Because today we offer up (instead of the usual FTP drivel), a bone-shaking nightmare for those of the Left and those of the Right. Complete, of course (it wouldn't be a Hallowe'en column otherwise) with photos of my 2009 pumpkins, carved lovingly with a knife that was previously used to... well, perhaps it's best you not know that part....
Archive of Articles for October, 2009
The phrase "weighing in" has changed over time to mean something along the lines of "adding the weight of your opinion to the discussion." But it's really more apt to look at it from the perspective of boxing, in this case. The weighing-in before a big fight is literally where the two fighters step on the scales so everyone can see what they weigh. Now, before I get in trouble for suggesting an image of the rather diminutive Nancy Pelosi on a scale to your minds, in this metaphor the legislation which Speaker Pelosi just released is what is actually on the scale. Pelosi, in this mental image, is the promoter in the background talking up the virtues of the prizefighter on the scales.
Tomorrow is the internet's fortieth birthday. Its creators are even throwing it a birthday party at the University of California, Los Angeles, the origin of the first message ever transmitted over what we know today as "the internet," on October 29, 1969. If you're wondering what the first message ever transmitted was -- the digital age's "Come here, Watson," statement, as it were -- it consisted of two letters: "LO." It was actually supposed to be "LOG," as in "LOG IN," but the receiving computer crashed after receiving just the first two letters -- not a very auspicious beginning, it must be admitted. Still, for poetic reasons, "LO" seems pretty apt: "Lo! The Internet was created!"
The Lieberman story will run its course, no matter what the outcome. But it is my guess that even if Lieberman is dragged back into the fold, that there are a few other senators who would also enjoy a little national media attention by appearing to be on the fence. Lieberman is currently out there dancing around whether he will be the Democrats' 60th senator or not. But he's not going to be the last one to occupy that particular spotlight before we're done. The only question in my mind is how many of the fence-sitters and mugwumps will take advantage of this opportunity to be a media darling for a few days. Or weeks.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the headline today: "Harry Reid Says Senate Bill Will Have Public Option" is being written (in various variations) across the media. Don't ask me how I know this, but "We, The Media, Got It Totally And Utterly Wrong For Months On End; Sorry About That" will likely not be the subheading to many of these stories.
When a stage magician makes a flourish, causing a puff of smoke and a flash of light to appear, there's a reason for it. It is called "misdirection." It is meant to dazzle the audience with a shiny object, so that they don't notice what is going on elsewhere on the stage, or perhaps even in the magician's other hand. It is an effective technique, so effective that it is the basis for most stage magic tricks. And there's a huge story that's sucking up a lot of oxygen from the inside-the-Beltway media scene right now that seems to be tailor-made misdirection which has been tossed into the media shark tank in order to stir up a feeding frenzy.
Kidding aside, though, I'm going to latch onto one of these rumors and see how it could fly or get shot down, because it seems to be a Thursday type of story. If you disdain unsourced rumors masquerading as news, then I would advise you to just stop reading now, and maybe go do a sudoku or crossword puzzle for ten minutes instead.
Idealistically, this means that politicians will do the best possible job to further their constituents' interests in Congress, in the hopes of riding a wave of approval during their next election. Cynically, this means that politicians will do the absolute minimum necessary for "The People," while keeping their deep-pocket donors happy by doing what they're told to do in Congress -- and hoping that "The People" don't notice.
That question has been on my mind of late, due to an overload of idiocy on the airwaves. But, I had to wonder, is it truly idiocy from the media talking heads, idiocy from the people who decide what stories to air (and what prominence to give them), or could it quite possibly have something to do with the idiocy of those watching as well? It's a hard question to ask, which is why "Do we get the media we deserve?" is so much more polite.
The underlying problem is the fact that the federal government, via the Controlled Substances Act, refuses to admit that marijuana can ever be used medically. This leads to some serious doublethink on the federal level, and also leads to some serious injustice in the courtroom. And nothing the Department of Justice said today changes any of that.