halo 2 at the EB Games. So, it's about 1 am, and this kid in front of me is bragging loudly into his cell phone: "Yeah, I'm gettin' the game. I'm standing in line in the cold, but it's worth it." He said this perhaps 30 different times (though not different ways; always said exactly the same thing). He doggedly autodialed every kid on his phone memory, and delivered the same phrase in stentorian tones: "Yeah, I'm gettin...." Why they all needed this information, I am not sure.

You get the idea. Not one person in line would have tried to protect the kid if someone had hit him with a bat.

Anyway, we get inside and I'm still behind him. At the counter, the kid presents his pre-order receipt with a flourish.

And, the guy behind the counter says, "Um...this is for GameStop. ....you putz."

The kid runs out the door, shouting "I'm gonna kill my brother, I'm gonna kill hiiiiiiiiiiiiiim....."

Made the whole wait fully worthwhile. You don't mind waiting, if there's a show.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Lemons Problem: No Road

As is well known by any sophomore economics student, it is orthodox to claim that there are three kinds of market failure: information, externalities, and economies of scale. However, in some ways these are the least important “failures” of markets. I have been thinking about the problem of the failures of markets in a larger context....Here, it seems to me, are the REAL market failures, all of which involve the failure of the state:

1. Government fails to foster, or actively removes, what Hayek called the “infrastructure” of market processes. Infrastructure includes a system for defining and trading property rights, a legal system for the adjudication of disputes, and a monetary system to facilitate exchange.
2. Government creates, or fails to remove, impediments to market processes. Such impediments might include taxes, subsidies, regulations or standards that distort prices and information.
3. Markets fail to perform efficiently because of informational asymmetries, externalities in consumption or production, or large economies of scale in production.

Type 1 market failure arises from inadequate infrastructure, type 2 market failure results from poorly designed policies, and type 3 market failures are caused by flaws in market processes themselves. The hierarchy here goes from 1 (most profound) to 3 (manageable, might require minor state action to correct, though it is not obvious that the state won't just make things even worse).

Now, you can't blame type 1 failure on markets. That would be like thinking your car is a lemon because there is no road. It's true that the car won't go, but the problem is that it is surrounded by trees. The car, as cars go, may be perfectly fine.

Charging markets with type 2 failure is like blaming your car for breaking down after you put water in the gas tank and sand in the crankcase. Again, the car is as good as a car can be. But it can be ruined by idiots who decide that a water burning car would be better for the environment.

Only type 3 is really a market failure; type 1 and 2 failures are malfunctions of government management of markets.

Consider how important these distinctions are in diagnosing problems. In all three cases, the car won’t go! Should you conclude it is a lemon, and trade it in? A new car won’t help if the real problem is bad roads or bad maintenance; the new car will soon break down also. Unless we can think more fundamentally, the result will be an endless cycle of expensive trade-ins, none of which get us anywhere.

And that is where we seem to be going. Or, not going.

Democracy is Overrated, III

Two H.L. Mencken quotes, for the Dems crying in their beer this week. The point is that it is hard for someone who believes in the wisdom of “the people” to accept it when “the people” disagree. I happened upon these two quotes in something I wrote some time ago, and they seemed to have a particular freshness....My favorite part is the bit where he says: "What I can’t make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with [common citizens], and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of." Dems? How about the show last Tuesday? Weren't your common citizens debauched and made a show of?

Quote #1:
The highest function of the citizen is to serve the state—but the first assumption that meets him, when he essays to discharge it, is an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonor. Is that assumption commonly sound? Then the farce only grows more glorious…Is [democracy] extraordinarily wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to decent men….In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is an ineradicable necessity to human government, and even to civilization itself—that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know. I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can’t make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with [common citizens], and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat? (H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy, 1926.

