Don't Make Me...!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Welcome back, voice of the rational middle.
If yesterday's election results tell us one thing it's that the voice of the rational American middle still remains intact and will occasionally show up at the polls to course correct the sometimes irrational leanings of our "two-party system".
Any sober observation of these results shows the sum of this election to be a landslide for Democrats. A quick look at these results as well as some of the exit polling data points to a group of causes: Iraq, Scandal, the President. Add to this each party's contribution. The Republican failure was best summed up last night by Sen. John McCain who scrambled to get in front of a camera, look Presidential, and wrest control of a flailing party all at the same time: " I think that republicans came to change Washington but let Washington Change them". No shit. Even though they controlled ALL branches of federal Government and most of the State governments, this party did nothing and was known for that when their day of reckoning came. More on that later. The Democrats, to their credit, were able to grasp the baton as "the Party of change" and ran a crop of decent candidates who were increasingly espousing Populist rather than Left-leaning views- the middle ground. More on that later too.
For now, here's a summary of observations on the last 24 hours:
1. The Senate: Conventional wisdom prior to the election would have lead observers to believe that Republicans were due to loose a few seats, maybe 2-4. Only the most adventurous of election speculators predicted the six seat pickup necessary for a Democratic takeover of the Senate. With Montana being called and all signs pointing to the likelihood of a Democratic win in Virginia, there's little doubt that the Democrats will now take the Senate and thereby exceed most expectations. This is an important part of the post-election autopsy. No less than six sitting Republican Senators have lost their seats (again, pending last rites being administered on the Virginia race). No Democratic Senator lost his or her seat and, as important for the purpose of dissecting the overall meaning of this election, none of their races were really that close. Very telling are the results from the few states where Republicans thought they had a good chance to gain a seat. Most notable among these were New Jersey and Maryland. Both of these races tipped to Democrats by about a 10 point margin each. That's definitely nowhere near as close as most watchers had been predicting prior to the election and not remotely as close as Republican operatives had portrayed even deep into last night. Of the seats retained by the Republicans, the race in Tennessee came down to the wire and was won by only about 3%, by far the closest race to keep a seat by either party. Even a couple of seats considered "safe" for Republican re-election in Arizona (won by about 10%) and Nevada (won by about 15%). Race by race, Republican victories were, by and large, tighter than most Democratic victories. This too is very telling. More Democratic seats were up for re-election this year (the opposite will be true in 2008). These results clearly point to one direction: a landslide victory for the Democrats. Generally, this is great news to someone like myself in search of change in government. On the negative side, I find two items. One, it's hard to believe that Katherine Harris received almost 40% of the vote in Florida. Sure, she was soundly beat by Bill Nelson (20+ points), but the very fact that almost 1.8 million Floridians voted for this absolute kook leaves one scathing their head once again regarding the state of our Republic in Florida. If at all possible, Florida just became more scary to me than it was in 2000. The other disappointment is the sense of empowerment Joe Leiberman seems to feel after loosing the Democratic primary but coming back into the race and winning the General Election as an Independent (albeit one who has promised to vote with the Democratic Caucus). Joe and his Republican allies looking to hang on to some scrap of validation for their blind support of the Iraq War point to his victory as a sign that this election wasn't necessarily a referendum on this failed war. The very fact that his own campaign messaging centered on his "experience" rather than his pro-war stand and desire not to have "fellow" Democrats further their "protest votes" for Lamont in the general Election clearly signaled that this guy couldn't stand up to defend his views on Iraq policy and needed to reach elsewhere to produce support. Lieberman won by attracting "lesser of two evils" Republican votes, handcuffing himself to Union support (read: liberal), and successfully pulling back Democratic votes cast against him in the Primary on one bended knee pleading that only his experience and seniority in the Senate could continue to bring home the pork. Lamont was a great backdrop for this plea: inexperienced, somewhat inarticulate, "unconnected" (even in his own party), and only a fair candidate. Democratic voters forgave the man but NOT the policy. Leiberman's victory speech seemed to take that for granted. Yet another flub by a guy who never seems to get it. I wonder if the republican party would have ever tolerated the loosing primary candidate re-entering the General Election as Leiberman did. Lamont would have never existed without the sole issue of Lieberman's support of the Iraq war. The failure of the Democratic Party to reign in this Senator has delivered them this awkward series of events.
