surprise, surprise

Much talk in the news about the President's "surprise" visit to Iraq. The Administration is spinning this as some daring act of heroism on the President's part. I suspect most of America is responding in the manner my mom did. To paraphrase, "Damn right he should be going over there after he's had all of those people risk their lives for him."

My mom was a big supporter of the bombing or Afganistan. As was I, actually. Indeed, as was most of the international community. But like me, and most of the international community, she's never seen the connection to the War on Terror and the War on Iraq. A couple years ago, my mom was being down right jingoistic, but now she's been completely put off by Bush. I guess it just goes to show its not just the good will of the world he has squandered as he has turned attention away from an increasingly active Al quieda and to the hardly imminently threatening Iraq. So, upon hearing that he was visiting the troops, she thought it was literally the least he could do.

Of course, he's also facing some pretty tough questions from the White House Press Corps over this. Mostly because he just pissed them all off by lying to most of them for weeks and hand-picking a select group of reporters who got to tag along. It reminds me of Valentine's Day in elementary school when it was made very clear to me and my class mates that we had to get Valentine's for everyone, lest anyone feel left out. I guess they didn't touch such lessons in sensitivity to other's feelings back when Bush was in grade school. The greater concern is whether those invited were chosen because they were especially friendly with the White House. And, of course, the President does himself no favors when he basically tells the left out and lied to reporters that they should be thanking him.

This is not to say that a level of secrecy wouldn't have been warrented. Regardless of my personal feelings about his job performance, I certainly can acknowledge that a great deal of care is needed when visiting a war zone. And while it certainly has hints of his grandstanding habits, I am sure the troops appreciated it in a way that the crew of the Air Craft Carrier the White House placed just out of sight of San Diego wouldn't.

Still, it all just feels so over the top. Like W. realized he could live out his spy fantasies as he sneaks around "undercover" posing as a couple with Condi Rice. And of course, his paternal instincts kept kicking in as he threatended to turn Air Force One around if the reporters didn't behave. Seems like this all could have been accomplished if the President planned to have Thanksgiving Dinner at a military base in Germany but was really bound for Iraq. Then you can get a full press contingent who just don't know the scope of their visit until they find themselves getting off the plane in Baghdad.

The other thing is, it doesn't seem like it was all that safe. I mean, he did fly one of the two planes outfitted as Air Force 1. Even with a fighter patrol and AF1's impressive defense measures, seems like that would be a pretty noticable target. They actually were spotted by a British Airways pilot. I'm not expert, but you have to think that some Iraqi with a beef against the US might have noticed it, too.

But, they felt it was secure, so I'll go with their judgement. I'm more concerned by their typical stand-offish response. I'd be more impressed with this sort of thing if it wasn't always so overtly orchestrated or if they weren't premptively defensive. It is reminding me of the minor out-cry over Bush's plane hopping on September 11. A lot of people were fairly upset that our President was not providing visible leadership in one of the darkest hours of American history. But the Secret Service were also fairly concerned about safe-guarding the President's safety. The nation hoping made sense, even if the risk was slight. A few people would find issue, but they really weren't being fair. And yet, the White House still felt compelled to lie about it and make up a story about how they knew Air Force One was being targeted and they had to evade attack. It was all fantasy. They had no such information. Now, they didn't have any reason to lie. They had a reasonable explanation and an understanding public, but they still were making up stories. That's really disturbing all on its own.



Oh, one more thing. Anyone know where to read the new Opus comic strip online? I can't seem to find any info on it. Thanks for any help!

happy thanksgiving

Sorry for the last post, but I just had to say it. Funny way two months of daily personal insults can take their toil.

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is going well. Turkey Day has never been a big deal to me, probably because I'm a vegetarian. My Thanksgiving memories are of being at relatives and feeling uncomfortable at everyone trying to accomidate me. That's the thing that sucks the most about being a veggie is other people feeling bad about not accomidating you. I genuinely don't mind. Obviously, its something I'm used to and completely understanding about, but it makes me feel bad that they are feeling bad, and its all just a big vicious cycle.

