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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Folkbum's Official 2004 Predictions
the things that turn out wrong are due to the medication

Pop Culture:
The real Michael Jackson will be found working in an auto chassis factory in Michigan, and the cyborg we think of as MJ will be humanely destroyed by prosecutors in what is almost, but technically not, the first televised execution.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King loses the Best Picture Oscar to Bad Santa.

NBC launches "Law & Order: K-9," featuring the voice of Marv Albert as the talking dog.

Simon from "American Idol" and Vern from "Trading Spaces" are the first ones voted off the island.

In an attempt to top 2003's Brittney-kisses-Madonna stunt, the 2004 MTV Music Video Awards features people who actually like music getting screwed.

Politics
George W. Bush, in a move that surprises evryone, replaces himself at the top of the ticket with an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters. "Hey," he says by way of explanation, "these guys wrote Shakespeare."

Howard Dean wins the 2004 Democratic nomination, but only after he bests everyone else in the Thunderdome.

In California, newly elected governor Arnold Schwartzenegger resigns amid controversy after Maria publishes a tell-all memoir entitled He Groped What?

The anthrax killer, the Plame leaker, and Osama bin Laden are all caught, finally, by the A-Team.

The US Supreme Court faces its toughest case ever, when they agree to hear Spy v. Spy.

World Events
Terrorists strike somewhere, with some casualties.

Ariel Sharon reveals that the wall he's building to separate Israelis and Palestinians is really just his attempt at getting Roger Waters to re-unite with the rest of Pink Floyd for a concert of The Wall. It works initially, but halfway through "Bring the Boys Back Home" David Gilmour whacks Roger in the head with his strat, rendering him unconscious.

China sends up four more manned space missions, including one in September that docks at the International Space Station, where the Chinese pilot beats the US astronaut at weightless ping-pong.

Folkbum's Personal Life
After gaining fame and fortune as the key player in Dean's WI election victory, your humble folkbum is signed to a multi-record deal with, oh, let's say, Philo-Rounder (they do Good Things), and wins Teacher of the Year.

On the down side, Dean overlooks him for the cabinet. Sigh.

Tomorrow: Resolutions.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Sounds of silence

You may or may not have noticed, but MP3.com has shut down. C|Net bought them out, and supposedly C|Net's working on a music download service that will be running sometime in the future. In the meantime, most of my on-line music is now unavailable. However, you can still download "I Hate to Disappoint You" from amazon.com, and a live version of "The War Game" from New Songs for Peace. (While you're at NSfP, check out my friend Jym Mooney's excellent "I Have Come to Take my Boy Home.")

When C|Net gets its service up, I may make more songs available again. Of course, you could always write and offer to buy a CD chock-full of songs that aren't all bad. Ten bucks is the usual price, but you never know how low I might go to get rid of these things.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Folkbum at rest

The flu has struck the folkbum household. Even my knuckles ache.

So, with holidays, recovery, and such, blogging is/ has been/ will be light.

Monday, December 22, 2003

From my outbox

From: folkbum
Date: Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:40:51 PM America/Chicago
To: Jonathan Chait < deanophobe@tnr.com >
Subject: Worst. Idea. Ever.

Mr. Chait:

How can you possibly believe that the best way to ensure that Democrats can beat Bush in November is to spend your time denigrating the man with, it seems from this vantage point, the best shot at being the one to face him?

I wouldn't want you to set aside your principles (if you have any; it's hard to tell) or compromise your integrity (see previous parens), but it seems to me that a more valuable use of your blogging time might be one of the following:

1. Exposing Bush for what he is--a lying bastard with no business in the White House;
2. Promoting the other Democratic contenders instead of tearing down the one you dislike; or
3. Doing pretty much anything else.

Not one vote has yet been cast, of course, so there is no sense in running around asking people to "fall in line." But understand this: Bush is strong (see today's post of yours--you never do say why Bush is successful, leading me to think you may not know!) because he enjoys stronger solidarity among Republican voters than his father, for example. Democrats couldn't hold the coalition in 2000--discounting a popular-vote win--for if the Nader voters had allied with instead of against us, we would have won New Hampshire and Florida, and we'd be talking right now about how to re-elect president Gore.

In other words, you're part of the problem. You sow disunity and dissention when within a few short months we must, absolutely must, present a united front.

Ann Coulter has a word for people like you, which, I expect, she has probably called you many times. In this case, I concur, for your politics of destruction--self-destruction, at that--are nothing short of traitorous.

(NB to my readers: I refuse to link to Chait's Dean-o-phobe blog, though I'm thinking of doing a point-by-point rebuttal of an entry or two of his later this week.)

UPDATE, 12/23: cynic has started the Chait-o-Phobe response site. Check it out.

DefCon: Ernie

(If you don't get the joke, check the right column.)

