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Delillo's Underworld looks at the Cold War and its gradual unraveling as a sort of mass trauma followed by a mass convalescence. Seems like the terrorism/counterterrorism era proceeded similarly, but at four or five times the speed - though of course we're susceptible to a relapse, just as there were a couple of those during the Cold War (and I guess the whole terror age can be seen as a relapse or aftershock of the cold one).

Because it feels kind of over, at least as a mass psychological disruption. Obviously many of the things it cracked are still cracked, and some of those fractures are spreading. But people seem to speak differently about all of it, sort of how they'd speak of Vietnam.

Knee jerk reaction poll: Does that feel wrong?
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Goldman Sachs has HOW many vice presidents?
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I was thinking the other day that the Breitbart story would end in murder-suicide. But I was wrong. Because I'm a liberal.
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I'll try to number movies till that falls apart.

1. Meek's Cutoff

Title's I guess a pun? I thought it was pretty good while it lasted. I'm not sure what the point of Meek's gendered cosmology was - an example of the absurdities you fall into using arbitrary traditional criteria (males, whites) when picking leaders? When Williams talked about wondering whether Meek was evil or imbecilic she seemed to be channeling a lot of conversations one heard about Bush a few years back. Which would make the uneasy switching of loyalties to Mr. Other an Obama era allegory, thus justifying the ending. Seems excessively topical if it's about Obama-hatred and swing voters, but I suppose we'll witness a lot of similar crises across these next decades.
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Calming mantras:

Half a percent less white every year.
Half a percent less religious each year.
Two percent less anti-pot every year.
More than two percent less anti-gay by the year.

Lately anyway. Don't question it.
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Canada's knockoff of our Thanksgiving happens six weeks earlier so they have no buffer against creeping Christmasism - the red and green stuff starts popping up right after Halloween. Kind of makes me think that we could chill out the 18+ month American presidential election season if we supplanted it with some other event, like by moving Congressional elections to odd-numbered years.

Because the presidential stuff sucks me in every time, despite there being no point in my following any of it. I guess it's entertaining, but most other forms of entertainment don't leave me feeling this awful, and thinking such awful thoughts. Example awful thoughts:

1. Go atheism and all that but I kind of wish the Pope & Co. would come around on divorce soon, not to liberalize or make Catholics less miserable, but so fewer follower types end up in the hands of the evangelicals. The priests keep those who listen to them vaguely right wing overall but the whole Catholic setup is also designed to calm thought, or anyway keep it in a pretty tight anxiety/external-soothing cycle they control. The Catholic-to-evangelical head loss was one of the more unnecessary transfers - Methodists, Episcopalians etc. were doomed to lose a third of their people to nonattendance and another third to reaction when they started modernizing, but the Catholics had, maybe still have, a real shot if they just reform very selectively. The heterosexuals just want contraception and divorce, and there's lots of them. Take too much of a stand against those and you'll lose them to the newer, shinier, savager hucksters. Pontifex, I understand you're afraid of brand leakage but even reactionaries need to read the times. Inquisite better, froggy pope.

2. I hope the last moron standing vs. Romney is a real fundamentalist, not a painted one like Cain. Because in the last ditch they will attack the Mormonism, which is presumably all they talk about behind closed doors, and that is potentially beautiful. Not that Mormons believe stupider things than Christians, but to American ears their tenets sound crazier than worshipping Yoda and the Force. For entertainment value and the prospect of a maimed Romney both, this is my golden dream.

Though maybe Cain is narcissist enough to take it there too. But I mustn't excite myself so.
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So does this finally mean it's Romney or are they not yet out of morons?
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Comment at the Vanity Fair website on the new Perry revelation:

Something less offensive, for example literally anything, would have played better with the coveted not-racist demographic.
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The latest news about the reconciliation discussion is just lovelily ironic, though I'm sure things won't play out this way: apparently, to qualify for simple-majority status (or anyway 50 + Biden) a Senate bill has to have a significant money-saving impact on the budget--i.e. raise taxes or result in spending cuts--and nothing on the table does that except stronger versions of the public option.

After reading around about it, I'm entirely convinced this flu I'm getting over is swine flu. So I can check that off my to do list.
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I like how Daily Kos is breaking down their commissioned opinion polls by region lately. I wish they'd go further and get the numbers for Deep South whites (LA, AL, MS, GA, SC ... maybe Arkansas and Tenn.?). Time to focus this scorn.

Also time to be less scared of these people: they're in an electoral ghetto. Obama had uselessly redundant support in much of the Northeast, but the cracker vote is even more concentrated. Something to be happy about, though it doesn't make up for their disproportionate influence in the Senate - that original, racist sin of our Republic that it's now a technical impossibility to redress.

