saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (us)
A dark science fiction drama: "A world divided. A society consumed by drugs. And one outsider who dares to make a difference. Brave. New. World!" Coming soon to theaters in 3D & Digital Surround Sound. You'll feel like you're there! Video game in stores December first. Multiplayer online role-playing game scheduled for release in January.


What If We Really Like Digital Surround Sound and Cheap Pharmaceuticals? )
saavedra77: On HBO's Rome, Posca knows that pride goeth before a fall. (Pride Fall Rome)
The libertarian habit of seeming to claim a monopoly on "reason" or "rationality" can be irritating. But one supposes that heightened self-confidence represents a sort of prerequisite for playing on that team ...
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
Ironically, despite dramatic Republican defeats in two consecutive Congressional elections, the party's loss of the White House, and its current minority status both in and out of government, a trio of Republican senators have emerged as the 111th Congress' key power brokers: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter. For the foreseeable future, the fortunes of both the Obama Administration and Congress' Democratic majority are going to be tied to their ability to woo members of this troika.

Polarization, the Filibuster, and the Power of the Swing Vote )

Happily, last fall's election ceded the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats the initiative, empowering them to shape the agenda for the U.S. government for the coming years. But three Republican senators will serve as gatekeepers, checking Democratic initiatives and defining the limits of what they can do--at least until the 2010 Congressional elections, at which point that balance of power may shift, again (if, for example, retiring Sen. Judd Gregg's seat is claimed by a Democrat). Of course, there's no guarantee that it will, or that the shift will be in Democrats' favor.

So for every really significant change the Administration seeks, the question becomes, which Republican senator can be persuaded to defect and support it? And which parts of Obama's legislative agenda will get past the Senate's new gatekeepers--i.e., Collins, Snowe, and Specter? In civil rights, energy/the environment, health care policy, national security, etc?
saavedra77: Al Swearingen from Deadwood raises a glass, say "Cheers" wistfully. (cheers)
Be sure to raise a glass sometime today (if you may safely do so ...) to the 1933 ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed Prohibition.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
Over four and a half years ago, I created this journal as an outlet for (among other things) ranting about the 1,001 ways in which the world at the time seemed to have gone nuts. I christened the journal "Kingdom of the Wicked" as a comment on the hubris, hypocrisy, and venality of American politics in the Bush era. And as I noted on my profile page, I subtitled it "res publica conquassata!” because that’s what Cicero wrote despairingly as his country was about to undergo a Ceasarian section.

Change Happens ... )
saavedra77: Don Quijote (Don Quijote)
Video of Tuesday night's celebrations in Seattle (all over the world, for that matter) is already up on YouTube and lots of other places. But even though it's a few days late, I just have to post a few of these--some of the best footage of that night's celebrations in Seattle was recorded in my neighborhood, on the block of Broadway between Pike and Pine Streets. Just in case you've seen them before and are over it already, though, I've placed the footage behind an LJ cut, below.

Capitol Hill Hipsters Break Out into National Anthem, Dance Night Away--Click Here for Video )How many kinds of awesome is that?
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Obama 08)

What follows behind the cut is my photographic record of election night, 2008, as it unfolded in the streets of Seattle, more or less illustrating the merry ramblings of my last journal entry:

Seattle Rejoins the United States--Click Here for Photos )


Nov. 4th, 2008 11:20 pm
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (OBAMA)
I want a T-shirt that says that.

Tonight, I sat down at the Showbox in downtown Seattle with Randall, the friend who took me to see Obama speak for the first time just over two years ago, and Tiffany and Barb, with whom I canvassed for Obama earlier this year, and we watched a thing we'd devoutly wished for but still somehow couldn't believe, actually take place. We saw a skinny black guy with an exotic name win over states in the Old Confederacy. We saw him outperform the Southern white males who were our last two Democratic presidents. (Tonight was truly the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down ...) We watched a cool, thoughtful, eloquent politician emerge unscathed--in fact, arguably stronger--from a swamp of rumor and fearmongering. We saw Southern Strategies and wedge issue campaigns and swift boat attacks flounder and fail. We saw the familiar lines between red and blue states collapse. We watched Barack Obama win the presidency. I can't remember when I've ever felt prouder of my country.

