Friday, June 29, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

I'm gonna be busy for a coupla of days, fiddling and trying to keep the poor little wooden box shielded from the death rays beaming down on it and into our current heat wave--105 for tomorrow, kiddies. At least we're not at the moment on fire, like Colorado. And I knock on wood there. Which might not be good, as wood is flammable.

Anyways, here's a quote straight from "I Blame the Patriarchy," which is one of the most clear-thinking blogs you can find anywhere:

Racism extends considerably beyond prejudiced beliefs. The essential feature of racism is not hostility or misperception, but rather the defense of a system from which advantage is derived on the basis of race. The manner in which the defense is articulated – either with hostility or subtlety – is not nearly as important as the fact that it insures the continuation of a privileged relationship. Thus it is necessary to broaden the definition of racism beyond prejudice to include sentiments that in their consequence, if not in their intent, support the racial status quo.

This fine definition comes from Wellman, David T. Portraits of White Racism. Second Edition. Cited in: “Definitions of Racism”. Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. 2001. 23 Dec 2004.

I believe this very sensible definition actually expands naturally to include other forms of systematic imbalance, including our current bigotries involving various minorities, and of course the patriarchy itself. It was in this context that I posted a picture of the sign from the days of segregated water fountains. Subtle support of the imbalanced status quo is the sine qua non of most of American political discourse.

Some Democrats make some efforts against this atmosphere, and are to be commended while we continue to push them forward as best we can. Republicans are squarely against all efforts. This is the current nature of the political choice we have to make.

A nitwit once told me that global warming was a false theory, because CO2 only operated as a green house gas a few feet from the surface of the planet--e.g., it was still cold as the dickens at 100,000 feet, and is expected to remain so. I regret to say that I continued to make an effort to explain to him why he was wrong, on scientific grounds. He should have been commended for his subtlety of execution.

Bonton roullette, as they say in Vegas. Those wheels of karma, go round and round, sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. To quote the late great Richie Schulberg.

[photo Rosie Ledet, by Dave Leucinger]

Update: we made it there and back, and had a great time playing music. Yesterday on the way back it was 105 in New Bern, with lightning and 200% humidity. It would have made a good movie from some other planet--the one we're probably making with our industrial gasses, but who's to say. So far the fiddle's intact.

Re Rosie Ledet, I posted the pic because it was a great pic and we were about to play some cajun/zydeco music. I discovered this morning that she's currently entangled in a tragedy. Of course people on the internet have all sorts of judgemental opinions. I hope she can make it through ok. It's not up to us to judge such sad stories from the distance.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Legislating Science

Here in NC, the Legislature has dictated that laws cannot be made based on predictions of sea level rise based on long term data and scientific theories concerning global climate change. In other states, other issues arise.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Symptoms (I Could Do a List of These)

From Tbogg yesterday we find the following bit of news--and make no mistake, this is news, not opinion:

Mr. Gingrich was a top-tier Presidential contender only months ago, in the primary season of one of the United States' two major political parties. He was once Speaker of the House, which is the 3rd highest position in the Federal government in the sense that the Speaker is 3rd in line to be President should something unforeseen happen to both the President and Vice-President. Mr. Gingrich continues to be a top guest on the various Sunday news programs on the various major teevee networks.

Yet, the plain fact is that Mr. Gingrich is a self-aggrandizing grifter, with no shame and no honor, who is fine with retiring for the moment to Tuscany, or where ever else he cares to, even with enormous debts hanging over him. Did the people who worked for him during that campaign season just past even expect to get paid?

Meanwhile, the winning Republican candidate turns out to have been one of the originators of the gigantic outsourcing of jobs phenomenon which has, after eroding our middle class financial foundation for thirty years, left the country in the straits it now finds itself.

