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Friday, November 14, 2014

Posse comet-at-us.

Electrodes to power! Turbines to speed! Hand on the main throttle, Marvin (my personal robot assistant)! Man, that's hard to say with any urgency.

Never hit nothin' that way.Oh, hi. Caught us in full-on crisis mode here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, as of now Planet Earth's first line of defense against the menace of stray comets invading the inner rings of our solar system (where most of us reside). Or so it would appear. Seems like the planetary defense systems maintained by major world governments have been caught asleep at the wheel on this one, so bloody hell, it's up to us to save Earth's bacon. And its beans. And, of course, its life-giving stilton cheese. I could go on, but again ... we're in CRISIS mode.

You've no doubt heard of the dry alien comet named "Comet 67P"? The European Union has just landed a probe on its surface with the intent of drilling into it. My guess is that they're looking for shale oil, though they vehemently deny that. Anyway, fracking or no, this has surely invoked the comets ire, as we have been reliably informed by our mad science adviser Mitch Macaphee. We had a pretty shrill Skype conversation last night during which he explained the whole thing to yours truly and my fellow Big Green denizens. Something to do with Baratold rays and a slight shift in field density. All the science, I don't understand! But I must take Mitch's word for it.

Anywho, the comet is good and angry. Wouldn't you be, too, if the EU had dropped a probe on you and ordered it to drill into your face? I know I would. Damned annoying. So Comet 67P is intent on crashing into the Earth's surface - a kind of cosmic "How do you like it?", I guess. Our only defense against this interstellar suicide bomber? Trevor James Constable's abandoned Orgone Generating Device. Mitch told us to point the array in the general direction of the approaching comet and crank it up to eleven. Sounds as good a method as any. That's supposed to counteract the comet manitou and correct the space time continuum ... or something. (Mitch was talking fast.)

So, look ... if it works, you should be seeing our podcast drop in the next few days. If it doesn't, well ... not to put too fine a point on it, but ... likely you won't see the podcast drop.

Difference making.

There's little that can be said about the 2014 election that hasn't been repeated seventy or eighty times by now. Did we get the Congress we deserve? Perhaps so. It's the largest Republican majority in the House since the Second World War. So, expect the same -- and more of it -- as you saw from the present Congress. It also means that Barack Obama will soon be the only thing standing between us and massive cuts in social programs, vastly expanded militarism at home and abroad, and reactionary policies on a range of fronts, from abortion rights to immigration to health care and beyond. That's where we stand.

Still just a numbers game.At least, that's what's left to us after a remarkably lackluster election in which about 37% of the American voting populace voted. That's the lowest turnout since 1942, and it bears remembering that a lot of voting age men were in he military at the time. So if we can't summon the will to vote, do we have the right to complain about the outcome? Sure, the Democratic party -- including many of last Tuesday's also-rans -- is less than inspiring. But there is a small difference between the parties, and small differences can sometimes have an enormous impact on the nation's most vulnerable. We owe it to them to go and mark the ballot, even if it means voting for some jerk-ass.

Of course, in my own upstate New York congressional district, our Republican House member ran unopposed. The Democratic party didn't think the race was worth contesting, probably because our last Democratic congressman, Michael Arcuri, only held the seat for four years (2007-2011), barely winning a second term in 2008 and losing narrowly to Richard Hanna in 2010. Sure, the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee probably didn't want to throw good money after bad, but the upshot is that we had no one to vote for. That was not the case everywhere. In Syracuse, Democrat Dan Maffei lost by close to 20 points to a Republican who pledged independence, moderation, and a commitment to aiding inner city communities.

Bullshit. Maffei's replacement will vote to make Boehner Speaker once again. That will produce austerian policies that will extend and deepen the misery in Maffei's district. The only way to avoid that was through voting. If I'm wrong, tell me how, exactly.

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