So, the last two years, I've just stayed by myself all day. Actually, I did that the previous two years when I lived with my ex, but that was mostly because I wasn't allowed to see her family so the option of spending the day with her was out of the question. BUT ANYWAY... I've just kept to myself the last two years and I really don't mind. Its kinda nice. I'm making some Salmon Mignon, got myself one of those little Frisbee pies so I've got that covered, and am just going to chill out. Watch some parade, watch some football, and just relax. I actually have to work on Friday (and Sunday, for that matter) so the little break will come in handy. Might even catch up on some email I've been long delinquent on and maybe right some posts I keep meaning to. Maybe if I toss them all out at once, my cyber stalker won't know what to insult! Now there is an idea.

But, until then, my best wishes for a happy holiday to you all, and special good wishes to Kell and her progress with NaNoWriMo. Happy Thanksgiving!


for all of my bald gay readers

Some very positive news out of the Bay State this weekend. While Massachusetts has tended to poll in favor of gay marriage, the numbers have always been close. Back in April, it was 50% supporting and 44% opposing, and that was before the jump in opposition that was seen in national polls after the Lawrence decision from the Supreme Court and Canada's move to legalize gay marriage. One might have suspected a surge in opposition after last week's court ruling.

Actually, it was the opposite. Well, kinda.

Support stood firm at 50% but opposition took a steep drop. Also, opposition to a Constitutional Ammendment banning gay marriage was even stronger, sitting at 53% opposed. That has to be a positive sign that the Commonwealth can hold the line on this, even if the politicians try to dump an Ammendment in our laps. Especially since the soonest it would be on the ballet would be during a mid-term election year with a Governor race to boot. A high turn-out would reduce the chance for a bill with marginal poll numbers to sneak through.

When asked about affording the legal rights and responsibilities, some polls saw the numbers climb very high, in fact. Up past 70% support, actually. This offers more reason to suspect that if this issue can be framed properly, that support will jump. If people know this discussion is about the civil institution and nothing to do with their personal religious beliefs, I think a lot more people would be uncomfortable opposing gay marriage. All interesting signs. One negative, though, is that the state's Governor and Attorney General and blatently misinterpreting the rulling as permiting Vermont-style civil unions instead of marriages, when almost all legal scholars and observors have noted how emphatic it was they were talking about marriage and that "seperate but equal" wouldn't remedy their concerns. But, I suspect the politicians are intent on calling the court's bluff on this one, and the court could well back down. I'd be comfortable with a seperate system, as long as it was called marriage, too. Either that, or start calling all civil marriages, civil unions and be done with it.

In non-gay marriage related news, I'm increasingly pissed off with these anti-baldness ads. It seems like once or twice a year, some baldness "cure" puts out an ad which is just out-right mean-spirited, and that time is now. Honestly, I can't think of a better case of someone promoting a stigma to promote their product. Not to say that there isn't stigmatization of baldness in our culture, but there is still something uncomfortably annoying about the way they are trying to promote those prejudices. I regard baldness cures in pretty much the same light as diet products to begin with, but outside of the dreck from Stacker 2 or, apparently, Amstel Light, they usually aren't just mean when promoting stigmas. Still, I'm not sure their faux emotional promotion of the same stigmas is any better. In a lot of ways, I can see how the mother who tells a story of how their child hated them for being fat doing a lot more damage than the gleeful cruelty of of an actress portraying a girlfriend bashing the boyfriend's formerly receeding hairline by means of praising his hairied self. But, lesser of two evils style discussions like this are always dramatically uninspiring. (yeah, i know that makes no sense, but it sounds nice) But the cruelty of the baldness cure ads increasingly seem to be more interested in promoting stigmatization than in just taking advantage of it.


what to write, what to write...

Been debating topics to write about for a few days. I've been really burned out all month from work and haven't been writing as much as I'd like. Thank goodness I abandoned NaNoWriMo, because I'd be in no shape to write anything. But, this isn't a whine about work blog. Not that I think my superiors are web saavy enough to find me anyway, but I *really* am not interested in either boring you with that or dwelling on work on my own time.

