January 7, 2015

Wondering, on Wednesday (v17)

Here we are, just a few days into the new year, and instead of being filled with hope and anticipation, we're sharing grief and anger and agony with our friends in France,we've got a new Congress in Washington, and we said goodbye to an icon here in New York.  It's been a busy few days.

Paris was devastated by an attack on their boldly satirical magazine, 'Charlie Hebdo'. The magazine, which gained notoriety for publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed was fire-bombed in an earlier incident, and today a dozen people were killed in the horrific attack; meanwhile we are still a bit indignant about the brazen technical assault last month on Sony Pictures for their somewhat ill-advised comedy about killing North Korea's Kim Jung Un.

In that attack on free speech,  Sony lost emails, data, credibility and money by not having the opportunity for a big Christmas-day premiere of The Interview. In Paris, they lost lives for publishing cartoons.  I'm left wondering, this Wednesday,  if we'll ever really understand that kind of extremism, and more importantly whether we'll ever collectively have a way to manage it and the people who bring it upon us.

The 114th Congress took over this week, with an extreme kiss from Crying John Boehner to the head of Nancy Pelosi; a more awkward kiss has not been seen in DC in who knows how long. Boehner managed to get re-elected as House Speaker, although it wasn't easy. It wasn't easy for a few of the folks were were not firmly in his corner, either - those folks lost their committee posts in a swift reaction by Boehner. He's going to have a long battle these next two years, but starting out by smacking down the opposition has to feel good, don't you think?

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell actually talked about finding agreement with his Democratic counterparts:
I always like to remind people that divided government is not unusual in this country. When the American people choose divided government I don't think it means they don't want us to do anything, I think it means they want us to look for areas of agreement. 
And then, reminded us that this first order of business is to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, which according to McConnell is a key component of the 'energy revolution' in this country.  That would be the same energy revolution that has gas prices tumbling, which would be good, except that OPEC countries are not propping up their own oil, and so the price is in free fall, which is messing up the stock market and the world economy, which is scaring the bluecheeses out of us.  I'm wondering if Mitch wants to reconsider his first big vote?

And finally, we said goodbye to Mario Cuomo this week; I wonder who will be the real voice of progressive reasonableness, or reasonable progressitivity, going forward? That person, whoever he or she is, will have a huge opportunity in 2016, one that shouldn't be wasted.