31 October 2008

Freezing In Florida

All right, 64 degrees (18C) isn't exactly "freezing," but it's not quite as tropical as one would like to expect after traveling all the way down here from a rather chilly New York. But last night it was down in the 40s, and when I tried to put the heat on in my hotel room, all I got was a burning smell and a jarring blast from the smoke detector.

Things have improved this morning, though, with the sun even showing some signs that it might put it an appearance sometime soon, hopefully by the time I head into Beautiful Downtown Gainesville to collect my official Fest credentials and possibly even watch a band or three.

I hadn't intended to watch any bands last night, and succeeded in that goal, though I came perilously close to it while hunting through BDG for a food establishment other than Subway (not that there's anything wrong with Subway) that stayed open after about 9:30 pm and found myself caught up in a crowd in front of 1982, the place that hosted my favorite show last year.

I wasn't feeling in a particularly punk rock mood, but before I could finish pushing my way through the assembled masses, I ran into Angry Ryan from the PPMB, who I always enjoy chatting to, and by the time we'd finished dissecting everything from the latest band gossip to the Obama-McCain race, I was surrounded by a gang of kids, one of whom was wearing a vintage Lookout Records shirt and gleefully informed me that he "hadn't been born" when Green Day were making their debut album 39/Smooth. Speaking of which, I was checking out the "iQuiz" feature on my iPod and discovered that one of the music trivia questions referred to 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, the title of the CD that compiled their first two EPs along with their first album.

It was an odd feeling, since it was (ahem) I who made up that title, the band having failed to provide me with any alternatives (they'd pulled a similar stunt with the artwork for both the album and the first EP). Then of course I had to spend the next few years hearing from others about how they hated the name, not that any actual members of the band ever told me about it. Apparently the same was true of the Laurie L. "My Adventure With Green Day" story that appeared on the Kerplunk insert, thought I note that it now appears on the band's official fan site, so perhaps they've had a change of heart.

In other news, shortly after arriving in Florida I was excited to hear my very first presidential campaign advertisement. New York having long been a foregone conclusion for the Obama camp, I've neither seen nor heard any advertising there at all, whereas rather the opposite is true here in Florida. I've now been here about 18 hours and have heard enough election adverts to send me screaming for the exits. I've also noted that for the first time I've begun to get a little agitated about the outcome. I'd prefer to simply trust in the good judgment of the American people, even if it should turn out to be different from my own, but there's something about the nonstop barrage of lies and distortions that constitutes the Republican campaign that makes me feel downright queasy at the prospect of them running the country for another four years.

I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the Obama campaign is without its own faults and lily-gilding, but they've been the picture of probity and forthrightness when compared with the brazen pandering and outright lying to which McCain and Palin have stooped. If I were Obama, I'd repeat over and over what he said once last summer, "They must think you're really stupid." It boggles the mind that the party that presided over the biggest spending and the biggest budget deficits in the history of the republic can get away with accusing the Democrats - who under Clinton produced the first balanced budgets and surpluses in decades - of being unable to run the economy.

But before I get carried away and write the whole campaign off as a battle between Reasonably Intelligent and Just Plain Stupid, I need to remind myself that I'm no guaranteed genius either, and that I've picked wrong policies and wrong candidates plenty of times myself. So let's just hope that the public turn out to be smarter than me.

Oh, but speaking of Really, Really Dumb, popping up like a particularly ghoulish Halloween goblin was the tiresome specter of Ralph Nader, back in Florida to try and do again for the nation what he did in 2000: hand the election to the party that stands for the opposite of nearly everything he claims to believe. Naderites still get all whiny and defensive when you point out that despite his claims to be raising issues that the other candidates won't touch, the only, and I repeat ONLY thing Ralph Nader has accomplished by his Stassen-like presidential campaigns is to saddle the nation and the planet with eight years of George Bush. Nobody took Nader at all seriously this year, he having done such a good job of discrediting himself, right?

