Notes on Thanksgiving

From my always interesting apartment window this morning I spotted a bald eagle flying by. I couldn’t help but think how lucky eagles are that we don’t eat them for Thanksgiving. I cannot think of anything more graciously patriotic than supping on our majestic national carrion bird.

Our menu last night was similar to the last time we hosted Thanksgiving (turkey but no bald eagle), but I substituted cornbread stuffing for the couscous stuffing. It was hardly worth the extra effort of baking up the cornbread. A tip about internet recipes: unlike recipes in a cookbook, they have no editor or profit motive to make them logical or precise. I would exercise extreme caution, especially with any cornbread stuffing recipe that calls for two sticks of butter, a quart of buttermilk, and ten eggs. No wonder this country leads the world in 400-pounders. The recipe might have simply said, “Tilt refrigerator and empty contents in to pot. Cook until done, stirring occasionally.”  I spent most of Wednesday evening scraping the overflowed, burnt-on butter out of my oven. If I ever try that again, a simple polenta with vegetables mixed in ought to do the trick.

On another note: I don’t often use celery, but it amuses me how chopped cross-sections of the stalk look like inchworms.

Furthermore: I see a little uptick in website traffic, probably from friends and family reading the Thanksgiving poem.

The day after

Wait, what’s that sound? A phone… not ringing?

Now that this election is over, it seems like a lot of time, effort, and money just to maintain the status quo. I’m starting to suspect that’s what our political system is all about, though. I’m also very aware of the complete lack of substance in this presidential election. I honestly have no idea what Barack Obama intends to do with another four years, but in retrospect that’s not what this election was about. It was more about arresting the tide of crazy washing over this country. It indeed looks like the “Tea Party” was a mid-term fluke born of low voter turnout. According to yesterday’s results, when normal Americans actually show up to vote the outcome is fairly reasonable. I hope there is a lesson learned here.

Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

I submit this to article from The Atlantic, “Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama” by Conor Friedersdorf to my friends and relatives (particularly my uncle), many of whom are good liberals justifiably terrified by the prospect of Mitt Romney (and whatever he stands for) and his conservative comrades entering the White House.


Blowing off political steam

In swing-state, first-caucus-in-the-nation Iowa, the presidential election has been going on since 2011. And tomorrow it will be over. Thank heavens. We’re sick of the phone calls. Half the time there is nobody on the other end, I think because the dialing systems are automated and wait for you to answer to before connecting the caller or the recording. If it sounds incredibly obnoxious, it is, and has endeared me to no candidate or party. Good riddance.

Speaking of politics, today’s Press-Citizen ran a vapid guest opinion column by Lee Hamilton, a former Congressman. It’s one of these periodic lectures about the decline of civil political discourse that newspaper editors and other self-important people feel obliged to unload on us. Nowhere in his column does Hamilton call out who is responsible for this degeneration of dialogue. That kind of pussy-footing around the problem is also part of the problem. I’m pretty sure we can identify the main culprits: they exist mostly in right-wing media outlets.

But it’s not entirely their fault, either. Consider the state of democracy in the United States of America. We’ll probably congratulate ourselves if fifty percent of eligible voters show up to vote tomorrow. Of those, because of the artifact in our constitution known as the Electoral College, candidates only court voters in a handful of toss-up states (like Iowa).

Within the swing-states there are swing voters, the undecided folks that candidate care about the most. These are the people who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and then, after he did pretty much everything he said he was going to do, decided they didn’t like him or his party and voted them out of office in 2006 and 2008. Really, you didn’t think the Iraq War would be a dishonest disaster? You didn’t think financial deregulation would destabilize our economy? Then, they voted for Barack Obama and were suddenly disappointed by… what, exactly? His promised passage of health care reform? That he wasn’t a magic fairy who would solve all our problems?

These are the people we can blame the decline of political discourse on. There is always room for thoughtful consideration of the candidates and the solutions they offer. But that’s not really what we’re talking about, is it? We’re talking about being influenced by the last negative ad, the last gaffe, the last poll numbers. We’re talking about these mindless running dogs of the corporate media, waiting for Brian Williams or Bill O’Reilly or whoever to tell them what to do. Lee Hamilton can save his little lecture for these few.