Friday, March 16, 2007

And now, a personal note

In three months time my curious life will reach the quarter century mark- a sign-post I planned to overtake with the measured advent of a swooping thrush, but now looks as though I’ll approach more like a grounded pheasant- hunched over, head cocked, with a magnifying glass in hand. What difference does it make? Bad dates. In any event, I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on the great and telling moments of my formative years, here-to-for.

I’ve had two memorable disgorgements. The first was when I was fourteen. I was on a semester program in Switzerland, though the event took place in a hotel washroom in Annecy, France. I had been out to diner with the director of the program and three of my fellow contemplates. I believe I was the only member of the party present from Minnesota. The second, and more glorious of the two, was when I was twenty-three (just last year!) and working in Manhattan’s financial district, when the previous evening’s dipsomanic episode finally caught me up and exacted its merciless price. I will now describe both affairs in exquisite detail to see if I can’t wrench the truth of these almost twenty-five years from the acrimonious haze that beguiles my retrospective mind.

At fourteen I had the bearing of a madly shivering fawn. I accoutered this virility with soft cable-nit sweaters and pleated khakis, the fortifying armor of preppies the world over. I kept a darling fop of blonde tussle just over my vernal brow and I might have passed for ten. I had just arrived to Annecy by bus with fortyish other neonate scholars and ten cadres of supreme allied commander somethingorother and was discharged to my hotel room to freshen-up before supper. My rooming assignment was a manly youth named Teslik who, despite being very nice, had overlooked me on his social docket in favor of anything female and some guy from the Jr. Olympics. “Which bed do you want” is probably the only thing he ever said to me, though I’m not sure he even managed that, because I really can’t remember him ever saying anything.

Seven O’clock sharp I met my group for the evening. They siphoned us off in threes or fours, subjoined a cadre for good measure, and loosed our American grit on a substantially more genteel culture. I can’t remember anything about the boys and/or girls in my group from that evening. I do remember that our cadre was the hearty son of the supreme allied commander (I realize now he was not the commander himself, as I recorded above). We both ordered duck. As far as I know, the evening passed without event and I retook the room with Teslik at some reasonable hour.

Dead of night. I awake in a dark hotel room, far from home, with a miserable pain unrivaled to date in my life. My hands are clammy, my brow perspiring, and my little stick arms are shaking uncontrollably. I consider waking Teslik, but check into the bathroom by myself instead. I remember that the bathroom was small, and white, and very well lit- not unlike my bathroom in my childhood home.

The house I grew up in has remarkably sonorous acoustics. As a small boy of four or five, my little voice could be heard from any of its extremities calling: “Mom? Mother?” So when growing up I took to the bathroom with flu, or croup, or general nausea, it was more than likely that my mother would hear my cries and come to comfort me. That night in Annecy, I wretched so violently that I was sure my mother heard me across the Atlantic.

All told, I estimate I spent four hours in the bathroom, tired, scared, alone, and very very sick. In the morning, I looked so disheveled that I was dismissed from daily activities. The cadre was suspicious, as he (having also had the duck) passed the evening in utter tranquility. The bastard. Then again, maybe I was upset about something. Who knows? I have never returned to France.

The second incident I think I’d prefer to chronicle with the very words I uttered (in print) immediately following the event itself. Here is a letter I sent to some friends recounting the tale, written just minutes after quiting the scene (parts of which were mentally composed during the act). If you find the tone of this letter somewhat discontinuous with that which you are currently enjoying, I apologize for the jar and ask that you forgive a little playful banter between college friends. I’ve replaced the names of certain people in the letter with variables to preserve their anonymity.

"I’m calling it in. As of this morning, I have legitimately been so hungover at work that I vomited in an office bathroom stall. I always knew this day was coming. Frankly, I'm amazed it took me this long. Since I first set eyes on that tremendous row of office toilets, glistening under the florescent lights, I knew. I knew some day I would bury my head in one of those beauties and evacuate my bile ducts- purge my sins in a visceral act of systemic revolt. But when? And how? I knew not.

