Duck! and Gather

Archive for November 2008

The following is a reprise of a thought I weaved into a blog post a couple of months ago. That thought is the following: “Barack Obama and Sarah Palin” is a Jeopardy clue. What is the question?

Here’s what I think the question will be: “Who are the two people credited by history with ending the necessary but distasteful period in American history known as ‘affirmative action’?”

Barack Obama will end affirmative action because everybody is treating him as a Black Guy. Nevermind that he’s actually a Coconut. People (like the New York Times) say he’s a Black Guy, so that’s what he is as far as history is concerned.

Well, I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Obama is the most attractive American politician over the past 40+ years, and maybe even 80 years. What does Jesus need with affirmative action? I mean, the guy already walks on water — what else does he need already?

Well, if Obama shouldn’t receive affirmative action because he don’t need no stinkin’ affirmative action to kick your ass, then no Black Guy should.

The Sarah Palin argument is opposite, but analogous.

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Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy and all about last night. But, unlike my wife, who believed such a day would never come in America and thus was overcome by the proceedings, I was stirred only a little. As you may know, I predicted last night’s results two years ago.

So I was fully expecting what happened. And since happiness is (IMHO) simply the gap between what we expect and what we believe we already have, I’m feeling pleased this morning, but not surprised, and perhaps even a little bit nervous. On that last sentiment, consider the following ….

Compare these next four images:

1789 Election

1932 Election
2008 Election

2008 Election

As you can probably tell, these are the electoral maps from the U.S. presidential elections of 1789, 1860, 1932, and 2008. Notice any interesting patterns amongst these four images?

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Blog-o-rama for me today. Here’s the next one: I was thinking about my Obama prediction of December 25, 2006, and how it’s going to come true tomorrow. In December of 2006, few in the world would have predicted what is going to be realized tomorrow.

How come I did? How did I ‘know’ this? Why am I so ‘smart’?

Well, it turns out the reason why I’m such a proficient prognosticator is a rather banal one. Call me the puny Wizard of Oz. Here is what is behind my curtain:

In short, my reading interest is quite broad, my reading style is critical in nature, and my math brain reminds me that truth is universal. That’s it right there.

Specifically, it doesn’t matter what wacky thing I’m reading. If my spider sense suspects that I’m reading about some true phenomenon in one domain, then that phenomenon must be consistent with ‘truths’ that I have already stumbled across in other domains. And when the ‘other domains’ are wide and numerous, that makes for a quite challenging steeplechase for any new idea to jump through. But if some idea does manage to jump all the way through, then my confidence for its truth is high.

That’s what happened with my Obama prediction.

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A scant two years ago today, Red still owned the grand trifecta of American politics, i.e. the Presidency, the House, and the Senate. Two years ago today, many leading voices among the Red still openly voiced their dreams of an endless sea of Red as the future of this nation.

But tomorrow, this nation will instead vote in a Blue president, a Blue House, and a Blue Senate. No Red to be found. The only question left open is: “How big a landslide?”

This is what I love so much about America. The same people who voted twice for Bush — the same people who made the up the >80% approval rating for Bush in the aftermath of 9/11 — the same people who made up the 62% who favored the Iraq war when bombing began in March 2003 — these same people will be voting for Obama tomorrow.

This is the genius of America. The political winds here can shift 180 degrees in one day (from pro-corporate to anti- this time around) and there is no violence. No threat of insurrection. No public hangings.

America is a roiling river. You think you know America. But turn your head away for a moment, and when you turn back, the nation has been reborn. Transformed. Metamorphosed.

This is what the natural world is. Our family lives in the mountains that surround Silicon Valley. Up until Thursday, the fire danger in our area was extreme. The land was parched — hadn’t seen rain in months. Light breezes generated dust clouds.

But last Thursday, a raging wind came in from the West. It whipped the dried-out trees into a glorious dance, Fall leaves flying everywhere. And on our property, a centuries old oak tree literally had its top blown off. That is, the massive crown came flying off — lucky for us it missed the barn. Two days later, in the deluge that followed the wind, a decades old poplar tree landed on our carport.

I bring up our banal weather stories by way of saying that this is America too. What may seem to our eyes to be permanent and solid is actually transient and liquid. Permanence is but illusion.

This is true of nature. And it is true of America. Bless this beautiful country.

  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on But He’s Our Whore

Tomorrow, a boatload of my predictions issued in 2004 and 2006 will come true. Specifically:

Tomorrow will be a very auspicious day for this imperiled nation of ours. Weeks ago, my wife and I voted for Obama by mail in California. My guess is that he has already won, before the election day voting even starts tomorrow.

One thought that comes to mind concerns Obama’s sharp “swing to the center” back in late June. People like me howled about it. Particularly concerning Obama’s FISA-flip.

At the time, Kos said it best:

Kos said, paraphrasing: “It’s not like we’re not to going to vote for the guy, but still …”

So what is the relevance today of Obama’s June swoon?

To me, the relevance is that, in June, we got to see Obama for what he is. That is, he showed himself to be a whore of limp principle. Thus the gap between Obama and his political competition was reduced to a difference merely of degree, not of kind.

To put it simply, they’re all whores. But … and this is a crucial ‘but’ … he’s our whore.

We voted for him. We hope you do too.

for the money has gone too far

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November 2008