Slow Parade

by Michael Bérubé on January 6, 2008

Happy no-longer-new year, everyone. Well, the final weeks of 2007 were pretty much like the whole of 2007 in my house: just before finals week, the sewage line in the basement backed up for the third time in four months, and as they say, the third time was the charm. This one left a good two inches of water in select basement areas, where “select basement areas” means “the corners in which Michael keeps his hockey equipment and his drums.” It’s been great fun cleaning everything and ripping up carpet and throwing out stuff and refurnishing part of the basement, but through it all, I know that the house has said to me and me alone, in an intimate and personal kinda way, “GET. OUT.” Of course, that was before the sheet of ice slid off the roof and knocked out our satellite dish thing. The people from the satellite station promised to send out a satellite dish repair person ASAP, which means in a week or so, because we live in the deep uncharted interior of the continent.

So good riddance to 2007. I hope it never comes back around these parts.

But that’s not why I’m here!

[click to continue…]

Hillary For VP?

by John Holbo on January 6, 2008

Like so many others, I couldn’t be happier at Obama’s victory. Here’s hoping for more.

Obviously this is flagrantly, shamelessly hypothetical: would Obama/Clinton ’08 be a strong ticket?

One thing seems to me clear: Clinton would make an excellent VP, if she were willing to take the job, if Obama would have her. She would bring a lot of competence, knowledge, connections and machinery to the table. I tend to think she might be better at getting things done, as President, whereas Obama is better prepared to do the right things. Put them together, Obama’s name first. That might be as close to the best of both goods as I could hope to extract from this field.

Would she be an asset as a candidate? I think it would be a mixed bag, but ultimately positive. The obvious negative thought: if Obama is the candidate, you need a white man in the VP slot, preferably a Southerner. (Sorry, I didn’t make the wretched world. Not that I would mind Edwards as VP, not at all. I’d love it, if it came to that. But maybe Clinton would actually be better.) What are some of the positives? Well, first, I think a lot of people might agree with me that she would just plain be good at the job. That’s something. Second, I think you might be able to salvage Hillary’s charisma positives while minimizing her substantial negatives. The Republicans can’t do the full-bore Clinton-hate, if she’s just the VP. That would look silly, beside the point, an implicit admission of inability to attack Obama himself. By now she is so obviously Presidential, so experienced, no one could seriously argue that she would make a bad VP, per se. She says she knows how to fight the slime machine. I don’t doubt it. Obama would obviously be picking someone who can get things done. And yet the positives don’t melt away with the negatives: there would be considerable ‘that’s the least she deserves after all this crap’ sympathy. Not to mention women happy to vote for a ticket with a woman on it. Symbolism matters, and the first woman in this post is going to be a big deal. Not that these considerations would be decisive, but I think they would at least balance the anti-Clinton negatives, adding to the happy glow – the most you can hope for from a VP, election-wise (as opposed to doing-the-job-wise).

Quite apart from it still being early days, I don’t know what the odds are of Obama or Clinton being willing to bury the hatchet. My sense is that the history of the VP slot is one of surprisingly large and vicious-looking, yet successfully buried hatchets. Also, she’s still young. Who thinks Hillary doesn’t want to be President so badly that she’d be willing to suffer the relatively small humiliation of having to wait 8 years for an improved, VP-burnished shot at it? I think she’d wait, if she had to.

What do you think?

Then and now

by Chris Bertram on January 6, 2008

Ever since I read Stewart Brand’s _How Buildings Learn_ I’ve been a sucker for then-and-now pictures of cities and buildings. Via “The Online Photographer”: , I stumbled on a “slideshow”: of work by Christopher Rauschenberg at The Morning News consisting of Rauschenberg’s captures of Paris scenes taken by Atget. (I’m also a big Atget fan – so this was doubly great.) There’s also a “link”: to an earlier then-and-now series at TMN of New York.