Tuesday, November 30, 2004

End of an Era

Reports Have Jennings Losing in 'Jeopardy'

Get thee to a TV at 3:50 today. We're not likely to see another Jeopardy champ like this for a while.

Land of Metaphor

Packers might be Super after all

I don't follow football too carefully--though a recent development at home has made me more inclined to watch than usual--but I know good writing when I see it, and this article from Dan O'Neill is the real deal. I especially love the line, "The Packers stumbled out of the gate like an Oliver Stone epic." Nothing like demanding that your readers are keeping up with the latest news rather than reaching for the same old shopworn cliches time and again.

For the record, I'm hoping this is the year Peyton Manning takes the Colts to the Super Bowl. Like any self-respecting gay man, however, I'm much more concerned with the February 27th Oscar telecast than any football game. And after seeing Kinsey over the weekend, I have to hope that it will take the big trophy--if only because it would honor the man who changed the way many Americans think about sex and sexuality and made it possible for someone like me to live the life I'm living rather than living a lie. It doesn't hurt that it's also a well-written, well-acted, thoughtful and funny movie. If you haven't already, go see it. There will be plenty of time to suffer through Christmas with the Kranks and the mightily-maligned Alexander on DVD later.

Seeping In

I Know You Are But What Am ISP? - NetZero taunts AOL with copycat ads

Seth Stevenson has now identified two ad campaigns predicated on mocking the ads of the competition. The first was the stir between Miller and Budweiser following Miller's "President of Beers" ads; Bud, mocked for trying to be a king in America, shot back that Miller was owned by a South African company. The two companies have continued to joust, with Miller's new referee spots also coming in for mocking by Bud.

In today's article, Stevenson notes the new NetZero ad, which parodies the ridiculous AOL ads that show a mother dumping her child on a stunned executive before demanding from AOL pop-up blockers, spam filtering, a safe browsing experience--all of which you can get without AOL--along with an Orwellian monitoring system so she can abdicate her parenting duties and still snoop on her kids' online activity. In any case...NetZero has created an ad that uses AOL's own words against it, pointing out that it offers essentially the same service for less than half the price.

Last night I saw Jared on my screen, and apparently Subway is in on the act, too. Remember those abominable ads for the new McDonald's Chicken Selects? With their stupid "Keep away from my chicken" tagline? Jared uses the line to discuss the enormous fat content in the new product, pointing out the low fat content in Subway's chicken sandwiches. (There's something about the way Jared says the words "grams of fat" that makes it sound like we'd be eating them straight off his formerly-flabby gut; I think that explains his continuing career as a pitchman.)

Why the rundown? I think all of these ads got their cues from the campaign season we just completed, and I don't see the fad dying off just yet. Wasn't the recent campaign all about using someone's words against him? How many times did we hear the number "87 billion," for example? (And how many times didn't we see Kerry use Bush's claim that he "never said that" about Osama bin Laden against him when there was clear proof he was wrong? Could explain the results, no?)

Of course, this troubles me. First, I don't want to think about the campaign anymore, and the use of these tactics immediately triggers an association chain in my brain that leads inevitably back to Bush v. Kerry. But second, and more importantly, I don't want to see the expansion of these scorched earth tactics to every facet of daily life, and seeing them used in ads is therefore troubling. Granted, NetZero and Subway have a point; AOL's product is without redeeming value at any price point and the Chicken Selects, while tasty, are also a heart attack waiting to happen. But the sort of "They're owned by foreigners!" nastiness employed by Bud is akin to the race- and gay-baiting used by the Republicans in every recent campaign, and to see it operating out in the open and on the airwaves rather than in undercover, direct-mailed, Rove-ian fashion is a disturbing sign that our national discourse is about to drop a few more rungs on the civility ladder. I suppose, as long as it doesn't mean naked body parts on TV or men kissing one another in the streets, it won't bother the "moral values" voters, but I don't remember anything in the Bible about Jesus delivering the sermon of win at any cost or announcing that the greatest commandment is to prey on people's fears and insecurities.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Best and Most Likely

Court Declines to Hear Gay Marriage Case

That's what this result is. It's not surprising that the Supreme Court avoided hearing a gay marriage case: it's a political grenade and there's really no way the Court could overturn the Massachusetts court's interpretation of that state's constitution. Nevertheless, this is the best possible result. Hearing the case would have offered the Court the opportunity to invent a reason not to allow gay marriage, a precedent that might have derailed supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment but would also have been difficult to overcome anytime in the near future because Bush will likely anoint a few high priests--I mean, appoint a few justices--before his new term is up, and they're not likely to be friendly to gay rights. It would also have offered the Court the chance to narrowly approve of gay marriage--say, 5-4--and thus give FMA backers just the ammo they need to get a public that hasn't yet processed this issue behind their backward-looking amendment. By ducking the case entirely, the Court instead lets Massachusetts marriages stand, letting the results of that state's experiment with equality inform the debate in the rest of the nation and giving citizens a break from landmark gay rights verdicts that reduce this issue to partisan howling rather than the thoughtful consideration and conversation that will eventually bring about a new consensus.

Yes, this is the new, patient version of Richard. Four weeks out from an electoral disaster, what other choice do liberals (or gays) in America have?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Apocalypse (Almost) Now

Nicholas Kristof tackles a tough topic in the wake of our bruising election: What do these red-staters believe? Well, this, for one thing:
The "Left Behind" series, the best-selling novels for adults in the U.S., enthusiastically depict Jesus returning to slaughter everyone who is not a born-again Christian. The world's Hindus, Muslims, Jews and agnostics, along with many Catholics and Unitarians, are heaved into everlasting fire: "Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and . . . they tumbled in, howling and screeching."

Gosh, what an uplifting scene!

If Saudi Arabians wrote an Islamic version of this series, we would furiously demand that sensible Muslims repudiate such hatemongering. We should hold ourselves to the same standard.
Kristof isn't some far-left lunatic; he's proven himself quite sensible. So it's good to see him--and not Michael Moore--making this point, because it bears consideration. If these are the folks who returned Bush to office, and they believe they're living in the end times, well...

Isn't it possible they voted for Bush because they think he's better qualified to bring the world to an end? He certainly appears to be trying!