Quote #2:
It [is impossible] to separate the democratic idea from the theory that there is a mystical merit, an esoteric and ineradicable rectitude, in the man at the bottom of the scale—that inferiority, by some strange magic, becomes superiority—nay, the superiority of superiorities. What baffles statesmen is to be solved by the people, instantly and by a sort of seraphic intuition. This notion . . . originated in the poetic fancy of gentlemen on the upper levels— sentimentalists who, observing to their distress that the ass was overladen, proposed to reform transportation by putting him in the cart. (H.L. Mencken, from Notes on Democracy, 1926.

Signs of the Apocalypse

1. Never a good sign when gold hits record high prices; you don't own gold to make money, you own gold to avoid holding money, in case money becomes worthless

2. Suha Arafat gets a microphone, and gets quoted a lot saying psychotic things, after calling Al Jazeera. She hasn't seen him in years, and lives in Paris. NOW she's worried about him?

3. A reality show

4. One of the last moderate Republicans gets blasted for talking sense

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Oh, Damn....

I quoted James Carville, when I was doing an interview with the WaPo.

In it, I said, "Like Carville said, John Edwards wasn't used right. He was a thoroughbred, but they kept him in the barn." I meant that the whole thing was a quote of Carville, but that wasn't clear. My bad.

Anyway, the BBC picked up on this, and now I am the preening quotemeister. I'm sure that the skeletal James C has had his stuff stolen by better men, but this is silly. Carville said it, not me!

Why? Bushistas, Why?

Why are you people doing this? Look, you won, ferrcrissakes. The guy's wife has cancer.

(Nod to CL)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Southern Strategy

I forgot I wrote this, about how the South would be one tough nut to crack for Kerry.

I also predicted, in February, that Edwards would be the VP candidate.

Wish I could be wrong sometimes. It's a curse, you know.

Talk About Shaky Logic....

I have to highlight a comment from a gentle reader to the post about faculty on the left not insisting that their students make good arguments. Here is the comment:

...Well, yes, but that goes for faculty on the right, too.Your view on what is wrong with undergraduate education is way too simplistic.Do you really think things would be that different if most professors were right-leaning as opposed to left-leaning?The problem is that of faculty rewarding students for reaching the 'correct' (substantive) conclusions, as opposed to rewarding students for careful thought, logical argument, honest use of data, etc.Students simply reflect the problem with academics of the right and of the left: strong convictions, shaky logic.

I have two responses.
1. The statement here is true: far-rightist faculty might well impose their views on students, too. The statement is equally true of unicorns, or Santa Claus, or other nonexistent beasts. THERE ARE NO RIGHTIST FACULTY, homeslice.
2. Still, the claim above in italics does have value, in that it highlights what the solution is NOT. I agree with the gentle reader that the solution is not to hire conservative faculty who ALSO force students to parrot their views. As has been said elsewhere:

Michael Munger, chair of the political science department, was not so quick to dismiss DCU's arguments, although he noted that a balance of political affiliations within a department is not necessarily the answer.
"The solution is not to have 15 Republicans and 15 Democrats in one department. If everybody forced students to write papers based on a faculty member's particular perspective, that's still not diversity," he said. Rather, he said, the classroom, not the department, must be depoliticized.

ATSRTWT. Or this. And, my larger comments, either transcript or (beautifully) visually. Damn, I was great that night.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Phillip Kurian II

Here is Phillip Kurian's follow-up piece.

If you think you hate him, please read it. This incident has really caused him a lot of pain and sleepless nights. And if you think, "Good!", then that's okay too. Just do me a favor and read it.

An interesting response, with its own compendium of responses, to the earlier essay by Philip.

My own view? People are right to be mad at Duke, and other "elite" universities, in this sense: we aren't teaching our students the standards of argument. Philip was making a claim, which might in principle be true or false. (I happen to believe it is false, if that matters). But he larded up the claim with a bunch of gratuitously insulting stereotypes and simple non sequiturs.

