Has anybody here seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he's gone?
The Republican congress is imploding under its own weight proving once again that most in politics fail to live up to their own ideals.
I am Joe's judgmental projection.
Despite my displeasure with the maneuvering of this administration, the meltdown doesn't make me the least bit happy because this disgrace belongs to all of us. I believe in democracy. I may disagree with fairly elected officials but I support the system, and at some level it is the duty of each citizen as said Intel founder, Andy Grove, to "disagree and commit".
Shut up and get with the program. The majority have spoken.
The argument will boil forever. When we invaded Iraq I remember writing a couple notes in the chatterbox that made people think I was drunk. I was not. What I said in 2003 was that as a U.S. citizen I was required to continue my disagreement in private but salute the fairly elected commander in chief in public. A family doesn't take its disagreements into the street.
Yet every day I listen to the news I can't help but wonder: what the hell are we thinking?
Here is the standard and embarrassingly customary litany of pre-election congressional malfeasance. Here is the standard dodging and lying and hoping that by saying something repeatedly, it will become true. Here is the customary disdain for the public's intelligence. Here is the immoral, criminal behavior that is somehow not illegal.
I remember a similar litany a decade ago, when the sitting Democrats were subject to the cold light of scrutiny and were exposed as failing. Then, the populace expressed its displeasure by voting for the opposing party. The same will happen now.
Good riddance, we think. Throw the bums out.
Yesterday Bill Moyers wrote on TomPaine.com:
Once upon a time the House of Representatives was known as "the people's house." No more. It belongs to K Street now.
Is that an opinion, or truth?
Could it be that the issues are irrelevant? That moral standing is irrelevant to an election? That there is no more "people's house"? Has the concept that a small town could band together their votes and send Jimmy Stewart to congress a quaint anachronism?
Unfunded candidates do not get elected in our country. End. Of. Story.
Poorly funded candidates may get elected. But once in Washington their ability to influence the seat of power is nil in comparison to those backed by billion-dollar international concerns.
This is the system we built. I support it because I think that despite how bleak it may seem it's better than many other systems of self-governance and it's actually possible to modify over time. Lots of time.
Despite Republican fear mongering, I have little concern that a Democratic majority in congress will lead us to more terrorist threat. What concerns me is the moral fiber of politicians as a breed. Politics attracts scum and we are just plain out of FDRs and Jack Kennedys.
So, we will replace the likes of Tom DeLay and Mark Foley with equally flawed individuals who two to eight years from now we'll have to sweep out of their offices in handcuffs.
Yesterday I saw Mark Foley's Democratic challenger on television. Tim Mahoney is now running virtually uncontested. The Republicans have named a replacement for Foley, who will be languishing either in prison or a halfway house on election day. But the replacement's name will not be on the ballot: Foley's will. So the election is all but locked up for Mahoney.
But it's evident why Mahoney was trailing in the polls. He doesn't have "it". He appears weak. He spouts platitudes instead of offering ideas. He does not project confidence. He withers under white-hot questioning.
Most Democrats are lily-livered, save for the likes of the old guard: Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahey, and a couple others who have strong convictions but who have zero credibility in terms of nationwide leadership. Meanwhile, most of the conservative candidates seem controlled by beams of radiation from the holy mother ship.
What do Democrats stand for except to say they're not Republicans? Where are their objectively defined morals in all of this controversy? Clever politics suggests that the "smart" tactic is to do nothing, stand back, and let the Republicans destroy themselves. Don't get dirt on yourself. Yet for the party that stands for stronger centralized resources they seem to be terrified to offer an opinion with the excuse that by standing firm on any particular point they will open them up to criticism they cannot defend.
It reminds me very much of some business colleagues I've had through life. There were those whose track record of accomplishment certified their incompetence. But because they had conviction to one or many concrete ideas they rose in the organization on the strength of having any conviction at all. And then there were who had a long list of successes but had "topped out" career-wise. After a long stint of disappointing promotion "pass-overs" they settled into risk-free scheme for success that consisted of blame avoidance while casting doubt on everyone who took action.
Once I questioned my Vice Presidential colleagues why so-and-so had been promoted when someone clearly more adept had been passed over.
One said: "Because he's not confused." That was in 1990, before Donald Rumsfeld, when W was still doing lines off random womens' tits.
Republicans have done their best to not appear confused, while Democrats appear to be soul searching. It's a frustrating - "fiddling while Rome burns" approach.
The baby boom generation grew no heroes. This is a "bad scene" in the truest Dennis Hopper sense. And come November, when nobody gets what they want this election, we're going to be combing the countryside for Abraham, Martin, and John.
The first iceowl broadcast radio show took place on October 1, 2006, on KTOO radio, Juneau, Alaska 104.3 FM.
You missed it. That was intentional. My slot came up with less than 24-hours notice. And I had exactly 5 minutes to learn the operation of the board & other studio gear before the last song ended and the promo played and I had to turn on the mic and say "hi" to the world at large.
So I wasn't looking for a large audience. I want to generate some humorous anecdotes about my first big-time broadcast radio appearance. But I can't. It was pretty straightforward. And it was a lot of work. It took me about 6 hours to develop the playlist for the 2-hour show, to plan my breaks, and to work in the necessary station IDs, public service announcements, and promos. I think it went off without a hitch.
Of course, nobody listens to the radio at 9PM on a Saturday night. Not even in Alaska. And especially not public radio.
Though it hit me on my way out of the station, when I left the late-night DJ alone in the studio where I had been, that for two hours I had completely control of a broadcast station. There was nobody in the building but me. Had I decided to start reading my E2 writeups over the air, they would have had to send in the police to stop me.
But the thought never occurred to me to do anything but what I had promised to do, which was to play blues/rock CDs and say nice comforting, family-oriented things.
KTOO has an internet feed. Had you known I was on the air, you could have listened on line. But as I didn't tell you, there was no reason for you to look for it.
KTOO has purchased two additional radio stations which will come on line next month. When that happens I may get additional shots at the airwaves. There's a possibility I'll get a slot on a spoken-word program. They liked the "My Alaskan Life" series I was posting here on E2.
I will do these things because they are completely apolitical and they calm me down. Yes: stage fright quells my outrage over politics. I plan to do it as much as I can.
This weekend Juneau-based Alaskans are putting on something called, "The 24-hour miracle." Here's the idea:
At 8pm on Friday eve four writers will be handed a topic. They will then have twelve hours to write a one-act play on said topic. At 8am Saturday morning the authors will hand over their scripts to a director who has been chosen directly to them. A cast for the play will be chosen. At 8pm Saturday eve the four plays will be performed on stage in downtown Juneau for the public, who will pay $5/seat each to watch.
I was not chosen as a writer by the central committee. However, one of the writers who was chosen chose me as an "ace in the hole". I get to co-author one of the plays, though my name will appear nowhere on the final result.
I am Joe's aching ego.
Sunday I will do my first live radio "remote". I will set up a broadcast of a Jazz band from Doc Waters' pub in downtown Juneau for KTOO. The band goes on at 4:30 local time. I will not be on the air. I will be providing the air for others.
But when things go poorly, I will be one of the guys to blame.
I am Joe's masochism.