Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sauce for the Goose

Picking up on Andrew Sullivan's dialogue on the stimulus package:

Matt Welch tangles with Larison, a Kossack, and me:

'Obama is skillfully turning the meaning of the word "bipartisan" into "the coalition that agrees with my magnanimous self."'

Once again I cannot help but laugh at the RWNM's umbrage at the comparatively modest moves Obama makes to forward his agenda, conveniently forgetting God's Own Party's efforts to not merely silence but eradicate the opposition when it had the chance. Remember "you're either with us, or against us," "soft on terrorism," "enabling the terrorists," and all the cracks about "real Americans" they spouted over the last eight years? Funny how when the GOP does it it's good and just and righteous, but when Democrats do anything remotely resembling it that's despicable. Never mind the argument centres around efforts to resurrect a moribund economy; an economy the Republicans torpedoed so regularly that the Musashi got the kid glove treatment by comparison.

It's good to see Sullivan is amused/outraged as I am at this.


The first one. Meet my baby. Rest in peace, sweetheart.


Let me see: the local economy is in shambles, the pundits are predicting Florida will be among the last to recover, the housing market is crushed, the former Elections Supervisor for Hillsborough County is in hot water for an array of misdeeds while in office...

... and what does plaster all over their page? The Superbowl.

Granted, the Superbowl is a big deal. But the home team isn't playing this time, and there are a number of other ongoing stories that matter to the locals. It's good that we know what streets are closed for the weekend, and that police are on alert, but there has to be SOMETHING else worth writing about.

Oh. Yeah. Tampa. I forgot.

Rove on Work

And so it goes.

Karl Rove has actually had the temerity to suggest that Obama trim staff and work less.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Rove sharply criticizes the new administration for its apparent lack of objective direction ("his is one of many of Mr. Obama's changes to the management structure of the White House that will likely undermine his stated aims and create a more centralized and possibly incoherent policy process.") and his work ethic ("Mr. Obama's tendency to work late into the night will also pose problems."), saying that Obama should trim staff and put in fewer hours in order to improve productivity and create a more cohesive policy.

Jason Jenkins at Huffington Post has an absolutely delicious dissection of Rove's arguments here.

I'm eternally amused at the departing [mal]administration's criticism of the new team in the White House. After all, we've just survived eight years of something. I still cannot determine whether that something was blithe incompetence or the most canny destruction of the existing governmental institution since King John was first handed the Magna Carta. Eight years of Imperial Roman politicking (you're in charge until someone puts a stiletto between your ribs), Spartan public ethics (it's only wrong if you get caught, and even then you can find a scapegoat), and the kind of hubris that makes Louis XIV (l'etat c'est moi) look positively egalitarian and pluralist. Criticism from such seems far more like praise than condemnation.

And lest we forget, we're hearing this from the mover/shaker behind the president most likely to be on vacation in the entire history of the United States, whose shake-up of the executive branch sent whole departments' worth of skilled public servants to the unemployment line simply for not being True Believers.

There's a lot to be done in Washington these days. Our economy is in shambles, and our reputation abroad is hardly in better shape (which makes foreign policy, trade, economic policy and relations with international business partners just that much more difficult). And those of us in the workplace are tired of being called lazy and greedy by a president who seemingly spent more time clearing brush than doing his job. The Obama team is presenting a good public face at the same time they're actively working to tackle the country's problems. I may reserve judgment on their efforts for the moment, but the fact that they're actually working at their jobs, instead of hiding on some secluded location far from the action, speaks volumes.

Casting Off

Welcome one and all to this, my new 'blog.

I suppose I should say something about myself. I'm a not-quite-baby-boomer, not-quite-GenX IT professional, former performer, living and working in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I've been watching and commenting elsewhere for some time, and finally have taken the time and effort to 'blog myself.

The 'blog title comes from the days when I was living aboard my baby out West. As a Navy brat, and something of a sailor, the moniker and 'blog title just seemed to come naturally. I no longer have the boat, but I recall those days fondly, and hope to return to life on the water.

Politically, I suppose I fall into the moderate category, but driven leftward by the new Right. I was a solid Republican for many years, but one in the mold of Margaret Chase Smith, Bill Cohen and other "Maine Republicans:" fiscally conservative, socially conscious, and inclined toward domestic policies and away from international adventure and interventionism. The logic was that if we took care of our own, stayed out of other nation's business, and promoted industry whilst containing excess we would all prosper. Somewhere along the way I discovered the GOP had no interest in any of these things - indeed, had developed a taste for the converse of every principle. I don't feel I quite fit into the Progressive camp naturally, but I find more in common with Progressivism than with neoConservatism.

Outside of that, I maintain an interest if not an involvement with theatre and film, interest in science fiction, pets (I've had several dogs and presently a cat tolerates me), politics and economics - particularly family and elder issues, and goings on in the Tampa Bay. You will see most of this here as time progresses, though I'm far more likely to post a "sighting" of some interesting ship than the inevitable "catblogging" post.

Many thanks to the crew at Shakesville, and to Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof, who have encouraged me to take this step for some time now.

For now, please follow all instructions given by your captain and crew, know how to use your life vest and how to get to the lifeboats, always know where your towel is, and welcome aboard