The House: Like the Senate, the individual house races seem to have exceeded expectation, although not quite to the same level. It looks like the Democrats will pick up at least 29 seats. Again, this sits at the top end of most pre-election predictions and is a sound defeat for Republicans beyond just loosing control of this body. It also appears that no seats were lost, which is amazing considering the number of seats in play- a clear and overwhelming victory. Looking past the winnings, the margins here too were very telling. So many races in stalwart Republican strongholds, even if lost, were closer than most observers would have predicted. Someone with more time to do this than I needs to add up the number of the total number house votes for each party in each district. I bet that this number is staggering and much more damaging to Republicans than loosing the majority. Unlike the Senate, every State took part in the House elections. It will be instructive to look at the total votes cast in each State to see what they tell us about how many people voted for each party. My bet is that far more people voted for Democrats in these elections than expected by either party. Having pulled the lever for a Democrat in 2006 gives the Democrats a great starting point to further that trend towards 2008 Presidential votes. I would guess that, if you added up all House votes in all races and called this the "popular vote", Democrats would probably control 65% percent of it. Again, staggering. On the downside of House races, the following: The loss of Tammy Duckworth, the veteran amputee running in Illinois Dist. 6 was a heartbreaker, albeit a close race. The fact that William "Refrigerator" Jefferson received the majority of votes in the split election in Louisiana Dist. 2 is extremely troubling considering the dark cloud of scandal hanging over his head and his refusal to explain why the FBI found $90,000 in unaccounted for cash in his fridge. Bullshit. Along those same lines, the voters of Western New York let us down by not ousting Tom Reynolds following his clear complicity in the Foley scandal. Shame on both Districts.
Governor's Races: Another big election for the Democrats where they added six governors without loosing one. Like the House and Senate, this gives the majority to the Democrats and speaks to the overall national impact of this election in general. Gaining Ohio will certainly help better position Democrats for the 2008 Presidential race while retaining Florida similarly positions Republicans in that other "battleground" state. Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Nevada- while wins for the Republicans- were won by much slimmer margins than expected.
All tolled, a massive victory across the board that will certainly change the direction of government over the coming months.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Although I've never seen a brick float myself, I can tell you it's true.
There are something that I trust in life and some things that I "kind of trust". Family, close friends,and my own eyes I trust. Media and government, I trust, but a bit less. My friends and family know that bricks float. Occasionally, I get get an email from one of them confirming this. It's amazing what the media won't tell you. It's as if they're afraid to tell you the truth about floating bricks. I guess it's just not "PC" to talk about things like this these days. Too bad.
One of those emails I got from one of my friends shared a great story about Benjamin Franklin leaving his entire fortune to go towards the study of creating the world's first brick submarine- years ahead of anyone else! Our Founding Fathers weren't afraid to talk about bricks, they built Liberty Hall out of them! As a matter of fact, my cousin sent me this email yesterday regarding two Nobel-Prize winning architects who were shut out of a conference at World University in New York last year because they tried to tell that liberal body the truth about Liberty Hall. It turns out that the thing people have been taught to believe is a "cuppola"on top of this sacred American site is really a pilot house! Yup, Liberty Hall was really built as a ship! Our Founders wisely located this structure close to water too. There's the proof right there, in front of our own eyes! After reading that other email about Ben Franklin, I had no doubts.With the truth that apparent and EVERYBODY saying it, you've got to wonder why the media hasn't done what it's supposed to do and taken the right side. I suppose they may be scared of being sued by the ACLU or the UN. This email I was sent a few months ago reported on a group of scientists in California who were suing to have bricks removed from a pier in San Francisco. It seems that they had a problem with a government funded building with bricks so close to water. They said it gave the appearance of government taking sides in this debate. It seems to me that they just had more of a problem with their "science" (and therefore their cushy government jobs!) falling to pieces in the event that one of these bricks broke loose and floated past the Golden Gate Bridge! I'd put a picture of that right up next to the one some guy sent me of a brick floating past the Statue of Liberty on the day of 9/11... It was majestic. I was sad to read later in that email that the scientists won the case, the bricks were removed, and the pier later collapsed. It was this very pier that was being used to ship billions of dollars of baby food to starving infant cancer patients in Indonesia. Those bastards.
