Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lima Time is . . . over

Nice remembrance of Jose Lima, who died of 'natural causes' but was younger than me. It was the worst of the times, it was the best of times, it was . . .

Lima Time!

RIP, mi amigo.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A. Specter is Haunting Yer GOP

Musings on Stupor Tuesday:

1) Rand Paul has gotten all the attention in KY, but he would have finished third, behind BOTH major Dem candidates, in a straight up vote tally. Sure, more in KY are registered Dems even as the state leans strongly GOP in national races. But those folks didn't have to turn out. And when you vote for a guy once (in a primary), you're inclined to do so again (in a general). Everyone assumes this seat is going to stay GOP, but the Dems are definitely in this thing, especially when they've got a good candidate and the GOP has a borderline psychopath. With his parentage (and name) "Rand" Paul ain't just a cafeteria libertarian, he actually believes all that crazy ass shit. Gold standard. Abolish the Fed. Privatize social security. Deregulate Wall Street. That douche bag can be beat, as in drummed, if the Dems play this smart. Is he on the record over birtherism? Does he endorse Ayn Rand's view of American workers as "parasites"? Was his father right to call MLK a communist? Tell us. Counter-theory: it is Kentucky.

2) Fineman has been going off on MSNBC about how this shows Obama's inability to swing a key race. I'm not so sure. Obama had to back Specter as a condition of keeping his Dem majority together in the Senate. But Arlen was always going to be a hard sell to a Dem primary crowd, especially when faced with an A-level challenger like Sestak. And Specter was going to be in serious hot water in a general. What says "unprincipled incumbent" better than a shameless party switch for the stated purpose of "getting reelected"? Sestak is a vastly better candidate against the clownish, cartoon evil of Pat Toomey, who rivals Rand Paul for libertarian lunacy. I think Sestak wins this thing by at least 5 points.

3) That said, I do feel a bit bad for old Arlen. Always kind of liked that guy, even as a Republican. He was a politician's politician, and I don't consider that an insult. I didn't like a lot of his votes back then. Still, you always knew when he was just being a partisan hack--and so did he, and he even signaled it to you, like it was all a chivalrous game. But he had his limits of hackery, and that's really why he couldn't be in the GOP anymore. Only purists. Except as Mitch McConnell and Trey Grayson just learned, plain purism ain't enough anymore. You gotta ooze crazy. That may sell in a midterm when public anger is high. But if that anger subsides at all, these guys are toast.

4) Dems win open special election to replace Murtha in PA swing district. That ensures the narrative can't turn too uniformly pro-GOP, as the press desperately wants, and as it surely would have if this race had gone the other way.

5) Long story short: this should be a bad year for the Dems, but I still smell wingnut blood in the water. On second thought, make that in the tea.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Like a rainbow in the dark

So Ronnie James Dio has passed. He was 67.

I actually still listen to some of Dio's music. It's cliched and kind of stupid, but there's something that I like about it. I won't defend it, because if you didn't listen to it when you were 15, I think that you will never get into it. But listen to Rainbow's "Man in the Silver Mountain," or Sabbath's "Sign of the Southern Cross," or maybe even "Last in Line," if you like.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


So today was the 31st Capitol Hill Classic 10k. Returning to the field for the first time since 2003 (has it really been that long?), I ran a respectable time, if not PR or even close, just under 44:40. That's something like a 7-minute, 11-second mile for 6.2 miles. The course itself is relatively flat, with the exception of the eponymous hill. So it tends to be fast.

Btw, some sadist course designer decided the Hill should be in mile 6. Genius.

Repeal it

No, not just health care. Apparently, the Tea Partiers want to also repeal the 17th amendment, which establishes popular, direct election of U.S. senators. This is the ultimate anti-Progressive move--direct election of U.S. senators is one of the few actual "Progressive" in the historical sense things in the U.S. Constitution.


I don't quite get this one. The idea seems to be that this would return power to "the States," but I don't think that that is really how state-legislative selection of senators worked in practice. My understanding is that that process led to powerful state party machines that controlled the Senate seats and thus the state legislatures; that the control went contrary to the plan. IIRC, the direct election of senators was intended to lessen the powers of the "special interests."

Maybe that is incorrect. I've never made a detailed study of the question, assuming that it was settled. But with this crowd, nothing is settled law. And they are, of course, "conservatives."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thanatos Party

It's been a while.

Here's just a random thought on the Tea Party 'movement,' culled from Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents.

One way of conceptualizing the 'anger' of the Tea Party folks is that they represent the aggressive side of the national psyche; at an individual level, they are lashing out, given the high level of integration, coordination, in contemporary American life. There is so little room for individual aggression--especially if you are old and don't play first-person shooter games.

In the Bush years, they could express their aggression against Muslims ('dead or alive,' 'I hear you'). But Obama is such a cool character, he doesn't provide that kind of national outlet for aggression.

So, domestically, they lash out. Internationally, too.

Love and strife, the two constant forces. Obama is love. The Tea Party is strife.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Opry Mills, Le Deluge

Just what we need to jolt FFB back to life: another post on the weather.

As you may or may not have heard, it was a fun weekend here in Middle Tennessee. We got our "Hundred Year Flood" during roughly forty hours of relentless downpour from Saturday morning through Sunday night. Nashville got 13 1/2 inches, setting a two day record and coming within half an inch of setting the all-time record for the entire month of May within just its first two days. That's the official (airport) reading. Parts of Nash-Vegas got 18 inches, and the Cumberland River through downtown was more than 50 feet above flood level, leading to a flood of much of the lower lying downtown area this morning as the river continued to rise while the sun finally shone. The city as a whole looks like a land of a thousand lakes, although parts were more like raging rivers. All major interstates (I-24, I-40, I-65) were under water and closed down somewhere in the metro area. Hardest hit areas: west Nashville & Bellevue, downtown, and the southeast burbs, notably La Vergne, halfway twixt the city and the Boro, where they had to do house by house water rescues. Us, we got lucky: only about 10 inches. Our new basement flooded a little, but nothing the 12 gallon wet/dry Shop Vac couldn't handle (with many rounds of fill and empty).

In other ways, not so lucky. To those of us in the McD-centered universe, the deluge was nature signaling the weekend's (actually, this morning as the sun came out) other milestone: the passing of my Uncle J--athlete, scholar, High Chief of the Boro-based clan, and FFB reader--after a several month battle with cancer. His "final" words, as he wanted them remembered, "What now!?" Amen. Hope the beer and bourbon are even better on the other side.