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Thursday, October 04, 2007  

Walter Kirn recently described the human mind as "a small ethereal colosseum where angels smite demons and demons play dead." I thought of that quote when I saw this picture by Alex Brown (via BoingBoing). I have no idea why, but I did.

This poor little fucker, drowning in technology and media, he never had a chance. That's the problem with children and media. It provides these elaborately constructed fantasies that never live up to the promise, a promise that kids have a grand capacity to believe, over and over again. The kid got the mask and probably thought it would be the coolest thing ever. But it's not. He's not Darth Vader. He's just a little kid sitting by himself in a sterile corner of a shitty fast food restaurant with a plastic bucket on his head. When the media feed is removed, we all feel a little self conscious in that moment - a little foolish for letting ourselves forget that it's all bullshit.

But, hold on, that's just cheap pathos - there's no such person as Bobby Shaftoe, but I sure think everyone ought to read Cryptonomicon. The little fantasies of childhood are just training for the bigger and better ones of adulthood, in a sense, including that disappointment when the lights come on and you are just some 8-year-old jerkwad in an ewok costume. One of many things you have to learn, some fun, some not so fun.

Still, look at him.

Poor little guy.

Plus, diving helmets!

Also, I like to see this kind of rapid, effective response politics being done by any democratic campaign:

Supporters of Rudolph W. Giuliani and of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton are embroiled in their first major affray of the political season over a ballot initiative on presidential electoral votes some 2,500 miles from the pancake houses of Skaneateles, N.Y., and the fire stations of Queens.

The fight could be a telling prelude to the 2008 presidential contest, with the political instincts and strategies long employed by Mr. Giuliani, a Republican, and Mrs. Clinton, a Democrat, cast in sharp relief. The battle has reflected their political set-to in 2000, when they squared off briefly over a United States Senate seat in New York, and could foreshadow how the game will be played should they become their parties’ nominees.

The proposed measure here would ask voters to apportion electoral votes by Congressional district, potentially giving the Republican nominee in 2008 some 20 of the state’s 55 votes — the rough equivalent of winning Illinois or Pennsylvania — in this otherwise reliably Democratic state.

Such a change could amount to a seismic shift in the nation’s electoral dynamics, potentially springboarding a Republican into the White House, and the possibility has animated hopeful Republicans and fearful Democrats.

Started by a Republican lawyer in California, the measure has been driven almost entirely by people who are associated with or have given money to Mr. Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

The effort to kill the initiative — executed with a swift fierceness almost unheard of against an initiative in such an early stage — has been led by a bevy of Clinton supporters, including a former Clinton White House official, prominent elected Democratic supporters and one of Mrs. Clinton’s most prolific fund-raisers.

“Clinton’s people have taken the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive military strikes against hostile nations and applied it to domestic campaigns,” said Bruce E. Cain, director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “As for Giuliani, he was trying to fight under the radar, and it must be clear to him now that that will not work with Hillary.”

[ . . . ] Mr. Lehane, whose thumbs are no doubt sore from constant BlackBerry messages to reporters, has raised endless questions about the source of financing on the other side. The group initiated a complaint with the Federal Election Commission questioning the ties of the measure’s supporters to Mr. Giuliani, largely because Mr. Singer did not immediately reveal himself to be the donor behind the effort. The Democratic group even dug up a charges from a 17-year-old lawsuit against one official backing the initiative, a charge involving the biting of a woman’s bottom, and disseminated that as well.

Amid the accusations and pitfalls, Thomas Hiltachk, the lawyer who drafted the initiative, walked away from the effort, citing ethical concerns about the way the money was raised. His resignation has left the initiative’s future in serious jeopardy, and many Republican consultants around the state are advising their clients and friends to steer clear of the effort, suggesting it will be challenged on constitutional grounds if it passes.

Still, some Republicans are seeing a missed opportunity, worried that the Giuliani loyalists are being outmaneuvered by the Clinton loyalists.

“Lehane did a good job of rallying the entire Democratic establishment to be vocal and aggressively against this,” said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist who ran Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. “And the gang that couldn’t shoot straight proved their worth.”

Via Kevin Drum. I love to see stuff like this. Turning aggressive moves by GOP fixers into stumbling blocks, leaving them in the media to look stupid for a few minutes, then deep-sixing them. This could all turn around, I suppose, but in the short term, this is the kind of campaign that's going to be necessary for a Democrat. Think about it. In an election year where the GOP are clearly the underdogs and have almost nothing positive to run on, do you think their tactics this time around are going to be more or less sleazy, duplicitous, aggressive and conscience-free than those employed during 2004, The Year of the Swift Boat? Yeah, that's what I think too. I have mixed feelings about HRC, but I know for sure that a Giuliani presidency would represent the starting gun for the Apocalypse, and we're going to need counterpunchers.



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