I waited and waited and it never happened. I'd been close a few times, but it was all false summits and shimmery mirages. Time went by. Days. Month. It felt like years. For all I know it was. And then today. I woke up this morning, and I had that pounding headache and the taste of stale cigarettes I know, and I thought maybe, just maybe, today would be the day. I could have called in sick. I could have ditched. Another day I might have. But no, I was not to be denied. Today would be the day that I would embrace one of those pearly-white office lous and hurl my fucking guts into the depths below. And so, like Nazareth and his cross, I trucked my waisted body to the financial district this morning to meet my destiny.

How would it be, I wondered? Would I burst into the bathroom with a hand over my mouth and spray stomach acid and beer all over the stall door? Would I crawl in on my hands and knees and wrap myself around the base of the toilet and barely lift my face over the seat in time to have one of those cathartic, almost religious puke sessions? Or would it be emotional. Would I shake? Would I cry when it was over? These were the thoughts that sloshed and slished, swished and swashed my dehydrated head early this morning.

In the end, the only defining characteristic was a palpable feeling of disbelief. I had constructed the moment so completely in my mind that when it actually arrived, I couldn't help but find it wanting for the exquisite detail I had envisioned. I didn't cry. I didn't shake. There were no trumpets, or angels. No red carpet. No one held up a sign that said "John 3:16." No one called me courageous. I just sat there on the cold bathroom floor and quietly spewed my private little dreams into a harsh and indifferent world.

But such is the fate of overly-anticipated moments. Besides, this is a happy day! So study your law books X, if it makes you happy. Write your movies Y and Z. Don't let anyone tell you you can't or you shouldn't. Cause I've had my dream already. And I’m here to tell you, and this is the truest thing you’ll ever know: it's the dreaming that makes it all worth it."

Ah, youth! So there we are. Those were the two great disgorgements of my formative years. I’m not sure that gets us anywhere. I can’t say I’ve lifted the truth up from the muck. I’ve no spoils to dust-off and carry in my pocket towards a knowing future. Maybe it’s better this way. There needn’t always be a lasting truth. Perhaps I’ll give that sign-post a little buzz after all.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Little Inspiration to Get You Through a Thursday

Not to get off topic and stray from the debates of this week, but I thought a few words from Robert Kennedy couldn't hurt.

This first quote was delivered in a speech to the University of Georgia Law School in 1961, by the then Attorney General, RFK. It is in reference to the 1954 landmark case, Brown V. The Board of Education, and I think it has some relevance to our recent debate on abortion and judicial decisions concerning individual rights.

"I happen to believe that the 1954 Supreme Court school desegregation decision was right. But my belief does not matter. It is the law. Some of you may believe the decision was wrong. That does not matter. It is the law."

The following quote is an excerpt from a speech delivered not five miles from where I am now, at the University of Cape Town. Another citation from this speech appears at Kennedy's tomb in Arlington National Cemetery. The speech was written by my own personal literary hero, Richard Goodwin, and should be printed out and read at every graduation ceremony in America. I'm a sucker for commencement speeches and the more idealist the better.

"Our answer is the world's hope: It is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress." (I'm telling you, read the whole speech.)

And lastly, I will just point you to a page describing the events that lead to RFK's impromptu speech to a group of African Americans in Indianapolis shortly after Martin Luther King had been assassinated and riots had broken out in cities across the country.

More of RFK:
- Check out more quotes.
- A fairly recent comparison between Obama and Kennedy in The Independent.
- A fairly recent commentary arguing against this comparison.
- A similar post with some same and some different quotations from RFK.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Thank you to CapeTown and Boston for bringing up an issue so divisive that someone outside of the four of us was compelled to comment. I fully support it (bringing up abortion and gun control) but it seems kind of like a cheap shot. It's like wandering into an AA meeting with a bottle of Cuervo and shouting, "Who really believes that one shot is going to knock you off the wagon?!" Anyone who hears you is going to respond, one way or the other.

I heard you, and I’ll take a shot. I think that everyone who has contributed so far has dodged the key issue. I plan on doing the same, but only after I distract you by pointing out their mistake. It’s called banter; it distracts the audience.

“In terms of the ease with which one can acquire a gun, however, and the fire power of available weapons, the 2nd Amendment does not seem to be supportive in the case of a automatic weapon,” says CapeTown

I believe that abortion should definitely be legal at least during the early stages (I think the current law is no regulation until after the first trimester), while as it gets later into the pregnancy the arguments become stronger for some kind of government regulation,” says Boston.