Would people would have been just as angry at him if he had NOT included all the personal attacks? If he had just argued his main point, which is that organized Jewish political groups wield influence disproportionate to their numbers? We'll never know. And that is in large measure Duke's fault, for patting him on the head when he made unsupported claims like this, in class or in some professor's office. There is no other explanation for why he was surprised (and he was surprised) at the reaction.

I think he should sue, for nonperformance of the educational contract. More and more, faculty on the left just want students to have the "correct" conclusions, like a memorized catechism, instead of making sure the students can defend those conclusions in a debate. And students on the left are the ones who pay the price.

Questions....Not many Answers

1. Does Terry McAuliffe have to resign? Or can he say "At least we built a really nice DNC building in DC, even though we got hammered again under my nonleadership"? Cause the building is all they've got now.

2. Did anyone really think Kerry would lose this big? Other than Bob Novak and a few people whose direct contacts with reality are largely nonexistent? I was sure Kerry would win, though I thought it would be close. Kerry didn't win, and it was not particularly close.

3. Should Erskine Bowles start a "rent-a-doormat" business? "I'll spend millions of my own money, and make ANY other candidate for office look smart!" He hasn't lost a Governor's race yet, and that other Senate seat comes up again in four more years. Richard Burr is a fencepost with ears, yet he beat Bowles pretty handily. Who in the world is telling Bowles he has any talent as a politician?

4. Big winner: conventional wisdom. Given the performance of the economy, Bush should have won. Given that most of the seats up for grabs in the Senate were in Dem hands, the Repubs should have picked up seats. And that all happened.

5. I was just flat wrong, on net Senate seats and the Prez race. I had thought the Dems would be able to take advantage of obvious low-hanging fruit (the war thing, the job loss in key states, Bush's obvious problems in the debates, that sort of stuff). But the Dems live in a dream world, and both Kerry and Dem Senate candidates (including Bowles) ran like they were incumbents, not challengers. Challengers have to challenge. One of my Duke colleagues, a big Dem guy, told me as late as Monday this week he was sure Kerry would win North Carolina. And it was because everybody he talked to hated Bush so much. "Look, there's Dorothy, get those ruby slippers! There's no place like Oz; there's no place like Oz...." You might want to get out more, man.

6. Bush was completely, totally beatable. Kerry was a weak candidate who ran a terrible campaign (which I have been saying for months, even though it made my Dem pals at Duke crazy to hear it.) But if they had run any of the other nebishes (Dean? Gephardt? Graham? Edwards?) the outcome would have been the same. The Dems are intellectually bankrupt. Their only platform is "Vote for us, and we will give you other peoples' money." It's not working.

Ick. Somebody has to take the Repubs down. Cause this is terrifying.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Begala Shows His Ass

And it looks a lot like his face.

Check these scores.

Now...if you want to say Kerry is better than Bush, that's fine. If you want to say Bush has run a bad campaign, there are good reasons to claim that.

James Carville, it seems to me, is giving Kerry a little too high a grade on qualities. But at least he only gave a B. You have to leave some room at the top for a real politician, like Bill Clinton. If Clinton is an A, I think Kerry is more like a C+/B-. But okay, Carville at least tried to give real grades.

But...Begala? Good golly moses. For someone of Begala's unquestioned political experience and acumen to claim that Kerry has run an excellent campaign on personal qualities and issues? A on issues, and A on personal qualities? Criminy. Why not at least pretend to offer an objective analysis? Kerry has been a disaster. He should have won this thing in a walkover.

Paul B: you might as well just get out the fishnets, and the short skirt, and stand out on the corner making it shake. 'Cause you are nothing but a cheap, nasty ho', man.

Smack Down

Drove by several "polling places" this morning, driving my kids' carpool (M-Th am is my gig).

At lots of polling places, no more room to park, so people are parking on the roadsides.

Of course, that is where lots of horrible signs are poked into the ground, on the roadside right outside the polling station.

