Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let's Stay Together

With so much attention on the GOPer circus, President Obama has mostly been governing, making tough decisions.  But he's also been doing the PR part of being President, like supporting tourism in Florida and the Gulf Coast, and praising the Apollo Theatre.  Where, incidentally, he sang.

Not much, but well.  A few phrases from an Al Green song, which maybe should be the campaign theme song: Let's Stay Together.  (Green was in the audience.  Obama likes to do it on these occasions, apparently.  He sang to Aretha and Dionne Warwick as well, though before he was Prez.)

He did it on the night that the GOPers were screaming at each other.  He did it with perfect pitch and in the exact key of the original Al Green song.  The folks Americans apparently accept as vocal experts--you know, American Idol judges--praised his performance.  It was so impressive that an Irish bookmaker immediately upped the odds that he would be reelected.

But things get serious again Tuesday, when President Obama delivers the State of the Union address.  This will be after a week of GOPer debate carping and electioneering, of scandal and confusion, panic and petty conflict, and patently wild charge and unserious flailing around pandering for votes from the FOX-stoked perpetually outraged.  And another GOPer debate on Monday.  Then the real President talks about real problems and real possible solutions in a serious way on Tuesday.  The contrast should have America singing, pleading: Let's stay together.  

Step Right Up to the...Well, Not the Greatest Exactly

It's South Carolina primary day, and everybody is expecting a Gingrich victory, especially Gingrich.  Depending on the ground game and voter turnout, it could defy the polls that show his lead growing, but the Romney campaign is whispering that they expect to lose, and his Romneyness is suggesting that he expects to be going up against Gingles right up to the convention. 

The Romney campaign does seem to be weirded out by the turnaround from Mr. Inevitable to Mr. Collapsing in a single week.  In a post he titles "Romney Campaign Curling Up in a Ball on the Floor," Jonathan Chiat responds to the rumor Friday that Romney may skip the first pre-Florida debate on Monday (the Florida primary is 10 days after S.C.) as mind-boggling.  I agree-- with a big SC win and Romney refusing to debate him, Gingles could win Florida which otherwise would be very difficult.   

The wild card in S.C. and afterwards is now Rick Sanctimonious.  He's finally been officially declared the winner of Iowa, and by many accounts he had a strong debate Thursday, especially in hitting Gingles vulnerabilities.  He's polling 4th of 4 at the moment in SC (though Herman Cain is still on the ballot, and Stephen Colbert had the biggest rally of the day in SC to urge voters to vote for Cain) but if he moves up past Ron St. Paul at least, there may be some interest in keeping him in the campaign, just so there is an Anti-Romney left if Gingles implodes. 

But at this point I say you know what GOPers? Go ahead and get it over with, nominate Newt.  If you're all about unfocused ignorant rage and racism, let's get it out in the open.  Give Newt his opportunity to match intellects with President Obama.  It's an open question whether the racist strings Gingles is playing reflect his own convictions, but he wouldn't be the first blowhard whose rants get so much applause that he comes to believe them. The idea that Barack Obama is an intellectual lightweight is as ridiculous as it is racist (and for the same reason: there is no evidence to support it, and lots of evidence to the contrary.)  Personally I can't wait for that debate. There's plenty of evidence that Gingles doesn't have the true wattage to live up to his bombast.  He's all blow and no hard.

As for his Romneyness, the guy is genuinely phony to a point that is almost surreal.  His radio interview that Rachel highlighted Friday is close to the equivalent of Cowboy Rick's hugging the syrup moment in New Hampshire. Rachel found the money quotes that shall live forever in campaign ads if he's the nominee, but the whole interview is distinctly weird (including the unforced Oedipal stuff at the beginning.)  Here are the quotes though:

Ingraham: How do you answer the president's argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign when you yourself are saying that it is getting better?

Romney: Well of course it is getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession. There is always a recovery. There has never been a time, anywhere in the world, where an economy has never recovered. The question is has it recovered by virtue of something the president has done or has he delayed the recovery and made it more painful. And the latter of course is the truth.

 Ingraham: Isn't it a hard argument to make if you are saying he inherited this recession and he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, now we are seeing some more jobs, but vote against him anyways? Isn't that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?