CapeTown suggests that he would like to ban automatic weapons, as opposed perhaps to muzzle-loaders, bolt-action, semi-automatic, etc. Boston wants abortion to be limited “later.”

To me, the real difficulty of governance is setting standards that one would apply to the masses. Some drivers would suggest that they could drive safely at 80, but that "those other idiots" are dangerous at 50. The hardest part of making decisions for a large population is deciding at what level you are willing to sacrifice your freedoms so that others will not have them.

So far, no one has addressed the real issue, of setting those limits. It may seem ridiculous to suggest that an organism is a fetus at day 209 and an unborn child at 211, but in reality it’s no more arbitrary than suggesting that you are driving safely at 64mph and recklessly at 66mph.

The key question is one of when. When does abortion become murder, and when is a weapon too powerful to be privately owned. So, CapeTown, Boston, and Andy D, answer the real questions at hand. Set the limits.

See what I did there? Banter.

America: The Only Country Where People Go Hunting on a Full Stomach

This post is in response to CapeTown's post about individual rights, gun control and abortion; and about the ensuing debate between CapeTown and Andy D (who blogs at Political Friends) in the comments section to CapeTown's post.

First off, I want to mention how great I think it is that (1) people aside from us are actually reading this thing and (2) are even making comments and (3) that we have people of different opinions engaging in civilized and respectful debate. I am appreciative of the fact that people are even reading this, so I would like to take the opportunity to engage those (well, the one, so far) readers and respond in an actual posting. Hope that's cool, Andy.

Before getting into the ring I should probably recap the points that I want to respond to (for the actual text of the debate click here). CapeTown began his post by voicing a general preference in favor of a libertarian perspective on political issues: "It just seems logical, human, and American to allow for as many individual freedoms as possible; the burden should fall on the side of those who argue to limit our rights not those defending them." Thus CapeTown believes that things like abortion and gay marriage - personal matters hardly relevant to national security - should be legal. Despite finding the general notion that the government should stay out of our beeswax except when absolutely necessary to protect the hive intuitively appealing, CapeTown then feels like a hypocrite for (again intuitively) favoring gun control. Andy disagrees on both issues. In voicing his opinion that abortion should be illegal he correctly states the limitations of the libertarian doctrine: "I believe we have rights until those rights infringe on others rights. Abortion is a perfect example. If a woman has the right to decide what affects her body, why doesn’t the unborn baby get the same right?" And now, so as not to offend the pugilists that you see at the top of the screen, I need to disagree with some people.

First I want to say why I don't think CapeTown is a hypocrite (not that it even matters in the first place -- why can't you be conservative on some issues and liberal on other issues!). Now I too think that there is a lot of sense to the libertarian perspective, and for many people it is a "best of" of Republican (economic freedom) and Democratic (personal freedom) policies. After all, our founding fathers created this country and wrote our Constitution in an attempt to avoid the draconian situation under British rule where, for example, police could search anyone anywhere at any time without any reason.

As Andy points out, however, the individual liberty and freedom to make our own decisions has to stop at a point before our personal decisions are endangering others. In terms of gun control, I think it is perfectly sensible to favor regulation (as opposed to a ban) only because guns are just unavoidably dangerous. Think about driving: it's an activity that is essential to our personal lives, but no matter what precautions are taken it is still an extremely dangerous activity in comparison to the other things that most of us do on a daily basis. Hence speed limits and other rules infringing on our personal choices. Guns are similar because while this is a private activity, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong and that justifies regulation. How much regulation is the hard part.

Now I don't agree with CapeTown on everything (I happen to like Maureen Dowd!), but I am also going to agree with CapeTown on abortion in that I support the woman's right to choose. The counterargument, of course, is that the unborn American has rights too. Now smart people can disagree over when the unborn child becomes an individual human being, and there is no clear answer to that.

Two deer, most likely debating the various political issues of the day such as gun control and abortion; issues upon which smart people can disagree.

However, the Fourteenth Amendment grants the aforementioned individual rights (life, liberty, property, due process, equal protection, etc) to "persons born or naturalized in the United States," so it seems that unborn fetuses - be they individual humans or not - are not given any rights in the Constitution.

