22 September 2010

Autumn, and Keats.

Happy first day of the new season.

"Ode to Autumn"

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

-- John Keats

19 September 2010

Tea Party Unity Convention Canceled on the QT

Remember Tea Party Nation's National Tea Party Unity Convention? The one that was originally scheduled for mid-July in Las Vegas? Three weeks prior to Convention's kick-off, organizers announced that they'd postponed it as they wished to avoid the intense heat of a Vegas summer and because "it would more advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections [sic]." At the end of July, organizers announced a new date, October 14-16. So, how's the planning for this Convention coming along?

It seems to have been pretty good up until 9/11. That's when TPN's Judson Phillips last posted messages on Twitter about the convention--notifying folks that Sherrif Joe Arpaio would speak at the event, and that "For every 5 full convention registrations purchased, the 6th is free! Must be FULL registrations Details here: http://dld.bz/taXY #teaparty." Since last week, though, the convention appears to have been canceled quietly.

Raven at Raven Brooks looked into the progress towards the National Unity Convention and concludes that it's been canceled. First, the link Tea Party Nation provided for convention information is dead. (see: http://www.nationalteapartyconvention.com and you get "page not found"; however, cached versions of pages, taken four days ago, still exist). Secondly, the convention's location--the Mirage Hotel and Casino--no longer has a room block for the convention. Raven writes,
I wanted to make sure the convention really was canceled and they [TPN] weren’t just having web issues or neglected to do any PR for their event. So I put in a call to the Mirage hotel and asked if I could book a room in their block for the event. Turns out the room block had been canceled and the Mirage had no record of the event.
No press releases issued, no blog posts, no notes on the Tea Party Nation site, just--poof. It's rather a surprise, considering the Tea Party's momentum in the past few months or so, but there it is.

A Petty Quibble

While reading arguments over who has experienced worse treatment at the hands of America's political partisans, George W. Bush or Barack Obama (a fairly childish argument in and of itself), I commonly see references to a "snuff film," a "liberal assassination fantasy" about President Bush, with the implication that American leftists were responsible for it. Not so.

That film, titled Death of a President (2006), was not, as is often believed, a product of the "professional left." It was not produced in the United States nor by an American citizen. It is a British film, with a British director, British writers, and British financing.

Like this post's title indicates, it's merely a petty quibble, and my wish here is to clarify.

18 September 2010

Venting Anger vs. Fixing What's Broken

At Slate, Jacob Weisberg posts an article musing on how the Tea Party is analogous to the New Left of the 1960s. In "The Right's New Left," he suggests that the major similarity rests in the party's "streak of anarchism—its antagonism toward any authority, its belligerent style of self-expression, and its lack of any coherent program or alternative to the policies it condemns." On the other hand, the Party also exhibits such tendencies as resentment, nostalgia (for an undefined past), and reinvention of reality. These characteristics, Weisberg asserts, underscore the Party's concerns with personal identity--the possible loss of status, of a secure social, cultural, and economic position--in a changing environment. The question is, how does the party reconcile its anarchic qualities and identity focus and move forward as a coherent political movement--if it can?

Freak Out for Freedom

Oh yeah.

If I could be just about anywhere on Saturday, 10/30/10, it would be in Washington DC. Although ostensibly a "spoof" of the Restoring Honor Rally on the National Mall, Jon Stewart's message seems sincere (remember his 2005 Crossfire appearance?). People need to chill the heck out--craziness does not legitimize an argument.

Obviously, my poliblogging has been sporadic at best; largely, it is because I have been astoundingly frustrated with the domestic news cycle. Especially in politics, lawmakers' increased exaggerations, indirections, and ad hominems regularly go unchallenged by reporters and pundits, and a person can only stand so much. Happily, Stewart and Stephen Colbert, both of whom I've only recently began watching regularly, have sucked me back in. If, like me, you're one of the moderate millions (or if you want to poke gentle fun at extremity)--head for the Rally to Restore Sanity or to the March to Keep Fear Alive.

: New York Magazine has a recent profile of Stewart online. Is good.

17 September 2010

D'Amato: "You Are a Nasty Racist"

Former Senator Al D'Amato (R-NY) let loose on Jack Burkman, a Republican strategist, during an appearance on FBN's Money Rocks on Thursday. Burkman's repeated, unnecessary references to Nigerian cab drivers and postal workers prompted D'Amato to shout "bullshit" (repeatedly), order Burkman to "shut up," and denounce him as racist. It's an impressive display of D'Amato passion.

I am having problems embedding, so here is a link to video of D'Amato's outburst.

15 September 2010

Seems Timely . . . .

"A Poison Tree"

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veil'd the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

--William Blake