Having teenagers in the house means you watch a few different shows - may be not all of the way through - but at least a big.
Glee, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Glad You are Gone or Looking forward to When you are Gone or Will be Gone:
Huge, 16 and Pregnant, Sister Wives, 19 and Counting, anything involving Sarah Palin or Kate Gosselin
Secret TV theory:
TLC is run by Mormons. Not only do they routinely go out of their way to promote massive families, they also promote polygamy. Next years TLC big hits will be the Glenn Beck reality show and a reality show based on a family that goes from millionaires to living in poverty by shoveling their money into the "Church of" Scientology.
If only I were a freak enough to have my own TLC series.
Over two months ago I went for a routine cleaning. That lead to a series of fillings, some gratuitous and some justified. One back tooth had decay under a filling, which lead to first a filling and then the need for a crown. The initial filling traumatized the root. A root canal was completed . . . and the crown placed. Total cost about $3,000.
Dentists are clearly better than tax collectors, but they always seem to involve both pain and cost.
I'd rather have my teeth go as long as possible, don't get me wrong, but it is what it is.
I started the day getting a root canal on tooth number 15. Way in the back.
At about lunch time, I got a call that my aunt passed away today. Her death was apparenlty pretty quick, either a heart attack or a stroke. My aunt had pulled the rope for assistance in her home and by the time they arrived, she was already dead. She was a kind soul who made an amazing grape pie. We spent summers and Christmas's with her family. I recently drove my Father to see her and blogged about the drive from Oxford to NC. My aunt was cared for by her daughter and seemed very thankful for where she was.
It leaves my Father as the last remaining surviving member from his generation on my father's side. There is a living aunt, wife of my Mother's brother, on the other side. It was something to see them together. Each knew it was quite possible it would be the last time they would see other and, even though it was a short visit, it clearly involved some introspection on both of their parts.
Life should be treasured.
A lesson worth remembering on Veteran's day. A time to be thankful for my Aunt's 88 years and for not to forget the many people that lost their lives or gave part of their lives for this country.
This evening I picked up a copy of the Community Sporting News in Chapel Hill. An old friend of mine writes a column on the back. It so happened that he was talking about our old soccer team, the "Head Beers" and how it was some of the best times of his life. I was honored to see my name mentioned, even though I was just happy to be tagging along. The "Big Guy" as we called him was sort of a genius. At that time he was a single father driving around in a beat up Toyota mini van running Rainbow Soccer. Later he would get a law degree and work with the District Attorney. Given a different set of circumstances he might have been a CEO and taken on Donald Trump.
Happy memories I did not expect to find on a sober day.
Watched the first half of the Michigan-Illinois game. In case you didn't know, Michigan's defense is truly stunningly bad. There defense is occasionally really good. It was a classic shoot out today: Michigan 67 - Illinois 65.
After that I slipped over to watch East Chapel Hill High beat Chapel Hill 2-1 for the NC State Championship. My daughter was pulled up from JV to sit on the bench, so, as a result she gets a medal for being on the team (though because she didn't play wouldn't qualify for a letter - though she got one as a Freshman in Lacosse). She was ambivalent about the honor and that strikes me about right. The game, however, was pretty exciting. East Chapel Hill has won the title the last 3 years in row and will lose another set of key seniors.
Back in '94 I was pretty shocked by Newt's Contract with America and what seemed like a conservative take over. After being carefully kept in check, it culminated in the disastrous reign of George W. Bush. The Big Dawg, irritatingly disrespectful of his office and egomanical, managed to keep thing righted for a while, but GWB blew the doors of the budget and threw us into an extensive and optional war. Crazy financial deregulation and wild (lack of rules) on derivatives took us to the brink of a depression. A terrified Bush signed on to massive pumping of capital into the banking system along with future fall guy Obama which probably averted a collapse of the financial system.
So where are we now?
