The pragmatic (i.e. GenX) President

Word is Obama has been tapping “Republican Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser in the first Bush administration” for advise and input as he makes his transitions, as well as considering keeping Robert Gates on as Sec. of Defense, evidence that Oamba is being pragmatic in his approach:

During a recent appearance on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Scowcroft said it would be a wise move for Obama to keep Gates in the Cabinet.

“I actually think it would send the kind of signal that I think the president-elect intends, or spoke about in his campaign, and that is that we need to work together. We need to work as Americans,” Scowcroft said. “And I think giving Bob Gates some more time to do the kinds of things he’s doing would be a very wise course of action.”

But a senior Obama aide told CNN not to see the conversations as a signal that Gates may keep his job. “Don’t read anything into this — he was an admirer [of Scowcroft] long before running or even needing to select” a secretary of defense, the Obama aide said.

The Obama aide said the president-elect “respects and admires Gen. Scowcroft’s bipartisan, pragmatic approach to foreign policy,” adding that Obama “looks forward to continuing the dialogue with Gen. Scowcroft — as well as other key Republicans, Democrats and independents — to get the very best advice.”

Read full article here.

Pragmatism is the defining characteristic of Generation X, even though many still believe it is being a slacker, which was always more slander and libel than truth.

Thus the evidence mounts in favor of Obama being Generation X and not Generation “WTF is that anyway” Jones.


Happy Toilet Day!

Now that the election is finally over, it is time for the public to turn its attention to more important matters.

Such as: World Toilet Day!

No. I am not making it up. It is a real deal. Hey, it was in the Washington Post, the paper that broke Watergate, so, you know….

Happy Toilet Day

For those who believe the country is headed down the toilet, there’s new evidence out today that they may be right: It’s World Toilet Day, and Capitol Hill is involved in the celebration: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is listed as a participant in this afternoon’s “Sanitation is Dignity” exhibit on the Capitol’s West Front in honor of World Toilet Day.

The purpose of the day, declared by the World Toilet Organization, is to bring attention to excrement-borne illness, and the fact that 2.5 billion people “do not have a toilet and instead are forced to do their business on roadsides, in bags or bushes, or anywhere they can.”

The World Toilet Organization, or WTO (not to be confused with the World Trade Organization) is firmly of the of the view that “toilets deserve better social status.” Specifically, the WTO seeks “to elevate the status of toilets to make them status symbols and objects of desire.” It also seeks to “upgrade the skill sets of the restroom cleaners” and is responsible for the slogan: “We deserve better places to defecate.”

How does one raise the status of toilets anyway? I mean, making them an object of desire sounds kind of, um, creepy to me.

Unexpected house guest

So I get a call at work today from the Principal of the middle school near our house, telling me there’s been an incident involving our house and one of the students. I was confused. First, because I thought the call was about my daughter, and I wondered if she was in trouble for something. I mean, why the hell yes does the Principal call you. It took me a moment to realize that ths wasn’t the Prinicipal of the Elementary school, where my daughter attends.

Then she tells me there is a police officer with her and they put me on speaker phone. Now, I’m getting a little concerned.

Turns out one of the autistic students at the middle school somehow got out of the school, made his way down the block, and found his way into our house. I left the back door to the garage open. My bad!

Anyway, apparently there was no damage done to the house. The kid just came in, helped himself to an icecream sandwich from the freezer and watched TV. No big deal. 

I could tell that the Principal and the Officer were cocnerned that I might be upset, but I wasn’t. Didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I was just glad the kid was all right, that he wasn’t hurt, and that they found. In fact, I was impressed with  his choice of movie. He managed to find my copy of Repo Man that I keep in the office on a shelf with my other GenX books and movies. So…he’s got that going for him.

Actually, in a way I’m glad our house was open, because the kid was known to be a runner, and who knows how far he might have gone before they found him had he not stopped in at our house.

When I told my wife about it, she thought it was pretty funny. So do a lot of people upon hearing the story.

The Principal was relieved and very grateful that I was so understanding. There might have been a time when I would have been more concerned, just because I used to be so unfamiliar with people who have autism, but for the last four years I’ve worked with a guy who is autistic. He’s quirky but intersting, and funny sometime too.

He processes books here at the library as well as shelving books and he is quite good at both.  His autism is actually a benefit in this case, his need for order makes him good at what he does.

I remember realizing that the guy I worked with liked me when he started giving me coupons to fast food places. I used to have a pretty good collection. And though being autistic means he doesn’t like physical contact and rarely engages in it, one day passing him in the staff lounge he wanted to slap me high five and I did. I took that as I big compliment.

Generation X enters White House

So reads the headline from and AFP article.

The lead:

NEW YORK (AFP) — Generation X used to stand on the sidelines. Now, with Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential election, they’re taking the White House.