Been thinking about writing a follow up to the gay marriage debate. For all my hand-wringing over worries of a back-lash, I've also found two reasons to look more optimistically at the situation. For one, gay marriage in Massachusetts is inevitable. Its gonna happen, that's pretty clear right now. That means any move to ban gay marriage is going to be a move to revoke people's rights, a move to end happy marriages. I'm not sure that will sit well with a lot of people. Arguing for the status quo is always easier, and in 6 months, gay marriage is going to be the status quo in the Commonwealth. The debate of gay marriage is dominated by moderates who currently disagree with gay marriage, but not that strongly. It may really challenge those people when real faces are put on this issue.

Also, I'm encouraged that the GOP wants to make an issue out of gay marriage in 2004. I think they are radically overestimating how much this means to that vast expanse of moderates. The people in the middle are precisely the type to be motivated by discouragement over the jobless "recovery", massive budget deficits, and the lack of focus in the Iraqi occupation. Abortion never ignited these people. Why is gay marriage going to? The real kicker is I think a lot of those people actually would support gay marriage if they thought about it too long. Especially since the GOP seems ill-prepared to keep the gay-hating attack dogs at bay, which will really put off the moderates. The hyperbole employed by even Republican leaders is going to annoy people. This maybe a deciding issue in 2004, but only if the GOP is hanging themselves with it.

But that's about all I have to say about that.

Thought about doing my second random thoughts post, but I really only have one random thought. How long will it take Ashton Kutchner to get washed-up enough to be doing Old Navy commercials?

Oh, and White Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures freaking rule. I wish they'd make that a perminant variation. Its easily the best of the Reese's limited editions this year. I hated the Honey Roaster ones. Bleck!

And did you know Bloom County is (kinda) coming back? Opus anyway. Really, this is too important for a random thought. I loved Bloom County and Outland back in the day when I was too young to understand all of it. Its due back in the form of Sunday only strip starting this Sunday. Expect it to join Boondocks and Get Fuzzy among my linked comics. I've always loved the funny pages, especially the artists who really respect the medium. I'm still a little annoyed that we don't get any more Calvin and Hobbes. I'd also LOVE to be able to own all of the Peanuts strips over the years. Schultz *made* comic strips what they are. To paraphrase Get Fuzzy's aritst, all comics are either rip offs of Peanuts or rip offs of Far Side. (Darby Conley actually said that all comic strip artists fall into two categories: those who started out ripping off Far Side, and those who won't admit they started out ripping off Far Side because they still are).

Have two longer posts I want to write, but I suspect they'll bore the heck out of my readers. Well, except the troll who can always be depended upon to read very closely to find out the best way to misrepresent something to justify his/her obsession with me. With the impending release of X-Men 2 on DVD, I kinda want to talk a bit about my super-hero fandom. You see, its funny because I hate comic books, but love comic book movies. That's pretty much the jist of the considered post, except I also bitch about why Warner Brothers is planning a new Superman movie instead of trying to build on their already successful Superman property, Smallville.

I also wanted to write a bit about my thoughts about being a moderate progressive (which in non-progressive circles means a solid progressive) but I think I've overdone it with politics in the last couple of days.

So, I write about nothing much. Just be glad I'm not discussing the latest episode of Angel or something horribly bloggish like that. hehe



The top court in Massachusetts just tossed out a ban on gay marriage in Massachusetts and have ordered the legislature to fix it within 180 days. The kicker is, they specifically stated that Vermont style Civil Unions would not satisfy the court's concerns with the law. Simply put, seperate but equal ain't enough. Hawaii and Alaska both saw the same thing, but each were able to get amendments passed. Although an amendment to the State Constitution would probably pass, it also seems like there is enough support in the state Senate to prevent it from getting out of convention. What's more, procedures in Massachusetts would prevent such an amendment from taking effect until 2006, at which point the genie will be decidedly out of the bottle.