Afterward, my friend Nicole and I walked through downtown surrounded by ecstatic people, screaming, shouting, high-fiving, jumping, marching, honking car horns. A little later, heading up Capitol Hill, I waded through throngs of revelers crowding the middle of Pike Street, which momentarily seemed as thick with human bodies as during the WTO protests of nine years ago or the immigration marches just a couple of years back, but this time not angry or defiant--just overjoyed. Somewhere along the way, a woman stood by the roadside holding a sparkler, looking for all the world like some kind of goth Statue of Liberty.

Now, outside my window, I can hear the celebrations still going on. No doubt about it, this is one deliriously happy city, tonight. And one that feels closer to the rest of the country than it has in a long, long while.

I have pictures. I probably even have more intelligent things to say about all of this. But it's late, and I'm already drifting off. So I'll post that stuff later, maybe tomorrow.

But, man, I have to say that waking up tomorrow is going to feel better than waking up any day has for the past eight years.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
My brother-in-law Gil, a fiftysomething retired cop from the South Jersey suburbs, has never voted in a presidential election, before. Never. Not once.

He voted today. Not only that, but he's spending the day making get-out-the-vote calls for Obama.

I don't think that we're (metaphorically) in Thomas Frank's Kansas, anymore.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (OBAMA)
If you haven't already turned in an absentee or trekked to one of the early voting sites, get yourself out there and VOTE, Tuesday! Make yourself some history.

Also: King County, WA voters with questions about what to do tomorrow can find plenty of answers here.
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
I love interviewing strangers about politics, getting into their heads, coaxing quotes out of them. It's more fun when they're coming from a completely different direction than I am, but I always get a buzz out of the interaction, anyway.

Last night, I approached a half-dozen peopel at Spit Fire before and after the Veep debate, and then wrote the experience up for OfftheBus.

If you'd rather not follow the link, the text is also behind the cut, below:

high & low expectations ... )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (yeahright)
At an event in Des Moines, today, John McCain blamed Barack Obama for injecting "unnecessary partisanship" into the current financial crisis.

He then added: "Now is not the time to fix the blame, it's time to fix the problem."
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
"In this hyperdemocratized society, the national conviction that anyone can succeed is morphing into a belief that experience and knowledge may almost be disqualifying credentials."
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (wirewear)
After work last Thursday, I headed down to J&M’s Cafe & Cardroom in Seattle's Pioneer Square observe and interview people watching John McCain’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. The event was a convention-watching party organized by Peter Cowman of, a King-County-based G.O.P. youth group. While folks at the bar were watching the Giants-Redskins game, about thirty-two others gathered at the tables in the back, where Fox News’ convention coverage ran continuously on four big flatscreen TVs. I counted 20 men and 12 women sitting sitting at the tables, I’d say ranging in age from twenty to fifty, all of them white, most of them conservative Republicans. Steve Beren, the G.O.P.’s 7th district congressional candidate, handed out campaign flyers. One independent sat sipping his beer in a corner. All of them were there to hear what McCain had to say.

Most of you reading this probably know me well enough to ask what in the hell I was doing there. The answer is, as I said, to observe and interview: I’d signed up to cover the event for OffTheBus, the Huffington Posts’s “citizen (i.e., volunteer) journalist” blogging site. This was my first OTB “assignment.” An extremely truncated summary of what I heard there can be found at the site. My full account is below:

Arriving about an hour before McCain was scheduled to speak, I managed to interview twelve convention-watchers about what they considered the most important issues in this campaign, what they thought of McCain and of Sarah Palin, and how they felt the race was going. After the speech, I asked the same people for their reactions, in particular whether McCain’s words or performance changed anything for them. Everyone I interviewed spoke for attribution.