In any case, Kristof notes the hypocrisy in proclaiming the apocalypse and profiting from it:
Now we have the hugely profitable "Left Behind" financial empire, whose Web site flatly says that the authors "think this generation will witness the end of history." The site sells every "Left Behind" spinoff imaginable, including screen savers, regular prophecies sent to your mobile phone, children's versions of the books, audiobooks, graphic novels, videos, calendars, music and a $6.50-a-month prophesy club. This isn't religion, this is brand management.

If Mr. LaHaye and Mr. Jenkins honestly believe that the end of the world may be imminent, why not waive royalties? Why don't they use the millions of dollars in profits to help the poor - and increase their own chances of getting into heaven?
I could answer that question, but the cynicism might melt your computer screen.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and when you look around the table at your evangelical relatives and find them staring at you with a mix of pity and contempt, try not to be freaked out. They're just thinking about how you're going to be tossed into a flaming chasm by Jesus and feeling (a) bad that you won't repent your reality-based ways and (b) superior. Don't worry; next Thanksgiving, they'll be able to give you the same look. And the Thanksgiving after that, and after that, and after that...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

We're Doomed

Bush Economic Adviser, Friedman, to Leave

If you doubt that the Republicans are circling the wagons around Bush and the worst ideas that have been fluttering through his administration, this should convince you:
Republicans who favor "supply-side" policies, such as low taxes and deregulation, had warned that Friedman would be more interested in balancing the budget than supporting Bush's tax-cutting package.
Heaven forbid! Fiscal responsibility from a Republican? That's so last century.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Amazon Update

Amazon.com: About You: Reviews

Because I don't want to talk about the shameful Artest brawl this weekend, or the shameful controversy of a BCS system incapable of handling five unbeaten teams, or the shameful fact that three weeks after the election it looks like we're sending more troops to Iraq when they should have been sent either a year ago or not at all--because, in short, the news, important or otherwise, is depressing, revel instead in this: Without writing a review in nearly two months, I've slowly but surely crept up the Amazon food chain, and today--more than a month before my deadline to hit number 10,000--I'm now ranked 7,690th. At this rate, they're gonna be sending me that Top 1000 hat sometime in 2007. Which is when, at this rate, I'll need it to cover a completely bald head. Such sweet serendepity.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Protect Every Child

Click on the link above to add your name to the list of people sponsoring the bill John Kerry will introduce on his first day back in the Senate to provide health care for every child in America. Here's hoping this is how Kerry plans to use his incredible list of supporters and donors. Being able to prove he has millions of people behind him when he proposes new legislation can only help his chances of getting the media and his Congressional colleagues to treat these issues with the seriousness they deserve.

No, Really?

Report: Election took mental toll on gays

I'll bet that comes as news to anyone reading this.

Seriously, the article offers a good explanation:
"Putting the civil rights of one group to a vote takes an enormous psychological toll on members of that group, as well as on communities and on families," said Dr. Glenda Russell, a psychologist and the author of the report. "I've heard many stories about fear, sadness and a sense of loss from people all over the country."
Sense of loss? Two weeks of feeling like I was at a funeral is more like it.
The report outlined strategies to help people work through those feelings. It said LGBT people should analyze the homophobia present in the campaign, take action to resist anti-gay efforts and draw on the support of heterosexual allies.

Steven Fisher, communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, agreed that it's important for LGBT people to reach out to their straight friends and family.

"It's not simply a fight for LGBT Americans," he told the PlanetOut Network. "It's a fight about fairness and equality, and we need to draw more non-LGBT friends into the fight."
Which is why all of your support is greatly appreciated, and why we need you to speak out to yourstraight friends and family to keep the momentum for equality going.

If you'd like to see the report itself, which looks pretty interesting, here it is. (It's a PDF, so be prepared to wait a few seconds.)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I Want a Wedding

Not for the reasons you're thinking. This isn't about commitment, or attention, or having a big party--I can do without the last two of those three and already have the first. It's about this:

Yes, this is T-Fal

And this:

No more hand-cutting for me!

And this:

I, too, could come home to the smell of good cooking...

Insurance benefits, hospital visitation, filing taxes together--all of these are good reasons why I think it should be legal for Brad and me to get married. But pointing a scanner at all of these items and having them show up at my house wrapped in expensive paper? That takes the (wedding) cake. Being denied the right to have other people buy everything I use in my kitchen is just plain wrong.

"What brought this on?" I'm sure you're wondering. Blame my weekly lunch-hour trip to Target and the fact that the skillet I used last night to make dinner had to be covered with a random lid I found among the cookware because it didn't have a proper one.

Lovable Bunch

There she is, the new chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, looking for all the world like she belongs in an insane asylum. Pictured behind her, from left: Majority Leader Bill Frist, thinking that if she's this happy, Viagra must really work; third-in-command Rick Santorum, grimacing as he imagines the widespread man-on-dog action that would surely result if Dole's efforts to keep Republicans in power should fail; and number two man Mitch McConnell, wondering if hyperactive Liddy could teach wife Elaine Chao, the current Secretary of Labor, a thing or two.

Oh well. At least Norm Coleman lost.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Sleaze Update

Dole Picked to Head 2006 Senate Campaigns

The Republicans played it smart, choosing Elizabeth Dole by just ONE vote over sleazebag Norm Coleman. A shame, for reasons stated earlier. I suppose anything that derails Coleman's ongoing quest for national prominence is a good thing, though, right?


2:28 P.M.: Someone (James, I think) suggests in a comment that I should consider Ray LaMontagne's Trouble for my 2004 list.
3:06 P.M.: After discovering that BestBuy has the album for $8.99, I order it online to pick up after work.
3:42 P.M.: BestBuy confirms that the CD is ready and waiting for me!

No wonder my boss calls me a music slut.

I Love Lists

'Like a Rolling Stone' Named No. 1 Song

I guess it's kind of unfair to expect Rolling Stone magazine to name any other song than this one as the best of all time. With the number one song having the magazine's name in the title, and the number two song, "Satisfaction," coming from a band with the same name, it looks a bit suspicious. But who can argue with the results? The greatest songwriter of all time (Bob Dylan, for those who are scratching their heads) would of course write the greatest song.