Read full article here

For those knuckleheads so obsessed with attaching the Generation Jones labl to Obama, just keep reading:

Ironically, Generation X, or those born between 1961 and 1981, have long been identified by sociologists as reluctant to get involved, individualistic and cynical.

Which only backs up my point that there is no consensus on the exact date range for defining Generation X, or any other generation for that matter. Thus we must consider a broader definition, as Jeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World does:

Gordinier says Obama not only fits the Generation X mold in age, style and biography, but came to power partly thanks to the enthusiasm of that same demographic group.

Gordinier isn’t the only one either:

Neil Howe, author of “Generations: the history of America’s future,” also sees Obama as the archetypal X-er, growing up in the 1960s and 70s and experiencing early on all the major social changes in family values and behavior.

“Obama was the product of an experimental inter-racial marriage: the father left, he travelled all over the world, a topsy-turvy, chaotic childhood, which is characteristic of Xers,” Howe said.

No doubt some will refuse to except this obvious and inevitable reality, but hey, this is America, where any idiot can be a parent but you need a license to drive car. (I don’t even know what that has to do with anything; it just sort of popped into my head. eh.)

The point is the Boomer’s are no longer in control, and that will mean a new kind of governing. GenX style. Cachow!

Obama’s “mission is to put an end to everything that is dysfunctional and bad about boomer politics,” Howe said.

“You are going to see a style of leadership which is much more pragmatic, less wed to ideology. A Generation X-er will love to crunch all the numbers, demand transparency, analyze the data and come to decisions,” he said.

Obama has already given indications of that more eclectic, non-ideological direction.

Pragamatic is the main thing. GenX is pragmatic. If we adhere to any kind of ideology (if you can even call it that, which I seriously doubt) it is pragmatism. We focus on getting things done, done well, and done right, regardless of politics.

Hilary as Sec. State

(CNN) — President-elect Barack Obama met with his former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton to see if she would be interested in a role in his administration, two sources told CNN Friday.

Read full CNN article here.

I skip watching the news one night and this is the kind of thing I miss. Danm! I didn’t hear about until this afternoon because I had a morning meeting with my financial advisor (saying that makes me feel important, although it was fairly depressing, what with the economy sucking ass and all) when a guy I work with told me about it.

I have to say I like the idea of HIlary as Sec of State. Better to have her as an ally in the White House then as a potential opponent in the Senate. It certainly makes more sense than trying to put her on the Supreme Court. Did anyone seriously think that was going to happen. And anywaay, Hilary is a stronger candidate then John Kerry for sure. I’m divided on Bill Richardson, having heard mixed reviews of his past performace as Ambassador to the UN (right?). 

I still want to see Chuck Hagel in the administration, but perhaps not as Sec of State. I figure him for Sec of Defense, after Bob Gates leaves.

What do others think:

More evidence to boot Lieberman

I missed Rachel Maddow last night but apparently she really went after Lieberman, urging the Dems to dump his ass. Watch:

Pretty compelling, anyone would have to agree, even if not publicly.  Got me thinking, well, you know, maybe he should go. I mean, you jump to the other side you deal with the consequences. Why should Joe get special treatment? Just because he could be the 60th vote in the Senate. I don’t agree that’s a good enough reason.

On the other hand a partisian squabble right out of the gate would be bothersome, or worse.

Maybe Joe needs to be stripped of his chairmenships or whatever they’re called and have to prove himself. Of course, why would he want to do that? He could turn Republican. He could resign and let his seat got to a Republican.

In any case, it certainly is a pickle.

Should Lieberman stay or should he go?

I just go this email that reads:

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,

Joe Lieberman has launched consistent, deeply partisan attacks on President-elect Barack Obama, questioning his patriotism and fitness to lead. While Lieberman campaigned for John McCain and spoke on his behalf at the Republican National Convention, he spread some of the GOP‘s nastiest smears. And yet McCain continues to gush over Lieberman, as we saw on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” just this week. As Think Progress reveals in their thorough report, however, Lieberman’s partisan politics should be condemned, not applauded.

Lieberman should not be allowed to have subpoena power to investigate the Obama administration as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In fact, he should not be allowed to remain chairman of this or any other committee.

Watch the video:

Lieberman has proven he cannot be trusted to hold a high rank within the Democratic caucus. That is why we launched Lieberman Must Go last summer, a campaign that caught Congress’ attention when we delivered a petition with over 43,000 signatures. Now, we ask you to help us escalate the pressure by contacting your Senators and members of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee. Tell them to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship in the Democratic caucus.

We have included a sample script below for you to use and the phone numbers are available at We ask that you be polite when you explain why Lieberman Must Go.