So, the cars were pulling in and running over the signs, crushing them into the mud. Not surprising, overall. But some people seemed to be enjoying it. I saw one SUV pulling back and forth over a Kerry-Edwards sign.

Can't this be over, please?

Don't It Make Your Red States Blue? (II)

I tried to invoke the country song once before, with (shall we say) limited success in terms of amusement value. Still, I did offer some truly sage remarks, considering it was July 25.

Still, I found something surprising, though it is probably common knowledge. Right here is an article that dates the "One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State" to no earlier than 2000, at least as a recognized political convention (no, not like the ones in Boston or New York. Pay attention!)

Recess: The Appointed Hour

Folks are getting all het up about the Rehnquist replacement "recess appointment." Like here, or here. Because, what if the election has to be decided by the Supreme Court?

Not going to happen. The SC judges were surprised, and appalled by the reaction to Bush v. Gore. They are going to stay out of it, which is what they should have done in 2000.

Below is an analysis by Garrett Epps. You may want to refresh your memory about 2000. For one thing, if the Supreme Court hadn't acted, the Prez would have been chosen by the House, voting by state delegations. Since that makes the Republicans even more powerful, claims that Bush "stole" the election are simply factually incorrect. The recount was always beside the point. The nice thing about the Epps article is that it correctly castigates the court for the ill-advised Bush v. Gore decision without saying that it changed the outcome.

Remember: the people who wrote the Constitution thought that the House would routinely choose the Prez. The Electoral College was just for steam control, and even then it had the relief valve of allowing the electors to cast more "informed" votes than what the citizens had had in mind.

October 24, 2004 Sunday Final Edition Washington Post SECTION: Outlook; B01

Don't Do It, Justices
Garrett Epps

In 1953, Justice Robert Jackson wrote of the Supreme Court: "We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final." Americans don't believe the court is infallible, but they do respect the finality of its decisions. If the court were to lose that respect, its very authority could dissipate, damaging our constitutional order. That possibility is in the air this fall, as the nation goes through an election that could end up with disputed results in multiple states. Already, we hear rumblings of problems in Florida similar to those that spoiled the 2000 voting. Ohio, where the polls are very tight, is also a potential trouble spot, as is Colorado, where a measure on the ballot may change the rules governing electoral votes after the voting is over. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are assembling flying squads of lawyers to be deployed anywhere on a moment's notice. One party or the other could end up seeking the court's intervention in the 2004 election. But whatever you think of the Bush v. Gore decision of four years ago, the court would be making a terrible mistake if it let itself become involved in determining the outcome again. And it isn't necessary.

There are established political procedures for dealing with disputed elections, and that's the right way to settle a political problem. I am convinced that the negative reaction to Bush v. Gore took the court's majority by surprise. Working in isolation, with almost no time for reflection, these conscientious but somewhat naïve judges thought they were saving the country. In fact, they short-circuited the political process and did serious damage to the American sense that "we the people" are the rulers and not the ruled. And the dire emergency the justices may have thought they were curing was largely a mirage. Like much of democratic government, the Florida recount was by turns crass, vulgar and confusing -- but it was on its way to producing a victor without judicial help.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution and Title 3 of the U.S. Code lay out the procedure that Florida was following. The Constitution says that a state shall "appoint" electors "in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct." A state need not even hold an election, and if it does, the legislature may still decide to "appoint" its own slate. That's particularly true if the state has held an election to choose electors "and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law" -- perhaps because the vote is so close that an accurate recount is impossible. In that case, the statute says that the state legislature may appoint the electors "on a subsequent day." Once electors are "appointed" -- however that may be done -- their names are to be sent by the governor to the Archivist of the United States. If there is a "controversy or contest" concerning the electors -- as there was in Florida -- the governor must also send the Archivist a statement of how it was resolved.

