Live By The Sword In Florida, Die By It In Washington

I think the title says it all… but I think that there should be a rule that no Republican should ever be allowed to ask for a re-vote, ever. The people have spoken, etc. etc. How can Rossi pretend that there will be questions about Gregoire’s term when everyone sure shut up about President Bush pretty quick?

Comedy. It just goes to show you that as good as the Republicans look right now, they are completely myopic. Just imagine, not being able to contest election results with a straight face, and having to turn over the Senate one day to Democrats with no filibuster anymore.

"Preserving Christmas"

Read this article on Yahoo, entitled “Christians protest actions that play down Christmas’ religious nature.” Except that’s not at all what they are trying to do.

The correct headline should read “Christians protest separation of church and state.”

Because none of the actions listed in the article accomplish anything in terms of restoring the religious nature of Christmas. They really want the Nativity scene back in front of City Hall. They don’t give one shit about the idolatry of Santa Claus (especially ironic for Protestants who don’t venerate Saints) or the consumer capitalist orgy that has done far more to damage the spirit of Christmas than any order of any court.

The Mass of Christ

There is one day of a year that not only celebrates the birth of Jesus, but celebrates the bastard essence of today’s Republican party. Christmas now celebrates the twisted marriage of consumer capitalism and religion. In a disgusting irony missed by almost everyone, to celebrate the birth of the man who had a tizzy at the money changers’ expense, we mimic the visit of the Magi (who visited Jesus not on the day of his birth, but on the Twelfth Night) by raising our children on brazen lies (Santa Claus) and a narcotic like addiction to material possession.

First, the symbolism of Christmas is blatantly pagan. The trees, holly, mistletoe, eating of ham, yule logs, and even the timing of the event derive from the pagan Yule.

Santa Claus is another apostasy. Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th century saint. The Dutch took the myth into the origins of the form we now have. (St. Nicholas’s feast day is December 6, roughly a month before the visit of the Magi.) In addition to Santa Claus’s eclipsing of Jesus in the minds of just about every Christmas celebrant, many people who engage in this deception don’t even venerate saints. Even still, this has to be breaking at least one Commandment.



Aside from the psychic trauma many children who take it too seriously may feel, it seriously interferes with the religious aspect of the Feast and only underscores the consumerist part. What Would Jesus Think? (Just another reason South Park’s original short Santa versus Jesus is genius.)

If we’re looking for an ecumenical, secular way to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the man who told us to turn the other cheek, to give Caesar what was his, and to heal the poor and downtrodden– why not give gifts, if any, to the less fortunate.

Erase Presidential Term Limits.

Scared of a third Bush term? I’m not. I’m more scared of his lame-duck second term, because he has nothing to account for. Democratically (or something like that) elected leaders need to have the big check and balance on them at all times.

Of course, we’d have to enable it for Bush to get it passed right now, probably with the Ahhnold Amendment too. I say go for it.

If it goes into effect tomorrow (impossible, I know) the President will have to start thinking about the meaning of what he does not what he wants to do.

More later.

Richardson/Dean: The Ticket to Victory in 2008

Rather than trying to reclaim the South the future of the Democratic Party lies in the West. Adding Mountain West states to the West Coast and Northeast base would give Democrats a near electoral-lock on the Presidency. {For more please scroll down and to my post “Go West Old Party!”}

On paper the best man to establish the West/Northeast Democratic Party in 2008 is Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico. He possesses a unique and eclectic background that hits every note in the chord that I surmise will resonate with America in 2008 (Ugh, that was a brutal metaphor, but whatever).

First off Richardson almost automatically brings New Mexico, one of the three Mountain West states the Democrats need, into the fold. Unlike most Governors Richardson has meaningful foreign policy experience. When he served in the House (19883 – 87) he led several diplomatic missions that resulted in the release of American prisoners in Iraq and North Korea. He also was the US Representative to the United Nations from 1997 – 1998, so he has ample diplomatic experience. Most of America does not hate the UN as much as Republican wingnuts do, so this need not be a demerit.

Richardson was unanimously confirmed to head the Department of Energy in 1998 and appears to have done a competent job “reforming” the agency and advocating alternative energy use.

Richardson ran for governor of New Mexico in 2002, a Republican year nationally, and won with 55% of the vote. Although a cursory search has not revealed any poll numbers, every article I have read about Richardson describes him as “popular” in New Mexico.

As a Hispanic, Richardson appeals to the burgeoning Hispanic population in the Southwest not because of shared heritage, but because he recognizes that Hispanics care about more than immigration and affirmative action. Richardson also has the solid support of American Indians, another crucial Southwest constituency.

Most importantly he is comfortable in the folksy, jeans and cowboy boots style that seems necessary to win rural Westerners. He has been able to hammer out compromises between development and conservation on issues like oil and gas exploration in Ostera Mesa that are agreeable to all parties. It is this sort of natural resources compromise that is important for rural westerners, more so than for the over-hyped rural Southerners.

Oh, and he has been nominated for four Nobel Peace Prizes.

