Thursday, December 31, 2009

Midnight In The Garden Of Goobers And Weasels cont.

You longtime readers will remember I've been predicting the disappearance, for lack of funds, of right-wing media vents for a couple years now. Noted here with something like glee is the recent and ongoing implosion of the Washington Times and its affiliates.

The reasoning behind my call is simple enough. A LOT of these organs are utter vanity projects of hateful rich jerks, who even so need answer the same calls to accounts as the rest of us. So long as oceans of fake money were pouring over our heads, life was going to be fine in Wingnuttia. But very few of these jackasses actually made money advocating war and intolerance and the combination of our successful new prez and the cratering of the old regime's fake economy has bumped, and will bump, a lot of those douchebags to the curb.

Let's see, a family rich beyond measure falls into filial bickering as their patriarch ages, directly resulting in the collapse of their vanity right wing media empire. While this certainly describes the unhappy Moons, I submit it is also the tale of the disgusting Murdochs, the latest from their palace being any number of ideas on how to squeeze more money from their cable and newspaper projects.

Now, I've been guilty of being naive before, but don't you think that charging customers more (as costs settle from the boardrooms onto the suckers) for services once considered nominal if not free--in the aftermath of the collapse of our consumer economy--is, well, stupid?

I know, I know, it's TV, and sports, the IV line to our distracted body politic. Clearly Rupe is confident that people will pony up the dosh. And a lot of them, especially the older ones, will. But I am here to say that digital killed the video star, and a lot of people, mostly under the age of thirty, will have no trouble bidding cable TV, at least as currently constituted, goodbye if need be. This is the same demographic which has also utterly rejected the dying GOP, which is not a coincidence.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Head Counts

It seems to me that if the Republicans were really so confident that the healthcare bill was such a loser for the Dems they would happily stand aside and let the thing pass like an express train. But no, dragging out the process, hoping that someone on the majority side will maybe become incapacitated, or something, (Gee, I wonder who they have in mind?) before the final vote Xmas eve.

Which is not to say I am breathing easy just yet, even after this morning's early vote. But mainly the other side has been reduced to mean-spirited prayer, the likely outcome of which will be to prove that either Jesus does not give a fuck about their hateful policy concerns, or that HE wants the US to ease into a national full-coverage healthcare plan.

But I mainly wanted to direct readers' attention this morning to a profound heathcare issue now undergoing a rapid and positive re-evaluation which has mainly, near as I can tell, been overlooked by the Washington punditcracy. I am referring to the NFL at last finding religion regarding the devastating long-term effects of brain injury among their players.

For decades the NFL considered the health of their players about as casually as the American Tobacco Company took the well-being of their customers. In fact, if one were inclined to monolithic political thinking, both institutions were fully invested in a sort of post-war, he-man American dream long on swagger and recklessness and short on long-term consequences. The NFL, being a government-protected co-op rather than a publicly-held corporation, was able to slant studies and deny reality far longer than the tobacco criminals. But in the last eight weeks, in the face of some very damning research and a contentious congressional hearing, the NFL's institutional opposition came apart like a rotten box.

Long time readers here know my fondness for symbolic thinking, and I don't want to go overboard here. But the fact that the NFL, one of the most proudly conservative elements in our mainly moronic popular culture, has come to regard the long-term well-being of the men who work for it in a honest and compassionate way, is an astonishing change in the social landscape, one as profound and far-reaching as passage of decent healthcare reform.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Shooting Their Wahhhh

As the votes on healthcare reform dwindle down to a precious few, nerves all around are frayed to reveal true colors at last. I believe it was Isiah Berlin who called children moral imbeciles, and so a lot of the current debate is ipso facto childish. Clearly, Ben Nelson wants something for Christmas, and I don't think it is really stronger abortion wording (if I were he it would be a more realistic toupee), and he will get it. Joe L has probably had his fun, but you never know with imbeciles. I keep thinking that the honorable ladies from Maine will be eleventh-hour cloture votes if needed, especially if the last sticking point revolves around women's health, but, hey, I've been wrong before.

Most astonishing to me is the childish display from the leftward over the last 48, not so much the tone as the message. As someone whose memory stretches back to the Kennedy administration, (You want disappointment? I give you Hubert Humphrey.) let me advise my comrades to shut up, help the thing pass, then go whip every blue dog they can find next year. That's how things work in this country; though, granted, things generally don't work all that well.