The electoral votes are to be opened on "the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December" and officially counted on Jan. 6. If the state has resolved its controversy by the December date, then the statute pledges that Congress will abide by the governor's certification of the state's choice. If the state has not resolved its internal dispute by the deadline and there are two sets of electors claiming victory, the issue goes to Congress. If the House and Senate both choose the same slate, then those electors' votes will be counted. But if the two houses disagree on the proper slate, the statute requires Congress to abide by the governor's certification. Can you see how that statutory scheme would have played out in 2000? The Florida legislature was already moving to "appoint" the Bush electors. George Bush's brother Jeb would have certified that result. Even if Al Gore had "won" a recount, all that victory would have gotten him was the right to present his rival slate to Congress (perhaps with the backing of the Florida Supreme Court). But the Republican-controlled House in Washington would surely have refused to overturn Jeb Bush's certificate.

If that's the case, did the court do any real harm? After all, by acting when it did, it cut off the turmoil on Dec. 12, while following the statute would have delayed the result until Jan. 6, 2001. But the better question is whether the court did any good at all -- let alone enough good to justify the risk to its own legitimacy. Remember that Bill Clinton would still have been president until Jan. 20, 2001 -- two weeks after Congress convened to count the electoral votes. The rules governing congressional voting on electors limit debate, so the vote on the dueling slates would almost certainly have been completed before Clinton left office, and Bush would have been sworn in right on time. I have seen articles detailing a number of ways the process could have gone off the rails (we law professors delight in generating nightmare scenarios).

It's theoretically possible that Congress might have rejected both sets of electors or in some other way botched the process so that no candidate would have had a majority of the electors by Jan. 20. But looking at the numbers, I don't see much practical chance of that having happened. And even if it had, the statutory scheme would then have given way to Article II again -- the final choice of the new president lies in the House of Representatives voting by states. Bush would have needed 26 votes, and the makeup of the Congress elected that year shows he would have won handily. It's no accident that the statutory scheme puts the decision squarely in the hands of elected officials, state and federal. Choosing the president is a political, not a legal matter, and voters who disagree with the choice should be able to hold those who make it to account.

If the people objected to the scenario above, they would have had the chance to make their feelings known in 2002. President Bush scored a huge success in the mid-term elections that year; had the members of Congress also been the ones who anointed him, he might then legitimately have claimed those results as the seal of popular approval. As it is, they gave him more power, but not more legitimacy. The Supreme Court had no obligation to become involved. Every first-year law student studies the "avoidance" and "political question" doctrines, which permit the court to dismiss actions that really belong in another branch of government.

Even if you think (as I do not) that the Florida Supreme Court was acting in a partisan manner, the court should have stopped that behavior without deciding the winner. All it had to do was vacate the lower court's decision, set out the proper legal rule, and send the case back to the state court. The Florida court had no way of forcing either the legislature or the governor to certify Gore's electors. By acting as it did, the Supreme Court may have fixed a temporary crisis; but by lodging the presidential choice in the only branch that is not -- and should not be -- accountable to the voters, it may have sown the seeds of a more corrosive long-term crisis. Millions of Americans (or at least millions of Democrats) still believe that Bush took office through a judicial coup d'etat. It has shaken their faith in our system.

That is unfortunate, but it is done. The question for the nation and the court is what to do if, 10 days from now, the returns from one or more crucial states are inconclusive again. Once again, there is little actual danger in allowing Congress to resolve the question. The greater danger is to our system and to the court's prestige. The past four years have seen no retirements from the high court; some court watchers have speculated that some of the justices have stayed on so as not to be accused of having picked Bush in order to help select their own successors. But courthouse gossip and the actuarial tables suggest that the next president may pick as many as four new justices.