Just like I sometimes think about how much better our history and present would be if just one of the Deep South states had disappeared down a hole, c. 1800 or 1850 or 1990 or absolutely any other year, I also wonder what things would have been like with proportional Senate representation. Would that be all it would take to bring us to the level of our peer nations, in all of which Country was long ago tamed by City?
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Scalia's father was a Dante scholar. I learned this trying to find out when his parents died, as a possible indication of when he will. Allegedly there's a 1 in 3 chance a conservative justice will die during Obama's first term. All I've been able to dig up is they died around 1986, when he was fifty. So maybe seventy-five or so? He's 73. As is Kennedy in two days.

Finally turned in my masters, which probably explains why I don't know what to do with my time.
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I'm not very happy about the Palin business, and I'll use folksy metaphors to explain why not. She was much more dangerous as a vice presidential candidate. Palin's like a dog whistle or something, her 'folksiness' works only on the biologically predisposed - I suspect she'd have been a wonderful lightning rod, keeping the nomination away from Huckabee. Free extra points for Obama in the general election, now gone up in smoke. Now Huckabee, who I genuinely fear, is going to get most of her chips. Huckabee has a charisma that works on me - not to any effect on my actions or opinions, but even when he's preaching the most hideous, potentially murdersome wrongness I'm horrified to find I rather like him, whereas Palin I could never stand. What he has will work on underinformed independents (if that isn't redundant) - especially if he keeps watching Bob Roberts for tips. He is therefore the devil, and, the future being who knows what, conceivably more dangerous than Bush. Big war daddy McCain blocked him last time, lil' darlin' Palin looked set to in '12. Nobody now.
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Things I still can't believe:

1. That they got away with calling it the Patriot Act.
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There aren't enough shoes in the world.
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No. 44, they're calling him. The Mysterious Stranger? I've had at least three southern grad students (!) tell me there's something indefinably frightening or untrustworthy about him. Not that he was black, liberal, Muslim, smart, but that something was wrong. Which pretty neatly became my opinion about them, of course. The narrator of No. 44 comes to see the stranger as the sensible one.
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We woke up at dawn to be a part of it. Our district is majority black, a sort of suspicious, determined optimism reigned. I got into the building and sent my Canadian to nap in the car just as the rain started in earnest. Took almost three hours, but when we came home from errands c. noon the line was much shorter.
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Warm bright leafy autumn day, two nights in a row of close to normal sleep, Obama shirt on my back and sticker on my car, the gnosis that he'll win and that test dissolving into the past. On CNN, Soledad O'Brien in the sun looking beautiful and blissful and forgetful of whatever news is at hand. She can't hide it, she's right where I am.
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The only reservation I ever had about Barack Obama was the one pretty much everyone had: will everyone else vote for him? This year has been immensely frightening and entertaining that way, watching people shift around based on that--they will? are they doing it? will we do this? for serious? but enough though? There's something absolutely beautiful about that kind of melting of incredulity into euphoria. Because, stupid as it sounds, and don't tell me you haven't felt this, it makes you trust people, entertain the idea of trusting people again, of belonging to them. It thaws the ice, the awful black killing ice of these times.

And I will be voting, despite my absolute, math-backed disbelief in the efficacy of individual votes at this level and my profound ambivalence at a system based on duping people into believing in that efficacy, for him. Among my people, and for him personally, because I am grateful to them and to him. He is the best candidate any of us will see in our lifetimes, and everything I'm capable of reading in him points to his being the best president as well. His compromises are the necessary ones--not making them and therefore not winning would be a different and murderously, literally murderously worse compromise. He is not the lesser of two evils, he is the greatest of all available goods, and a good so good it makes me grateful, grateful to know it exists--that it can exist even there where he'll be. I will never meet him, but he has my vote, finally, out of friendship.
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No one seems to be addressing what effect Obama's being favored in early voting might have on polls. What does someone who's already voted do when called up and asked who they'll vote for on Nov. 4? Since early voting might be hitting 20, 30 percent, apathy or confusion might swing phone polls by a point or two, right? But I realize I'm just looking for one more thing to hope for.
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I feel slightly less bad about the possibility of Obama losing, now that it's pretty much a given that the next guy will get to preside over the sort of recession that can't be hidden on paper. If Congress were Republican again it would be just plain fun to watch.

But that's facetious. Even after everything (well, everything to date), the Republicans poll consistently in the 40s. They're mastering more and more complex forms of indirection while the people get (trust me, they do get) stupider and stupider about everything. I'm not even sure a depression could change this meaningfully--most of us got way too rich. And that most of us didn't have to think about anything in order to thrive, for the longest time, it just did. A major depression or war requiring an actual draft might do something, but a lot of delicate institutions have been washed away or weakened in this tide of dehumanizing affluence.

Maybe there's an upside re. how many dumbass prejudices of the past we've tossed away? But I think even there it was the idiotizing influences that were mostly responsible--nutface religious zeal is at least an attempt at citizenship. Are people lukewarmer Christians because they got smart, or because they've gone tepid in general?

And the internet: world-sized debate chamber or world-sized pillow in which there's room for every one of us to curl up in a little nook of comfort and dream simple dreams, after work hours?


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