Romney: Have you got a better one Laura? It just happens to be the truth.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reality Check

Hereabouts the rains have come.  Our rainy season started Wednesday with a slowly building storm that's in its third day on Friday, with about four inches of rain total so far.  The forecast is the traditional solid gray for the forseeable future, with quiet periods between storms (next one is Sunday.)  So while this is a relief mentally, the disappearance of sunshine is its usual emotional drag.  But at least one of the hummingbirds is negotiating the swinging feeder.

Meanwhile our friends Mike and Alice are more than 3,000 miles into their epic cross country trip, doing what retirement is supposed to be for.  These photos are stolen from the blog they've created to chronicle their adventures, which is right here.  This mountainscape is from New Mexico.

They're probably in California by now, and will fly off to Hawaii for a couple of weeks before figuring out a route back to Pennsylvania.   Happy trails!

Aye of Newt, and Dead-Blogging the Live Bloggers

Okay, Circus Boy is officially my GOPer campaign coverage persona.  For one thing, everything Circus Boy warned you about on Wednesday rocked the GOPer world on Thursday:

Iowa announced (sort of) that Senator Sanctimonious won Iowa (sort of)-- not Romney.

Gingrich's second wife made headlines with her interview hours before it actually aired.

After all the public promptings, Cowboy Rick quit the race (Adios, MoFos) and endorsed Gingrich. 

Gingrich continued to climb in the polls.  And now the rumor about those Tea Party leaders is that they will endorse Gingrich, perhaps on Friday.  One day before South Carolina votes.

All that was just Thursday's early show!  The big show under the big tent--in the center ring!--the last GOPer candidate debate before the voting on Saturday! 

Rather than watch the debate, I watched the Live Bloggers on my Internet machine.  Much more entertaining!  And I bring you some of their greatest tricks!

Let's start with the Guardian bloggers because their "yes, but" judgment that Gingrich won the debate in the first five minutes--and their caveats--were echoed by other bloggers:

First question is to Newt Gingrich, asked about Marianne Gingrich's comments that Newt asked her for an "open marriage". "Would you like to discuss that, Mr Speaker," asks John King. "No, but I will," replies Newt. "It is as close as despicable as anything I can imagine. I'm frankly astounded than CNN would take trash like that and se it to open a presidential debate."
He's won this already.

But maybe he made too much of it, going on just a bit too long. Many millions watching would have been unaware of the Marianne Gingrich interview: the former House speaker has just provide great advertising for the ABC interview. He has just ensured many of them will be tuning in to hear it.

This also was a common judgment:

Meanwhile, up on stage, Romney is having his worst debate performance of the entire campaign. Just now he got dragged into a spat with Santorum, with Santorum talking over him. He looks and sounds tired. It may not matter in the long run but this is the precise low point of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

Jed at Kos:
So the crowd in this debate ... cheered adultery, lustily ... but that was an improvement, over cheering the death of the uninsured.

6:55 PM PT: Newt says Obama is the "most dangerous" president he has every seen. "Truly frightening," he says. White conservative men across South Carolina are getting that sturburst feeling right about now.

(I googled "sturburst" and it seems to mean something but I don't know what. Most of the hits were of this very statement.)

Though Jed concluded The debate is over. Not much to analyze: Newt killed the field. Big win for him, he was funniest about Sanctimonious:

Rick Santorum really needs to stop saying "bottom up."

Rick Santorum says his concern about Newt Gingrich is that he's always worried "something is going to pop."

Rick Santorum says he's a the grandson of immigrants, and that we don't need any more of them.

Josh Marshall at TPM:

9:05 PM: I feel like I need to read the transcript of what Mitt just said about his taxes but I think I'm going to need to get stoned first.

9:27 PM: I'm sort of amazed how on Gingrich has been in this debate. He's made Romney look like a bystander. Except in the portion where Romney dominated the stage with his epic tax return release meltdown.

His conclusion:
I think Newt Gingrich did very well tonight. I think he knows it. He's right. I've heard a number of people say that Rick Santorum had a really strong debate too and even that he 'won' the debate. Santorum was basically more on his game than I think I've ever heard him. He had a really good debate. I think Newt did better. But here's the key: Gingrich is in a position to capitalize in a big way on a strong debate performance. I don't think Santorum is. So it all comes down to a very strong performance by Newt -- one I think will likely clinch a win for him on Saturday night, notwithstanding the tell-all interview coming later tonight.

