Fractious Times, Volume 2


I feel your pain, big boy. It’s hard thing to fathom. Maybe it is the lack of national direction, but when I read of the latest person to say “Got to open it up” and get “scared workers” back into the office. I don’t know why that is a point. My job works the same where I am. In my home office, I control everything and 1800 other people from 1800 other environs aren’t there and I’m getting just as much done. While President Trump and Mitch McConnell strive to do as little as humanly possible, we all need to stay on point. The pandemic isolated my mom from the rest of my family and the token visits were just taken away as a staffer tested positive.

People talk of the second wave. We didn’t really do much for the sake of the first one. I don’t think we are done yet and some stickers on the floor of office campuses don’t solve anything. We are an remarkably selfish and stupid people. President Trump blames Joe Biden for failing the virus, conveniently forgetting that the former Vice President isn’t charge of anything…yet.

Speaking of which, I’m tired of all those saying to others “If you can do this (grocery shopping, protesting, etc…whatever), you can show up and vote in person,” like there is something superior to that. It’s a pandemic that deserved a little more respect. How about no matter how you do it, vote, unless of course you think your guy will lose and talking down on social media will change that. Like many faux arguments that are soaking in their false equivalencies, just vote. Eyes on your own paper, now, but just vote.

Court packing, the expanding of the Supreme Court edition? Yep, only Congress can do that. A president can propose court expansion, but Congress has to do the act. Court packing, the stuffing of seats with yes persons, the current president is doing that right now. His current nominee, I believe, is only being pushed so quickly by the majority in the likelihood the election winds up there.

“Anyone out there who can tell me what our end game is with the covid 19? What is the magic formula that is going to allow us to sound the all clear? Is it zero cases? The only way that will happen is if we just stop testing and stop reporting.Is it a vaccine?It took 25 years for a chicken pox vaccine to be developed. The smallpox inoculation was discovered in 1796 the last known natural case was in 1977 .We have a flu vaccine that is only 40 to 60% effective and less than half of the US population choose to get one, and roughly 20,000 Americans will die of the flu or flu complications. Oh, you’ll mandate it, like other vaccines are mandated in order to attend school, travel to some foreign countries, etc.”

This was from an essay making the round and the whole thing had some interesting points. I didn’t check the math, but it did spur more questions as the current administration just doesn’t want to deal beyond forcing a vaccine prior to the election to ensure reelection. This stuff does take time. The logistic issue along is impressive. 300 million needles, 300 million containers, transport, adminstration, will insurance cover costs? There is a lot to unpack while we try to decide what “wave” we are in, when basically nothing has changed or been resolved in the 8 months various portions of the U.S. has been dealing with the virus.

It stinks that concern over the virus seems to breed recklessness from this current White House and people and processes are shamed for finding alternatives to voting. You’ve seen them. “If you can do (Fill in the blank), you can show up to vote in person.” Shut the hell up and vote, anybody who has tweeted, texted, any along those lines. The total tonnage of what we don’t know about Covid is outweighed by our covid boredom and carelessness. You crawled through a snowstorm across broken glass, uphill, with your shoes untied and mismatched socks to vote. Well, congratufuckulations! What works for you is great, but it is the way for you. I’m doing me, as they say, and going my way and voting my way for the health of me.

It’s the height of arrogance/self-righteousness/fear your guy is in trouble to preach to others (especially on social media channels) about how to vote based on how you did it. The only thing that matters is that you do.

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Exit Polling


I took my recycling down to the appropriate dumpsters this morning as I left for work this morning. In addition to the cereal boxes and other flotsam and jetsam, I had accumulated 28 large full color postcards having to do with the primary elections that accumulated over the past few days. It’s such a huge waste of money. There were a couple  that were addressed by hand, like some campaign worker just had cards and walked up to apartment buildings and just started addressing.

The common thread through all is that each candidate talks mostly about who they are running against and how they dislike that person. It’s basically a print version of noise, nothing is actually getting said, just a lot of rabble being roused. Whenever I read this, I can’t help but wonder what it achieves. I mean, I get it, you disagree, hence the whole running against each other thing. I picked a party because you have to for voting in primaries. But with the parties endorsing or disavowing candidates prior to the voting on primary day, I think that chases people away. You get that sense of “why bother,” and that is a little troublesome. Those who make the trek, probably aren’t as informed as they could as a result.

