US Political Blogging?

Is it fair to suggest that this US political season, where Michael J Fox can sum it up by saying he needs neither the pity or permission of Rush Limbaugh, is a dead zone as far as the blogging goes? Is it truly the case that is is no bombast left in the bloat?

Remember in 2004 when this was the medium that would change everything? What changed?

Big East Basketball

In my never ending drive to mix insipid views of world affairs with solid reporting of what I get to see on my TV set, it is a particularly big day – even if the sun is not up yet as I am likely late for work – when there is a report in the NYT on Big East basketball. I do not follow the NBA. I do not care a whit for it. But I really like NCAA college b’ball, which is not to be unexpected from someone who was 6 foot 2 at 12. I knew the ways of the orange ball once, let me tell you. Then I stopped but that is another matter. The other, more specific Orange, is ranked third going in:

Coming in third in the coaches’ poll, Syracuse may need a big season from the freshman Paul Harris, who was named preseason rookie of the year. He will be called upon to provide some of the offense lost with the graduation of Gerry McNamara.

I don’t know if the games will be on the local northern NY radio but I will check that out soon. There…I just did. It states we should tune to 103.1 but I am thinking that 100.7 FM actually has the SU broadcast deal for Watertown.

Speaking Of Campaigns

Speaking of political campaigns, a subject most facinating, what we are witnessing to our south is even more interesting than questions Iggeriffic. Consider this:

As this country’s most outspoken and polarizing social conservative, the two-term Pennsylvania Republican senator has been in Democrats’ cross-hairs for two years. Now they’re moving in for the kill.

Recently when chatting with a northern New Yorker mention was made that this year might well be the end of the thirty years of a particular brand of conservatism that began – people will shake their heads now in disbelief – with the rise of Jimmy Carter in 1976, when the words “born again” entered the political arena with legitimacy for the first time. It has been that long since I would have imagined conservatism as a general thing being able to be described as “on the run” as the quote above does. It has been a long time since the moral majority might not have enough votes. To be fair, these things certainly have natural cycles as no theme captures the public imagination forever, but that is perhaps especially the case after corporate and public scandal, after it becomes apparent that debt financing is all that actually gets trickled down.

But, as in most things, there is a penchant to count one’s chickens before they are hatched. Needless to say I will be a gawking at the TV tube come election night. I’d have another US election pool but Kateland and I began our falling out over the last one, something I could not bear to repeat. But maybe I should. Maybe it is time. The Vote Master, after all, is back.


I do not know what to make of this:

Morale plummeted inside the campaign after the remarks and Mr. Ignatieff’s perceived clumsiness in dealing with the fallout from them. But it rebounded after Quebec Liberals received him with enthusiasm and echoed his call for recognizing Quebec as a nation within Canada.

On the one hand, being a Scot, I am well versed in the arguments for nation. It’s in Flower of Scotland, the anthem we hum as we make the coffee in the morning, it’s in Scot Wa Hae the poem we all recite between dinner and our wee bit of pudding. It’s in the very food, which is based as Mike Myers once said, on a dare. Pretty much everyone knows about the claim and call to Scots nation and why and what it is based on. So I have never understood why the details of Quebec’s claim is so not notorious, its Sancho Panzas as well known Bonnie Prince Charlie. What makes it a nation in the way that, say, the Western Sahara is (except no one will fully back them up)?

On the other hand, what is the big deal? If Quebec wants to be a nation within a nation, what do I care. Newfoundland already is for all practical purposes at least on a cultural level – not to mention PEI and Alberta pretend they are. Heck, Nova Scotian led the first separatist movement, right after Confederation. How do I lose out from an asymetrical confederation? Isn’t it pretty much the same argument over same-sex marriage, that “they” will alter something undefinable in relation to “us”? Unevenness abounds as far as I can tell – Rhode Island gets the same two senators that California does. Alberta flukes into boundaries which encase the nation’s oil deposits and plays grumpy child with the only ball in the schoolyard. What makes it so wrong?

Those are a lot of questions. And good questions. And tough questions. I have another. Can Iggy get them all in order, get them under control to pull his campaign up in these last few weeks?

Village Games

I was sent off on a YouTube adventure by a kind reader of note who last evening sent me emails with videos of cheese rolling attached like this one and all these.

That got me thinking that maybe there were videos of the ancient pre-football village games that happen at holidays. And there were. Like Royal Shrovetide Football you can watch here. Kind of weirdly but appropriately put to music. I think this is that game explained on wikipedia. Here is another – this from Orkney. Again set to music. Here is a web page on that game. Nothing on Winchester College Football on YouTube yet.

As we start moving from the recreational and civic holidays of the warm half of the year to the traditional holidays of the darker half, I am reminded that village and community are interesting things which are not like suburbs, workplaces or shopping malls or even families. The internet will only create real community when this sort of game starts up, including people you do not necessarily like doing things together you do not necessarily understand because you must. Maybe it has and maybe it hasn’t. Maybe that is what the Kingston Society for Playing Catch is to be. I will only know if anyone gets the hat and even then likely not.