I'm frankly stunned at this. It's been hanging for about 6 months as the Court considered the case, a really extraordinary length of time for deliberation. Moreover, I was expecting the court to take the stance lower courts did, that this is an issue that is best left to the legislature. I kinda agreed with that, too, but never very strongly. I am deeply concerned about what damage could be done to the movement for gay rights by too much coming too soon. I mean, the Supreme Court only recently decided that having consentual gay sex was a protected activity, and even THAT caused an outrage. I worry that more mainstream unease with homosexuality could be ignited if the marriage thing came too quickly. At the same time, it is impossible to ignore how many extraordinarily important changes took place in this country because the courts stepped in. Indeed, the only important change in civil rights that took place without the courts was the abolishing of slavery, which the Supreme Court got very, very wrong. They got segregation wrong, too, but they also took the opportunity to fix that. Sometimes, that is the only way for change to take place.

I guess my concern is that I don't think this is the only way to break down bans on gay marriage. I think it is increasingly clear that things are moving overwhelmingly in the direction of supporting gay rights, and it may well have happened within a decade or two on its own. If, however, constitutional ammendments are passed, that will make things MUCH more difficult. Especially in the thankfully unlikely event that a federal ammendment gets passed. But, even gay marriage opponents don't think that's a good thing. A few of them aren't as hypocritically conservative as others.

Former Rep. Bob Barr, for instance, is at least consistant to his philosophy. Hardly a friend to the gay lobby, he is the guy who spearheaded the stupid fight for the Defense of Marriage act. But, he's at least being consistant. The DOMA allowed states to refuse to recognize gay marriages performed out of the state and denied federal benefits to gay partners. Seemed like a much ado about nothing, at the time, but it seems Barr has a soft touch. He's an ardent federalist, and doesn't like the idea of meddling with the constitution to either restate what the DOMA already does or more importantly, forbid states from setting their own marriage laws as they sit fit. He is, it seems, one Republican who really means it when he says "State's Rights". He doesn't just want it when it serves his idealogy. I still think the guy is dead wrong, but I do admire ideaological consistancy like that.

But, for now, a huge victory for gay marriage may be 180 days away. I just hope it isn't a prelude to a lot of huge setbacks.

i hate the music industry

Have I mentioned how much I hate the music industry? Because I really hate the music industry. They are destroying music, running their business like idiots, and then they blame their fans for their troubles. I've never downloaded an album I could have bought. I have bought albums because I had downloaded tracks, though. I'm not alone, either. Downloading has, at times, made me more motivated to be interested in music.

I'm lucky that my favorite band, R.E.M., is astonishingly downloader friendly. Although in this day and age that's really just being fan friendly. I'm amazed at what they do for their fans interested in their work, and it has managed to increase my interest in one the handful of acts I'm really interested in. A while back, they released an entire album online. Not new stuff, granted, but it was an album of remixes from their most recent album. A mixed bag, but it was just plain awesome that they did it. Even offered album art to download. They've also offered their explicit endorsement to a fan downloading site which fosters trading in bootlegs and B-Sides among their fans. They even got better when they recently offered access to ALL of their videos and some live video to boot. Yes, ALL of their music videos. How cool is that? I mean, this is a band known for their cutting edge and creative videos, and they've got it all there. This is an act doing things right. They've also got the clout to do that. Most artists are too busy being stuck in the disturbingly unfair contracts that are standard in the music biz. Any time the music companies claim they are doing things to protect the poor artists, they are lying. Its that simple. Did you know a musician whose music is sold online as a download is still charged in their royalties the cost of damaged CD's? Do you know how many pennies an artist receives from those low-overhead music downloads? Do you know the music companies aren't even bothering to PAY the artists for the download services they set up?

I recently bought an MP3 player. Well, okay, not really. Its one of those CD players that can play CD's burned with MP3's. A cool comparmise from a real MP3 player. But, it requires blank CDs, which I've started using a lot. I stocked up on them years ago when I first got a CD burner because they were dirt cheap. And I mean CHEAP. I got 250 blank CD's without paying a cent through really generous rebates. Now, I wouldn't expect that forever, but the regular price was still good. Now, they cost a ton. And why? Because they are secretly taxed and the proceeds go directly to the music companies. Its supposed to also go to artists, but guess who isn't paying the artists their share of these taxes? The tax is secret because its built into the retail price of the blank CD's, much like blank cassette tapes. The theory is that it is to pay for the music downloading that goes. But, you pay whether you use the CDs to back up files or to burn music. Doesn't matter. Everyone pays.