So what we have now is a fetus with the same rights as, say, a 50-year-old French guy visiting the Vineyards in Nappa. Not at all protected by the Constitution, but I think you could still get in trouble if you got drunk and hit him over the head with the empty wine bottle. Which brings us back to the question of whether the fetus is an individual human being, or a part of the mother.

One way to look at it is to say that the mother's Constitutional right of freedom over her body invalidates any law against terminating her pregnancy, given that the fetus does not enjoy the same Constitutional right. Another way to look at it is based on the question of whether or when the fetus becomes an individual, as I think there is a big difference between taking the morning after pill and...well...doing something towards the final stages of the pregnancy. In light of this I believe that abortion should definitely be legal at least during the early stages (I think the current law is no regulation until after the first trimester), while as it gets later into the pregnancy the arguments become stronger for some kind of government regulation.

In closing I would like to offer an apology, because you really didn't have to read my post to get all you need to know about the abortion issue, rather you could (and should) have just consulted the wisdom of the great sage Chris Rock. (WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Our Man Chris Matthews: The Bam Bam of Broadcast Journalism

In the midst of the Scooter Libby trial, one already inundated with notes of scandal and gobs of gossip, a juicy tidbit surfaced during the prosecution's detailing of a conversation between Scooter and fellow Cheney Advisor Mary Matalin:

"[I]n the course of advising Libby on how to deal with the "Wilson issue," and in particular Matthew's attacks on the vice president, she advised Libby to call [Tim] Russert to complain and she told Libby that Russert would have an especially sympathetic ear: 'Call Tim. He hates Chris - he needs to know it all'."

So, in light of Russert's hatred for Chris Matthews, I thought Matthews could use some positive press. Rather than roast Russert with childish amusement, perhaps remarking on how he looks like the human embodiment of Fog Horn Leg Horn, I have chosen, instead to praise Matthews with childish amusement.

Amongst the endless talking heads of cable news, Chris Matthews has reserved a unique and niche for himself. Sure, I've dabbled in Olbermann, occasionally watch O'Reilly with transfixed disgust, and when I'm feeling global I take down a dose of Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria. Few of these broadcasters, however, offer their viewers the equal opportunity skepticism that Matthews brings five nights a week. Oh, but where is fancy bred?:

In the heart? At first sight, Matthews engenders a natural endearment in his viewers — the mop of Dennis the Menace blond hair, his opened-mouth, disarming laugh — an equal parts mixture of Albert Brooks and William Hurt from Broadcast News. Hell, I don't know whether to TiVo the guy or adopt him.

Or in the head? Behind Matthew's huggable man-child facade lies the mind of a former Presidential speech-writer to Carter and top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. Not to mention, Matthews is the recipient of numerous awards (listed on his MSNBC bio) and the author of four best-selling books, one of which, 1988's Hardball is "required reading in many college-level political science courses". Though my exhaustive search for this book at my local University bookstore failed, I am currently living in South Africa, and this should not deter you from the truth — this guy's got a brain big enough to fill that head.

So, where exactly might Russert's hatred arise? We can only assume Matthews, who is in fact human, has a weakness. We can only assume that in the over two-hundred nights on the air (which Matthews did in 2006) he faltered — perhaps claimed that "conservatives don't like sex" or seemingly sucked up to the administration by panning Stephen Colbert after last year's Correspondence Dinner (all of which Matthews did in 2006). None of these missteps, however, detracts from the journalist, who each night presses his guests until they fall out of talking-point lockstep and let a few kernels of honestly slip their lips.

Regardless of the points and faults listed above, what draws me to Matthews (As a journalist. Let's not get the wrong idea here. I mean I like the guy, sure, but, come on.) is his tendency to offer candid real-time appraisals of his guests and the issues at hand. These moments appear as genuine, deeply though-out critiques rather than the nightly lunacy and skewed propaganda that many of his fellow broadcasters offer (cough, O'Reilly). In a recent interview with a spokesman from Senator Obama's campaign, Matthews remarked that the Senator appeals to something youthful and pure in America today and that "maybe he appeals to the kid in me." It's difficult to imagine other broadcasters allowing for such a moment of commentary which serves only to expose his actual feelings and not a political agenda.

