The Really Pathetic Blog

A blog . . . in spite of how pathetic blogging actually is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Whatever" by Sifl and Olly: Incredible Music

On a given night, Sifl and Olly could stand with any group in the world.  Rock and Roll died when their show was canceled.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let's Lighten the Mood?

Jesus Was a Jewish Liberal
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If Guns Are Outlawed Then Only Outlaws Will Accidentally Shoot Their Children
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The above are the two best bumper stickers of all time. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why I'm Cheering Against the Democrat (and for the 'Conservative') in the New York 23rd

For starters, there no longer is a Republican on the menu so we're really only talking about a Democrat and a Conservative. It's been a long time since the NY 23rd has sent a Democrat to Washington. The DNC really doesn't even bother to try there.

But now, as I've been predicting for nearly a year, the Republican Party is coming unglued [Look at some of the older posts]. Just as Woodrow Wilson stole a Presidency from an otherwise tour de force (but deeply fractured) GOP in 1912, it would appear that Al Michaels could go back upstate and ask us all (or at least the Democrats among us) once again if we "believe in miracles."

I'm a registered independent and, during these most deeply divided of times, proud of it; however, if I lived in the NY 23rd I'd vote for the Conservative.

Here's why.

If the Conservative wins, then the GOP will hang itself. Read Frank Rich very, very carefully and then, if you're a Republican, tell me how you could possibly disagree with his assessment of where you're going? I'm serious. I'm not trying to win an argument. On the contrary, I don't see where there's an argument to win.

If the Conservative wins on Tuesday, it's over for you (Mr. and Ms. GOP). That's not hyperbole. Really, seriously . . . see you around 2016.

But what does that really mean? 2016 is seven years away. What might happen?

As a true moderate I've long been disappointed with the supposed options provided by our political party duopoly. So here's a little thought experiment. Let me know what you think:

1--The Conservative Party candidate wins the New York 23rd on Tuesday

2--The GOP's right wing faction becomes emboldened as Rich predicts it will

3--The GOP itself encounters a full blown civil war and ultimately splits. (Put another way, what has just happened in the 23rd, happens on a broad scale. By the way, when these things happen, they happen very fast. Look at the emergence of the Progressive Party in 1912 or the Reform Party in the mid-90's.)

4--This split allows the Republican Party to return to its moderate roots

5--The Conservative Party becomes the new home of the Palins, Becks, those nuts sewn up in tea bags (ahem), etc.

6--As the GOP begins to shift left, the Democratic Party does the same.

7--By 2014 or 2016, America is looking at a viable 3 party system for the first time since 1996. A genuine array of choices that speaks to a population with authentic political diversity (as opposed to the square peg-round hole slotting of our 308,000,000 on two sides of a largely contrived battle front) is in play. We all stop pretending that this current system works.

It's not that crazy. The Democrats are further right than they want to be while the GOP is a nosehair away from administering loyalty oaths. The two party system has expired its usefulness, this much is clear. We need another option---but that's not just going to happen organically. It's going to take a formed gap in need of filling. The Republican Party's version of The Real Housewives of Atlanta has done just that. We have a gap, people!

I applaud Sarah Palin for being outspoken about the 23rd. I mean it. Her 1st Amendment experience ought be no different from mine. And if she happens to have the mojo to flummox her party by being outspoken then maybe her party needs flummoxing. Maybe the right is fringe only in the context of a falsely defined method of organizing this republic. Maybe a two party system, like white male presidents, is a developing anachronism in this grand American experiment.

Lest we forget, the Founding Fathers screwed this part up. We needed a 12th Amendment to attend to the problems they failed to predict. Those problems were principally the result of an emerging two party system (If you're an opponent of the 12th Amendment, I've got two names [with attending titles] for you: President George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore . . . in the same White House! Annnnnnnnnd now you're no longer an opponent of the 12th Amendment. Very nice!)

Maybe the Framers were right after all, just a couple hundred years too late. So, of course, this all means the Civics teacher in me has to keep going with the thought experiment:

8--By 2020, it's apparent that the Electoral College, which requires 270 of the 538 electors to choose a President, is no longer suitable for America.

9--A 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified in short order. America begins to choose its Presidents as a result of popular vote

10--As has been the case for most of recent Presidential election history, winners are rarely able to secure a majority of the popular vote (Please review the data and then take note of what an electoral freak of nature Barack Obama truly was last year).