Look forward to more lists in coming weeks. 'Tis the season!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Intolerance Is Not a 'Value'

The writer of this article captures my reasons for loathing, above all else about George W. Bush and his party, their willingness to use people's fear of homosexuality as a tool in a political campaign. After a moving story about a wonderful teacher he had as a child who, years later, finally came out, the writer imagines how the evangelicals who delivered for Bush might treat that teacher today if he lived openly with his partner.
In the new world order dictated by champions of "moral values," this wonderful, caring teacher might be branded dangerous. Emboldened by national conservative leaders, the town's evangelicals -- and there are plenty of them -- could well have raised a hue and cry to keep this teacher and "his kind" away from their children. And the town's young people would have been denied the chance to have their lives shaped by a remarkable educator.
By supporting Bush, Republicans who don't agree with these sorts of behavior have given their approval to it nonetheless, helping Bush to victory even as he worked to gain votes by having his surrogates stir up the worst impulses in potential voters. The ill effects of that frenzy-whipping won't just disappear:
Here's what Republicans of conscience have to understand about the machinations of Karl Rove and company. Fear isn't some emotion that can be easily bottled back up after it's been -- viciously -- unleashed. It isn't a once-every-four-years vehicle that can be wheeled out for a few months, then stowed back in the garage to be retooled for the next election cycle. Encouraging fundamentalist preachers to pound their pulpits and inveigh against gay people has consequences. It puts men and women in communities across this country at personal and professional risk. There's nothing more despicable than creating a phony political issue (just how many gay couples are clamoring for marriage certificates in the state of Ohio, anyhow?) and preying on people's prejudices.

So now it's up to discerning Republicans to wrestle with this quandary: You won all right, but at what cost? What happened to the party that once shared Abraham Lincoln's faith in the "better angels of our nature"?
The writer doesn't take it quite far enough, though. It's also up to discerning Democrats to ask why WE didn't make this issue an appeal to those same better angels. Why, if we were going to go down to defeat by not fighting fire with fire on the gay marriage issues, couldn't the Democrats have stood up and said, for instance, "You may not approve of homosexuality. You may cringe at the sight of two men kissing. But we as a people have decided that the rules that govern our public life and the dictates of our religious beliefs are separate things, and this separation has served us well for more than two centuries. We as a nation have also continuously moved toward inclusion and equality and away from division and inequity. By granting same-sex couples the same rights under the law as opposite-sex couples, we continue down this road to inclusion and equality. We do not have to morally approve of a person's choices to offer them rights that others take for granted. We are wise enough as people to decide for ourselves how we deal with those whose choices we disapprove of on an individual basis; we are accomplished enough as parents to teach our children the ways in which we hope they will choose to lead their lives. We are strong enough as a nation to offer equal rights to all our countrymen and women without fearing for the moral fabric that binds us together."

But no Democrat said that, or anything like it. They ducked and dodged the issue, thinking they could drive it from people's minds. If they had played it up instead, and presented it as an issue of basic fairness in keeping with a long national tradition, could things have turned out any worse electorally than they did anyway? And wouldn't the party at least have had its dignity as a comfort for the cold months and years to come?

Anyhow, I highly recommend the entire article. Pass it on to Republicans who don't vote that way because they hate gays and lesbians, but because they believe in some other aspect of the G.O.P. platform and hold their noses on the anti-gay vitriol. They're the folks we need to take their party back.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Coleman, Dole Each Claim Enough GOP Votes

Seems like only yesterday that Norm Coleman beat former VP Walter Mondale for Minnesota's Senate seat, the beneficiary of a plane crash that killed Paul Wellstone and backlash against an emotional farewell rally that dominated the all-too-brief campaign between he and Mondale. Yet here he is, two years later, challenging Elizabeth Dole to run the Republican Senate campaign in 2006 and position himself as a power broker in the party he so casually joined just eight years ago.

Don't get me wrong--I don't like either of these folks. But if I'm the Republican Party, I'm grooming Dole, not Coleman. Minnesota may be trending toward the G.O.P., but Coleman isn't safe by any means; Dole, on the other hand, will hold onto her seat in North Carolina as long as she wants it, and giving the otherwise thuggish party a female face could improve its image among the suburban women who are helping the Republicans paint the country red.

So, yes, I'm hoping against hope that Coleman finds a way to get the job, becomes majority leader two years hence when Bill Frist goes back to being a surgeon, and has his ridiculous mug and preposterous voice broadcast around the nation as a representation of all that it means to be a Republican. I look forward to hearing him talk about the importance of families and discussing why his wife is never around. I long to hear Garrison Keillor lampoon him for a national audience, just as he did for Salon.com in the dark days after Coleman won his seat. I yearn for the opportunity to watch Al Franken run against Coleman and show that behind all the jokes, he has more substance on his worst day than Coleman has displayed in his entire life. Yes, Norm Coleman as the face of the G.O.P. seems just about right.

This picture is on MY Web site, and this is the best I could do! See that weird grin? That's because I don't have a sincere bone in my body!


Rice Is Top Candidate to Replace Powell -Sources

Three years ago, this news--that a fine man with an understanding of the politics in the world's most troubled region was being replaced as America's top diplomat by a narcissistic woman whose expertise is a relic of the Cold War--would have stirred in me a passionate anger as well as a deep and abiding fear that an administration once merely inept was about to run the ship of state aground. Now that the ship is sitting on a lonely island, isolated from any reality as understood by the rest of the world, I find myself surprisingly resigned to the news that Colin Powell, in whom I once placed my faith that the Bush Administration would not recklessly invade Iraq, only to see that faith scorned and spurned, is leaving his post and that Condi Rice is likely taking over. Can Wolfowitz as (non-Senate-confirmed) National Security Adviser be far off? [UPDATE: Well, it's going to be Hadley as NSA, not Wolfie. So it's the liar about the uranium and friend of Dick Cheney rather than the rabid neocon and friend of Dick Cheney. Six of one...]

