After midnight, why am I here?

February 20, 2010

I don’t mean that question in any existential sense.  I should be asleep.  My meeting tomorrow starts at 8:30 am, and I need a good breakfast beforehand (the hotel restaurant opens at 7 am), and I need to be awake for a while even before that.  So I should be crashed, but I’m not.  Maybe if I write a bunch of boring stuff, I’ll put myself to sleep :>.

The good news of the day (non-teaching-wise: teaching is always good news):

1.  Because Ann got off work a little early, and because Rainbow Cab messed up my reservation with them, I got to spend a couple of extra hours with my spouse before I took off for H’burg.  That’s a win!

2.  Routledge e-mailed JongHwa and me this morning that our Activism and Rhetoric manuscript has been shipped to their production facility in the UK.  Now it’s between us and the copy-editors, who we hope will find little to quibble about.  Still on track for August release, which will be just in time for the class I designed around the book.  More to the point, I believe at this point any of the potential logistical problems (like contributors not having signed their contracts) are solved.

3.  Two really cool advising sessions this morning.  I’m always happier (duh) when advisees come to sessions having thought about what they want and need.  Both advisees were prepared, but had interesting things to talk about, questions to ask (not the ones they could have answered for themselves).

4.  Sen. Arlen Specter has signed onto a letter circulating among Dems advocating passage of a healthcare bill with a public option, using the reconciliation process if they have to.  I’m stunned that Specter would sign onto it.  As I wrote on Rep. Mark Cohen’s Facebook wall, I’d like to be able to take this as an omen that Specter is actually enough of a Democrat to remember that years ago he supported legislation that’s almost identical to the Employee Free Choice Act!

The irksome stuff of the day is standard issue and not worth thinking about just now.

OK, that pretty much worked.  Zzzzzz……

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Arlen Specter’s party switch

April 28, 2009

So the news is out today, news some of us have expected for a few years now–Arlen Specter has announced that he will run for re-election in 2010 as a Democrat.

One one level, this is great news (if he wins, that is).  His victory, along with Al Franken’s (once Norm Coleman shuts the f*ck up and goes home), gives the Dems that golden 60th seat in the Senate.  Of course, this is the Senate Dems we’re talking about, who if they had any spine whatsoever would told have told the Republican fillibusterers to go screw themselves, so maybe the supermajority won’t matter.  But still, better to have it than not (if you’re a Dem, that is).

The problem, however, is already clear from Specter’s party-switch announcement.  In that speech, he ALREADY has declared that he still won’t vote for EFCA.  I know it’s only one piece of legislation, but for goodness’ sake.  The only excuse he might have had for voting against it, as a Senator from one of the most pro-labor states in the US, is that he thought it would cost him primary votes against a more conservative opponent.  If that’s no longer a risk, then why vote against it?  I know, I know, some of you (Lee!) will see that he’s voting against it because it’s a bad bill, and gee, look, a guy with principles!  But that’s crap.

I guess a better way of putting it is this.  If you, Senator Specter, aren’t going to support legislation that Democrats and your constituents support, then what the hell do we need you for?  Be an independent, if that’s what you think you are, but the Democratic party doesn’t need ANOTHER member who refuses to acknowledge the demands of his/her constituents.