I wish I had some decent charting software:
Goldwater/GOP Fringe come ashore and create a bridgehead
Nixon/Vietnam lead to disastrous Presidency of JEC after a generally competent though balance challenged Ford keeps things calm with an adult demeanor. Lack of charisma acute.
Country fizzles with oil shock, post-war ripples, and Iranian humilation. Conservative GOP starts organizing.
Reagan / Falwell marriage begats the new breed GOP.
Reagan sells acid in the koolaid story that you can have more tax revenue by cutting taxes without spending (Laffer leads to tears). Democrats become deficit enablers by going along with tax cuts without budget gets. Huge deficits result. An alzheimered president still has wits enough to see he was wrong starts reversing tax trend. Arms for hostages and glorification of law breakers involved in the deals indicate expansion of the new breed. Wheels rolling for Limbaugh, Fox, and the merry band of morons.
George H Bush, smart guy and all around hero type, acts to stabilize the budget. Results of his courageous action ultimately help get to the balanced budget under Clinton. The new breed GOP turns on the Good Bush largely because of tax issues. A thousand points of light are extinguished. Bush retires to work with GF and JC and makes a good ex-President
Clinton arrives in office riding GOP fatigue in the general public, triangulation skills, and anti-Bush sentiment in the new breed GOP. He is generally content to do little and ride out the budget fixes from GHB.
The New Breed GOP (now capitalized) rides to its first wave. The future Tea Party people are still engaged in the main stream of the party. Newt and his ilk work to drive out moderate conservatives. Rationality on the budget exits: they shut down government and try to impeach the President (thus ruining impeach for GWB - who really broke the law). The public realizes that Clinton isn't so bad compared to the Dick(s) like Armey and Newtie. Limbaugh reaches a relative peak (extensive pain pill use may be cause deafness).
Country sees last balanced budget.
GOP re-organizes now New Breed GOP is co-opted temporarily by the neocons. GWB, unlike Reagan or his father, develops a pathological belief in tax cuts and not reversing anything he has done regardless of the effect. GOP with help from Clinton-era government laws roll the dice with the world economy.
Crazy tax ideas started by Reagan (though he recognized the folly) now accepted as a form of dogma for the New Breed GOP. Deficits shoot through the roof - even though the economy is riding a bubble.
Afghanistan, 911, and Iraq all happen. The right turns farther right. Ultimately the neo-cons burn their bridges with the New Breed GOP - however, neo-cons and close relatives are now pretty much the GOP establishment.
Gigantic financial crisis occurs due to irresponsible deregulatoin of banking industry.
Country reacts and brings in Obama.
Democrats fail to take any meaning steps to control the budget.
Chronic high unemployment and stunted economy resulting from long term commitment to ship jobs oversees and avoid paying to educating its own citizens, leave the US in a vulnerable position with no easy fixes. Immigration laws are broken. People are now afraid, very afraid.
Obama screws the pouch in a number of ways and does nothing to address peoples fears about budgets.
The New Breed GOP finally takes control of the house ... a mixed bag of nuts capitalizing the fickle (growing) independents dislike of the establishment Democrats and establishment GOP.
A stunning victory for the right!?!
OK - so why groundhogs day? Because this revolution will be like every other one - lots of posturing and other stuff, but no real answers and no way to implement sweeping change - because their central beliefs (tax cuts without spending control/isolationist/kill the enemy before you compromise/government shutdowns are good) helped put us here in the first place.
This is 1994 all over again, without a brainy Newt in the lead. This is a more hostile, more superstitious, less compromising stream in the GOP.
Independents won't like what they see in the next two years and it is 1996 all over again.
Pessimistic? Sure I'm pessimistic. Until I see GOP (New Breed or Establishment) and Democrats have the courage to seek compromises on deep spending cuts OR a plan to avoid spending increases long enough for the tax revenue to catch up with spending --- were going to stay on the same treadmill --- running in place and losing ground.