Oh well. At least Barry Bonds is still the National League MVP.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Ownership of Capital

Evangelicals Want Faith Rewarded

George W. Bush keeps talking about spending his newly-earned political capital--like the surplus, he's probably already spent it four different ways--but the Christian Right has news for him. They consider themselves responsible for his win and expect to be treated accordingly. They've caught on to the game I described yesterday:
In recent days, some evangelical leaders have warned in interviews that the Republican Party would pay a price in future elections if its leaders did not take up the issues that brought evangelicals to the polls.

"Business as usual isn't going to cut it, where the GOP rides to victory by espousing traditional family values and then turns around and rewards the liberals in its ranks," said Robert Knight, who heads an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, a Christian conservative advocacy group.
And if you don't think they're dead serious about having things their way this time around, consider this:
Bob Jones III, president of the Christian conservative Bob Jones University in South Carolina, recently urged Bush to purge moderates from the White House.

"If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them," Jones said in a letter to Bush after the election. "Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ."
Jones is referring not only to peripheral characters, but to the president's two closest advisers:
Adding wrinkles to their relationship with the White House, some evangelical leaders worry that Bush's circle of advisors includes aides who are insufficiently committed to conservative social values.

Some see Andrew H. Card Jr., the president's chief of staff and a former Massachusetts state legislator, as too moderate. They note that Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, has said that the issue of same-sex marriage should be left to the states, in contrast to evangelicals' call for a constitutional ban.
Their first target, though, is Arlen Specter. While I was hoping Democrat Jim Hoeffel would pick Specter off, I have to confess that I feel a bit safer knowing he's slated to become the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Which is why, apparently, the evangelicals who feel they own President Bush want him to push Senate Republicans to pass Specter over for the chair in favor of someone who observes the party's anti-choice orthodoxy.

The result of this fracas will tell us much about the power evangelicals will wield during this administration. Keep your fingers crossed that Specter holds on and gets the chairmanship. Anything else will mean very bad news for the future.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Tragic Loss

Hugh Grant Signals End to Acting Career

There are those who will suggest that I mean the title of this post facetiously. I do not.

Hugh Grant is not the best actor alive. He's not even close. But there's something about him that makes many movies better than they would otherwise be. Love Actually, Bridget Jones' Diary, Notting Hill, Two Weeks Notice, and even the deeply-flawed Nine Months all benefited from his considerable charm.

And let's not forget Sense and Sensibility, in which he played Emma Thompson's love interest and eventual husband. Perhaps it was the fact that he had Ang Lee directing him, but ol' Hugh was completely convincing. And in About a Boy, he had to carry the whole movie alongside a child actor. He owned that role and made the movie one with which I wouldn't willingly part. He even got a Golden Globe nomination and won an Empire Award! He may not be the person you think of when you think of high-quality cinema, but light comedies have their place as well, and the world of light comedies will be considerably poorer for the loss of Hugh Grant.

Cooler Heads

Frank Rich: On 'Moral Values,' It's Blue in a Landslide

Frank Rich's post-mortem of the election nails the real meaning of the electorate's choice, ranging from discussion of the 22-percent bloc of moral values voters to the 59 percent of Californians who supported stem-cell research and pointing out, for the first time since the election, that the Republican Party ALWAYS uses "moral values" to win the votes of poor, rural folk and then promptly ignores those folks' wishes once the election is over. Look at Bush's first few days since winning: He's sent Rove out to claim he's going to push the anti-gay amendment again, but everyone knows he doesn't have the votes, even after winning more seats. Meanwhile, he's pushed Congress to work on privatizing (eliminating) Social Security and talked about major tax reform. Which do you think the Republicans are more likely to actually deal with? Tax reform is a political cash cow; corporations will pony up any amount of money to be able to influence the legislators who will potentially rewrite the tax code. Brokerage firms will shell out big bucks to get their hands on more money from every employee in America. And the rural values voters who expect Bush to somehow conjure up a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? The Republicans, for all their flaws, know better than to go looking for blood from a turnip. Follow the money and it's obvious what sort of legislative calendar we can expect for 2005.

The question is this: When will these "values voters" catch on to the game and start voting their financial interests rather than casting symbolic votes based on their moral beliefs that have no chance of actually changing anything? When will they realize that a tax code that treats their family and other families fairly is more important than whether someone else can get married, or have an abortion, or burn a flag? When will they stop trying to use the ballot box to turn back time? Until Democrats find a way to speak the truth about these issues--that however much these folks disagree with the Democratic social platform, the Republican one is just a sucker game to con people into voting for their own continued poverty--in a way that doesn't condescend, the Republican strategy will continue to work.

Tits in a Twist

TV Stations Cancel 'Saving Private Ryan'

Maybe this will teach the FCC to heap excessive fines on broadcasters who allow the accidental appearance of bare flesh or a curse word during a live event. When a major network can't air a film that, whatever you think of it (and I called it Steven Spielberg masturbating on film back in 1998, when Shakespeare in Love beat it for Best Picture), celebrates the contributions and heroism of veterans--when a network can't air such a film on Veteran's Day--something is seriously wrong. It's time for the FCC to start policing the airwaves to ensure that broadcasters don't present fiction as fact--CBS, Fox, can you hear me?--rather than going on witch hunts against entertainers who let the occasional f-bomb fly.

I applaud the ABC stations that refused to air the movie tonight. They may not intend it this way, but their action looks to me like a protest against the FCC's recent behavior. As the AP explains:
The FCC has stepped up enforcement of its decency standards for certain content following this year's Super Bowl halftime show, in which one of Janet Jackson's breasts was exposed.

Profane speech, which is barred from broadcast radio and television between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., is defined by the FCC as language that is "so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance," or epithets that tend "to provoke violent resentment."

The guidelines say the context in which such material appears is of critical importance.
One might think that the context of a war movie would make it okay for the incidental "fuck" to find its way into America's living rooms. Won't there be a little graphic in the corner warning viewers that this program is "TV MA" and hence the skittish should look elsewhere for their evening dose of mind numbing?

Oh well. It's a scary new world in which we live.
Cole cited recent FCC actions and last week's re-election of President Bush as reasons for replacing "Saving Private Ryan" on Thursday with a music program and the TV movie "Return to Mayberry."

