Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Speech
A great show. The only thing missing was the lighting of the Olympic Torch

The speech sounded the usual Dem themes, albeit more effectively than the last two Democrat presidential nominees. Lots of promises for universal schooling, universal college, universal employment, universal health care and a brimful wallet for each and everyone (except for the rich).

There's a movie out right now that serves as the perfect counterpoint to the kind of societal and political change Obama wants to engineer. I.O.U.S.A examines the issue of the National Debt, of entitlements, of fiscal promises we are making to present and future generations that we cannot possibly afford. FDR's New Deal began our burden, LBJ's Great Society expanded it, and Compassionate Conservative GWBush's prescription drug provision further deepened it. What Obama seeks to add vis-a-vis Universal Health Care will be nothing short of devastating.

Amid all the fireworks and confetti, the most important image from last night's Dem finale was the sight of Michelle and Barack Obama's two children. For it is upon their shoulders that the burden of financing our existing system (and anything else Barack puts in place should he become President) will be placed. Here's something to think about:

Bill & Hillary Clinton: 1 Daughter
Barack & Michelle Obama: 2 Daughters
Joe & Jill Biden: 1 Daughter & 2 Sons (Biden's previous marriage)

6 children to replace 6 parents. Its a small example, but illustrative of the demographic 8-ball we are up against as we proceed into the future. In fact, the country's replacement rate stands at 2.1, which means we are just barely replacing our generations. Since our growing entitlement system depends on the funds from productive bodies, the twin horrors of an aging and static population are virtually upon us. Add to this a growing menu of ironclad government entitlements and we are legislating our own doom. But who knows. Perhaps Obama can defy our demographic decline and give us all everything? The answer to that of course lies with Malia and Sasha.

Yes We Can. But they will have to pay for it........

The Politician
The Award Winning Politician strides to the center of the Greco Podium. He drones his favorite phrase to the masses: Climate Crisis. The Politician with his pale face and rouged cheeks blovates to his fans while they munch on handfuls of popcorn. The Politician tells us again and again: Climate Crisis. He says the polar ice cap could very well melt away by the first term of the next President. The Politician mentions again and again his inconvenient truths while the audience waves their massive foam fingers splayed out in signs of peace or primacy. The Politician ends his speech with the clarion call to join arm in arm for the pursuit of the common cause. The Climate Crisis has made The Politician a very rich man. The Climate Crisis has won for The Politician Earth's most coveted awards. The Politician is well loved.

The Politician steps down. At some point, after the parties and the backslapping, The Politician will board his well appointed private plane, and leave the thin mile-high air. The Politician is well thought of. More than one of the convention's gathering Hope-Heads has given thought to the what might have been.

Just one thing. And this is to be kept amongst friends, never to be acknowledged, never to be discussed. For if it were to get out, The Politician would be stripped bare and ripped of purpose.

The Climate Crisis doesn't exist.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On Gossamer Wings
I'm listening to Biden. The usual cliches. There's something creepy about the myths and fairytales oft-mentioned in the speechifying. The last 8 years were like some Dickens nightmare helmed by Lord Vader and the Yoda Bush. Greedy monocled oil oligarchs dressed up like the Monopoly guy grabbing the last crumbs from the hand of a starving kid. Oh and then there was Ted Kennedy, referred to as the Liberal Lion. Am I to think he's Burt Lahr dressed up in a suit wearing his heart around his neck? And then the repeated allusions to Camelot and the young and dynamic JFK. Young and dynamic, young and dynamic. Hope, change. Hope change. It's amazing peering into this fantasy world. Hoping that this is the moment that the rise of the oceans began to change. It's like sinking your teeth into a giant Twinkie - there's form and mass but no substance.

In our rush to embrace the utopian spectre of CHANGE, I highly wonder how much autonomy people are ready to give up in service of this noble goal. Earlier in the campaign at a speaking event, Michelle let slip to the enraptured hordes this juicy forewarning, "
“Barack Obama will require you to work,” she says. “He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation…Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”
Mmm yummy. And I thought it was the Bushitler that was in the business of ordering us around.

No matter and no worry. In the global deathmatch we'll have our Young & Dynamic Prez Community Organizer going up against the Judo black belt KGB Putin. Maybe of maybees Putin will cave in to Obama's demands in exchange for some monthly gratis courtesy of the Mayor Daly community organizing machine. Bill Ayers can head over to Moscow and help out with the Soviet public education. No wait, I forgot. Ayers is too busy bringing the Soviet education to America. Ayers as Secretary of Education perhaps?