Which is pretty much when I stopped feeling remotely sorry for the music industry. Why shouldn't I steal music when I've already been fined just in case I steal music? Honestly, how am I supposed to think what I'm doing is wrong when I'll be punished for it whether I do it or not.

What's frustrating is that the companies are sitting on a goldmine in their back catalogs. This is stuff they aren't making a red cent on, but absurdly get to control. Dump all of that great old stuff on a site, charge a low monthly or yearly fee, and allow unlimited downloading. And don't handicap the files, either. Allow them to be used however the buyer pleases. Fair use is protected in the US, even if the music comapnies don't like it. I can tell you I'd sign up for that. I remember a Mama Cass special a while back (check my post from 9.20.2003) and I kept thinking that I'd love to hear more of her early folk stuff. But I'm no idiot. That stuff is non-existant on CD. I'd have loved to have been able to just jump online and download it. I can think of tons of stuff I'd love to have. Yes, it'd cost money to set up, but this is stuff they aren't earning a dime on that could definetly bring in some cash. Plus, it'd work to preserve culture, which ought to be an obligation of the Music Industry. But, as we've seen with the attacks on copyright limits, the entertainment biz doesn't much care about advancing the arts and sciences.

Ah, screw it. I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen-venting, but I feel better having screamed. Don't you?

(Major brownie points to anyone who can identify that without googling)


wes clark loses me

This is what you get for pandering to the jingoistic American Legion. I wanted to like Wesley Clark, I really did. But I cannot support a candidate who believes in meddling with the first amendment. We have never passed a repeal of our First Amendment rights, and we never should. Freedom of expression is perhaps our most important liberty. It is supremely American and it is an insult to all that our flag stands for to suggest we roll-back those rights. This is a liberty our founders took very seriously, and it is something every American should be proud of.

I got to sit through a day long American Legion propaganda session when I did Boy's State in high school trying to pressure us to support their effort to re-write freedom of expression. Their lack of a coherant point was breath-taking. It was pure jingoism meant to indoctronate 16 and 17 year olds. Indeed, the whole flap over flag burning is a much-ado-about-nothing scenario. It's a fake issue. Flag burnings happen so infrequently as to further make a mockery of the supposed justification of re-writing the constitution. This just doesn't deserve such attention. Its an issue being exploited by people. This is no reason to undermine the Constitution.

America is more than a symbol. It is more than 13 bars, 50 stars, and a field of blue. What makes our nation is justice, liberty, freedom. That is what our soldiers fight for when the fight under our flag. This is what my father and my grandfather fought for. Not for the flag itself, but for what it means. Frankly, I think it represents a massive failure in teaching civics that this is not just understood. That people don't understand that the flag is nothing compared to what this nations really stands for. We, as a nation, clearly have not adequately informed our citizenry of what it means to be an America. Our Constitution ought to be much more sacred than our flag. Even if you don't think people ought to be burning flags, how can you think it merits meddling in such a genuinely sacred symbol of America.

I don't like it that people burn the flag to make a point. I think it is callous and unproductive. But that is their right. If it is okay for someone to promote horrible racism, how can we say that burning some fabric is the more heinous crime? Both are bad, but also are proof of the resiliency of the American nation and the American spirit. Someone burning our flag is no threat to our nation. How dare we repeal the first amendment to outlay such an unimportant issue. We should not embarass the generations to come with the specticle of a crossed out amendment. We made a mistake once in our history, and it remains a national shame that we abused our Constitution over such a trivial issue as alcohol. There are important reasons to ammend the Constitution. Flag burning is most decidedly NOT it.

