Tag Archives: Mitch McConnell

Maybe my most depressing Election Night ever was even worse than I expected. And a fantastic Esquire story about solving the mass shootings issue

GOPstomp

Well that sucked.

I went into Election Night last night with very low expectations, fully expecting the Republicans to take over the Senate, and probably win some governorships.

But the reality was so, so much worse than I expected. Just about every race that I was emotionally invested in, the candidate I supported lost. And it’s not just that: Just about ALL of the biggest horse’s asses who were running Tuesday night got re-elected, and some by much larger margins than I thought.

Rick Scott in Florida. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback in Kansas. Mitch McConnell. Joni Ernst, your new bat-shit crazy Senator from Iowa.

The list goes on and on. I think the only other time I was this depressed on Election Night was 2004, when W. Bush got re-elected and I had no idea how America (and me) was going to survive four more years of him.

So depressed. Just went in and kissed my 2-month-old son, that made me feel better.
Some final 2014 election thoughts as I sit here in the wee hours, with my ginger ale and bag of Tostitos multigrain chips (a truly outstanding snack we’ve just discovered in my house):

— I gotta start with Rick Scott.  I lived in Florida for 5 years, and was there in 2010 when he first got elected. I know Florida’s a crazy state, much more conservative than people realize, and I know the Democrats have put up two straight really terrible candidates against him. (Really? We couldn’t do better than ex-Republican governor Charlie Crist?)
But I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone voted for Rick Scott and elected him twice to run a state.
He was a miserable candidate, and an evil, greedy governor. Within three months of his first term he was the most unpopular governor in America. And yet he just got re-elected. I will remain baffled by that forever.

— That said, I know Rick Scott has zero chance nationally. But Scott Walker? He’s starting to scare me. Three election wins in four years (one was a recall), not much national political baggage, and he destroyed an opponent Tuesday who was tied in polls with him. He’s hugely anti-union, loved by the Tea Party, and governor of a blue state. Plus he’s bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers, so you know they’ll have his back in two years.
He’s got a great shot to get the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

— It kills me that once again, the Democratic candidates ran far, far away from the greatest legislative achiement their party has pulled off in decades: Affordable, universal health care. Did any of them take credit for it, or campaign on it? Why were they so scared to tout one of the few things that’s actually gotten done in Congress the last six years?

— Chris Matthews is always the most annoying part of Election coverage for me. I watch MSNBC of course, because I love Maddow and most of their other commentators, but Matthews comes off as so smug and arrogant, I just can’t stand him.

— Mitch McConnell is your new Senate Majority leader. A man who said in 2009 that his No. 1 legislative goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Yep, I have a great feeling bipartisanship and cooperation is about to ensue.

— Only bright spot Tuesday was that Scott Brown lost, this time in New Hampshire, after losing in Mass. in 2012. Best Tweet of the night said “Hey Scott Brown, Vermont has a Senate seat available in 2016!”

— I lied, there was one other bright spot: Voters in Oregon and Washington, D.C. approved pot legalization laws. Outstanding.

— OK, time for a mood-lifter. Take it away, Partridges…

Well, I feel better.

–Finally, the loss of the Senate doesn’t really bother me too much. Nothing was getting done on immigration, climate change, etc. in the next two years anyway. But the governorship dominance by the GOP really hurts, because sadly that’s where all the real legislation that affects people’s lives, longterm and short-term happens.

Politics sucks when your side gets slaughtered.

**Next up, I promised in Monday’s post to highlight another great piece of journalism I’ve read lately. Tom Junod of Esquire takes a look at a radical new way that a division of the FBI is looking to stop, or contain, the huge number of mass shootings that have gone on in America in recent years.

No, it’s sadly not about enforcing gun control laws or making it harder for people to get guns, because that’s never happening in the U.S. But it’s a strategy that’s really enlightening and fascinating to read about, basically learning to target “behavioral threats” in a different and more comprehensive way.
Junod does excellent reporting here, using one troubled kid who walked right up to the line of becoming a mass shooter and explains the psychology of what he thought back then.

Really great story here, I urge you to check it out.

A winter getaway to Florida brings back fresh memories. Thoughts on the Inaugural speech. And Seattle gets its Sonics back

sloane-stephens

Still jazzed up as I write this, minutes after a fantastic women’s tennis match at the Australian Open Tuesday night. 19-year-old Sloane Stephens stunned the greatest player in the world, Serena Williams, with a three-set win in the Aussie quarterfinals. American tennis has a new star, and it’s about time. Look at that kid’s smile!