The tired and weary Bush tiptoes to his Presidency's end. One wonders had he pushed out his bedtime a few hours later he'd have used that time to do a little better with the mythbusting. At least be better with the pushbacks. Instead, rather than stay ahead of the myths, the myths got ahead of him. Now far too many people are convinced that the only thing that can save us is the Savior from Chicago - brimming with a head full of academic leftism, liberation theology, community activism, and carefully disguised radical chic. A Manchurian Candidate for Ayers, Alinsky, Wright, and who knows who else (will we find out?).

Do you know the man you vote for? Or is it the Myth you seek to realize?

The Dumb Guy
They keep cutting away to the stiff-jawed Michelle Obama looking on sternly. Hillary better say something good about Obama soon...

Obama reminds me of the dumb husband that you see on far too many TV commercials. Bumbling and stumbling and acting deferential, clumsy, and dumb while his know-it-all wife walks all over him. There's something strange about this desire by a large part of the electorate to want as their President a henpecked Metrosexual who'd rather talk to the playground bullies as they kick sand in his face. Barack smells in the morning. Barack has bad breath in the morning. Yeah, thanks for the endorsement Michelle.

Geez, and then there's every five minutes some other Dem politician railing on about either Universal Health Care or Gay Marraige. I guess for the bumper-sticker makers they can condense the Dem party platform to Providing Universal Access to Quality Gay Sex

Run it Through the Hockey Stick
Oh man, there's Bill Clinton on the Denver stage pimping the global warming ho. Or is it hockey stick? If you don't know what I am talking about, it's the killer temperature graph that Al Gore gets hard over in his movie. Whatever, the Hockey Stick is a monumental work of academic flim-flammery. Enter any numbers in and hockey stick graphs come out! Maybe Obama would like his polling numbers washed through the equation....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Lost Myself, I Lost Myself
Last night Mrs. Rants and I got to take advantage of some babysitting and we went down to Great Woods/Tweeter/Comcast Center to see Radiohead. It had been years since I was last at that place - tearing up chunks of sod to the sounds of Thieves and Liars no doubt. Anyways, $8 beers were quaffed during the opening act. Was it fuzzy bear or Grizzly Bear the name of that act? I wasn't paying attention. The place was sold out and it was nuts to be in that much humanity. I was waiting for Obama to come out and sing the national anthem. The Radiohead stage was good. I think its amazing how many creative minds are out there designing interesting stage lighting configurations. The China Olympics opening ceremony comes to mind.

Radiohead managed to string together all their odd sounding B-sides for their 1st act. At big venue concerts I always drift between two thought experiments: 1) What the hell are the ushers thinking when they hear this music. For instance, does the kindly older man who scanned my ticket at the section seating appreciate the caterwauling musings of Thom Yorke? Or will he be more agreeable to the Toby Keith show scheduled for the next day? 2) Would the hippies have shit their pants if Radiohead timetraveled back and played at Woodstock? I just can't see them handling this kind of music. Where's the verse chorus verse man????????????

I wouldn't say that Radiohead is anthemic. Yet thousands sang aloud to the melancholy lyrics of out-of-sorts unresolve. Again, I'm back to thinking about that kindly usher saying to himself "What the hell are they singing along to?" I wonder if there's some kind of commentary there - thousands of fragile souls from the recent generations coming in droves to pay big money for a musical celebration of despair. Get Ourselves Back to the Garden this isn't. More like getting back to the DMV for another vision test. Life is humdrum bittersweet.

The whole contrivance of live popular musical appreciation: Parking Lot, red party cups, drunk, go through admission, head straight for a piss, buy more beer, sound check check check, roadies disappear off stage, 5 more minutes of wait, lights go down, spliffs ignite, lights go on, mad cheering, songs songs spliffs songs songs spliffs songs, finale, cheering, roadies, encore, final finale, roadies, lights up, march of the lemmings back to the car, 2 hours of inchworming one car length at a time to leave. Woohoo the highway! Rinse Wash Repeat.

None of this actually addresses the point that I enjoyed Radiohead. House of Cards on their new album is perfectly breezy and there's another tune off that album which reminds me of prime John Cage Velvet Underground. Both were done well. But then the next songs they played made me feel bad about myself again. For a minute there.