Green Garth?

Amid the gnashing of Tory teeth over their own decision to turf Garth Turner has popped up the delicious idea that our former Finance Minister will now become Canada’s first member of Parliament for the Greens. Sure it came from brother Doug, usually not a hot national news source despite his location, but it is an attractive idea.

  • First, Garth blogs (though as ST notes, he may well also edit.) Tories do not blog – Monty had to quit blogging when he got to sit at the big table. Reasonable policy for an unknown medium run by hobbyists as far as I see but Garth needed to express himself. You can’t fight for the little guy and hide your light under a bush, you know.
  • Second, Garth may find the idea of protecting the environment through “intensity” standards a joke. That may not make him particularized enough to be a Green – as it seems to include most of Quebec again now – but I suspect all Greens fall into that larger category.
  • Third, Garth is a showman. Love it or hate it, he loves the camera and the camera has certain feelings for him. He was a TV investment guru in the 1990s after he was Minister of Finance for, what, a month or so and he found a way to fill an hour before the reruns of Xena on the CHCH Hamilton mid-Saturday afternoon TV schedule.

So go Green, Garth. Become the new Deb Grey before leading your cause into a decade and an half of splintering schismismistic madness. Find a way to forge a sixth party in Parliament and lay the groundwork for the seventh. And maybe co-opt Elsie Wayne to join you. Nobody makes for a great schism as well as Elsie does.

Friday Left Margin Blob Talk Time

Well, that is another week in the books. My halfth birthday is past history now, the Mets are out and there is a bed sheet ghost hanging in the tree out front. What a game that was last night – tied from the first to the ninth 1-1, then the Cards pull ahead in their last at bats and the Mets lose with the bases loaded after a kid…ok, a guy with a beard…smokes one past a multi-millionaire who was fooled and frozed where he stood, only able to watch the curving ball enter the strike zone and then the catcher’s glove. The game featured the greatest double play last night with the Met’s Chavez (a former Expo, portland pointed out) robbing a guy out in left by snabbing the ball way over the wall then having the presence of mind to drill it back in to the relay man who got it to first. WHAMMO!

  • Update: having a good argument here with good folks who think we need a dutiful or responsible press. I think they are being nutty but I side with the rabble in most things.
  • In the impending gap in life called the baseball off season, you should be brushing up on the knowledge you need. The Baseball Hall of Fame has an email newsletter that you can sign up for.
  • Go read Gary’s blog. He is starting to describe the work of potters he admires. It is knowledge sharing time and it is very interesting.
  • The Tories have a green plan. Let me be the first to dub it the Tom Green Plan – hey, I didn’t know he was born in Pembroke. I have to wait longer than I have lived, until 2050, for this policy goal to be achieved. Nothing like an ambitious plan. They wait for a decade to start. Andrew Coyne, looking alarmingly like a man who know he was being an embarassing party lapdog, was on the CBC national last night saying how waiting ten years is just like starting soon and a plan that waits longer than my lifetime to date (and I am an old fart) to kick in is pretty much like one diligently pursued and aggressively implemented. They think we are dopes. They are starting to look like one-termers, history blips, modern-day John Abbotts.
  • Did you know you are wicked and bad? Almost everything is bad:

    While he did not specifically mention gay marriage, thousands of listeners at the fairgrounds in Verona’s outskirts strongly applauded the two parts of his speech about the family and “other forms of unions”. He urged them to fight “with determination … the risk of political and legislative decisions that contradict fundamental values and anthropological and ethical principles rooted in human nature”. The Pope said they had to defend “the family based on matrimony, opposing the introduction of laws on other forms of unions which would only destabilise it and obscure its special character and its social role, which has no substitute”.

    Each and every one of you are going to hell. Especially you!

  • Today is my answering the phone day at NCPR. I even got a confirmation card in the mail. So pledge between 3 to 5 and you will get to talk to me. I am taking the camera so as to have a scrapbook tomorrow, a photo montage as it were, maybe a even a three dimensional mobile of events. Interesting when someone asked how long it would take to go that far south, I got to reply that I am heading north-east to Canton, New York.

Gotta run. I have to remember the border papers. I think I will do the entire border crossing with a Flemish or Maltese accent just to see it that messes them up. Or maybe just answer every question put to me with “how the hell do I know?!?!” in a slightly loud voice. Whaddya think? Maybe include a five dollar bill when I pass over my papers. Just to smooth things out. You know.

Procedure? What Procedure?

I take no position on the decision made. But I find this description of how the decision was made a little odd:

The motion came as a “surprise” to the national caucus this morning, but Jaffer said it was not “unexpected” and the caucus was unanimous in supporting the “democratic” decision of its Ontario arm. The Prime Ministers Office insisted it played no role in the decision.

So if you are leader of a party or the caucus of the party, you take no role in substantively making a decision, relying on the “local arm” to play out the democratic function. I have to ask the good and thoughtful Mr. Taylor, Canada’s nicest ToryTM about the rule used in this instance. Note that Mr. Taylor has already posted excellent and – one might be drawn to suggest – almost insider information.