Monday, May 20, 2013
Kim Morgan posted this at her tumblr site. It speaks volumes.
Summer is slowly arriving on little cat feet, which leave wet footprints on the kitchen floor when they come inside. The hole in the roof got fixed, however.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Who's paying attention? For most folks it's hard enough just driving back and forth, home to work, work to home. Hell, in my house it takes about half an hour each morning to deal with the Houdahenians. First the boys get fed, the two big black panthers follow me and the food into the living room, and dive in, after watching in rapt attention while I mix up the grub at the kitchen counter. Little Mokey follows behind, squeeking, as interested as the others. After they're head down in the plates I scoop him up and take him and his platter into be back room so he can eat at his own modest pace. That way the big boys don't finish theirs and then his. Meanwhile, I'm back in the kitchens, doors all shut, fixing momma's plate. Open the French door and she comes in and eats, with a furtive glance backwards at me while I'm, at last, making the java. All this goes on before I get to you. Sometimes there's one cup left from yesterday, and it gets nuked. It's a help. But now it's nearly 6:30 AM.
So like I say, who's going to notice that some national prune named Grover came to town this week to cheerlead our galloping Legislature as they make drastic "reforms" in the way taxes are determined and collected in the Old Nawth State. Much less consider what the hell it might mean that Grover has noticed. I refer you, therefore, to Sauron's searchlight. Because that's what it means, dear Hobbits. Someone, that is to say, a real journalist, should even as we speak be writing a book on the coup that is happening in North Carolina today. Whatever else you might say, this stuff was planned. There were meetings, discussion groups, theories and campaigns. There was, when the North Carolina Republicans found themselves with a full house, executive and both legislative houses to be precise, an agenda already cocked and ready. And it wasn't an agenda that anyone voted on.
We're Wisconsin now. Apparently the state Democratic Party has collapsed, at least for the moment. Or perhaps the sale of the Raleigh News and Observer back in the '80s to "outsiders" ended any progressive response loud enough to counter the ever conservative TV station run by the Fletcher family in Raleigh. That's the one that gave Jesse Helms his tv show, which eventually vaulted him into the US Senate.
Here's the WRAL coverage of Grover's appearance:
The question is, why should anyone at all care what Mr. Norquist thinks of our coming tax reforms? Who is Grover Norquist anyways? Here's his Wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Norquist He's the guy who thought up this ridiculous "no new taxes" pledge that has hamstrung all efforts to sensibly deal with the United States budget. He's a mischievous rich boy who took his mischief to law school and figured out how to flummux the relatively stupid people who tend to get elected to legislative offices in this great land of ours, state and national. He's the guy who realized that since no one likes taxes, it's a successful political gambit to always run against taxes, and to never ever admit that we in fact ought to all like taxes, because that's what pays for all the things we all really really like here in the US of A. Instead, Grover's successful decades long mischief has widened the gap between a realistic understanding of what taxes mean, and our emotional dislike for paying for anything we don't specifically want, right then and there.
What does Grover care. He's the son of Polaroid, and jumped off that elevator in the nick of time apparently. His "job" is to pontificate. He probably doesn't even need to drive, much less actually work at a job that somebody else pays for, unless it's in the grand sense that like a lot of these mischief makes, he's actually working for the Koch Brothers and their ilk.
Whatever. Take note. Grover came to North Carolina this week, and gave a speech praising the work of our runaway Legislature. It's a sad day, but it might be a wake up call. Meanwhile, that's Puzzle, up at the top. Yesterday Libby told me he found a black snake in the grass. The snake was coiled up tightly, and protecting it's head. Libby picked up Puzzle and took him inside, and when she went back out the snake had departed, hopefully none the worse for wear, as black snakes are definitely good guys and win the battle for grub when in competition with Copperheads, which we also have in abundance in the NC Piedmont. I'm hopefully none of the boys will find a Copperhead. They're not so concerned with what cats happen to think, particularly young naive happy ones like ours, cats that haven't really learned what dangers lurk. That was the trade off. Momma, she knows very well, and that's why she looks behind her all the time.