So, down with the Russerts and the other Matthews haters, because our man, Chris, is here to stay. Don't hate the guy; love him for the broadcaster he wants to be and love him for the man he almost is. While the kid in him is spouting his forthright opinions, the adult in him likes to ask the tough questions and speaks truth to power. What else could you ask from the lovable Bam Bam of broadcast journalism?

Monday, March 12, 2007

What's the mater with "is?"

In follow up to my own point, I would like to consider an example of how political language is incredibly interesting and enlightening. Recall when Bill Clinton famously told us all “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” It looked like a shameless equivocation at the time, and it was, but think about this for a moment: What is the meaning of “is?” Is- verb- meaning “to be,” as “is in existence,” or “is the case.” Hmmm. In existence. Metaphysics. Is the case that. Epistemology. When you put it like that, the question sounds like the foundation of western philosophy. It depends on the meaning of “is?” I should say it does. Everything depends on the meaning of “is.” There have been giant books written, read, reviewed, studied, translated, transcribed, transmorphed all having to do exactly with the meaning of “is.” Do I make more sense if I change the term to “existence.” You might even say there is a field devoted to the question called “existentialism.” Seldom has there been a philosopher or thinker that has not been in some great part worried about the meaning of “is” and the ramification therein of holding such a definition. You might say the entire academy intones in one expansive, timeless, and univocal breath: “it depends on the meaning of ‘is!’”

But none of this rings forth in Bill Clinton’s words. In his mouth, it’s just a clever lawyer’s trick. Do you catch my drift? One of our most fundamental philosophic questions doesn’t pass the laugh test when couched in political language. Things like that get me thinking. By the way, it’s raining in Brooklyn.

Type rest of the post here

A Militia by Any Other Name...

When pondering some of the hot button political issues of today -- gay marriage, abortion, voting, etc. -- I tend to side with those in favor of individual rights. It just seems logical, human, and American to allow for as many individual freedoms as possible; the burden should fall on the side of those who argue to limit our rights not those defending them. Why shouldn't two people in love be afforded the benefits of a legal and state recognized marriage? Why shouldn't it be left up to the pregnant woman to choose an abortion? Where I become a hypocrite, however, is with gun control. While one could (and many do) frame the pro-choice debate by claiming an abortion is tantamount to murder, I do not see this as grounds to make abortions illegal. Yet, I do see guns as an unequivocally threat to public safety. The Second Amendment reads:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

At first, the economically phrased Amendment seems clear -- if you're not a well regulated Militia, then you don't necessarily have the right to bear arms. Yet, last Friday, a federal appeals court voted 2-1 in favor of the individual's right to bear arms, claiming, "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia." My reaction: anger, betrayal, disollution, and then I feel into a Vinny Barberinoesque stupor, saying outloud with hands to my face, "I'm so confused."

It appears as though this is, as The Second Amendment Foundation called it "a landmark for liberty", or a notch on the bullet carrying belts of America's gunlovers and their disconcertingly strong lobby and its figurehead, the NRA. Upon searching further, I did find some interesting information on the subject of gun rights and the founding fathers' plan (see links at bottom of post). Though I feel that there can be an positive and fruitful compromise here. I don't necessarily have a problem with individual rights allowing for someone to own a gun, but I fail to see why gun control is the negation of these rights. Why does someone feel that they must have a gun immediately and why the hell don't we all agree that if you do have this pressing need, then you probably shouldn't have a gun? So, please read the links below and figure it out for yourself, because the more I think about this, the more I feel the urgent need to buy a gun, and then I'd just be more of a hypocrite.

Links to read: The Debate Team (a good video with quotes that Good Will Hunting would have cited if caught with an unregistered weapon), Stuck on Stupid, and a good overview of what people are saying from Michelle Malkin.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

What’s the Matter with Politicians Or Why does Obama Resonate?

That’s a very straight-ahead question. I’m sure you, gentle reader, have an equally straight-ahead and sagacious answer. I’m relatively certain that if you were to tell me your answer, I’d be perfectly delighted with it and offer you my ready assent. There are lots of answers to that question and they’re all good and interesting and thoroughly sensible.

So I worry a little for the economy of what I am about to say. That is, if there are plenty of simple, appropriate, and sensible answers to that question amicably inhabiting the mouths of thoughtful Americans, why hypothesize about the nature of political language? Seems like taking the long way ‘round. But sometimes the long way ‘round can be enlightening. Maybe I’ll just go along and see what comes and not worry about the economy so much.