Your correspondent visits a little red island in Seattle's deep blue sea )

X-posted to [ profile] ljdemocrats
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
You had to drinking a special kind of Republican Kool-Aid to applaud Mitt Romney when he denounced the Roberts Court for being too "liberal," to join Mike Huckabee in blaming "liberals" for doubling the size of the federal government during 28 years in which Republicans have dominated it, or to believe, like so many RNC speakers, that the U.S. is being run by a "liberal elite." But Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee and the rest only seemed interested in preaching to the converted, tonight.

When it came her turn, Sarah Palin of course echoed previous speakers, singing the praises of John McCain's military service and his "judgment" on Iraq. She warned darkly of big government and higher taxes, and she joined the evening's chorus of voices calling for oil drilling anywhere and everywhere--all themes designed to appeal to the audience in the hall.

Significantly, however, Palin stayed far away from the culture war. She didn't trumpet her controversial positions on abortion or marriage or faith.

Instead, Palin presented herself as a working-class hero--standing up to elites, a champion of small-town America, family values, and "common sense," an "outsider" confidently demolishing pretensions everywhere. Moreover, she did so with infinitely more authority than a millionaire like Romney, a Northeastern pol like Giuliani (how bizarre was it to watch him trying to play "just plain folks," mocking Obama for being too "cosmopolitan"?), or even the sanctimonious Mike Huckabee. Palin just pointed to her biography, her working-class roots and the working man she married, how motherhood got her into politics, her triumphs over the old guard in state and local politics, her pride in the son about to ship out to Iraq, etc. Family. Country. And class.

A New Conservative Style )

The Old Man has hitched himself to a conservative rising star. And Palin has just made a career for herself in the Lower Forty-Eight, regardless of the outcome of this election.

x-posted to [ profile] ljdemocrats
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (OBAMA)
Bill Clinton: "Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States."
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (wirewear)
Way easier than blogging ...

  • 09:58 Officially on vacation now, headed for friday harbor, monday. Hoping sun holds out ... #
  • 10:12 Obama/biden: 2008 u.s. Presidential race continues to follow west wing season 7 plot. #
  • 10:26 Last night, dreamt someone scolded me for wearing st. Christopher's medal w/o being catholic. #
  • 15:55 Sign in the park says keep people, pets out of fountain. Mostly observed in breach. #
  • 17:34 The jack-n-the-box murals are back! Hope they don't get stolen, this time. #
  • 19:11 Got new specs! Not hideous. I think. #
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saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
I got a lot out of Ryan Lizza's article, "Making It," in the current New Yorker. Lizza provides a copiously-sourced account of Obama's political coming-of-age in Chicago, a subject the candidate has generally avoided in his two published memoirs. Lizza's account corrects a lot of misconceptions about Obama held by both supporters and detractors: Lizza's Obama is neither a revolutionary nor a naif, but probably no more ruthless than his political peers (certainly in Chicago ...). Lizza argues that what's gotten Obama this far politically is a pragmatic approach to coalition-building and an organizational and rhetorical style that he honed in the Chicago of the 1990s and early 2000s:

Misconceptions, paradoxes )

At one point, Lizza asks a disgruntled former Obama ally from Chicago whether the candidate's shifting alliances and maneuverings were simply inevitable parts of his rapid rise from liberal state senator from Hyde Park to viable presidential candidate. “'Can you get where he is and maintain your personal integrity?' she said. 'Is that the question?' She stared at me and grimaced. 'I’m going to pass on that.'”

Thee article's worth reading in its entirety, notwithstanding the snarky magazine cover ...

X-Posted to [ profile] ljdemocrats
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Obama 08)
This is just a small clip from the May 18th rally at Portland's Waterfront Park. You can't see the senator, but you can hear him and get a sense of the 75,000-person crowd.

saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (OBAMA)
As planned, I went down to Oregon last weekend to scrounge up a few more primary votes for Barack Obama. I caught a ride there on Friday with a coworker and her friend, who'd been recruited for the same purpose.
My Working Vacation )


saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
Anthony Diaz

December 2014

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