We’ll meet again on the avenue

New shit in my life has come to light, and while I can’t make you privy to it, I can tell you that I have to retire from political blogging. It’s nothing bad, but given the nature of the new shit, I probably can’t be talking about Robespierre and Baader-Meinhoff and life-ending meteors anymore, and without being able to do that, what’s the point?

It’s been a preasure and a plivilege writing about politics here. I’ll still do a music post once-a-week (or more) or so.

Update. Thanks to everyone for everything! Honestly, this blog is more about the commenters than anything else. And I’ll still comment about politics, under a different name….

Chh, chh, changes

I’m getting ready to drop a deuce into my boss’s coffee.

I received and accepted an offer to be poached by another department within Mayhew Insurance last night.  The position will move me from the plumber side of the business to the architecture and “concept” side of the company as the dreamers realized that they need to know how things actually work when they propose schemes. I’ve worked with the dreamers before, usually solving some of their problems or giving them the amazingly fun “Yes, we can do that, BUT it will cost $10 million dollars, take eighteen months and have a negative ROI… do you really want to do this…” conversation They’re raiding the practical divisions within the company to build an “engineering feasibility” section. 

I’ve never had a significant internal transfer in my career.  Everything was either external moves to new companies, lay-offs and new hires, or minor reorganizations where I’m reporting to someone else who had a pre-exisiting team.  I’m a little nervous as I’ve worked with this basic team for a significant chunk of my career and they are good people who are doing interesting things with adequate resources most of the time.  I know that is a good situation.  But the dreamers are offering a massive opportuntiy, a much better salary and a nicer title as well as the much higher probability that I won’t be called on to work 80 hour weeks for the four months leading up to filing season.

I don’t anticipate this having too much impact on my writing at Balloon Juice.  I will still be writing when I am not on a crash project deadline and when I see something interesting that I can add a high value, unique perspective to it, I’ll write.

I’m just happily nervous right now… and away I go as my boss just walked in.

And Another

Shots have been fired at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon.  The shooter is dead, and though I saw one unconfirmed Twitter notice that another person had died, all I can get off the AP right now is that the situation is “stabilized.”  Oregonlive.com reports that parents were told that three shooters were involved; that a student said a teacher was shot; and that a student was reported hit as well

Update: The student has died. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

As news of the shooting hit, @PoliticalLine tweeted this:

6/5: Seattle U shooting

6/6: GA court house shooting

6/8: Las Vegas cops shooting

6/10: Oregon high school

not even a full week…

My son goes to high school next year.  We’re lucky in that we live in a state with relatively low incidence of gun violence — 17th out of 50 for gun murders as of 2010.  But Oregon experiences such murders at half the rate Massachusetts do, and statistics are no comfort when it’s your kid, your friend, your partner on the wrong side of someone’s gun.  And, to repeat the obvious, Vermont the state with the lowest rate of gun murders at .3/100,000 still pays a higher butcher’s bill than at least a couple of dozen countries.  We tolerate a level of threat to our kids, to all those we hold most dear, that our closest allies and competitors would see as utterly unacceptable…

…as, of course, it is.



I got nothing, except this penetrating glimpse of the obvious:  domestic terrorists are holding us all hostage.

Those who fire their weapons get their grotesque fifteen minutes of … maybe local news, mostly, given the increasingly routine (read, less newsworthy) character of a story that, as the tweet above documents, repeats itself in all but location over and over again.

But the real terrorists, the masterminds, the ones for whom Guantanamo was built, are those who flood America with the weapons that leave our kids, our cops, folks out at a mall or wherever in literally mortal danger.  They would be, it seems to me, the NRA, the political elites, mostly but not exclusively from the GOP, the usual suspects — trading deaths of children, cops eating lunch, whoever, for market share and a grasp on the political power that can be distilled from fearful rage.

The consolation, if there is any, comes from the long view:  gun ownership is down as a fraction of the population.  And the Tea Party version of the GOP locks in the conditions that shrinks its base.  But any relief that may come lies in the long run… and you know how that quote ends.

I’m not totally without hope.  As folks commented in yesterday’s thread, the Supreme Court has not (yet) ruled that regulation of guns is out-of-bounds.  I can imagine a state-by-state tightening of the regulatory regime; I can see the culture of the gun shifting even now in parts of the country.  I don’t think we’re going to forever accept the demand to water the tree of liberty with the blood of school kids.

But damn, folks, we’ve got to get on with it.

Rambling, I know.  I’m just heartsick, sinking deeper and deeper in the hole with each day’s red harvest.   Like I said.  I got nothing.

ETA:  Image:  Joseph Wright of Derby, The Dead Soldier, c. 1789 [apologies to all for forgetting the reference]

Marriage and the shadow of my kids’ future

This week has been a good week for  marriage.  Pennsylvania and Oregon’s bans have been struck down, and Utah must recognize all marriages that were legally performed in that state.   One friend from college announced that her wedding in Canada would most likely be cancelled and relocated to her home town once details are re-arranged.  Another college buddy happily posted that his boyfriend of twelve years is now expecting a ring as they agreed that they would not get engaged or married if they could not do it at their home.

I was also home as my almost two year old son had just enough day care crud to keep him home. 

When I heard the Pennsylvnia news, I looked at my son, and thought about my almost five and a half year old, which makes her almost six daughter and I cried as I thought about the possibility spaces of their futures. 

I don’t know much about my kids’ futures.

I know that they will always be loved and treasured.  I know my daughter probably won’t get that Division 1 soccer scholarship unless there is a rules revolution for a butterfly chasing position.  I know my daughter will be a dork (which is a good thing as my wife and I can raise a dork, we would be clueless about how to raise a social butterfly).  I know my son will think his big sister is the most awesome person in the world, and that my daughter does her best to maintain that perception.  I know that their option space and potentiality space is massively wider than my mine was at their age. 

I have no clue as to whether or not they are straight, gay, bi or something else and in-between. 

I do know that by the time they start having those awkward feelings about that cutie in second period English, same sex marriage will be an anachronistic term that Mom and Dad occassionally use to show how unwith it we are. 

I do know that whatever they are, they’ll be living in a world where if they find someone who makes them be the best person that they can be, they’ll be able to marry that person without worrying about the implications of moving across state lines. I do know that if they find someone like I found in my wife and their mother, they can be as lucky as I have been and am.

Moore, OK. May 20th, One Year On.

One year ago today, an EF-5 tornado hit Moore, OK and southwest OKC.


This shot is from the I-35 overpass at SW19th street in Moore, about a mile and a half northwest of my house, and about 3/4 mile northwest of my old house.  The view is almost due west.  I make this turn almost every day on the way home from work.  The tornado was at full EF-5 strength in this shot.  It was in the immediate vicinity of Briarwood Elementary. Read more