Tag Archives: Paul Flemming

Politics According to Fakename

First, Florida.  Do you think we could learn to hold an election here?  Palm Beach County, the largest in the state and home of the infamous butterfly ballot and hanging chads from the 2000 election, still hasn’t finished counting its votes.  Not that it really matters.  Obama won, and Romney has now conceded Florida, so let’s just get it over with, shall we?

On Thursday, two days after the election, Miami-Dade County finished counting its votes.  They blamed the delay on the number of “provisional” and “absentee” ballots they had to count.  So says the Supervisor of Elections for that county, who followed it up by saying, “Still, am I embarassed?  Yes.”  That was entirely refreshing.

Okay, due to Hurricane Sandy, many people in New York and New Jersey had to vote using provisional ballots (for my non-U.S. friends, this means you are voting in a different place from where you are assigned.  An absentee ballot is one you mailed in rather than appearing in person).  On election day, some people in New York and New Jersey were voting in tents, by flashlight.  And they called it.  So why hasn’t Florida been able to get it together?  There is a simple answer to that:  because it wasn’t as close in New York as it is in Florida.  It’s dangerous to jump to conclusions.  Once it got to a certain level in New York, the rest of the ballots were essentially unnecessary.  It isn’t whether Obama won, it’s by how much.  Not so in Florida, where we are a tidy microcosm of a divided country.

Much has been made of the fact that this year the Republican Legislature reduced the number of days you could vote early from 14 to 8.  Early used to mean two weeks before election day, which was November 6th.  And indeed, I’d say it caused problems.  Long lines for early voting.  I personally waited in line about 45 minutes, which is nothing compared to people who waited in line for 5 or 6 hours.  However, again, it’s dangerous to jump to conclusions.

Bill Cotterell, the now-retired political reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat, occasionally writes guest columns.  He pointed out the following facts:  We’ve known the number of days were going to be reduced for almost a year.  While the number of days were reduced, the number of hours were not.  The polls were open for 96 hours in both scenarios.  (Not really a good argument in my view, but it is a point.) 

Yesterday, political writer Paul Flemming had an article in the newspaper headlined “Lord have mercy, Florida voters are sane”.  He is referring to the 11 Constitutional Amendments put on the ballot by the (Republican) state Legislature.  Only three were approved, and they had to do with tax relief for wounded veterans. low-income seniors, and the surviving spouses of veterans and first responders.  As for the rest, Flemming says Florida repudiated the “cynical shenanigans of the Legislature”.  He was surprised.  Me too.  But happily.

Also in yesterday’s newspaper, I learned there is a serious movement afoot to amend the U.S. Constitution to overrule the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.  I think this will work.

And now for the Presidential election.  There is an amazing amount of hand-wringing and tooth-gnashing going on in the Republican Party.  Why did we lose?  Also in yesterday’s newspaper there was an editorial by Michael Reagan, son of the late former President Ronald Reagan.  Essentially he argues that Republicans today are not “real” conservatives like his father (well,that’s an arguable point), and that the campaign was a mess and focused on the wrong things (okay, no argument there).

One of the things he said was this:  “First they tore each other to shreds in a bitter primary, smearing their eventual nominee in debates as a rich, uncaring profiteer who put working people out on the street and shipped their jobs overseas”.  Well….?

He more or less concludes with this comment:  “But give credit to Obama’s Chicago Gang.  They ran a much better campaign–on the ground and in the air.  They got out his message of class envy and federal entitlements for all, without any trouble from his toadies in the media [more about toadies in a minute].

Now bigger deficits, higher taxes, and a stagnant economy lie ahead for as far as the eye can see.  And socialized medicine–which my father warned was coming to America 50 years ago–is going to soon become a reality via Obamacare.”

Um, no Michael, that’s not quite right.  Here’s what the deal is: we are breaking up with the Republican Party.  You know that awkward moment when you break up with someone, and you say, “It isn’t you, it’s me”?    In this case, it’s you.

What kept puzzling me throughout the election process was how certain conservatives were that they would win.  I just couldn’t see it,and thought they were wrong.  But I wasn’t certain.  Part of it is the tendency of the media to imply that all points of view are equivalent.  So fringe ideas get airtime or column space, and you never have a real feel for how many people actually agree or believe in ideas other than your own.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It forces you to come to an independent decision. But therefore, I really had no certainty of how the election would go, just an impression.

But there is a group of people who are married to the idea of only listening to other people who agree with them.  The people who invented the term “Mainstream Media”.  And now we are back to toadies.  The media people whose main goal was to keep their watchers/readers happy so they would keep coming back.   I leave you with this incredible article from The Atlantic.


The Republican National Lovefest

I’m not a member of any organized political party–I’m a Democrat.–Will Rogers, 1930.

That’s not exactly what he said, but close enough.  And it rings true.  I’m a card-carrying Democrat, as in, it’s enshrined on my voter registration card.

Sometimes it can be a little embarassing to be a Democrat.  Like when they do shameless pandering, but hey–what can you do?  Be a Republican?  Republicans are shameless panderers too, but they do a better job of it.  At least they’re better at concealment of their motives, whereas Democrats are all kinds of transparent.  They (We) are like little kids who tell a lie with our fingers crossed.  Like nobody can see those crossed fingers and know exactly what it means.