So what's the deal with the American Voter anyways? How can this election be close?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How Cynical Can You Get

As most of us will probably recall, only two years ago there was an election. In North Carolina, the Republican party gain a majority in the Legislature for the first time in a long time (perhaps forever?). These legislators were all voted in. They were part of an elective process. Without the process they would be sitting at home or doing whatever they were doing before the election. The current legislature of North Carolina, just like previous legislatures before it, depends on an election process. The process happens in the real world, and although we don't really think about it much, the process is not free. Yes, there are volunteers engaged in it here and there--but there's also a real expense to it. This is actually true of many things we don't usually think about, including the unremarkable drive to the store for some groceries, or even the simple act of turning on the lights, or pouring a glass of water. Somewhere, there's a cost.

Very near where I work is a railroad track. Now and then a coal train goes past. I counted the boxcars of coal one day. In that particular train on that particular day there were 89 hopper cars full of coal. Every bit of that coal has gone, I would expect, towards keeping the lights on and the power flowing to all the households in North Carolina which are connected to that particular part of the electric grid where that particular coal-fired electric generating plant is located. Just sayin'.

I have a post-card from the 1930s which shows a guy in over-alls holding a sign saying that the air is free. Used to be you could get you some free air if your tire was low at any gas station. Have you noticed--ain't that-a-ways no mo. Now it costs about a dollar to check your tire pressure and add air. And are the stations being money-grubbing to charge this fee? Well no, not really. They have to run generators to provide that air to you, and generators cost money in electricity.

So, anyways, our NC Legislature is going home for a while, having passed a final budget. And, how bout that! They've omitted to put some $600 K into the budget to release some $4 M in matching federal monies (already being held in an NC banking account by the way) to facilitate our coming election process in NC. Here's the story:

It barely made the news, by the way. Here's a detail from the story I've linked to:

The $4 million from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is already in a North Carolina bank account, frozen until matching State money is appropriated. The federal funds could be used to pay for voting machine maintenance, software and upgrades, poll workers training, and Early Voting locations. But apparently the legislative leaders decided they would rather starve local election boards than free up money that could open more Early Voting sites for the 2012 election!

The cynicism of the NC Legislature isn't entirely new of course. Back when I was but a lad we had here in NC something called the Piersall Plan. It was a nasty, crafty piece of lawyerly work aimed at making school integration take some 20 years to be accomplished. It more or less worked too. This meant that generations more of black children who should have received a better education as a matter of constitutional right were nontheless denied that education, at the instigation of some slick legislative lawyers. And let it be said, most of them Democrats, who back in the '50s entirely ruled the roost around here, and who maintained and supported the "institution" of segregation as fiercely as our Republican legislators today defend the so-called "institution" of marriage.

Still, the cynicism and moral corruptness of this year's batch of legislators is pretty grand, ain't it now. Because what they're doing is consciously damaging the very process that got them into the Legislature. And they're doing this (though of course they'd never say so except in very closed rooms, amongst only their supporters), because they believe that damaging the process will cause likely Democratic voters to be less likely to vote in greater numbers than likely Republican voters.

It's all pretty sickening. My whole life I keep opening the paper to see the same stupid stuff I thought might have been done with, and long ago. But here it comes again. And again. This same Legislature has decreed that no legal authority may use long term data concerning sea level rise (e.g., relating to global warming) to make any rules concerning coastal development in North Carolina. This same Legislature has refused to appropriate any monies to compensate actual victims of a North Carolina "medical" program which actually sterilized actual people who were teens in the 1960s, and are still living. This same Legislature of course supported and managed to aid in the passage of a draconian "Defense of Marriage" constitutional amendment which not only stops gay folks from marrying each other in NC, but actually damages already existing families to a degree that has already caused suits to be undertaken by the victims. The list, here in NC, goes on.

But it seems special, in a logical sense, for these small-minded, bigoted, craven, power-mad liars to go here--to actually consciously damage the process itself. Yet here they've gone.