I suppose that our spineless politicians are afraid just like the media but every once in a while, a true patriot among their ranks stands up for our values. Like that guy in Congress who wanted to rename that destroyer the "USS Brick". Good for him!!!! That'll make 'em squirm! Occasionally, guys like that in the media stick their necks out too. We know they really can't say what they know to be true on the air or in print or there liberal bosses will fire them. The guy in the cubicle next to me sent this great email from Andy Rooney where he really gets it right on the subject. I knew I always liked him! Aside from that, that guy on late night TV I love lets loose with a good zinger everynow and then. There was this great joke he told about these three bricklayers in a flood. They were on an island with a big pile of bricks. The one guy trys to build a dam, thinking he could outsmart the water. The other constructed a tower, thinking he'd perch above and hide from the water. The last guy- who just happened to be an American- took his bricks, built a boat and took the water head on, sailing himself to safety! The other two were eventually overcome by the water and slowly starved and drowned at the same time. How about that for the good ole' horse sense of the American people! That one really made me laugh. It made all of my friends laugh when I told them too. People can be so stupid! I like sending my friends funny email but I also like sending the stuff that makes my blood boil too. I send that stuff a lot. There's an anti-brick agenda in this country and I'm damn tired of it! Our country was founded on bricks, and now, in our hour of greatest need, we doubt them. That's why I feel it's my patriotic duty to forward those emails to everyone I know. As a matter of fact, I even bought a a magnet for the back of my car that I found at Wal Mart today. It's in the shape of a brick. I think it lets everyone know just what side of the brick debate I fall on. But as I was at a stoplight today, some guy yelled out to me, "hey jackass, the country where that magnet was made doesn't even have bricks!". Unbelievable. What part of Freedom does this guy not get! As he drove off, I noticed the telltale circular "peace" sign on the back of his Volvo. Have you ever wondered why the peace sign is round? Round, the exact opposite of square? Square, like a brick? I got an email on that one too. Some people just don't get it. It's because of people like that that I keep forwarding those email packets of truth.
Facts are facts, but sometimes I just love receiving and forwarding those rare email gems that speak volumes, without having to say much at all. There was one I got last week that brought a tear to my eye. There was this UN ship that sailed from New York that was set to deliver a load of artificial limbs to homeless children in war-torn Madagascar. Since the kindness of American citizens paid for the whole thing, on board was a Marine combat veteran who had agreed to aid in the delivery. Well, two days into the journey, the ship hit a rock in the middle of the Atlantic and sank. The captain- a Frenchman- was drunk at the wheel and too busy looking at homosexual porn provided by the UN to notice the rock. When he realized that the ship was sinking, him and his French crew cut and ran, taking all of the lifebricks on board without regard to the American, or the crippled Israeli priest on board he had befriended. The American, in the best traditions of a "can-do" Marine, fashioned a flotation devise out of the uniforms and helmets discarded by the French as they ran away. After two days afloat and struggling to hold on to the helpless priest, the Marine prayed for a miracle, reciting a simple prayer taught to him by his grandmother- another Marine combat veteran- when he was a little boy. Just then, an Eagle appeared overhead and seemed to be circling something. Looking off in the distance, he saw a group of objects floating in the water. As he swam closer, clutching the chaplin in his one good arm, he saw that these objects were lifebricks. It seemed that without the leadership of the Marine combat veteran, the selfish French sailors were incapable of properly affixing there lifebricks and drowned. Three days later, the two-barely alive- washed up along the shores of Israel where that tough Marine was greeted as a hero by America's only real friend in the world.
That story gets me every time. I can't imagine any true patriot not getting choked up when they read that one. I've had that one sent to me at least 80 times.
I'll admit, I never really thought much about the brick crisis until I started to recieve all of this email, bow could anyone not be moved by this stuff? Thank GOD we have the Internet to tell us the truth! Our Puritan forefathers who fought for our freedom against the Europeans and gave us our Constitution knew from experience that the truth floats. I say that It's time that we take a stand on this principle once and for all. To show the terrorists that they haven't won, let's make next Friday a day to stand on our principals. If you believe as I do that bricks float, just as god intended them to, grab a brick, tie it in a tight patriot's knot around your neck, and jump in the biggest body of water you can find. Show the enemies of America that you won't let the facts stand in the way of the truth!
If you agree with this email, you will be blessed if you it to everyone that you know.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Where did we go wrong? It's as if we've left the ideals and wisdom of our Founding Fathers behind at the last rest stop as we head down the history highway. Who are we now? What will become of this great experiment in popular empowerment? These are the questions that vex me as I review what passes for "the news" every day and the impetus for the rants the will surely follow.
Welcome to my grey matter.