Flightmare, the Neverending Story
I won't go so far as to say I've glimpsed Purgatory, but I would imagine that unlike Dante's, More's, Shakespeare's, or Baraka's versions, it looks and feels and smells a lot like the interior of O'Hare Airport. I am once again stuck here, waiting for a delayed flight that was supposed to take off at 6:10 pm, but has been pushed back to 9:30 pm or later. For close to the last three hours I've sat in or strolled about or galumphed around this recycled air-filled, dazed people-thronged, artery-bursting fastfood vendor clogged mini-maze of a terminal, trying to beat back the threat of a cold and to not get upset because what was years an easy and fairly drama-free, two-hour trip has become a phenomenal nightmare. The standard excuse I receive when I ask one of the ticketing agents or call Continental about the delays is "the weather" or "the air traffic control weather"--which makes no sense. The standard response used to be "the wind," which is totally unconvincing for the Newark portion of the trip, since I have spent about one fourth of my life living less than five miles away from Newark Liberty International Airport AND NEWARK AND ITS AIRPORT DID NOT AND DO NOT HAVE WIND PROBLEMS!!! The kind and always information liberal representatives of Continental, however, want me and everyone else to believe otherwise. (Chicago is another story, but I've landed in a rainstorm at both of its airports, in a snowstorm, in what felt like the beginnings of a tornado. The delays were always more common coming into O'Horror, but still not as frequent as they've become.) Tonight, however, I heard another explanation, which made me want to burst into laughter and scream at the same time. Tonight, a voluble epresentative of Continental assured me and everyone in earshot that Mayor Richard Daley, now vying for his sixth term, was to blame for the delays. That's right, His Windiness is the source of O'Horror's and Newark Illiberty's inabilities to land flights on time. Why? Well, as this supersapient woman understood it and felt the need to expatiate at the top of her voice, Mayor Daley craves expanding O'Horror (and not building a new one in the vast fields of Peotone, which was and is Jesse Jackson Jr.'s pet project), so he has [fill in the blank] which now slows down flights at Newark and O'Horror. But of course! I thought about mentioning the simple problem of Daley's lack of control over the air traffic controllers or the FAA or Continental Airlines or its semicompetent fellow carriers, and how flying had once been fun and how even People's Airlines used to be able to get you where you need to go on time, though their planes had duck tape on the wings, and how Continental was quickly racing towards the bottom to vie with Delta and United and American as the worst airlines in the country, but I decided not to waste my breath. Instead, I popped a Xicam lozenge and then, like the rest of the flying sheeple I went back to my little uncomfortable spot, called C. for the umpteenth time to tell him what was going on, opened up my computer and started typing away (as the man sitting near me complained in a stage whisper about his wireless connection then segued into talking about how "huge" and "fat" he felt (???) and how he usually biked 100 miles in the Texas hill country near Houston when spring came to raise money for charity, and then uttered sounds every so often, which I thought about recording but decided not to), and it's only 9 PM, so I have at least another hour to go....
Update: I finally did get back to New Jersey; I'm at home now, and it's 2 AM. Continental, you're doing a heck of a job!
¡Ciro Rodríguez lo ha ganado!
On a good note, Democrat Ciro Rodríguez defeated incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla in their Texas US House runoff race, giving the Democratic Congressional caucus a 30th, new vote, and another progressive member! Rodríguez had previously served in Congress, representing a San Antonio district, then lost his seat to Democrat in Name Only Henry Cuellar, who's voted for quite lots of anti-consumer legislation and even sat with the Republicans at this year's State of the Union speech. His attempts to unseat Cuellar had twice failed. But because of the Tom DeLay-ordered redistricting shenanigans, he got another opportunity after a federal court ruled that the newly drawn district might harm Latino voters, and redrew the district in a way that favored Rodríguez. This, coupled with the increased unpopularity of Republicans among Latinos, led to his strong 55%-45% defeat of Bonilla. The victory also certifies the Republicans' worst midterm losses since the Watergate era. (Who was spouting all that claptrap about how the new Democratic Congresspeople were all conservatives?) Congratulations to Rodríguez!
CNN Gores Obama
It never takes that long for elements in the mainstream media to show their nutty, racist colors. Article A: CNN has taken to split-screening Senator Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden! And Saddam Hussein! Now, they weren't the first launch onto the His-Middle-Name- Is-"Hussein" meme; Republican operative Ed Rogers had already latched onto this fact; his full name, for the record, is Barack Hussein Obama Junior, meaning he is named after his father (you know, like Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., or Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr., etc.), a Kenyan economist, and the "Hussein" is a family name. Yet this small fact has sent the seahorse-brained mainstream media punditry and rightwingosophere into a frenzy. His middle name is HUSSEIN, did you hear that? His middle name is HUSSEIN! HUSSEIN! Even though the US could never get enough of its favorite party-loving Middle Eastern monarch, King HUSSEIN of Jordan. And ole' Saddam HUSSEIN was a great pal of Ronald St. Raygun and George HW, starting wars with Iranian mullahs and gassing Kurds and Shiites and all kinds of wild and crazy stuff St. Raygun and Poppy just thought was dandy, until it wasn't. (But then St. Raygun also thought Osama bin Laden was pretty dandy too, calling him and the other mujahadeen "freedom fighters" and lavishing millions of our tax dollars and publicly-funded weaponry on them, while HW and W both had close personal relationships with the bin Laden family, so close that...but you already know all of this, despite the best interests of the media to keep their mouths shut about it.)
Oh--and we can't forget the Obama-Osama thing. When the natural pol initially ran for his Senate seat, some Republican wags tried to make hay of the similarities between Obama* and Osama (the first being a Luo name, the other Arabic, but both languages are primarily spoken by brown people, so hey, what's the difference? ["Sunnis...Shiites...I can't tell them apart"--Trent Lott]), though it obviously had little effect on the voters of Illinois. Obama has also been proactive about defusing negative (if not idiotic) commentary about his name, calling it "funny" while going on to note that the issue shouldn't be his name but his politics and policies, a simple point his potential constituents grasped fairly quickly.
Now Jeff Greenfield, one of the putative "liberal" newspettifoggers (though "putrid" would be more like it) has decided to participate in the budding wacky rhetorical war, consisting of winks and codes and the like, the usual visual regime of insinuation and insult that's waged without open acknowledgment, on Obama, just as the "liberal" media went on its rampage against Al Gore Jr., I suppose to damage him well in advance of the 2008 election. Greenfield came up with the utterly bizarre suggestion that Senator Odreamy was mimicking the style of...Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--the Holocaust-denying president of Iran (I will try to write about the spectacle taking place there tomorrow) who, like our own Crackpot-in-Chief, receives direct messages from God, which is covered in the DSMV, though I can't recall the exact syndromes! Huh? Then Jeannie Moos on CNN...well, I'll show the screen caps, courtesy of TPM Café, which also has the YouTube link:
Senator Obama, I think it's clear that they're really terrified of you, a young, brilliant, handsome, witty, engagingly charismatic Black man, and with these utterly inane and dizzy and ultimately dangerous people, who foisted the WORST PRESIDENT EVER upon us after engaging in their two-year assault against Al Gore, it's only going to get worse, I can assure you now....
*I seem to recall that one of my undergraduate classmates, who was from Kenya, was named Obama Obama, although he might actually have been a classmate of several good friends of mine, who were a year or two years after me. As to Obama Obama's whereabouts, I have no idea.