"We're just coming off an election where moral issues were cited as a reason by people voting one way or another and, in my opinion, the commissioners are fearful of the new Congress," Cole said.
Forget the fact that broadcasters are now fearful of the power of the moral values crowd, that they think Bush's election somehow gives a mandate to prudes and sensitive-eared folk everywhere. "Return to Mayberry?" If this is where the country is headed, maybe it really IS time to move to Canada.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Brilliant Writing Alert

The Truth About Cats and Dogs - Bark if you love Justice Souter! By Dahlia Lithwick

If you've never read anything about the Supreme Court before, today would be a good day to start. The case is seemingly trivial, but that Dahlia Lithwick--she's a genius. Enjoy.

So It Begins...

Amazon.com: Music / Best of 2004

When I was a kid, I thought the holiday season should start September 18th. That would give everyone three months and a week to get ready for Christmas. I've always loved a countdown, I suppose.

Nevertheless, I'm a bit shocked to see Amazon's Best of 2004 list during the second week of November. The decision to post the list today may make good business sense right now--I'm pretty sure the inclusion of Modest Mouse in the top 10 accounts for the people who gave my review of Good News For People Who Love Bad News helpful votes today, and thus implies added traffic for the whole slew of albums--but think of how this will look as a historic document! I'm hard pressed to believe that U2's new album and Eminem's new album wouldn't make the top 100 for the year if they held eligibility open another week. Instead, it appears that most of the choices hail from much earlier; I'm pretty sure they cut it off at the end of October, which also exiles Elton John. I'm not arguing with the albums Amazon did consider--far be it from me to dispute a list when I own seven of the top ten albums and plan to buy an eighth--but I'm not sure it makes sense to pretend November never happened, especially when so many artists release albums then to capitalize on the holiday rush.

With that said, Paul and I have agreed to cut off our own list eligibility during this month for the purposes of our December list-making. Paul cut himself off after yesterday's releases; I'm considering doing the same but also open to including U2, Eminem, and Rufus Wainwright among the eligibles by waiting to close the door until November 23. This leaves less time for reflection and for an album to either grow on me or bore me, so we'll see.

The difference, of course, is that I'll go back and revise later. The original 2003 list, for instance, included several albums that were later surpassed by albums from last year that hadn't even reached me yet in December. If you scroll down the sidebar today, it's the final list you'll see, not a list made with incomplete knowledge of what albums from 2003 I would eventually come to love. (Figuring out when to stop revising is difficult, but that's another discussion.) Because today's list from Amazon is probably the final word from them on 2004, folks browsing five years from now wondering what good albums from 2004 they may have missed out on will be out of luck. Maybe I'm the only person who does this sort of thing. I tend to think not. I hope, if Amazon insists on foisting its list on us weeks before Thanksgiving, they'll revisit it around St. Patrick's Day. Releasing an album in November shouldn't doom it to a list-less oblivion.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Clarence Thomas is Crazy, But...

Ashcroft, Evans resign from Cabinet

Blue-staters, fear not: Today we have evidence that whatever deity the red-staters elected to run our country last week has at least a few thimbles of our sensibility. John Ashcroft--also known as the first sign after the 2000 election fiasco that Bush would be a divider rather than a uniter--is done as attorney general. But as you weather this new development, here's something to cling to in this swiftly-changing world: He's still nuts. Here's a bit from his resignation: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." Does that mean we have nothing left to fear? Maybe Ashcroft should have put out this memo, rather than a bunch of terror alerts, while Bush was running for office.

If you'd prefer to remain fearful despite Ashcroft's new confidence in his own work, there's always this: "I believe that my energies and talents should be directed toward other challenging horizons." Chief Justice Ashcroft, anyone? Why not get serious bang for the buck and use Johnny boy to bust up two terms' worth of unity promises, George?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Long Week

Ending Our Losing Ways

Week one of the soul searching is nearly complete. The article above offers some ideas about how the Democrats can recalibrate our party and win elections again. If that's not enough for you, Slate has just gone to town with this theme, asking writer after writer to weigh in on just how the causes we believe in--equality in civil rights, fair treatment of workers, stewardship of the environment, etc.--can be turned into an electoral advantage.

If you're sick of all of that--and I know I am--you can read this interview with Ellen DeGeneres. It's a wonderful interview--Ellen is great on either end of these chats--and one of the first times I've seen her talk frankly about her relationship with her girlfriend and about how she, as America's new daytime sweetheart, feels about an election in which her love was demonized. Here's the most political I've ever seen her get:
Phillips: "Are you surprised by the sexual orientation, gay marriage, that these are such hot buttons issues in American in 2004?"

DeGeneres: "Am I surprised? No. No. You know, I wish that I wasn't seen differently. I wish that people looked at me and just saw that I was a good person with a good heart. And that wants to make people laugh. And that's who I am. I also happen to be gay. And I would love to have the same rights as everybody else. I would love, I don't care if it's called marriage. I don't care if it's called, you know, domestic partnership. I don't care what it's called. I mean, there are couples that have been together, 30 years, 40 years. And all of a sudden, they lose their house, you know, the taxes kill them, because it's different because they're not married. Everything is taken away just because. You know, with Sept. 11, there are a lot of people that lost their partner and didn't get the same benefits. It's not fair. And at the same time I know there are people watching right now saying, you know, it's sick it's wrong, it's this. And it's like, I can't convince them that I'm not sick or wrong, that there's nothing wrong with me. You know, I can live my life and hope that things change, and hope that we're protected as any other couples, should something happen to me or Alex.
If anyone can quietly change the hearts and minds of middle America, I'm hoping it's Ellen. I guess we'll see.

Meanwhile, I've moved on to my own manner of distracting myself from politics: Today, I registered for my first graduate class on my way to a master's degree in journalism. Because I'm doing this part-time, it should take me right up through the end of the Bush Administration. (I'd include a link to a countdown clock here, but do you really want to think about the 1,533 days we've got left?)

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Direct Appeal

Well, Karl Rove is a genius. How do I know? Because a friend of a friend left this comment on an earlier post today: I find your blog very insightful (even if I don't agree with all of your views) but one question I have is this: You voted for Kerry, but wasn't Kerry also a proponent of "Preserving the sanctity of marriage as between a man and a woman" just like Bush?