Some say that this amendment is intended to be for our veterens. Rather than tamper with a liberty those veterens served in defense of, why not provide more health care for those have performed duty for the armed forces? Why not shore up the benefits our injured soldiers can recieve. A former POW who was shot twice in the line of duty was offered a paltry 30% disability. That is respect for our veterens? Effort that could be spent protecting those who risk life and limb for all that that this nation stands for is instead spent pursuing a silly perversion of our Constitution.

So, I have lost a great deal of respect for Wesley Clark. He was pandering to an American Legion audience. He should know better. As should Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich who have also consistantly supported repealing a freedom of expression. Howard Dean has gone the route of attacking the first ammendment but not clearly stating that HE wants to attack the first ammendment. I don't get it, either, but thus far he hasn't had the power to actually make this issue a problem. And much credit must be given to John Kerry, John Edwards, and Joe Lieberman who have defended the sanctity of our Constitution in the US Senate, as did Carol Moseley-Braun when she served as Senator. I can't find what Al Sharpton thinks, but I guess he doesn't support amending the Constitution. I still single out the Senators who have made a real contribution to defending our Constitution and am especially ashamed of the Representatives who made a contribution to meddling with it.


oh, me of little faith (and ability)

Not long after I "gave up" on my novel, I started reconsidering what my issues were. I largely decided that my concept was the primary problem and it was just too weak for what I wanted to do with it. Now, when I first thought about doing NaNoWriMo, I had an idea pop into my head right away but I dismissed it as too science fiction-ish. This wasn't entirely fair, as the idea was really a sort of post-modern after-life mythology, but it seemed close enough. When I gave up on the college story, though, I reconsidered my original idea. In about 6 hours of thinking about it, I had a very fully formed plot, a strong cast of characters, two alternative endings, and a very good understanding for the physical reality of the novel. I was feeling very secure, and very silly for my prior defeatism. But, I continued to procrastinate the actual writing.

I finally sat down today to work on it, and I tossed off 1,000 words in about an hour. Problem is, I hated it. So, I'm back where I was before, only with a better idea now. I'm still thinking overly visually. I'm seeing the story, but that doesn't mean I'm translating it well at all. I still have the basic problem that I don't know how to write fiction. Based in no small part to me not reading much fiction. I'd like to get back to it, so I'm thinking of the project on hiatus, but I have no illusion that I'll be able to do anything this month. But, I'm really excited about the idea which leaves me a little creatively frustrated.

Ah, well. For another day, I suppose.


movie review- elf

I saw the new holiday comedy Elf over the weekend and was quite amused. It worked on just about every level and had quite a few laugh out loud moments, which is saying a lot for me. I like my comedy, but I'm usually amused inwardedly, you know? But there were more than a few moments when I just burst out laughing.

Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is used to perfection. He carries the movie but manages to not get old. He threatens at a couple points, but the director held firm and rode through the rough waters. This is what Ferrell does best, without a doubt, and his given the room to do what he does, but not more than is needed. This is best accomplished by an outstanding supporting cast that is more than capable of holding their own with the sceen stealing Ferrell. James Cann is very suited to the role of Buddy's Naughty List residing father. He's bad, but not so bad that his redemntion seems inappropriate. Zooey Deschanel is a revelation as Buddy's object of affection. Its a too small part, but Zooey's work makes it hold its own. She was really so good that I was surprised I hadn't seen her in much. Especially when I realized what I recognized her from were from two great films, Almost Famous and The Good Girl, I was stunned that I haven't seen more from her. She was really spot on. I can't even quite explain the effect she created, but it was that kind of awkward, counter-culture cute that seems to go over well in Hollywood and I didn't really see what seperated Zooey from, say, Maggie Gyllenhaal who seems a lot more recognizable. There's also some other actresses doing this sort of thing that I can't remember right now. ANYWAY, the supporting cast also featured some great turns from Faizon Love, Mary Steenburgen, Amy Sedaris, and especially Bob Newhart as Buddy's adoptive father and Ed freakin' Asner as Santa Claus. How cool is that?

