"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Steps to Acceptance

As anyone who's seen All That Jazz knows, there are five stages to dying. I feel like a little death is happening in my life right now, so I thought it might be wise to go look them up and see where I'm at.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I'd say I'm bouncing between denial, anger and bargaining. Hopefully -- if this is really kaput (still with the denial and bargaining) -- the change of scenery for the summer will help the anger and depression be short lived and the acceptance come on strong.

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In Coping

Humor is key. Tonight's new Strong Bad Email over on homestarrunner.com is a peach. Though he didn't answer my request to make a new #1 summer jam, the Cheat came through in the clutch. Click on the beat-up boombox at the end for a special treat.

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Quick Dean Thing

I tried searching Gnutella for Howard Dean and came up with nothing. So I put an MP3 of Dean's great Charlie Rose appearance in my shared media folder. You can also snag it here: 23 minutes of high-quality talk at only 3mb. You can stream it if you want too; this is coming off my free ISP web-space and not my home box, so feel free to hit it up and pass the link around.

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Heady Predictions

I had this meeting last Friday with my old professor Steve, and while other events this weekend more or less monopolized my mind, the fallout from our marathon four-hour conversation is starting to coalesce.

We were ostensably talking about the book Steve wants to write about addiction and consumerism, but ranged far and wide into politics and the nature of power in American society. One of the big revelations uncovered was the way in which TV culture (and the attendant consumerism) has stripped America of its democratic tradition.

It used to be that our guaranteed freedom of speech was a means of distributing power among the people. Being able to stand up and speak in a public place was actually very empowering because that -- and town-centered newspapers -- was how you got the word out to people. Mass media changed this, and TV really sealed the deal. The freedom to speak is no longer a distributor of political power. Where I jump off, and I didn't really share this with Steve, is that the net is the answer to this problem.

The internet as a medium is one of the few real hopes for democracy in the 21st century. If you buy "The Medium is the Message" then you'll understand why.

Democracy is about empowerment and participation. Television as a medium is non-participatory and disempowering. As I said, the advent of mass broadcast media rendered our much vaunted freedom of speech politically insignificant. You can say whatever you want because it doesn't matter any more. What matters is what's on televsion. That's an unfriendly environment for real democracy.

Alternatively, the internet as a medium is about participation and empowerment for everyone who is connected. All of the best content on the web is independent. All of the best websites -- even those that are now corporate sponsored -- started as ideas that people had. The internet allows you to do and make things, and can connect you with other people.

This difference is very very important. It's not the beginning or end of the world, but it is very important. Should the internet become a mass media to rival television -- and some say it already has -- it will be a step towards restoring political significance to the freedom of speech. This is why it's important for the government to fund the internet, especially with regards to bridging the "digital divide." Everyone needs access because access is the key to empowerment and opportunity here in the 21st century.

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The Rising

Today I wake up and my heart is full of hope. The dream lives on, though in somewhat mutant and amorphous form. Don't count anything out just yet, my buddies. Don't count anything out. As I noted somewhere down below, melancholy sometimes puts me in a fighting mood. Not in a mean sense, but in the sense of a pure and noble and truly righteous crusade. It's the irish in me for sure.

The difficulty is that I'm acutely aware that nothing can really be done alone. If it tought me nothing else, I learned that the hard way in college. As an island, man is ineffectual. I am a monkey, and monkeys are social animals. It's in our DNA to group up and collaborate. I'm done fucking around. I want the real deal now, and I'm not going to settle for anything less. It may be that this whole relationship thing will have to go on the back burner for a spell. But the bottom line is that I'm not interested in accepting any second-prizes.

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Sad Song

So last night didn't go quite as well as I thought it might. Sasha more or less broke up with me. I'm still processing this and may or may not have actually accepted it. I'm equivocating fiercely here -- dreams die hard. There's been a lot of crying, which is probably a positive step up from my adolescent tendency to punch very inanimate things and drag my knuckles against brick walls when emotionally agitated. Seems healthier anyway; but it's a hard thing for me to cry. Havn't done it in years. Yes, I'm something of a mess.