Rove forced Kerry to explain his position in a way that made it sound, at least to the commenter meaninglessness, but instead of directing Bush to the same "middle ground," he put him where he puts him on every issue: Wherever the people he's appealing to want him to be. Rove's background in direct mail advertising taught him to use the power of lists--lists of churchgoers, lists of veterans, lists of divorcees, lists of everything. Direct mail pieces about how Bush would "protect marriage" were targeted to those who would be interested in hearing about it, while Bush himself struck a conciliatory (and confusing, for some) note a few weeks before the election by suddenly saying he was OK with civil unions. This as Bush's on-air ads denounced Kerry as a flip-flopper!

The question posed by our commenter deserves an answer, though. Yes, Kerry said he wanted to preserve the sanctity of marriage, in that he believes the word "marriage" should refer only to the union of a man and a woman. But there's this to consider, part of his civil rights policy:
Protecting Gay and Lesbian Families: John Kerry believes that same-sex couples should be granted rights, including access to pensions, health insurance, family medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor benefits, and other basic legal protections that all families and children need. He has supported legislation to provide domestic partners of federal employees the benefits available to spouses of federal employees. He was one of 14 Senators -- and the only one up for reelection in 1996 -- to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Kerry also denounced "Don't ask, don't tell," supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and is a cosponsor of hate crimes legislation. All of these are important issues to the gay community.

Was Kerry perfect on gay issues? No...but we gave him a pass on the word marriage because, well, no other presidential candidate was ever so supportive. Says Eleanor Clift: President Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act when he was in the White House, advised Kerry in a phone call early in the campaign to find a way to support the state bans. Kerry never considered abandoning his principles to that extent, but he also didn’t take seriously enough the threat." Why not? Why didn't Kerry sell out the gay community for votes? For all the bashing he's endured as a flip-flopper, why didn't he put a finger in the air, feel the wind blowing against his position, and close the gap between he and Bush on the issue? Probably because Kerry is comfortable with gay people, comfortable with the idea of gay people, and unwilling to use us as a political pawn. He showed his comfort level when he mentioned Mary Cheney in the debate. Say what you will: Kerry is not a moron. If he had thought his remark would create the kind of furor it did, he wouldn't have said it. He doesn't view referring to someone's declared sexuality as an insult.

Bush, on the other hand, can't even use the word "gay" or "lesbian" in public. He talks about how we can "profess tolerance," how we can "respect someone's rights," but he also encouraged his surrogates to use the gay issue aggressively, and mentioned not once during the campaign a single thing he would do as president to improve the lot in life of a gay or lesbian person. Kerry, in the third debate--after mentioning Mary--had this to say:
The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we're a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can't discriminate in the workplace. You can't discriminate in the rights that you afford people.

You can't disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I'm for partnership rights and so forth.
In other words, for Kerry, this is a semantic issue. "Marriage" is what is always has been--a man and a woman. But the rights that go with marriage? Property rights, visitation rights, the right to work without fear that someone will discover your sexuality and fire you for it? Kerry believes in these rights. Bush doesn't.

The elephant in the room is Bush's comment to Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America, right? Here's what he said: ""I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." That's not an endorsement of civil unions, folks. The implication is clear: If a state can choose to offer people civil unions, it can also choose not to offer them, right? And that's what eight states did this week: chose not to offer civil unions, now or anytime in the future, at least until they re-amend their constitutions.

Many in the gay community looked at Bush's comments and said he'd given us what we wanted, that both candidates now supported civil unions. But that's not what happened. Bush muddied the waters in terms of his position, made himself seem more compassionate than his party, and got even gay pundits saying he and Kerry held identical positions. But his words didn't proclaim any deeds that would follow from them; he didn't suggest that states that offered civil unions would also be able to allow gay couples to file federal taxes together, or obtain any of the other federal benefits that accompany a heterosexual marriage. Kerry suggested that these rights should apply to all legally-joined couples, no matter the sex of the two partners.

And, by the way, Bush wanted to AMEND THE CONSTITUTION to ensure that, in a generation, when the momentum has fully shifted on this issue, it won't be easy to undo the damage he's done. Maybe he didn't think the amendment had any chance of passing; maybe it was just a political tool to help him drive out his base. Does that make it any better?

Ralph Nader said after the election, according to Clift, that Kerry failed to draw real distinctions between himself and the president:
Nader offers a plausible if self-serving analysis for what went wrong for Kerry and the Democrats. He blames the “Anybody but Bush” mindset that led Democrats to set aside their issue differences with Kerry and give him a free ride. “Leave Kerry alone—make no demands on him,” that was the mantra, says Nader. The party’s various factions—labor, liberals, women, environmentalists—took a holiday. “They allowed Kerry to adopt ambiguous wishy-washy positions and they deprived him of the key to victory, which is bright lines,” says Nader.
Nader may or may not be right about Kerry's defects as a candidate and the party's failure to make its positions clear. But however he articulated his position on gay rights, Kerry always made sure that he stood on the side of equality, if not in name then at least in fact. I may believe that the word "marriage" should belong to all of us, not just heteros, but if I'm in a car wreck tomorrow, I don't care what they call our union--I just want to know that the hospital will call Brad and he'll be there with me, and that if I die he'll be taken care of. John Kerry wanted to give me that. George Bush used the very idea that I might have that to scare voters who have never met a gay person into voting based on it. If that makes them the same, I don't know what could have made them different.

Piling On

HBO Ready to Bury 'Six Feet'

Wasn't this a bad enough week already?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

No Migration Necessary

Looks like a plan to me!

Radical Change

Two Nations Under God

Thomas Friedman, whatever our differences, just plain gets it:
...what troubled me yesterday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don't just favor different policies than I do - they favor a whole different kind of America. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.

Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?
Friedman points out that, in the end, this election was a near-rerun of the last one: "Despite an utterly incompetent war performance in Iraq and a stagnant economy, Mr. Bush held onto the same basic core of states that he won four years ago - as if nothing had happened. It seemed as if people were not voting on his performance. It seemed as if they were voting for what team they were on."

Again, the only way we'll ever win again is to convince some people that they're playing for the wrong team. When the people we're trying to convince oppose our positions as an article of faith, how do we do that?

Soft Support

A Victory for 'Values,' but Whose?