Sorry there was no blog post Tuesday; your humble correspondent was traveling back from a weekend trip to Florida, where new memories collided with old ones for me.

It was my first time back in the state since I left in the summer of 2011, when I chucked my career as a journalist to become a teacher, and Florida is also the place where my marriage ended.

So even though life is going awesome right now, with a new career and a fiance who I can’t wait to marry in a few months, I was a little nervous about going back to the Sunshine State.

We went down to see some dear friends who live outside Orlando, and I was afraid that every 10 minutes I’d see painful memories of what my life used to be there.

Instead, it was fabulous. My friends Jen and Greg were wonderful hosts, and their two adorable daughters showed us a good time. We went to Blue Springs State Park in DeLeon Springs, which I visited once before when I lived in Daytona Beach, and saw the manatees. The weather was great, I saw some of my old friends in Daytona, and only good memories came flooding back, not painful ones.

Plus, I got on a plane Friday and it was 35 degrees, and stepped off a few hours later into 68 degrees. Can’t beat that

Couple other airplane related thoughts, which I always seem to have after a trip:
— Is there a law that I’m unaware of that says I have to get the middle seat on every flight from now on? I swear I’m on like a 12 “B” seats in a row streak.
— Flying JetBlue > flying any other airline. It’s not just the TV that makes it better; more legroom, friendlier flight attendants, and always have an enjoyable ride. I love JetBlue so much.

**Didn’t get a chance to comment on Barack Obama’s inaugural address Monday. I thought it was terrific, as I expected, and I’m so glad he sounded so many liberal notes in it. It was powerful to hear him talk about gay marriage, and even climate change got mentioned.

I wish I could say I was real optimistic about “Obama the Liberal” getting a lot of major legislation passed on guns, climate change, poverty, and a ton of other progressive ideals.

But I don’t know. Hey, maybe this is a good sign: Mitch McConnell said the “era of liberalism” is back.

We can only hope.

SeattleTimes.Sonics

**Finally, the world of sports seems to offer karmic payback every once in a while, but not without someone else getting hurt.

The good sports fans of Seattle had their NBA team ripped away by owner/hijacker Clay Bennett in 2008, an outsider who bought the team then drove them off to Oklahoma City right after drafting some kid named Kevin Durant (he ever amount to much, that kid?).

It was not quite as bad as Art Modell stealing the Cleveland Browns, but it was close. The Sonics fans supported their team through thick and thin, and now were left bereft of a hoops team.

Well, five years later, the Sonics are coming back to Seattle, in the form of the Sacramento Kings, who of course are another team that was once loved, once a civic institution, but fell victim to a bad arena deal and owners who couldn’t convince the city fathers in Sacramento to buy them a new building.

So Seattle gets a team back, which is only right, but now Sacramento loses out. On the karmic justice scale of sports, that’s still a win.

Finally, Mr. President stands up. And Duke loses a thriller to $*@*# Maryland

Finally, POTUS gets mad.

Wednesday afternoon, it was as if Barack Hussein Obama  had been sitting at a restaurant table, and a waiter came over.

“One order of cojones for a Mr. B. Obama. One order,

coming up.”

After nearly a year of obfuscation and compromise, of hemming and hawing, of refusing to draw a line in the sandbox that the Republican whiny babies often play in, the President of the United States held up his hand and said: “Enough.”

Oh, it wasn’t that dramatic, of course. This President doesn’t work that way. But after months of liberals (like myself) wondering when on God’s green earth this determination and resolve has been on this issue.

Wednesday, Obama said “Now is the time to make a decision.” He spoke about not worrying about what it means politically, but about how reforming health care was the right thing.

Amen. Of course, reconciliation, whereby only 51 Democrat votes are needed, is now likely the only way heath care reform will pass (By the way, one of the so-called Democratic senators who is basically a Republican, Blanche Lincoln, is finally being challenged this year by another Democrat in Arkansas, Bill Halter. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Mrs. Lincoln. Maybe you can get a job at Wal-Mart, you seem to love their executives so much.)

I love that Mitch McConnell, such a swell guy, said that “every election in America this fall will be a referendum on this issue.”

Yep, you’re right, Mitchie. When health care passes and 30 million more Americans have insurance, and millions more know they won’t be dropped due to some b.s. “pre-existing condition” (you know, like, breathing), it will be wonderful to have health care front and center come November.

You got your kick in the ass, Democrats in Congress. Get busy.