Nate Silver did a tremendous service the other night, asking 20 good questions to aggrieved liberals, which Markos Moulitsas and some guy from FDL were good enough to answer. Silver posted the results, and his brief replies. It's long, but very much worth a read. The main differences seem to boil down to the question as to whether the mandate and insurance exchanges will deliver the savings the experts say they will. MM has his severe doubts. Fine. I say there's a great way to find out.

The biggest danger the kos crowd runs right now is to demonstrate just how very little influence it really has over substantial policy. Put another way: Never start a fight you can't win. It would be ironic, and sad, if one outcome of reform's passage would be to show that the new left coalition is as immature and fruitless as the old GOP rump. This is about the future, folks. Take what you can and run with it. Winning in politics is mostly about being around next year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Midnight In The Garden Of Goobers And Weasels cont.

It is fashionable to decry the Democrats' fortunes as we stumble into the coming election year. Lots of frustrated liberals, and amped up 'baggers clog the intertubes as surely as the avatars of the dumb right (or is it the right to be dumb?) stop-up congress.

Though I am as aggravated as any normal person over the noise, it is easier to ignore than the garbage truck in the alley, just don't watch TV.

I am here to remind you that the Republican Party and its officials have been colossally wrong about everything ever since that day nearly nine years ago when Dick Chain-y (Just came up with that one--waddaya think?) appointed himself that squalid little man's running mate. To think they have finally figured out the pulse of the electorate, absent any evidence to the contrary, and that their tactics of No will reap big rewards next November, is the stuff of moonbeams.

The media will try its best to make it feel like a GOP surge. Indeed the media is the only stable constituency the old boobs have left anymore. But the media ain't what it used to be either (noted here is the demise of E&P, an utterly unthinkable development to those of a certain age and profession.) Whatever momentum the poor nuts have mainly boils down to the commentariot repeating the old saw that the party out of power always makes gains in this particular election cycle.

To this I'll say banana oil. The GOP is not a party, at least in the sense of a functioning legislative and uniformly organized national force, anymore. This election promises to the their last shattering disaster.

Not being one of your fancy policy bloggers, I can't explain in great detail why or how that will unfold. I'm a big picture guy, and the big picture is that, left or right, good or bad, right or wrong, Americans are a fundamentally practical people, and pragmatism (as noted earlier this year by our chief executive) is the national philosophy. As a people, over the arc of years, we figure out what works and head in that direction.

Let me suggest that on election day it will be blisteringly obvious to a healthy majority of voters from sea to shining sea just which slate of candidates is prepared to solve the nation's many problems. If you feel like worrying about voter turnout and youth apathy, be my guest. And if you are a Democrat running for office, you still have much work to do. What I'm saying is, the end is a lot closer than a lot of people think. One more good push and the rotten GOP culture which has done so much fucking damage these last 30-odd years will be gone for good.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Wringing In The New

Been busy elsewhere, sorry. Not like there's been a lot to comment on lately anyway. What there has been is a lot of head shaking and hand wringing over the Democrats' prospects next election, mostly based on the assumption that the Republicans always bounce back. I say gains in both houses and will get back to you about it in April sometime.

Honestly, it's been saddening to see how otherwise responsible news and comment sites (TPM, I'm looking at you) run day-four takes on dumb stories or are so prone to worry about recent polls of so-called voter sentiment. Granted, there are mainly two reasons for this: a molasses-like outpouring of real news regarding the most pressing items on the agenda, numero uno being healthcare reform, and a constant need to, like TV, keep eyeballs occupied, or click numbers up.

Happily, there are no such needs here. As for healthcare in the senate, I think it is awfully instructive to look at those statistical maps which chart poverty rates, food stamp use, measures of the uninsured, illness and mortality rates, and find red states leading the charge for nearly all (which will be interesting come election time.) One in particular which stands out is the great state of Maine. Now, I need not tell you I'm sure, Maine is special for a few reasons: it is not in the Rabble, excuse me, Bible Belt and it has TWO women senators at equal odds with their GOP colleagues for being--in a party increasingly keen on ideological purging--slightly to the left of, oh, Joe Lieberman, and, well, women.

I do believe the GOP fatheads went screaming off on the senate healthcare issue without exactly considering the concerns, moral and electoral, of their Down East Two. I suspected a few weeks ago that someone like Snowe was Reid's answer to Lieberman. (I also thought the truly friendless JL would come around. I don't anymore.) Here let me say Collins is the trump for Nelson, and is suit for Landreau, McCaskill, and Lincoln. And I will further observe that it is a remarkable achievement for women in the senate today, that they are allowed to be as limited intellectually and as cravenly mediocre as their male colleagues.