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Because It's Not Like We Have Problems (Updated)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

50 minutes into tonight's debate I had to go and put the kids to bed. Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous still had not asked a single, substantive question that could be of any interest to an actual voter.

And at the one hour mark the whole country turns to American Idol.

Somehow Charlie and George collect hefty paychecks. How is that?

Update: As of this writing there are 5700 comments at ABC. Of those I'd estimate 5000 are attacking ABC for its witless, pitiful, sad and unprofessional display of irrelevancy.

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Mario Cuomo Rips Me Off

by Michael Reynolds

I missed this when Cuomo said it on April 1:

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo shouldered the mantle of Democratic statesman Monday with his stepped-up insistence that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battle to the finish - with the loser guaranteed the vice presidential slot.

"Have the fight. Keep going. Slug it out," Cuomo told CNN.
But, he insisted, both Clinton and Obama should "agree in advance that if you win, you win, and you're the candidate for the presidency, and your opponent becomes the candidate for the vice presidency."

"That would, at the very least, mollify some of the constituents of the person who does not succeed, whether it's Hillary or Obama," the former three-term governor said.
It reminded me of something a very, very (very) smart man suggested, oh, a month earlier:

I propose that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both announce now that whoever prevails, they will choose the other as their running mate.

Why is this a good thing? First because it will limit the attacks and the incivility. It will force the debate onto substantive issues. Pennsylvania would get a rational discussion of issues by two very smart people, rather than a contest of sneers and subtle slurs.

Secondly, it's what all Democrats want. The fact is we like both these candidates. We want them both. Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton. Most Democrats can live with either.

A simple pledge that takes all the negatives out of this race, preserves party unity, keeps media focus on the Democratic side of the race, allows fundraising to go on apace, and leaves Republicans unsure of quite how to run against them.

Mario, Mario, Mario: dude. We both know you get all your best ideas -- and speeches from me. We both know that I am your muse. So why not just acknowledge it?

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What, Another Blog?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Since I'm obviously incapable of keeping up with this blog -- or of contributing meaningfully to Donklephant or Poligazette where I have privileges -- it must be time for me to start a new blog.

Mostly I'll just be taking whatever I write here about our move to, and experiences in, Tuscany, and copy it at Another Lucky Bastard Living In Tuscany. But there will be some original content there as well.

I'm not giving up Sideways Mencken, although I admit to being temporarily bored with politics, and really preoccupied with paying work, non-paying work, and the staggering number of details involved in this move.

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Okay, Now That's Irony

Sunday, April 13, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

For every time the word "irony" is used correctly, there are approximately three hundred incorrect uses. (No, it is not "ironic" that it rained on the day you had planned a picnic.) The following, on the other hand, is ironic. Read it and giggle nervously:

A new form of cloning has been developed that is easier to carry out than the technique used to create Dolly the sheep, raising fears that it may one day be used on human embryos to produce "designer" babies.
One scientist said this weekend that a maverick attempt to perform the technique on humans is now too real to ignore. "It's unethical and unsafe, but someone may be doing it today," said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of American biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology.

"Cloning isn't here now, but with this new technique we have the technology that can actually produce a child. If this was applied to humans it would be enormously important and troublesome," said Dr Lanza, whose company has pioneered developments in stem cells and cell reprogramming.
The technique involves the genetic reprogramming of skin cells so they revert to an embryonic-like state. Last year, when the breakthrough was used on human skin cells for the first time, it was lauded by the Catholic Church and President George Bush as a morally acceptable way of producing embryonic stem cells without having to create or destroy human embryos.
These offspring are chimeras – a genetic mix of two or more individuals – because some of their cells derive from the embryo and some from the skin cell. Technically, such a child would have three biological parents. Human chimeras occur naturally when two embryos fuse in the womb and such people are often normal and healthy. Dr Lanza says there is no reason to believe that a human chimera created by the new technique would be unhealthy.
"At this point there are no laws or regulations for this kind of thing and the bizarre thing is that the Catholic Church and other traditional stem-cell opponents think this technology is great when in reality it could in the end become one of their biggest nightmares," he said. "It is quite possible that the real legacy of this whole new programming technology is that it will be introducing the era of designer babies.