Andrew Sullivan:

8.48 pm. Buzzfeed says that Newt won the debate in the first five minutes. Theres still some time to go but that's my impression as well. Romney is being flattened tonight. Santorum's brutal, relentless attacks, Newt's ccontempt, Paul's jocular indifference ... they all contrast with classic, mindless robo-speak from Mr Plastic. Now Gingrich has ambushed him on his tax returns

8.44 pm. A classic Gingrich phrase: "Mildly amazing." Classic passive aggression from the "shy boy" who's now so angry he explodes spontaneously. Then Newt tickles the Southern g-spot, by saying that his debating Obama will be a battle between "knowledge" and a "TelePrompTer." I don't think Newt realizes how his contempt and condescension toward Obama is riddled with racism.

Contempt and condescenion yes, but as a Georgia boy and as his Newtness, he realizes it.

His conclusion:
10.01 pm. A Gingrich triumph. His only concern must be how well Santorum did tonight. Paul performed well, but remains peripheral to the struggle for the orthodox "conservative" candidate. I think Romney is in serious trouble now, and the bottom fell out tonight. He died with that glib response - "maybe" - to the question of whether he'd follow his father's example.

I may be crazy but I think Romney loses South Carolina after tonight. And that means this thing blows wide open again.

Not everyone thought Rick S. did so well--and I never thought I'd be quoting uberconservative Michael Medved: The big loser: Rick Santorum, whose insufferably sanctimonious demeanor answered all questions about why social conservatives have begun to coalesce around Newt Gingrich rather than the former Pennsylvania senator. His decision to issue smug, full-bore attacks on every one of his rivals backfired badly.

Medved is pretty sanctimonious himself, and maybe I'm likewise seeing in Rick S. a tendency in myself.

But I leave the best for last, the Economist quartet:

If Newt's pomposity could be monetized, he'd be a rich man. But would it be taxed at 15% or 35%? Discuss

"How do you revive 'Made in America'?" Rename China?

Grandiosity has never been a problem with Newt Gingrich." Great line from Santorum.

· Rick Santorum was tonight's stand-out performer. Apparently emboldened by his belated Iowa victory, he came out swinging and I think did some real damage, especially to Gingrich and his grandiose dilettantism. Newt's desperate opening attack on the media for daring to listen to what his ex-wife has to say about him was enthusiastically received by the crowd, but I thought made him look like a snarling, cornered dog. Ron Paul was a comforting Ron Paul-like presence. Romney was on and off, and I don't think his performance made a difference to his prospects in South Carolina. Actually, insofar as Santorum's effective barbs hurt Newt more than Mitt, Romney may have come out of the evening ahead.
by W.W. 7:08 PM
 Nothing that happened tonight will change the fact that Mitt Romney is your Republican nominee. But Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are moving in opposite directions: Santorum becoming more endearing, Gingrich more repulsive.

It was a strange debate. Newt started strong out of the box, but Santorum went after him effectively, and he ended up looking too pompous by half. Romney was clearly the loser: he stuttered, smirked, dodged and look insufferably smug. He wins the nomination in the end, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him lose SC.

So there are two theories: 1. Newt is headed for victory in S.C., Romney is really wounded.  If Newt wins it may become a real race.  2. Rick S. had a good debate, the second Mrs. G. interview is going to add to doubts, and Rick and Gingrich are going to again split the anti-Rs, and Romney squeaks out a S.C. victory.  And if both Rick and Ging do well, neither will drop out, which also helps Romney.

Maybe the most intriguing bit of information I heard is that polling data suggests a gender split in the Tevangelical vote: men like Gingrich, women like Sanctimonious (and are definitely anti-Ging over the wives stuff.  The revelation that Ging and Calista had sex in Ging and wife.2's  marriage bed  could put them over the top on that issue.)

So Gingrich had his best day and his "best" (angriest, most racist) debate, and Romney had his worst and his worst.  Will Romney's free market utopian fantasy-mongering prove stronger than Gingrich's ability to amplify the blind rage of white SC GOPer voters?  Will it matter?  Who cares?  The circus ain't leaving town anytime soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Oil Sands of Time

President Obama accepted State Department advice and killed the Keystone oil sands project, as officially announced Wednesday.  The oil sands of time were running out, thanks to the GOPer congressionals' deadline, so it's bye bye pipeline.

Bill McKibben commented: "this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money."

GOPers gushing the usual oily bullshit from whichever orifice they use to talk, charge this kills jobs, kills energy independence.  Their inflated figure for how many jobs the pipeline would have created was 20,000.  Actual experts say it would have been closer to 6,000.

