November 8th, 2009

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More evidence that 2010 will be one of the ugliest elections in memory

I anticipate the number of serious primary challenges in both parties to be unprecedented in recent memory -- except for those old enough to remember the actual New Deal. A reading of the top items at Open Left today shows that progressives regard the passage of the House healthcare reform bill as weak tea indeed. Oh, they will support it. But it highlights the need to pressure the so-called "moderate" wing by mounting serious primary challenges similar to the recent challenge by conservatives to the Republican nominee in NY-23.

The situation has some similarity to the New Deal. Following Democratic wins in 1932, the Democratic party faced an internal challenge: how progressive did it want to be, and did third party such as the Socialist party offer viable alternatives. Roosevelt was able to stave off significant losses in 1934 by embracing some of the more progressive policies of Huey Long, who continued to pressure Roosevelt from the left until his assassination in 1935.

Here, the current economic and social crises, combined with the ability of the Internet to harness people in collective action, is giving rise to extremely well-organized and well-funded movements in both parties. This is not necessarily a bad thing, given my personal political proclivities.
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This reminded me of a Star Trek episode

OK, in this Ars Technica piece, some folks at BlueBeat selling MP3s of Beatles songs defended their actions on the theory that BlueBeat were the actual authors of this version of the song under their theory of "psycho-acoustic simulation." I kept flashing back to this bit of dialog from Classic Trek Episode Whom Gods Destroy:

Marta: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate. / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

Garth: Liar! That was written by an Earthman names Shakespeare many centuries ago.

Marta: That does not change the fact that I wrote it again this morning.