Term Limits

Kevin Drum talk term limits. He doesn’t like em. I like em. But I dislike the hard cutoff of “two terms and your out!” I’d prefer something a little sexier.

So how about handicapping incumbents with an ever-increasing headwind:

votes = votes * log(50 – years_in_office) / log(50)


After 40 years, you only receive 60% of your raw vote total. Nobody will make it to 50 years.

Of course you can adjust those 50s to taste.

Plus, it will finally achieve what decades of school curricula have failed to do: link civics and algebra.

The Point

Benghazi was a lot like Whitewater, in that it never even made any sense. The Clintons are being accused of corruption so nefarious that they lost money on a land deal? What?

Of course Whitewater led to son of Whitewater, and third cousin 7 times removed from Whitewater, etc. Maybe that ultimately was the goal of the Benghazi Show.

The points of Benghazi!!!!™ include:

  1. Rally The Base. Keep the rubes riled and donating.
  2. Work The Refs. Keep the press distracted by the allegations so they won’t be able to talk about anything the Dems might want to talk about.
  3. Where There’s Smoke There’s FUD. Create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt because as long as there are ‘questions’ and ‘controversy’ and someone says ‘scandal’ near ‘Obama’, a non-trivial number of people will assume there must be something to the allegations. That helps depress squishy Dem-leaning voters.
  4. Digging In The Dirt. Having cover to launch a few Congressional investigations that could maybe turn up something real was a nice benefit, too. Never know where you might find another Lewinski. And they sound ominous even if they don’t.

And since the press doesn’t care about things that end with a whimper, the FUD will linger forever. 30 years from now, people will still believe all the GOP’s lies and distortions.

The Dems might consider getting into this game sometime.

Listening To…

  • Bob Dylan – John Welsey Harding. Most of Dylan’s post Highway 61 records have taken a long time – years in some cases – to grow on me; a problem I have never found with his earlier stuff. So it’s probably too soon for me to judge this one. Nonetheless, I shall judge: I’m not getting it. I liked some of the songs immediately, especially those I already knew from covers (“All Along The Watchtower”, “Wicked Messenger”, etc.). But overall it falls flat for me. I can see how it might have been a bit of a curiosity, coming out in the same year that Sgt Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, Are You Experienced, Disraeli Gears and Strange Days all came out. And maybe that made it more interesting at the time. But, frankly, I’ve heard better country-rock records. I’ll check back next year.
  • Big Star – Live In Memphis. It’s the soundtrack to what is billed as the only professional video recording of a Big Star show (in Oct 1994). But only half of the original Big Star was present: Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens. Co-frontman Chris Bell died in the 70s, and bassist Andy Hummel didn’t participate. So, two guys from The Posies took their spots. Still, it’s nice to hear Alex and Jody singing and playing those songs (and one of the Posies guys singing a couple of the Chris Bell tunes, including “I Am The Cosmos”). The band was very loose; and whoever is doing the backup vocals had a hard time following Chilton’s flexible timing; the mix is rough though far far better than the sound on the live album from ’74 (which was Alex, Jody and a substitute bass player). Overall, like that earlier live record, it’s not a great listen; but it is an interesting one if you’re a big Big Star fan like I am.
  • Robyn Hitchcock – The Man Upstairs. This is his third in a row with just ten songs. And on this one, half of these tunes are covers, including The Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost In You”, Roxy Music’s “To Turn You On” and even The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship”. Most of it is acoustic guitar, piano, cello (?), and some whispery backup vocals; and it’s all done with a sparse, delicate and airy vibe. The big exception, which wakes things up halfway through the record, is “Someone To Break Your Heart” – a quick and snappy electric guitar and harmonica tune. I like this record better than I’ve liked his past few records (solo or otherwise), and it’s mostly due to the covers. He’s always picked interesting covers live, and he always does them well (I even saw him do “Funkytown” once). So it’s nice to have some of them well-recorded.

Et tu?

Some Say, Yadayadayada

Ebola victims in one of the hardest-hit parts of Liberia have been treated by homeopaths who are determined to prove that arsenic, rattlesnake venom and the aphrodisiac Spanish Fly can cure Ebola.

The homeopaths arrived in Liberia to use the deadly outbreak to prove their controversial theories and have already spent two weeks in the country with patients in a hospital in Ganta, in the north of the country near to the epicentre of the outbreak.

Homeopaths claim that the way their remedies are prepared – which includes hitting the container 10 times against a leather and horsehair surface – give them a special potency and that the water molecules remember the presence of the active ingredient. Their opponents dismiss the ‘treatments’ as mumbo-jumbo and fear that desperately-ill Ebola patients will die as a result of their involvement.