As my favorite fictional president once intoned, “decisions are made by those who show up.” I guess my take on that isn’t to believe what my junkmail is telling me.

It’s been known to fib.

Bing! Bing! Bing! Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!


I don’t care…..

With apologies to Kevin Meany, ignorance can indeed be bliss.

Recent news “coverage” suggests that Milt Romney was a bit of a prep school jerk. Are the networks so desperate for news that assignment desks are setting their way back machines 50 years? I mean, I don’t care and neither should you. Vote or don’t vote for the jerk you see before, not for some second hand account of jerkiness.

That fact that those things resonate with voters is scary. The story of President Obama eating dog as a child isn’t something newsworthy. At 9 or 10, you ate what was in front of you.

And the fact that either guy has changed his mind is a bad thing. Both the GOP and the Democrats like to point fingers and scream “Flip-Flopper” at the other. While it’s a fun turn of a phrase, it is a silly thing to get lathered up about.

It’s tough enough to get voters to make informed decisions when so much press coverage sounds like they are covering a beauty pageant. And that isn’t just a swipe at Fox News, it’s all of em and the effect the bloviating seems to have on us masses.

While I applaud the President for stating his position on gay marriage (as I agree with it) and taking a stand on something because that’s what he believes, what nobody notices yet is that the stance doesn’t change anything. Commentators are stumbling all over themselves as to the potential ramifications of the President’s speaking out. To see Mr. Limbaugh and his many divorces up in arms over the President’s “war on marriage” was pretty hilarious. As you go to City Hall to get your license and no one church has a monopoly on marriage, this is all a little odd to me. Don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married. Just like your faith or lack thereof is the rule in your house, but mine calls the shots in mine. But I digress…

Okay, one last point, we seem to be for religious freedom, until somebody actually uses it.

Okay, one final last point, shame on you, North Carolina.

Now, where was I…

Oh, yeah, let’s ask each guy about what matters, wouldn’t it be cool if that actually happened? You might get informed voters. If they toss out some bromide like “We’re gonna do what’s needed to get this country moving again,” ask what the hell that is suppose to mean?

It’s not a job that anybody can do and nobody should “settle” because that is what Beck, Olbermann, Limbaugh, Maddow, Blitzer, etc decide to cover. There are important questions to be asked, serious decisions that lie ahead with enough gravitas to sink an cruise ship. We’re never going find somebody we complete agree with, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with the McNuggets and neither should the folks with the microphones.

Ballot Casting and other fish tales


Or so it feels like. I came into my apartment on this day before election day to find 8 robo calls from candidates or their proxies or their high profile buddies urging me to get out to vote tomorrow. I will, half for the sake of doing my civic duty, half out of relief that at least one wave of rhetoric is closing for a bit. People are weary because of constantly be assaulted by trivial, inaccurate mudslinging that tells a viewer of a commercial the opinion of what one candidate thinks of another.

That is at the heart of the problem. While watching the various GOP front runners all grapple with being in the spotlight so poorly, that Pat Robertson has to tell them to cool it, I’ve been watching the local shenanigans and came up with a challenge that I would like to see, but probably never will. The prevailing winds say most candidates will tell why you shouldn’t vote for the guy running against them. I have this crazy idea and it crosses party lines. You want my vote? You want me to vote for you? You want me to install you in a position of power?

Well, here’s the deal. Tell me what YOU bring to the table. Tell me why YOU be picked, what YOU would do in office, why YOU want to be there. Nobody seems to want to do that. Decisions are made by those who show up, so the saying goes. Perhaps a little more directness might get more people to do so, more coverage would be on improving life instead of instilling fear, maybe that would separate the posers from the folks who have an interest in doing something.

Maybe.

A guy can dream, can’t he?

Vote anyway. It might seem hopeless sometimes, but the only way to keep it that is by showing up. Want term elections? We got em, there called elections.

Represent, yo!

Rocked the Vote


but it was early and the vote didn’t want to get out of bed.

It was dark when I left the apartment this morning and after a season of buzzwords, character assassination, half truths, and pundits searching for something to say, we’re there. It’s time to vote.

I did at the not so lovely hour of 7:30 this morning. In what is probably one of the more important mid-term elections in recent memory, the biggest thing gnawing at me is a nostalgia for the old-school level-operated machines.

