Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   wear pants all the time
Tuesday, February 5 2008
Crazy weather happened this morning. There was thunder and there were flashes of lightning which, reflecting off the snow, were of a brilliance one never experiences in a normal thunderstorm, the kind that happens in the late spring or summer. Winter electrical storms are rare in this climate, rarer than solar eclipses but not as rare as advances in theology.
These winter thunderstorms were part of a belt of meterological craziness stretching from the Great Plains into New England. In various places along this belt tornados touched down and people died. It was Marde Gras and even God gets to let His hair down on Ash Wednesday Eve. Tornados were seen in Clinton, Arkansas, which some may have taken as something of a divine omen.
Today wasn't just Marde Gras, you see, it was also Super Tuesday, the day when a shitload of states held presidential primaries. I myself drove down to the Hurley Townhall and cast a vote in the early afternoon. It was effortless; there was no line in front of me whatsoever. The vote I cast, by the way, was for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton is one of my state's two senators, and she strikes me as an unpleasant person and a moralistic scold (remember: she supported a flag burning amendment, presumably because the prospect of a burning flag is more horrifying to her than an actual burning constitution). Furthermore, I'd rather not further the establishment of ruling dynasties in my country, which was founded in opposition to all that (besides; look where it has led).
This isn't to say that I'm enthusiastic about Barack Obama. I was more so back before he went about demonstrating how thoroughly useless he is as a senator. But at the presidential level of leadership symbols are important, and as a symbol Barack H. Obama resonates with me much better than does Hillary R. Clinton and her endless parade of pantsuits. (Okay, I get it, you're ready to lead because you wear pants all the time!)
Meanwhile Gretchen had received the following email, which had been bouncing around amongst the Bard faculty:

Hello All, Here's a revealing first-hand account of Hillary Clinton's response to a regional environment/public health issue. The author of this letter, Sam Pratt, is a well-respected Hudson Valley community organizer, whom I know personally. Forward it if you think others might benefit from its perspective. Jane

Dear fellow Hudson Valley Democrats:

Having volunteered on Clinton's first senate campaign, I get mad when I hear Rush Limbaugh savage her as a liar and an opportunist. I'm also grateful to her for keeping Rudy Guiliani and Rick Lazio out of the Senate.

But you don't have to be a sexist or a conspiracy theorist to oppose Clinton's candidacy.

I don't dislike Hillary; I distrust her. And my reasons are both substantive, and based on direct personal experience. When a major issue hit the Hudson Valley, Clinton was less than honest with her constituents, and all to eager to take credit where none was due.

For nearly 7 years, our communities were riven with controversy about a vast, coal-burning facility proposed by St. Lawrence Cement here in the Hudson Valley.

Given the harsh health, scenic, noise, traffic, economic and other negative potential impacts, opponents naturally wanted to get the ear of Mrs. Clinton -- and we tried everything. She was approached at campaign whistlestops, at private dinners, and public fundraisers. Printed factsheets were pressed into staffers' hands, and handwritten letters beseeched our new Senator to help end this dangerous idea. But she refused to take any public stand.

Finally, as the leader of the grassroots opposition, I tried an old- fashioned political route. A friend identified a celebrity donor in nearby Dutchess County who was opposed to St. Lawrence's plans, and he called in a big favor. Driving to the capitol in his limo, we met with Hillary first in a chamber outside the Armed Services Committee, then took a long walk and tram ride under the Capitol to her offices. Hillary was both charming, and surprisingly well-informed on our issue.

At last, here was my big chance to make a full case for her involvement.

But when I launched into a carefully-prepared spiel, the Senator stopped me: "You don't need to do the presentation," she said. "The plant is a terrible idea. Just tell me how I can help." Delighted, I described the various Federal permitting processes in which she could intervene, and the benefits of her taking a public stand.

She called in her chief environmental policy advisor, and gave detailed instructions: Get a memo on her desk right away, listing the necessary action steps and the policy rationales for each, and she'd get right to work on it. Her performance was smart and convincing, and her celebrity backer and I practically floated down the Capitol steps on the way out.

The rest was silence. After promptly delivering the requested memo, I was never able to get her staff (let alone the Senator herself) to discuss the issue again, let alone take action to stop the plant.

About a year later, Clinton was cornered on the SLC issue by an interviewer from The National Trust for Historic Preservation, who finally got her to say that she thought the proposal was "not the right direction for the Hudson Valley." These remarks were published in Preservation Magazine, which Clinton apparently thought no one would read... because when we then alerted local media to her statement, Clinton's staff denied the remarks and claimed she still had not taken a position.

Only after nearly 14,000 residents and 40 groups wrote in opposition to the Republican administration of George Pataki did this terrible project get scrapped -- without any help from either of our Democratic Senators.

But there was one more damning chapter in our Clinton saga.

After we won, the group I co-founded received an award at the Waldorf- Astoria from the Preservation League of New York. During the award ceremony, it was announced that there would be a video tribute from someone who couldn't attend, but who wanted to pay her respects. Up on a giant screen came Hillary Clinton, talking about how we'd all fought such a good fight together.

Those of us who had been in the trenches for years looked at each other in amazement. All the awful things people say about Hillary were horribly validated: She didn't deliver on her promises, and then she took credit for a victory achieved without her help.

Now, some friends say, "Come now, Sam -- all politicians are the same. They tell you what you want to hear, and then do the opposite. Get over it!" Others say, "Well, Hillary dropped the ball on that one, but I still trust her on health care, education, abortion, the economy, et cetera."

To these excuses I say: Other politicians from five states had the guts to take a stand on an issue affecting hundreds of thousands of downwind residents; why couldn't Clinton?

Why should we expect her to act differently the next time a major regional controversy hits? If she won't stand up for the health of children and the elderly, and won't expend any political capital to save a broad swath of her own adopted State as its Senator, why should we expect her to behave differently as President?

And why shouldn't I get behind another candidate who is just as strong on core Democratic issues, such as Barack Obama -- whose campaign overtly rejects this cynical brand of politics?

The whole experience brings to mind that phrase famously mangled by our current President: Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on Hillary.

And that's why Senator Clinton doesn't have my vote on Super Tuesday. She will almost certainly carry this State, but our votes can help ensure that at least a portion of New York's delegates to the Democratic convention are awarded to a more deserving candidate. Sam Pratt - Founder - Friends of Hudson

This gave Gretchen enough of an "anyone but Hillary" inclination to pull the lever for someone with a prayer of defeating her (as opposed to, say, Dennis Kucinich, someone who speaks to Gretchen's idealism but, by fully absorbing it, inadvertantly serves the purposes of the evil in the world). So she too voted for Barack Obama. Obama would go on to lose our state, but perhaps we helped him eek out another delegate here (though, like nearly every other New Yorker, I don't actually know what the rules for such things are in our state).
This evening I tried to watch CNN to see the returns come in, but the ad breaks were so long and unbearable that I soon gave up. I'm so spoiled by the instant gratification of the web and the unbroken purity of Tivoized television that watching live teevee is now nearly impossible.
After most of the polling places across the country had closed, Obama gave a "let's keep fighting" speech. It was bland in the way that all speeches given by seasoned national politicians are bland, but he still managed to tap the symbolic points that keep me supporting him. Gretchen thought his handlers should have arranged to have a few more white people standing behind him as he spoke; it looked like an Al Sharpton rally back there, something that might not play so well in the McMansions of Alpharetta, the barios of East Los Angeles, and the dry cleaning shops of Koreatown.

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