Sad, sad, sad. I feel like it won't be long till they put the signs back up in Raleigh, over the water fountains. That's exactly what they want.

Note: the sign in the photo comes from Alabama. I remember exactly the same such signs at the North Carolina Court House building in Raleigh in the '50s, as well as at train and bus stations in Raleigh. This is how it was. It is what--apparently--the Republican Party dreams of restoring. It is what they mean by "taking our country back." It is the consequence of Mr. Nixon's "Southern Strategy," which embraced all the bigots and haters the Democratic Party had rid itself of when it passed the land-mark Civil Rights laws of the mid-'60s. This is where we are headed, and we're in 5th gear with the pedal to the metal.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why You Should Vote For Obama

This is as well put as it gets:

Hat tip to Tbogg for finding the link. Gary Wills should have some cred.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Maybe You Need a License to Read Philosophy

We've already seen the picture in black and white--the one where someone with glaring psychological problems inflicts his anger and hostility on the world. His name was Adolf Hitler. Well, that's one of his names--the story's so ancient you can read it over and over again, in all the languages of humanity living and dead, if you've got the time and inclination.

The great New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer has found the new archetype of this tragedy, or one of them. Looking at it through the glasses of Joseph Campbell, I mean. The guy's name is Bryan Fischer. These days he resides in Tupelo, MS, ancestral home of Elvis, the beating heart of Southern Culture you might therefore surmise. Fischer has a radio show with a million listeners scattered around the small angry towns of the rural South and Red State Murica. As Mayer points out, that's more ears than either Rachel Maddow or Chis Matthews achieve. And that equation is why one solution to the problem of destroying America as we've known it and replacing it with an authoritarian theocracy which keeps working people hard at the wheel just like Marx said it did (Marx being a reporter, in that instance, or a reader of Dickens)is to simply ignore Maddow and her audience altogether. So what if they keep shouting from the cheap seats. It's a big brass band. You can't hear them over the trumpets.

Here's the link to Mayer's piece, which appears in the most recent issue of the New Yorker:

If you can't access it from here, go buy a copy, or go to your library (before they close it down as a socialist institution). I'm not sure how long the link stays hot, and I'm also not sure if the fact that I subscribe to the print version allows me access. But whatever you do, do read this.

Mr. Fischer was damaged by his childhood. He admits it, although he refuses to actually understand the damage, or what it has done to his humanity. He's a reasonably sharp person, and received degrees from Stanford (in philosophy no less) and from a theological seminary. He's apparently a good speaker--he's been a preacher, and now he rants daily on his own radio show, run by one of those pretty much pure evil institutions that has appropriated the formerly friendly word "family" and turned it into a kind of Confederate Battle Flag. (Have you noticed how the right does this, over and over. Best example is "Take Our Country Back." Sounds good. From who?)

Mr. Fischer blames his mother for all his angst. She left his probably authoritarian preacher father when Mr. Fischer was 20 or so. He all but calls her a slut (in the New Yorker!) for leaving. And he blames his father for being weak enough to "let" her leave. Fischer yearns for a "masculine" Christianity, and hates teh gay with a burning passion. His organization pumped good money into NC's recent tragic constitutional amendment. Fischer spouts made up statistics aiming to prove this and that about teh gays, and sponsors haters on his radio show who spew fantastical nonsense about Nazism and homosexuality. He also believes women have no leadership role in a Christian church, and he's left a trail of ex-friends in his wake--other conservative Christians who eventually decided he was too ruthless for their tastes. Fischer's most noteworthy "triumph" so far is probably his role in forcing Richard Grenell from a Romney advisory post. For the handful of folks who listen to Rachel Maddow, this might be viewed as a helpful action, since Romney's craven silence in this bit of nastiness confirms once again how deeply weak and unsuited to the Presidency Mr. Romney actually is. For the rest of 'em, the "win" is but a small blow in the war against the hope of a minority of our fellow citizens to be treated as equally Americans. But then, Mr. Fischer also believes Native Americans are "unsuited" to govern. (Kinda makes it tough for Elizabeth Warren, don'tcha know.)