In an era where candidates have treated both voters and opposition with nothing but contempt, I’m mostly glad to have this almost done. I had my DVR working overtime so I’ll have Top Gear and Blue Bloods to come home to while local wannabe pundits try to sound like Chuck Todd and Chuck Todd tries to sound like Tim Russert.

Hopefully, we’re done hearing how “I run this state/county/city like a business” and “I’m an outsider” or “I’ll clean up (insert city/government)” or even my personal favorite “I’ll reform the way city/county/state government operates. The total metric poundage amount of trees that gave their lives so candidates can slander each other via glossy mailing pieces has to be an impressive number by this point.

The one unifying thing seems to be the unspoken contempt that those running for office seem to have for those of us doing the electing. I doubt Nancy Pelosi could find Buffalo with a GPS and flashlight, yet Brian Higgins’ opponent was so desperate for material, he (I think) incorporated the current speaker into an ad in an attempt to slander Congressman Higgins.

It’s a Battle Royale for votes and not a whole lot else. No one person can change the world by themselves in a short time span. That what galls me when Reps. Boehner and McConnell say the GOP plan is to make the sure the President is a one termer. Then what? A lot of what they are railing against started with President Bush. The President has been overly busy with keeping the “pieces” in place.

On a more local level, I got it that Jack Quinn and Tim Kennedy aren’t going out for drinks soon, but I’d be curious as to what either has planned and what is their respective numbers in line waiting for an audience with Sheldon Silver.

Already, the morning news shows have started in with the referendum on the President/Sarah Palin/Tea Party talk and I don’t believe it is any of those things. It is a lot to think about, only nobody is doing that.

The results mean something, the analysis is just people guessing. It’s like speculators talking about oil prices. A mention gets things hopping, but the ends still are the same.

Be an insider, know your way around the Beltway, make Albany work, dare to be great or at the very least, make all the insulting crap we’ve been force-fed by candidates, campaigns, and media outlets worth something.

In the meantime, I still miss the levers. Voting today felt like putting my ATM card in the machine and not getting it back.

Straw Pollin’


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You can understand how the political process makes people yawn, become disinterested, or just go flat out postal in frustration. Not a day has gone by over the past few weeks, that I don’t come home to find anywhere from 3-7 glossy 9″ x 12″ mailers from all the candidates up for election in my area. The common thread is that everyone is, and I mean every document, craps on the opposition. If you are going to send me so much glossy paper, tell me why I should vote for you, not why I shouldn’t vote for the guy you are running against. Stop with the lesser of two evils, of making me hold my nose while I fill out the ballot.If you get the gig, what are you going to do.

Regardless if it is a local, state, or federal election, the vitriol is directed at what a crappy person his or her opponent is. And pundits have the nerve to wonder why people don’t vote. I make it to the polling place because you are supposed to, but you can understand how people can become disengaged because the bulk of the candidates are.

It comes as no surprise to this independent that we are not sending choir boys to Washington, Albany or even County and City Hall. I long suspected there is something in the water at the State Capitol where Caribbean junkets are written off as “economic development” and 20 years in other public offices makes you an “outsider” in Albany.

I don’t care that two candidates for the same office hate each other and everything they stand for, don’t particularly care if they speak of each other with affection either. Stop polluting my mailbox with laminated crap!

The masses are cynical, if ill-informed for a reason. There was an almost throwaway bit of dialogue on The West Wing that I think is pretty on the nose: “Politicians are always running for something. When one campaign finishes, the next one begins.” Okay, it sounded better when Stockard Channing said it, but you get the idea.

Just once, I’d like to open the inbox and be greeted with something telling me what you are going to do if I vote for you. Not in blank platitudes, no pronoun-laden propositions, just tell me your plan. You want my vote? Fine, what is in it for me? Can my kids schools be safe from funding foolishness? Are you going to do something to improve the jobs situation? Can you help make the government work for the people? (And don’t say run it like a business). Can you quit spending on stuff for you when cutting programs that improve the quality of life here? Can you just quit spending what you ain’t got?

But I’m not counting on those questions getting answered anytime soon.

I’ll queue up on Election Day, but I’m tired of picking between “Who gives a rat’s ass?” and the “lesser of the established evils.”

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I want it to be a case of why I should back somebody other than he or she isn’t the other guy.

Yet, that seems to be the reason to go this year. Decisions are made by those who show up.

Hopefully, that means everybody.