Well, maybe not. He's polling at about 3% here in Florida. Just enough to possibly tip the state to McCain. If Nader genuinely believes that by doing so he'd be performing anything other than the gravest of disservices to the country and the people he claims to love, then he's ready for the loony bin. God bless him, I know he espouses many excellent positions, and has done some very valuable work in the past, but if his campaign "succeeds" by drawing enough votes to put John McCain (and ultimately, Sarah Palin) in the White House, it would more than negate everything worthwhile he might have done in the past. Please, somebody, put this old goat out to pasture. We have a far better chance of achieving the goals Nader claims to stand for under an Obama presidency, and virtually no chance at all if Ralph's quixotic ego trip helps elect his opposite number president.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry Nader did not hand the state to Gore.

250,000 Democrats voted for Bush in Florida.

Additionally, butterfly ballots that were used in Florida resulted in an anomalously large vote for Pat Buchanan. The unusual way that the ballots were set resulted in confusion for some voters. Although Gore was listed second, the slot harnessed to vote for him was the third slot. Giant arrow pointing to the correct slot aside, some Floridians who intended to vote for Gore accidentally voted for Buchanan. Those who realized their folly quickly corrected themselves by choosing the correct slot. Unfortunately, those who corrected themselves created what is called an overvote and their ballots were discarded. The Palm Beach Post analyzed the discarded ballots and found that 5,330 of them were Gore/Buchanan ballots. If even just over 10% of those voters had appropriately voted for Gore he would have won the election.

The other third parties in Florida were well over the amount between Gore and Bush.

Democratic Party Strategy Surveys have shown that an overwhelming majority of Nader voters would bot have voted for Gore. That in fact he drew many Republican voters as he is this election.

The same study concluded that if Nader was not even in the race in Florida, Bush would have won by.1%

Also, Katherine Harris...the Supreme Court...no mention of that??

What about Gore's campaign? Don't you think it was a horribly ran campaign? Don't you think you should be blaming people who voted for Bush?

I blame them. Anyone who was dumb enough to vote for W should take the full blame, not someone wih the right to run who points out that yes in fact both parties are funded by the same corporations, both are for militarism, both are for corporate welfare, and both are for more destruction of civil liberties, pretty simple.

had the womens suffrage parties and abolitionist parties stopped running, would the other parties platforms have changed as quickly as it did? You see you have a very narrow view of third parties in the first place, Lincoln was a member of a third party when he won..go check that out..

Please stop spreading lies and half truths to make yourself feel good. Go look up the facts and then report back to us. You can use this amazing thing called the internet.... Nader was not a spoiler, he did not give you 8 years of Bush..the people who voted for Bush did.

Anonymous said...

I meant I am sorry Nader did not hand the state to Bush.

My apologies I had Gore in my brain

Larry Livermore said...

Correction: the people who voted for Bush in cooperation with the people who voted for Nader gave us eight years of Bush.

Yes, Nader had every right to run, and yes, people had every right to vote for him. And Nader had many positions worth supporting. But making a principled stand on behalf of those positions (which anyone with a shred of sanity knew had not a snowball's chance in hell of winning) served not only to make Nader voters feel good about themselves and possibly draw some attention to Nader's views, it also carried with it some rather severe consequences, among them eight years of Bush, a ruined national economy, and tens of thousands dead in a hopelessly mismanaged war.

It's kind of like civil disobedience. You can conduct a sit-in or somesuch in pursuit of a very noble cause, and you might even, like the 60s civil rights protesters, end up winning your fight, but there are simultaneous consequences, as in you might get beat up, locked up, or even killed. The only difference is that the consequences of Nader's little sit-in fell on hundreds of millions of people who never had any choice in the matter.

Anonymous said...

So even though, without Nader included in the race, it was found Bush still would have won, does nothing for you. You are sticking with the Nader spoiler theory?