ANYWAY, the story is really held together by excellent writing. A lot of time is taken up in setting up the story, which means they do kind of rush the resolution. This bothered me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw this as a good trade-off. Setting up the North Pole so well allowed them to go where they did with Buddy's character. It had to be understood that he really wasn't an idiot, just very very earnest. It wasn't just him, after all. We saw it. It really gave them a lot of freedom to do a lot of funny stuff. It also made the quick resolution make some sense, as we could understand what an honest and genuine person Buddy was, we could understand how he could change these people so quickly.

But, that's reading a lot more than is necessary into what aspires to nothing more than being a fun Christmas movie. Good for adults, good for kids, and quite possibly a holiday classic in the making in the mold of Scrooged.

(I'm always amazed at how an agnostic like myself can get into Christmas every year, but I guess that's just a testament to what a secular holiday it has become.)


arnold and the private dick

Governor Elect Schwarzenegger is hiring a private investigator to investigate allegations of Arnold's wide-spread groping.

Um, huh?

His hiring a private eye to find out if he, himself, has done anything wrong?

I feel bad for the people who didn't vote for Arnold, because you got stuck with a REAL piece of work.


casual day in the presidential race

Right in my own proverbial backyard, we had 8 of the 9 remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination appearing at a Rock the Vote forum/debate at Fanuial Hall. I missed the debate, both in person and on TV, but have been checking on the stories to find out what the deal with Howard Dean's confederate flag comments were. Now understanding the context, I have to say that I do think Edwards and Sharpton were wrong to attack him for it BUT that Dean did an embarassingly bad job defending himself. If you're going to take the route of a defiant defense, you should be able to put up a good one, and Dean didn't. The shame is, he did have a good point, but even I didn't get it until his last remark. And his initial comment didn't provide ANY of the context which made the remark a statement in support of racial diversity rather than pandering to racial tension.

The other thing I noted in the candid photographs of the event is how all of the candidates were clearly getting along, inspite of the bickering that went on in the debate. That is a powerful image that the Democratic Party NEEDS to use. Primarily elections need to be divisive, but we also need to show a unified front. I trust that is the belief of everyone in the race (though I have concerns about Sharpton due to past behavior, and Kucinich due to current remarks) and this needs to be stressed. The primaries are important, but do not show a lack of resolve on the part of Democrats. It better not, anyway. Any progressive who tries to claim there is no difference between a Democrat and George W. is going to look like a damn idiot now. They did back in 2000, mind you, but Nader was able to sway enough people with his false advertising. We mustn't let this happen again.

The other big issue, of course, is what they were wearing. To appeal to young voters, the candidates went casual to varying degrees. Mosley Braun, um, well she looked normal. So did Lieberman and Sharpton who came in wearing jackets which they both shed for the forum. Which actually left Sharpton looking kinda silly since his was a three-piece suit and he kept on an unbuttoned vest. Meanwhile, John Kerry lost a jacket, but he was already tie-less. Dean had no jacket, it seems, but he did have his sleeves rolled in a manner even I (a compulsive sleeve roller-upper) found goofy. And finally we had the turtleneck twins, Clark and Kucinich who just seemed out of place. Clark had on a black suit with a black turtleneck, which was really forboding on camera. I think Kucinich did the same, but lets face it, he will never look forboding.

Other then that, I have no idea what happened. Eh, I'll find out tomorrow on The Daily Show. I really need to pick a horse soon, though. I was really high on Kerry, but I'm still quite open to Clark and Edwards. Massachusetts' primary elections are early enough that they might still matter, but late enough to lose the non-starters.


well, that didn't take long

I don't like my novel. Its got no plan and no point. I should have planned more. I might try to plot it out a bit more, but I'm considering it on semi-perminant hiatus.

Not that I'm completely undaunted. My greatest flaw here was haphazard planning. I may try to do some reading of appropriate books for inspiration, a bit of research, some actual planning for the plot, and maybe a whole change of outlook on the project. As I'm pretty sure it won't be done this month, maybe I'll drop the novel concept and move back to my old idea for writing a graphic novel. We'll see.

See, this is why I didn't think I was going to go through with this. hehe.