Tom Ridge came out of his hole yesterday to tell us there would be six more weeks of winter is an increased threat level of terrorism on US soil. Nothing to kill the holiday spirit like a hefty dose of irrational panic, no? And I wonder who's getting duct tape and plastic sheeting in their stockings this Christmas?

The most damaging effect of this elevated terror alert will be further depletion of state and municipal budgets. Even though Homeland Security is slated to reimburse local agencies for additional costs incurred (because the feds have so much money!), short term, cities, couties, and states will be faced with a tab that they cannot pick up. Just think of the holiday overtime, for example.

It's not that I don't think that there may be a threat of terrorism or that I don't want everyone at home and abroad to be safe. It just seems like there has got to be a better way, something that involves not so much panic and "threat levels" here at home, but concerted efforts at cultivating and using allies to help us find and dismantle terrorist networks here and abroad. Attacking Iraq and capturing Saddam Hussein has not made us safer (and that's not just me talking). Treating this like a holy war has not made us safer (remember that Ashcroft, Ridge, and the Whopper only tout busts of terrorists if they are not Christian). Reelecting the Whopper in 2004 will not make us safer.

I want my country back.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Folkbum on Radio

Teachers Speak Out, the grass-rootsy group of Milwaukee Public Schools teachers I am a part of, will be making our public debut this weekend for anyone in Southeastern Wisconsin. A few of us will be appearing on Dave Melnick's show in 620 WTMJ radio from 11 AM to 1 PM. It's a call-in, so if you would like to talk live and in person to your humble Folkbum about the issues surrounding the public schools in Milwaukee, you can. (There is no web-cast available, sorry!)

For the uninitiated, Dave is the voice of the left, or at least of reason, on WTMJ's talk radio (owned by the same company that owns the daily paper and the NBC affiliate in town), relegated to the Sunday 11-3 slot, unless there's a Packers game on. In the meantime, eight or ten hours a day during the station has right-wing Rushclones who hate teachers.

This is probably the last time I will mention TSO and our work here on this blog, since I do want to keep the inherently political stuff separate from the work I want to do for teachers. But you can bookmark the TSO site to keep up with that kind of thing over there.

Old Friends and New Pages

Fellow Milwaukee Dean Supporters--

When ten other people and I gathered at Alterra Coffee the first Wednesday of March to talk about this Howard Dean fellow we'd become enamored of, I had no idea how that we would come this far. I had hopes sure, but I never imagined that, at the moment when the Iowa caucuses are just a month away, you and I and everyone I've met along the way would be a part of a real revolution in American politics. The tea is in the harbor, folks, and I'd like to think we're all responsible for at least a few leaves.

In the intervening months, I took on a number of responsibilities with this group, going so far as to call myself--at the urging of others--the coordinator of our, at the time, rag-tag band of Dean supporters. But it has been a while since I posted to this group at all, and even longer since I've done any real coordinating.

Since August, with the arrival of Mike Tate and Meagan Mahaffey in Milwaukee, not to mention the new school year starting for me (I am a teacher), the Dean campaign has had an official presence in town. In addition, many other great people have taken on tremendous responsibility in coordinating and hosting activities around town.

And, hey, now that Al Gore's on board, you really don't need me at all! :)

But another reason I have been away from the campaign these past few months is that I am attempting to put together a new grass-roots coalition here in Milwaukee. As you know, the Dean campaign has probably done more to revive the grassroots in this country than even a strong dose of Miracle Gro could. I have taken those lessons in grassroots organizing, and, in concert with some other Milwaukee Public Schools teachers, have put together a group that will try to provide a positive voice for public school teachers in Milwaukee. We are in the midst of contract-negotiating time, and, as you know if you've been reading the Journal Sentinel or (shudder) listening to Charlie Sykes, teachers and our union are being demonized, painted as the enemy. Teachers Speak Out, the name of our group, is going to try, grassroots-style, to change that.

So, I have not abandoned Dean. I will be Meeting Up, phone-banking when I can, and GOTVing as much as possible in both February and November. But I may seem a little pre-occupied with my other projects. And I do want to be thank all of you for your help and your, more importantly, your inspiration. If I tried to name you all, I would miss someone, I'm sure. I will see you on the campaign trail--

Sunday, December 14, 2003

It's October Already?

I'm not a warblogger, never have been, never wanted to be. But today's capture of Osama bin Laden the anthrax killer Saddam Hussein is really, really big news, even if they didn't save it for the "October Surprise."

My guy Dean's response was out earlier this morning:
Statement by Governor Dean on the Capture of Saddam Hussein

WEST PALM BEACH-- Governor Dean issued the following statement this morning:

"This is a great day for the Iraqi people, the US, and the international community.

"Our troops are to be congratulated on carrying out this mission with the skill and dedication we have come to know of them.

"This development provides an enormous opportunity to set a new course and take the American label off the war. We must do everything possible to bring the UN, NATO, and other members of the international community back into this effort.