Well let's see you could have had Gore who would have continued he Clinton foreign policy which included multiple military actions, bombing of Iraq, and Sudan. You would have had more support of trade agreements we have seen having negative effects on the U.S and other underdeveloped nations. We would have seen more BS environmentalism via cap and trade, minus real enforcement of the EPA. You wold have had more infrigement of civil liberties to precursors to the PATRIOT ACT like Echelon and low and behold what Joe Biden pushed in the 90's which he states is exactly like the PATRIOT ACT. You would have had more corporatism and corruption in DC. You would have still had 35,000 lobbyists in DC. You would have seen more expanded executive powers(Clinton had the most executive orders of any previous President)

So really I am not seeing where having Nader stand up for progressive ideas was a hindrance, since he did not spoil the election and Gore would have continued more failed policies.

Is the argument Iraq? because Clinton bombed the hell out of those people and left the starving due to our actions.

Also, your argument basically says that the abolitionist and womens suffrage parties ran to no avail and was not worth running to press important issues?

Also, no reference to Katherine Harris or the Supreme Court?

Very strange really. I mean I am sure you are enamored by the Obama fad too. Well my one question to that is, when the Democrats control the house, senate, and executive branch, who will they blame when they are unable to address what the majority of Americans want?

Anonymous said...

Also what about Afghanistan?

Larry Livermore said...

What about Afghanistan? Yes, what about Afghanistan. Please tell us your plan for Afghanistan, and how helping Bush get elected furthered that plan.

And apparently the essence of your argument is the same as Nader's: that there is little or no difference between the Democrats and Republicans and thus it doesn't matter who wins. That Gore would have done some things that you don't approve of is pretty poor evidence for this theory; one of the first lessons of politics is necessarily compromise. Refusing to support any candidate who doesn't agree with you on every issue is childish at best, but when that childishness directly or indirectly hands power to someone who represents nearly the diametrical opposite of the positions you claim to favor, it's downright nihilistic. You become like that Vietnam-era commanding officer who infamously declared, "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."

Anonymous said...

You failed to address the miserable failures of the Clinton Administration..and how the continuance of said failures would have resulted in more death in the middle east, corporate welfare, and attacks on civil liberties.


Well let's see it took the Democrats to back the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, which was started by Brzenski, who said he does nt care if he created Al Qaeda and the Taliban because "what's a few riled up muslims?"

We have the continuace of support of that via the Democratic comtrolled congress.. You have a nation that was cared little about when Clinton/Gore were in office.

Now we have a new president who not only wants to continue the occupation started by Bush, he wants to make it bigger. Redeploy overly stretched troops from Iraq, replace them with private security forces, maintain the green zone in Iraq, keep a strike force there, then expand into Pakistan. That makes a lot of sense and will make the U.S a lot safer.


little word for you to read up on.


You see, I believe in something, you do not, that is fine. That is your right too. I just wish that you would think a little more clearly before you push us into the abyss. Blaming everyone, but yourself and fellow Democrats for not thrashing Bush twice. Perhaps you should stand up for what you believe in and back parties and candidates that best represent that, rather than rewarding a failed party that cannot live up to its promises and actually works against the people that voted them in.

When you have two parties backed by the same money, you really expect me to buy this surface difference crap?

There is time for compromise and there are times to stand for your principles and not compromise on the lives of others in our country and over seas. How many more people have to die for you Democrats to realize that you cannot bomb someone better or the right way in illegal illegitimate wars that cause our nation and the world more distress, lives, and money.

using a surge in Afghanistan will not work.

Letting them rebuild their nation with their own people will and we need to hand it over to them and leave and have neighbors be more involved. Obama is just a salesman convincing the dems and the world that he is some savior for liberalism, a dove, a protector of civil rights. He is none of these. His record proves it, so does Joe Biden's who I think is as sick in the head as Dick Cheney. This is a man who wanted the serbs sent to concentration camps and is one of the biggest hawks on the "left". This is not a shift of power to the people, this is a shift of power in wall street, Obama is their man, he takes three times more money from them than even McCain. That is a tell tale sign that we know Mr. Obama is yet another corporate stooge working for the highest bidder. When that much money gets doled out, you know who is going to come knocking Jan. 21st.

