RIP, Super-Gimmick

The Fortnightly Rant for Friday, December 2, 2011, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 256, No. 5, posted online Wednesday, December 21, 2011. The Super Committee,* Congress’s latest gimmick for dodging its responsibilities, announced last week that it had failed to reach an agreement to slash the federal budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Most Republicans promptly blamed the Democrats, citing their refusal to slash spending on social programs — which did not cause the deficit. They also blamed President Obama for not being a part of the negotiations. If he had taken a more active role, they would have complained that …

Read moreRIP, Super-Gimmick

Reasons to be Cheerful

The Fortnightly Rant for Friday, November 18, 2011, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 256, No. 4, posted online Monday, December 12, 2011. In less than a week most Americans — assuming they have roofs over their heads, paid-up utility bills, and the price of a Butterball® — will re-enact a legendary encounter between British colonists and the indigenous people whom they would later displace. And why not? That shared meal is certainly more pleasant to recall than a lot of their later encounters. Mayflower descendants whose enjoyment of the day may be tarnished by guilt can easily, if only partially, assuage it at the …

Read moreReasons to be Cheerful

Goodbye, Glacier Races

The Fortnightly Rant for November 4, 2011, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 256, No. 3, posted online Monday, December 12, 2011. About eighteen years ago we complained that engaging in the American political process was like being strapped in a cheap seat at the glacier races.* Those days, we are pleased to report, seem to be over. Wall Street still rules the country today, but for the first time in living memory it begins to look as if its grip might slip. Analysts for Google™ reported on October 27th that interest in the Occupy Wall Street movement “jumped ahead of the Tea Party on …

Read moreGoodbye, Glacier Races

Spark Meets Tinder

The Fortnightly Rant for October 21, 2011, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 256, No. 2, posted online Monday, December 12, 2011. Two weeks ago we reported on the absence of mainstream news coverage of Occupy Wall Street. Things have changed a bit since then. On Sunday evening, ABC News’ Cecelia Vega reported that “the movement to occupy Wall Street is now occupying street corners in more than 250 cities across the country — and it doesn’t end there. There are now protests on every continent except Antarctica.” Then, on Monday, this photo made the rounds: The Occupation has conquered both time and space — …

Read moreSpark Meets Tinder

At Last — The Future

The Fortnightly Rant for September 23, 2011, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 256, No. 1, posted on Saturday, October 15, 2011. [Note: When we originally posted this Rant we gave the wrong Volume, Number, and date. It is now correct. — The Ed., 10/17/11] More than a thousand protestors assembled at Liberty Plaza in New York City on Saturday, September 17th, vowing to Occupy Wall Street indefinitely. To the extent that the nation’s corporate news media covered the event at all, typically they noted the Occupation’s alleged lack of focus. The news directors, for all they ended up seeing, might as well have sent …

Read moreAt Last — The Future

News, For a Change

The Fortnightly Rant for Friday, September 23, 2011, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 255, No. 26, posted on Monday, October 17, 2011. Time and time again the President has tried to solve the nation’s budgetary problems and get the economy moving again by using his signature strategy, pre-emptive compromise. He seems to think that starting negotiations by giving the Republicans some major concessions they would eventually demand anyway, means they would eventually grant him some minor concessions to solve a couple of the intractable problems that the GOP saddled him with in the first place. And each time the GOP rejected his proposals out …

Read moreNews, For a Change