Yesterday, I got an email from Paul Ryan, who wanted me to support him and Mitt Romney in their efforts to be America’s Comeback Team, after four years of failed leadership.  So here is my question.  How did Paul Ryan get my email address?  He got the email address right, but the message begins, “Dear Priscilla…”  Which isn’t my name.  I mean, you have to wonder–if they can’t get that right, can they run a country?  I can see it now.  “Dear President Puffkin, or whatever your name is…”

On Friday, my favorite editorial writer for the Tallahassee Democrat, Paul Flemming, wrote a piece called “Bored in Tampa?  Wanna bet?”  The gist of the article was that just in case you thought there would be no drama left in the Convention, he suggested several issues you could bet on, just to liven things up.  It would make a great drinking game.

Here are a couple of examples.

Name the distance, in miles, of Sarah Palin’s designated seat from the podium.  My guess is, 4,805 miles.  That’s the distance between Tampa and Anchorage.  Your turn.  If you get closer, you win.

More arrests.  Hookers or Occupy protesters?  This is kind of an inside joke, because Tampa is famous for hookers.  Could this be the reason the Republicans chose Tampa, during the most active month of the hurricane season?  My money is solidly on the Occupy protesters, because hookers are smarter than they are.  They manage to get arrested way less often.

I hope Paul Flemming will be going to the Democratic National Lovefest too.

Weekly Musings: Sunday Edition

On Friday there was an article in the paper by Paul Flemming, whom I’ve previously mentioned.  He’s the state editor for Gannett’s Florida newspapers and floridacapitalnews.com.  Friday’s article was a series of tongue-in-cheek political definitions a la Ambrose Bierce (” A Conservative is a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.”)  Flemming’s article was entitled Be sure to right-size the transparency.  The whole article is worth a read and full of laughs; here’s one small sample:  “TAXES, n.  An expletive not to be uttered during an election year.  Alternately the cause of or cure for all evils, depending on party affiliation and what it’s called.  See Surcharges, User Fees, Quacks Like a Duck and other euphemisms.” 

Speaking of evil, yesterday’s New York Times acrostic was especially so.  Actually that would be today’s acrostic, but if you subscribe to the puzzles online, you get to do the special Sunday puzzle a day early.  So the final clue (8 letters) was “chrysotile or crocidolite”.  Like, is that a noun or an adverb?  Crocidolite sounded to me like it should have something to do with crocodiles, while the “–olite” ending sounded like a rock or a mineral.  Well, technically, I guess rocks ARE minerals.  So I tried in vain to think of some sort of scaly mineral.  Mica?  Shale?  Too short.  I’ll reveal the answer at the end of this post, in case you want to drive yourself crazy for a while trying to guess.  Geologists and chemists are prohibited from guessing, by the way, as are all employees of the Fakename Blog. 

Continuing the evil theme, is it just me and my sister who wake up every single morning of the world with a song in our brains that we CANNOT GET RID OF?  Actually, Fakesister has come up with a system:  she says if she sings it all the way through to the end then it goes away.  That doesn’t work for me, perhaps because I never know all of the song–only the most annoying and repetitive parts of it.  I’ve tried to replace the song with a more acceptable one, but that doesn’t work either because the uninvited demon song keeps breaking through my defenses.  The only thing that works is when something external intrudes to replace it.  Normally this means getting in my car and turning on NPR.  It might not be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the song is invariably one I hate.  It could be a song I heard recently, or some TV jingle from 30 years ago.  Today’s song, for example, is John Denver’s “I’m Sorry”, for which Davis Whiteman is 100% responsible.  I won’t be able to forgive him until I start being unable to get “I’d like to teach the world to sing…” out of my head.  Oh NOOOO!  What have I just done to myself? 

And speaking of definitions, Comcast sent me an email informing me that my “free” virus protection by McAfee would be expiring in May and I would have to download Norton, which I could do at any time.  In addition to superior virus protection, it would speed up my browsing experience.  Comcast apparently gets its definitions from George Orwell…or possibly from Ambrose Bierce. 

Finally, on Friday as I was getting ready to leave work, I couldn’t find my keys.  This happens so frequently that one employee suggested I buy them a leash.  Usually though, I can find them.  On Friday they never turned up after a 45-minute search of every surface, every drawer, every file cabinet, and the entire floor.  They weren’t in the refrigerator or the microwave either.  (It’s a good thing I looked there, though; I was wondering what had happened to my cell phone.)  I looked in the car.  Someone else did too.  I was dispirited beyond belief.  I have an extra car key, but not an extra house key, so I could drive somewhere, but then what?  I have a window I’ve left unlocked in the bedroom, but it’s been so long since I’ve opened it I was afraid it would be stuck. 

At last I remembered that my friend Judith has a key, from when she used to pet-sit for me before she got so sick.  I was about a mile from the office when the blasted keys slithered out from under the driver’s side seat of the car.  I was so relieved to see them that I resisted the urge to kill them for putting me through that anxiety. 

In closing, the answer is:  asbestos.