11--With no electoral college to prop up the falsely held assumption that our Chief Executives typically have the backing "of the people," the balance of power slowly shifts back to where it belongs, the legislative branch.

I'm eligible to retire from teaching at the end of the 2021-22 school year (unless Wisconsin's budget issues get so out of hand that they start incentivizing school districts to begin buying out expensive saps like me), but if the above happens, I'll follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and keep going to work on into my nineties.

Wouldn't the whole damn thing just be cooler than a cage full of albino baby tiger cubs? Be honest, you want it to happen.

On Tuesday, we're all Conservative Party members.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Emerging Moral Dilemma of Football

Before I proceed let me just point out that football is and has been a part of my identity. My father played in college (He was good). I have fond memories of gathering around the TV on Sundays, watching the Bears . . . and working angles on my parents to perhaps secure a delayed bedtime on Monday nights "If it was a good game." At the very least, we all agreed, I'd get to watch Howard Cosell's halftime recap of the previous day's showdowns.

It really didn't matter who was playing. From an early age, I found the sport intoxicating . . . probably for all the same reasons most people do.

So the last couple weeks have been a bit trying. At Milwaukee's Mitchell Airport, waiting to catch a flight to my cousin's wedding, I saw that one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, had a cover story in 'The New Yorker.' I equate flying with impulse purchases of cool magazines I don't (but should) subscribe to, so I walked out of that CNBC Newsstand with my copy (and some Altoids) not knowing what I was about to get myself into.

Believe me when I write these words, I wish I'd of just grabbed an issue of Rolling Stone instead.

You should read Mr. Gladwell's work. Here it is. A word of warning, though. If you do read it (and it'll be pretty evident if you didn't because you'll say something like, "Well, that's a terrible comparison because dogs don't get to choose to be in dogfighting but humans get to choose to be football players" or some such thing) you're going to have to make some decisions. The one I'm wrestling with at present is whether or not I should just give in to the near overwhelming temptation to simply live in denial. Lord knows I do it with any number of other things in my life. Football's not going anywhere, right? It's way too ingrained in our culture.

And it's big business.

Here's one of the best examples I've seen in recent memory of mainstream media's conservative bias. Read here about Congress getting tough with the NFL.

So, by now, you've read Gladwell and you've read about the Congressional hearings the other day. When you read about Roger Goodell et al on the Hill, did you catch it? What got left out? What didn't get addressed?

Brett Favre arrives in Lambeau this Sunday while the little ones in the Fox Valley Pop Warner League are enjoying their first weekend off since just after Labor Day.

Here's a question.

What do these guys . . .



. . . and these guys . . .



. . . potentially have in common?

Anybody seen my copy of Rolling Stone?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Note to the GOP: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Let's try this again. Maybe I should call it the "Imminent Republican Party Irrelevance Watch."

I don't know. Perhaps flat out hubris is a part of the process in coming to a state of acceptance.

Let's begin with GOP Chair Michael Steele who has gotten himself in hot water twice now. He disrespected Rush Limbaugh and then confessed to being pro-choice (Word to pro life community: When you say you're personally pro life but believe that individuals should choose whether or not an abortion is appropriate for them, we have a name for you: Pro Choice). The problem is not Steele, but rather Steele's penchant for telling the truth by accident. For a party that fashions itself as a bunch of straight talkers, the GOP sure has problems with someone doing just that. The fact that Michael Steele would be in any sort of trouble at all for these comments is precisely the sign you need if you're looking to see where the minority party is headed. They're stuck in an old paradigm. (I've been making this point at this blog for a while now). They should be kissing Michael Steele's feet for offering an honest assessment of what the party needs for any sort of a future.

Let's start with someone who can explain it better than me. David Frum's conservative credentials are beyond question. Here's what he had to say about Rush Limbaugh. It's worth the time to take it all in (be you a Republican or a Democrat).

Then let's move to one of the most pragmatic economists you'll ever find: Kenneth Rogoff. Watch his recent comments on the G20 gathering, but hear them through the following filter: What should a Republican, who would ostensibly be hoping for his or her party's success over the course of the next 20 years, take away from this man? You'll have to do a brief overview of how the GOP has conducted itself since January 20th in order to properly play the role (And I make this recommendation to actual Republicans as well as Democrats since the latter will actually be getting into character while the former have lately been prone to bouts of selective memory, denial, or both).

So, that's a big assignment. Frum then Rogoff. Report back here with your conclusions. ~ JDJ