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Final Thought

There's nothing like shaving yr neck-beard to legitimize your other facial hair. I'm feeling good now. Cleaned house, prepped food for stir-fry, lit some candles, put on some music and I'm waiting for Sashashama to come over for dinner. Simple things are good.

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Personal Life

I yack yack a lot about Howard Dean here. Maybe that's a bit boring, so for anyone who's been wondering what's up in my life lately, this is it.

I was talking last night with Frank about my website a little, and it was interesting for me to reflect on how it's changed over time. I originally was inspired by Justin Hall's links.net, and had the idea of telling life stories and promoting my ideals through the hyperlinked medium. That's what I did for about a year, coding by hand and generally avoiding the whole blogosphere.

Over time I succumbed to my geekish roots and got more and more interested in the implications of the personal publishing phenomena. I also succumbed to my political roots and started ranting about the oncoming war. Now I look back over the last few posts and I'm a little bit surprised at what I'm seeing. I've become a partisan for Dean on this blog, and that's ok, but I think I aught to do more Dean stuff in the real world and write about more real world stuff on the blog. Questing for balance, always.

Being in a relationship has definitely changed how I write in this space. My life has vastly fewer salacious details to report, and when something juicy does happen I'm more likely to feel that it's "personal," and maybe not put it out there for the world to see.

So how are things? Well, they're topsy-turvy as of late. It was a beautiful day yesterday. I had an amazing four hour conversation with my old teacher Steve Wangh about the book he wants to write and which I'm going to help him research, and about my Praxis essay. On the ride back the air was beautiful and people were smiling and life was full of possibility.

But when I got home the worm turned rather quickly. I discovered I'm being questioned by the IRS for my lack of a 2001 tax return. My girlfriend is having a life crisis and she canceled plans we had because she needed some time along. I haven't seen her much lately, and this is bothering me a lot. I try not to let on -- don't really want to bore people with my peevish insecurities and emotional needs or put any undue pressure on her -- but it's becoming an issue. I've also been talking with Mark and Luke out in California and it sounds like Mark and Shannon my not be around for as long as we all thought. The dream slipping away, fantasy collapsing.

I have an earache. My laptop monitor cable is coming loose. I don't have any ready cash and I'm pretty deep in debt. Things seem to be conspiring to bum me out. Last night I was full of frustration and dull thoughts. I wanted to punch something, and old adolescent vice. I was grinding my teeth and drinking heavily. The world was ugly and loud and boring and full of sour temptation. Josh Koenig was a nice guy. He didn't need this shit.

And so now I'm sad and angry and I have a wicked hangover, but it's put me in a fightin' mood. I'm not afraid of these punks from the IRS. They sent me duplicate forms, and addressed them to my mother's house. They're clueless whores, saggy-fleshed middle-manager clowns who's lives are failures and who can be bought off on the cheap. And it will be ok with Sasha; Julia tells me so; the critical thing is remembering to keep breathing. It would seem that the question facing me straight in my puffy squinting face is whether or not I'm going to do anything about all this bullshit, whether or not I have the energy and drive to take the steps that need to be taken, whether or not I'm going to let the power of my will flow through me and into the world.

For now there is coffee, and life will go on. As my man Sam points out, it's not as though this is the worst things have been. He even made me an egg sandwitch. Considering it's his birthday today, that's quite a gesture.

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The Truth And The Election

By far the most consistent and vicious attacks on Howard Dean's presidential candidacy come from his opposition to the recent invasion and occupation of Iraq. This is where the moronic McGovern comparisons come from. This is the first (and often only) real point of contention people I know raise with me when I talk up Dean. Yesterday, NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer told reporters that Dean is unelectable due to his opposition to the war.

