Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Monday Morning Addled

with 6 comments

So, okay.  My head is still full of Gregor, as it’s going to be for the next couple of weeks.  And when my head is full of Gregor, I tend not to be able to really focus on anything else.

That said, some observations from my week:

One of the reasons I like Perry Mason novels, and a lot of Fifties television, is that they were conceived and written before everybody in the country was watching his weight.

When Perry Mason takes Della Street out for dinner, she orders a steak and a baked potato dripping with butter, and she finishes it.  If anybody has problems with food, it’s with not getting enough of it.  People run around doing things, and then they’re famished, and then they can’t get to dinner fast enough, and they complain.

The “got to watch my calories and keep my figure” thing started in the Sixties, at least on a broad scale, and I suppose that’s another black mark against the Extreme Decade. 

I have no idea where my balance sheet bottom line is on whether I loved or hated the Sixties, but here we are.

Last week was the week of March 1, which is traditionally the week we get our biggest nor’easter of the winter.  We did get snow, but it was on the order of about two inches, and didn’t even require shoveling the walk. 

Most years, we get about two feet.  By this time last year, there was so much snow the banks of it on the sides of my walk were over my head.  If this is the most of winter we’re going to get, I say yay. 

The Republican primary process has now gone on for so long, it’s made my skull numb.

If it had just been primaries, I don’t think it would have been so bad, but the primaries have been accompanied by endless debates that never seem to come to any kind of conclusion.

I’ll admit that I don’t know what kind of conclusion I want them to reach, but by now my politics-addled brain just wants them to settle on something.

The only definitive conclusion I’ve come to so far is that I’m fed up with the people–starting with Alan Colmes, speaking on Fox News–who make fun of Rick Santorum and his wife, or call them crazy, by the way they responded to the death of their child.  This does not seem to be a legitimate part of the political process.

I will, in case you’re wondering, put up with the endless (on both sides) and almost certainly deliberate (on both sides) misstatements about the other sides positions, or the blithe ignorance of the particulars of those positions. 

I’ll put up with a lot in the way of cheap shots, too. 

But the man had lost a child.  Let it go.

I do admit that I find it less and less possible, over time, to keep the whole political thing in my head.

I am tired, however, of the constant attempts to get one or another commentator pushed off the air or fired from his university teaching job because he said X, whatever X said.

I find it literally impossible to listen to talk radio–it’s just too damned distracting in the car, and I don’t have a radio in the house–so I’m not 100% sure what Rush Limbaugh said, but from all reports, he behaved like a jerk.

Getting him shoved off the air, however, would not be a victory for anybody but the Nurse Ratcheds–only OFFICIAL speech is allowed!  Rights come with “responsibilities.”

No, they don’t. 

Rights are close to absolute claims against government power.  That’s why they’re rights instead of priveleges.

That said, the right is against the use of GOVERNMENT power, which means that calls to boycott Rush’s sponsors so that he’s no longer on the air do not constitute “censorship.”

I wish everybody could get this into their heads.

I wish the right could get it straight now, with Rush, and that the left would get it straight the next time some private group or business decides not to carry their favorite book or magazine.

And yes, I am very close to the grand old tradition of “a pox on both their houses.”

That said, the local political landscape here is very odd. 

By local I mean very, very local–school board, probate judge,  first selectman.

You literally cannot tell anything here from party affiliation.  The “cut the budget and never raise taxes” parties in the towns out here are as likely to be Democrats and Republicans. 

Some of the towns out here, especially the ones that are doing the rural equivalent of gentrifying, have spawned Independent parties whose focus is on increasing funding for public schools in order to provide more AP classes, more foreign languages, and that kind of thing. 

That’s because the towns’ traditional parties are both of the opinion that the schools should provide something basic and vocational, and beyond that you should send your kids to private schools.

Which, in some towns farther up in the hills, might mean an hour commute each way.

Whatever the particular constellation of issues, however, it’s as if local politics has come completely unmoored from the national variety–as if they’ve taken “a pox on both your houses” to the extreme of just ignoring what’s going on in Hartford and Washington completely.

And that has some interesting implications for the long term.  National politicians start out as local politicians.  This is the pipeline that will produced Democrat and Republican candidates for elections to Congress, the Senate and, maybe, the presidency.

If  this keeps up, another dozen years and you’re going to see Connecticut politicians with familiar labels and completely unfamiliar policies.

But the big kicker in my week so far has been this: 

There is a case in Oregon where parents are suing the hospital where their child was born because the hospital failed to detect that that child would have Down Syndrome when born.

Therefore, they went ahead with a pregnancy they wouldn’t have continued if they’d known.

The child is now four years old.

And all they can think of is that they’d have preferred to have her dead.

Give me Rick Santorum singing to his dead baby any day.

Written by janeh

March 5th, 2012 at 11:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses to 'Monday Morning Addled'

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  1. Okay. This is to see if this works…


    5 Mar 12 at 11:58 am

  2. Really local politics – the town and city variety – don’t have party allegiances around here. Provincial politicians do, but they have, at least in my home province, absolutely no connection to the parties of the same name at the federal level. In fact, the then-provincial premier actively campaigned against the Prime Minister not that long ago, although they are both Conservatives (well, PC in the local case. It’s a long story). I think this is encouraged by the fact that no provincial politician ever lost votes by claiming that the federal government was, is or will be doing us wrong either deliberately or through ignorance and incompetence.

    All our parties have platforms, of course, and documents explaining their positions, which are often remarkably similar one to the other. But when push comes to shove, local interests seem to prevail at the ballot box.


    5 Mar 12 at 1:23 pm

  3. Local politics as pipeline–maybe in Connecticut. Maybe. It was true nationally from George Washington through Harry Truman, but starting with FDR, things have been different.

    When you and Gregor take a break, list 12 nationally prominent politicians of your choice over the past, say 15 years, and look up their careers. I’ll bet you an LCL volume to an NESFA hardcover that no more than two will EVER have held local elective office.

    The working assumption at Harvard and Yale Law these days is that a degree from them is sufficient training and experience for the US House of Representatives. I question that assumption.

    Me? The cursus honorum if I could get away with it–miitary, judicial AND executive experience before you get to make laws or declare war. Otherwise, no national office under 40, no former aids, staffers or spouses ever, and after 12 years they’re not only removed from office, they’re forbidden to live within 50 miles of DC.


    5 Mar 12 at 6:52 pm

  4. The other day I suggested to my husband that we’d do better with a Presidential term of 6 years, a single term. We’d get just as much useful work out of the President, since now they spend years 3 & 4 campaigning for re-election anyway. We’d also save all that tax-payer-funded security for campaign activities.

    And each president would start his tenure as a lame duck, with one shot to make his/her mark, to leave a legacy, or whatever else they have in mind.


    5 Mar 12 at 7:23 pm

  5. Poor America! Just look at the shambles that is Europe and all who sail in her and, when you’ve stopped laughing, pick almost any Australian newspaper you can think of. Read about the continuing soap opera down here and count your blessings.


    5 Mar 12 at 7:38 pm

  6. My main objection to our PM’s move to fixed terms (he’s said to be very influenced by American political theory) was exactly that; we’d end up with lame duck governments and precious little real work done.

    Of course, as soon as he saw a political advantage in calling an election before his ‘fixed term’ was up, he did so.


    6 Mar 12 at 7:53 am

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