Three days ago I had a conversation with someone very dear to me who still hadn't decided for whom she ought to vote. "Not Bush," I said. "No matter what else you believe, he pushed that constitutional amendment. A vote for him is an endorsement of that sentiment and the use of my life as a wedge issue and political tactic."

"I just don't think that should be an issue in an election," she replied.

And that, my friends, is why we lost.

We lost because people who believe in equality, and separation of church and state, don't vote based on those issues. People who believe in "traditional values" like hetero superiority will back up their misguided beliefs with record turnout, as the results in Ohio and the national news stories today about moral values prove--even when their economic interests clearly lie with the other candidate. They'll check the box for an amendment that insures that no gay couple will have any legal standing in their state at any time in the foreseeable future--certainly for most of their lifetimes--then gratuitously vote for the guy they think will pass a federal ban as well.

"I just don't think that should be an issue in an election."

As long as that's the attitude of the people who agree that equality is important, we're doomed for decades. Either (a) the Democrats sell gays out for a generation to maintain their electability, or (b) we wait out a long demographic change that will eventually--decades from now--allow equality to prevail, or (c) we convince people like the one who said that this shouldn't be an election issue that it has to be.

I choose (c). Basic fairness matters. Letting all Americans enjoy the same rights and freedoms matters. People who share these views need to be convinced that they should vote based on them, consider them a part of their faith the same way our red-state-rural countrymen consider institutional homophobia a part of theirs.

There will be those who argue for (a). There will be those who say that (b) won't take as long as I think. But the only way we start winning again soon, and make this the kind of country in which I long to grow old, is (c), which harnesses the 62 percent of the population that said they approve of either gay marriage or civil unions. That's a majority of the country waiting to be told that their beliefs are righteous and fair and justified and worth fighting--and voting--for. I hope the Democrats realize that.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


The Onion | National Museum Of The Middle Class Opens In Schaumburg, IL

Well, I guess this makes sense: now that Bush has been re-elected, we can kiss the notion of a middle class goodbye. I'm so glad the museum will be nearby!

No Escape

No Canada safe haven for Democrats

Well, apparently there's a year wait to be admitted as a resident of Canada. We should have put in our applications last November...
Government officials, real estate brokers and Democrat activists said that while some Americans might talk about moving to Canada rather than living with a new Bush administration, they did not expect a mass influx.

"It's one thing to say 'I'm leaving for Canada' and quite another to actually find a job here and wonder about where you're going to live and where the children are going to go to school," said one official.
However, there is one way to get away that might allow folks to ride this storm out:
Those wishing to move to Canada could always take a risk and claim refugee status -- the path chosen earlier this year by two U.S. deserters who opposed the Iraq war.

"Anybody who enters Canada who claims refugee status will be provided with a work permit...it doesn't matter what country they're from," said an immigration ministry spokeswoman.

Refugee cases are handled by special boards, which can take months to decide whether to admit applicants. The rulings can be appealed and opposition politicians complain some people ordered deported have been in Canada for 10 years or more.
10 years or more? That might just be enough time for America to become the country I long to inhabit.

For a happier, more proactive outlook, I recommend James in Washington.

But, James, can we make that a slice of Canadian bacon?

Utter Rejection

I was going to write a long post about how bad this election is for gays, but Andrew Sullivan is on top of it. I've bolded the stuff that really says how I feel:

THE IMPACT ON GAYS: I've been trying to think of what to say about what appears to be the enormous success the Republicans had in using gay couples' rights to gain critical votes in key states. In eight more states now, gay couples have no relationship rights at all. Their legal ability to visit a spouse in hospital, to pass on property, to have legal protections for their children has been gutted. If you are a gay couple living in Alabama, you know one thing: your family has no standing under the law; and it can and will be violated by strangers. I'm not surprised by this. When you put a tiny and despised minority up for a popular vote, the minority usually loses. But it is deeply, deeply dispiriting nonetheless. A lot of gay people are devastated this morning, and terrified. We have seen, and not for the first time, how using fear of a minority can be so effective a tool in building a political movement. The single most important issue for Republican voters, according to exit polls, was not the war on terror or Iraq or the economy. It was "moral values." Karl Rove understood the American psyche better than I did. By demonizing gay couples, the Republicans were able to bring in whole swathes of new anti-gay believers into their party. With new senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, two of the most anti-gay politicians in America, we can only brace ourselves for what is now coming.

FEDERALISM WORKS: At the same time, gays can still appeal to the fair-minded center. After fanning the flames of fear for much of the year, the president himself recently came out in favor of civil unions. That puts him at odds with the initiatives passed so easily across the country. I do not believe a majority exists for denying gay couples legally protected relationships. The national exit polls showed that 27 percent support marriage rights, 37 percent support civil unions and only 35 percent want to keep gay couples from having any rights at all. There are still many states where it is safe to be a gay couple or an openly gay person. We have the right to marry in one state, and in that state, pro-equality legislators were all re-elected handily. In California, we are on the brink of having almost-equality under the law. Around the civilized world, gay relationships are increasingly accepted as worthy of dignity and respect. The passage of so many anti-gay amendments in so many states reduces the need, by any rational measure, for a federal amendment that would scar the Constitution with discrimination. We need therefore to be even more emphatic about the need for a federalist response to an issue best left to the states. If we can avoid the FMA, we can live to fight another day.

STAND TALL: But one more thing is important. The dignity of our lives and our relationships as gay people is not dependent on heterosexual approval or tolerance. Our dignity exists regardless of their fear. We have something invaluable in this struggle: the knowledge that we are in the right, that our loves are as deep and as powerful and as God-given as their loves, that our relationships truly are bonds of faith and hope that are worthy, in God's eyes and our own, of equal respect. Being gay is a blessing. The minute we let their fear and ignorance enter into our own souls, we lose. We have gained too much and come through too much to let ourselves be defined by others. We must turn hurt back into pride. Cheap, easy victories based on untruth and fear and cynicism are pyrrhic ones. In time, they will fall. So hold your heads up high. Do not give in to despair. Do not let the Republican party rob you of your hopes. This is America. Equality will win in the end.
I really like Sullivan's optimism about the eventual outcome of this struggle, but I think he understates, in his first paragraph, what we're about to see in America. If I'm Karl Rove, or any Republican strategist, the lesson for me from this election is simple: Gay-bashing works. They passed 11 amendments banning gay marriage--and, in some states, civil unions--without even trying. The amendments drove up turnout and probably handed Bush Ohio and the presidency despite a track record on the economy that made the state competitive for Kerry.