I could speculate that what's at the psychological root of Mr. Fischer's problem is a misplaced blame, which he has transformed into an authoritarian vision--put all of gay humanity back in the closet and somehow a mighty father, a "real man," can emerge to rescue all of us confused, muddled sheeple from the melting fantasy that was an authoritarian childhood. His mom left his dad. It happens in one out of two marriages. It's a hard thing, but it's not Auschwitz (Fischer's comparison notwithstanding). We don't know why she left his dad. She might well have had good reasons.

Mr. Fischer is having a life-long tantrum instead of growing up. He wants to make everybody pay. As a trained philosopher and preacher, he's turned out to be an effective rhetorician. Probably the first person he convinced of his distorted way of looking at life was himself, followed by his sadly dutiful wife. Now he's hard at work on the world at large, with much of the eager GOP nodding in agreement, feigned or otherwise. Who knows what Mr. Romney thinks. He has his own childish, authoritarian streak, a mile-wide. There's the dog on the roof, and now there's Mr. Grenell.

There had to be a group of poor souls in early '30s Germany called something on the order of "Jews for Hitler." These days it's the Log Cabin Republicans. But none of them are as unself-aware as Mr. Bryan Fischer. As he toils to destroy tolerance and understanding, he has no idea that waiting in the wings of his so-called "winnable war" are harder, far more authoritarian men. This too we've seen time and again in the march of history. Stalin didn't mind shooting his entire officer corps behind the ear one night. Fischer might not make the final cut. But what's sad right now is his tragic certainty, a life toiling in the service of pain, misfortune, unkindness, cruelty, and worse, and in the name of a false Christianity Jesus would never have recognized or supported. In North Carolina today, families are having to sue the state to remain families in the wake of a misguided constitutional amendment which Mr. Fischer did a great deal to get approved.

Way to go, asshole.

[photo from the great movie "Elmer Gantry," circa 1960]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Wild Means

That's Momma jumping off the shed steps the first time I spotted her, back in March, before we even knew there were already kittens in the shed that she was tending. As time went on we got somewhat more friendly, to the extent that she was coming up to the side porch and looking me in the eye, which I took to mean she was hungry and wanted some food, which I'd then fix and give her. She didn't mind if I stood at the door and watched her eat. She didn't like loud noises or quick movements, but she pretty much trusted me and Libby. It was her trust that we betrayed when we caught her last week, no matter if it was for the best of reasons. The reasons are beyond her.

After a night in the shed, it looks like Momma has left the building. I haven't seen her at all after the first day back out, when I am sure she did eat the food I put out. Now, I'm not at all sure if she's the one having the meals. Today I thought I'd wait till I see her to put more food out. It'd be really great if she were to walk a few steps up this way, looking at the door. That was the way it went first time round, when she was hoping (it seemed to us) that maybe we'd help her out a bit with her rambunctious, wiggly brood. She made the eye contact.

So I think it's up to her again. But it's a hard call, and possibly a forlorn hope. She's a smart cat. She's made it through a winter or two, and knows how to hunt, and how to keep an eye out for dogs and raccoons, snakes and other cats. She's learned to be very wary, and we've put ourselves over on the wary side now.

I have to hope I don't see her out by the road some day. Cats and cars just don't mix well. I wish she really could understand just what a cat paradise we actually have here, far from the road. But what she knows is we trapped her, hauled her off to hell and back, kept her in a little kennel for a day. And then she escaped. Perhaps we were foolish enough to leave the door ajar. Why should she come back to find out.

It's a good question.

