The Sunday shows this week were all a-twitter over the question of what should be done about Michigan and Florida’s delegations to the Democratic convention. This Week wisely asked the opinions of DNC chair Howard Dean, Charlie Crist, Republican governor of Florida, and Michigan senator Carl Levin. These are three men who are directly involved in the policy (Dean), politics (Levin), and implementation (Crist) of the issue at hand.
Meanwhile, Meet the Press checked in with Obama surrogate former Sen. Tom Daschle and Clinton surrogate Gov. Ed Rendell. Of course, both men advocated for the solutions that best suited their candidate’s chances.
Face the Nation did have Florida’s Sen. Bill Nelson, but he is also a Clinton supporter, and shared the table with the Obama-backing John Kerry. At the end of the segment, Bob Scheiffer asked Sen. Nelson whether he thought Dean was doing a satisfactory job as DNC chairman, to which Nelson responded, “He is the chairman, and the chairman ought to be getting the two campaigns together on a buy-in of how we’re going to resolve this [issue of the Michigan and Florida delegations]…”
That raised a little alarm bell in my head. Only now did it strike me as odd that I had spent the morning listening to grand poo-bahs of the media asking candidate surrogates how the Michigan and Florida issue ought to be resolved, and now we had a senior Florida politician saying that Dean needed to negotiate between the two campaigns to come to a decision with which they would both be happy.
But why do we care how the campaigns feel about it? If the issue at hand is the enfranchisement of Democrats in two major battleground states, the right people to be asking about how it should be accomplished are people like those on This Week, people who have actual responsibility for whatever decision is reached. The last people that should have a say in any electoral re-do’s would be the people who have a vested interest in their outcomes! The whole reason for Dean to sit down with the Clinton and Obama camps would be to compromise a solution that each side felt helped them the most (or damaged them the least), but elections are never held – and should never be held – for the benefit of the candidates, but for the voters. Dean should be really be sitting down with representatives of Democratic voters in Michigan and Florida, the people who will be casting the ballots and having to live with the results.
The media is feeding the idea that it is somehow the campaigns that need to be satisfied by continually asking candidates and surrogates what they would be “okay” with. Let’s see what the voters of the states in question want, and trust me, whatever the game is in town, Obama and Clinton fill find it in themselves to play.
While I will always be interested in the candidates’ stands policy issues of national importance, I’m a little less concerned about their feelings on this one, and it is one thing about which I would like to hear from them as little as possible.
As you will read when you visit, I am happy to offer all five tracks free of charge, but if you want to help me out just a touch you can spend the mere pennies it would cost to download the tracks at Amie Street where it will help raise the visibility of the album on the site. (As I type the whole album is 65 cents.)
I don’t know how else to draw more attention to this stuff! Any ideas? Leave them in the comments section!
While being unemployed has not improved my economic situation, I am enriched by the rare opportunity to create. That and 35 cents will get stuck in a newspaper vending machine. Seriously, I don’t know what’s with me and the Washington Post dispensers. Always eat my money.
Right. Soon, my freedom will slip away like that glass I broke last night while washing dishes (stupid loss of fine motor function!). Before that happens, I have been endeavoring to give you, all four of you, as much “new” music as possible. Some of this material has been sitting on my hard drive for a couple of years, waiting to be edited, re-done, and polished. Some of it is brand spanking new. Honestly, I don’t think you’re ready for it, but the clock is ticking.
Today, I’m releasing three new tracks. One of them is less-than-humorous, which always makes me a little insecure (you’re looking too deeply into my soul!!!). To cushion the blow, the other two diverge in tone. All three vary greatly in style, but all of them rock (in the broader, superlative sense). You can download them right here:
Song 1: “Imaginary”
Sometimes you think you’re being brave when really it’s just a bad idea.
Song 2: “Ain’t Tryin'”
Remember that time it looked like I was flirting with you? I was. Sorry.
Song 3: “Jut”
I’ve been waiting a long time to show off this one.
And here’s a recap of the new material from the past week or so:
Song 4: “Eventually”
Five minutes of electric bliss.
Song 5: “Bussard Collector”
It’s time for some D.I.Y.
Please tell other folks about this music. Soon, I’ll compile these tracks into a new “EP” for sale on Amie Street, which is great, and starts all music out as free. You can download my last EP, Evidence of Absence there, and it’s also the cheapest way to get my debut LP Paul is Making Me Nervous without stealing it from my apartment (please don’t steal things from my apartment).
(If you just want to get the new song and not read my wonderful little blog posting, it’s right here.)
Dr. Robert W. Bussard had a dream. Well, he had a great idea about how humans could travel speeds approaching that of light, which, as of now, we can’t. At least I can’t. If you can, please say how you have done so in the comments section. Anyway, in 1960 Bussard developed the idea for what has since become known as the Bussard Ramjet (or Bussard Collector because of its means of fueling itself). Here’s how Wikipedia explains it:
Bussard proposed a ramjet variant of a fusion rocket capable of fast interstellar spaceflight. It would use an enormous electro-magnetic field (ranging from kilometers to many thousands of kilometers in diameter) as a ram scoop to collect and compress hydrogen from the interstellar medium. High speed forces the reactive mass into a progressively constricted magnetic field, compressing it until thermonuclear fusion occurs. The magnetic field then directs the energy as rocket exhaust opposite to the intended direction of travel, thereby accelerating the vessel.
I learned about it upon re-watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series, and was fascinated. Not because I know anything about rocket propulsion, but because it was what, at least to Sagan, a feasible means for humans to travel the length of the universe. The way he explained it was a little clearer to dumb guys like me: the Bussard Ramjet essentially sucks in interstellar dust and uses fusion to turn it into fuel, and there is no theoretical limit to how fast it could go – save the law that says nothing can go faster than light. Of course, because of the time distortion that happens to near-light speed travelers, anyone who did traverse the universe in (what would seem to them) a matter of months would return home after what would actually have been billions of years later – no one home to brag to. Stupid relativity.
Regardless, it was something that Sagan obviously thought was a great step in the right direction using known science. It got me to thinking how frustrating it must be to those scientific explorers who depend so much on public opinion and government handouts to make real progress and try big, daring things.
So sometime in 2003 I wrote a song about it, and I have finally gotten around to making it somewhat acceptable for public consumption. I hope you like what might be the first pop song about a theoretical intergalactic vacuum cleaner. Or at least the first song about this one.
And tell your physicist friends. Or don’t, because they will likely quibble with the lyrics. Stupid physicists.
P.S. – The image in this entry is courtesy of (and the work of) Adrian Mann, from his very cool site “This is Rocket Science.” Thanks, Adrian!
You know the old saying: When an aggravating, uninteresting melody pops into your head that drives you insane deep into the night, make lemonade.
Well, I understand that lemonade also requires things like lemons and water, which sounds really complicated, so I opted instead to take this string of notes that entered my brain inexplicably several months ago and turn it into five minutes of electric bliss.
So here’s the new saying: When an aggravating melody enters your head, call its bluff.
…and turn it into an instrumental called “Eventually.” I hope you enjoy it.
Right-click and save-as to download Paul’s new song “Eventually” here.