Monthly Archives: December 2006

What was your tipping point?

Over at TMP, Josh Marshall asks this question:

November 2004 to November 2006 represented a remarkable turnabout for President Bush and the Republican party. Was there one key event responsible more than any other for the reversal of fortune: Katrina, Iraq, Social Security, Abramoff? What was the tipping point? We’re discussing this now at TPMCafe. And I think that as far as American public opinion goes, it was Katrina. Really, there’s no question about that to me. Suddenly, overnight, there were working men and women talking about the idiots in Washington. The idiots were always there of course, but Katrina ended the playtime fantasy that Bush was our daddy/savior. The press didn’t begin to turn around until the Foley scandal. Suddenly, overnight, the pretty people on our televisions started hinting at a Democratic take over of Congress. This was amazingly crass. Foley was embarrassing, sure, but did real people actually care about it? I don’t believe so. The press did, however, because they are part of Washington, and they hate things that embarrass the Washington establishment. I will offer the Hunt for Clinton’s Penis as Exhibit #1,634, proving that the press doesn’t care about America. Rather, it attempts to destroy those that scandalize the elite of Washington D.C. There were those in the press that saw Katrina for what it was, which was a complete fuck-up from the top to the bottom of our nation’s emergency services. (To be fair, the Coast Guard did exactly what it should, with the resources it had.) But the press didn’t move aggressively enough to highlight the deficiencies within the government that would lead to such mismanagement. Part of that, I believe, is that journalists and reporters themselves feel so detached from crises. They’re there to report on them, not interfere. So during Katrina, many of these reporters catalogued days of agony and suffering, and didn’t do anything themselves to help with it. That’s not a criticism of journalists. They report the story, not make it. The guys like Anderson Cooper, who did get involved, became part of the story, and lost some credibility in the process. But the disconnect between the suffering and the camera has to be hard on the psyche. I think many news companies began to soften their reporters stance on the Katrina rescue efforts, because those news companies realized that some of us may have begun to wonder why they don’t just send in the helicopters that shuffle their stars to and from the disaster sites. Why don’t they get involved? So, again, the press drops the ball, because it makes them feel uncomfortable. They are part of the establishment in Washington, along with politicians and lobbyists. Katrina was embarrassing to everyone. But Foley was just embarrassing to congressional Republicans, and the press had no problem making an example out of that idiot. Which only leaves Iraq; the elephant in the room, if you’ll pardon the pun. Why didn’t that affect Bush and the Republicans all along? Now, of course, it’s amazingly easy to criticize Bush for his ineptness regarding Iraq, but, to those people who think that Iraq has only recently become a mess, you’re delusional. Iraq was a mess the moment we invaded. Sure, statues fell and missions were accomplished, but that was all bullshit, and anyone, seriously anyone, with any bit of intelligence knew it. Iraq isn’t Bush’s fault. It’s all our faults. We let this happen.; we’re all complicit. And, so, now that Bush is so weak and ineffectual that he can’t hold a significant majority in the midterm elections, people might say that the reason they voted Democratic is Iraq, but, American Joe, you had your chance to hold that to him in 2004, and you didn’t. Iraq wasn’t a tipping point. Iraq is a nightmare that we’re not half-way through. But, if Iraq really is the reason that you suddenly can’t stand Republican rule, congratulations. You’ve become an adult again. You should check up on what they tried (and will try again) to do to Social Security. It’s not going bankrupt. Learn the name of Abramoff and be amazed at his long arms through the reach of our government, even though absolutely none of us elected him. I might also suggest taking a look at recent events pertaining to China, North Korea, Iran, and Lebanon to get a nice clear picture of how our crack team of officials, who handled Iraq so wonderfully, also get to play with other nations. And don’t forget to hold the Democrats responsible for the horrible bankruptcy bill that they helped pass while a minority. They’re going to do idiotic things, too. Don’t suddenly wake up and realize it years after the fact. Hold them responsible before they pass their stupid laws and bills that benefit no one, but play nicely on the evening news.

Linguistic Hell

On my usual Monday night delivery route, I passed a lit sign in front of a church somewhere out towards the north fork of Long Island. It said, “GOOD WITHOUT GOD IS JUST O,” and for a little bit, I didn’t catch what it was trying to convey. Good is just O? I thought. O? As in oh no? As is the big O? Good is an orgasm without God? What? I didn’t get it. But that’s because I’m a typesetter at heart. O is not 0. I never say “oh” in phone numbers when I mean zero. O is a letter, and 0 is a digit. Any typeface that is not trying to mimic a typewriter is going to have two different glyphs two represent two different characters. Anyone who finds it acceptable to replace a zero with the letter O should also have no problem replacing the number 1 with a lower-case l. “GOLD WITHOUT GOD IS JUST L” doesn’t make any sense. Let’s put that in proper case (all caps is a crime against typography and clarity anyway). “Gold without God is just l,” is still obviously idiotic. But on a typewriter that could mean “… just one.” It sounds more poetic, but has no meaning, which, all cleverness aside, is what I think of the original as well. Good without God isn’t nothing. Good without God is still good. Why do you need an absolute reference point to do good? Why does one need a specific brand of bearded cloud-father (Methodist, I think) to determine good or evil? Ethics exists without the assistance of religion to classify right from wrong. And, anyway, it was a poor pun, and it depended on the invention of typewriters and cheap signage to make it work.