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Friday, January 2, 2015

Pulling it together.

Holy Moses. Where did all this snow come from? The sky? That's where it ordinarily comes from. There have been exceptions, sure, but ... how likely is that?

Now, that's a better fit, tubeyWell, here we are. First days of the year and we're already snowed in. Mountains of the stuff piled up against the front door of the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, our adopted home. Just as well that it's relatively congenial in here, that is if you don't mind being cooped up with crazy people. There's Matt, of course, though he mostly occupies himself with tending the wild creatures and feathered friends. Marvin (my personal robot assistant) does have some annoying habits, much as I've tried to program them out of him. (I'm not a scientist - I just play one on the internet.)

The most troublesome companion we have in the Mill is anti-Lincoln, the antimatter doppelganger of the Great Emancipator, who was chrono-teleported into our midst some years back by Mitch Macaphee, using Trevor James Constable's patented orgone generating device. The device is, shall we say, a less-than-optimal time portal/matter transportation gizmo, so it made an antimatter copy of Lincoln as he was passing through the wormhole on his way to his future, our present. Lincoln has since returned to his Civil War glory days, while anti-Lincoln has remained behind to vex us unceasingly. Arrogant, selfish clone!

Our companion the man-sized tuber is not that bad, though he does require some tending. He had retired to the courtyard and was beginning to take root, but his retirement planning didn't take Winter into account, and as the days grew colder, he yanked himself out of the ground and rolled back inside, taking his place in a terracotta planter we had lying around. Of course, one of us has to bring him water, plant food, reading material, etc. He's been asking for wi-fi lately. I keep telling him, just get a freaking data plan, but he won't listen.

Right, so ... distractions aside, we are planning the next phase of Big Green's conquest of the universe. Well ... not the WHOLE universe; just one little tiny corner of it. Namely, this web site, where the next episode of our podcast will appear at some point. Come snow or high water.

New year, old ways.

It's January 2015 (news flash!) and we're on the brink of true divided national government - Congress in the hands of one party, the Presidency controlled by the other, and a 5-4 split on the Supreme Court. If electoral politics may be considered by anyone to be a true measure of the nation's policy aspirations, it's hard to see how we have reached this outcome. We hear from our corporate media that the American people are tired of gridlock and dysfunction in Congress, and yet the electorate has rewarded the faction most responsible for these maladies with control of the Senate and an expanded majority in the House. Is there any expectation on the part of those who voted in the last election that Congress will function more smoothly and more effectively as a result?

95% for the 1%Perhaps it's simply that our Congressional elections are really 435 tiny local races rather than one big, national one; that each district decides on the basis of who's running and who's most likely to show up at the polls. My home district, New York's 22nd (the fighting 22nd!) is a pretty good example. Our representative, Republican Richard Hanna, ran unopposed last year. The Democratic Party won the seat for the first time in a generation in 2006, lost it in 2010 and again in 2012, and apparently decided it wasn't worth spending any more money on. Hanna is far from the most reactionary member of his caucus, but he is a conservative Republican in the traditional sense, holding a 95% rating with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an "A" rating from the NRA, so it would have been nice to have someone else to vote for. So much for that.

Hanna presents himself as a moderate, at least between elections, as do some other upstate Republicans (like the recently elected John Katko, who unseated Democrat Dan Maffei this past November). But the effect of their presence has not been to moderate their caucus; they generally support their leadership. (Katko claims he will be independent, but I'll believe it when I see it.) When you cast your vote as a member of the House of Representatives to elect leaders that will willingly drive the country over a cliff economically (through austerity budgets), environmentally (through inaction on climate change and support for domestic oil production and the Keystone pipeline), and in the realm of foreign policy (with support for interventionist policies around the globe), it makes little difference what you call yourself. You are part of the problem.

So ... happy new year, friends. Let's work to make 2015 better than the lousy year we just left behind.

luv u,

jp