breaking news: pigs spotted in the pattern at logan.

Massachusetts has voted on Kennedy’s successor.  Republican Scott Brown won, and Democrat Martha Coakley contributed an object lesson in How Not To Run A Campaign, losing the seat held by the most liberal member of the Senate…to a Republican. 

This morning, I pictured a Marley-like ghostly apparition of Ted Kennedy, following Martha Coakley around from now until she dies, jingling his chains at her and moaning, “Woe! Woe!”

The ultimate irony, of course, is that Ted Kennedy planted the seed for the loss of his own seat.  When Kerry ran against Bush, Teddy pushed the state legislature to change the process that allowed the governor to appoint a successor…because the governor at the time was Republican Mitt Romney.  There was a lot of talk about how “the will of the people needed to be heard”, so they changed the law to require a special election instead.  Fast forward four years, and a Democrat sits in the governor’s chair again…and the Will of the People all of a sudden comes back to bite Kennedy in the ass posthumously.

All over the Intertubes, pundits are already either predicting a bloody rout for the Democrats in the midterm elections, or assuring us that the election was not a referendum on Obama or his health care plan, but I think the Dems had better sit up and take notes.  If you can lose Kennedy’s old seat, in a state where Dems outnumber Republicans by three to one, your agenda may not have traction with the public, to put it mildly, and barging ahead with business as usual may cost you dearly come November.

Apparently, Brown’s victory was largely due to his ability to sway the Independent vote.  Just like NH, Massachusetts has more “independent” registered voters than Republicans and Democrats combined, and Martha Coakley just found out that you don’t win those folks over by doing some light campaigning in front of folks who already swing your way already.  Brown, on the other hand, ran like he actually wanted to win the election, not like he was just waiting for the inevitable coronation.

I think the Democrats’ loss of “Kennedy’s seat” to the Republicans has chipped away at the sense of inevitability that comes with elections in areas heavily dominated by one party.  If Massachusetts can vote a Republican into Teddy’s well-worn Senate chair, then nothing’s a sure thing anymore.

One thing’s for sure….it’ll be an interesting election year.

thursday randomosity.

  • I had to rebuild my desktop rig with Vista 64-bit (don’t ask), and after the umpteenth time of re-synchronizing all my work across two computers and four hard drives, I decided to finally put all my work on Google Docs.  With Google Gears, there’s always an updated copy on your hard drive locally, so you can work on your stuff even when the Intertubes crash (or your satellite connection is flaky because a gnat farted in front of the dish.)  With all the stuff I have on Google (including my email, which has been exclusively Gmail for a few years now), I’ll be royally hosed when Google decides to flick the switch and go Evil.
  • This morning, I got Quinn dressed, and declared that several weeks of accident-free potty use warranted the issue of Thomas the Tank Engine underpants.  He was so delighted, you’d think I had declared that we’ll eat nothing but candy for the rest of the month.
  • Those of you who get the Blue Press, check out pages 60 and 61 of the December issue.  I have an article in there titled “In Defense of the Revolver”.  (H/T to Gewehr98 for tipping me off that the December issue is out already.) Here’s an online version, for those of you who don’t get the paper issue of TBP.
  • The new beta of Windows Live Writer is a bit slow and wobbly.  The old version worked really well, so I have no idea what they “improved”, but it’s slow to start up, and slow to publish and save stuff.  I’d happily use the old and un-fucked-with version, but that one’s no longer available for download, of course.  Maybe it’s just my machine, or a peculiarity of 64-bit Vista, but I’ll be looking for a new offline client if they don’t fix that soon.
  • I’m really ecstatic about the end of the election season.  No more robocalls, no more canvassers rousing the dogs and in turn waking up the kids from their naps, no more sign forests by the side of the road.  Back to our lives in progress.
  • A 120GB iPod Classic makes a dandy portable USB hard drive for backups and file transfers, in addition to making a handy music and movie player with stupid-long battery life.  How did we ever live without the ability to carry our entire media collection around with us?  (Well, I could carry all the CDs and DVDs physically, but that would be a very tall backpack full.  Technology is awesome.)
  • I can’t decide whether Snickers is the Best Candy Bar Evar!, or whether that title belongs to Mars.  (Others are not in the race, sorry.  Don’t start trying to sell me on 100 Grand, or that Payday abomination.  And Butterfinger is so damn rich, it ought to be redistributed.)
  • I have the feeling that my dogs only love me for my ability to purchase and dispense Mutt Chow.
  • I hate my Work In Progress, and I feel like a no-talent hack.  This is normal for the middle of the novel, and it will pass as it’s slowly replaced by the excitement of being almost done with the thing.

That’s enough cat-waxing for now, I suppose.  Back to work, for there is lots to be done.

the votes are counted.

Congratulations to the President-elect, Barack Hussein Obama II.

I wish him nothing but the best for his term in office. I hope that he will execute the duties and responsibilities of the Presidency with reason, wisdom, and level-headedness.

Regardless of your political leanings, you, too, should wish him well, because on January 20, he will be sworn in as the democratically elected forty-fourth President of the United States–our President. It’s the toughest job in the world, and the next President will have a particulary tough row to hoe.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

–Senator John McCain

barry versus mac.

 ivoted

I voted at 9:30 this morning, at our small town polling place (the public library).  In and out in ten minutes, even with two toddlers in tow.

