- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Somebody please pinch me – it has to be a bad dream
Things get in the way. This morning I was going to write the second installment of a story begun last week but it wasn’t to be. On Friday last, the postie – that’s Australian for mailman or, in my case, mailwoman – delivered a piece of junk mail that saw Rabbie Burns’ Law kick in. The Great Scot’s ghost was still hovering about the house when I read a Dana Milbank (Washington Post) piece in the Opinion pages of Sunday’s Lexington Herald-Leader, and is looking over my shoulder today as I listen to UK’s public radio station WUKY. I was going to ignore it, but it’s just no good to try; part two will have to wait while I get this off my chest. I’ll deal with Burns’ mischief-making in reverse, beginning with this morning. Here goes.
This morning WUKY reported on the results of a study into the eruditeness, or rather lack of it, among lawmakers in Washington. The study found that the level of debate among federal legislators is now about equal to that of middle-school students. I will, however, say it’s probably a world-wide phenomenon: I know Australian parliamentarians aren’t much better. What has happened? Back in the very late 19th century, when Australia was gaining nationhood, the following exchange* was recorded in the Parliamentary Hansard:
The Hon. The Member for Yarra: The Honourable Member opposite has got the brains of a sheep.
Hon. Members: Shame, shame. For Shame.
The Hon. The Member for Ballarat: Mr Speaker, I demand the member for Yarra withdraw that remark.
The Hon. Speaker of the House: Yes. The Hon. The Member for Yarra will withdraw that remark.
The Hon. The Member for Yarra: Mr Speaker, I apologize and withdraw. The Hon. Member opposite does not have the brains of a sheep.
How many of the current crop of politicians anywhere would get the joke, let alone be capable of a repartee anything like it? And so to Sunday’s paper.
According to Dana Milbank, Sen. Rand Paul, most eccentric of the Tea Party’s Mad Hatters (my words), told a meeting in Iowa that he wasn’t sure President Obama’s view of marriage could “…get any gayer.” According to Milbank, Paul – I won’t dignify him with a title because he, along with many Republicans and teevee ‘journalists’, denies the President that courtesy – wants to cut Social Security benefits by nearly 40 per cent, slash defense spending to “catastrophic levels” and end Medicare for current and future recipients within two years.
Paul, Milbank goes on, also will eliminate the departments of commerce, education, energy, housing as well as gut homeland security and programs for the poor while reducing the top tax rate to 17 per cent. (I know that Paul also opposes government oversight of home-schooling and wants to get rid of the EPA because it is “anti-coal”.) Paul doesn’t have to get it. He is the joke.
And now to one of my pet gripes: telecommunications and the ISPs and teevee service retailers who allege they give us blisteringly fast internet and unsurpassed programming. Among Friday’s mail was a flyer from my ISP, HughesNet, urging me to make the most of my service. Dripping with hyperbole about the wonders of its technology and the assurance that there are “so many reasons to love” my service, it told me that Gen4 is getting closer. My ISP’s “bold new service” will “revolutionize the world of satellite internet” – its bolded type, not mine. However, within the spiel for this “dramatically faster” service was revealed the reason my internet service is so crappy: HughesNet doesn’t know where its satellites are. According to the blurb, the new satellite is on its way to a rocket launch site in French New Guinea.
That’s right, my ISP is sending a satellite to French New Guinea, a country that doesn’t exist. From this I can only assume the company has done this on previous occasions and, because its whizzkids don’t know the exact orbits – other than somewhere in the southern sky – its earth stations only manage to pick up intermittent signals from other satellites, hence the patchy service in Stamping Ground, Kentucky.
Can’t you hear the conversation in the shipping line’s boardroom? “We’ve got another booking from HughesNet. They want to send a satellite to French New Guinea this time. Where did the last one go? Scottish New Caledonia, that’s it. Just tell the captain the same thing; sail around the South Pacific for three months or so then drop it off on an island somewhere. Should do wonders for the bottom line.”
Like Rand Paul, HughesNet is lost in space. It’d be funny if I wasn’t paying for both of them.
*I can’t remember the seats the members represented and couldn’t find the reference in which it is recorded, though it’s in my shelves somewhere, but I’ll vouch for the accuracy of the dialog.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Tuesday morning, you may have heard, there was an explosion in a maintenance shed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport here in the Big Peach. It killed the power to Concourse D, so officials evacuated the folks there to Concourse E. When the power was restored, everybody went on their merry ways. But lawdamursy, did Twitter ever light up. I used "Atlanta airport" and "Hartsfield" as my search terms ... and you seriously wouldn't believe all the "OMG WHAT IS GOING ON IN ATLANTA" tweets. Especially after some poor soul thought a minor explosion at the airport would make a good cover for Read on →
There are many congressional districts where Democrats have nearly zero chance of winning anytime soon. The recent victory of the disgraced Mark Sanford in a South Carolina congressional race shows how safe a Republican seat can be. The difficulty of winning these seats, paradoxically, presents an important opportunity for Democrats. In the short run, the political battle in America is over who will hold the offices where laws get made. In the long run, the battle is over shaping the public consciousness that determines to whom the people will give power. For the latter purpose, Democrats in very red districts can make an Read on →
Those hosting last year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte filed a report with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for items missing or stolen during the week long convention totaling nearly half a million dollars, according to Steve Harrison in today’s Charlotte Observer: "The Democratic National Convention Committee said it recently sent the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a spreadsheet detailing $496,000 worth of missing equipment. CMPD created an incident report in May. "Among the missing items: MacBook Pro laptops, iPads, iPod Nanos, computer printers, and BlackBerrys. "'It’s commonplace for stuff to go missing," said Joseph Sandler, a Washington, D.C., attorney handling media calls about the issue for the D Read on →
In my first experience of euphoria, prelude to a bipolar life, I experienced an inspiration. It was exhilarating, profound, an insight that would not be possible in a normal frame of mind. I attempted without success to share this amazing revelation with others. Even my loved ones dismissed it as an example of my frame of mind that they would rather forget. One cannot blame them. If a saint walks into a prison and spreads a little happiness, he won’t be perceived as a saint, more like a ‘decent bloke.’ I am not ‘a nutcase’, but that is how people perceive Read on →