Senator _________, my name is _________. I’m a registered Democrat and a [state] resident. I urge you to vote to strip Joe Lieberman of his committee chairmanship when the Democratic caucus meets to discuss his future. A man who spent the entire election season demeaning Senator Obama‘s patriotism and his qualifications for office cannot be trusted with oversight authority over the Obama administration. Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat, and he should not enjoy the privileges of being a member of the majority party. Will you vote to strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship?Make the call today, then let us know you did and send this e-mail to your friends and colleagues. Let Democratic leaders know Lieberman represents an impediment to real change in Washington, and that is why Lieberman Must Go!

Robert Greenwald, Leighton Woodhouse, ZP Heller
and the Brave New Films team

Brave New Films is supported by members like you, please consider making a donation. You can get all our latest videos via email, RSS, iTunes or YouTube here. To stop receiving updates from us, click here. We are located at 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 and

Not really sure how I feel about this. My instinct is to let it go. Yeah, I know Joe talked shit about Obama during the campaign, but that is what happens. Also, you got to remember, Dems tried to oust Lieberman from his Senate seat before any of this happened. Joe ended up winning as and Independent. That’s impressive. I understand that he was Obama’s mentor Senator when he (Obama) was first elected. And yet I was alarmed to Lieberman, as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, would have subpoena power to investigate the Obama Admin. But then I figured that was supposed to alarm me. The question is do you believe Lieberman would actually do t hat? I’m not sure.

Obama seemed to want to let bygones be bygone, but then perhaps that is simply him staying above it, and letting others take Lieberman down. We’ll see.

Looks like Alaska’s senate race could go blue after all

Last night Olberman reported the breaking news on his show Countdown that Democrat Mark Begich had taken a 3 vote lead over Republican Ted Steven as a result of absentee ballots being counted. The web site confirms this development in the Alaska Senate Race and also reports that Begich’s lead has since grown to 814 votes. The post also states that:

As we’ve pointed out and has been pointed out elsewhere, the remaining votes come from Begich-friendly districts. Mark Begich is now an overwhelming favorite to win the Alaska Senate seat.

Add one more Democratic Senate seat.

Meanwhile my understandin is the Al Franken is now within something like 206 votes and there will be a recount. Plus Coleman’s campaign has got some legal issues related to their campaign, the details of which have suddenly escaped me. Anyone care to provide them, please do.

A filibuster-proof 60 seats is well within Democrat sights (sites?).

A GenX apology to the Baby Boom?

You got to be fucking kidding me?

But no, it is true. That is the form that this article about election night from takes, beginning thus:

Dear boomers: We’re sorry for rolling our eyes at you all these years. We apologize for scoffing at your earnestness, your lack of self-deprecation, your tendency to take yourselves a little too seriously. We can go ahead and admit now that we grew tired of hearing about the ’60s and the peace movement, as if you had to live through those times to understand anything at all. It’s true, we didn’t completely partake of your idealism and your notions about community. Frankly, it looked gray and saggy in your hands, these many decades later. Chanting “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!” at that rally against the Iraq war made us feel self-conscious in spite of ourselves. We felt like clichés. We wondered why someone couldn’t come up with a newer, catchier, pro-peace slogan over the course of 40 years of protests. We knew we shouldn’t care that some of you were wearing socks with sandals and smelled like you’d been on the bus with Wavy Gravy for the last three decades, but we cared anyway. We couldn’t help it. It’s just who we are

Read full article here.

I have to say that I’m not so sure that I am ready to apologize for rolling my eyes, but then that’s just the kind of little prick that I am. And it’s really not the point. The point is that the tone of this piece I think captures what is perhaps the epitome of the GenX Journey (yes, I know. that is a real eye-rolling phrase, but I can’t help it) from cynicism to idealism, which of course is symbolized in the path of Barack Obama, as detailed in his autobiography for anyone who cares to read it, resulting in his rise to the most powerful position in the country if not the world.

But when we watched Barack Obama’s victory speech on Tuesday night, we looked into the eyes of a real leader, and decades of cynicism about politics and grass-roots movements and community melted away in a single moment. We heard the voice of a man who can inspire with his words, who’s unashamed of his own intelligence, who’s willing to treat the citizens of this country like smart, capable people, worthy of respect. For the first time in some of our lifetimes, we believed.

And I got to say, it’s a little scary, even while it is astoundingly joyful at the same time. To believe, I mean. Multiple times a day I will just stop and realize again what has happened and my chest swells and my eyes tear up, and I think, no, this can’t be real, I’m dreaming, but of course I am not. I have to remind myself to dig in, it wasn’t a dream, Barack Obama really is the the 44th President of the United State of America, or at least he will be, officially, on Jan 20th.

I’m reminded of the Christian Slater line in the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie, when he launches Costner and Morgan Freeman over the wall on the giant catapult, amazed that it actually works, he says: “Fuck me, he cleared it!