We can learn a lot from these critters who decided long ago to hang around with us.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I was walking across the UNC campus one time quite a few decades back and watched a fairly amazing thing happen. The campus has many big oak trees, and of course with the trees come plenty of squirrels. At that time Chapel Hill was a fairly small town, so there were also a number of free-running dogs, no doubt mostly pets of students who lived off campus. Probably some of these mutts had even been abandoned by departing students, and were hanging with other of the boys and getting their grub where they could. It was the middle of the summer as I recall. The livin' was easy.
Anyways, these dogs had spotted a squirrel and chased it up a smallish tree which stood fairly alone in a meadow. The tree was probably at least twenty feet tall, but not so big around. Might have been a poplar, if that whets your imagination. We have the perfect environment for poplars in these parts. Leave a field open and that's the first thing you'll get popping up. So here's the scenario. A ring of dogs, probably five at least, surrounding this poplar tree. Squirrel up at the top, flicking its tail in anxiety and chattering back at them while they all bark in a great cacophonous melee. This went on for some time. The dogs were jumping too, but of course were not specialized climber dogs (I did know one of those, he'd climb a tree for a frizbee, but that's another story). I was probably drinking a paper cup of coffee. It was probably about 10:30 AM. The sun dappled the green green grass, the leaves moving only slightly in the last cool breezes of the morning. It was going to get hot. This is North Carolina summer, you can count on it.
Then the squirrel jumped down out of the tree, into the circle of dogs, and scampered off to a bigger tree. I was glad the squirrel made it to better safety. But I was also struck by the plan fact that the dogs had actually barked that squirrel out of the tree. This was the stuff of Faulkner.
This is what's going on re Benghazi and the so-called "cover up." Ever since those halcyon days of yore, when I was strolling the campus and noting canine behavior and Sam Irvin was taking the Nixon Administration apart, Republicans have seethed with the false but comforting idea that Nixon was framed, or that somehow "they all do it, but we got caught." This is why Republicans keep comparing Benghazi to Watergate. They dream a fevered dream, of somehow finding a balancing scandal which will erase the Nixon blight on their brand. And it seems, at this much later juncture, that they actually believe this. So, this week, Benghazi is if anything worse than Watergate, because Americans were killed.
This is in reality so much squirrel logic. It's Vince Foster yet again. Republicans were no doubt profoundly shocked that an old Southern lawyer like Sam Irvin could actually knock a slick operator like Richard Nixon plumb out of the park. How was it possible? What they've concluded is that somehow there's some kinda magic in these grand hearings. Get one going and eventually your opponent disappears, poof! Even when they tried it with Bill Clinton, it didn't work. But still they dream. And bark.
And at the moment the barking is having some effect. MSNBC's guest Chris Matthew's host, Smirconish, was actually doing a piece yesterday about how maybe there is something to "this." Of course our Lord HawHaw network has been barking since the tragic events happened, and fantasize that if only the voters had realized the Benghazi events were "terrorism," they would have elected Romney. This fantasy is yet more victim thinking, another layer piled on top of Watergate, and the "Lamestream Media," and all the rest. It is really quite unlikely that the last election turned on the terminology used to describe Benghazi, and, moreover, Mr. Obama in one of the debates pretty much destroyed Mr. Romney by noting that he had called the events "terrorism." If that admission had carried the power Republicans imagine, why didn't the tide turn right then and there.
Still they bark. And who knows, maybe we'll all watch in amazement as the squirrel jumps out of the tree. But here's some reminder, if you need it, of the lay of the land, same as it ever was. The sun still shines. The tree's still twenty feet tall.
There are many pathetic things unfolding in the land. It's pathetic that one of the major political parties chooses to destroy our ability to work constructively on real problems and issues for the chimera of some sort of political victory which will redress the chagrin of Watergate, and of George W. Bush. Yet their minds obsess on that moment when the squirrel will, amazingly, jump down into their midst. Oh, won't he be so delicious.
Well mostly likely, he'll just run up another tree. And the Republicans will be left like a pack of dogs on a warm summer morning. Sniffing each other's assholes.