I hate to be this pessimistic, but this was our chance to show that the Democratic way works. A successful Kerry presidency could have helped undo some of the structural imbalance that favors Republicans. But if they won Ohio in this election, why should we expect them to lose it next time? And where will we go for the votes we need to put together an electoral college win? We can barely hold onto Wisconsin; Michigan and Minnesota are trending badly for us; Iowa and New Mexico appear to have dropped off the bandwagon. A poor economy in Ohio gave Democrats false hope in this election, but right now the fact appears to be that we have almost no path that allows us to elect a president. For all the bluster about the big three battlegrounds, Pennsylvania is really a blue state and Ohio and Florida are really red states. As long as that's true--and as long as it's a dogfight merely to defend Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and Minnesota--how will we find the greener pastures that take us to 270? Your thoughts on this below are appreciated.

[UPDATE: One of Sullivan's letters today sounds like it came from me: "I am a 25 year-old gay man, and I can't even describe how saddened I am today by the re-election of President Bush and the numerous state amendments banning gay marriage that were passed on election day. I'm not really angry... just very sad and afraid. I don't know what country I live in anymore. I thought this was the land of freedom. I thought I was free to pursue my own happiness. But right now I feel like my country hates me. What is going on?" Just for the record, I didn't write that letter. But I could have.]

Unmitigated Disaster

Voters in 11 States Reject Gay Marriage

Did the gay marriage issue kill the Democrats? Observation A: In Ohio, a quarter of the electorate identified as white evangelicals. They broke 3-1 for Bush. Observation B: This was Karl Rove's plan in action. He wanted four million more evangelical votes in 2004 than he got in 2000. Popular vote in 2000: Bush loses by 500,000. Current count, 2004: Bush wins by 3,500,000.

More observations later. A dark day.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Throwaway Keeper

TV Review: Huff

What, you thought I'd write about the election today? You all know what I hope will happen, that I think it will happen, and that I won't sleep tonight until I know for sure that it did happen--or, if the nation is determined to make me reconsider living in it, didn't.

So did you see the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly? Fascinating cover story about Elton John; he talks about his recent public statements regarding Madonna and his allegedly fabulous show in Vegas, as well as his new CD, coming a week from today. I can't wait--and there's a Seal greatest hits album as well! Splendid!

More interesting to me, though, is a promotional DVD included with the magazine. This isn't the first promo DVD I've seen in the mag; there have been several that included movie trailers. This one, though, comes from Showtime, and it's intended to promote HBO's ugly stepsister's new Sunday-night series, Huff, starring the always-funny Hank Azaria in the title role. Big deal, right? But this is no ordinary promo: It contains the entire pilot episode. Meaning that rather than sitting down on Sunday night--when the palate may not be open to something new--to decide whether this show it worth my time, I can watch it any time I want.

How smart is that? The hardest part of launching a TV series, especially one that aspires to both quality and a loyal audience, is getting people to start watching and get hooked. This DVD is like that first freebie you'd get from your crack dealer, the one that makes you keep coming back for more. It costs not-a-lot, could help build buzz for the show, and lets viewers know that (a) Showtime has a new series starring some pretty big names and (b) They think it's so good they wanted everyone to be able to watch the first episode for free, whether they subscribe or not. I know that makes me curious enough to give the show a chance for an hour. Congrats to Showtime for being the first folks I know of to think of this. If HBO had done the same with Deadwood, I might be an old West junkie by now. If Fox had done this with Arrested Development, I might not feel like it's too late now to jump on the bandwagon. If ABC had done this with Desperate Housewives...OK, sometimes shows find an audience on their own. But I hope more networks will follow Showtime's lead on this. In a busy world with many forms of media competing for my attention, the ability to evaluate something anytime I want makes me a lot more likely to give it a shot.

Monday, November 01, 2004

High Expectations

This season, the T-Wolves will triumph

Michael Ventre makes a compelling case for my beloved Timberwolves. Lest we forget, tomorrow is also the start of the NBA season. Thank goodness for a welcome diversion! This will be the year they go all the way!
I'd like to add a Finals MVP trophy to my mantle this year...

Changing Times

Bush, Kerry Squeeze Every Hour to Campaign

When we woke up Saturday morning, we promised ourselves we wouldn't let our weekend be dominated by the upcoming election. There's only so much self-policing one can do, though, and by Saturday night we had the politicians on the TV--before watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which was a welcome respite.

But Sunday was a disaster; besides waking up to electoral vote projections galore and posting our election projections to the site, discussing the election on the phone with my mother, and talking about the election over desserts at Culvers and in the car, I sat with Brad and watched Scarborough Country, Hardball, all the campaign ads from this election on CSPAN, two Kerry rallies, and Kerry at a black church in Ohio speaking from the pulpit. I think John Kerry was in my (mostly sleepless) dreams last night.

I blame the time change. How can it possibly be a good idea to add an hour to the last weekend of a bitter campaign? The candidates may be happy to "squeeze" every last hour, as the article above would have you believe, but the rest of us are ready to be done with this. I may suffer withdrawal symptoms afterward; if Bush wins I may be sullen for a period better measured in weeks or months than days or hours. No matter: nothing, not even overwhleming feelings of righteous indignation and contempt for my fellow Americans, could be worse than the vaguely puke-ish feeling in my stomach that this election has aroused this last week, making me suspect flu on a daily basis whlie knowing it's really just nerves regarding something over which I have no control.

So, in addition to my springtime proposal to make springing ahead a national worker's holiday, I propose changing the mechanisms for daylight savings so that the longest weekend of the year falls the weekend AFTER the election rather than the one BEFORE it. Unless we're about to enter a period of unprecedented national unity, these elections are just going to keep getting longer and longer and generating more and more discord. Wouldn't we be better off with more time to rest afterward? (Or more time to contest the results before Inauguration Day?)

Here's hoping for quick returns tomorrow night, a new president--and an end to all of this madness!