I am so sick of this tough talk faux war hawk nonsense coming from the Democratic party. It is mind boggling. We the American people are tired of the wars. How can you even fathom continuing Bushes War on Terror???? What happened to the Democratic Party? where are the progressives, have you silenced them all? shoved Kucinich in a closet?? You used to stand for the people and logical peaceful means to militarism(minus LBJ)...

It is not just about winning for a party that lost its way. It is about making changes locally, being an active citizen, be involved, holding government accountable and bringing power back to the people of this country not global corporations. Where are the environmentalists??? have we al lost our minds?? "Clean" coal, Nuclear energy, more drilling??

Grow a spine and stand up for the right side.. the one that results in more peace, prosperity, and protection of the american people.

not slogans.

We want new leaders and I know Nader produces them all the time, weird enough, Obama is one of them, yet there was a point in Chicago where Obama decided ambition was better than working to change things. He felt appeasing wall street and the military industrial complex more important than all the good work he did as an organizer.

I think he is the perfect figurehead of a party that is all talk, no action, and more of the same.

Anonymous said...

Also Nader did not get Bush elected. Try to not spread lies, because you have no basis to your arguments. Try researching it a little better before you start spouting off inaccurate information.

Try running better campaigns, and believe in something.

Try not blaming everyone else but yourself and your party...

Can you try that??

Anonymous said...

let me add one other thing..

Nader has been pulling votes from McCain.. if you actually read the polls, so your whole argument is pointless anyways.

If you cannot destroy the GOP in this race, the Democrats ought to just close shop and split up, obviously if you cannot make it happen this year, it will be a mandate, but no worries my little donkey, Obama is going to win in a landslide and you will not have to worry about Florida or Nader drawing votes from Republicans.

Larry Livermore said...

Unfortunately the rest of the world can never be as perfect as you. Hence I am afraid you are doomed to a life of perpetual dissatisfaction.

wookie said...

the only good thing about nader was he has worn the same suit since he framed the poor corvair in the 60s.its all frayed and frazzled, like his political logic.

nader/nadir said...

nader a great consumer advocate: of eight years of neocon philosophy!

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, so standing up against corporatism, militarism, and empowering consumers and citizens "is doomed to a life of perpetual dissatisfaction."

Awesome then count me in. Now, would you like to admit that you have no freaking clue what you are talking about, especially after being addressed with facts and now you can only simply say that I consider myself "perfect".

Guess what, it is not perfection we seek. It is sanity, maybe you should try it and also before you write lame half assed character assassinations you should actually investigate the facts of the said subject and character.

Wookie, better than a 150,000 dollar wardrobe and way better than being in the pocket of wall street. Fuck I would not care if he came out in a burlap sack, who cares? He is not a fashion model he is a full time citizen forced to run because Party Pepsi and Party Coke keep pushing the same product every couple of election. I am sure you are all enamored by cheap slogans. I for one do not get off on the next president talking about expanding wars or bailing out corporate crooks, or even voting to renew the PATRIOT ACT, FISA, and telecomm immunity.

Beyond that. I am so glad the Al Gore took the time away from his mansion after the election to finally say something about global warming since he refused to in 2000. I am so happy he came up with such plans as changing my light bulbs to save the world. Yeah I am so sad that brain trust who helped murder countless thousands did not win in 2000 the whole world would be different. What planet do some of you people live on? Clearly, it is not earth, but then again being blinded by pure collectivism of any sort is a purely human reaction to the world we live. I guess we can't blame just you, it's in your genes. Of course, sadly we share the same ones and I to fall into this category, but I learned something on this trip...

do not reward failure.

stand up for your neighbors, because we need each other.

Care about where your money goes, make sure it does not go to pay off illegal wars and crooks.

A few simple things in life you can learn to live by, but maybe with age you will all figure it out.


again, that makes no sense, seeing as Bush gave you eight years of that, the people who voted for him, and Al Gore's horrible campaign. Pretty simple...

stop blaming everyone else for your failures.

rinse and repeat.