Saturday, October 31, 2009

One Step Forward, One Step Back

For whatever it’s worth, Dede Scozzafava--Republican candidate for New York’s 23rd Congressional district--dropped out of a fierce three-way race today between herself, Democrat Bill Owens, and Conservative Party member Doug Hoffman.

Scozzafava had been doing poorly in local polling, plus had been taking a beating from out-of-state Republicans who saw her record as too liberal, preferring to back the staunch-right Doug Hoffman who is now the probable winner of next week’s election.

As to whether this proves true or not, as a non-New Yorker I don’t care much. Yet the circumstances by which so many Republican carpetbaggers jumped onto Hoffman’s bandwagon is very much a sign of a GOP badly trying to find itself by banking hard right – which will do nothing to attract those pesky centrist voters the party needs in national races.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Playing With Vipers

If anyone was shocked that Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-CT) expressed his intent to vote against any type of public option in pending health reform legislation yesterday, then you simply haven’t been paying attention to his recent track record. Time and again, Lieberman has screwed his former Democratic colleagues despite them allowing him to keep his committee leadership after openly backing John McCain in 2008 – which is fine; Lieberman can support whomever he wants in an election year.

Yet I can’t imagine that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Senate Dems (e.g. those not named Nelson, Bayh, Landrieu, Lincoln, etc.) being caught off guard by Lieberman’s position. Were I Reid, I would never have assumed that Lieberman was going to back health reform at all.

Nevertheless, as a small cadre of senators have announced their intent to vote against reform, opening the door to a GOP filibuster on the measure, I heartily agree with those who suggest the following: let them do it.

Despite steady public support for both health reform and a type of public option (e.g. opt-out), if the Republicans want to show that embarrassing Obama is more important to them than their constituents then by all means, they should do so.

Filibuster away, dickheads!

Then watch what happens when you have to explain why protecting the fiscal bottom line for US insurance companies was more crucial to you than improving the general welfare of those Americans you allegedly serve.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lead Zeppelin

What the fuck are American conservatives up to now?

That is, those conservatives pulling away from the Republican Party because they claim it isn’t conservative enough, and are rallying around a new, rapidly morphing blob of right-wingers who regard Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh as their guiding lights.

The reason I bring this up is an odd three-candidate race for the seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District – a contest between Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozzfava, and Doug Hoffman of the so-called Conservative Party whose banner several apparently ex-Republicans (e.g. Rick Santorum, Fred Thompson, Dick Armey, Sarah Palin) are now flocking to despite none of them living in New York state.

So what do these righties have to gain by supporting Hoffman? Allegedly, their backing is grounded in the belief that the GOP has lost its way, and must rediscover its “core values” (e.g. no health care reform, born-again fiscal conservative, ACORN is evil, etc). In one respect, these out-of-state Conservative Party boosters are absolutely right: the GOP is indeed lost in the wilderness with no Moses to guide them. As such, it is apparently the belief of Santorum, Palin, Thompson, et al., that perhaps a Hoffman victory will be the first step toward a modern-day conservative revival.

If so, while I have no issue with third party candidates, if Doug Hoffman is the guy who these fringe Republicans are holding up as their new savior, their party is in much, much worse shape than I ever thought.

Deyern's Instant Fortress

As one among the throngs of unemployed in this country—six months and ticking—in an effort to fill my day, I shuffled down to my basement last week to sort through items in storage, some of which I had literally not seen for 20 years.

Among this dusty material were my old AD&D books, all of which were in very good shape tucked into a box with other ‘80s-era RPG game systems including Toon, TMNT, Blue Max, and Villains & Vigilantes. And while I enjoyed fooling with these latter games, I spent the bulk of my time—as did my younger brother—working up new D&D characters with which we could play each Saturday at our local library with other gamers.

Piling these books into a small stack, I gathered them back up to my bedroom where I have spent the past several nights re-reading key D&D rulebooks such as the Player’s Handbook and both Monster Manuals. And in the process, I found myself truly pining for my old playing days which while geeky as hell, were also often great fun.

Perhaps unbelievably, the D&D system still exists today (unlike TSR) yet its basic gameplay rules and class systems are near-unrecognizable—and I would argue, far worse--from the old version, which while having real limitations in combat scenarios (e.g. hit/miss, no parries) was easy to learn and—provided one could find decent players--fun to explore.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Is What Happens

Every so often, stories resurface regarding the massive volume of plastic debris tossed into Earth’s oceans annually – trash (e.g. bottle caps, lighters, etc) which poisons local wildlife as it does not break down, and winds up being ingested into the food chain.

Click here for several examples (Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan) of what this sort of pollution is doing to Pacific albatross chicks who consume it.