Daily Archives: November 4, 2009

Nine Months ≠ One Year

Lots of “Obama at one year” articles out, which is a little funny because the man hasn actually been president for only nine months. Yes, was elected a year ago. But then there was that whole three-month “not actually president yet” thing. Which means the one-year evaluations are a little premature. By, er, three months. Approximately.

And you ask, how do I feel about the president at nine months (or, if one absolutely must, one year)? I feel fine about him. As this bit from Esquire notes, the idea that the man has been a do-nothing president is a little goofy; he’s done a lot in a little amount of time, much of which I generally approve, although some of which I do not. And while there are some things that I wish he would get to more quickly, I also recognize he’s got a lot to deal with, and that his priorities as regards which to focus on first are not mine. And as we are nine months into his administration, I’m willing to give him a bit more time to get to them before I write him off as entirely useless on those things.

The other part of the equation here is that Obama’s general style suits me just fine. He’s deliberate and calm and doesn’t lose his mind, and even when he or his people are engaging in political knifework, they handle it with bland equanimity, which makes his/their opponents subsequent fits more embarassing by contrast. I like this. It’s like a variation of Kipling’s poem: “If you can keep your head while making those who oppose you lose theirs…”

Now, I understand this style doesn’t play well for some other folks, who would rather see the man get angry or at least worked up from time to time. But, you know. It’s not like he’s changed his style. This is who he was when he was running for president. I’m a little confused why people seem to think he should have gotten a personality transplant when he stepped into the Oval Office. If the man all of a sudden got angry all the time, I’d want a cat scan to see if he had a tumor.

So, overall, the man gets a solid B+ from me for his nine months in office. If they held a snap presidential election tomorrow, I’d vote for him again, and at this point he’s my default choice for the election which occurs about three years from now. Mind you, a lot can happen between now and then, because it’s three years from now. But by that time, I’ll have more information about whether he deserves my vote a second time. More than I have at nine months in office, in any event.

Various & Sundry, 11/4/09

Things and stuff:

* First: Look! Birdy!

After I snapped this shot I switched lenses so I could get a better shot with the telephoto lens, but by then this bird had flown. Bummer. Still, pretty bird.

* Subterranean Press wishes to inform all of you that the signed, limited edition of The Last Colony has shipped to everyone who preordered  it. And if you did preorder it: Thanks, man. Also, there are still a few copies of the limited available, should you want to pick it up. The previous limiteds in the series sold out, however, so move on it if you want it.

The note at SubPress also notes that they’ll soon be working on the limited edition of Zoe’s Tale, which I am especially excited about.

* My pal Alethea Kontis wants you to nominate a favorite bookstore for an award. Here are the details:

The Women’s National Book Association wants to know about bookstores in the United States that excel at inspiring interest in reading, as well as creatively bringing books and young people together.  They will present the annual WNBA Pannell Award to two bookstores–one a general bookstore and one a children’s speciality bookstore–at the 2010 BookExpo America.  Each recipient will receive a check for $1,000 and a framed piece of original art by a noted children’s book illustrator. Nominated stores have the option of making their submissions to the Pannell jury electronically or by sending hard copy materials by mail.

To nominate your favorite bookstore (even your own!) that works within the community to instill the love of reading in young people, please provide the following:

1)  Name of store
2)  Address and phone number of the store
3)  Contact person at the store, including email address (most important!)
4)  A brief reason (just a sentence or two) of why you believe the store is deserving of this award
5)  Your name and affiliation to the nominated store.

Please send your nomination to mgjames@eastwestliteraryagency.com.  Deadline for nominations is Jan. 15, 2010.

The Pannell Award was established in 1981 by WNBA, a century-old national organization of women and men who work to promote reading and to support the role of women in the book community.

This year’s winners, incidentally, were Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati and Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in LaVerne, CA. I used to to live in LaVerne, you know.

* Hey folks, a gentle reminder: just because you sent me an e-mail doesn’t mean I always see it immediately. I get several dozen legit (i.e., non-spam) e-mails a day, so sometimes e-mail just falls off my radar. This is why I encourage you to resend after about a week if you’ve not heard from me and wanted to. However, when you resend, try not to be snitty about the fact I haven’t responded. Because that just encourages me not to respond, on purpose this time.

* Listening to the full album of Raditude, the new one from Weezer, from which I borrowed yesterday’s video. Verdict: Weezertastic, but I do sort of casually wonder what happens to Rivers Cuomo when he gets to the other side of 40, and his whimsical 20-something schtick starts getting a little creepy. His problem, I suppose, not mine.

Election Day ’09

Interesting is the word for it. Somewhat disappointing for me, although not as you might think because Democrats lost (or did not win) governorships, but because here in Ohio, that damned casino thing finally passed after four tries. I have a moral loathing of gambling as an industry, so as you might imagine the thought of casinos coming to Ohio bugs the crap out of me. At least it failed in my own county; the majority of Darke Countians voted against it. Go, Darke County.

I’m also sad it appears that bigotry won the day in Maine, as regards the same-sex marriage vote there; it’s depressing when people vote to deny other people the same rights they have — not that Ohio, which bans recognition of same-sex marriages, has anything to crow about in this regard. I’m sanguine that this sort of thing is a rear-guard action, and that sooner than later same-sex couples will be able to marry in more states than not, but then again, I can afford to be sanguine, because I can be (and am) married to the person I choose. No one’s telling me that I’m a second-class citizen.

As for the New Jersey and Virginia: Well, I think the New Jersey vote is what you get when you have an unpopular incumbent; Corzine got what was coming to him, it looks like. As for Virginia, it’s not terribly surprising they might vote in a Republican. The governorship there trades off between Democrats and Republicans pretty evenly: Since 1970, the commonwealth has had five Republican and five Democratic governors, not counting McDonnell, who won the election last night but is not yet seated. Whether either of these wins has national implications I’ll leave to others to decide, but I think they probably have more to do with what’s going on in those states.

The interesting “national implication” race for me was the one in the 23rd Congressional District of New York, in which outside political forces (including Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) decided the woman the local GOP chose to run for the vacant seat there was not conservative enough for their tastes, so they backed the candidate of the Conservative Party (which is a third party in NY) and essentially drove the Republican candidate out of the race. Her response was to throw her support to the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, who won, becoming the first Democratic representative in that district (or so I am told) since the mid-19th Century.

What does this tell us about the state of politics? Well, I think, one, national party leaders, elected and otherwise, probably ought to listen to the local folks about who is a good fit; if they had, this seat would probably be in GOP hands still. Two, it appears local voters don’t take kindly to outside interference. Three, stabbing one’s allies in the back has negative repercussions. Four, listening to people whose personal fortunes are not tied to legislative victory is not necessarily a smart thing for a political party to do.

For all that, I suspect Owens ought not become too comfortable in the seat, since he’ll have to run for it again a year from now, and the district will still be what it is: largely GOP territory. But for the moment, his victory is a big fat middle finger in the eyeball of the national conservative movement. That this middle finger was jammed in there by a disgruntled GOPer is rich, creamy irony of the sort I expect Palin, Beck, Limbaugh et al to steadfastly pretend didn’t actually happen from this day forward.

That’s what I’ve got for you the day after election day, 2009.