"So for instance if we had a few skin cells from Albert Einstein, or anyone else in the world, you could have a child that is say 10 per cent or 70 per cent Albert Einstein by just injecting a few of their cells into an embryo," he said.

Or 10 to 70% Castro. Or Hugo Chavez. Or Osama Bin Laden.

But the great thing is that we won't have "murdered" frozen embryos already slated for destruction. We'll have made it possible to create the chimeric child of Michael Jackson, Kim Jong Il and Rosie O'Donnell, but we won't have destroyed any already doomed frozen embryos. So Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the Pope will be happy.

Perhaps because the three of them could now have a baby.

Now that's irony.

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The Same Old Bullshit

by Michael Reynolds

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

It's the Same Old Bullshit.

You'll never find anyone standing up for the Same Old Bullshit. There is no Same Old Bullshit lobby. No 527 or think tank that will admit to being all about the Same Old Bullshit. Don't let that fool you: the Same Old Bullshit lobby is powerful. Easily the most powerful force in American politics.

Barack Obama suggests some voters may be bitter and Hillary leaps, teeth bared, claws extended. She becomes the living embodiment of the Same Old Bullshit.

And the networks and pundits devoted to the Same Old Bullshit fall in line. They're like my idiot Labrador, Goofy: they eat it, they shit it out, they eat their own shit, and start it all over again. A perpetual motion machine of bullshit.

The Reverend Wright "controversy?" The Same Old Bullshit.
The John McCain 100 years distortions? The Same Old Bullshit.
Obama's flag lapel pin heresy? The Same Old Bullshit.
The John McCain temper "concerns?" The Same Old Bullshit.
Bowling. The Same Old Bullshit.
Did she weep? The Same Old Bullshit.
Did he smoke? The Same Old Bullshit.
Did his wife . . . Bullshit.
Did her husband . . . Bullshit.
How about her daughter . . . Bullshit.

Gotcha, gotcha, neener, neener, did you hear, did you see, did you read, hah, booyah, got him, got her, got it, got them, she cried, he choked, he lost his place, hair, suit, shoes, too smooth, too rough, too black, too white, too old, too new, too tough, too this, too that, not enough of 'a' and too much of 'b' and this bullshit, and that bullshit, and eight new kinds of bullshit, and oh, look, it's a whole new subspecies of bullshit. Bullshit from the trenches, bullshit from the academy, bullshit in Olympian tones, George Will brand Bullshit, Paul Krugman brand Bullshit, Euro-Bullshit.

Sweet suffering Jesus aren't you all just sick of it?

Actually, no: you're not. Not all of you. You all claim to be sick of it, but the Same Old Bullshit comforts people. The Same Old Bullshit is home for a lot of people. They like the Same Old Bullshit. Just like my dog, they eat, excrete, and redigest the Same Old Bullshit.

Why? Well, about half the spreaders of the Same Old Bullshit are partisan hacks who don't give a fuck about anything but their guy or girl or side winning. Because the whole fucking planet will fall off its fucking axis and go spinning into the sun if their side doesn't fucking "win."

Win! Win! Win win win win win win win win win winwinwinwinwin!

Win! What what, exactly? Win the bullshit prize! Booyah! My bullshit beat your bullshit! In your face!

And the other half are just bores. Devoid of imagination, devoid of perspective, devoid of
any real interest, just needing to have something to say, so why not just keep repeating the same tired bullshit?

It's like we never get the children out of the room. Is there never a time when the adults can talk? Like adults? About real things? No? Never? Must it always be partisan hacks and morons running loose spreading the Same Old Bullshit everywhere? Filling the world with the Same Old Bullshit until all the world is choked on it?

We've got terrorists looking for nukes. We've got a mount Everest of debt. There are two wars on. People are losing their houses. People are starving all over the world. There are viruses and bacteria busily mutating and looking for fun new ways to kill us. The goddamned planet may be overheating. We've made trillions of dollars' worth of promises we can't possibly keep. We're running out of gas, and I don't just mean literally.

And all we talk about is bullshit.

And the problem is not our politicians or even our media. They're just the bullshit-pushers. The problem is us. We create the market for bullshit. If we stop eating it, they'll stop feeding it to us.

The truth is that John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could all be good presidents. Or lousy presidents. But none of the three has a chance so long as we the people demand a steady diet of the Same Old Bullshit.

The problem is not "Them." It's me, and you.

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