Update: Less than an hour after I wrote the above, I looked out the window into the gathering twilight and saw Momma reclining on those shed steps you see her jumping off of in the photograph. She saw me and started walking up the path. I opened a can of food, put it in a bowl, and placed that out on the edge of the kitchen stoop, where she liked to eat before the alien abduction took place. She trotted up to the stoop while I retreated entirely inside and to the back of the kitchen. She was wary, but knew I was there. After a couple of minutes she decided to have dinner. I kept my distance, leaving the kitchen entirely for the TV and the kittens back in the back of the house. She finished her meal and has departed--her next round, the shed, perhaps a nice after-dinner cigar on a limb safely off the ground, where she can keep and eye on things while enjoying that thing all cats enjoy most of all--napping? I can't say.

This is what wild means. Looks like I'll get to continue my most enjoyable tangential relationship with it, complements of Momma. The next big adventure may be that moment when the kittens must venture outside. It's coming, as it must. But before then they have their own little medical appointments. So far they're not marking their territories and we'd like to keep it that way. The big kitten problem of the moment is that they are nursing each other to sleep. It might be edging towards the pervy side, if kittens weren't so innocent. As it is, it's just tender and endearing. We separate them if it seems to be getting out of hand. They don't mind that either. They all purr when picked up, and they all like to climb into our laps at once. That too is endearing. The soft summer drifts down like feathers, one day at a time. Solstice is next week sometime. Venus has just transited.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

An Alien Abduction She Might Think

We've been watching Momma get more and more pregnant for weeks, almost since the moment we brought the kittens inside, back in April. It seemed imperative to catch her and get her neutered before yet more kittens arrived. There seemed absolutely no happy conclusion to a second litter. At best we might have tried to totally stay disengaged, let them grow up entirely wild, let Momma care for them till that point. It might well have worked out for at least a few of them, as she is one terrific mother. But doing it--staying aloof from the situation--I'm not sure it's in our DNA. As you probably have discerned, we suffer from empathy. It has its good and bad points.

Libby spent a good deal of her limited free time searching for the best catch-and-release trap to get. There's lots on the internet about them. I think I posted a youtube here a few posts back featuring a home-made one. We might have to build one of those for next year's rabies booster for Momma, as I'm not sure she'll ever venture into the Tomahawk trap we finally borrowed from Chatham County Animal Control on Monday. Lowe's was out of the things--which might be an indication of the state of small wild creatures here in the county this spring. One of my co-workers just had to deal with a family of skunks in his outbuilding. He was not so empathetic; cute does not necessarily trump all.

Anyways, having procured the loaner trap, we fed Momma just in its mouth for a few days (as is recommended), then on Wednesday I put a plate of tuna fish at the back past the trigger, after lining the floor with newspaper as recommended, and set the trap, with (as it turned out) her looking straight at me and the procedure from only a couple of feet away, under the house. Black is an awesome camouflage, and another facet of the cat universe from the one we've known for 18 previous years as owners of a white, fluffy cat. Anyways, I retreated inside, and in seconds she'd sprung the trap. I covered it with a towel and brought her in for the night. There was no room in there for anything such as food, litter, or water, but she was supposed to not eat for at least 12 hours before her scheduled surgery the next morning.

Libby and I got up early we put her into Libby's truck for the trip to Durham, where the mobile clinic for feral cats was located that day. This was about an hour or so trip. I went on to work, in the other direction. After a while I got a call--the vet told Libby that if Momma had feline AIDs she probably should be put down. They do a lot of standard tests when you bring a feral cat in. Libby and I talked about that and had about decided that we would veto that plan on the grounds that we didn't trap her so's to get her killed, but it turned out she was negative anyways, and healthy on all counts, an estimated 2 years old. The operation was successful (there were kittens, but not so far along as I'd fretted), she came home Thursday night and we transferred her to the larger kennel you can see in the picture. In the transfer she cooperated by retreating to the far end of the kennel so we could open the door and get the trap out.