But according to the Brookings Institution, the growing clean energy industries already employ some 2.7 million in the U.S., with explosive job growth that outpaced the rest of the economy during and after the Great Recession.  Moreover, "The clean economy offers more opportunities and better pay for low- and middle-skilled workers than the national economy as a whole."

Meanwhile, in one industrial city just north of the U.S. border, a coalition of business, government, environmentalists and labor (including the efforts of one of the most dedicated readers of Captain Future's Dreaming Up Daily--congrats, Cousin Lemuel, otherwise known as Bill Thompson) has brought a major wind turbine manufacturing project to Hamilton, Ontario--with an expected 1900 jobs.  These will be the first offshore wind power assembly facilities in North America.

This is just the beginning, if America would get serious. A new study concludes that a truly serious approach to energy efficiency could alone add up to 2 million new jobs in the next few decades.

So the jobs argument is specious, and is only part of the economic story (if you want to reduce everything to that.)  Opponents to the Keystone pipeline cite tremendous costs to protect water, soil and air against pollution, and even higher costs for accidents and the hidden costs (because families mostly bear them) of bad effects on health.  It's a similar story with clean energy--the health benefits are also economic benefits. 

And of course, there's the economic price of the Climate Crisis--which the Keystone pipeline would hasten to its worst case scenarios---with costs that could include the very concept of "economy" as we know it.

In the transitional meantime, an expanding U.S. oil and gas industry has added some 75,000 jobs since President Obama took office.  There's no truth to even this charge, that the pipeline harms the effort to decrease dependence on foreign oil sources.  But apparently a 13% expansion of these industries isn't enough for some of these fossil fuel hot air billionaires.  They have to own the planet, as they ruin it.

Coming Attractions

I'm starting to feel like Circus Boy (yeah, that's Mickey Dolenz before he became a Monkee.  He starred in the Circus Boy TV show in the 50s.)  I'm enjoying this circus too much.

I'm not the only one. I wonder if anybody at MSNBC will be able to sleep tonight.  There are several potentially big stories that could break in the next day or two that together or separately could turn the GOPer primary circus into real chaos.

One is the ABC interview granted by the second-ex Gingrich wife, expected to air Thursday night, which is potentially explosive.   She apparently once claimed that she could end his political career with one interview.

Another is the possible certification of the Iowa caucuses results (maybe by Friday), which may well change the winner from Romney to Rick Sanctimonious.   Combined with Gingrich's rising in South Carolina (and national) polls, it could create new doubts about Romney, who increasingly  appears to be vulnerable, if not to fellow GOPer attacks, then to the same attacks mounted by Dems in the general. 

But what if BOTH of these things happen?

And oh yeah, a couple of Rabid Right "leaders" have called for Cowboy Rick to drop out before the voting in South Carolina, in favor of Gingrich, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin Wednesday, as well as another megachurch minister.  There's also rumor that some sort of Tea Party coalition is going to endorse a candidate before S.C. votes.

Meanwhile His Romneyness is slowly being bronzed as Richie Rich, the guy who thinks his speaking fees--which in one year added up to seven times the average US annual income--don't amount to much.  Not when he probably has many millions in offshore tax shelters.

And what happens in South Carolina if this ABC story gets traction?  That while at Bain, Romney directed millions of dollars worth of investments to the Mormon Church.

In his New York Magazine piece entitled "Romney Caricatures Himself," Jonathan Chiat concludes:

"Whatever the merits, the total self-portrait Romney has helped craft is utterly devastating: the scion of a wealthy executive, who helped create, and benefited from, revolutions in both the market economy and in public policy in the last three decades that favored the rich over the middle class, and who appears blithe about the gap between his privilege and the lot of most Americans.

As I’ve said before, Romney has been positively associated with “electability” because he is more electable than most of his rivals. But he is the one-eyed man in the land of the politically blind. Romney, by normal standards, is a terrible candidate. He is nowhere near as formidable as John McCain was four years before. The latest poll from PPP has his favorability rating at a miserable 35 percent positive, 53 percent negative. He may win – he probably will win if the economy dips back into recession – but he is a weak candidate who in many ways embodies the public’s distrust of his party."