If you listen to the politicians in this country, you might notice something curious about their language: they sound dishonest. I’m not saying they lie (though some do), but they always sound like they are putting something past you. They sound a little like the Ginsu knife salesman, circling a point they never make hoping that if they talk long enough and well enough you won’t notice. I can usually tell when someone is speaking but not saying anything because I’ll get bored and a little annoyed. That’s how I feel when I hear these guys talk.

Why would someone use language in that way? Why would someone speak but deliberately fail to communicate? One reason might be they are intentionally deceitful. They’re fast-talkers, swindlers, con-men of some sort trying to confuse you or convince you of something without you knowing it. It would be a little bleak if that were the case with our politicians. To employ the interpretive principle of charity, I’ll assume politicians are not like this. Some people may believe that politicians are like this, and they may very well be, but I’d like to explore alternative explanations. Because I’m difficult.

Here’s an idea: Someone might talk around a point, though they’re not intentionally deceiving their listener, because that’s just the way they talk. Intentionally or not, the speaker has learned to use language in such a way that they systematically fail to communicate. It’s what Foucault might call their discursive format. It’s their own non-language, so to speak.

That’s a little weird. A non-language? A language of non-communication? A system of speech patterns that people develop, and despite no deceitful intention, sounds dishonest, like they are deliberately hiding their point and speak to manipulate rather than communicate? A more economic man might turn back at this point. But let’s maybe push it a little further. Just to see how far we can go.

How and why could such speech patterns develop? Now that one’s not so straight-ahead. Was political rhetoric in America always like this? Did Politicians always sound so stiff and humorless? What if they did not? Is it possible that something has happened in America in the last hundred years that has bred this language?

What has happened in America in the last hundred years? For one, America, among other countries, has experienced massive population growth. Where politicians used to compete for thousands of votes, they now compete for millions of votes. For two, the dissemination of information has reached instantaneous speed and coverage. Every word a politician says can potentially reach millions of voters, and often does in no time at all. So when a politician speaks now, he or she speaks not to the people in front of them, but to the potential millions of viewers watching and listening at home and abroad. Is this so different from what happened a hundred years ago, before tv and internet? Did politicians not always speak carefully for fear their words might echo over the wire? Maybe so. But was it always securely planted in the politicians’ consciousness that when they spoke, they spoke to a prodigious yet silent mass of people they never met and knew only vaguely through opinion polls? We’re treading deep into speculation, but I wonder if the transforming relationship between political speaker and audience has anything to do with the nature of modern political language.

Maybe we can bring the picture a little more into focus. Politics has always been a sales industry. The candidate is the product. The people are the customers, and the political speech makes the sale. With rising populations and increased interconnectivity (globalization), the same thing has happened to the political industry as has happened to every industry touched by globalization: the relationship between the seller and the buyer has become impersonal and communication between the two has devolved to market signaling. Just as the consumer no longer buys his shoes from the local cobbler, but from faceless corporations with one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns, so the voter no longer chooses a candidate of whom they know and approve, but merely selects a name which heads a large corporation all its own.

What’s happened to political language is symptomatic of a national trend towards impersonal dealings between large anonymous entities. The interpersonal connection is just not there anymore. Is it any wonder that language looses warmth and touch? Is it surprising that politicians sound like tape recordings of computers reading stereo instructions? I think it’s not only understandable, but telling as well.

So, to address the second question raised by the marquee, why does Obama resonate? I contend that Obama resonates because political language, owing to a globalization which endangers personal connection (despite the pretense of enhanced communication), has lost meaning, and Obama brings the warmth of genuine communication back to a voting population gone bored with idle political chatter. Sure, he’s also fantastic looking, young, successful, idealistic, hopeful, and all that. Those might be closer-to-hand explanations for Obama’s speedy ascension up the political ranks. But I’ll tell you something: I’m not intensely bored when I listen to Obama. And there might be something to that.

What do you do if a republican approaches you?

Ext- Daytime- America

A little boy is reading a book under a tree.

Republican approaches.

Republican: Hello there little boy. Whacha' doing?

Little Boy: Reading

Republican: When you read you're helping the terrorists.

Little Boy: You're an idiot.