Thursday night and Friday we talked a lot to her, put some food in the kennel, and litter, water, a little cat bed. There were some pain meds we ground up and put in the food. But while she does seem to have some sort of relationship with us, she is absolutely a wild creature. This morning the kennel was pretty much demolished, newspaper shredded, sheet cover on the floor, litter strewn everywhere, Momma sitting in the litter box glaring at me, and some food still in the dish. I took all this as a clear communication that she did not agree to be "our" cat, that she was not happy to have been examined and "probed" by us two-legged Martians she'd long ago learned to be very careful of, that, in brief, she wanted out. Unlike her kittens, who seemed to know instantly what a litter box was for, Momma was a cowgirl and knew the whole world was her litter box. Or perhaps she was consciously having her a prison riot--which is pretty much my conclusion.

I moved the kennel to the open kitchen door, opened the kennel door, took a few pictures. Wary, Momma stayed at the far back of the kennel. I walked around to the slider and back into the kitchen from behind the kennel. She was gone. (I tried to catch her scampering back towards the shed where the kittens had been born, but only got blurs not worth saving.) But--when she got to the shed she went inside. I took some food and water down there and put it on the step. She ventured out and was checking out the food as I was washing down the kennel with the hose--this spooked her and she ran away. But when I went back inside she returned and ate. I think she's back in the shed now, resting.

We hope she'll still adopt us, as a wild creature. We don't want her to come inside unless she wants to. She's a terrific hunter and was surviving on her own when she found the shed back in March. Neutered, the yellow tom might simply ignore her. And if we get real gung ho we might try catching the yellow tom and getting him neutered too. Meanwhile, the kittens are adolescents now, and quite full of beans. Here's a pic of two of 'em from the other day. They often sleep in a big pile, as Houdanenians are wont to do.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I paste the following remarks by the late great Miles Davis. I found them at Leonard Pierce's fine blog today:

As much as I liked the music I was now doing, I think my name in the clubs was still shit, and a lot of critics probably still thought I was a junkie. I wasn’t real popular at this time, but that began to change after I played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955. This was the first festival that this couple, Elaine and Louis Lorillard, got together. They picked George Wein to produce it. For the first festival George picked Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman and Dave Brubeck. And then he had an All-Star band that included Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, Monk, Percy Heath, Connie Kay; he later added me. They played a couple of tunes without me and I joined them on “Now’s the Time”, which was a tribute to Bird’s memory. And then we played “‘Round Midnight”, Monk’s tune. I played it with a mute and everybody went crazy. It was something. I got a long standing ovation. When I got off the bandstand, everybody was looking at me like I was a king or something — people were running up to me offering me record deals. All the musicians there were treating me like I was a god, and all for a solo that I had had trouble learning a long time ago. It was something else, man, looking out at all those people and then suddenly seeing them standing up and applauding for what I had done.

They had all these parties that night in this big fucking mansion. We all go there and these rich white people are everywhere. I was sitting over in a corner, minding my own business, when the woman who had organized the festival, Elaine Lorillard, came over with all these grinning, silly-looking white people, and said something like “Oh, this is the boy who played so beautifully. What’s your name?”

Now she’s standing there smiling like she’s done me a fucking favor, right? So I look at her and say “Fuck you, and I ain’t no fucking boy! My name is Miles Davis, and you’d better remember that if you ever want to talk to me.” And then I walked away leaving them all shocked as a motherfucker. I wasn’t trying to be nasty or nothing like that, but she was calling me ‘boy’, and I just can’t take that kind of bullshit.

Mr. Walker's sad "victory" in Wisconsin should be viewed in this light. He got a lot of votes from nice, well-meaning white folks, who should have known better.

Louis Lorillard was indeed the big tobacco billionaire Lorillard. He probably went to polo games with the father of the Koch brothers, who likewise fund high art concerts and university chairs.

