Grand Rapids bakes a pie

I know absolutely nothing about Grand Rapids, Mich., but how do you get a whole city to shut down and a major chunk of the population to film a continual music video?

That’s just remarkable.

(I saw Don McLean perform this in a solo acoustic show but it’s been so long, I can’t remember where or when. It was either about 30 years ago in Florida or about 25  years ago in Kentucky. But it sounded exactly like this, complete with the audience singalong. I can’t believe “American Pie” is 40 years old. And I can’t believe I’m so old that I’m now reminiscing about things that happened 30 years ago.)

Tea Party history 101: the Herman Cain edition

Herman Cain, one of the declared candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, said this:

We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution,” Cain said. “And I know that there are some people that are not going to do that, so for the benefit of those that are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Because that’s when it says when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,” he added.

Cain needs to reread the Constitution. Why is it these Tea Party patriots throw the Constitution in your face when they’re trying to make a point, but end up quoting the wrong piece of parchment? What Cain is talking about is the Declaration of Independence, a completely different document written 11 years earlier.

And why is it Tea Baggers harp endlessly on the need for today’s laws to be in adherence with what the founding fathers intended?

Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the founding fathers, wrote this:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Contrary to what this may sound like, I don’t spend countless hours poring through American history books looking for obscure quotes to show that Tea Baggers and the Republican politicians who enable them haven’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. I rode my bike over to the Jefferson Memorial today. That quote is written on the wall.

Elections are not videogames

There have been a rash of post-election withdrawal symptoms involving recently elected GOP governors, where we’re getting a barrage of opinion polls that are telling us things like this:

Only three months removed from Governor Rick Scott‘s (R) inauguration, a majority of Florida voters now say the state is headed in the wrong direction and that, if they could do it all over again, they wouldn’t have elected Scott in the first place, according to a new Suffolk University poll.

And this:

Two months into his first term, a new poll shows Wisconsin voters are unhappy with GOP Gov. Scott Walker–and would send him packing if they were given a do-over of the 2010 election that sent him to the statehouse in Madison.

And this:

Since signing a bill earlier this year to strip public unions of most of their collective bargaining rights, Ohio Gov. John Kasich‘s (R) approval rating has plummeted, bottoming out at a new low in a PPP poll released Wednesday. As if that weren’t bad enough, the poll also found Kasich losing a theoretical do-over election — by an enormous 25-point margin.

These polls are short-term revelatory and long-term meaningless. Are people in Florida and Minnesota and Ohio are pissed off because they didn’t pay attention to the issues in those campaigns?  Were they conned by the specter of forged presidential birth certificates, a secret Muslim intrusion in the White House and death panels discreetly hidden in a universal health plan? The voters went off in a Tea Party snit and voted in conservative Republicans who — surprise, surprise — are doing what conservative Republicans would obviously do.

So why are these voters whining now? The argument, “We never expected these guys to do what they stand for” doesn’t wash.

Elections aren’t like videogames. When you screw up, you can’t just hit a reset button and start over like nothing bad happened.

In a videogame your player goes into war and steps on a land mine, or drives a car at 200 miles an hour and smashes into a wall, or goes too far in a hop and ends up falling off a cliff. Then you get another life: You resume where you got killed and keep going until you use up all of your lives.

Elections are real life. In real life, when those things happen, you die. Game Over.

So after less than six months, the citizens of these fair states decide they made a mistake and want a do-over. When you elect a governor, you’re electing someone who’s going to be in office for four years. Every politician knows that when you have that kind of time, you ram your most controversial and distasteful programs down the public’s throat immediately, because voters have short attention spans. The traumas of the first six months are often forgotten when the next election season begins three and a half years later.

If voters don’t like what’s happening in their states, maybe it’s time they think about getting an attention span. Instead of them being distracted by shiny objects (Oh, this health care debate is too complicated and … ooh! Lindsay Lohan just got arrested again!) they need to examine the issues,  figure out what’s really in their best interests, cast their votes and deal with the consequences.

Stop acting like life is a game of Super Mario, already.

DSK’s house arrest (photo and video)

When you’re very rich, and a New York judge puts you under house arrest as you await trial for a serious felony, this is the kind of place you have to live in.

Click the link and get a video tour of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s new living quarters, uploaded by NBC New York. Sure beats a cell in Rikers Island. Hell, sure beats a house in the suburbs.

This seems obvious, but …

Fox News got rid of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum before they announced they were going to run for president, because it determined they were going to run for president.

Fox News didn’t get rid of Mike Huckabee around the same time, because it determined he wasn’t going to run for president mostly because he didn’t want to give up the big paycheck Fox was giving him. In fact, Fox gave him a deadline to find out what his intentions were.

Fox News still has Sarah Palin. The half-term governor has already shown she’s more interested in getting a big paycheck than having to work at governing. Fox News gives her a big paycheck. That indicates she isn’t going to run for president.

Can we now, like, ignore her forever?