Electoral Inflation

A local newspaper article about the upcoming election mentioned the going rate for buying votes in Eastern KY this year is $75/vote! We’ve come a long way since the dollar and shot of whisky that I remember. In fact, it was 30 years ago, 1972, when I sat in a campaign organizational meeting and listened to a party hack read a precinct by precinct accounting of his Election Day expenses for the previous year’s Congressional election.

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Celebrity Endorsements

Today I got a flyer in the mail from Charlton Heston, and a telephone message from \"NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip.\" It\’s a good thing Darrell told me why he was famous, or I wouldn\’t have known. Anyway, both of my good buddies were urging me to vote for Mitch McConnell in the upcoming Senate election, in order to preserve our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Since neither one of them is from Kentucky, I suppose it\’s not surprising that they don\’t really have a firm grasp of the issues in this race. Mitch\’s opponent, Lois Weinberg, doesn\’t seem to support gun control any more than Mitch does. It\’s the First Amendment she wants to repeal, not the Second. But I don\’t suppose Charlton and Darrell want to open that can of worms. They probably think supporting free speech is unpatriotic too. What really perplexes me is why Mitch thinks that someone\’s ability to drive a car in circles real fast would make me likely to be swayed by his political analysis.

Justice or Bloodthirst

I see that prosecutors in VA, MD, AL, and the US DOJ are arguing over who gets to fry the DC snipers. I think this is a reflection of our violent, vengeful, vindictive society. Certainly these guys, especially the older one, need to do some serious time somewhere, maybe life (I don\’t support state-sanctioned killing). But that\’s going to happen regardless of jurisdiction. I think if I lived in one of the states where they\’d been murdering people, I\’d be happy to see some other state bear the cost of trying and imprisoning them. This trial is going to be expensive and disruptive. It needs to happen. But it\’s not the kind of thing that anybody should take pleasure in. It\’s an ugly job that needs to be done. I just don\’t understand everybody clamoring to be the one who gets to do it.

Spooky Season

I can’t help but wonder if somebody’s twisted sense of humor was the reason for Halloween and Election Day being so close together.
There’s a lot to ponder this season. The news is full of the tragic death of Senator Paul Wellstone and several members of his family and staff. Everyone who knew anything about him seems to agree that he was a rare species, a successful politician with a conscience.

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Give Peace a Chance

As I mentioned earlier, I joined the peace rally in Lexington Sunday, since Arthur’s leg wound looked like it would benefit from some more time off.
I’d been planning to take the digital camera, but I forgot. I really regretted that when I looked across the crowd and saw my father standing with his cane, in a camo jacket, holding a poster that said “Peace”.
Local newspaper coverage estimated the crowd at 200. That seems reasonable. I would have guessed a little higher, but I’ve always been a lousy judge of crowd numbers.
(When I was an Episcopal acolyte, one of my tasks was to count the congregation during the sermon and tell the minister, so he could judge how much bread and wine to consecrate.
I usually just made up numbers.)

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Keep America Safe AND Free

US Attorney General John Ashcroft, armed with the USA PATRIOT act, is doing far more than any terrorist could to destroy the freedom which makes our country great.
He and his henchmen are trying to sell the idea (or just force it down our throats) that we must sacrifice freedom for safety.
A Wired News article describes the ACLU’s new Keep America Safe and Free campaign, “saying there doesn’t have to be a choice. We can stay safe and free at the same time.”

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Duelling Dickheads

I haven\’t been able to track down the complete story, but I\’ve heard rumors and fragments of a report that a high-ranking Iraqi official has suggested a duel between W and Saddam. I haven\’t heard a response from either side. But considering all the Bush family\’s macho posturing on this issue, this seems like an opportunity that W couldn\’t pass up. And surely Saddam is crazy enough to go along. It really sounds like a no-lose proposition fur the US. Worst case is we end up with Saddam still running Iraq (or running amok), and Dick Cheney running the US. And isn\’t that just where we are now?

More Mealy-Mouthed Media

I noticed a one-paragraph article buried in the middle of the Sunday newspaper reporting that thousands of Italians rallied in Rome, Venice, and other cities to protest the United States\’ plans for war in Iraq. Our media seem determined not to make us aware of the fact that we are dangerously isolating ourselves from the rest of the world and making ourselves even more a target for terrorism.

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Media Bias?

OK ..here’s something to think about. Earlier, I mentioned the Liberty and Livelihood march in London, which drew 400,000 marchers in protest of a proposed ban on foxhunting and other urban assaults on the rural way of life. The news media in this country covered it very prominently. That’s understandable, since a protest of that size really is newsworthy, wherever it occurs and whatever it’s about.

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