16 Dec 2012

Nothing to Say

The school shootings in Connecticut leave me with nothing to say. No expression of grief or outrage is adequate. Political and policy analyses seem cold and crass. Trouble is, speechlessness won’t do either.

Remaining silent doesn’t bother me. But the silence is inside.

09 Dec 2012

Of Cancer and Crony Capitalism in Texas

It is a growing scandal that could forever change Texas politics. As national political players look toward turning red Texas blue, something that would put the electoral college out of Republicans’ reach for years, many see the scandal as the beginning of the end of GOP dominance in Texas.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his cronies in and out of public office have diverted funds intended for cutting-edge cancer research into the campaign pockets of Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. You read that right. Proceeds from millions in taxpayer-backed bonds awarded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) have fallen victim to corruption and cronyism.

25 Nov 2012

Give the Texas Secessionists a Boat!

Talk of secession is heating up again in Texas. I know, I know, many of you are thinking, “Adios, mofos.” I can’t say I blame you. But, there are some of us here behind the curtain of ignorance (otherwise known as the Red, Sabine rivers) that need your prayers.

There’s a part of me that wishes the yahoos could have their own place, call it Yahooville. I’d like to watch them try to get along with one another and with the world. Imagine their dream state: no public education, no science, everyone is armed, and everyone is home schooled to obey their immediate supervisor (parent, boss, secret policeman) and to distrust everyone else.

18 Nov 2012

A Hostess Brands World

The closing of Hostess is a moment of some importance in our cultural history. Some in the news try to tell us that General Petraeus’ sex life is more important. Humbug. A person of power having illicit sex is a dog bites man story. Hostess going down is proof that in this universe things fall apart and the creamy center does not hold.

The company, which has more than $860 million in debt to Bain-like private equity firms, is letting the vulture capitalists cake-walk and blaming the bakers union.

04 Nov 2012

Mars Attacks: Notes on the 2012 Campaign

Assuming that interpretations of the Mayan calendar are wrong and the world won’t end on December 21, the presidential campaign of 2012 is about as close as we’re going to come to end-times mania. Maybe I should say “depressia.”

Mitt Romney’s campaign of lies seemed stuck on an an adjective accelerator, from big to bigger to biggest. Maybe the latter was his claim that President Obama bankrupted Chrysler which was now moving all Jeep jobs to China. Maybe it was that he opposed overturning Roe v. Wade. The accelerator moves to quickly to judge.

28 Oct 2012

Sandy and the Election

What matters more, the right to vote or adherence to local voting rules and schedules even if a force of nature intrudes? We might find out the answer to that question if a perfect storm disrupts voting in the Northeast or Midwest or both.

As a twitter follower reminded me, in 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court basically decided that the right to vote was secondary to process. Of course, the Court’s political desire to appoint George W. Bush was so obvious the justices took the trouble of stating that their opinion could not be used as precedent.

21 Oct 2012

Of Freedom and Bridges

Republicans believe the elimination of the commons will make Americans free in ways they aren’t today. We will soar once we are freed from the chains of public education, crossable bridges and drivable roads, from the curse of clean air and clean, drinkable water, from the prison-house of effective disease control and safe pharmaceuticals.

14 Oct 2012

Will Vouchers, Charters and Virtual Schools Turn Out the Friday Night Lights?

With a disgraceful and relentless disregard for America’s social fabric, Republicans around the country are doing what they can to destroy public education.

07 Oct 2012

When Worlds Collude: The Press and Political Consultants

It’s too easy to criticize the political press. So easy that when something goes wrong with one’s candidate or cause, it’s typically the press that gets the blame. Fish in a barrel, reporters are.

I don’t much like this game, in part because I used to cover politics for big-city newspapers. I know and admire many great political writers. I wish sometimes I were still part of the profession.

But Matt Taibbi’s take-down of the pundit response to the first presidential debate raises important questions.

30 Sep 2012

When the Circus Animals Are Gone: Rowling and Political Rot

The Casual Vacancy, Harry Potter author J.K Rowling’s first “adult” novel, must have been inspired by Yeats’ “The Circus Animals’ Desertion.” And, despite the setting in a small, West England town, it is a fitting accompaniment to an American politics grown rotten. It is certainly no escape, though it does lessen the pain.

Rowling’s book isn’t a political novel as much as it is a contemporary take on a traditional English-countryside yarn. Still, it describes with painful detail the pettiness and prejudice that floats like a smelly fog through the streets of Pagford, a town coping badly with the unexpected death of a leading citizen and one of the few empathetic souls within its limits.