**And now, to Duke-Maryland. By far the team I hate most in the ACC after the powder-blues from Chapel Hill, the Terps actually came up with a big win over the Blue Devils Wednesday night.

I’m not too pissed, because Duke played pretty well, Maryland hit some ridiculously tough shots, and they were so fired up for Senior Night, and after so many wars throughout the last two decades between these two, the Terps were due.

Some quick thoughts as I decompress from what was a hell of a tense game:

— Greivis Vasquez is a phenomenal player. I hate his antics, I think he’s a punk for his on-court histrionics, but the kid always seems to step up in the big moments.

— I thought Jon Scheyer had a really uneven game (7-for-21 shooting), and this Duke team has an awfully hard time winning when the Jewish Jordan (OK, so I’m the only one who calls him that; we don’t have that many Jews in basketball!) isn’t one of Blue Devils’ two best players.

— Nice to see Maryland fans staying classy. After four years of chanting “F-U Paulus,” they now chanted “F-U Scheyer.” And, for good measure, “F-U Duke,” during a couple of timeouts. People say the Cameron Crazies are rude and obnoxious, but they’re not the ones cussing up a storm on national TV. Just really stupid.

— Best thing that happened tonight for Duke? Andre Dawkins hitting a couple of shots. Duke is going to need that kid in the NCAAs.

— I still think Duke might get to the Final Four this year. I can’t believe how much better Brian Zoubek is playing, they’ve got depth and experience, and, well, I don’t see that many teams in this watered-down year being better then them.

But as John Lennon once sang, you may say I’m a dreamer.

Obama’s terrific speech, and my latest product endorsement

I needed this State of the Union. I really did.

I needed Barack Obama to hit it out of the park, because I’m frustrated with him, and with Congress, these days. So much was expected out of this man in 2009, and for the most part, well, we were left wanting.

So I tuned in Wednesday night and … well, I think he hit it out of the park. I think he spoke truth to power, and I think he did it in a language that all Americans can understand. He spoke for about 75 minutes, and he hit a bunch of high notes. Most of all, I just get the sense listening to this man how reasonable and calm he is. I trust him, still.

Some other scattered thoughts that hit me while I was watching the speech:

— who are those people who sit right up front, in front of Obama, between him and Congress? I have no idea who they are.

–I could do without the easy applause lines, about taking on banks.

— Glad to see Obama focus so much on jobs creation. I hope Congress got the message.

— Do many of these Congressmen realize they look like fools yelling “yay” and seeing who can jump up to applaud faster? Seriously, the look silly.

—  just looking at Joe Biden’s “cat that ate the canary grin,” I get the feeling he’s sitting there thinking: I can’t believe I got this job!”

— I liked that Obama challenged Republicans on health care, saying “if someone has a better idea on how to do this … let me know.” Throwing down the gauntlet a little to all those who simply say “No” to everything.

— “Just saying no to everything may be good politics, but it’s not leadership.” Great line.

— God, the smug-looking mugs of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and the other Republicans just smirking drive me crazy. Aren’t they just so proud of themselves, blocking and obfuscating everything the President wants to do.

— So good that he finally said he’ll work to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Now let’s see him actually do it. I’m dubious.

— Excellent job in closing, really beautiful phrasing here:

“Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths. We can do what’s necessary to keep our poll numbers high, and get through the next election instead of doing what’s best for the next generation.

“But I also know this: if people had made that decision fifty years ago or one hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, we wouldn’t be here tonight. The only reason we are is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and grandchildren.”

Let’s see if Congress got the message. I’m feeling uplifted and hopeful again tonight. Let’s see if it lasts.

I really hope it lasts.

****So from time to time I like to use my meager little blog to hype a product and help prevent a little suffering.

I’m a guy who’s had big problems with ingrown hairs on my face.  Since I started shaving at about, 13 years old, I’ve had this one patch of skin that always, always itches from ingrown hairs. What to do, what to do?

Now I’ve found the solution. It’s from a company called The Art of Shaving, and it’s called Ingrown Hair Night Cream. It’s made of all kinds of African shea butter (no idea what that is) and jojoba oil (not a clue), and you smear on a little bit each night and bam, after two weeks I’m a whole new man.

No itching, no scratching, nothing. Of course, it’s a little pricey (about $35 a bottle), but if you know a man who has the same problem, you’ll know you can’t put a price tag on this kind of happiness.

And hey, if The Art of Shaving people happen to read this, that’s OK, too.

***No one sent me any bottle of anything. Relax FTC. I decided to review this on my own.