[photo from, photo by Irving Penn]

Update--Mr. Edroso makes a salient point re unions and the lack thereof.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Point of the Spear

Reported at, and mentioned by a number of bloggers and others, a youngster who has a nice writing gig at National Review, is a published author, and is the well indoctrinated son of a mother who was the behind-the-scenes manipulator of the successful Bill Clinton honey trapping (see, e.g., blue dress, thong, Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, Ken Starr), has this to say:

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, Goldberg said that he thought the voting age should be raised and it was a mistake to lower it in the first palace:

“I am not particularly enamored with the youth,” said Goldberg employing air quotes. “I don’t think youth politics is something very special or enviable. Personally, I think the voting age should be much higher not lower. I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest.”

Goldberg said there is a “power worship” in the popular reverence for the youth vote. He said that “they’re going to run the country someday, so we should really explain to them why they’re “so frickin’ stupid about some things.”

“It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth,” Goldberg continued. “We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young.”

He said that youth culture is possibly more powerful than it has ever been and that is “unhealthy for a society.”

Goldberg said that many young people view socialism as a viable alternative to capitalism and that is proof of “what social scientists call, ‘their stupidity.’”

“That’s something that conservatives have to work hard to beat out of them, either literally or figuratively, as far as I’m concerned,” Goldberg concluded.

The boy is careful to "employ air quotes," which I guess means that if anyone should successfully call him on this latest absurd posturing he can always just say, Can't you take a joke? I'm just an entertainer, the fall-back Maginot Line of circularity. He's already written a book so wrong that that is its claim to notoriety, Liberal Fascism. Now he's on the trail to hell, like the rest of the right-wing bloviators, and must toil to top himself, just like Ann Coulter, or eventually become yesterday's news. Still, there's nothing much stupider than this bit of bullshit (which proves I guess that Goldberg isn't yet "old,") Of all the arguments for lowering the voting age, surely none is stronger than "If you old enough to die for your country, then you're old enough to vote." QED, Mr. Goldberg. As certain as a geometric proof.

But while Mr. Goldberg deserves all the derision he gets, and possibly a literal thrashing at the hands of some well-trained 18-year-old killer from the 101st Screaming Eagles, particularly if Goldberg should have the youthful stupidity to try to "beat any sort of liberal notion" out of such a man, I think Goldberg's real problem is his lack of perspicacity.

Thing is, it is fairly obvious that Republicans (and other American "Conservatives,") have little respect for democracy or the process of voting. Right now, state by Republican-controlled state, all sorts of creative voter suppression laws are being enacted. There is no respect shown for actual voters, and none for the common sense fact that a law which will disenfranchise thousands of legal voters for the sake of one or two alleged fraudulent votes is patently a bad law--a law with another purpose its creators have been simply too slick to enunciate. This is old stuff. There used to be all sorts of "literacy tests" at the threshold of the ballot. After many decades, the Federal government finally got the gumption to outlaw this blatant voter manipulation. But Mr. Goldberg, in his youthful stupidity, doesn't seem to realize that some of this stuff isn't supposed to be ever talked about out in public.

And so, he reveals another bit of the plan his party undertakes--to undermine and destroy democracy and replace what we have in American with a ruling class of the monied. As Mr. Romney has said, no one should be allowed to run for President who hasn't got some business experience. Presumably he means successful business experience. And since Goldberg and his minions can't beat empathy and a sense of shared community out of kids who have just left the community of school, the next best thing is an effort to disenfranchise them, at least until harsher and harsher realities promulgated by their "leaders" beat all such notions out of them via the school of what was once called "hard knocks."

Of course, let it be said, Mr. Goldberg himself has little time for any hard knocks. Being the point of the spear isn't for him. He's just up for making some dough saying mildly shocking things to approving audiences. But he reveals the game a little too much. Perhaps Col. Alan West, who seems to dream of a life as the American Il Duce, will administer a little "talking to" to Goldberg back stage, something West has some experience in previous to becoming a politician.

[photo of the American Il Duce from]

Update. Here's a nice idea: