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8 October 2000

"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of sXXXch, or the right of the people peaceably to XXXemble, and to peXXXion the government for a redress of grievances."
-- Marc Rotenberg

Watched 'Ed' tonight. It's pretty good... 7 out of 10, I'd say. Somebody mentioned it has some staff in common with Northern Exposure; it must be true, I could see some similarities in the shows' personalities. (That's a good thing, btw.)

These two articles seem to go together:

  • The Conservatives' Favorite Liberal/The Kerrey Difference by Mark Shields []
    According to [Bob] Novak... Bob Kerrey deserves our admiration for repeatedly challenging the received, conventional wisdom of his party, for being a fearless nonconformist who defies and infuriates the leadership of his party, and who openly seeks support from the Other Party.

    When a listener pointed out to Novak that only minutes before in explaining why so many leading Republicans had so vehemently opposed the presidential candidacy of Arizona Sen. John McCain, Novak had cited strikingly similar characteristics -- compulsive independence, public provocation and even embarrassment of party leadership, and open criticism of established Party positions on tax cuts and soft money -- as major liabilities. Novak could only acknowledge the obvious inconsistency.

    In American politics, the dissenter and rebel in the Other Party is a courageous maverick; but in Our Party the dissenter becomes a troublemaker and a turncoat to be rebuked.
  • Republicans Anger McCain by Blocking His Auto Safety Bill [Washington Post]
    ...the Senate bill has been held up by anonymous "holds" under which members can delay consideration of bills. When the final version of the $58 billion transportation spending bill came to the floor yesterday, McCain seized the moment and threatened to hold it up unless the Senate agreed to consider his bill, too.

    He backed off when Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) agreed to bring up the bill if McCain could get the consent of all his colleagues, McCain told the Senate. He also said Lott agreed that any senators with objections should make them in person.

    But that was not to be. First, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) objected on behalf of unidentified colleagues and got roasted by McCain for doing so. Then, when McCain tried again, Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) objected on behalf of unnamed senators and refused to identify them, drawing more fire from McCain.

So McCain's running into some cowardly Republican senators. If he finds out who they are, you know he'll make sure they get outed. Go, man...

Another interesting Mark Shields column:

  • More Debate Questions []
    Do you think this nation's current military manpower policy, which basically exempts the best educated and best connected young men in the United States from defending this nation, will lead inevitably to an American foreign policy that is shaped by a governing elite composed of cowards?

    To Gov. Bush: Do you think your father, the former president, is mistaken when he joins our only two healthy living former presidents -- Republican Gerald Ford and Democrat Jimmy Carter -- in calling for the abolition of all soft money, without the loopholes for wealthy individuals your plan includes?

    To both men: What sacrifices do you ask of the American people to make this a better and more just society? What are the duties and responsibilities of being an American in the year 2000?

I can't believe this stupid meme actually made it into a major debate. Journalists should check their sources better than this:

  • E-mail Hoax an Issue in N.Y. Senate Debate [Washington Post]
    ...moderator Marcia Kramer of WCBS asked about "Federal Bill 602P." Kramer said the legislation was "now before Congress" and would let the Postal Service "bill e-mail users five cents for each e-mail they send."

    Kramer's question Sunday was one of a handful she based on e-mails submitted by viewers, according to a statement released by a spokesperson for WCBS. "The debate's moderator, Marcia Kramer, was unaware that there was no such bill," the statement said.

It's not hard to check, even... It just takes a dead-simple Google search to find two independent sources stating it's a hoax.

Decent summary of the presidential race as it stands after all the debate stuff:

  • The Bland Leading the Bland by Frank Rich [NY Times]
    At a cultural moment when many voters are forced constantly to make that hard choice between the Gap and Banana Republic, what is more apt than the spectacle of two princely boomers in identical outfits hypothesizing about how to spend a surplus of infinitely elastic trillions that both assume will last indefinitely?

    You could watch all 90 minutes -- I'm not sure too many did -- and never know of bloodshed in the Middle East, or of a drug war run amok, or of an America populated by anyone other than the elderly and schoolchildren.

A couple of Paul Simon interviews on the occasion of his new album. I'd no idea he's turning 60...:

  • Simon changes course with 'You're the One' [CNN]
    (T)here isn't a theme except that ... the music has a flow and a shape and ... I was very conscious of that -- that it should have a shape, and that it should be able to be listened to as an entire piece of 44 minutes, and that you won't be bored. ... It's about stories, and has much more of me playing the guitar than it has in the last ... decade-and-a-half.
  • Paul Simon Once Again Breaks The Sound of Silence [Washington Post]
    It's a shimmering work, simpler, less cluttered and more melody driven than his previous three albums. He has superimposed nuanced guitars on supple percussive elements and airy textures. The lyrics are meditations on love, family, faith and wisdom. It was, Simon says, a "calm" album whose songs came surprisingly quickly to the normally slow-grinding writer.

I'll definitely be buying this one... even Rhythm of the Saints grew on me quite a lot.

And you might like this interview from 1984:
  • Playboy Interview: Paul Simon []
    [My psychiatrist] was able to make me feel that I wasn't there to work just for the satisfaction of having a hit but that there was a contribution to be made. Of course, the reason I'd been blocked was that I felt what I did was of absolutely no importance. He was able to say, "I'm telling you that the way to contribute is through your songs. And it's not for you to judge their merits, it's for you to write the songs." For me, that was brilliant - and liberating.

    Even when the comparisons are complimentary, it's too many comparisons for comfort. As we followed our solo careers, it was the same thing. Add to that the fact that he felt, even more than I did, the frustration of having people ask, "Did you write the words or the music?" I used to feel, Oh, Christ. But at least I could say "I wrote both." Arthur had to say, "I wrote neither."

    I think ["The Boxer"] was about me: everybody's beating me up, and I'm telling you now I'm going to go away if you don't stop.

    There's something in me - in a lot of people - that says, "Gee, if I admit that things are actually going well, maybe they'll stop." Or "If I admit I'm happy, maybe I won't be able to write." I think the psyche comes up with all kinds of contrivances to protect what it thinks is vulnerable. And sometimes those contrivances are that you stay in a state of unhappiness. Or victimization. It's almost saying, "Hey, don't get mad at me for being so successful and doing so well, because look how unhappy I am."

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