I'll add this caveat: while the political mood seems to be strongly against Richie Rich, the appeal of a powerful rich guy can't be dismissed.  There's an undeniable "participation mystique" thing that goes on when ordinary people are confronted with the rich and powerful: they may identify with them, imagine what it would be like to be them, and want to be like them--want to be recognized by them, and included within their aura.  It's a powerful pull and can't be dismissed.  Romney has shown no signs of being able to capitalize on this, but it's a long time until the election.

Romney as without core beliefs is an image that won't go away.  There's the opposition research book put together by the McCain campaign in 2007 that's just been leaked.  One observer commented: "In extensive detail, the book documents Romney’s various turns on major issues—how he changed his mind on the Bush tax cuts, gun ownership, abortion, and immigration, just to pick a few issues. Romney’s flip-floppery is so pervasive that it cannot be summed up except to say that it is a fundamental part of his political self."

Its possible effect in the general election is dramatized, cartoon style in this Gingrich campaign ad which shows President Obama debating Romney.  The Obama voice is actually pretty good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today's Fix

A number of prominent web sites including wikipedia are down today or otherwise limited to focus awareness on a couple of bills in Congress that threaten to turn over significant control of the Internet to corporate interests.

While I fully support these sites, I do worry about you twitchy readers out there with less to read.  So as a public service for desperate net dependent addicts who stumbled onto this site, I will provide content.  Contented?

That's not as good a pun as Lawrence had Tues. evening, concerning Romney's revelations about the minuscule tax rate he pays: he was talking about taxes, "which Republicans are wont to do, but not in the way Republicans want to do it."

Andrew Sullivan was making waves on Tues. with his Newsweek cover piece making the case for President Obama's "long game" and the delusions of those who don't see his actual successes.  His basic premise about the Obama record of solid accomplishment  (not unfamiliar to readers of this site) is "So many people have been taken in by fantasies - on both sides - that are demonstrably untrue."

He was defending the piece against rightward and some High Left critics all day on his blog, and had this to say about Obama leading from behind, specifically on gay rights (gay marriage specifically) and medical marijuana/decriminalization:

"Oh please. If you accept my premise - that he "leads from behind" for a "long game" - you can begin to see my case. Obama is not going to crusade for either cause. But he is not going to oppose them either and has quietly encouraged them. Hence instructing the DEA not to interfere with state laws on medical marijuana and withdrawing a legal defense of DOMA. Yes, there's been some regional slippage in California on allowing states to determine their medical marijuana laws, but that hasn't apparently come from Obama's office. Combined with the breakthrough on gays in the military, this has been the most productive period for gay equality in a long time. And it's more durable because Obama didn't do it. We did. Which was the fucking premise of his entire campaign."

Something along these lines occurred to me earlier in the day before I read this concerning one of the more hopeful signs of the year: the democratic rebellion in various states against GOPer oligarchical power grabs and antidemocratic laws, restricting the right to vote and to organize in unions.  Specifically the news in Wisconsin, where over 1 million signatures were gathered to recall its governor--which is nearly equal to the number of votes that he got in his election.  When all of this controversy started, there were calls for Obama to get directly involved, and cries of anguish when he didn't. He didn't make big speeches, though he did mention his support for these efforts, and the White House issued statements.  And yet, the people through their unions and local organizing have successfully recalled several bad laws in several states, and are ready to recall awful officeholders.  This is community organizing--something that Barack Obama understands pretty well.  And it's just as Sullivan says: it's more durable because Obama didn't do it. We did. Which was the fucking premise of his entire campaign."

After this choice reading experience, if you're still hungry for Internet pleasure, you might check out the new kid on the block, Bill Moyers, with video from his new web and TV projects, including a lot about income inequality.  Seriously, it's great to have him back (even if he never really went away.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Circus News

I'm sorry, I just can't resist.
Monday began with Jon Huntsman dropping out of the race (because he was polling behind Steven Colbert, according to Rachel) and endorsing Romney.  This led to several video compilations of all the nasty stuff Huntsman said about Romney, especially about how he has no beliefs and can't beat Obama.

Rachel gleefully catalogued the ongoing fight within the Evangelical preacher corps over whether they did or didn't really endorse Rick Sanctimonious--accusations of deceit, dirty tricks, ballot-stuffing etc.--all the things GOPers are good at.  What goes around...

