Thursday, December 14, 2006

During a NewsHour segment on generational differences in the workplace, Deloitte & Touche analyst Stan Smith said this:

Basically, it's Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. And the differences, I think, are well known in some cases. I'd put it this way: the Baby Boomers are "Work, work, work." It's a very important part of their lives. Gen X is "Work, work... I want to work some more, let's talk about it." And Gen Y is "Work, work... you want me to work even more? How lame. I think I'll IM my friends and tell you how lame you are, for asking me to work even more."
Amusingly accurate.

According to The Swamp, John Edwards will announce on Friday, December 29. A bit late for the holiday season, but agreeably soon all the same.

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson suffered some sort of medical emergency this afternoon; no word on what it was (a spokesman has denied that it was a stroke, as was widely reported earlier), but as of about 5:30 this morning, he was still in surgery.

The big-picture potential for this, of course, is the Democratic majority: if Johnson's incapable of serving come January, the Republican governor of South Dakota can appoint any replacement he likes; the appointment of a Republican would could give control of the Senate back to the Republicans.

When I first saw the stories this afternoon, my gut reaction to the Democratic-majority talk was discomfort: the man's suffered some sort of medical calamity, his life may be in danger, and within the first three sentences of every story is a mention of the fact that his incapacitation could hurt the balance of the Senate? But - as one might conclude from the fact that I'm writing about it now - I got over that. I wish him well, and I hope he gets better, in the same way that I'd hope that anyone who suffered a medical calamity got better (even a Republican).1 But I think I'll be pulling for Johnson a bit harder than I'd be pulling for most other people. Because while his incapacitation (or worse) would be terrible for him and his family, it has the potential to be disastrous for the Democratic party.

Now, granted, even in the event of Republican control of the Senate, we're probably not talking catastrophe: the House would remain a solid buffer to GOP malfeasance. But the Senate, all by itself, has the potential to do serious harm (anyone else fake-coughing Sam Alito's name right now?). Suppose, God forbid, that John Paul Stevens suffered some sort of medical disaster. The difference between that happening while the Senate is controlled by the Democrats and that happening while the Senate is controlled by the Republicans could be the difference between Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy (or, perish the thought, David Souter).

There's a good chance that won't become an issue, of course. And there's even a very good chance that the Senate could spend the next two years as a Republican body and not have all too negative a net effect. But the potential exists that a Republican Senate could have a drastically negative effect. And for that reason, the fact that Tim Johnson's hospitalization could jeopardize the Democratic majority is probably bigger news, in the long run, than the fact of Tim Johnson's hospitalization all by itself. Hence this post.

Sorry, Senator. Get well soon.

1 - Okay, most Republicans.

Sam Brownback thinks there's "room in the [Republican] party" for pro-gay-rights candidates. Which shocked me, until I read the next paragraph, and realized that he said it in response to a question about Mitt Romney. Ouch. (I think the rough analogy on my side of the aisle would be if Evan Bayh, in response to a question about Joe Biden, told a reporter there's room in the Democratic party for racists.)

(And for the record, I don't think Joe Biden's a racist, any more than I think Mitt Romney is pro-gay-rights.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Via Last Call comes this exceedingly amusing revelation from Katrina vanden Heuvel:

Gore's global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, has been a triumph for the issue itself and Gore's reputation. It has been short-listed for the Oscar's documentary category, as it should be. But wait, there's more. Also on the short list is a dark horse candidate, An Unreasonable Man, a documentary about the political life of (natch) Ralph Nader.

So here we are six years later faced with the potential of another Gore v Nader race. Will Nader siphon off enough votes to cost Gore yet another victory? Given the makeup of the 5,830 Academy voters, largely older and significantly Jewish, will Florida be the deciding battleground?
This is fantastic. If An Inconvenient Truth ends up finishing a close second to Jesus Camp, and An Unreasonable Man had enough votes to make the difference, one has to imagine the odds are good that Al Gore will literally have Ralph Nader killed.

According to a poll CNN released this morning, fully 62% of the country believes "America is ready" for a black president. And a solid 60% say the same about a female president.

Now if only they'd asked how many of those people were lying....