Wednesday, October 3, 2007

When It Rains... pours.

Today was a Staines massive day on the HuffPost, with quite a few noteworthy articles. Either that or I haven't checked it in a few days and there was some backlog. Nevertheless...

My new friend Rep. Jay Inslee conjures up an interesting metaphor on global warming, comparing carbon emissions to backcountry skiing on Mt. Rainier. Score one for the Evergreen State!

And Barbara Ehrenreich skewers the permanent campaign system we have going on this time around in a piece that has been pretty widely syndicated.

Part of the problem is structural. We make our presidential candidates campaign for at least a year at a stretch. Take a normal person and subject him or her to month after month of trail mix and chicken Caesars, sleep deprivation, and the need to be "on," smiling and handshaking, 16 hours a day. No solitary moments of reflection, no walks in the park, no escape into thrillers. What do you get after a few months of this? A golem, the artificial, man-like creature of Kabalistic lore, a personoid incapable of normal responses.
Isn't it a bit frightening, though? Schmucky bloggers like me expect these people to be in the state at least once a week to feed our need for analysis, but don't give them ample time for walks in the park. That last bit I can relate to most pointedly.

Yesterday I dragged myself out for a run around 5:30pm, hoping to get in 4 miles in time to get back to the pond for a swim while the sun was still high enough in the sky to touch the top of the pond. Instead I found myself in the Oak Hill trails, invigorated with every turn option as I ran deeper into the woods and further away from sunlit pond swims. After a few miles I was rewarded with this view from Swope Slope, and a fresh outlook on life. I even had the will to swim in the chilly dusk upon my return.

Stories abound that Edwards demands run time in his daily schedule, and touring the countryside of the seacoast and the majesty of the North Country makes for some easy bus tour soul searching for any candidate, I just hope that every once in a while the entourage goes on pause while the Senators, Governors, Mayors and Congressmen step out into the trees for a few minutes to take a look at the forest. Then again, if they have no soul as Jon Stewart contends, maybe it is a non-issue.

Back to the jist, Sen. Russ Feingold wrote in to suggest that the Senate finally should pull a Gravel and make the GOP vote over and over again until they get it right.

Over in Iraq, our troops get up every day and risk their lives in the middle of an Iraqi civil war. They have to do their job, no matter what the risk, and no matter what the cost. They do what they are asked to do...and so should Congress. Congress's job right now should be to bring our troops home safely, and we can't turn away from this issue just because it's tough going. The only way we will ever get our troops out is by putting constant pressure on supporters of this disastrous war. Let's make them vote again and again, so that they have to go back home and explain why they keep voting to keep our troops in Iraq. When they feel the heat for their vote, that's when they will change their vote, and that's how we will bring our troops home.
Say what you will about the strength of the bill, at least its an ethos.

I will conclude today's hodgepodge with a link my friend Max sent to me this morning about what is arguably the tightest form of communication in our repertoire: the aphorism. On NPR's All Things Considered yesterday they highlighted a book called Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists by James Geary. In it you will find a number of great aphorisms from history's wisest people. Witness a few with uncanny connections to 2008:

"Any idiot can face a crisis. It is this day-to-day living that wears you out." - Anton Checkov (keep in mind this quotation pre-dates Giuliani)
"Better keep yourself clean and bright: you are the window through which you must see the world." - George Bernard Shaw (See, Joe Biden's not a racist, after all. Told you so.)

"Do good to the evil doer."
- Muhammad Shem al-Deen (maybe letting Ahmadenijad speak at Columbia wasn't such a bad idea)

" - It is easy to display a wound, the proud scars of combat. It is hard to show a pimple." - Leonard Cohen (just plain wise)

and finally, Bishop Desmond Tutu: "To be impartial is to have taken sides already with the status quo." (I think that fits in with the Feingold piece, and yesterday's Obama preface I wrote)

No mention of Tutu is complete without queuing up Silver and Gold by U2.

Okay Edge, play the blues...

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