"The American people will not elect somebody who opposed a war that they supported," Spitzer told the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh. Spitzer also said Dean won't win the Democratic nomination. (AP)

What is shaping up here is nothing less than a contest for the soul of America.

On the issue of the war there are two principle camps. On one side we have the war believers, who will quite rightly point out that the removal of a "mean sonofabitch dictator" (thanks, Molly Ivans) was a good thing, and go on to say that the discovery of mass graves justifies any means necessary. On another side we have the pragmatists who will point out that we can ill afford the war and subsequent occupation, that neither has made us safer from terrorism, and that such a unilateral Anglo-American action has dire diplomatic consequences. Around these two poles of reasonable disagreement swirl the true warmongers and peaceniks, who represent perhaps 10% of the population each and who will never change their position.

Then there's the increasingly inescapable fact that the Bush administration lied to the American public and to our allies and to the world in order to prosecute this war. There's little way to see around this, what with all the obvious fraud, much of which was known prior to the invasion, and the whistle blowing coming from within intelligence circles both here and in the UK.

And the soul of America? The question is whether or not we the people will tolerate leadership which deceives us because it believes it knows better than we do. The question is whether the American public wants a leader who positions himself as a father/protector and tells us all sorts of stories -- from Santa Claus and voodoo economics to the Tooth Fairy and WMD -- and we accept the lies because daddy knows what's best. The question is whether we believe it is of the utmost importance for our President to be honest and open, or whether we will tolerate a policy of fear mongering and recrimination based on falsehoods and cooked intelligence to dictate the course of this nation.

Howard Dean is the Truth candidate. He's telling the Truth when he says, "there's no way to know if the Iraqi people are better off now than they were under Saddam." Yes, Udai's rape camp has been shuttered, but you don't see any women walking the streets of Baghdad these days either. Indeed, we've uncovered mass graves, but we've also dug a few ourselves. True, there will be no more Ba'ath party political prisoners, purges or punitive torture sessions, but there is also precious little in the way of basic utility services, security or opportunity for the people of Iraq.

Howard Dean is telling the truth when he says we don't have a good track record at occupation and nation-building. No one does. History is littered with the burnt out remains of great nations that thought they could consistently impose their will upon others.

Howard Dean is telling the truth when he says that Iraq was not an immanent threat the US, and that this was the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. There was no rush. Imagine if we'd waited six months and gotten the UN on board, and if that had resulted in not having complete chaos, a spree of freelance sexual assault and revenge killings, the destruction of most of the national infrastructure, and the general disintegration of Iraq as a functioning state. That would be a fair trade for half-a-year more of Saddam's ever-lightening touch.

There's a chance for our invasion of Iraq to pay off, but there's a chance that it won't too. It seems hard to deny that Team Bush fudged the run up and neglected to pour any significant resources into post-war planning. Currently there is absolutely no way to tell how this will turn out. Any statement to the contrary is pure propaganda. To say that a presidential candidate is unelectable for opposing this war is similarly bullshit.

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Dean Video

Holy fucking shit. I just watched my man on Charlie Rose from the other night. Snagged some quicktime at long last. It's hot stuff. Charlie is one of the smart people who's drifted right, seduced somehow by the neocon movement, but he's good at drawing people out and giving them room to talk. It's a very sober forum, but Dean was smoking hot wearing his wonk hat. Here's one quote I was pretty excited about:

"Small businesses are the key to the recussitation of the economy because they hire a lot more people in the aggregate than big business do, and they don't move their jobs to indonesia to maximize their benefits because they're rooted in the community. We need to change the way economic development is done and focus on small businesses and not big businesses. That's very difficult... but it has to be done because the future of this country is smaller businesses."


Listen, it was hard to get this video because the place I was downloading it from was slower than mud. I've re-compressed it down to 27MB from more than 60 and thrown it up here, but it's on my home server so it's really only good one at a time. You should check it out and mirror it yourself if you can.

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