It remains to be seen how Iowa and New Hampshire will take to Richardson and if he has the druthers to respond to the Conservatron Hate Machine. It will be interesting to see how Richardson handles unimportant but colorful, pithy “Maureen Dowd column” issues that dominate a presidential campaign. For instance, New Mexico is one of the only states that still allows cock fighting. Richardson has no official position on the issue, although he has told the Hollywood PETA brigade to buzz off. These are the sort of blanks that will have to be filled in on the national stage to determine Richardson’s fitness as a national candidate. (New Mexico has actually dealt with this issue in precisely the way I feel that “moral” issues should be handled. Cock fighting has been banned in several counties, but remains legal in others. But I digress…)

As for Dean for Veep: With the slight exception of Clinton/Gore (who were cut of essentially the same DLC cloth), every winning presidential ticket since 1976 has featured a VP who is loyal to the party faithful and a Presidential aspirant who is more likely to attract swing voters. Thus there is Carter the moderate Georgia Governor, and Mondale the liberal, classic Democrat; Bush II the “compassionate conservative” and Cheney, the big business, insider, consrvatron cockroach. As for Reagan/Bush, the GOP establishment was still the New England aristocracy in 1980 and they viewed Reagan as an exotic, Bush connected Reagan to the familiar party. Similarly, Dan Quayle had strong conservative credentials to tether the more moderate Bush I to the conservative GOP establishment in 1988 even if, otherwise, he was just a non-entity chucklehead.

Having the presidential candidate as the party standard bearer and the VP vying to win swing voters was another small but crucial mistake that Kerry/Edwards made. Edwards’ yeoman work reaching out to rural, Southern voters did not pan out. Neither did Jack Kemps’ attempts to win moderate urban voters for the GOP in 1996.

Like Cheney, Dean has a strong nationwide fundraising base. He also has enthusiastic support amongst the younger “MoveOn” wing of the Democratic Party. Rather than disappear into small markets as Edwards did (or was ordered to do) Dean has the perfect temperament to trade sound byte barbs with his GOP counterpart on national TV. His pugnacious personality is precisely what Democrats need to keep the faithful knocking on doors and e-mailing contributions.

If Dean becomes Democratic Party chair, then Joe Biden (D-DE) would be another able VP.

Richardson/Dean is the perfect match of West/Northeast, Moderate/Progressive, Populist Persuasion/Partisan Punch.

A lot can happen in four years and Richardson needs to get reelected in 2006 before the prognosticating gets too precocious. Still, reading the tealeaves, it is Richardson/Dean for victory in 2008.

Global Warming Litigation Begins

Read in the paper today that the 155,000 Inuits in the Canadian arctic will seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights that the United States, by contributing substantially to global warming, is threatening their seal-hunting subsistence existence. Although the comission has no enforcement power their ruling could serve as a basis for the Inuits to sue the USA in international court, or to sue private companies in Federal court.

Becuase the US government has officially admitted that human factors are certainly driving global warming even industry lawyers feel that the Inuits legal strategy could prove to be successful.

This story will disappear from the press and will perhaps pop up like a prarie dog every now and agina until suddenly, one day, the USA and its industry are being sued and drastic, long overdue, changes in how almost every aspect of this economy is operated are needed.

As is so often the case, my question is: Where are the Democrats? Where is the politician who is willing to say that grappling with global warming is an economic issue and not just a manifestation of the “save the whales” mentality, and that adjusting our economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions does not mean that everyone will have to ride a horse? Rather, by changing government incentives that pervert the market – especially for energy – we could meet the challenge of global warming with minimal disruptions. Where is the Democrat who can tell traditionally Republican industries that adjusting to global warming now – an ounce of prevention – will forestall difficult changes in the future – a pound of cure? And where is the Democrat who is willing to say that the officals who are distorting markets to stiffle innovation and let old, clumsy industries retain their prevalence through government welfare rather than ability are the Republican leadership from Bush and Cheney on down.

A market-incetive response to global warming is the perfect combination of environmentalism, old-fashioned populism and Clintonian pragmatism. Speaking out about this now, rather than mumbling inchoate platitudes about “green” issues, may not pay off immediately, but it would lay the groundwork for Democrats being the “Solutions Party” for these issues when the rising sea-level comes home to roost. Oh, and its the right thing to do too.

NHL

So, there’s some kabuki movement in the NHL labor dispute. How silly is this.

Since the beginning, I’ve been for the owners. Not because I love the owners, but because I recognized that the current CBA was causing the players to receive abusively high salaries (like Bobby Holik) and causing too much movement and had absolutely destroyed the trade process from a player focussed process to a money process.

The counter-arguments from pro-labor commentators, like Larry Brooks yesterday, is that the teams that are suffering are the expansion teams Bettman added. What does that have to do with anything? The union isn’t going to agree to a contraction, is it? That would cause the loss of NHL jobs for potentially hundreds of their members, if the reduction went back to pre-Bettman levels.

Plus, the problem isn’t the bottom teams as much as it is the top ones, that feel they have to outbid each other to stay competitive (not that I’m against contraction).

The solution is, as it ever was, simple. The owners open their books. If they’re even close to being honest about their problems, then the players should agree to a cap based on a percentage.

You see, if the players really weren’t worried about contraction, they could say, fuck it let these teams go bankrupt, then they would be the ones making an impasse.

Also, don’t shed a tear for the players. They could easily start their own cooperative league, buy out the few players still under contract, and split their own profits. Why they don’t, I haven’t a clue. If they’re stupid enough to continue to play for the owners, then they have to make sure the owners stay in business.

[UPDATE: Larry Brooks, the only pro-union author to set foot in the New York Post, (and only, I think, because taking a pro-union position somehow defends the Rangers) suggests today that the league fire Bettman. Yes! Fire him. Now, he’s gone. Tell me again how that fixes the fiscal situation or the talent pool dilution? It may keep it from getting worse, but it doesn’t fix it.

Put teams back in Winnipeg and Quebec City, put one in Hamilton and forget Nashville, Atlanta, and Carolina. Duh.

Oh, and the strong US dollar was a problem that cause a lot of these teams to move. The USD is down FORTY CENTS since 2003.