"Now that the dictator is captured, we must also accelerate the transition from occupation to full Iraqi sovereignty."
I think Dean's response hits all the right notes:
• Good troops (not administration of the war)
• Good for Iraqis (not Bush's re-election)
• Get US troops out and international forces in now, and end the occupation

And I think we have to face it: The only one who gets a bump in poll numbers now is Bush. Those great polls showing him at under 50% for re-elect? We won't see those again for some time.

I also don't think we're going to see an end to violence in Iraq, since I have a hard time believing we're under attack from Saddam loyalists. I think we're mostly facing Iraqi resistance to the American occupation, and as long as we are there our troops will die needlessly.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Unelectable

As much as I think that electability arguments are a losing game, I would like to point out that we're in the process of gaming the system for a new Google Bomb: We want to make sure that unelectable gets into the works at Google, too.

It's also not a bad idea to try linking Bush inauguration, Bush inaugural, Bush inaugural address, and Bush inauguration speech, to that great Onion article, "Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.'" (Idea from KarMann/ John.)

New York Times: Folkbum is right

A while back I had a nice long post, "Electoral Math is for Losers" (read it with comments over at dKos), in which I wrote
You may believe that the election will be decided in just a few key battleground states and you may want to bother over which candidate you think has a better shot in those few key battleground states.  But that's not what I want.  I want a candidate who campaigns to win the election, not a candidate who campaigns to win, say, Tennessee.

When we start talking about who looks good in the South, or who looks good in the Midwest, or who looks good in whatever pet state you think will be the deciding one in 2004, we lose sight of the big picture.  We are in this election as Democrats, and we will win as Democrats.  We are not the party of one region or another.  We are not the party of one group or another.  We represent the majority view on every major domestic issue in the country, and it's time to win--and win the whole country.  I don't want to hear about how one guy will win one state.  That's loser talk.  I want to hear about how we will win period in 2004.
Well, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert seems to agree. Among other great points about November 2004, he writes
The Democratic Party's circular firing squad has assembled. Everybody's angry with everybody else. [. . . T]he Democrats need more than a candidate or two. The party needs a plan. It needs a coherent, compelling, convincing narrative that shows how voters and the nation would be better off under Dr. Dean or General Clark or Dick Gephardt--take your pick--than they are now.

To regain control of the White House, the Democrats need to give voters, who are frightened by terrorism and disoriented by the pace of 21st-century events, new reasons to hope. That can only be done by a thoughtful, united, energized and creative party. A party with a plan and a ferocious will to win.
It's nice to be vindicated by the Gray Lady, I guess, but it does make me wonder why this whole thing hasn't sunk in with everybody else yet. It's not a matter of trying to win one state or another, or having the most "electable" guy (sorry, Moseley Braunatics). It's a matter of wanting it, wanting it bad, and working for it. What's so hard about that? What's not to get? Can anybody explain it?

Help me stop the end of the world

Take Ralph Nader's survey. Tell him no, in every way possible. Thank you.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

A Must Read

I so seldom just point to other blogs and say "Go read" (except OSP ;) ), but when I do, do I ever steer you wrong? Cowboy Kahlil has one final post at his blog (he's moving to a new host eventually), and it's called 50 reasons to elect Howard Dean. Go read.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Goodbye, Bow Tie

Former Senator Paul Simon, and recent Howard Dean-endorser, died today after his heart surgery yesterday. I always liked him, and I know he was very well respected among the Illinoisites. Condolences to his family and friends.

And I was really looking forward to seeing that bow tie with Howard Dean on the campaign trail this summer.

POTUS Poll

I've said just about all I have to say about the Gore thing at OSP.

So today, instead, I'm pleading for some more of us Dean supporters to freep the POTUS Poll (I'm talking to you, Al!). The poll is run by folks who support Instant Runoff Voting. The Kucinich people have got this thing locked down, it seems, despite what one would think would be Dean's overwhelming netroots.

Email everyone you know. We need to take this puppy back.

(As an aside, I am constantly amazed at Kucinich supporters' organization. As much as people talk about Dean's and Clark's machines being excellent, the DKers are almost LaRouche-like in their tenacity. I heard a Wisconsin Public Radio phone-in straw poll one day recently where Kucinich probably won 2-1 over Dean. That takes discipline and real organization. Too bad it doesn't take many live voters.)

Monday, December 08, 2003

Blogonym

I'm really surpised no one is using this, but I haven't seen it anywhere else and the only Google entry for it comes from an OSP article of mine.

Well, I hereby stake claim to this coinage, and would like the world of neologisms to take note:

BLOGONYM (blog´ • o • nim) n. The pseudonym adopted by one who writes a web log (a web blogger, or blogger) who wishes to remain anonymous. This blogger's blogonym is "folkbum."

Paranoia strikes you deep

Here's one to keep you up at night. John Williams at Open Source Politics asks the very simple question: Do you want your vote to count? The article contains a link to a voting "machine" he programmed that, surprise surprise, may not actually count your vote correctly.

You might think I'm crazy


Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Via NTodd