And all this was before the FOX clown show, aka debate.  As conventional wisdom swings definitively behind the certainty that Romney will be the nominee--and that the GOPer establishment is pushing this narrative--Romney had an awkward debate, Sanctimonious and Gingrich did better--with Gingrich demogoging the heartlessness and mindlessness of the assembled S.C. GOpers.  Some choice reaction from folks who actually watched it:

Jed Lewison at Kos: The one nice thing about this debate is that even though it's obvious that Mitt Romney has the nomination nearly locked down, it's equally obvious how much Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich dislike Mitt Romney.

Conservative Ron Dreher: There goes Gingrich with the food stamp thing again, blaming Obama for "putting more people on food stamps than any president in American history." It wasn’t Obama that did it, Gingrich, it was the depression recession. This is food we’re talking about. This is people struggling to feed their families in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And Gingrich is playing racial and cultural politics with it. To listen to Gingrich, you’d think that Obama signed up all those layabouts for food stamps just so he could throw government money at them.

And two gems from the Economist live blog:

 This is Jon Huntsman's best debate by far.

I think this crowd will be disappointed when informed that there will not in fact be a public hanging later in the evening.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day in Retrospect

Martin Luther King is in that middle area of figures considered "great" enough to have a holiday: he was too long ago to be real to most people, and he's not yet a figure so remote that he's going to be used to sell used cars or shill for a sale on his Day, as are the figures of Washington and Lincoln.  But when GOPers who stoked the suspicion and hate that enveloped him in a penumbra of violence for what was left of his young life are blithely praising his idealism and "hope for the future," then the attempted co option has reached beyond reality.

It's pretty clear that while culturally and in certain legal areas, African Americans are better off than in the 1960s, in other ways they are in worse circumstances that are worsening.  The indefensibly high rates of incarceration of black men generally, and specifically for crimes that whites much more often escape such penalties, is clearly racist in effect and to a great extent in cause.  This is one of the more obvious remnants of racism.

The promises of the 1950s and 1960s have not been fulfilled in other ways.  De facto segregation of schools, separate and unequal, are still the law of the land, however formally illegal.  De facto retrenchments of voting rights are rising, with the poll tax substitute of ID laws.  And an entire state of Michigan is denying entire cities with majority black populations of the right to vote for any local official, by installing GOPer governor appointed dictators.  This is as clear a tyranny as any this continent has ever seen.

But of course the most telling fact is the economic injustice that has swollen the wealth of the inconceivably wealthy 1% and is sending more and more people off the cliff of ordinary life, among the 99%.  People without homes, without enough food, without medical care, without the means to have a decent life--those numbers are growing, and growing fastest among the most vulnerable populations, which certainly includes minorities, and certainly includes African Americans.

In that context, the South Carolina GOPers who assembled for their debate on Martin Luther King Day--as other GOPer audiences in other primary debates--are showing  faces of America carefully hidden behind suburban doors and suburban secret codes, small town murmurs and city euphemisms, for decades.  But these days the mobs are whipping into a frenzy again, and the white sheets are there for all to see.  Their hate extends to all other colors, to any other religion or culture (they even booed the idea of applying the Golden Rule), and even to any foreign language (French, say, or science.)  These are shock troops of the Dark Ages, and if they succeed, those times will hasten. 

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live...Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Address

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Update

God apparently took Saturday off, allowing his Saints to lose, and sending Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos straight to hell, which in their case was New England.  He split the difference on Sunday, teaching some humility to the defending champion Packers but allowing the overrated Ravens another week of hubris.  Next week it's the Niners vs. the NY Giants, and the Patriots vs. the Ravens.  God's message so far: don't diss the defense.

In circus news,  the weekend began with elements that suggested a Gingrich revival, beginning in South Carolina.  He was near even with Romney in some polls, and he picked up a few Tevangelical preacher endorsements.   So the stage was set for the purist preacher summit in Texas to consolidate behind the strongest anti-Romney.  So of course they didn't.  They endorsed Rick Sanctimonious, purer perhaps but polling in single digits in South Carolina, with uncertain prospects (to be generous) in Florida and following states.  (E. J. Dionne has a more optimistic view.)   So despite the reputed "hit" that Romney takes on this, he is probably the winner of that confab.  The biggest loser was Cowboy Rick, who is likely now to drop out sooner rather than later, maybe even before the South Carolina voting.  If that happens, and Gingrich drops out if he fails to win South Carolina, Sanctimonious has another shot to consolidate the Anti-Roms, but as the likely fourth place finisher in S.C., he's likely toast.

Late news update: numerous reports say Jon Huntsman will officially quit the race on Monday, and back Romney.