Politics as Culture

Monday, March 26th, 2007

There’s a fascinating article in the L.A. Times today about Why the right goes nuclear over global warming. It’s not your typical piece about global warming so much as it is about the irrational beliefs and attitudes behind the debate. You get the feeling it’s more like high school debate than any sort of rational discourse: the opposing team says “white” so therefore we must say “black”, regardless of what’s true. You contort your beliefs to fit your chosen side rather than the other way around. If you want to support the issue without changing teams, you have to figure out a way to rationalize white as black.

Anti-American Yahoos

Friday, November 17th, 2006

The town council of Pahrump, Nevada trampled all over the American flag this week and spit on the graves of everyone who ever fought to defend freedom of speech, voting 3-2 to ban flying any foreign flag above the U.S. flag or alone.

I hereby declare the three idiots who voted for this measure to be un-American and unpatriotic. I’m grateful I don’t live there, but if I did I think I’d be ordering a Mexican flag about now.

Mexican Flag

Scoring the Election

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

The primary is over here in the Eleventh Congressional District of New York State. I don’t yet know who won the judicial races (Surely, someone somewhere posts complete election results; but whoever it is I haven’t been able to find them with Google) but not counting those races I’m 2 for 6. I.e. of the six candidates I voted for, 2 won.

Vote Spitzer

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Some races are so lopsided they amount more to an anointing than an election. Such is this year’s race for the governor of New York. Eliot Spitzer‘s active, well respected service as Attorney General for the last eight years has given him an aura of invincibility. Even three-term incumbent governor George Pataki dropped out early when it became obvious he didn’t have a matzo ball’s chance on Orchard Street of stopping the Spitzer juggernaut. Nonetheless, he still needs votes to win, which is why I plan to show up at the polls on Tuesday and vote for Eliot Spitzer for Governor; and I ask you to do the same.

Vote Green

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Like many other races I’ve been blogging about today, the next New York State Attorney General is going to be chosen on Tuesday in the Democratic primary. This race is unusual in that there are two solid, respectable candidates for the post, Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green. However, while both have distinguished themselves, only one of them has a record of defending the rights of New Yorkers in the courts, and that candidate is Mark Green.

Vote Batson

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

State-level New York politics usually isn’t very interesting. Decades of redistricting have essentially locked in a system where the Democrats control the assembly and the Republicans control the Senate. Most seats are safe, and most voters don’t pay much attention except when the rent control laws come up for renewal every few years. The net result is a system in which the governor, the speaker of the house, and the president of the senate get together in a smoke-filled room1 and decide what they’re going to do. Then the sheep in the two houses go along with the deal their leaders have endorsed. If they don’t, they’ll be cut out of various perks and committee assignments, which is the only thing they get out of their office since they don’t have any real power.

One of the things this triumvirate has lately decided (with the active collusion of the New York City mayor, the Brooklyn Borough president, and other officials) is that Brooklyn is going to have a basketball stadium paid for by taxpayer dollars, along with a humongous residential complex, whether we want it or not. Any homeowner who refuses to sell out will have their home stolen by eminent domain. After all, people can’t be allowed to stand in the way of the NBA and their desire to move the Nets across the river to the more lucrative new York market.

The Atlantic Yards Projects sits in the middle of the 11th Congressional District, the 57th Assembly District, and the 18th Senatorial District; and within the district where it’s planned opposition is high. Sadly a lot of the decisions about it are being made in Albany or Manhattan without any realistic public participation. I’m not optimistic about our chances to stop it; but if we’re to have any hope we need someone who’s going to stand up in Albany and oppose it, even if it means he doesn’t get a nice committee assignment or Sheldon Silver won’t take his calls. Bill Batson is our best hope to do that. On September 12th, I urge you to vote for Bill Batson for Assembly.

1 Well, at least it used to be a smoke filled room. These days, it’s probably a non-smoking building and they have wine and cheese instead.