Should five Republican appointees once again turn the election to Bush, we will hear anew the accusation that the justices made their choice so that they could determine the philosophy of their successors. Bush v. Gore was a mistake -- one the people will over time forgive. If the court should make the same mistake again, forgiveness may be more elusive. It would be disastrous for our system if recourse to the Supreme Court became a feature of every presidential race; the already-politicized confirmation process for nominees to the court would become a guaranteed blood bath every time. The court's prestige has been hard-won. In the early 1800s, Chief Justice John Marshall made the court respected; his successor, Roger Taney, forfeited that respect with his opinion in Dred Scott.

Later justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Evans Hughes and Louis Brandeis rebuilt the mystique; the partisan conservative majority of the 1930s shattered it again. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to clip the court's authority by granting himself extra appointments. That "court-packing plan," which nearly succeeded, is a stark reminder that a court that loses public respect risks losing its independence as well. On Dec. 9, 2000, the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount.

In his opinion that day, Justice Antonin Scalia explained that allowing the recount to proceed would harm Bush "by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election." Political legitimacy, however, is not a gift the court can bestow. At stake this year is the court's own legitimacy; a wrong decision may tumble it from its high seat, into a place where it will be regarded as neither infallible nor final.

Garrett Epps teaches constitutional law at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His most recent book is "To an Unknown God: Religious Freedom on Trial" (St. Martin's Press).

Monday, November 01, 2004

Alex Knapp Says....

Well, he says this:

You know the thing that really kills me about this stupid election we’ve got coming up? Here it is: in all perfect honesty, I wouldn’t trust George Bush or John Kerry to run a f**king McDonald’s, much less the exectuive branch of the government of the United States government. They’re both pampered little rich boys who, if they hadn’t been born into rich families would be damn lucky to be pulling down $50K a year as middle management, if they hadn’t gotten downsized in the 90’s. And even then their management position would be due to politicking ability, not merit or management ability.
I despise them both, so goddamn much, as human beings. I hate and deplore the fact that this is an election over what set of advisors I pray has the President’s ear at the right time of the day so that maybe a halfway decent decision will get made.
I loathe the fact that we live in a soceity today where everyone is so goddamned eager to pry into every tiny little bit of the lives of public figures that only the most power-hungry and weak-minded souls run for private office, while persons eminently more qualified are also the kinds of persons who would punch a papparazzi in the face–and deservedly so. But as a result, those people don’t run for office. And look who we’re stuck with now.

And, K. Grease? He says: Alex Knapp for President. On the Pusswieler party ticket. Because he is not running. K. Grease could be the VP on that ticket, since he too criticizes but doesn't run, or even really participate, except with some fake above-it-all irony.

I am going to go make a really big drink now, mixing a lot of scotch with a really tall glass. And mutter to myself. Let us sit upon the ground, and tell sad stories of the dearth of leadership.

(Nod to Chris L. Although, he isn't running either. Some lame excuse about a big project. Like I'm going to buy that crap.)

Now, HERE You Go: A Real Service

JMPP suggests that my earlier loathing for the youth or disgust with wholesomeness might be remedied simply by sharing information on the alternatives. As opposed to this, which clearly does not involve actual sex.

JMPP's suggestion is this: Votergasm. The illustrations are particularly unwholesome. CERTAINLY NOT WORK SAFE, SHALL WE SAY....

The pledge: I pledge to have sex with a voter on election night and withhold sex from non-voters for the week following the election.

Honoring the pledge: Pledge-fulfilling sex must be consensual, legal, and generous. And safe. And hot.

Time for a "Hollies" riff, which describes Votergasm's view of the election pretty well:
I saw her head up to the table
Just a tall walkin' big black cat
A'Charlie said, "I hope that you're able boy."
Cause I'm tellin' you she knows where it's at.
Well suddenly we heard the sirens,
And everybody started to run.
Jumpin' outta doors and tables,
Well I heard someone shootin' a gun.

So, everybody get out there, and find someone to help you ring your bell, or yank your lever. Preferably the LIBERTARIAN lever. It's the biggest one, after all.

Thanks, JMPP! And good luck on election day.