Now we wait…and obsessively hit the “refresh” button on our web browsers.  If you voted, you have my express permission to sit down with the nerve balm of your choice (nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or all of the above), and await the results.  And if you haven’t voted yet…what are you waiting for?

pay no attention to that half trillion dollar deficit.

Another day, another stack of campaign pamphlets in the mailbox.

I have to address something that’s been bugging me for a while.  Every single one of the Republican campaign brochures has had the item “Lower Taxes and End Wasteful Government Spending” as a bullet point.  This from the party that has been in charge of the biggest expansion of the fed.gov in half a century, and the biggest deficit spending orgy ever.

Folks, deficit spending is a tax, too.  It’s a tax on the future, a promise to pay back a debt with my children’s future paychecks.  Tax & Spend is bad enough, but how is Borrow & Spend any better?

Once upon a time, Republicans were the party of small(er) government, and fiscal responsibility.  That is no longer the case, and hawking a promise to end wasteful spending now sounds pretty hollow coming from that side of the aisle, after seven years of insane federal spending.  It’s like finally having a Come To Jesus meeting with your college kid who’s been racking up a few ten thousand dollars on the “emergency” credit card, and then being pacified by his promise to get a job at Starbucks and stick to a budget, if you only give him another chance and please, please, pretty please pay his tuition for him one more time.

Disclaimer: Being critical of borrow & spend Republicans doesn’t automatically make me a fan of tax & spend Democrats, so don’t start the “OMG YOU WANT SOCIALISM INSTEAD?” chorus.  Ideally, I want to be left alone, keep as much of my paycheck as possible, and not have my kids’ future paychecks being used as collateral for anything…whether that “anything” is my neighbor’s medical bill, or a rack of Hellfire missiles.  Right now, we’re just playing a game of Fiscal Musical Chairs, we’re running out of chairs, and the candidates for both parties are asking us to just please keep the music playing for a little while longer.

my inbox, she is full.

A public service request:

Will you please, please, pretty please stop sending me political agitprop via email?

Seriously…I’ve seen every bit of e-mail evidence out there now–multiple times–and I am deeply convinced that:

a.) your preferred candidate is the country’s last hope for freedom, decency, unmolested Golden Retriever puppies, and the American Way of Life,

b.) the other candidate stands for everything we don’t stand for, enjoys deep-fried kitten sandwiches for lunch, hates God/black people/white people/Christians/Muslims/women/children/America/apple pie, and wipes his ass with original copies of the Bill of Rights,

c.) the fate of the country hinges on my decision at the polls on November 4th. 

(Also, if I don’t vote for your guy, I’m an unfeeling/un-American naive moron who will then be solely held responsible if we starve at the hands of our Wall Street overlords/end up in U.N concentration camps.)

Yes, thank you, the message has been received.  You may cease filling my inbox with propaganda now.  Thank you kindly.

with friends like these…

Dear Bob Grant:  You’re a fucking idiot.

McCain sure has the uninformed knee-jerk flag suckler vote in the bag.  Bob Grant got his panties all in a wad about Obama’s recent campaign apprearance in Ohio:

grant-1

Sez Bob:

But really folks, did you notice Obama is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars? He has the “O” flag. And that’s what that “O” is. That’s what that “O” is. Just like he did with the plane he was using. He had the flag painted over, and the “O” for Obama. Now, these are symptom — these things are symptomatic of a person who would like to be a potentate — a dictator. And I really see this in this man.

Trouble is…that “O” flag is the state flag of Ohio.

Oh, and regardless of how you feel about Obama’s cult of personality, I’m actually really fucking offended that Bob Grant shoots off his mouth about potentates and dictators.

When Obama refuses to recognize the authority of Congress for the first time, when he refuses to recognize his first Supreme Court ruling, when he signs his first Executive Order to circumvent the legislative process, and when he suspends his first election…then you can start opening your mouth about dictatorships and potentates.  (And when that happens, think about who put all those shiny executive tools into the toolshed at Penna Ave. since 9/11, ready to be used against you after the next change of the watch.)

Mugabe is a dictator.  Hitler was a dictator.  Stalin and Mussolini were dictators.  Idi Amin was a dictator.  To apply that term to the front runner of a major party in a pluralistic and democratic republic is an offensive act of ideological masturbation. 

(That goes both ways, for you “Bush is teh Hitlar!!1!!!One!!!” folks.  If you truly believed that we have a dictator in the White House–or about to become President–you loudmouths would be out on some rooftop with a rifle, instead of behind a keyboard or a microphone.  If you had any balls whatsoever, that is.)

this will be a long month.

Phone conversation from today’s lunch hour:

Election Survey Worker:  “Are you going to support John McCain and Sarah Palin in November?”

Resident Household Male:  “Well, to be honest with you, I haven’t completely made up my mind yet.  I may vote straight Libertarian again, or I may decide to hold my nose and vote for the less objectionable of the Republicrats.  Trouble is, this election serves up the choice of two crap sandwiches.”

Election Survey Worker (chuckling):  “I don’t have an option on my form for that answer.”

Resident Household Male:  “You sure they gave you the form for New Hampshire?”